Here’s what happened at Facebook’s Hack Sydney event

Reading Time: 5 minutes Sydney Hack was one of around 30 global events put on by Facebook Studio to educate brands about best practice to engage with customers and consumers. The following post are my impressions and notes from the half day session.

Reading Time: 5 minutes
Opening of Facebook Studio's Sydney Hack session.  Facebook Hack Sydney – slide highlights how your fans (i.e. customers) are about retention and media is required for reach (i.e. consumers).

I attended Facebook Studio’s Hack Sydney event at the Carriageworks and wanted to share some of the ideas and themes that resonated with me from a marketing and a 7P model perspective (7P model – using social media to refresh the traditional corporation).

Hack Sydney is one of around 30 global Facebook hack events educating brands and agencies to better engage people using Facebook.  The half day event had around 20 speakers, many coming from Facebook offices from around the world.  This was Facebook’s only hack event for Australia and New Zealand.

Facebook’s cultural values were on display
Not only was this a workshop detailing marketing best practice on Facebook, it was also an opportunity to learn about Facebook’s cultural values.  The word ‘hack’ is symbolic of a culture built around finding solutions quickly.  Facebook proudly shared their cultural values in phrases that included ‘proceed and be bold’, ‘fail harder’ and ‘move fast and break things’.

Throughout all the sessions, these phrases acted as prompts for employees to share Facebook folklore of their values in action. The values are all action based. This typically differs from values found within large corporations that have a tendency to be more abstract than concrete.

What does success on Facebook look like for brands?
While every brand will have different opportunities and challenges to engage customers on Facebook; the following principles were repeated by numerous presenters:

  • social by design – putting people at the centre of your program/products
  • social media salt – social media needs to be at the centre of your marketing, not sprinkled on top like …
  • lightweight design – making it easy for people to engage,
  • social truth – what’s the kernel of truth a brand knows about their customers that will amplify their marketing effort on Facebook?
  • quality content – required to engage people on an ongoing basis

My notes from some of the presenters
While I got value from all of the presentations, here’s my takeouts from three noteworthy presentations.

Mark D’Arcy – Director, Global Creative Solutions
A theme that kept appearing in a number of different presentations, including Mark’s is that ‘people care about other people’.  This is the reason why people go to Facebook as often as they do.   Mark talked about the importance of brands having a worthwhile value exchange that earns the customer’s attention.  Brands seeking to disrupt the customer into liking their brand are not tapping into the true potential of the platform.

Mark’s social content litmus test focused on two question, ‘do I care?’ and ‘do I want to share it?’  A brand’s social programming needs to have enough social equity to pass the care/share test.  While corporate marketers may view as one website with one homepage, the reality is that consists of 800 million homepages.  Each page reflects a person’s identity, their interests and their social network.

Marketers need to create content, engagement opportunities and offers that generates a sufficient level of social equity that compels people to share, like and engage.

Mark wrapped up his presentation by talking about media creation being a key skill for marketing on Facebook.  Without it, brands cannot effectively stimulate the type of conversations required to encourage engagement with customers and consumers.

Therefore to increase the ability to engage, brands should focus on light weight designs and interactions.  A valuable lesson is it’s better to keep it simple than to attempt to impress everyone with a lot of complex thinking that could lead to a challenging user experience.

Jesse Dwyer – Training and Communication Lead
Being an MBA grad, I love a good matrix and Jesse’s presentation didn’t disappoint.  Jesse shared ‘the dimensions of social media marketing’.

The Dimensions of Social Media MarketingThe Dimensions of Social Media Marketing

Working clockwise, the first step was ‘Connect’.  Jesse talked about the importance of focusing on quality connections.  Building a fan base is only the beginning.

The advantage of building a quality based community is that it will also function as a viable distribution channel.

It in effect becomes a media channel that can directly support a brand’s go-to-market strategies and on-going marketplace communications.

The second stage is ‘Engage’.  Once a brand has built a quality group of fans, it’s important to direct your focus on the quality of connections on your homepage.  Giving exclusive access to content is one way of maintaining/growing a focus on quality.

The next phase is ‘Influencer’ where a brand has their fans talking and sharing.  This is where brands can achieve ‘word of mouth at scale’.  By having a fan acquisition strategy of quality over quantity and consistently publishing good content, brands can move into a space of ‘predictability and control’ (whatever ‘control’ means).

Brands should think about creating engaging updates and associated links that encourages people to move from the news update to the home page.The final phase is ‘Integrate’.  The focus is putting the fan’s social identity at the core of your social media marketing efforts.

Jesse referred to Facebook photos as an example where by putting people at the centre of the project (social by design) made a good project excellent.  Today 200 million photos are uploaded daily on Facebook.

Paul Adams – Product Development
The final speaker of the day was Paul Adams.  Paul talked about the fundamental shift occurring within the internet today.  Paul highlighted the following five points:

  • rise of accessible information
  • web being built around people
  • people live in networks
  • influence is measurable
  • increase in understanding decisions

Paul also put social media in the greater context of other human developments and innovations from previous centuries.  The key take out was simple – ‘Technology changes quickly. People change slowly’.

Paired with the message that ‘People applied the ways they work with existing media, to the new medium’ and I think we have a clear sense of the main challenge that senior executives are overcoming when trying to socialise their business.

Thanks for reading!

Contact Mike

7 thoughts on “Here’s what happened at Facebook’s Hack Sydney event

  1. Great coverage Mike, really enjoyed reading this.

    The lights went on so many times at that session and kept coming back to me for days after. Paul Adams book is fantastic too – have you read it yet? I like his concept of connections and the factor of three for ‘connectedness’ although I am not sure the Gen Y kids would dig 150 friend limits – ok he didn’t say quite that…

    His timeline was also fantastic to articulate the idea that technology changes fast and people change slowly.

  2. Way to distill all that great information into a readable article, Mike! It was a good event, and agree with Dan below, Paul Adams’ book is a good read, especially regarding his notion of the limited power of influencers, which is the cornerstone of many marketing and outreach strategies. 

    1. Light Weight Design is about creating a user experience that’s as easy as possible for the user to share/comment/like etc.  From memory, the context was around brands creating Facebook apps.  Sometimes brands/agencies could be guilty of adding too much ‘creative excellence’ to their apps/user experience and thereby creating a ‘Heavy Weight Design’ and a poor experience.  Hope that helps.

  3. Just back from a Facebook presentation here in Hong Kong – a few heads of marketing for a range of verticals (automotive, tech and retail) plus their boss (Mark Fox) – I’m seeing a lot of the same messages between the two presos, ours was the lite version though, we were done in just over and hour.  Probably about right since I’d put the Hong Kong market about 2-3 years behind Australia, so it’s not really ready for the deeper discussions just yet, just the signposts to show the way to go forward…

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