Hipsters, mustache combs, and Texas heat, oh my! It’s time once again for SXSW, and we at The Social Element couldn’t be more excited to be in the middle of the action.
We go for the taco trucks and margaritas, of course, but we’ll also be reporting live on the amazing conferences, lessons for marketers, and will keep you up to date on the trends that will define our industry in the coming year.
Below you’ll find my picks of some of the most interesting sounding and relevant talks and events at this year’s SXSW Interactive.
Talk to the Brand: Bots & the Chatty Marketer
March 11, 9.30am
As more and more marketers take advantage of mobile messaging platforms as a key component of their sales and customer service pipelines, the question has to be asked: Do bots have a role to play? Does that role fundamentally change the relationship between the consumer and the brand?
This talk will delve into just such questions, and will touch on important and influential topics in our industry including AI and machine learning.
Enthusiasm vs. Influence: The Power of Community
March 11, 9.30am
Alright, alright, I get it. Talking about the power of community in 2017 may seem trite, but just think about all of the times you’ve walked into meetings and had to justify, whether to the C-Suite or a well-meaning but ill-informed colleague, exactly why a strong community is important. I’m excited about this talk because it reminds us all to get back to the nitty gritty of our communities, and to not forget the basics of treating your influencers (and community members in general) well.
The Moral Code of Pay-To-Play Marketing
March 11, 11am
I’m personally very excited about this talk. The tagline for the discussion is, “In the end, are consumers ultimately paying the price?” – a bit heavy on the drama, maybe, but a very good talking point.
What is the moral code of sponsored content? We as marketers and community managers tend to get so caught up in if we can market in a new way that we often forget to talk about if we should execute a certain paid marketing plan.
All in all, this talk promises to help keep us honest.
Is Authenticity in Advertising Possible?
March 11, 3.30pm
We’ve all been there. That most recent batch of [insert any social media platform name here] ads feels robotic, overdone, and… dare I say, cliché? Haven’t we all asked ourselves what authenticity should be between a brand and its consumers?
This talk will not only delve into how to be authentic in your content, but how to base your content on your targeted audiences. The organizers will also be discussing how to “be authentic with your data.” which might serve as a good reminder for some and something I’m hoping to use in my work.
Social Video and the Future of Consumption
March 12, 11am
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been having this conversation a lot with clients this past year: Do more video. Whether it’s Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, video is fast becoming (has already become?) the media that’s winning followers, keeping people interested, and advertising new products. Even the major television networks are trying to leverage the power of Facebook video to give viewers a sneak peak of new series, and advertise new shows.
Vice Media is going to be hosting this one, so this should be cutting edge and chock full of practical, useful advice.
Collaboration, Community, and Tech Will Cure Us All
March 13, 5pm
There are some heavy hitters leading this discussion on how cause-centered communities can help save us all. I love the idea of cause marketing and social media, so I think this will be a great way to get insight into how brands as big as Reebok and Wal-Mart are using their marketing plans to further wellness technology.
I’m normally not much of a name dropper, but look at who’s going to be leading this talk:
Carol Cone: Led the Reebok Human Rights Award campaign
Elliot Kotek: A Cannes Titanium-winning social entrepreneur
Alex Hurd: Director of wellness at Wal-Mart
Share this in your networks and tag us to let us know which SXSW sessions you’ll be attending, or which of these you’d like to hear more about!
Taylor Bennett is one of our Account Directors based in Chicago. He works with our top luxury, drinks and education clients and supports our teams in day-to-day client service operations. Taylor speaks French, Italian, and a little Spanish, and once rescued a cat that he named Fabiomassimo (though the cat ignores the name, so it doesn’t matter).