While I genuinely love to speak at various social media conferences, I also love to geek out as an attendee. I love to learn from others and garner as much knowledge as possible on topics I'm not super familiar with. Plus, I take copious notes on everything so that I can recap it all in a blog post for you!
So, with that being said, this is my event recap of the MarkeTech 2018 conference in Kearney (pronounced Car-ney), Nebraska.
Now, there aren't necessarily a lot of things that will get me to pack up from beautiful San Diego and head to Nebraska in March, but this conference was soooo worth it! Although, I was disappointed not to get any fresh corn - which, I know, they're just coming out of winter. But still!
I was invited to keynote this conference, which was definitely a very validating reason for me to attend. I said yes without much hesitation. Not to mention, travelling has been a big goal of mine lately, and I've never been to the area, so why they heck wouldn't I go if I was given the opportunity.
And, despite the opportunity to speak, I'm so glad I went! I attended a couple of the break out sessions and I really enjoyed them! I heard nothing but great things regarding the other sessions as well. And everyone behind the conference was amazing. The ladies from Grow Nebraska, who coordinate this whole event every year, were rockstars and went above and beyond to ensure every one there had a great time.
We did run into a couple very minor technical glitches for the opening of my closing keynote, so that didn't go as smoothly as I hoped. And I was streaming it live on Instagram, which then didn't let me share it or save it, so that was lost, which was a complete bummer. But other than those two little issues, the whole event - and the rest of my trip visiting Kearney - was a wonderful experience.
I will admit my big-city-girl was thrown a little in the small town of Kearney. Believe it or not, I was actually raised in a very small town, and my parents have lived in small towns for the last 15+ years. So the small town thing shouldn't be so shocking to me, but I was still totally out of my element. I won't lie, I wasn't sure Nebraska was ready for all this sparkle that is Jenn Herman 😉 But they took it well!
The morning of the conference, I grabbed a quick breakfast in the hotel lobby. Which, by the way, funny story...
So the night before the conference, and the day I landed, I drove to my hotel (about an hour from the airport). I got checked in and Heidi (the event coordinator) invited me to come down the convention center and say hi while they were setting up. I grabbed my car keys, wallet, and phone. I pulled up the map on my phone, searched for the convention center and was shocked to see it was a whopping 159 ft from my hotel room. So... maybe, I wouldn't need those car keys! Ok, so I go down to the lobby and ask the nice young guy at the front desk where the convention center is. I've got my big ol' winter jacket on, assuming I have to at least go across the street or something. He tells me to walk down the hall to my left. I look at him like he's an alien telling me to walk on hot coals. He assures me it's just down "that hall". I'm convinced these small town folk are messing with me, but what do you know, the hotel is literally attached to the convention center. Well, ok then! lol
Ok, so back to breakfast the next day. I grabbed my breakfast and as I'm sitting down (in my sparkly top and bright red shoes), the guy at the table next to me asks me if I'm Jenn Herman. Btw, he said the shoes gave it away 😉 Turns out he was Tom Luke of Luke Direct Marketing and he was the speaker talking about Facebook marketing in one of the break out sessions at the conference. So, we chatted and got to know more about each other over breakfast before heading into the conference. I was so glad he stopped me to say hi! As a result, I went to his session on Facebook marketing and those notes are here for you below.
Facebook Business Basics - Tom Luke
Tom kicked off the session by talking about the top 5 things that every business needs (in this order of priority):
- A brand
- A website
- An email list
- A Facebook page
First of all, I love that he laid this out and I totally agree with him (for the most part). I think too many companies jump into business and marketing without ever defining their "brand" and you won't succeed on social media if this isn't clearly defined. I also highly agree that every business should have a Facebook page!
Some interesting stats that Tom shared with us included:
- 2.01 billion monthly active users on Facebook
- 1.74 billion mobile active users
- 1.32 billion daily active users
- 65 million small business pages
- Men in the 18-24 demographic are the largest demographic with 18%
- The average user spends 20 minutes on Facebook per visit
- 100 million users belong to groups
One of the most interesting tidbits Tom shared was about ads and mobile ads. He has found repeatedly that most ads get the highest results from mobile devices. Even with one of his clients that targets customers over the age of 65, most of their ad responses on Facebook came from mobile devices. This is definitely something to think about when you're designing your ads for Facebook.
If you've been running ads on Facebook for more than 6 months, you're familiar with the 20% text rule. And while that no longer "technically" applies, Tom pointed out that any image on Facebook that has more than 20% text coverage will typically perform poorly as Facebook will seemingly hide it from feeds. I had honestly never considered this for images not used in ads, but it got me thinking and I will totally be testing this out in the future!
Another trend, that shouldn't be overly surprising, that Tom pointed out is the use of less professional imagery. Rather than using heavily staged, professionally photographed, studio images, try using your smart phone and taking more candid shots. These are more trustworthy and brand centric and allow people to connect with your brand on Facebook.
If you follow my advice for Instagram photos, you know I advocate for including a human being in the photo. Even if it's just a hand or an arm or the back of their head, when you put a person in the photo, people connect with it emotionally. Tom points out that the same is true for Facebook. Honestly, you'd think I would have thought of this given my penchant for this strategy on Instagram, but it hadn't crossed my mind to use this more consistently on Facebook too.
Tom shared with us his strategy for Facebook posting which I, and many in the audience, found really helpful. He breaks out all of his client accounts with the following formula:
- 40% of content is educational
- 40% of content is fun
- 20% of content is product or selling
To pull this off regularly, you do need to have a strategy and a social calendar to plan out your content accordingly.
He also gave some interesting insights on which days of the week get better results (which I totally found to be valuable information):
- Thursday and Friday get 19% better results
- Saturday and Sunday get 32% better results
Now, most of my posts on my Facebook page go out on Wednesdays or other work days so I totally want to try mixing it up with posting later in the week!
When it comes to Facebook advertising, Tom recommends boosting with small dollar values and using your big ad spend budgets for actual ads with well-planned targeting segments.
And for ads, you definitely need to be using custom audiences if you want to see real growth on Facebook. Tom also shared that you can reference the Facebook ads guide for tons of info on what you need for each type of ad.
Finally, Tom talked about video and live video.
You all know how I feel about live video and Tom pretty much feels the exact same way. Right now, Facebook Live is the best way to engage your audience! So... do it already!
According to Tom, 85% of all internet traffic will be video by 2019 and 90% of consumers have said that watching a video helps them make buying decisions.
If you are creating videos for Facebook (not live videos), keep them to under 2 minutes for maximum results. As for live video, go live for at least 11 minutes for best results!
Tips for Measuring Online Success - Maria Elena
Maria is a business marketer but she is trained by Google and speaks at events on behalf of Google, educating audiences on practices she has learned and implemented. Now, I love me a good analytics discussion, but I'll admit my Google Analytics skills are weak. So, I was legit excited to listen to what Maria had to say. And, wow, head exploding from information and insights!
Ok, if there is one thing Maria wanted us to take away, it was this: "If you're not measuring, you're not marketing". I think she said this at least 30 times in the hour she was on stage!
Her first big point to pay attention to is your goals. If you have a web page because "your competitor does" or because someone told you that you needed one, then you aren't doing it right. Instead, you need to know what you want from your website and then create the objectives to reach those goals.
Some of the things you should be tracking and measuring include:
- which channels lead to your site
- website and app performance
- understanding your audience
The reason why your website is so important is this: visibility + credibility = profitability
If Google can't see your site, you're not visible.
What to track in your Google Analytics:
- how many people visit your site
- who and where they are
- how they found you
- how much time they spent on your site
- what they looked at
- what tasks they completed
As an added point, Maria pointed out that mobile sites that take more than 4 seconds to load will lose visitors rapidly.
There are 3 ways to evaluate your website performance:
- Google Search Console
- Google Analytics
- Test My Site
For the Google Search Console, go to http://google.com/webmasters
Here, you can edit or request changes to your site information. You can add property (like your URL) and see which pages of your site are properly indexed. If they aren't indexed, Google can't see them! You can also submit major site changes like layout changes or page content updates. There's a place where you can tag products that are available internationally so that they populate in the right Google searches based on those locations. And, if you need to direct to a new URL, this is where you can do that too.
For Google Analytics, go to http://google.com/analytics
Did you know that for one bad impression of your brand, it takes an average of 57 attempts to recover trust? And your website is the first impression of your brand online most of the time. So, it has to look good and work well! When it comes to valuable information on your site, put the most important stuff "above the fold" - meaning what they see before they have to scroll down the page.
For Test My Site, go to http://testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com
Here you can test both your mobile load speed and your desktop load speed.
And, finally, Maria shared with us this resource: http://gybo.com/lessons for tons of resources and information on analytics and Google solutions.
Use Video to Supercharge Your Sales - Ali Schwanke
The final break out session I attended was this one from Ali, the CEO of Simple Strat, a marketing agency in Nebraska. Seriously though, if you wanna understand how awesome video can be to represent your brand, check out this video they created for their company.
Ok, so to get started, Ali said there are two types of video watchers:
- people looking for an answer ("how to" something)
- passive watchers (watching random cat videos)
So you need to create videos that either educate or entertain.
When it comes to your "script" for your video, it's the off-script narrative that builds authenticity and trust. We've all seen those CEO-type PR messages that are overly scripted and obviously being read on camera - and they all suck. They do nothing for building trust.
Why is video so powerful? Here's what Ali has to say:
- It appeals to multiple senses
- It's easy to process and comprehend
- It boosts authenticity and credibility
- It triggers our emotions
In a study Ali mentioned, it was found that 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos every week. I can totally believe that! Even if you only watch a few 2-3 minute videos every day, those add up quickly!
Next, Ali broke down the different types of videos:
How To Videos
- Show visitors how to do something
- Can be simple or complex
- These are among the highest searched content online
- These don't have to be high-quality level of production
- These are useful in the sales cycle
- How things work and their features
- Answer common search questions
- Allow the consumer to test drive the product
- These should be concise and to the point
Product or Service Specific
- Outlining the details of the product or service
- These are multipurpose
- They are for engagement and retargeting purposes
Testimonials and Case Studies
- Provide social proof
- Makes your customer look good
- Shows the human side of your business
Company People and Events
- These are the most social type of videos
- Showcase who you are and what you do
- Share the core values and culture of the brand
- Talk about how you stay informed
- Go behind the scenes
There are 3 levels of video production, according to the team at Simple Strat:
- A level: high production value
- B level: scripted but low level production (high authenticity value)
- C level: low production (like live videos, social posts, etc.)
So, what do you need for good videos? You need basic lighting, a microphone, a tripod, and a filming device (this can be your smart phone or a fancy schmancy camera).
In her presentation, Ali also shared with us her video marketing funnel - which was pretty genius. I did share a photo to my Instagram Stories after the conference, but since I haven't asked for her permission to republish that image in this blog post, you'll have to live without it. Sorry!
But she did list a variety of places that you can make good use of videos! Those include: paid advertising, email marketing, organic search (YouTube), referral marketing, remarketing/retargeting, Facebook groups, social media, forums, and so much more!
And, finally, when the question of good music came up, Ali reiterated that you must find royalty-free music to use. There are a variety of sources out there that you can use, but ensure it's royalty free music so you don't get your video shut down for using copyrighted music.
Phew! Are you exhausted from reading all of this? I'm exhausted from typing it all up! lol
There were a few other sessions, including my two presentations. But these are the sessions that I have notes from and I think it's a lot of great info to help steer you in your marketing efforts.
And, if you're in the Nebraska area next year, I'd highly recommend you look into the MarkeTech conference. It's definitely a conference worth attending! As you can see, these are just my notes from 3 of the many sessions put on that day. If you're a small business and really want to learn modern online marketing tactics, this conference should be one you attend (and no, I'm not an affiliate or getting paid to say that!).