Social Media Week Bristol returned last month (June 10-14) following its breakthrough year in 2018, which saw keynote sessions from BuzzFeed, Facebook, Twitter and many more. Packed once again with inspirational talks and seminars on the latest developments from the world of social media and digital marketing, thousands gathered across multiple venues in the city of Bristol to listen to talks in the Engine Shed, Everyman Cinema and Origin Workspace to name a few.

The PerformanceIN team managed to catch a couple of interesting sessions, taking away some valuable insights on how brands can develop and grow their social media strategy for the year ahead.

The rise of Instagram Stories

We all know about the success of Instagram so it was no surprise that the platform would be getting a mention or two during Social Media Week. Gem Royston-Claire from digital agency Social Life delivered an insightful talk on the rise of Instagram Stories and why they are such a big deal for companies. Although Snapchat kicked off the Stories trend, it was Facebook and Instagram that took the format to the next level. It now has over 500 million daily active users (and rising) due to features such as polls, location tagging, gifs and more. Roston-Claire urged brands keen on using Instagram Stories to develop an effective strategy to target the growing younger audience (Gen Z) as a third of Stories viewed by users are from businesses while 33% of sponsored posts on the platform are Stories. Gem also stated that there was an 80% increase in watching videos on Instagram, which led to platform launching Stories and developing it into the format we see today – so why shouldn’t brands be using Stories to directly target their customers?

Using the power of inclusive marketing

We’ve heard a few things around inclusive marketing but it was the session from Joyann Boyce, founder of digital marketing agency The Social Detail, that really caught our attention. In the talk, Boyce discussed the concept of inclusive marketing, which she stated was about “creating content that makes people feel included” as well as content that represents your target audience. Showcasing good and bad examples from brands in the field – from Gillette’s intersexual ad campaign to Pepsi’s inauthentic campaign with Kendall Jenner, Boyce stressed the importance for companies to look beyond the persona and represent diversity and inclusion of all groups. Especially at a time where millennials are standing behind brands that present these areas and holding brands accountable if they fail to follow suit. Boyce added that inclusive marketing “is a movement” and brands should be keeping their content consistent and genuine as well.

Further highlights

While we may have only attended a couple of sessions, there were a few more highlights during Social Media Week Bristol. These included a number of topic areas on social media marketing, such as international B2B brands using social media, hosted by Business West, which covered tips and tricks businesses need to consider when trying to reach international audiences. Tips included creating content that talks to your audience, international personas and using relevant local platforms. 

Other sessions included the keynote from digital marketing agency Fourth Floor Creative who discussed the do’s and don’ts of working with influencers; a panel discussion of content creators sharing their thoughts on the latest industry trends, and the rise of video platform TikTok. There was also a talks on the transition of how users consume content on social media going forward and an exclusive panel discussion on the subject of activism in the digital age, featuring talks from activists Bess Hepworth, Bisi Alimi, and Shannon Power in addition to Russian punk band Pussy Riot, famously known for their activism in their home country. All parties shared their views on how activism is evolving through the use of social and digital channels to much effect.

Did you attend Social Media Week Bristol 2019? Share your comments below and check out more highlights on twitter via hashtag #SMWBristol.