If you have ever attended a marketing conference before, you know your head can nearly explode by the end with new skills, insights, and abundant knowledge. With our first Social Media Marketing World (SMMW17) on the record it’s time to put Facebook messenger codes, chronological video messaging, and advanced audience targeting into action!
SMMW is the largest marketing conference in the social media industry. Over 3,000 marketers, business owners and content creators from all over the world made their way to sunny San Diego for three days of grueling education, strategic planning, and unlimited networking.
With social media celebrities like Guy Kawasaki, Jon Loomer and Shaun McBride (popularly known as Shonduras), we had the very best at our fingertips! We left San Diego with our minds overflowing, notebooks full, skillsets maximized and business cards aplenty!
Boiling down our three days at SMMW17, we’re giving you our top five takeaways from the industry’s biggest leaders and influencers:
AMBER: SOCIAL MEDIA IS THE FASTEST CHANGING INDUSTRY IN MARKETING
If there was one overwhelming foundation that every session was based on, it was that social media is changing… CONSTANTLY! There’s no doubting the importance of social media in a brand’s strategic plan. Social media has become THE way to connect with, relate to, and market specifically for your direct and loyal customers. There is no escaping social media’s presence, but it’s a very fast-moving train and you need to keep up or you’ll be left in the dust!
Social media platforms, algorithms, advertising guidelines, tracking codes, and features all shift and transform daily… sometimes HOURLY! Think it’s okay to not be on the front lines in social? Think again! The most insignificant change can critically impact your reach, engagement and overall cost per action- which makes it unquestionably vital to be running to the forefront of every turn and modification in the social media world. However, it’s important to remember that no matter how crazy technology gets… we are still working with REAL PEOPLE.
“Technology may be moving at warp speed. But, fundamentally, human beings have not changed all that much.”
AMBER: CONTENT IS KING, BUT ENGAGEMENT IS QUEEN AND SHE RULES THE HOUSE
Hands down, the most common struggle I heard from the 3,000+ SMMW attendees was how to measure ROI (Return On Investment) for our social media marketing efforts. The one very strong and collective philosophy we gathered from our speakers is that SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT FOR HARD SELLING AND ENGAGEMENT RULES THE ROOST!
We often times get so wrapped up in making the sale, that we forget what matters most… the customer. Social media is the most complete and seamless platform we have available to us today- to not only reach our customers but engage and participate with our customers! Don’t get distracted by conversions and hard sell tactics. Social media hints to its purpose in the name itself… it’s meant to be SOCIAL! That means interactive, entertaining, collaborative, and FUN!
AMBER: UNICORNS OVER DONKEYS (QUALITY OVER QUANTITY)
More content is being created now than ever before, and social media platforms are running out of real estate! Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are well aware of the widening gap between content created and content consumed, and their algorithms are built to reflect this concern. Organic reach is nearly dead and these days you NEED to put money behind your social posts, or they just won’t be seen.
“It’s not the best content that wins anymore, it’s the best-promoted content!”
The indisputable key to this strategy is to remember that LESS IS MORE. Facebook and Instagram’s algorithms are built to reward accounts that create engaging, shareable content. Furthermore, their algorithms are also set-up to penalize accounts that post mediocre content multiple times a day. In the words of Larry Kim: “It’s less about having as many donkeys as possible, and more about fostering the unicorns you have!”
The secret sauce, however, is the delicate balance between creating energizing content and having the right targeting strategies behind it- so the right people see it! Whether you’re exhausting your geographical aim coupled with behavioral, demographic, and interest layers or pulling retargeting coding from your website and a page with objective filters. Using advanced and well-developed audience targeting strategies to cast a narrow net will allow you to dig deep into your customer pool.
ANN: BEING PIONEERS
We can’t tell you enough how many times we’ve been told Social is the Future, Social is where the Money is, Social is forever changing and growing. Not only can this be intimidating but it makes us eager to learn our craft and eager to BLOW UP our Social Accounts! We are the Pioneer’s, we are paving a trail for generations after all this is only the early days of social! We could honestly say, we have never been more excited to go to the biggest Social Media Conference in the World to learn and network.
Some of the biggest things I wanted to focus on was Facebook because that is where we get most of our engagement. Facebook is still the most important, accounting for 62% of Social Media. That being said, Facebook Organic is dying, we will soon have to pay for every piece of content.
“60 Million Businesses have Pages, 4 Million actively Advertise. The math: Only 6.7% of businesses with Facebook pages advertise!” We already have a leg up in facebook advertising, in that we are actually doing it for our clients. But we need to expand and get ahead of the crowd. We need to shift focus and Expand Community Development and stop worrying about the Numbers!
This was another huge topic that overpowered every platform topic: FB, IG, Pinterest, Blogs etc. “By 2019, 80% of Social Media will be Videos”. Consumers want the store experience, they want to visualize themselves with the product or service and the best way to showcase that is through Video. We hope Shana is ready to buckle her seatbelt and hop on the Social Rollercoaster! Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories, Facebook Live, and Snapchat were among some of the huge topics during the Conference. We need to use these platforms to tell written and visual stories.
ANN: NETWORK LIKE YOU MEAN IT. AND HAVE A BUDDY SYSTEM IN PLACE BEFOREHAND.
Walking into the Conference we knew we would be extremely overwhelmed. We were! Not only did we have 100’s of Speakers and Topics we were both itching to attend. We knew we would possibly have thousands of useful connections at our fingertips. There were vendors, industry experts, and like-minded marketers grazing the Conference Floors. We wanted to meet everyone, handing out business cards like they were going out of style! We were not timid, we knew this was our one chance to meet people in a similar field that we could exchange ideas, advice, and questions with. One of my favorite parts of the Conference was attending a “Networking Table Talk” with an emphasis on Agencies. I was able to meet people with a similar position in a similar company to BLM. We exchanged questions and concerns that we had within our company. And now we have a Digital Group where we can connect online!
I could never have done this alone. Not because I’m Nervous or Shy. But because you can literally not cover enough ground and meet enough people alone! We wanted to make sure we were going to as many different topics and events that we could. I wanted to focus on creative with topics on Pinterest, Blogging and Content Creation. Amber wanted tips on Analytics, Videos, things she knew were going to be the future. We switched between topics knowing that we could grab notes and ideas from each other at the end of the day. We attended Networking events acting as our own Social Team, building off one another’s personality traits. Not to get too sentimental but one of my favorite parts was to just get to know Amber as a Social “Partner”. I think people took that differently than expected. Haha, sorry, Amber. Working in different offices, we don’t get a ton time together expect over Skype. It’s nice to have someone to ride this crazy social train with and I couldn’t ask for a better Sosh Nugget. Thanks for pushing me to learn more and for bringing out a creative yet analytically cautious side in me.
Our trip to Social Media Marketing World was packed with exciting networking events, snippets of sun and more social media marketing knowledge than we could have ever asked for! With over 100 sessions to review and absorb, our brains were fried from the amount of knowledge we learned and the amount of people we had connected with. But there’s no time for a conference hangover! The social train is picking up speed and we’ve got unicorns to promote! There’s a long bright shiny future in Social and after SMMW17 we feel more than prepared to take it on.