10 Biggest Takeaways from Social Media Marketing World 2016

Social Media Marketing World is a phenomenal conference put together by Michael Stelzner, founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner, and the rest of the Social Media Examiner team. Leaders in the social media industry gather at this annual event to share their insights on the newest digital trends. With over a hundred keynotes and hands-on workshops, this event is one you don’t want to miss.

The 10 biggest takeaways from this year’s Social Media Marketing World Conference were:

1. RIP Stock Images. It was made very clear that brands need to invest in highly visual photography if they want to stay in the game. Lewis Howes, best selling author of The School of Greatness, stated this repeatedly in his presentation. Professional, high-end photography was what made his brand unique and made it easy for the press to pick up and repurpose. Donna Moritz of Socially Sorted even shared her expertise on how to get more reach, referrals, and results using a visual social media and content strategy. Brands need to create beautiful, custom content that is so attention-grabbing that users will want to share it.

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(Our Social Media Specialist, Stephanie, had the opportunity to get her book signed by Lewis Howes)

2. Don’t Post & Run. The biggest mistake a brand makes on Instagram (as well as other social channels) is that they tend to hit publish and look away. Don’t make this a habit. Fans tend to engage with your content in the first hour so make sure your brand responds accordingly.

3. Facebook Video is Hot. Mari Smith, aka the Facebook Queen, discussed how native Facebook videos get more reach than any other type of post so brands need to rise to the occasion by creating simple, eye-catching video content. Whether you’re posting an attention-grabbing cinemograph or full-on informational, Mari recommends using Animoto and Lumyer to assist your video content production efforts.

Social_Media_Marketing_World4. Millennials = Money. Millennials are expected to outspend Baby Boomers by 2017 so brands need to start investing now. Not only are millennials spending more money, but they’re also more digitally savvy. Even if they aren’t in your current target demographic, they will be so it’s imperative to start building those relationships and finding ways to reach them. With the majority of Snapchat users being millennials, it’s a no-brainer that this is the platform your brand needs to be on to engage and reach this demographic.

5. Humanize your brand. In order to build a loyal fan base and increase content consumption in a noisy world, we need to appeal to emotion. As Bryan Kramer discussed, there is “No B2B or B2C: it’s Human to Human #H2H”. The easiest way to connect with consumers is through social media, where you can directly communicate through snaps, live video, replying to comments or tweeting.  Therefore, give your brand some personality, seek feedback, and identify the personas of your advocates to liven the experience and increase brand loyalty.  Most importantly, make everything as easy as possible for the user to share!

6. Invest in Influencer Marketing. Organic reach has dropped and consumers are now finding ways to block paid ads. So how can brands guarantee reliable reach to their audience? The answer is influencer marketing. Consumers not only trust influencers and their recommendations, but they follow the people that are most similar to them or what they aspire to be. By finding an influencer that is a natural fit for your brand or product, they will be able to share their experience with the hundreds or thousands of loyal followers that truly believe in what they say and do. But don’t just think you need to jump in and spend all of your budget on one influencer with millions of followers. Look for influencers that produce quality content that is consumed by loyal, engaged audiences.

The_ART_of_Engagement7. There is as much ROI in investment as there is in ignorance. Award winning author and digital analyst Brian Solis, discussed the importance of experimenting with new technologies and understanding the user experience behind them. As marketers, we look at platforms and social channels as a way to reach people. In reality we should take a step back and look at the culture and attention span of each medium, identifying what it is about the platform that people enjoy and how we can contribute to that experience. The brands that leverage these new platforms and technologies such as Facebook Live Video, Periscope, Snapchat, and Blab are the brands that understand the value of return on experience.

8. Be in the moment. There are multiple platforms continuing to pop up that can help your brand connect with your audience through a very real, raw, and unedited experience. A panel consisting of social media leaders, Joel Comm, Mari Smith, Shaan Puri, and Kim Garst discussed different ways to engage fans through different live video streaming services like Periscope, Blab, and Facebook Live Video whether it be through behind the scenes videos or a Q & A session with spokespersons, employees, consumers. Their advice: be in the moment by letting live streaming be a strength for your business to increase trust and loyalty from your audience.

9. Real Time Content. When building out a brand’s content calendar, leave room for real-time posts. Calli Cholodenko of Something Social recommends building out content two weeks in advance but to leave room for “in the moment” content (i.e. if the weather changes). Stick with staying true to the real life, everyday feel so that your content stays authentic to your audience.

10. Think before you boost. Boosting Facebook posts has become the norm, but what if the goal is to get someone to read your latest blog post? Is boosting it for engagement really the right thing to do? According to Andrea Vahl, co-author of Facebook Marketing AIO for Dummies, she recommends only boosting posts that are truly about “likes,” “comments,” and “shares”. Her recommendation is to create an ad funnel for your budget. 20-30% of your budget should be for ”like acquisition” and “boosted posts”, 70% for website clicks and conversions, and 10% for website retargeting and custom audiences.

High-end photography, live video streaming, influencer marketing and Snapchat are all trending social media topics for 2016 as discussed at Social Media Marketing World. Consumers want high quality, real time content and they want it now. Start experimenting and identify the best way to provide value to your customers through these different mediums. So, how will you be incorporating these digital trends into your overall marketing plan?

And if you were at SMMW, what were some of your favorite moments? Please comment below!

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