11 Most Actionable Takeaways from Social Media Marketing World 2015


Social media marketers from around the globe recently descended on San Diego, Calif. for the annual social media extravaganza known as Social Media Marketing World. With marquis speakers like Mari Smith, Guy Kawasaki and Jay Baer, along with social media leaders from inside the likes of Microsoft, Disney, Whole Foods and Yahoo, there were insights aplenty.

Here are my top takeaways, both big and small, that social marketers can run with, starting today.

1. Automation and real-time are not mutually exclusive. Nicole Pearo Taylor, who does digital and social for Marriott’s Renaissance Hotels brand, said Renaissance’s strategy is to do both: They layer a pre-planned content calendar (e.g., gorgeous property photos) with real-time engagement (e.g., engaging with fans and topical content).

Meanwhile, Microsoft social media manager Rob Wolf said his company intentionally sacrifices some efficiency to ensure they don’t post anything insensitive given breaking news. His advice? If you’re going to automate, just make sure you know how to turn it off, and that your executives do too.

2. The key to global marketing is relying on your local teams. This according to at KLM social media manager Karlijn Vogel-Meijer, in reference to KLM’s infamous sombrero tweet taunting Mexico over its World Cup loss to Holland. Had they gotten feedback from their team on the ground in Mexico, she said, the tweet never would have seen the light of day.

3. To inspire social media advocacy among employees, grow their audience. Martin Jones of Cox Business said his team has a goal of getting every new employee advocate to 1,000 Twitter followers and a Klout score of at least 55. In other words, remember that social media starts with social. It’s no fun by yourself.

4. Need organic Facebook reach? Your employees have it. As few as 3-400 employees can have the same organic reach as a Page with 1 million Facebook fans, Jones pointed out. Smart.

5. The best strategy is doing stuff. Vogel-Meijer hit the nail on the head when she chided marketers to stop agonize over the “right” strategy. “You’re 200% certain to fail at some point. If you’re afraid to make mistakes, don’t go on social,” she said. Amen.

6. Love your legal team. You’re just trying to launch an incredibly innovative and brilliant social campaign, and here comes legal to rain on your parade. If that sounds familiar, it’s time to change your perspective. “Legal, IT and HR—those are the teams I care about most,” said Justin Levy, who heads up global social media at Citrix. He proactively builds relationships with these teams and asks for their feedback. “You need legal to support you if something goes wrong,” he said. Can’t argue with that. 7. Give before you take. “Most Facebook ads suck. Why?” Thus began one of the most compelling sessions of the entire conference, by Facebook marketing strategist Jon Loomer. Because, he answered: Advertisers own all the benefit; they push us to buy when we’re not ready; they’re horribly targeted; they’re all about selling; and they don’t establish trust before asking for the sale. Instead, he said, play the long game: Provide value before asking for the sale. Build trust and long-term relationships. Give before you take. It’s possible, he promised us, to create ads that don’t actually suck—that people will beg to see.

Loomer then presented a case study showing how his $ 3,000 investment with no direct selling led to $ 30,000 in direct sales. He created a series of 12 marketing tips that were only available via Facebook ads. You had to click on each tip (ad) to get the next tip. The series culminated a webinar exclusively for those who had made it all the way through. He found that by focusing on providing helpful, educational, high-quality content that served the reader, his ads were so engaging that he was reaching 75-80% of people organically—and by the end of the experiment, people were begging for his ads.

Of course, it helps that he’s a Facebook marketer marketing on Facebook to other Facebook marketers. But it puts solid numbers behind what we all know in our bones: The best short-term strategy is a long-term strategy.

8. Fix your mobile page load time NOW. Mobile is probably nearing half of your traffic, and an even higher percentage of those coming from social are on mobile. Mobile marketing consultant Greg Hickman shared that 74% of consumers will abandon your website if page doesn’t load on mobile in less than three seconds, and 46% are unlikely to return.

9. Hug your haters. Haters—they’re the bane of the social media managers’ existence, right? Wrong, said digital marketing luminary Jay Baer.

Haters are the canary in the coal mine, the early-warning detection system that lets you know when you have a problem. So treat them like a resource, and remember: How you handle haters is a competitive differentiator.

Research shows that hugging your haters is simply good business:


10. Use Twitter to A/B test headlines for Facebook. Twitter accommodates a lot of volume, pointed out Microsoft’s Rob Wolf. A down and dirty way to A/B test your headlines is to post different versions on Twitter, and then use the winner on Facebook. This was just one of many pithy points Wolf made. He tweeted his deck after the show:

11. If a social media influencer asks for a pickle, give the social media influencer a pickle. Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego FTW:

Readers: Do you want to attend a future Social Media Marketing World event?

Image courtesy of Social Media Examiner on Facebook.

Rachel Globus is the senior social media strategist for San Diego’s ABC 10News, which is owned by The E.W. Scripps Company. She was previously the social media content manager for U.S. top 20 site eHow.com. Follow her on facebook.com/rglobus or Twitter:@mediajunkette

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