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Key Takeaways from Social Media Marketing World 2017

Posted: 25th April 2017

Any excuse to visit San Diego in the springtime is a good one, but attending the Social Media Marketing World event to top up on your knowledge from expert industry speakers from all around the world is undeniably better than most!

If you follow THW Marketing on social media, you’ll know that our leading lady, Teresa, took one for the team and has since shared some of her key takeaways from the event on Facebook Live, and of course, Twitter.

Held over the course of 3 days, the event delivered first class keynotes, workshops, table talks and panel discussions, so there’s a lot of information to absorb.

Looking back over the notes that were energetically jotted down throughout the event to avoid missing a thing, we’d now like to take a little less condensed approach in sharing our learnings with you…

So, let’s take a look at the six most practical and prominent points from SMMW17, shall we?

Twitter has more than a little life left

Social Media coach Madalyn Sklar gave a great talk about the influence of Twitter for forming real relationships, emphasising that it still a amazing connection tool if used for engagement and not solely broadcasting or promoting. And the awesome Ian Anderson Grey reinforced this in his session, by disclosing that Twitter is still the main source of his blog traffic.

Madalyn went on to share her secret sauce for Twitter – 6 simple steps to running your account like a pro, as follows:

  1. Tweet everyday – minimum 3x/ day (schedule using Buffer or Hootsuite
  2. Participate in Twitter chats
  3. Go through notifications & respond to everything
  4. Use Advanced Twitter Search
  5. Use Twitter list
  6. Engage. Engage.

She accompanied the how’s with the why’s by going on to speak all about the benefits of participating in Twitter chats. Most notably – the ability to grow your visibility, showcase your expertise and learn valuable information from others.

Her #TwitterSmarter chat is well worth joining and takes place every Thursday at 1p.m EST (that’s Friday at 5pm GMT, for those in the UK).

Take notice of Facebook’s Algorithm Updates

Mike Stelzner, who surely needs no introduction, was determined to stress the importance of the algorithm in his opening keynote, and boy did he do a good job of it! The entire room was feeding off his every word, eager to find answers to the decline of organic reach and understand the changes to News Feed rankings.

As the hottest topic of the entire conference, we’ve produced and published a post detailing the quintessential need-to-knows – like how Live Video is being classed as a new content type and Engagement is now King. Read it here: [insert link]

Or for the sake of ease, see it in a snippet:

  • Live Video takes priority in News Feed – utilise it
  • New Signals introduced – to detect fake news/spam
  • Less is more – ensure quality over quantity
  • Avoid YouTube links – always use native video
  • Engagement is everything ­– put it above content.

Headlines are critical

Headlines are a part of every Marketers history, but SMMW17 reminded us that their importance is often overlooked, as we devote more and more of our attention elsewhere.

Heidi Cohen believes we all need to get back to basics – disassociating ourselves from clickbait by communicating real benefits. She said that it’s still important to create a sense of urgency to intrigue the reader but equally we should be looking to prove value.

BuzzSumo is a handy headline analyser for those a little lost, able to insights to what’s currently working in your industry. In addition, there’s CoSchedule’s Headline Analyser, which helps you write headlines that drive traffic, shares and search results.

Our advice is to try and think like your target audience. Consider what makes them tick, the language they use and how they interact online. Be clear, clever and creative – or if you can’t be all three, make sure you’ve nailed at least one!

Live Video builds reach & authority  

Facebook posts are no longer related to the time that they are posted, but Live Video’s are. The News Feed will prioritise videos that are Live, while they are Live. Unlike Snapchat, Facebook Live Videos don’t disappear when they end and therefore attract audiences well after the initial broadcast. That being said, they still encourage a sense of urgency – people fear missing out on the ‘moment’.

The advice from Facebook on Live Videos is to greet viewers by name, directly ask for likes and openly request shares. This means you can encourage the right actions from you fans and followers, and extend your organic reach through them. The more Live Videos you create, the more likely you are to dominate the News Feed.

You’ve got to pay for privileges

Yes, sadly you did read that right. It’s not our favourite finding from the day but it is also not all that much of a surprise…

Organic reach has been dying for some time and with 92% of marketers now regularly using Facebook Ads, we’ve reached the end of the road. Paid social is now said to be your fast pass – Neal Schaffer put it perfectly when he said, “paid social is the equivalent of a fast pass at Disney. Organic can be slow, and if you want to jump the queue, you need to pay for the privilege.”

Thankfully, Mike Stelzner came through with a solution to this, stating that the key is to use ads effectively. There’s hope for us yet!

Quick fixes are a lie!

The most rewarding element of the event was affirmation that no one is born a Social Media ‘Guru’. And more importantly, no one can remain an expert if they fail to keep on top of the times.

Being amongst likeminded people, all of whom have taken time to hone their skills and build their reputation, was reassuring. Sometimes in a world of comparison and competition, you can lose site of the fact that we are all ultimately equal.

Mark Schaefer highlighted this by presenting a unique breakdown of things everyone does to become known. They were: Picking a position, honing your niche, sourcing and cultivating rich content and targeting an actionable audience.

His new book, Known, covers all this and more in greater detail, providing practical advice on how to build your personal brand and become an industry influencer.

We’ve already booked tickets for next year, so Social Media Marketing World 2018 will see two of the THW team in attendance! Will you be there?

Have you learned anything from this article or #SMMW17 that you’d like to share? Tweet your thoughts to the team @thwmarketing or Teresa @theathwareing.