social media reviewsDid you miss Social Media Marketing World 2015?

Last month thousands of marketers converged yet again on San Diego for the world-class Social Media Marketing World (#SMMW15).

Here are my seven takeaways from the conference—seven things you need to know.

takeaways from social media marketing world 2015

Discover seven takeaways from Social Media Marketing World 2015.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on Socially Sorted and is being republished with permission.

From the start of Michael Stelzner’s opening keynote, we witnessed an avalanche of tweets, posts, Instagram snaps, pins and moments throughout the event.

As always, I turn not just to my own notes and “aha” moments, but to the Twitter and Instagram feeds to share with you my top takeaways: Seven knockout takeaways from Social Media Marketing World.

#1: Video Is Hot in Any Format

Michael Stelzner started the event with a bang in his keynote, dazzling us with cutting-edge statistics about social media—what’s working, what’s not and where we’re headed this year and beyond.

There were some repeat players from last year and some new finds.

Michael made a big point about video being HUGE in his keynote. Not only is YouTube video here to stay, but also native embedded video on Facebook is going to be massive.

Michael called it an “untapped frontier” and I believe he’s right.

Check out these stats:

pollycraik native video tweet from smmw15

Native video stats shared in the opening keynote.

And if you don’t feel up to the challenge of long-form video feed, then be sure to check out short-form video on Instagram with 15-second videos, on Vine with 6-second videos and by using new tools like Twitter’s Periscope to live stream our lives (and businesses).

In short, don’t leave your video opportunity on the table. If nothing else, grab your smartphone and start creating using one of the awesome apps available.

In my session on Visual Content I talked about tools like Videohance, Hyperlapse, Stop Motion Studio and more. There’s so much you can do with a smartphone!

#2: Visual Content Drives Traffic

My session on Thursday morning was all about visual content, specifically how to create a visual content strategy that works.

There was an underlying message that I wanted to get across: Visual content drives traffic and sales.

For a sneak peek at some of the content I talked about, check out my article released on Social Media Examiner on the morning of my session (great timing, hey?!).

open graph image from how to use visual content to drive more traffic

How to Use Visual Content to Drive More Traffic by Donna Moritz.

The article covers some of the key points from my case examples. These include a recent slide deck we uploaded to SlideShare and some awesome traffic-driving infographics produced by Outrigger Resort.

Visual content that drives traffic can result not only in engagement, but also subscribers, customers and repeat customers. It can result in sales. Kim Garst also presented on visual content, specifically how to use visuals to drive sales.

kimgarst content tweet from smmw15

Content creates sales.

Here are some nuggets of gold from Kim’s session:

eemiler08 tweet from kim garst session at smmw15

Takeaways tweeted from Kim Garst’s SMMW15 presentation.

As Kim pointed out, social is about selling too.

If you have a product or service, capture the testimonials you receive in a visual format and post them on social channels.

Kim sold many copies of her new book directly as a result of image testimonials posted on social media.

kristyivd tweet of testimonial slide from kim garst session at smmw15

Testimonial images from Kim Garst’s SMMW15 presentation.

Kim had some other great tips for using visual content to sell on social. She highlighted how little hashtags are included on visual content, yet how powerful they can be for driving sales.

wenphd tweet from kim garst session at smmw15

Takeaways tweeted from Kim Garst’s SMMW15 presentation.

How does visual content work so well for social selling? Simple—it catches our attention and compels us to take action.

In my session I talked about how visuals can be used to set you apart from other businesses in your industry.

I shared a hierarchy of visual content that you can use to find a “jumping-in point” to get started. At each level of visual content, the investment of time and money may increase, but so does the return through engagement, traffic and sales.

donna mortiz visual content hierarchy image

How to create a hierarchy of visual content for your business.

I also challenged the people in my session. Work out which level you’re at, and then take action by creating visual content that will take you to the next level.

For example, if you’re already using images and photos, then perhaps set a goal to create a checklist (do you know a system or procedure that you can share?) or a snackable infographic or slide deck.

We had 3D glasses in my session and encouraged people to take them home, put them on their desk and start thinking about their content from a visual perspective. What will you take action on from #SMMW15?

tweeted pic of attendees from donna mortiz smmw15 presentation

Attendees from Donna Moritz’s SMMW15 presentation wearing 3D glasses.

Note: If you have access to the virtual pass, you can find a special link during my session that includes all of the tools, links, resources and articles that I mentioned. There’s also a free (and awesome) Canva template for creating your own infographic.

It’s exclusive for people attending the session or with the virtual pass, so be sure to grab it by watching my replay here.

#3: Consistency Is More Important Than Frequency

I was excited to hear Michael Hyatt speak this year. As a blogger, I struggle with the idea of consistency versus quantity.

I usually post once per week, but more than that (two or three times per week) is a challenge. When I do manage to do more, over time I often can’t keep up with the increased pace.

Michael talked about how he experimented with dialing back his posting from five times per week to three times per week and his traffic barely changed after an initial drop.

He highlighted how just one post a week, published consistently, might be the minimum effective dose of content needed to get traffic and readers.

tweeted pic of michael hyatt smmw15 presentation

Takeaway from Michael Hyatt’s SMMW15 presentation.

Consistency builds trust and grows your platform.

Like Michael says, “Consistency is more important than frequency.”

After Michael’s timely advice, I’ll be sticking to what I’m doing: creating more detailed, helpful, valuable posts for my readers, and only increasing the number of posts if I can maintain that consistency.

Note: Michael made so many other awesome points in his session. If you missed the session live then make sure you grab the virtual pass here!

There were up to 12 speakers per hour. It was hard to choose whom to watch, so the virtual pass is a great way of catching all of the content.

I’ll be catching up on all of the sessions I missed as soon as I return to Australia. Mari Smith, Darren Rowse, Todd Wheatland and Joe Pulizzi (all speakers I highly recommend) were speaking at the same time as my session, so it’s guaranteed I’ll be catching their sessions later.

#4: Organic Reach Is Alive and Well on Facebook

Holly Homer runs a highly successful Facebook page for her business, Kids Activities Blog. Her session was a must-see for me, as she has built a huge level of engagement on her page—much higher than the average Facebook page.

tweeted pic of holly homer smmw15 presentation

Tweeted from Holly Homer’s SMMW15 presentation.

Holly had some nuggets of wisdom to share. I’ll let the tweets do the talking:

tweet from holly homer smmw15 presentation

Takeaway from Holly Homer’s SMMW15 presentation.

She gave a great breakdown of the content she shares on her page:

tweet from holly homer smmw15 presentation

Takeaway from Holly Homer’s SMMW15 presentation.

Holly pointed out that you need to be persistent with (and recycle) your content on Facebook because it may be the second or third posting that brings the win.

tweet from holly homer smmw15 presentation

Takeaway from Holly Homer’s SMMW15 presentation.

And to finish, you can’t beat Holly’s simple advice:

tweet from holly homer smmw15 presentation

Takeaway from Holly Homer’s SMMW15 presentation.

#5: Pinterest Is the New Google

Many of my friends who are Pinterest experts were speaking at Social Media Marketing World and I was so excited to catch some of their sessions. Peg Fitzpatrick, Vincent Ng and Cynthia Sanchez all gave powerhouse presentations on Pinterest.

There were many things said about Pinterest that were quite literally mind-blowing, but one of the most mentioned was its power in search.

tweet from peg fitzpatrick smmw15 presentation

Takeaway from Peg Fitzpatrick’s SMMW15 presentation.

Also mentioned was how more people are turning to Pinterest, not Google, as their primary search engine, combining the power of search with visual content.

tweet from peg fitzpatrick smmw15 presentation

Takeaway from Peg Fitzpatrick’s SMMW15 presentation.

tweet from peg fitzpatrick smmw15 presentation

Takeaway from Peg Fitzpatrick’s SMMW15 presentation.

On the topic of search, Vincent Ng gave some hot tips about guided search. He advised that you use the Pinterest search bar for keyword ideas and customer insights.

tweet from vincent ng smmw15 presentation

Takeaway  from Vincent Ng’s SMMW15 presentation.

The longevity of visual content was mentioned by many of the speakers. A pin on Pinterest has great longevity. What you pin today may turn up in search a day, month, year or many years from now.

tweet from peg fitzpatrick smmw15 presentation

Takeaway from Peg Fitzpatrick’s SMMW15 presentation.

To take advantage of the search capabilities on Pinterest, Peg recommended that you pin 10-15 times per day. It’s time to get pinning.

tweet from peg fitzpatrick smmw15 presentation

Takeaway from Peg Fitzpatrick’s SMMW15 presentation.

I loved how many of the speakers mentioned Tailwind app. It’s my go-to tool for pinning. Trust me, after trying Tailwind, you won’t know how you ever managed to pin content without it!

tweet from peg fitzpatrick smmw15 presentation

Takeaway from Peg Fitzpatrick’s SMMW15 presentation.

And a HOT TIP for sharing content to Pinterest: Be wary of using hashtags. Focus on keywords instead.

tweet from peg fitzpatrick smmw15 presentation

Takeaway from Peg Fitzpatrick’s SMMW15 presentation.

Vincent also recommended that pinners be wary of stacking too many keywords into descriptions because, as he put it, “Pinterest is on to you.”

tweet from vincent ng smmw15 presentation

Takeaway from Vincent Ng’s SMMW15 presentation.

There were so many takeaways about Pinterest, but I have to mention the session by Cynthia Sanchez too. She talked about promoted pins and the benefits of advertising on Pinterest.

tweet from cynthia sanchez smmw15 presentation

Takeaway from Cynthia Sanchez’s SMMW15 presentation.

During my session, I recommended that you focus first on optimizing your images on your website so fans can easily find and share your visual content to Pinterest.

You can do this by having portrait-oriented Pinterest-friendly images on every page, and header images with text overlay to add context when the pin is separated from your website on Pinterest.

Cynthia followed up this advice with a reminder to also prepare your website to receive an influx of traffic if you use promoted pins.

tweet from cynthia sanchez smmw15 presentation

Takeaway from Cynthia Sanchez’s SMMW15 presentation.

With so many great sessions on Pinterest, it has reinvigorated my love for the visual web. I hope you’re inspired too!

#6: Post Like a Fan, Not a Marketer

In my session I talked about the importance of native visual content across all platforms.

You need to take a step back, look at what’s resonating with your fans and also what YOU like to see posted on your primary social media networks. Then start posting that type of content.

Stop posting like a marketer and start posting like a fan.

tweet from donna moritz smmw15 presentation

Takeaway from Donna Moritz’s SMMW15 presentation.

I talked about how on Facebook, your fans don’t come to buy your stuff (sorry, it’s true!); instead they’re there to hang out with friends and family and be entertained.

On Facebook, visuals like quotes, images (behind-the-scenes and funny) and especially nostalgic photos work well.

Why else do you think we love #ThrowbackThursday?

On Instagram it might be different. Instagram users are there to share moments in their lives with images.

While on Pinterest, they may actually want to buy things, or at least aspire to buy things.

No matter what type of platform, you need to take time to understand the “native” content of that platform.

Holly Homer also touched on this point when she talked about the importance of reflecting on the type of content you like to see on Facebook.

tweet from holly homer smmw15 presentation

Takeaway from Holly Homer’s SMMW15 presentation.

And of course, back to Mike Stelzner’s keynote, Facebook native video is huge. Facebook is promoting video uploaded directly to the Facebook news feed, giving it high reach.

tweet from mike stelzner smmw15 presentation

Takeaway from Mike Stelzner’s SMMW15 presentation.

Kim Garst highlighted another example of native content achieving big things in her session on visual content.

Kim gets huge organic reach by posting a lot of native visual content, especially original visual content. She also highlighted the power of a tool that I love too, Post Planner.

In particular she talked about how Post Planner helps you find “proven” content to share.

You can either curate the content of others or use it as inspiration to create your own content based on what’s already working.

tweet from kim garst smmw15 presentation

Takeaway tweeted from Kim Garst’s SMMW15 presentation.

I highly recommend you check out Post Planner and take a free trial to test out their Viral Photo tool. It’s a great way to find visual content that’s already being shared well on other pages, which you can then share too.

And remember, take off your marketing hat. Step into the shoes of your fans. Then post like a fan, not a marketer.

#7: Hug Your Haters

I was excited to see that the final keynotes for each day were about customer service and how important it is. John DiJulius, a customer experience expert, was amazing on Day 1 and Jay Baer rocked the house in his final keynote to round out the end of the conference.

tweet from john dijulius smmw15 presentation

Takeaway from Don DiJulius’ SMMW15 presentation.

Both of these smart guys presented on how to give your customers—even your haters—an amazing customer experience.

Yes, it is possible to turn your complainers into raving brand advocates. Jay Baer said so.

And he said it convincingly with awesome case studies and a barrage of memorable taglines! The entire audience now can’t wait for his new book, Hug Your Haters, to come out.

Some of the stats that Jay presented in his final keynote were just downright mind-blowing:

takeaway from jay baer smmw15 presentation

Retweeted takeaway from Jay Baer’s SMMW15 presentation.

Not to mention the case studies (including this one) from airline KLM. The company actually shows their expected response time (and they update it regularly) on their Facebook page.

takeaway from jay baer smmw15 presentation

Retweet from Jay Baer’s SMMW15 presentation.

Jay made a great case for putting customer experience first and responding to your haters or complainers:

takeaway from jay baer smmw15 presentation

Retweeted takeaway from Jay Baer’s SMMW15 presentation.

And it was this revelation that I loved the most:

takeaway from jay baer smmw15 presentation

Takeaway from Jay Baer’s SMMW15 presentation.

And let’s take another look at this from a different angle, as it really is something we need to take in (and because this is an awesome shot by Mari Smith!).

takeaway from jay baer smmw15 presentation

Takeaway from Jay Baer’s SMMW15 presentation.

Not surprisingly, when you break it down, Facebook is the main location to listen to our customers.

takeaway from jay baer smmw15 presentation

Takeaway from Jay Baer’s SMMW15 presentation.

Probably the most memorable tagline from Jay, which summed up the entire keynote, was this:

takeaway from jay baer smmw15 presentation

Jay Baer keynote, Social Media Marketing World.

And how do you avoid this problem? According to Jay, it’s simple:

takeaway from jay baer smmw15 presentation

“How do you turn complainers into fans? By responding to every complaint, on every channel, every time,” Jay Baer keynote, Social Media Marketing World.

If you follow Jay’s simple advice, your most seasoned complainer might just become your biggest fan!

And with that, it’s a wrap for 2015!

Over to You

What do you think? Were you there? What were your biggest takeaways from Social Media Marketing World? If you couldn’t make it this year, what were your takeaways from the Twitter feed, social media or virtual passLeave your comments, questions and thoughts below.

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  • What a great summary of an amazing event. So sorry I missed this years.

    Checked out Holly Homer’s page and what amazing engagement she has.

    Thanks for the Tailwind tool tip, looks awesome and definitely giving it a try.

  • happychappy89

    Great summary. This makes me very keen to save up and attend next year. Thanks

  • Shai Geoola

    Great article. Thanks very much for sharing!

  • Pinterest is overtaking google as a search engine – that’s a joke right?

  • LouiseCrooks

    Woohoo, go Donna! A great synopsis on what was awesome at the conference! And I look forward to further insights as you watch the other presentations! I loved that tidbit about Pinterest being a place where people want to buy or aspire to buy. That is HUGE. 🙂 Louise x

  • Thanks for the love Donna and Social Media Examiner!

    I was so happy that Pinterest had four sessions that covered it and very proud to be one of them.

  • A wonderful summary of some of the best the summit had to offer. I gained so much knowledge from attending this year.

  • Excellent writeup, Donna – you rock! 🙂

  • Debs

    I love the idea of posting images of testimonials. Am I allowed to do this with Google Play or App Store reviews?

  • Hi Debs I would think it should be ok as it is in the public forum, but you could always check with the person and or store first… Usually it is good practice to notify the person that you are going to use their testimonial and they usually post it in the first place for others to see. Kim did it well with her book, for sure!

  • You rock too Mari – it seems you can add “photographer with a keen eye” to your list of talents… thanks for capturing that great angle!

  • PS I am looking forward to attending your session virtually now I am back in Australia – we were speaking at the same time so I don’t think I could have managed to sneak out!

  • Thanks so much – there were so many sessions and I could only attend so many that I now am looking forward to settling down into enjoying the virtual summit this week!

  • It was a great coverage of Pinterest for sure Peg – you guys all did so well. I wish I could have covered more sessions in this post but I am sure I am about to see some awesome ones on the virtual summit now that I am back in Australia as of the weekend – can’t wait!

  • Thanks Louise – it’s true.. Pinterest is a very different platform and it is changing so much of the web as we used to know it. I love that stat that 85% of content shared to Pinterest is shared by users not by brands (from Curalate) – it shows that we need to be very aware of what content we put out, what images our website has on it, and if it is “pin-ready” as there is so much marketing to be done buy those users, that it’s as important (or more) than any pinning you do strategically as a business!

  • Well perhaps the new google in the early days… but who knows. There’s one thing for sure – the search powers of Google were mentioned a lot at the conference – whether it’s right or not (for some people it is the first place they search just like for some people youtube is the first place they search) – time will tell. It may not ever take over Google for sure, but it’s interesting that a site with pictures, just like a site with videos can definitely grab a fair share of searches happening. It’s also going to become more and more interesting as we now have many tools that can search for pixelation without words to find specific images. I’d say it’s no wonder Google owns YouTube and I wouldn’t be surprised if they come up with a way to search within images without text too, if not already.

  • Cheers Shai – thanks for stopping by!

  • Awesome – thanks so much – and you won’t be disappointed. The virtual pass included in the ticket makes it the conference that keeps on giving – so many great sessions and you will meet wonderful people at all the networking events and parties. Definitely give it some thought (and becuase… San Diego!).

  • Bonita

    Fantastic post! Everything was juicy and relevant. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • Zaahn Johnson

    Brilliant summary – Great to hear more about sessions I was not able to attend, I will definitely be checking out Holly Homer, love her ideas. It was alls bout Video and Pinterest for me – the life span of a pin is just awesome!

  • Yes for sure Zaahn – the life span of a pin is mindblowing when you think about it. There are very few other channels, other than my blog posts where I see shares YEARS later… images from articles, infographics, you name it – pop up as shares on Pinterest 1,2 or more years after they were originally shared. You can’t ignore those numbers! Glad you will be able to catch up on the virtual pass! Enjoy!

  • You are very welcome Bonita – glad you liked it!

  • Hi Donna

    Superb article by you, as always. Thanks for taking the time to create this roundup!

    I am planning to create video for all my content now, just to complement the written articles.

    My focus will be on 5-10 minute videos of the article information itself, but I figure you can do a 15 second intro (similar to what Jay does on JayToday) and so that intro can be used on instagram and even facebook for example to get people to click through to the full video/content.

  • Debs

    Hi Donna, yes, I checked with Google and they don’t seem to have any regulation that stops you doing this. Yes, I agree it is a good idea to notify the person too. Thanks!

  • Great strategy Joe – sounds awesome – be sure to let me know when you do them!

  • Why do you embed the tweets as an image …?

  • Donna what an excellent and thorough post! It’s like having cliff notes for the conference for those that couldn’t be there (like me). Thank you!

  • Thanks for the great smmw15 wrap Donna! I am looking forward to using all of these with my clients. I hope to be there in person next year too! Have a wonderful Wednesday! 🙂

  • Tania Rich

    Thank you for all of this info, I am a new marketer, at a new job and all of these tips will put my on the right track. I can’t wait to learn more.

    but just so you know, it says “snackable infographic or slide deck.” hehe I laughed at snackable infographic…some of them need to be 🙂

  • I wasn’t at Social Media Marketing World and appreciate the takeaways. 🙂

    I agree that organic reach is alive and well on Facebook. Likes, comments, and shares increase daily on the non-profit page I manage. If you have a Facebook strategy, you may not have to Boost a post or create ads. Also, keep the tone conversational, yet professional at the same time.

  • Takeaway 6 is always the starting point of relevant content that resonates with your audience and with regards to takeaway 7, with all do respect, there are times you have to draw a line when people become really unreasonable and rude.

  • Thanks yes I love #6 too and re #7m, Yes of course – there are always those that are not worth it, Jay addressed that, but I have seen some amazing customer service potential disasters turned around .. and also the opposite (made worse by ignoring).

  • Hopefully we will see you there next year Amandah! And yes, when you mix great organic posting and shares with facebook ads you can get see some amazing results. Both Kim and Holly said that for sure!

  • Hope to see you there too Steve – thanks for stopping by!

  • This is such a detailed article. There’s so much great info that my head was about to explode. Thank you so much Donna for including me, it was such a pleasure to meet you at SMMW15! And Tailwind is definitely one of my favourite tools as well.

  • Thanks Vincent – your session was excellent and it was great to meet you too! Don’t explode your head – there’s too much good stuff in there to let out just yet!

  • Thanks Tania – great to hear it was helpful. And I totally talk about snackable infographics all the time, so that was deliberate – I have created many longer ones and if they are super helpful then you can get away with the longer length, but snackable infographics (shorter in length but longer than a standard portrait size) are great as they are shareable on many platforms, not just Pinterest as they are not so long. And you can get your message across in a smaller image, for sure!

  • Hey Malte – a decision was made to republish my article by using images, because some readers can’t view the embedded tweets (ie if they use a Firefox browser).

  • Hey Donna, oh, ok. Thank your for the info.

  • This is just what I need right now, I have used these all, but now I can see how I use social media based on what I need. Thank Donna soooo much!

  • Craig

    Thank you Donna for all the info. Just signed up with Tailwind on the back of your articles above as know we need to do more with Pinterest. We do very well with Instagram being in the wedding dress industry the brides bring in images, so know Pinterest would do just as well or even better but need help scheduling~ THANK YOU

  • Tania Rich

    Ahh, I see. Great tip. That’s actually what I am working on now then I guess. Turning our wordy sales materials (that are on standard letter paper) into infographic information that would still fit these dimensions

  • No problem!

  • No problems Craig – and yes the wedding industry is huge for visual content on Pinterest – enjoy using Tailwind!

  • I haven’t had a chance to attend but I think next year will be the year. I hope so.

  • googled social media and found this! What a gem, i’ve shared with lots of people! I have a blog and am thinking about a new website venture, this was perfect! I also manage another blog/news site so will be putting these processes in place there! Absolute goldmine of information. I’ve now signed up for a pro blogging seminar in Queensland, Australia – you have started something for me! Here we go!

  • Hi Donna, Great article! It summarizes some important takeaways from #SMMW15. The one important takeaway that got my attention was Pinterest. I completely agree that Pinterest is at the starting block of the route Google has taken over the years. Already a lot of buyers are taking their decision or inspiration to buy from Pinterest, reflecting changing consumer behavior moving from usual text search results to visual search results from Pinterest.

    Digital Marketing at Resulticks