A few pearls of wisdom and a story about wine from the 2020 Social Media & Marketing Show

With 26 speakers split over 2 days, there was bound to be some good content and takeaways from this year's #socialmediamarketingshow which, for the first time ever, took to the online stage with great success! Here are a few of the learnings we took away from the event:

Day 1 included topics such as: "Instagram for Business" from Amanda Dixon, "Ethical PR" from Antonia Brindle, and how to "Make Sales with Video Marketing" from the wonderful Mark Bryant.

Our stand-out sessions of the day came from:

  • Geoff Nicholson, who shared his "5P's for using Podcasting to Grow your Business": Passion, Purpose, Produce, Promote & Profit!
  • Barnaby Wynter, who covered "How to become the Go-To Brand", where he discussed the importance of "not trying to sell", but instead "helping people to buy". Barnaby summed this up with the following phrase: "It's not about selling, it's about helping people make sense of their problems." Pretty powerful stuff, right?


  • Roger Edwards, who covered "How to fix broken Marketing". His simple motto of "Engage, don't Enrage" sums up his presentation nicely. Roger also took us on a customer journey involving a character known as "John the Wineman", which was based on a real experience from his past and it was an enjoyable listen.

The Story of John the Wineman (Short Version - Roger Edwards)

John the Wineman was a door to door wine salesman. When Roger first met John the Wineman, Roger explained that he would invite him into his home to discuss wines, providing he was not pushy when it came to the sale. John the Wineman agreed. Roger explained that he was a fan of a good Merlot, and had a real dislike of Chardonnays. Following an hour of discussing and tasting various wines, John the Wineman did not try to push the sale, and what happened?

Roger bought two cases of wine.

Roger explained that he would like a call once a quarter to discuss replenishing his stock of wine, or a call whenever a new Merlot became available that John the Wineman thought he might be interested in. John the Wineman stuck to that agreement, and what happened?

He continued to sell Roger and his family wine for the next 20 years!

Sadly, John the Wineman eventually retired. However, the company continued its relationship with Roger... Six months later however, Roger ceased being a customer.

So why did this happen?

Well, it was not because Roger did not want to do business with the company anymore, but because the company never listened to him. Roger explained his preferences exactly as he had with John the Wineman: No pushy sales, fan of Merlots, disliked Chardonnays, follow-up calls once a quarter or for specific products relevant to him.

The company never listened.

They called Roger every week and offered him whichever wine the company was trying to shift that day.

Roger explained what he was looking for from the company once again, however nothing changed. The phone kept ringing every week and the products, for the most part, were not relevant.

Their relationship ended when the company called Roger one evening whilst he was having dinner with his family.

They attempted to sell him... you guessed it... Chardonnay!

Frustrated, Roger told him that this was not a good time. The company then asked if they could call him back at a later date. Reluctantly, Roger agreed and hung up the phone.

They called him back 30 minutes later when he was having his dessert...

The moral of the story? Respect the relationships you have with your customers and remember, Engage, don't Enrage!

Day 2 included topics such as: "How to Lead in a Digital World" from Warren Knight, "Creating your Social Media Strategy" from the excitable Sam Flynn, and an in-depth educational piece about "Protecting your Creative Assets" from the Intellectual Property Office.

Our favourite speaker of day 2 was:

  • Mel Sherwood, who told us "How to make a Virtual Impact and be remembered in under One Minute".

The session covered how to prepare and present to camera for any virtual appearance, be it Zoom meetings, webinars or even TV. Mel spoke about things for setup, such as:

  • Use natural light, if possible (ideally with a window in front of you). Alternatively, you can use white ring lights or other professional lighting equipment, or (if you are on a budget) a table lamp either side of your camera should be enough in most cases.
  • Remember to look at the camera lens instead of the screen. If need be, stick stickers or post-it notes on your device to remind you where to look.
  • Declutter your background, keep it clean, and make it look professional. Be aware of what is visible and decide what should be included in the view (set the stage).

Mel also demonstrated some of her techniques for warming up her voice. Something that most of us forget to do before speaking to people, especially first thing in the morning. There is not much worse than logging into a Zoom call at 9am, opening your mouth to speak and having nothing but croaky noises emerge! Most of these techniques were demonstrated vocally and therefore hard to describe in words, however, one technique involved simply rolling your tongue whilst changing your pitch (RrrRrrRrrRrr), and another involved imagining your favourite colour, then pretending to paint the inside of your entire mouth using your tongue as the paintbrush. Rather effective we thought!

Overall, it was a fun and educational two days, there were no technical issues (which was excellent considering it was 'Hashtag Business Services' first online streaming event), and we are already looking forward to next year's show! Well done everyone!

Author: Michael Tierney - Digital Marketing Manager

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