July 13, 2016

Social Media Day was celebrated around the world recently, on June 30th. Let’s be honest, it’s clearly one of my favorite days of the year  And I’m so fortunate to live in San Diego where we have one of the biggest conferences in the world to showcase and share all the social media knowledge from some of the biggest names in the industry.

This year, we were really lucky to have some of the best speakers at Social Media Day San Diego, including Joel Comm, Jay Baer, Mari Smith, Brian Fanzo, Michael Stelzner, Sunny Lenarduzzi, Rick Mulready, Carlos Gil, Pat Flynn, Tyler Anderson, and myself.

There were amazing sessions by everyone and I got a lot of good takeaways and some good nuggets of information for myself.

Of course, there were two big themes, and they weren’t surprising: Live video and Snapchat. Everyone was talking about them. There was barely a mention about Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or Google products (except for YouTube).

And, maybe surprisingly, associated with all the talk around live video and Snapchat was the discussion of authenticity and transparency. Now, if you’ve been in social media for more than 5 minutes, you know this isn’t a “new” idea. We’ve touted this practice of showing your brand’s true colors for years. But with live video comes a whole new way to embrace this concept of transparency, raw sharing, and authenticity. So these words were being thrown around all throughout the conference.

There was also a lot of focus on paid advertising. I talked specifically about Instagram ads and Rick Mulready spoke about Facebook ads. Many of the other presenters touched on the importance of paid advertising too.

These few trends really show the where the “heart” of social media marketing is these days. Yes, in some way, you will have to expect to pay for reach or exposure to lead to conversions. And, now more than ever, people want to connect with people – not brands, not logos, not super polished messages. They want real and raw interactions.

Now, does this mean you have to pay for ads? Does this mean you have to be on Snapchat? No. Of course not.

BUT, these are trends that indicate a shift in presence. And as social media evolves, as your audience shifts or adopts new platforms, and as your business message expands, you may have to consider new platforms or methods of promotion.

Ok, so now that you have a broad understanding of the themes of the day, let’s recap some of the key takeaways from the day.

Joel Comm – Live Video Revolution

Joel Comm was our opening keynote and kicked off the topic of live video. He recapped where live video started (YouTube but you couldn’t live broadcast from your phone) to where we’re at today. He got into, obviously, Facebook Live, Snapchat, and Blab. And went on to say it was the death of Blab as we know it. Yes, for those of you who may not stalk the social media pros like some of us, many are abandoning Blab as a broadcasting platform given their shift to no longer support this type of communication. Which, as a side note, is kinda crazy since Blab was just on the main stage at SMMW16 just a few months ago.

Anyways, in talking about Facebook Live, Joel mentioned a tool called Open Broadcast Software which is available at www.obsproject.com which is a free download that allows you broadcast FB Live from your desktop. This is pretty cool if you don’t like using your smartphone or if you have better setups (lighting, backdrops, etc.) in your desk area.

He also mentioned Wirecast, which I know a lot of people use for the same purpose, but it’s $499.00.

One of the tips that Joel recommended was to use your Facebook Live videos as repurposed content for your Facebook ads. If you have great quality content in your Live video that would impact your audience or new potential clients, highlighting that video in an ad can provide extra rewards for you.

Joel also mentioned that YouTube Live has an app coming out soon so that you will be able to do live YouTube videos on your mobile device too.

Getting into the meat of what makes a good live video, Joel provide this formula: Content + Engagement = Relationship

Reminding us that social media always comes down to the relationship, not just the marketing.

It’s about being real and authentic (I told you this was a prevalent theme) and that the storytelling is the cornerstone of the video. Storytelling can be educational and informative. Or it can be inspirational and motivational. Or it can be entertaining or experiential.

Another feature that was discussed was the introduction of the “Live” button inside the MSQRD app on Facebook. If you don’t know, the MSQRD (short for Masquerade) app is Facebook’s alternative to Snapchat filters that allows you to place masks and filters over your face. Pushing the Live button (as this app is owned by Facebook) puts your video live in the Facebook feed.

Finally, Joel talked about the future of live video. He touched on a few potential outcomes, one of which I thought was interesting. He pointed out that Microsoft now owns both LinkedIn and Skype… what does the future look like for business using live video with these platforms?

Carlos Gil – Snapchat

So, you know, I’m not on Snapcat (gasp!). It’s not because I don’t get it and not because I don’t see the value. I do. I just haven’t found the time with my current distribution of social media resources. And to be honest, it’s just not that congruent with my brand. I’m not a video person. I’m a blogger. I know, I can totally use Snapchat in a million different ways, but it’s not what is natural to me so I prefer to focus on other platforms that work for me and my audience.

That being said, Carlos has some seriously good points about the power of Snapchat and further convinced me of the power of this platform.

One of the things that Carlos pointed out was that the majority of content on Snapchat is videos. In his words, it’s like having “your own YouTube channel”.

Getting into the reason why Snapchat is so powerful, here are some things to consider. Brands are flocking to the platform because it is THE place to reach an audience of 18-35 year olds. It reaches 41% of millennials in the US every. single. day. That’s a LOT of people if this is your target demographic.

Posting on Snapchat, your content should be fun, creative, informative, and engaging. Carlos also pointed out that because the content disappears (exclusive of the recently announced Memories feature), people are more likely to engage and that’s why we see higher engagement here.

To grow followers on Snapchat is not easy and it takes a lot of work. I loved the Carlos stressed this and focused a lot on the right tactics to use, rather than encouraging the misbelief that you can easily and rapidly grow an audience. So, to grow your audience, here are three strategic tactics he recommends:

  • Leverage existing social media channels and tell them you’re over on Snapchat
  • Hire social media influencers, especially those with a presence on Snapchat and have them promote your account for you
  • Use paid ads on Instagram and Facebook to drive traffic to your Snapchat account

Of course, Carlos emphasized the need to be human and transparent on Snapchat (I told you everyone talked about this  ) but that your content should remain complimentary to your brand. If you’re a goofy jokester, stay that way on Snapchat. But if you’re prim and proper as a brand, don’t reverse that and act like a goofball on Snapchat.

One of the features that Carlos is big on is the geo-filter. This is a custom filter you can have built to put out at certain times for certain geographical locations. For example, the SMDaySD team had a geo-filter created that people could overlay on the snaps to highlight they were at this event. Carlos is a huge proponent of this feature and even recommends that if your business isn’t actually on Snapchat, you can still have a geo-filter created to promote your business or event.

In order to actually convert sales and traffic from Snapchat, you need to build a loyal community. This is obviously just like every other platform. You can’t just show up and sell, sell, sell. But, once you have that loyal community, you can run flash sales or exclusive offers on Snapchat. Consider overlaying text on your snaps to promote an event, sale, or opt-in. And use a bit.ly link exclusive to Snapchat to track how many clicks you really generate.

A question that came up in the Q&A that many people might struggle with is how to effectively use Snapchat if you are a brand manager for a client who is in another physical location. Carlos’ recommendation is to use geofilters or have brand loyalists do an account takeover on a regular basis. It thought this was a helpful and creative way to address this issue that many account managers may face.

Yours Truly – Instagram Ads

I loved being able to talk about Instagram ads for this event. To be honest, a lot of events and podcasts like me to cover more high-level or beginner type content, so the ability to jump into more advanced business strategies and topics was really fun.

In order to save myself from carpal tunnel syndrome, and because I based the entire presentation on my ebook, rather than type up all my takeaways here, if you haven’t already downloaded it, head over to get a free copy of my ebook on How to Run a Successful Instagram Ad.

But I will share one MAJOR point with you here. If you haven’t yet linked your Instagram account to your Facebook business page in your Facebook Business Manager, you need to go do that right now. Facebook recently started including Instagram ads in the Boost post function on Facebook. So now, when you boost a post on your Facebook business page, the ad is automatically pushed out to Instagram (there is no opt out feature). If your accounts are not connected in the business manager, then people will see that it’s your ad running on Instagram, but if they click on the account name or profile photo, it won’t go anywhere. It won’t go to your Instagram account and you losing out on viable opportunities to connect with more potential customers.

Rick Mulready – Facebook Ads

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a Facebook ads guru. I understand them, I’ve used them, I’ve seen some good results. But when it comes to the science, the nuances, and the down-right nitty gritty, I am not that person. But, dang, Rick sure is! He can totally geek out on Facebook ads and is really passionate about the topic – which is great for the rest of us!

When it comes to Facebook ads, Rick points out 5 steps for success:

  • Set game plan
  • Target
  • Launch
  • Optimize
  • Nurture

Rick emphasized that free value is how you begin the conversation. Give away something free via your ads (free download, free webinar, coupon codes, etc.) in order to start a real conversation with your potential clients.

Something we all probably know, but should know is that video ads get higher reach. Facebook loves ads. Facebook loves video. Combine the two… Bam! If you have the ability to use videos for your ads, do it. Now.

One of my best takeaways from Rick’s session (and I kind of already knew this but didn’t realize it) was to scale smartly with your ads. He recommends letting your ad run for at least 2-3 days before making any changes to it. You have to let it get into the cycle of content before you can see how well it will really perform. Then, if it’s performing well, increase your daily budget by only 50% at a time. So, if your ad was running at $10 a day, you would increase it to $15 a day. Doing this keeps the positive momentum and doesn’t flood Facebook with your budget so you get more value out of your investment.

Mari Smith – Facebook Marketing

I’ll be totally upfront, and I even told Mari this, this was probably my favorite session I ever sat through with Mari. I love a good Mari Smith presentation and have attended numerous webinars and live seminars. But this was my favorite. She covered SO MUCH content and with a lot of valuable information.

Her session was about what’s hot and what’s not in Facebook right now. And it was a lot! But oh so good. And, you know what’s better? Mari always shares her slides to SlideShare so you can go over and get all her slides from the event right here!

First and foremost, if you want to get reach on Facebook, you need to be using video. Video gets 3 times the engagement on Facebook. Whether video uploads or video ads or Facebook Live videos. You need to be using video! I know, this drives me crazy too  But as Mari pointed out, video is significantly underutilized on Facebook. Whether because it’s harder to create quality content or the time that goes into it, or other reasons, most people either aren’t doing, or if they are, they aren’t doing it well. Mari recommended a few tools – go check out the Slideshare slides (linked above) to get those tools.

Mary Meeker does a report every year that evaluates internet trends and one of her takeaways this year was that online advertising has a long way to go. In general, it’s largely ineffective and poorly done.

So Mari gave these tips for creating better videos:

  • Focus on quality from the first frame
  • Authentic (there’s that word again!)
  • High energy
  • Personal
  • Useful
  • Designed for sound off (use lower thirds or add captions) so that those watching without the sound get the full value

When it comes to live video, of the top 200 videos created, 63% are created by celebrities or public figures, 15% by media companies, and 4% from regular users. Brands have a lot of work to do to compete!

Of all the apps in the world, the two most popular apps are WhatsApp and Messenger. The third is Facebook. So, Facebook owns the top three. Yeah, that would be world domination 

Use messenger and direct communications to boost customer service and brand reputation. This is where people are and is the medium they are using to communicate. Use this to propel your business forward!

Brian Fanzo – Influencer Marketing

Times have changed and Brian was here to prove it! No longer do we look to celebrities or high-paid commercials to decide what we purchase (who really thinks LeBron James drives a Kia?). Instead, we’re looking to “the girl next door” – the bloggers, the YouTube reviewers, our social media connections, and more for real advice on what we really want. These influencers are more important now than ever!

And here’s a good point that Brian pointed out and that I want to stress: the smaller the community, the greater the influence.

Think about that. If you have 10 friends who drive a certain type of car and 7 of them tell you without a doubt, you should buy a certain model, chances are, that’s what you’ll buy. But if you have 1000 people in your network that you ask the same question, how impactful are their varied responses? Does it really help you make that decision definitively?

This statement was great: The amount of influence is more proportionate to trust rather than audience size.

Brian pointed out that there are 3 types of influencers:

  • Social amplifier or celebrity
  • Subject matter expert
  • Thought leader

If you know Brian, you know he’s all over Snapchat too, so of course, this came up in his session. But one of the best takeaways I got was that just because the purchaser isn’t on Snapchat doesn’t mean the influencer isn’t. For example, if moms are looking for the hottest fashion trends, who do they ask? Their daughters. So, even though mom isn’t on Snapchat, her daughter is, and if you want to build that connection, Snapchat is the place to impact that influencer.

Another way to capitalize on influencers is use your brand advocates. Ask them to share your content. Have an influencer take over your account. Celebrate your advocates publicly. And provide exclusive access to products or services.

Sunny Lenarduzzi – YouTube and Video

Unfortunately, I had to leave the event early so I was unable to stay through Sunny’s session. But she started off with a bang! First and foremost she talked about how video transformed her life and her business. It all started when she created a single video for her clients and uploaded it to YouTube. It obviously answered the “right” question because that video now has more than 800,000 views!

The first thing she pointed out is that most people avoid video because of fear. The fear may be different for each person, but it’s usually fear based.

Then she jumped into some good statistics:

  • Your site is 53% more likely to appear on Google if you have video on your site
  • 65% of the population are visual learners
  • 64% of people buy a product after watching a video about it

And then I had to leave…

But, if you want to learn more from the speakers themselves, and the rest of the speakers from the day (so bummed I had to miss them), go over to Google and search for “Periscope SMDaySD” – you’ll find a number of live stream videos from all of the sessions and from different users. Brian Fanzo (iSocialFanz) was live streaming pretty much the whole day so I know he’s got some good videos to watch.

Until next year, ladies and gentlemen!

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