So, I did a thing. I treated myself to a conference just because. I've definitely put in my share of time at conferences. I’ve been to conferences for rural municipality co-op utilities, I’ve been to the biggest conference for consumer electronics, I’ve been to conferences for telecommunications and conferences for flooring. I’ve planned events and session content for conferences I’ve been a part of over the years. And, for the record, I do love a conference. But until last week, I had never been to a conference that I picked and attended solely for the purpose of learning something for myself. And I did the thing. And it was incredible.
Since I’ve somewhat accidentally entered this social media arena, I’ve watched and learned and attended online events to soak up everything I can. Because, you see, I’ve never taken an actual class at a school about anything related to social media. And that’s because Facebook started my senior year of college. But I’ve watched and followed Social Media Examiner and have seen how they have beautifully navigated this social media thing and have positioned themselves as the resource for social media marketers. And, when I found out they put on a conference, I put it on my bucket list to go.
Last week, I spent seven whole days in San Diego with my husband and son. We did the zoo, we did the safari park, we did Sea World, and when all that fun was over, I attended Social Media Marketing World 2019. (In retrospect, I probably would have reversed the week to have done the conference first…brain exhaustion x’s 10). The only thing I didn't love about the conference was that there was SO much to learn that I literally had anxiety choosing which sessions to go to because, at any given time, there were at least four I wanted to attend. Thankfully, Social Media Marketing World has their attendees covered, and every few days, I’m getting emails saying a few more sessions are uploaded and ready to view. So, I get to rewatch the ones I attended and watch the ones I missed.
Even though I didn’t get to catch them all, I learned a lot about local business, more than I expected to learn about Facebook, and I feel like I can now rock content creation like no one’s business. I’ve narrowed down my top five learnings here. Feel free to message me, or DM me on Instagram (@thesmalltowncreative) if you want to chat more about it. I HIGHLY encourage anyone who is a social media marketer for their business to attend next year.
When you start to write content, give yourself focus and format. How often do we feel stuck trying to create content for our business? ALL. THE. TIME. Well, Melanie Deziel is basically a genius who helps equip content creators create confines and a framework to develop content. She owns Storyfuel and gave an awesome presentation about how to quickly come up with 100 content ideas using her Focus X Format method. This method basically involves everything you can FOCUS on (ie. products, testimonials, historical information, features, overviews, deep dives and DIYs) and multiplies them by all the ways you can FORMAT them (written, audio, info graphics, roundup, e-book, etc.). And she basically debunked the myth that anyone at any business could have about “not having anything to write.” I’ll never say that again after I realized that there’s ALWAYS something to say using her methodology.
If you’re overseeing marketing for a consumer brand and influencers aren’t a part of your marketing strategy, they need to be. Social media should be about collaboration and authenticity. And social influencers are the new “word of mouth,” which has historically carried brands WAY farther than paid advertising. So, get you a budget for influencers if you haven’t already. Obviously, there’s a lot that goes into influencer strategy, but statistically, they’re getting about 6x’s return on spend because authenticity sells, so it’s definitely something you want to start thinking about and working on in your business. Also, when it comes to influencers, KNOW YOUR OBJECTIVES and focus on verifiable activities so you’re sure you know the success of their work. This is super important in influencer work. This presentation was by Neal Shaffer, and this dude really knows his stuff.
If you want your Facebook post to go a little further, put $5 behind it. I mean, this isn’t exactly what she said, but Mari Smith , a Facebook genius, gave a keynote one morning about where Facebook is going. And it’s true, only 1-6% of what brands post on social is getting seen. So, one way to combat that is to put a little money behind it. Even just a little boost or small investment in a campaign, even after turned off, will catch the Facebook algorithm’s attention enough to keep your post getting seen by more folks. Who knew!?!?
AMMMYYYY PORTERFIELDDDDDDD. That’ all.
Okay just kidding, this is really number four. Amy Porterfield was as relatable, smart and fun as I anticipated. She rocked a session about using live video and how to get comfortable as an entrepreneur or as the face of a business using live video. My biggest takeaway here was that showing up consistently is more important than doing it perfectly. And that showing up just to doodle around isn’t good. When you show up on live video, show up and have something valuable to offer your audience. And show up the same time next week. Let them know you’ll be showing up. And eventually, you’ll have yourself a following that is LISTENING to what you have to say. This session may have seemed to apply more to entrepreneurs than big businesses or corporations, but if you can get any brand to have personal interaction with their followers, it definitely still applies. FIGHT FOR LIVE VIDEO for your brands because it’s one of the few things that’s really making a difference out there.
This is really five, obvs. Instagram stories. Ohhhh Instagram stories…… Well, Tyler McCall showed up and showed out talking about Instagram stories. He shared the simple but oh so important reminder that, as a business, we need our IG stories to have intention and action. We need to do what the traditional stories do with our IG stores and…guess what??? TELL A STORY!! This means beginning, middle and end. Using Instagram stories to tell stories is powerful, engages your audience and carries your followers with you in a personal and real way.
In addition to all of this, my general takeaways were that Facebook is changing, IG stories are the bomb, video is 100% a necessary part of your marketing strategy and chat bots and DM’s are the next wave of communication for brands, so get on the personal bandwagon because that’s where you’re going to see better results with your marketing budget.
With that said, I’m taking off to let my brain rest from this recap because I’m still kind of halfway in brain explosion mode. Please feel free to find me on Instagram at @thesmalltowncreative to chat about these in more detail!