Top 5 Highlights of Social Media Week in Austin

IMI employees, Kelsey and Danielle, attending Social Media Week in Austin

Social Media Week (SMW) is one of the world’s premier conferences and industry news platforms for professionals in media, marketing, and technology.  The conferences are hosted in 25+ cities globally, with 75,000 attendees, 10,000 speakers and a global reach of 600 million. Earlier this year, two of our IMI team members had the opportunity to attend SMW in Austin, Texas while on a visit with our partner and account management team at Facebook. Check out their top five highlights from the three-day social media event, below!

1. The Power of Insta-Storytelling

One of the most memorable quotes from #SMWATX came from Meredith Gonsalves, the Global Social Media Manager & Educator for Deloitte, who said, “Your feed is the outcome. Your story is the how come.” With Instagram story content consumption up 842% from early 2016, stories are one of the most powerful ways to engage with users on social. More users are interested in how something occurred than the picture perfect result, live on a brand’s feed. The example Gonsalves used was “Life at Deloitte” takeover stories which they had employees from all over the globe participate in. These stories gave a behind-the-scenes look of what each office was like, what the employees’ typical day looks like, and what employees enjoy most about working at Deloitte. It was a fun way to give the brand its own personalized touch. After launching the “Life at Deloitte” Instagram series, they were able to grow their Life at Deloitte Instagram channel following by 225%.  

Since the SMW conference, we’ve noticed certain brands and influencers using this personalized approach more and more, such as lifestyle blogger, Sivan Ayla. Ayla went on her Instagram story and had users follow her on a wild goose chase to find an egg chair (pun intended) at Target. After countless Target runs to stores that said the chair was in stock, but wasn’t, she was finally able to get her dream egg chair, which she then mentioned in her feed here. This post led to a significant increase in engagement from users who were cheering her on for finally landing her dream chair after following along on her Instagram story adventures.

After seeing the success of these Instagram story examples, we’re excited to test out more remarketing efforts via our Instagram and Facebook stories. Both platforms allow users the option to retarget users based on certain videos watched, including Facebook and Instagram Live videos. We’re eager to see how IMI campaigns perform for certain clients given the increased visibility to engaged users.

2. The Countless Fyre Festival Mentions

Did you really attend a social media conference if Fyre Festival wasn’t mentioned? Known as one of the largest scams of all time, Fyre Festival promised festival-goers a luxury music festival experience in the Bahamas but what they really received was mass chaos. The main reason so many festival-goers decided to spend thousands of dollars on this brand new festival was due to the promises backed up by influencers such as Hailey Baldwin, Emily Ratajkowski, Bella Hadid, and most notably, Kendall Jenner. The reason so many people bought into this festival? None of the influencers mentioned the festival was promoted, but rather implied they would be in attendance.

#SMWATX speakers, Kristin Sheppard, Founder & Creative Director of Giant Squid Media, and Corrin Foster, Director of Marketing & Branding at Greenleaf Book Group, went into detail explaining the process of launching successful influencer campaigns in order to avoid your own Fyre Failure. First, you must identify your value – what exactly are you bringing to the table and why should people be interested in your product/service? The next most important step is building up your reputation. In order to do so, you have to build trust with the social media followers you have and from there you’ll continue to grow your audience. In order to help jumpstart this audience growth, that’s when brands typically start reaching out to influencers. However, prior to any influencer payment, there must be a disclosure agreement signed – this is key. It doesn’t matter if you include #ad, #sponsored or thank you @sponsor, as long as it’s included in the post. Simply mentioning the partner via a hashtag does not count as an official sponsored post mandated by the FTC.

Sheppard and Foster’s session was a great refresh on what exactly constitutes as an approved influencer post mandated by the FTC and they gave some additional great tips on what else we can monetize for our clients. We’re excited to try out some of these additional fresh ideas in the coming months.

3. PB&J, Milk & Cookies, Organic & Paid

Some things are better together, and there was a strong emphasis on the power of organic and social media at #SMWATX. Our agency already does a great job of working with our organic team regarding our overall social media strategy, but it was great to hear some of the different ways speakers are doing so at their own agencies.

One of the speakers at #SMWATX, Rachel Pederson, Founder of Social Media United, gave an example of the power of organic and paid together regarding a YouTube video she posted for Chris Beat Cancer. Organically, the post did amazing on its own and received 1.4 million views in only 48 hours. However, once the video was boosted on Facebook with $2K in ad spend, it generated $4.5K in revenue (2.3X ROAS).

One of our favorite speakers at the event, Robynne Trifiletti, Marketing Manager at WeWork, spoke mostly about the power of leveraging live event coverage for your social channels. One of the main things she mentioned was to look for the FOMO during the event in order to get users to continue to keep up with all your content and increase engagement. This got our team thinking about how to leverage the FOMO as well, and are looking to test this strategy out with some of our clients in teasing out the FOMO aspects of certain events, products, etc. via paid ads in order to help build awareness and generate a more engaged audience.

4. #FOMOFactory

Speaking of FOMO, all week at #SMWATX, we heard about the power of FOMO. There were a few sessions that explained how to engage users by having them consistently scroll through content hoping they were also there. It was inspiring to see that whole concept come to life at social media week, who held their very own #FOMOFactory. The conference held a cute Instagrammable pop-up exhibit that enticed conference-goers to take photos and share on their own feed thus inducing FOMO to their followers. It was cool to see what a good portion of the speakers had been mentioning in their panels come to life at the conference.

5. Visiting Austin

Both first-timers in Austin, we couldn’t have asked for a better trip! Not only did we learn a lot at #SMWATX, but we also were able to visit the Facebook office which was AMAZING (there’s an entire taco bar – need we say more?) and had some great brainstorming sessions with our Facebook reps. From Rainey Street to live music to La Barbecue brisket, we were able to fit in a lot of exploring in between sessions and are looking forward to another trip back!

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