10 facts on the state of social media from Discovery, Starbucks, and Western Union

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A sold out crowd attended the latest Global Connections event from WorldCity: Social Media. New Ways. New Customers. Those inside the Hall of Ambassadors at the Hyatt Coral Gables walked out with great insights from a panel of three of the major players in the industry from Starbucks, Discovery Networks, and Western Union.

Here are ten facts from the fascinating Q&A with the panelists:


  1. Storytelling is a critical skill in social media today.

“We’re really looking after engagement and the quality of content. Make sure that there’s a storytelling aspect to it. At Starbucks, we’re performance driven through the lens of humanity. How can we leverage our scale for good?”

– Bernard Matron, Starbucks, Marketing Manager, Latin America and Caribbean lead


  1. Linking engagement rate to business gained is still difficult.

“We’re really looking at engagement rate. That would be our main KPI (key performance indicator), but at the end of the day, and I think this is a challenge for many in the industry, how can we tie engagement to business? How much is a fan worth to me? Can I put a monetary value on that? The answer is right now, in the space, it’s really hard to quantify that.” – Bernard Matron


  1. One way to link engagement to business? Loyalty programs.

“We’ve quantified loyalty that folks in our loyalty program are thirty percent more valuable to the business. That says something, right?”

– Michael Fenech, Western Union, Global Social Strategy and Content Lead


Discovery’s Alberto Valls (left) and Starbucks’ Bernard Matron (right) take a selfie at WorldCity’s Global Connections event. See more photos HERE

  1. Video is only growing.

“Video is here to stay for sure. I think it will be a next level of videos. Live is a format everybody in the industry is trying right now. Everybody is trying the 24-hour stories. We saw Facebook just recently launched them. Instagram has them. Snapchat has them. VR is definitely at the forefront.”

– Alberto Valls, Discovery Networks, Manager of Strategic Digital Partnerships for the Digital Content Team


  1. Once Facebook went public, it became pay to play.

“I think you’re going to continue to see Facebook as an advertising platform. Ever since Facebook went public, and they started monetizing the platform…if you posted something, only two percent of those (fans) are seeing the content organically. You’ll continue to see that as a social platform but really being used as an advertising vehicle.” – Bernard Matron


  1. Track it, or it’s worthless.

“We can track everything. In social for me, if I can’t track it, I’m not going to do it. I’m not going to spend a dollar on it. I tell that to marketers.” – Michael Fenech


Western Union’s Michael Fenech (left) speaks at Global Connections


  1. Optimize mobile performance as soon as possible

“Mobile is a space more and more advertisers are looking to invest money in. In terms of engagement and performance, looking through your mobile news feed is really performing well.” – Bernard Matron

“You have to be mobile first. Mobile first, mobile first, mobile first.” – Alberto Valls


  1. You don’t need to post every day.

“At Starbucks, we’re looking after the quality of the content, not necessarily the quantity of the content. We’re not posting on Facebook daily. There’s an oversaturation of information. We’re being very selective with the messaging and always asking the question, ‘Why should the customer care?’” – Bernard Matron


A packed house at Global Connections


  1. Global campaigns with as little as one powerful video

“On International Women’s Day March 8th, it’s an example of when we did a broad brushstroke global campaign with one video. Social took that one video, very powerful and very moving talking about women’s rights. We turned it into 23 different ads on social, different ad sets targeted towards different people. At the end of the day, I think we had 250 ad sets. One video, one message that’s 1:30, and I can take it and basically, explode it to be hyper-targeted to specific people in specific countries.” – Michael Fenech


  1. Online privacy is gone, but Millennials will still block your ads.

“More than 70 percent of Millennials, and it may be even higher than that, use ad blocking technology. This is why what we do with content is so important. I can place an ad, or I can have someone like the content. If they like the content, then we have a relationship, right? But if 80 percent of folks that I’m marketing to block ads, you’ve got a big problem. Authenticity in what we do as content creators is key.” – Michael Fenech

Thank you to everybody who attended Global Connections: Social Media. New Ways. New Customers.


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