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IMUK, Liverpool’s Inbound Marketing conference brought together hundreds of bright eyed and bushy tailed marketers to check out what big brands had to bring to the table. These included ASDA, Google, Microsoft, Hubspot, Adobe and PH Creative. The keynote speaker of the day was entrepreneur and social expert Gary Vaynerchuck.

From hearing about wearable technology (we saw Google Glass!) to learning about pushing the boundaries of your online presence, a lot was covered during this excellent conference. I will take you through the 3 main areas discussed which resonated with me and that may help give you a better understanding of the direction that social media has already taken (which you need to be on board with!)

1.  ‘SEO is dead.’

Dave Hazelhurst of PH Creative, opened with the above statement – his talk was really informative and showed that businesses online presence is no longer just about SEO, it’s about your businesses personality across a range of channels. SEO is no longer ‘search engine optimisation’ but rather ‘search experience optimisation’, meaning that SEO isn’t enough on its own. What’s the use of ranking top of Google if your users are not performing how you want them to? Dom Birch of Asda particularly highlighted the importance of ASDA’s social media channels on an individual and collective basis showing how all channels give the same message (selling a product or lifestyle choice) whilst also showing how each channel does this in a different way (more on this below!) Hazelhurst’s answer is to focus on your content across all channels and how this makes your users feel, ‘SEO is all about great digital marketing across all channels’ he says. Users remember content because of how it made them feel and are more likely to share this content with other users if it evoked positive feelings. Key emotional drivers include: happy, sad, fear, anger and anticipation.

2. It’s about your audience

 Brand listening

Dom Birch presenting at IMUK 2014‘Audience research is key’ says Stuart Fowkes of Oxfam, this view was shared by all speakers at IMUK, but in particularly. Dom Birch of ASDA , ‘Listen first, engage second and influence third’ he says. Brand listening is crucial on social channels in order to know what your audience wants, this was reflected when ASDA ripped up their website and rebuilt it based on what their customers wanted.

Millenial’s vs. video

Dom Burch shared that ASDA has found that millennial’s are fuelling even more video sharing. As such, ASDA have adapted their traditional way of advertising and now have more indirect ways of marketing their products, an example of this can be seen in Zoella’s video below.


More of ASDA’s YouTube success can be seen on their YouTube channels Mum’s Eye View.

Facebook dark posts

‘If you do not know what a Facebook dark post is, you need to learn what it is’ says Gary Vanerchuck, ‘Facebook is the single best place to market and sell stuff based on the return you can get.’
What are Facebook Dark posts? Facebook dark posts allow you to split test different status updates with your audience. Facebook dark posts allow you to understand what your audience wants in a language they understand; you can test different types of content, offers and call to actions to different demographics within your audience. Before dark posts, pages that wanted to test content would have to push content out to their entire user population, bordering on spamming! Now pages are able to test specific posts that their audience are interested in.

3. Market in the year that we live in

‘99% of business don’t market in the year that we live in’ says Gary Vanerchuck. Having an online presence is no long a luxury, but a necessity for business’s to grow and profit. In 2014, businesses are battling for user’s attention, something which is becoming increasingly more difficult to obtain. As such, if we don’t choose to put in the hard work into engaging with our customers than your competitor will only succeed ahead of you with increased customer retention as well as customer acquisition. Other attributing factors to marketing in the year in which you live is by telling stories in places where users are paying attention, so context of your users is just as important as your content. The fastest growing audience is currently happening on Instagram and very many businesses are not utilizing this tool. Dom Birch’s talk ended with ‘address where your customers are and communicate within their context’.

Other area’s which were discussed at the IMUK included the difficulties of inbound marketing within the third sector, the growth of ecommerce on a Global scale and the importance of storytelling to your users – a 10/10 to all speakers for a thought provoking, informative day. Good hussle!

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