NKU Social Media Summit teaches students the value of modern social media marketing

The second annual Social Media Summit was held in the Farris Auditorium Thursday evening, an event where students and professors were given a chance to interact and engage with a panel of Social Media experts such as J. B. Kropp, a strategic marketer at Twitter.

After a brief “socializer” which concluded at 7 p.m., NKU Brand Marketing professor Gary DeJesus, took his role as moderator to divide the panel of experts into two groups; clients and agencies, representing the creative and business needs of the social media industry.

DeJesus began the conference with a series of questions to help elicit feedback from the audience and fuel discussion among the panelists whose diverse backgrounds offered multiple perspectives on the impact and effectiveness of social media.

According to the row of experts, accessibility is one of the most unique values of marketing with social media.

“Consumers can talk to brands,” Possible’s strategic planner Steve Martin said, “and brands can talk right back to them.”

Both Martin and Magnetic Content Studios’ director of content Kevin Dugan agreed that social media can lead to a healthy change not just on the brand’s terms, but on the consumer’s terms as well.

Additionally, social media leads to a culture where the consumer receives empowerment, while brands receive validation, according to Rockfish’s Senior Director of Business Innovations, Shannon Lewandowski.

Other benefits to utilizing social media include the control that consumers have over content and the instantaneous feedback brand’s give to them.

For example, Twitter’s J. B. Kropp said if you have a complaint with Delta, you often get faster feedback if you tweet to them rather than call the number listed.

“They actually prioritize social media,” Kropp said. “If they don’t get back with you, they get bashed.”

Kropp said people should take that into account the next time they need to change the time for a flight ticket or have a comment on the service that was provided.

The second half of the discussion revolved around how brands can most effectively market to their target consumers through social media.

“In social media, being authentic and true to your brand is key,” founder and CEO of ‘Squerb’ Chris Biscoe said.

According to the panelists, the brand should also understand their social media platform, make their content relevant or applicable, focus their subject area, and decide if it’s worth sharing.

“It shouldn’t just be for the sake of doing something cool,” Senior Brand manager at Mentos and Airheads Craig Cuchra said.

Michael Wohlschläger, Co-Founder and CEO at Ahalogy, said the question should always come back to the consumer and what they are consuming.

“It all starts with the brand idea and the brand message,” Wohlschläger said. He suggested that brands should “start at the people that matter and work backwards.”

Lewandowski added that it takes more than just putting content out on whatever is new; it’s important to look at feedback from several spaces to fit the need of consumers and clients alike.

The panel opened up for a brief question and answer session, discussing potential mistakes in social media, which served to reinforce the ideas of empowerment, accessibility and validation discussed throughout the panel.

“Platforms lend to sharing.” DeJesus claimed, as he ended the Summit with a summary of the points. “What do you want them to share?”