I attended my first SMX Social Media Marketing conference last week, and was quite impressed with the sessions and overall production of the event (although I wasn’t surprised, SMX always does a fantastic job!). I wanted to share some of the key themes I noticed during the event and some important takeaways. Following are the five key themes from SMX Social Media Marketing Conference 2013.
1. Analytics and Audience Data
I was thrilled to hear nearly every speaker state the importance of creating audience-focused strategies, supported by analytics and data that shows who those people are, what their mindset is, what they are doing online and on social channels, and how you can provide a valuable experience. While many of the sessions were organized around using specific social media channels, the reoccurring theme was to create an overarching strategy for all marketing efforts first, then look to using social media as channels to promote content, build a community and uncover insights.
2. Quality Content
You can’t attend a digital marketing conference these days without hearing “quality content.” And while this is a major buzz terms these days, it’s so for a reason. But quality doesn’t have to mean a high res image or highly produced video. Quality content means that it is useful and valuable to your audience. It’s something fascinating (e.g., GE’s #6secondscience series), something that helps makes their lives easier (e.g., Lowe’s clever stop motions videos on Vine) or simply something entertaining (e.g., Coke’s Sweater Generator Contest).
GE provides fascinating and useful science related content with their #6secondscience campaign.
3. Video & Images
To build on the quality content theme, videos and images were a focus throughout the conference. Visual content is essential for your brand. We can’t say it enough, and neither could the speakers at SMX Social. That’s because images and videos drive the most engagement and sharing on social channels.
One speaker stated that photos performed significantly better on Facebook than videos did. This is contrary to our findings from our Facebook page post study. I don’t know what this person’s sample size was or what verticals these brands were in, however. So this may be the result of the discrepancies.
One interesting statistic I learned: taller images get pinned more. According to research conducted by Dan Zarrella of HubSpot, as image height increases, so do repin numbers.
Followerwonk was mentioned in session after session as a fantastic tool for Twitter insights. It was mentioned so much, in fact, that I would have thought Moz was paying people off had I not mentioned it in my own presentation without prompting or payment (or maybe I’m just the only sucker!).
In all seriousness, Followerwonk is great! It allows you to compare and analyze followers and following of your brand and competitors; identify common topics and gaps; and better understand your current and potential audience. The word clouds created from follower bios is a great feature for better understanding who follows you and competitors, and what they are interested in. This can help guide content development plans be providing insights into their interests.
5. Pay to Play
If you’ve got great content that you’re proud of, why wouldn’t you do everything in your power to get it in front of more people?! To do that, you have to put some money behind it to maximize reach and increase traffic and engagement.
In addition to the expected panels on Facebook and Twitter ads, there was a panel on advertising for Tumblr, Reddit, BuzzFeed, and paid content amplification platforms such as Outbrain and Taboola (we recently discussed how to run Outbrain campaigns on this blog).
Marty Weintraub (Founder, aimClear) has an extremely interesting session on running paid ads to social channels to improve social reach and engagement and impact SEO. He discussed the idea in a recent blog, “Easily Buy SEO Lift and Disrupt Google’s Vaunted Search Algorithm.”
I also learned that LinkedIn has the highest average revenue per unit compared to Facebook and Twitter. This came as a bit of a surprise since our experience with LinkedIn Sponsored Updates and other LinkedIn ad products has proven to be very expensive with little action.
Another key takeaway is that you should be retargeting all paid social traffic through Google Display Network (GDN), especially when it comes to StumbleUpon. Users that click on paid social ads are typically higher in the funnel. However, their click indicates some interest in your brand or your offering and you need to stay top of mind to remain in the running for purchase consideration.
Overall it was a great event and I hope to attend and speak at further SMX Social Media Marketing conferences. Also, if you’d like to see my presentations from the event, I have embedded both below.
Google+: More Than a +1 Trick Pony
How to Increase Findability with Twitter Trends and Tags