Social Media Week 2017 Recap - Local Wisdom

Social Media Week 2017 Recap

Justin Rossi

By Justin Rossi
Associate UX Director

Social Media Week 2017 Recap

Picture yourself standing outside and looking up at The New York Times building on the corner of 40th & 8th Ave. The hustle and bustle surrounds you as nimble commuters shuffle past and glare at you. Let’s be honest – this is New York on any given day. It was especially so for Social Media Week – NYC 2017, which took place earlier this year at the Times Center (close enough). From artificial intelligence to the art of storytelling, the conference covered a lot of territory for the latest social media trends. The following were some of our favorite takeaways:


As a former English major, I was all ears as Sarah Hofstetter from 360i discussed the Shakespearean approach in her “Reimagining the Agency of the Future” talk. The Shakespearean approach to a story should sound familiar: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution. The journalistic approach provides the audience with the most important information, or headline, first and the other details follow. When to use either is a matter of evaluating the context and goals of your campaign. Regardless, it’s neat to see agencies pulling from more academic sources and approaches to groom their services and initiatives.

The NY Times and Doner’s conversations around marketing had a common message: tap into the human experience and human emotion. The Martin Garrix 7Up concert for the deaf campaign that was presented was an example of linking your brand with “doing good,” which taps into the human emotion of empathy and relatability. As Marcus Collins said it, “behavior is influenced by what we feel.” Using the example of the world’s largest brands, Collins showed a display of the types of emotions associated with each brand. For example, Coke is often associated with feeling good and Nike makes everyone feel like an athlete. Building those associations then attracts certain personas who become loyal to brands. The following are some of the takeaways a colleague and I took away from the conference:


360i – Reimagining the Agency of the Future, Sarah Hofstetter

  • See chaos as a ladder
  • Know when to use the Shakespearean v Journalism Approach

NY Times – The Publishing Business is a Creative Business, Sebastian Tomich

  • Influencer Marketing – don’t be afraid to have the influencer be a creative director and script their own content
  • People want to engage with people, not brands
  • Using the example of the Martin Garrix 7Up Campaign, do something purposeful, not typical

Doner – More Than Words, Marcus Collins

  • The same way we trust people is the same way we trust brands
  • Marketing is the business of influencing behavior and behavior is influenced directly by what we feel
  • People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it
  • Do people like me do something like this?


Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, brands have more direct access than ever to their customers. And while interaction is good, sometimes it’s hard to decode what a user is saying, based on the increased use of emojis in text-based communication. In order to better understand their customers, brands have hired agencies that use technology that can decode a user’s feelings based on certain words and emojis. One such agency, POSSIBLE, has developed the Empathy Model, a software that helps companies really understand how people are feeling. The empathy model successfully helped companies such as Coca-Cola and Febreeze with social media engagement on Twitter and Instagram, and in turn, helped create organic, positive feelings from online users for these brands.

POSSIBLE used their empathy model AI to help the companies understand users’ feelings, which would result in person-to-person interaction on Instagram and Twitter, but other companies completely trust AI to get their message out there. Reuters, one of the largest news companies in the world, has partnered with a company called True Anthem in order to help create content in the 24/7 news cycle. Rather than have manually curated content, True Anthem’s AI can produce news stories on its own. While the type of stories that AI can produce is limited to the “Who/What/When/Where/Why/How” style of news writing, it’s still remarkable to see how AI is able to produce content that looks like it was written by a person. Don’t believe me? One of these stories was written by AI, and one was not. Can you guess which one is which?

In order to be a successful brand, you don’t want a customer. You want a fan. You want someone who cannot wait to buy a product on your behalf. John Hazard of Contently discussed the best way to build an online community. We all know people who are very gung-ho for certain brands (Apple, Nike, Starbucks, Harley Davidson, etc.) and have integrated these brands as part of their identities. To acquire the reputation of the mentioned companies, you must offer the three principles of devotion: be unique, build participation, and provide a service. A brand reaches the zenith when their audience decides they can’t live without your product or service. If you’re familiar with the supermarket Wegmans, they have that cult-like following that brands search for. So much so, that a school dedicated an entire production to their love for Wegmans.

To conclude, if you’re a brand and you want to be successful, using a combination of AI/Authentic human interaction to help gauge and engage your audience will help elevate your brand, and using the three principles of devotion will turn those customers into fans, and keep them coming back for more. Oh, and the robots are taking over. (Just kidding. Sort of.)


POSSIBLE – Mining Empathy: Extracting Language in Social Media, John Carmel

  • Hard data can be used to help influence
  • Successful social media is created when you monitor users’ emotions in real time
  • Technology can read human emotion, but you need actual people to interact with users to create a long-term connection
  • Companies such as Febreze & Coca-Cola found tremendous success using the empathy model

Reuters, True Anthem – Smart Publishing Automation: At the Intersection of Content & Technology, Pierpaolo Maniglio, Chris Hart

  • AI technology exists to produce content at a large scale
  • True Anthem’s AI content production/publishing practices helped increase Reuters Twitter followers by 150% and their Facebook by 62%
  • It’s hard to tell AI content apart from content written by a person

Contently – How to Build an Online Community That Doesn’t Suck, John Hazard

  • Brands and companies do not want customers, they want fans.
  • Customers are transient. Fans are followers that can’t wait to make a purchase on your behalf
  • The three principles of devotion/building an engaged audience: be unique (Apple), build participation (Nike/Nike Run Club), and provide a service (Starbucks)
  • A company should want to be a force in the user’s life

Article’s Additional Tags: