The future of marketing: Quick hits with our social experts

With social media firmly embedded in Australians’ everyday lives, Icon’s social media experts discuss the key lessons they’ve learned while guiding clients in this ever-changing space.

Shannon O'Neill

Shannon O’Neill, Digital & Social Director

What drew you to a career in social media?

Social media is a fast-growing and ever-evolving industry. I like that it combines strategic thinking with a lot of creativity and the chance to have some fun. I’ve had the opportunity to work with clients from so many different sectors, from government agencies to non-profits, sports, hospitality, and entertainment, just to name a few. It keeps my role challenging and exciting—there’s always something new to learn.

Why do you think social is crucial to any communication strategy, and why should clients prioritise it?

Social gives brands the opportunity to build a narrative and an identity in a way unlike any other communications platform. That ability to build a story over time and directly connect with your audience is so valuable.

It’s also a really effective way to drive results in a way that’s cost-efficient and measurable.

What social media trends do you predict will grow over the next year?


From lo-fi vertical video that feels organic and social-native to personalised community engagement or influencer collaborations that are much more than a flash in the pan. It sounds obvious, but it’s something we factor into every aspect of social media.

Audiences are savvier than ever—Gen Z in particular. It can’t always be about the hard sell: there’s a time and a place for that, but it’s not in every social post. It’s so important to have a strategy in place to strike the right balance for your organisation. That’s how you can move from using social media to tick a communications box to using social media to drive brand affinity, customer acquisition and loyalty.

Before joining Icon, you spent four years working in Dubai. What lessons did you learn there? How does it compare to Australia?

With a 90% expat population, Dubai is a melting pot of cultures and nationalities. This meant we had to be very mindful of target audiences when creating campaigns and strategies. As a result, we thought deeply about how different cultures perceive messaging, visuals, and language and the subtle nuances that make people tick. It was a great lesson in the importance of audience-first thinking.

Eline Hoeneveld

Eline Hoeneveld, Social Media Manager

What drew you to a career in social media? Where does your passion for the world of social come from?

Working in communications in general, especially in an agency, is very dynamic and fast-paced and sparks creativity. For me, the world of social media is interesting because it encompasses such a huge part of people’s everyday lives. The results are often very tangible, and the impact can be huge. I feel brands are able to tell a very personal story through social media, which makes it very powerful.

Why do you think social is crucial to any communication strategy? Why should clients prioritise it?

Nowadays, everything really lives on social. If you, as a brand, are not on social, then you're not really part of the game. Everyone uses social media in day-to-day life, so it's really good for your overall visibility and your credibility as a brand as well.

What social media trends do you predict will grow over the next year?

I think the industry will move away more from the overflowing creator economy. In the past few years, almost everyone on social media has become an influencer, which actually puts people off from buying products through social creators. In essence, people just want to share their experiences and interact with their friends on social media. Apps like BeReal show that this trend is becoming more popular, and other platforms and apps will likely follow.

Before joining Icon, you worked in Amsterdam. What lessons did you learn there? How does it compare to Australia?

Especially in the world of social media, it's very good to be on top of all the trends and make sure you're very informed about the new tools or platforms, such as Instagram Threads or AI tools. Make sure you're paying attention from the start, even if that trend isn’t taking off yet: you never know which you might need in the future. It's always good to be ahead of the crowd.

Whether you require comprehensive social and digital campaign management or just additional support for your internal resources, we have the solution. Learn more about our social media and digital marketing services.