Can you believe we actually made it? What a year, huh?

While 2020 has certainly had its obstacles (understatement of the century), the third iteration of State of Social finally got underway in the beautiful River View Room at Optus Stadium on 24 & 25 November. 

With the stunning Swan River in the background, Meg Coffey (Coffey & Tea, SMPerth, State of Social) got things started, before we were absolutely privileged to experience a truly unforgettable Welcome to Country from Wesley College students.

Wasting no time getting down to the meat and potatoes, the author of Digital Darwinism, Tom Goodwin, joined us on a Zoom call all the way from Miami, Florida. In what was an enlightening and thought-provoking presentation, Tom spoke (amongst other things) about how people often use new technology to solve the same problems without actually changing the way we do things, and how “technology allows us to be even more understanding of each other.”

Keeping the learning moving right along, the Big Ideas Thought Panel, featuring Mike Drysdale (Dear Storyteller), Jordan Teo (Perth Zoo), and Chantelle Cox (Bankwest), offered up valuable insights into how different industries approach social media. From the importance of tracking to understanding the conversations your customers are having, the panel was definitely an early highlight.

Next up was the person everyone was hanging out to see, with Hollywood superstar Kate Walsh stopping in to chat about how social media impacts her life, business, brand, and more. Even with a social media and marketing team at her disposal, Kate remains committed to authenticity online, stating, “There’s a place in the world for social to make a real and meaningful difference in the world and not just sell products.”

Lauren Quaintance, the co-founder of Storyation, dared social media professionals and marketers in the room to be brave and aim for authenticity in all they do. So, just how can we be brave on social media and commit to authenticity? Well, Lauren shared what we shouldn’t be afraid of on social media:

  • Making people uncomfortable.
  • Complex real people stories.
  • Not ‘casting’ & ‘scripting’.
  • Letting go of the narrative.
  • Stories that don’t have a happy ending.

What’s a social media conference without a bit of debate? Presented by The Youngbloods, Ali MacKellar (Initiative), Emma Hollins (Wunderman Thompson), Patrick Tully (Reprise Digital), Anneliese Sullivan (The Brand Agency), Cam Bisley (Rare), and Jacqui Hayes (Reprise Digital) graced the State of Social stage for The Great Debate. The panel tackled the question: is social media good or bad for our mental health? The audience ultimately decided that, yes, social media does impact our mental health. The debate certainly raised some compelling points. Most notable, however, was the need for social media and marketing professionals to take accountability for how they use social media to reach and influence audiences.

Matthew Kobach from Fast stripped things back to basics, with a host of simple, common-sense social media tips and tricks for individuals and businesses trying to find their voice on social media – urging people to focus on creating specific content. Plus, he did it all in style, rocking an in-demand Fast hoodie.

Fabienne Sharbanee from Bennett + Co struck fear into the hearts of the audience, offering her legal expertise around defamation and accountability on social media platforms. It was a timely (and somewhat ominous) reminder that people and brands are responsible for the comments other people leave on their pages.

Never one to shy away from a camera, Jenn Herman (Jenn’s Trends) brought the post-morning tea enthusiasm, talking all things Instagram. Speaking with passion and a whole lot of enthusiasm, Jenn shared her top Instagram tips:

  • Build a community first (not a sales platform).
  • Create content relevant to your audience.
  • Mix up your CTAs (leave a comment below, call us, email us, drop by).
  • Have fun (if you have fun, your audience will, too).

Russian-born TikTok star Seva Mozhaev absolutely tore the roof off the Riverview Room (sorry, Optus). Sharing his life’s story with charm and confidence, Seva spoke about his meteoric rise to TikTok stardom and how TikTok can help businesses reach new and engaged audiences through authentic storytelling.

The last speaker for the day was a perfect lead-in to end-of-day drinks, with the co-founder of Vinomofo, Justin Dry, sharing his passion for wine and everything in between. The story of Vinomofo is one of obstacles, failures, perseverance, cease and desist letters, and success.

Oh, and did we mention there were even puppies from Dogs’ Refuge Home? Scratches and pats all ‘round!

That’s all from a massive first day at State of Social. It’s time to get some rest and do it all again tomorrow!