Did 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.
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:
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.
#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?!).
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.
Here are some nuggets of gold from Kim’s session:
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Holly had some nuggets of wisdom to share. I’ll let the tweets do the talking:
She gave a great breakdown of the content she shares on her page:
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.
And to finish, you can’t beat Holly’s simple advice:
#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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
And a HOT TIP for sharing content to Pinterest: Be wary of using hashtags. Focus on keywords instead.
Vincent also recommended that pinners be wary of stacking too many keywords into descriptions because, as he put it, “Pinterest is on to you.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Jay made a great case for putting customer experience first and responding to your haters or complainers:
And it was this revelation that I loved the most:
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!).
Not surprisingly, when you break it down, Facebook is the main location to listen to our customers.
Probably the most memorable tagline from Jay, which summed up the entire keynote, was this:
And how do you avoid this problem? According to Jay, it’s simple:
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 pass? Leave your comments, questions and thoughts below.