Lessons From Social Media Day 2017

A few weeks ago, REQ's Executive Vice President Lisa Throckmorton and I had the pleasure of attending Slice Communication’s Social Media Day conference in Philly. Mashable launched Social Media Day in 2010 as a way to recognize and celebrate social media’s impact on global communication, both from a personal and business perspective.

This year’s Social Media Day in Philly centered on a few key themes that I’ll discuss below.

Cutting through the noise.

Take a moment to stop and think about the evolution of social media just from 2010. It’s pretty incredible. From Facebook’s IPO to the rise and fall of various platforms – Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram, Quroa, Periscope, Vine, and so many more.

With so many brands on numerous social channels these days, there is a lot of noise. Twitter is moving a mile a minute and attention spans are at an all time low. One speaker noted that a gold fish has a longer attention span than most humans do at this point. That’s pretty bad.

But with that said, how are you going to hook your audience? You can’t rely on a machine churning out posts and tweets. You need to understand what your audience cares about and how to make the connection.

Creating quality content.

One way to do that is through high quality content. Ben Blakesley, social media marketing leader at Reebok, opened the day with a keynote session on this topic.

As Blakesley explained, when marketers initially began to engage with customers through social media, they were concerned with the numbers – number of followers, number of likes, retweets, and so on. But what does that mean? What value is that giving? Anyone can put a picture of a pig riding a motorcycle in sunglasses and get a ton of likes, retweets, laughs, etc. But what does that really do for you as a marketer? Not much.

Blakesley suggested flipping the conversation by not focusing solely on the vanity numbers. Take a deeper dive into the analytics. Ask which posts are performing well, then figure out why they seem to be connecting. Is it the time of day? Type of content? Are there images or links that are resonating better? Who exactly is engaging with the content – are they your target demographic? What do you know about them? What are you doing to convert them into leads?

These are the metrics that matter to your business’ bottom line and this is where you, as a marketer, should be spending your time.

Make an impact.

Slice Communications’ Kelly Galloway noted in her Flash Talk that you can have a meaningful impact on your followers regardless of your brand’s level of recognition. By taking the time to create quality, meaningful content that your followers care about, you’ll see traction in engagement. Spend the time getting to know and interacting with those who are following your brand even if the total numbers are smaller than competitors.

If you have a business that is largely about the service you provide, social media can be an important domain for you. As we’ve learned through many consumer brand fiascos (airlines, I’m looking at you), disgruntled customers go straight to social media to air their grievances. Having a strong communication plan that puts quality customer service at the forefront can have an enormous impact on the success of your brand’s reputation.

Create unique messages for different platforms.

Now that you have a plan in place to understand your audience, and are creating quality content that will make an impact for your business, it’s important to consider how you’re communicating that content to your target audiences.

Mashable’s MJ Franklin and Twitter’s Sean Lauer discussed how posting the exact same message on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, at the exact same time, does nothing for your brand. Each platform has a slightly different way in which users engage with content and brands. Really understanding how your target audience interacts through Twitter versus Facebook will help you to draft posts that resonate with each platform’s followers.

In addition, Franklin and Lauer outlined how understanding the ways in which each platform ranks or pushes out content can go a long way. For instance, posts with images or video tend to get moved to the top of a user’s feeds. Autoplay videos that are 30-60 seconds long work well on Facebook, but only if you can capture the audience in the first few seconds as they scroll through their feed Also, remember that most users have sound off on their phones or computers, so it’s important to be able to capture their attention in the way users are natively using their devices.

Taking the time to craft unique messages for each platform will increase the quality of your content and (and overall) engagement with users across all channels.

Takeaway

Throughout the day, there were a lot of great sessions that made you think about your own practices. While none of the concepts were earth shattering, they did serve as useful reminders for marketers to take a few steps back and look at the overall picture. Make sure that actions are dialing back up to company goals and you’re connecting with your target audiences in ways they prefer. It’s not about how many likes or followers you gain, it’s about the quality of those engagements and how they’re funneling through to the larger company goals – leads, awareness, ambassadors, etc.

As you take a look at your own social programs, ask yourself — are you really meeting company goals aside from the usual KPI metrics? And if there are any other social media tips you feel are worth highlighting, please share in the comments below.