In our hyper connected digital era, trends and user behaviors pick up and drop off faster each day, and this is especially true when it comes to social media. In heading the Social.Monks team, I always hear from brands that they need to move at the speed of TikTok. To help them gain the flexibility and agility required to shape culture, we’re launching a new podcast: Social Innovation Lab.
Social Innovation Lab is a weekly show hosted by Claudia Cameron, our Head of Social in Amsterdam, in discussion with the smartest minds in social. The series features digital experts across disciplines and borders to provide a wide-reaching (but snackable) view into what’s happening on social media right now—and where things might be headed next. So from episode to episode, we’ll tackle different platforms, visit different regions and review high-level considerations to inform your ongoing social strategy.
We’ve hit the ground running by launching the first four episodes already, which you can find on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or your favorite podcast service. Below, I’ve pulled some of my favorite insights from each—but don’t let that stop you from listening for yourself, as each episode offers even more to explore.
Why the Future of Social Is in Asia
In our first episode, Claudia sits down with Werner Iucksch, SVP of Social in APAC. Werner drops some impressive statistics on social media use in the region: over 2 billion people are on social throughout APAC, and Filipino users spend a whopping 11 hours a day on social. All that time spent online fuels experimentation and innovation unique to the region, like live ecommerce and other locally grown platforms that don’t exist anywhere else.
But the rise of unique platforms and behaviors means western brands can’t copy and paste their existing social content to Asian markets and hope for success. “Facebook is the biggest player in APAC, but the content that works in the US or Europe won’t necessarily work there,” Werner warns. Instead, they must engage with the local culture: Werner highlights our Idioms of Love campaign with Burberry in China as an example, which reinterprets traditional Chinese love stories from hundreds of years ago with a modern twist.
TikTok’s Secret Sauce
TikTok has quickly emerged as a top channel for brands as they seek to get in front of Gen Z and drive engagement. In episode two of our podcast, our TikTok Strategist Aga Domagalska shares how the platform’s unique creation tools, collaborative spirit and algorithm work together to propel viral hits. But while TikTok may have the reputation of being a viral content engine that supercharges reach, Aga advises against taking shortcuts to relevance.
Think long term and start with a solid strategy for your brand account. Make sure you are taking advantage of paid solutions, are bringing followers to your account and that you post entertaining content frequently.
Decoding Social Signals and Human Behavior
In our third episode, Head of Social Strategic Planning Asahi Ruiz demystifies the role of a social planner. His team’s work is all about detecting and social signals that brands can use to remain relevant amidst cultural shifts. Asahi defines social signals as the cues people observe to help them make decisions and react to the excess of information around us.
One fascinating point Asahi raised is the need to develop research tools that resemble the way people collect information online—an idea that inspired his team’s modern and intimate approach to performing focus groups in WhatsApp. “We need to remember that people exchange information in a different way in WhatsApp,” he says. “Now we communicate in emojis and stickers, and this is pretty relevant when people are getting information in a focus group done in WhatsApp.” Decoding these cues and behaviors can help in the creation of work that is entertaining, informative and resonates with culture.
Connecting the Dots of the Consumer Digital Experience
Now that you’ve gathered some learnings, it’s time to put them to use. Episode four is all about how brands can integrate social into their larger digital strategy. Jouke Vuurmans, our Chief Creative Officer, notes how brands tend to think of social as a separate domain, which he sees as an outdated perspective and a missed opportunity. Jouke notes that brands can shift their perspective to view social as an integral connector across the marketing mix, and hits on our “feed the fees” mentality of tailoring big ideas into moments that drive engagement.
Social is the opportunity for a brand to be in someone’s life daily. So there’s an interesting element if you think about brand building nowadays—providing moments, conversations and activations that people are actually waiting for.
Social media is expansive, with each platform offering unique ways to bring people together and drive engagement. With the Social Innovation Lab podcast, we want to help you keep informed on everything that’s happening in social—as soon as it happens. Stay tuned for even more insights from across the internet and around the world!
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