THURSDAY 23 OCT 2014 12:56 PM


The Communication Directors’ Forum (CDF) is a mainstay of the comms calendar, and with good reason. It puts over 150 of the UK’s top communicators on a ship with premier suppliers for a sales extravaganza and unbeatable conference programme. This year’s edition of the CDF saw a focus on content, the changing role of public relations and the use of social media by corporate communications teams.

“Brands, marketers and agencies haven’t really viewed social networks as editorial platforms in the same way that they do a blog or a magazine. But actually they really are,” says David Levin, co-founder of social media content production company That Lot. The new partnership between Levin and comedian David Schneider focuses on putting a funny, or often simply professional, voice behind corporate social media feeds.

It’s rare, they say, to find a communications team that focuses on the creative side of writing for social media. Being human is important on social, Schneider says, using contractions can be a simple way of talking to people without sounding like an automaton. Levin adds that humour facts are the two most likely things to get retweets, a good sign for businesses that have access to interesting facts.

At a discussion about the corporate newsroom, participants shared their frustrations with developing content and strategies for social. One attendee points out, “Social media creates an open business, whether you like it or not.” The difficulty lies for most in how to oversee social feeds, particularly for a global business. Another conference goer asks, “Who owns the brand outside of office hours, online?” While social has matured to the point that most businesses realise they should be engaging with it in some form, many communicators are still struggling to take the next steps.

The development of alternative content is key in driving engagement either on social media or internally. Emma Thompson of Cisco and Steve Garratt from Giggle Group discussed the value of creative videos across a wide geographic area. They pointed out that style, quality and length were the most important considerations in video. “Sixty seconds is the new normal,” Garratt adds.