Six insights from Social Media Week 2015 to supercharge your digital marketing

The 2015 Social Media Week conference boasted a full house of energetic attendees and an impressive selection of enlightening panels and talks from digital marketing industry luminaries.

While the people impressed, it was the secrets they shared that made the strongest impression on all of us at TBH Creative who got to attend. Here’s a summary of strategic insights from the best presentations.

Insight #1: Cheap + fast = Good enough to go.

Gone are the days of “cheap, fast, or good … pick two.” It’s not the big that eat the little anymore but the fast that eat the slow. The most successful companies think disruptively and discontinuously.

Put it into practice—

Don’t just repeat what others have done and be bound by their limitations. Trade-offs are a failure of creativity. Don’t be afraid to take strategic risks. Have a goal, and it will make the whole process easier.

Plus: Use your time strategically. Create once, customize, and then publish everywhere!

Insight #2: Make friends, not ads.

Social media is more about being the voice of a brand than being a channel for public relations.

Put it into practice—

70% of brands do not personalize their messaging. Knowing your audience means knowing what they want to see. Create the best posts by understanding your audience’s needs and motivations, then find their voice and use the language that they use.

Be where your users are, and spend your time there, especially if you’re small. Succeeding in digital marketing requires engaging across multiple social media platforms, but not every platform.

Plus, don’t forget: Putting money behind a piece of content that isn’t performing won’t make it better.

Insight #3: Make connections. Create loyalty.

Interacting day in and day out makes a difference when it comes to building a relationship with your audience. Interacting is a key way to repay their trust for following you.

Put it into practice—

Get out there and meet your influencers. Interaction helps create a larger conversation. Be more conversational. Make connections. Authentic, organic, and real are the qualities of messages that your audience will trust.

Plus, take note: A quick turnaround with responses makes all the difference.

Insight #4: Measurement is just the start.

It’s not the end. Be nimble. Stop and pay attention. Data should prompt you to ask questions (and ask better questions) about what you’re doing and why. When thinking about social intelligence, always consider: “Is this the right thing to be doing?”

Mini case study—

In its advertising campaigns, Corona used to only feature beaches and beach imagery, but after their marketing team took a deep dive into their analytics, they noticed that customer photos their product showed that it was regularly served at BBQs and that it was often being drunk by women. Noticing this trend, they changed their ads to reflect their actual customers and sales went way up.

For Facebook digital marketing inspiration, watch Coca-Cola and Mercedes-Benz. They are both some of the best big marketers in the social industry. Also, check out Think Geek. They are great on social for a small niche group. Especially pay attention to their Facebook calls to action.

Plus: For Google+ inspiration, watch Victoria’s Secret. For Instagram ideas, follow State Farm and Citi. For Pinterest examples, check out Crest and Cadbury.

Insight #5: Create “relentless relevance” for your customers.

Listening used to be enough, but not anymore. Interacting day-in and day-out makes a difference when it comes to building a relationship with your audience. Interaction helps create a larger conversation. Be more conversational. Make connections. Over time, all of these little gestures build up to more. Interacting is a key way to repay their trust for following you.

Put it into practice—

Get out there and meet your influencers. Embrace organic hashtags (see #wearegood for a recent audience-created hashtag campaign success story) and help your audience amplify them. Plus, remember: Millennials want to share good news. Whenever possible, go away from straight PR speak and give them positive things to “like,” retweet, and share.

Insight #6: Utilize your employees.

Employees having a voice is a new phenomenon. Use them to help talk about content and to share on social media. Encourage them to engage and have good conversations. This will help build your brand.

Put it into practice—

Your employees are often your best influencers, but don’t get started without a social media guidelines doc. An important first step is to train employees on what’s appropriate.

Teach them to stop, slow down, and think of how their posts will reflect on the company. If they’re not perfect, it’s okay. Sometimes a less than polished post from an employee will have more impact than an official message. We all know what’s fake. A post might be perfect by being “imperfect.”

If employees are sharing about your company, amplify their posts by resharing on the branded channel to add reach and influence.

Employees are also a better way to combat negative messages. They can help with the push back on negativity as they typically have more credibility than a branded channel account.

Plus, keep in mind: Your employees had better be fans of your company—or else you have bigger problems! If they aren’t participating, ask why they aren’t posting and what you could provide as an incentive for them to do so? Make it fun. Have challenges.

Tap into what makes them passionate about your company, but don’t build an “army” and forget about them. They’ll be reluctant to help over and over if you use them once and never give them a gift. Even a simple thank you means a lot. Let them know how their interactions have helped.

How do you plan to leverage the power of social media to supercharge your digital marketing? If you’re looking for help creating an online marketing strategy, TBH Creative is here for you. With our wide range of services and years of expertise, we can help you develop a plan to make this year a successful one for your company.
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Joy Olivia Miller

About the author | Joy Olivia Miller

Joy is the creative director at TBH Creative and uses her expertise to help clients use their online communications to build, design, and manage their brands. She likes to blog about content marketing in all its forms, the latest trends in digital marketing, and share tools with readers.

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