Social Media Week: Bristol

Monday 14 to Friday 18 November was Social Media Week in Bristol. The week was a collection of sessions covering social media topics.

Lauren Bradford and I went along to a few of the sessions and we wanted to share some things we learnt.

Social media and the power of the mum

I attended the session entitled “Social media and the power of the mum” first thing on the Monday morning.

This session interested me as mums online are increasingly influential, have big and fast growth rates and I have very little knowledge about this fascinating user group (should we be working with them to share ONS data?).

The first thing I learnt about this user group is that they are, indeed, a huge and powerful online network.

Secondly, there are a list of ways to work with mums who blog (this group are very influential online).

Harnessing data to amplify social media strategy

The second session I attended was about data and how to use data to inform decision making.

I expected this session to be about analytics, metrics and data gathered using analytics software. The session was, in reality, much more interesting and focused on combining analytical data collected with  third party data. It was about “mashing together” analytics with insights from offline communications channels.

Sounds obvious but collecting the right data does not mean selecting the right metrics from your analytics dashboard. The right data may not be found online but live somewhere else – perhaps in your customer contact centre, media team or complaints department.

Secondly, a “Hallelujah” moment was when they reiterated that actions using data are more important than the data itself. Working in an organisation where our bread and butter is data, it’s easy to get excited about data. This is useless if it doesn’t lead to decision making, insight or change in the business. We’ve been looking closely at the analytics and social media metrics we will collect in future so it was refreshing to hear it’s ok to collect very little but use that little pot of data for good!

Talent attraction in the social media age

There will be a new focus on social media recruitment in 2017 at ONS so I attended this session with Gemma from our HR team to gather ideas, insight and learn some lessons on how others have approached social media recruitment.

The first thing I found refreshing was the approach in many organisations that focus solely on recruitment using social media is very similar to the approach we are taking at ONS (phew!).

Was great to hear the attention for recruitment, like any marketing campaign should start with researching the user and their needs to discover the right content, platform and approach to take.

The second thing I found interesting was the focus on paid social media in recruitment.

Finally, an interesting and unique perspective on recruitment was when Eleni Church compared recruitment for a job like online dating. The advert has to make you feel like you could be compatible and the interview is like a first date. The similarities were obvious, entertaining and demonstrated the need for businesses to be authentic when advertising for a job.

Over to Lauren…

Lauren attended 2 sessions at Social Media Week. Below are some top tips from her time there.


I really enjoyed the sessions I attended at Social Media Week, Bristol. I liked that each session was held at a different location, showcasing the diverse and quirky venues Bristol has to offer (although in hindsight I probably won’t drive next time, parking around said quirky locations was a complete nightmare!).

I’m a sucker for aesthetics and the session held by Buzzfeed and Bristol 24/7 really set the bar in terms of venue, held in the stunning Everyman Cinema. We looked at the future of cross-platform global and local news, as well as general content creation and digital trends.


Numbers are important, but they shouldn’t be our primary purpose

This session was run by Buzzfeed and Bristol 24/7.

I learnt a lot from Maggy, Buzzfeed’s Social Media Editor. She talked about various ways Buzzfeed measure success and I found the day-to-day runnings of the channels interesting.

One key takeaway was to focus on engagement on the channel itself, not solely web traffic figures. Maggy says her dream comment on Facebook is when people tag their friends in a post. It was reassuring to hear that even the social giants that are Buzzfeed have a problem converting Twitter traffic.

Bristol 24/7 treats Instagram as a brand awareness channel, it doesn’t drive any traffic but people love the content they post there and the engagement – while thriving and active – will usually stay on the channel.

Buzzfeed approach experimentation by testing new formats on fun topics first then applying them to news.

75% of Buzzfeed’s newsroom are millennials so they understand that audience and focus their content for their users. It was fascinating the insight Buzzfeed has about millennials and the opportunities for ONS statistics.

Finding out about the logistics of running Buzzfeed social media was fascinating:

  • the team educates others in the organisation on distribution and ways of sharing content; each team meets every morning to discuss ideas and planned content to optimise for social channels – scheduling is key
  • Buzzfeed schedule everything on Facebook and Twitter but make space for breaking news
  • Buzzfeed send out a weekly social media digest internally and make sure to celebrate success around the office

Community interest company Bristol 24/7 explained how their brand is different things to different people on different channels. Their focus is understanding different user groups needs; each platform has to do a different job.

Repackage, repromote

Bristol 24/7 uses social media to remind people a story is there. You can’t guarantee everyone is listening when you post so your content is always new to someone. At ONS quite often we find social content is more popular the second or third time posted, not when it’s brand new data.

Buzzfeed was originally focused on being the quickest news platform to get information out to the world. This has changed and their new focus is to report facts correctly – they have a new legal team and factcheck all sources. The key message is to dedicate time becoming a trusted and reliable source.

People search for questions, not keywords

20% of Google searches are now by voice with people often searching for an answer to a question. Google wants to answer these questions fast and many businesses want to be top of the list, establishing themselves as the best place to find answers. Perhaps content should be designed to answer questions?