Last week, I attended Social Media Marketing World in San Diego for the first time. If you’ve never been, but you’re in the social media business, I highly suggest you attend next year (I already got my ticket). There were vendors, attendees from every industry, and incredibly inspiring speakers. Additionally, no one was judging you as you walked around, live streaming your entire experience, with your hand held out in front of your face. You can find more information at Social Media Examiner.
On to the important stuff. There were SO many beneficial sessions I attended, but I’m going to break it down into the five largest takeaways from the conference. First, here’s the list of sessions I attended:
- Artificial Intelligence – How It’s Changing Marketing at Google and Beyond [Mike Rhodes]
- How to Make Visual Content your Social Media Secret Weapon [Rebekah Radice]
- Magic Words: The Art of Using Persuasion, Psychology, and Nuance in Your Copy [Mike Kim]
- Social Media Marketing for Local Businesses: What Works Today [Bruce Irving]
- How to Create Ads that Convert: The Anatomy of a Perfect Facebook Ad [Nicholas Kusmich]
- How to Create Profitable Alignment Between Social Marketing and Social Selling [Erin Gargan King]
- How to Create an Influencer Marketing Strategy that Generates Results [Neal Schaffer]
- Advanced Twitter Marketing Strategies [Shelita Burke]
- How to Develop Your Monthly Twitter Plan in a Morning [Nicky Kriel]
- How to Network and Build Your Authority on Twitter [Chris Strubb]
#5 – Categories, Categories, Categories
When you’re developing your social media strategy, it’s important to make sure your content falls into the categories you put in place. Without categories, your posting strategy won’t make sense, and your followers won’t know to check your social media for that day-specific content (i.e. Motivational Monday). Additionally, it’ll be must easier for you to create content when you have categories in place.
Examples of categories:
- Products and services
- Community/charity work
Consumers are changing, and they’re requiring much more transparency in businesses than they needed five years ago. They trust companies based on their level of transparency, which is why they appreciate it and trust companies that publish behind-the-scenes content – it allows them to get to know you. When consumers feel like they know you, they’ll trust you and invest in your products. Additionally, with consumers becoming more conscientious about society and the environment, it’s important to post about your company’s community efforts to show consumers that you care about the community they live in.
People buy from people, not companies.
#4 – Instagram Best Practices
Instagram is one of the strongest community-building tools for your brand, and traffic from Instagram has lower bounce rates than all other social media platforms. Additionally, it has some of the highest engagement rates for all social media platforms.
5 Key Factors in Your Profile
- Name and Username
- Profile Photo
- Contact Info
These factors are your first impression selling point. People visit your profile, generally, one time, and they choose to follow you based on your profile information.
If you’re tracking your URL clicks, it’s important to track using bit.ly. That way, you can keep your link the same, even if the destination is different. Your bio should be descriptive, entertaining, educational, informative, and valuable. It should also include a CTA, such as “follow us for industry-related news!”
Call-to-Action Buttons (CTAs)
These buttons help you create conversations within Instagram. You can create buttons for users to call, text, email, get directions, get reservations, get tickets, book you, or begin an order. These buttons also track important analytics.
Less content and better content. It’s not enough now to simply create content and push it out.
#3 – Writing the Perfect Facebook Ad
Figuring out the perfect Facebook ad that brings in conversions is a difficult thing, especially if the client is new, and you don’t know their audience well. You’ll find yourself hoping and guessing, and your client will spend a small fortune on spam leads.
Ad Photo Usage
These days, consumers don’t respond to stock images – they don’t evoke emotion. When you’re choosing images, make sure you ask yourself this question: “If I’m not allowed to use a caption with this image, and the image itself needs to create the conversion, will it do that?” If the answer is no, you need to find a different image.
It’s also important to create images that do not have text. Be as native as possible, and be as social as possible. Photos with text scream “this is an ad,” and consumers respond to ads that are as personable as possible.
The Formula for the Perfect Ad
- Start with a question [to draw your audience in]
- “Are you someone constantly looking for more time in your day?”
- Build rapport
- Create a connection – “I know how you feel.”
- Time sensitivity
- Create a sense of urgency – “This week, I am giving away…”
- The offer
- Call to action
- “Click here to register.”
- Scrambled URL
- This directs consumers to the article or product, rather than your website to get lost within the different pages
- Engaging photo
- Your image needs to tell a story and evoke emotion
- Name the offer in the headline
- “[FREE —-]”
- Supporting benefit (link description)
- Display link
#2 – The Importance of Branding
It’s proven that branded visual content drives engagement and stimulates online growth. It should ignite, inspire, and move us. However, your online brand needs to cater to your audience. What is your audience engaging with and sharing? How can you take that information and translate it into your own brand?
When you’re creating your visual identity, keep these items in mind:
- Color (certain colors evoke different emotions)
- Positioning (understand your purpose and tie that to your passion to articulate who you are and how you can help)
- Story (your story is the glue that binds and connects your mission, vision, values, and purpose)
- Graphics (your colors, fonts, personality, positioning, and story are infused into your visual style)
Your job is to create an experience, not just sell a product or service. NEVER post content for the sake of posting content. Think about how every piece of visual content will make your audience feel, and tie it to specific and measurable results.
#1 – The Customer is the Marketer
Today, consumers don’t want to be talked at or sold to. Consumers want to make decisions that make them feel like they’re included. They want to feel like they are a part of a movement or doing their job in society. People crave attention, and they crave validation. That’s why they go crazy when big brands or celebrities “like” their content or retweet them. That’s why “tagging” is a feature across all platforms. When consumers are a part of a company’s branding, the brand is stronger, and the brand becomes more trustworthy to potential new consumers.
Take a look at this video, created by The North Face for their 50th anniversary. They used consumers as their subjects, instead of their products. They took the consumer, related to them, and turned them into the hero. If your content doesn’t revolve around your consumers and making them the hero, you need to revisit your marketing strategy and brand’s mission statement.