With its cacti and an endless supply of Tex-Mex tacos, Austin, Texas provided a wonderful, late February backdrop for the annual Social Media Week Austin Conference. Three days of immersive content from industry thought leaders, experts, and practitioners left my brain bursting with ideas, while also feeling slightly overwhelmed with all the insight. We tackled topics like SEO, visual content marketing, analytics, and so much more.
Here’s a look at my three key social media takeaways from the conference:
1. Growing your brand starts with community
A community is the backbone of human interactions. We have more ways to engage with each other than ever before, so it’s vital to connect with your customers authentically.
A great example is Bumble, a social and dating app that aims to help people find love, find friends, and find better networking opportunities. Bumble grew because it let its community shape its brand. Bumble Bizz and Bumble BFF developed because the company created an environment where its users felt like they belonged. The company recognized it couldn’t please everyone, so it focused in on a niche and identified other opportunities around one of its core slogans: Bee Kind. Ultimately, Bumble recognized if it didn’t stand for something, then nobody in its community would feel like they belonged.
Many other presenters reinforced the idea that having a great brand only works because of their clients. Consistency in everything your company puts out into the market is important and understanding how you want to be portrayed and how you want to make your customers feel is vital to your success. Providing that unique value that no one else does gets people to invest, and ultimately, helps you grow your company.
2. Content, content, and more content
In every single session I attended, presenters discussed the need for lots of content. Not just any content, but thoughtful, engaging, quality content that connects and attracts your clients. We often talk on our blog about why knowing who you’re creating content for is important and that always will ring true. Equally as important is letting your audience inform your content with three main ideas in mind: utility, relatability, and entertainment.
- Utility: Create content that is useful and relevant to your clients’ interests.
- Entertainment: People want to be entertained. Be dramatic. Be bold. Be funny. Whatever you do, try to make your clients feel something. It can be in the delivery of your content or through the content itself.
- Relatability: Find that connection that makes people empathize with your product or service. Don’t just tell your client that your service is great. Show them why.
The Holy Grail = getting all three into your content.
Finding enough content variety and volume can be difficult. User generated content is on the rise. One presenter said that 86% of millennials consider it to be a key indicator in the quality of the brand, while 93% of consumers find it helpful in making a decision.
Some tips to help get you on the right track with content production include:
- Get yourself a content strategy and schedule. Trust us.
- Aim for 80% of your published content to be original, curated, or repurposed. The remainder can be relevant third-party or PR content.
- Think about how you want to grow your content inventory. This could be a welcome email when someone registers for your enewsletter or a thank you email once they purchase an item or service.
- Create content that promotes sharing on social media. Share your helpful tips, tricks, and avoid all-sales pitch talk. Infographics are magical.
3. Stay up on the trends
Social media marketing is affordable, malleable, and measurable. This means there’s plenty of room to experiment with the constant evolution of technology and shifting consumer priorities.
Some hot trends and info to keep in mind:
- Facebook is still king, but that shifting algorithm change means your company’s going to have to change too.
- Instagram is on the rise and businesses need to get ‘gramming ASAP with consistent style.
- Video is the most popular type of content with live videos dominating over pre-recorded ones.
- Social messaging has surpassed social usage.
- Gen Z is two to three times more likely to be influenced by social media than by sales or discounts. They are the only generation to value social media over price when it comes to making purchasing decisions.
- Visual, visual, and more visual is always a good idea when it comes to content.
Time to invest in social
There was so much more to learn at the conference, but these three takeaways seemed to be displayed in every session I attended. It’s an exciting time for social media and the future is bright. Not every platform may be right for your company, but it’s time to get onboard with social if you aren’t already.
We understand that your business’s budget may not let you tackle all the items mentioned above, but there’s a lot you can do with very little. The free apps and information to get you started is vast compared to a few years ago. All you need is some time to sit down, hash out your goals, and develop a game plan.
If you need guidance or are feeling overwhelmed, you can give us a call. We can help the process go a lot smoother and get you where you need to be.