Social Media Marketing World can best be described as an online-marketing-themed Disneyland. This was my first year, and I was amused to walk thru the Networking Plaza where marketers from all over the country and the world are not just chatting and exchanging business cards but also recording videos, podcasting, live streaming with Meerkat, and of course, taking group selfies in abundance. But #SMMW15 is not just fun and games – it runs over 100 sessions that address every aspect of social media marketing. Since many excellent sessions run concurrently, there was no way I could see all the speakers I wanted to (thank goodness they record them) but I did walk away from the event with some big picture thoughts on the state of the industry today.

Here are my top 3 takeaway themes from the conference:

  • Service is the new favorite. Of course it is not exactly news that customer service matters, but it is worth revisiting in the context of social media, since that is where so much customer interaction takes place these days. One of my favorite small business speakers, John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing, pointed out that “if you treat a customer poorly, you should be prepared to find an entire YouTube channel dedicated to your suckiness.” It’s a valid point that is both funny and not so funny. People are using social media to learn about your company and watch your videos and read your blog and listen to your podcast; in fact, there are about 20 social media touch points where your ideal customers might hear about you during their decision-making process. Yet, it’s the actual customer service during the purchase that resonates with the average customer and oftentimes social media plays a part during that interaction. According to CEB, 57% of a typical purchase decision is made before a customer even talks to a supplier, but 53% of customers stay loyal to a business based on the sales/buying experience. Social media isn’t about just broadcasting your message on a one way street – it’s about listening and responding to the customers who connect with you there.


  • Content – make it quality and make it count. Whether your business has too much content to share or not enough, you need to have a plan and be organized about implementing it. Knowing what will resonate with your audience is key. You not only want to produce content that your target customer reads, but you want them to share it with their own audience. People follow you because they are hoping you are going to share information with them that interests them or somehow improves their lives. Track what your followers are responding to when you post on social media, and learn to give them more of what they like on a consistent schedule. While you might have a personal Facebook page that is all about you, your business page needs to be all about your customer. Not sure what is resonating with your customers? There are plenty of tools to find out. BuzzStream or Scoopit were both mentioned at the conference. Social media guru Mark Schaefer of Grow suggests remembering the RITE acronym: content should be relevant, interesting, timely or entertaining to your audience. Sharing is not caring if it isn’t valuable to your audience in some way. Understand your audience and give them what they want.


  • You need to stand out with a multi-media approach. In the ever expanding social-media universe, text posts are simply not as effective as they used to be. To stand out now you need to integrate images and videos into your social media streams. Visual social media platforms like Instagram are being used more and more by businesses and Snapchat and Vine are growing by leaps and bounds. Videos are no longer just for YouTube viewing. On Facebook, videos are getting up to 360% more visibility then text posts. And, they don’t need to be long to be effective. In fact, videos of 15 seconds or less do better than longer ones. Think videos are too much trouble and not worth the effort? One speaker had a brilliant idea: take a video of some “evergreen” content (something you know your customers will always be interested in) and then repurpose it in a multitude of ways. For instance, strip the audio and use it in a podcast, get it transcribed and rework it into a blog, pull out some tidbits to share in tweets, and use some of the still shots as images on Facebook. You won’t be alone in video marketing – Mike Stelzner, the producer of Social Media Marketing World, says that 72% of marketers plan on increasing their use of video or want to learn more about it.


Social media continues to evolve at record speed. Looking for ways to stay in the know and be prepared for the changes ahead? Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to get frequent updates and time-saving social media tips for your business.

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