And, once again, another Social Media Marketing World conference has come and gone. I look forward to this event all year long and then the event itself seems to fly by in the blink of an eye. The excitement, value, people, fun, learning, talking, lack-of-sleeping, and incessant smiling last for days... and yet, doesn't last long enough. I can honestly say that this year's SMMW17 was the single best conference I have ever attended.
It all started on Tuesday night with some pre-conference events, and it didn't stop until I finally dragged my numb feet out of the convention center on Friday afternoon. Literally every single minute from exhilarating start to exhausted finish was filled with activity of some sort. Even sleep led to dreams of the conference!
If you want to see my photos from the event, you can check out what I've shared over on Instagram.
And for all the exhaustion, lack of sleep, blood shot eyes, numb toes, hoarse voice, and aching body, I wouldn't have traded in one single minute of any of it!
But believe it or not, there was actually learning happening during all of this excitement too 😉 Yes, I did actually attend a few sessions during the conference and took away some valuable lessons that I want to share with you.
You know that key word in social media... "social" ... yeah, that means actually being social! Crazy concept, I know 😉
But in all honesty, with so much content out there, boring doesn't cut it anymore. And with platforms like Snapchat, and Instagram Stories, and live video, and even Facebook and Twitter, people (and brands) that can entertain their audiences are going to have better results.
Now, just because I'm saying you should entertain, doesn't mean you can't educate, or empower, or provide value to your audience. It means you need to do these things in a more entertaining fashion. Find ways to make your videos show more personality. Use graphics and visual content to convey a message. Use humor, or quirks, or unexpected interactions to convey content to your audience in a way that will both stand out from the noise, but also resonate with your target audience.
One of the biggest trends related to entertaining was story telling. This was brought up repeatedly throughout the conference - from casual comments to full on sessions. When you can find a way to tell a story, you connect with your audience in a way that becomes visceral to them. And that is where the connections are forged.
Facebook Still Reigns
For all the complaining and whining everyone does about Facebook, the truth of the matter is that Facebook is the world's largest social media platform - and they own all the top platforms. On top of that, in the study conducted by Social Media Examiner, 2 out of 3 marketers said Facebook is still their most important platform.
Yes, organic reach sucks. Yes, Facebook will run out of ad space in the news feed. But it's still paramount that you find ways to make Facebook work in your social media strategy.
I should also point out that every Facebook session I saw, walked past, or heard about was full. So people still care a lot about Facebook marketing!
Quality, Not Quantity
Halle-frekin-lujah! I have been preaching this for at least a year now and I was THRILLED to hear Mike Stelzner stand on the keynote stage and tell 3000+ marketers that the solution to social media reach is not more content, but better content!
Posting 5, 6, 7, 8 times a day is actually hurting your brand on social media! There is too much noise out there and creating massive amounts of content, purely for the sake of content, is not helping the problem. Nor, is it helping you.
Instead, focus on less content. And better content. Only the best of the best. The content your audience actually cares about and engages with. Not fluff, crap, mindless stuff. Real, quality content.
Of course, you know my love of Instagram runs deep 😉 So, having a HUGE emphasis on Instagram at this year's conference was a little extra rewarding for me. But honestly, there was a big presence in breakout sessions and keynote sessions on the topic of Instagram.
If you're not using this platform yet, you really should consider it. Of course, my motto is that while any business can use Instagram, not every business should. So don't feel like you have to jump on this bandwagon, just because everyone is saying you should. But you should at least give it a solid consideration in your social media strategy.
If you read my post from last year's conference wrap up, this was the big trend then... and it's still the big trend now.
Live video is everywhere. On every platform. In every form from 15 seconds to hours long content. It's your chance to get in front of your audience, "beat" the algorithms, and provide the entertainment, value, and personality your audience is craving.
Seriously, even I (the girl who hates recording video) is continuing to embrace this trend more and more. You should too!
Finally, I did attend a variety of sessions at SMMW17, though not as many as I had planned to... too many friends and connections and networking and fun got in the way 😉 But from those sessions, here are some additional key things I thought you might like to takeaway:
- Marketing should be something we do for people, not something we do to people - Ray Edwards
- Great copy addresses a problem, makes a promise, offers proof, and ends with a proposal - Ray Edwards
- There is no copy that is too long, only copy that is too boring - Ray Edwards
- Don't put navigation on your landing pages - it only gives your visitors a reason to leave - Robert Bly
- "Free" and "you" are the two most powerful words in copywriting - Robert Bly
- People believe charts and graphs - Robert Bly
- There are 60 million business pages on Facebook, and only 4 million (7%) are advertising - Mike Stelzner
- 71% of marketers want to know more about Instagram marketing - Mike Stelzner
- 85% of marketers are using visuals on social media - Mike Stelzner
- Side note from me here.... WTF are the other 15% doing?! How is not 100% using visual content on social media?!
- To stand the test of time on social media, on any platform, you must create quality content - Mike Stelzner
- To monetize your blog, you need to determine your minimum viable audience size. Then you can start selling. Until then, don't push the sale - Joe Pulizzi
- Themes on Instagram help people understand a greater idea - Branden Harvey
- Photo series on Instagram encourage audience to interact with rest of the series - Branden Harvey
- You need to know your exact target audience on Instagram and produce the content they actually want to see - Jasmine Star
- For better photos, always use the natural light from windows - Jasmine Star
- 20-70% of new customers leave a company within 100 days - Joey Coleman
- After a customer stays with a company for 100 days, they stay an average of 5 years - Joey Coleman
- We focus so much on closing the sale and getting a new customer, and stop caring once the sale is closed. Instead, think about how you can retain your customers - Joey Coleman
Honestly, there was a lot more. And the keynote session from Joey Coleman was extremely impactful to me. If you have the virtual ticket from SMMW17, please make sure you listen to this session - you will not regret it!
But, at this point, I have carpal tunnel from typing all of this up... and it's getting late and I want to make sure I get this emailed out to you! So that's all you're going to get from me on SMMW17. But you can watch my first day recap on Facebook for more insider details.