Social media marketing: Siml MD reveals top tips - Press Gazette

Former BBC head of social Owen Williams shares his marketing tips

Siml MD

Siml are social media marketing specialists and managing director, Owen Williams, is a former head of social media at the BBC. We grilled Owen on best practices in the latest of Press Gazette’s Marketing Maestro interviews. This series is produced in association with Lead Monitor, New Statesman Media Group’s content marketing arm.

What media channels do you see as most important and best value when it comes to marketing spend and activity?

Facebook. Many will tell you that the platform is dying among younger audiences. But younger audiences don’t tend to have the disposable income of people aged 35+ who are, largely, a huge presence on the platform, having experienced the network’s growth from the late 00s onwards.

Targeted correctly, Facebook Ads can reach, engage and activate astonishingly large audiences. My main concern is that, while paid and organic content can differ, paid strategists sometimes don’t seem to be willing to learn from the successes and failures of organic content creators. I’ve found that adding paid spend to already highly engaging organic content (admittedly, on a case-by-case basis) boosts engagement tenfold.

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What is your advice for mastering social media?

Practise. I’m struck by the number of people who either have a Facebook account, and therefore believe they can Tweet with the best or have no personal social accounts at all, yet are tasked with being their organisation’s social lynchpin.

In your opinion, what is the main difference between B2C and B2B marketing?

Tone. There appears to be a belief amongst B2B marketers that business is deadly serious, and as such, we shouldn’t endeavour to appeal to the audience’s emotional centre in our copy, or our assets. Scratch that idea. Everyone – even the most hardened CFO – is emotionally driven. Make content that heightens your defined audience’s arousal emotions and you’ll reap rewards.

What is the key to producing engaging marketing content and what types of content works best for you?

I rely on three distinct but complementary verticals – a ‘Holy Trinity’, if you like – to deliver on that virality I’m trying to achieve:

  • Information: How content and/or messaging better informs me about the world around me
  • Identity: How content and/or messaging better educates me about myself
  • Emotion: How content and/or messaging makes me feel

How important is technology in modern marketing?

Technology – particularly applications that add value above and beyond the immediate data points – is of immense and continuing value to social practitioners.

What future marketing trends will become mainstream before too long?

I’m fascinated by the metaverse. But before someone rolls their eyes, I’m not strictly referring to some escapist digital fantasy world, but rather the possibilities technological miniaturisation offers us to merge ‘metaversal’ attributes into our daily lives.

QR codes are already ubiquitous, but what if technologies such as Google Glass eyewear became mainstream (after all, the proliferation of 5G makes that delivery of massive quantities of data in a minuscule timeframe eminently feasible), providing us with layers of digital ephemera and assets above and beyond the real world?

Augmented Reality at serious scale – imagine the marketing possibilities when we know a user’s online activity is married to their daily routine, their daily commute, their daily activities. It could herald the next great cultural shift.

And finally, if you could ask your peers for one piece of advice or help, what would it be?

How many extracurricular, unpaid activities does everyone else have? Because, as a solo director-practitioner, if I’m not working, I’m trustee’ing, governing, volunteering, and – obviously – parenting. What does *too much* look like to my peers?!

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