Forecasting the Future of Social with the Met Office’s Anna Slingo

Social / August 2016

Darren Gallagher

Darren is the Marketing Manager of Organic. You'll normally find him blabbing on about marketing strategy or the importance of a strong sales funnel. Follow him at @DarrenGallagher

On Tuesday 26 July 2016, our illuminating #TheSocialStandard event shed light on emerging social media trends, with a series of fascinating presentations followed by a panel discussion on the future of social.

Amongst the panellists at the event, held at The Rooms in Browns on St Martins Lane, was Anna Slingo, Social Media Manager at the Met Office. We caught up with Anna after the event to discuss some of her insights on the topics raised during the day.

Organic: How did you find the #TheSocialStandard?

Anna Slingo: Really interesting! I especially found it interesting when we discussed analytics and how to pull out the parts that are meaningful. It was great to share similar ideas with likeminded people.

(Measuring social success was the focus of the talk given by Andy Sitta, Social Media Consultant at Organic. You can see Andy’s presentation here or read his accompanying article on social analytics)

What was the most important outcome of the panel discussion in your opinion?

I think we all agreed that social is constantly changing. But it really depends on what area you work in. For the Met Office, Twitter is still our biggest and most engaged platform with so many future opportunities, but for advertisers this is different. Knowing what works for your brand is key.

Moving onto specifics, one of the key themes of the event was the search for future-proofed social strategies. How in your opinion can organisations ensure they’re flexible enough to cope with the ever-changing social landscape?

Stay up to date! See what others are doing and only take on board new technologies or channels if it’s right for you. At the Met Office we’re looking at Snapchat but not rushing into it. We’re seeing if it’s the right channel for our brand.

Do emerging channels and technologies necessarily mean greater investment of time and money in social? Or is it a case of targeting efforts more carefully?

Social is constantly growing and I think greater investment is needed and a better understanding of the massive opportunities available. It’s better to target your efforts carefully rather than rush into being on all channels if you can’t provide a consistent and engaging presence for all these different audiences.

How do you strike a balance between being ready for big technological changes and making sure not to over-invest in innovations that could still essentially flop?

That’s a tricky one! When do you invest in new channels and when do you wait and possibly miss the boat? It’s all about staying up to date with new developments and deciding when you can invest properly in them. No point doing it half-heartedly!

If you could advise brands to get to grips with just one of the near-future developments in social, what would it be?

Bots seem to be the future and a way of making customer service faster for both you and the customer. This is something we are looking at as a way to get the latest forecast to as many people as possible – in the way they want it.

Did any of the questions from the attendees stand out? If so, what were they?

One attendee asked about developing their customer service on social and how to start doing this. It was great to be able to provide her with a real-life example of how we did this at the Met Office.

Many thanks to Anna for sharing her thoughts with us.

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