Inside Social Media
This week we here at Xcede bring you an exclusive interview with Peter Benei, Head of Social at Brand Engage. With 10 years of experience within the wider communication industry, Peter explores the trends in Social Media Market with us; he gives us an insight to into the world of Brand engagement and reveals some top tips for those heading into the industry.
After studying Social Science and Media Sociology at University, Peter began his career as a freelance Journalist. Like many Journalists, he made the transition into PR working as a junior for Weber Shandwick. Peter then soon set up his own boutique social media agency; ‘Karmamedia’ – working with blue chip clients such as McDonalds, T-Mobile, Vodafone. Whilst he continues to be a shareholder for the Hungarian based company, he made the move to the UK market one and a half years ago, beginning his freelance Head of Social career at Them London and Sapient Nitro. Peter is now the Head of the Social division at Brand Engage, focusing on strategy and building up the internal team, “I’ve worked on many sides of a communication industry as you can see and in my point of view the focus hasn’t changed and my job was always the same: build up a story and deliver it to a target group to make an impact.”
How would you define the Social Market?
The revolution is over now so there’s no point in talking about how social media changed our lives or the entire communication industry. It’s not rocket science.
I believe that we have reached the tipping point where the market has just accepted that we shouldn’t treat social media communication as the lonely child and we shouldn’t have a stand-alone social media business strategy. Now, most of the clients have a simple digital strategy where social is an element. Most of them are using it for business development, product development and to harvest a massive amount of customer data to analyze and implement it into further strategies. I think we’re living in the most exciting times of advertising because now we have almost unlimited insights for creating creativity concepts and communication strategies.
What trends have you noticed within the Social Media market recently?
I think the major trends are the fear of content, the challenge of creativity and of course Big Data.
Fear of content is all about the overwhelmingly massive amount of content in social media. “Facebook is too consumer for us” – I have heard it many times from clients. And they’re almost right; the internet is filled with inactive brand pages, boring branded content and failures of communication teams. Sometimes they flee into traditional digital tools just to not use social media. The solution is as simple as it’s hard: planning and strategy is more important these days than before.
The challenge of creativity is basically the fear of the agency side. “Data and measurement is killing our creative concepts” – one of today’s agency problems. I think the traditional agency model is not in a crisis or in other words it was always in a crisis since birth. We can deliver great and measurable creative concepts and successful strategies if we can switch our working method to apply the social rules. People are using social to talk to each other and crowd source ideas or support viral causes. Why don’t we work with our clients in the same way? Agencies must work closely with their clients marketing team and come up with ideas in a way of cooperation. And because of the massive amount of boring branded content it’s an easy win if the agency can come up with a big idea.
Big Data is obviously one of the greatest trends because the amount of data that is produced by social networks. The micro-targeting and the extremely sophisticated profiling systems and campaign management tools are really useful. The listening and monitoring has reached their golden era. And the rest is still coming. It’s completely imperative for a strategist; data is the starting point of every strategy and the finish line of every campaign.
When in charge of the social side for a brand do you believe having experience in PR is important?
It’s all about storytelling. Some of the social media marketing tools were originally PR tools, like blogger outreach programmers, blogging and storytelling itself and the social customer services have a tradition in PR. I’m so lucky that I came from the journalism and PR side of the communication industry so I’ve learned how to tell a story. It’s my most useful asset ever since.
What are the challenges for someone working within the Social market?
The main challenge is to deal with the update-addiction. You have to update your knowledge basically every day and you have to implement this into your work. There are different challenges then in different practices, for example you need great customer service experience and good social skills to become a community manager and you need great analytical thinking if you’re a strategist. Overall the most important thing is to be kind and fair with people and listen more than talk.
What are the challenges someone might face when heading into the market?
The main challenge is that we are different and if you’re a newcomer to the market you might not know where you belong. Some people are great project managers and some are great community managers and others are blue-sky thinkers. You have to know your own values.
Do you enjoy using Social Media on a personal level, after building such a strong professional relationship with it?
I started my first blog in around 2004. Actually I don’t really remember when exactly… I’m old enough to know what’s IRC, Soulseek, Geocities etc. Nowadays I’m a bit busy so I don’t have time to write long updates but I have a Tumblr and a Twitter account.
What tips would you give to someone aspiring to get to where you are?
Question everything. Even yourself. Most importantly yourself.
Where do you see the Social Media market within five years?
I hope that we will have wearable social apps and tools! And big data and social listening will bring us the new Delphic oracle so we can predict almost everything, even this answer.
For more information on Social Media contact Nadia on 0203 301 9902 or view our current vacancies.