The headquarters of Ziehl-Abegg in Künzelsau has transformed into a hotspot for digital innovations: 140 social media and marketing experts from 90 different German companies attended the two-day Social Media Days. Numerous expert presentations and interactive workshops addressed social media and artificial intelligence (AI), inspiring the integration of platforms like TikTok into marketing strategies to enhance brand awareness.
The kickoff on the public day promised exciting insights into the dark corners of the digital universe. Felix Beilharz, the guru of online marketing, exposed the darker side of the social media world. With a twinkle in his eye, he demonstrated to the fascinated audience how easily people fall for fake news and fraudulent online shops. He provided valuable tips on how to unmask such deceptive entities, from spelling mistakes to suspicious payment methods. Beilharz also emphasized the importance of media literacy and urged for the early development of internet truth awareness in children.
CEO: “Embracing more courage in utilizing social media platforms!”
The expert day continued with great enthusiasm. Dr. Marc Wucherer, CEO of Ziehl-Abegg, opened the day with a clear call to action: embracing more courage in utilizing social media platforms such as TikTok! He encouraged companies and organizations to stand out from the crowd and explore new paths. Only those willing to take risks and implement innovative ideas will succeed in the fast-paced world of digital media.
One highlight of the day was Felix Beilharz, captivating the audience with his extensive knowledge of digital marketing. He prophesied that not all social media platforms will survive in the long run and presented current user statistics of Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, and Instagram. However, the real treasure lies in short videos that increasingly gain traction on platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram. Beilharz encouraged listeners to put their employees in the spotlight and help them build personal brands. This way, they can capture the attention of the target audience and successfully showcase the company.
Corporate influBencer from Mercedes Benz
In addition to Beilharz, Oliver Herbert, a social media expert at Daimler AG, also sparked enthusiasm. With a wink, he referred to himself as a «corporate influBencer» and emphasized the role of employees in corporate communication. «For over 130 years, we have been moving people and goods. The Mercedes star is a strong brand with visible products. Brands evoke emotions but isn’t something missing?» he rhetorically asked the audience. He called for shifting the focus to the people behind the products and strengthening their individual brands. After all, people follow other people, not just brands or companies.
While Tamara Hirmann from Ziehl-Abegg highlighted the possibilities of TikTok as a helpful tool for employer branding in the business-to-business (B2B) sector, Prof. Dr. Markus Besenbeck explained the advantages of LinkedIn. As a professor of business administration and marketing at the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt, he extensively utilizes the professional network. «Is LinkedIn a place for self-discovery and heroic deeds? Or is it the largest B2B trade fair in the world, open 24 hours a day?» he provocatively asked the audience. Prof. Besenbeck provided the audience with a user guide for LinkedIn. He also emphasized the importance of maintaining one’s own profile within the job network. The LinkedIn expert urged not to neglect community management, suggesting an honest assessment of the time that can be invested per week. «For long-term goals, it should be an hour a day.» To achieve effective time management, pre-producing content and creating an editorial plan are helpful.
Prof. Kim: AI has already embarked on its triumphant journey in the digital world.
What awaits consumer society as ChatGPT technology becomes increasingly prevalent in digital media? A glimpse into this future was provided during the Social Media Days through the presentation by Prof. Dr. Seon-Su Kim. He heads the Bad Mergentheim campus of DHBW Mosbach. The university professor explained that new plugins for ChatGPT are being introduced to the market every week.
Prof. Kim’s presentation highlighted that AI has already embarked on its triumphant journey in the digital world. The marketing expert sees numerous opportunities for the future but also acknowledges the dark side of AI. For instance, AI models could reinforce existing biases present in the data they were trained on within the realm of human resources. «They could thus reproduce distorted or discriminatory views,» criticized the scientist.
In addition to captivating presentations, participants had the opportunity to take part in inspiring workshops. Rebecca Amlung (TikTok-team Ziehl-Abegg) provided valuable tips on effectively using TikTok as a marketing tool. She explained how to create engaging content through self-produced videos and shared essential aspects to consider. Julian Hoß familiarized attendees with hardware and software in his workshop and provided practical advice on filming in a 9:16 aspect ratio. Holger M. Rößler presented how eSports are practiced at Ziehl-Abegg and how the company organizes its own international tournaments.
The Ziehl-Abegg Social Media Days served as both a source of inspiration and a platform for exchange. Between the presentations, participants had the chance to network with one another and share their experiences in the digital world. The repeated sessions of the presentations enabled attendees to explore a wide range of topics and benefit from the collective expertise of the speakers.