#SMWNYC: Top 10 Takeaways from Social Media Week

#SMWNYC: Top 10 Takeaways from Social Media Week

If you’ve been keeping up with our blog or social media accounts, you know that we had the opportunity to travel to the Big Apple to attend Social Media Week 2016, also known as #SMWNYC. 

digital marketing agency | Speak Creative

We sat it on sessions, workshops and panels featuring industry leaders from social platforms, respected agencies, media-savvy brands and national and international publishing companies. We took a lot of notes and pictures and soaked it all in for the benefit of our clients, and now we want to share with you our top 10 takeaways from this incredible conference.

1. “While social has changed, the things people like to share really haven't.” - Buzzfeed

Yummy looking food, cute animals, nostalgia...these are all topics that have “worked” over and over again on social media. Maybe your brand has a different tone than Buzzfeed and puppies won’t really get your message across, but the same principle applies.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel just for the sake of doing it.

Think about the topics your audience has traditionally liked, and just put a new spin on them to freshen them up. For instance, make an article that performed really well into an infographic. Likewise, if something works really well on one of your platforms, think about how you can adapt it to your other platforms too. Good content is good content, it just needs to be presented differently based on the characteristics of the social platform and its respective audience.

2. You have to go meet your audience where they are.

You can’t expect the audience you’re trying to reach to make the extra effort to seek you out on a certain media platform that you continue using just because it’s most convenient for you. According to Sports Media Challenge CEO Kathleen Hessert, Pope Francis actually presented that idea to the Vatican, who took action by teaming up with her on the “Pope is Hope” campaign during Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S.

Having worked with sports and entertainment clients ranging from Peyton Manning to The Rockettes, Hessert and her team decided to form a digital street team of tech-savvy millennials to follow the Pope in various cities and spread the #GoodIsWinning message where their peers are everyday: on social platforms like Snapchat and Instagram.

Cue the Pope emojis, gifs and memes that made the Holy Father’s visit to the U.S. historic in every sense of the word, beyond what any of us would’ve imagined!

3. Data and gut can work together in social media.

Data is undoubtedly important in making many business decisions, including what to post on social media and how to present your content. But sometimes data doesn’t flat out tell you what to do and you just have to go with your gut. This was one of the main points discussed by a panel of Hearst Digital Media representatives, including online editors of Seventeen, Harper’s Bazaar and Delish.

If you know enough about your audience already, you should have a good sense of what they would like to see and engage with, and that can be a sufficient “tie-breaker” when data doesn’t make it obvious which path to take.

If you don’t get enough of a reaction from your audience as you thought you would, that’s what A/B testing is for. You can go back and change your wording or your imagery, and you can make note of this situation to inform future posting decisions.

4. Likes aren’t always as telling as engagement (comments, actions, shares).

It takes a little effort for someone to double tap your photo as they scroll through their Instagram feed, but it takes real brain power and time for them to stop to leave a comment or actually click through to your website and stay there for a bit. Sometimes likes are more of a “vanity metric,” when the true accomplishment is engagement and customer conversions.

To get a true view of how many people you’re reaching, the engagement metric is important. We also heard from several experts that likes on an account don’t mean anything if they aren’t engaged, so try shooting for a higher engagement number rather than a bigger number of “likes” on your page.

5. Messaging apps are on the rise in the social media world.

Last year, the network we heard everyone moving to was Instagram. Needless to say, people were skeptical that it would be the next big thing, but just one short year later, it’s on everyone’s radar. This year, while many businesses have found their groove on Instagram, we’re hearing buzz about one-on-one messaging apps.

People used to want everyone to see everything they posted on social media, but these days we’re often Facebook friends with people we barely know. In a natural shift to make things a little more personal, social users have started using messaging platforms to engage with true friends one-on-one.

While messaging apps have so far been trending a little quicker overseas than in the United States, many American brands are already jumping on board. Take a look at this chart showing the different media outlets that are already leveraging messaging apps.

Without a doubt, most major brands are becoming major players with their audience through Snapchat. The app lets you show unedited, raw clips and pictures that are easily digestible and to the point. Through Snap Stories as well as the Discover section, we’re looking to see more and more brands carve out their space on this app, as it’s already being deemed “the next big thing”.

6. “In the world of social, we tend to think everything is online, but we need to think offline too.” - Candice Charleton (Hootsuite Senior Manager of Global Social + Community)

While we’re busy uploading pictures of our burger or snapchatting our silliest face to our best friends, we’re creating community and living our lives alongside our networks. But perhaps, the closest and most engaged network is right under our noses. That’s right - we’re talking about face-to-face communication. Family, coworkers, close friends.

Who are your biggest brand champions? Chances are they have a completely different online social audience than you.

There’s no better way to grow your online audience than to connect with people offline. It’s easy when you think about it; a one-on-one customer service experience with a happy customer can result in a 5-star review of your business that no amount of boosted posts could replace!

Looking to those closest to your business (including your own employees) and asking them to help market your business, by sharing important news, new blogs or in-office culture is a great way to bring more attention to your business.

7. 1 in every 5 minutes on mobile is spent on Facebook or Instagram.

We know Twitter has its place - it’s a really great way to learn news, join the conversation, or interact with your favorite brands or celebrities. However, from a business standpoint, it’s hard to stand out in the clutter. We were shocked (and a little relieved) hearing major brands say that Twitter wasn’t their go-to content curation tool.

In an astounding statistic, we learned that 20% of all mobile online time is spent on Facebook and Instagram. Still think you don’t have a reason to be on these platforms? Think again!

How are you using the platforms? We look to Instagram for a more curated life, and like to see beauty in every picture and be entertained. Conversely, on Facebook, we’re looking to interact with one another. Mixed in with families, pets, memes and more, Facebook is a great way to interact with your customers and give them more personal interaction.

8. "Social media is a brick. You can use it to build an orphanage, or you can use it to break windows. #SMWSpeakBeautiful

Hearing from a few of the tastemakers behind the Dove Real Beauty campaign was an interesting perspective about just how powerful social media is at connecting with hearts and how its influence can impact major change. Author and Upworthy blogger Laura Willard (@AnUnCommonMom) shared a poignant real life story of how her daughter begged and pleaded for her to join them in the water during a family vacation, but for years, she had sat sidelined, afraid to be seen in a swimsuit.

After some major persuasive talk from her young daughter, and through a series of hilarious body-positive affirmations that she herself had instilled in her daughter, Laura took a chance and posted a picture of herself in a new swimming suit on social media, hoping to show her daughter an example of body-positivity.

What Laura didn’t expect was how she touched the lives of moms throughout the country. In a post that she had hoped would quickly go away, she inspired others to forego any shame over their bodies and to enjoy rich experiences with their families that will last forever.

The post didn’t go away, in fact it went viral, and has helped her grow her audience to nearly 12,000 followers. The lesson we learned here is that social media is a powerful tool. While we often see it tear down people and “break windows” it’s important to remember that it’s a valuable tool that helps us share life experiences.

9. Each social media network has a purpose.

All too often we see businesses posting the same information across each of their platforms. Sometimes even posting directly from one to another using the same image, caption and hashtags. While this might be more acceptable for information about a change in business hours, it’s important to remember you are on different platforms, because they are meant to be used differently.

Each platform represents a new audience, a new way to communicate and rules of its own.

To effectively demonstrate the purposes of different social media platforms, the team at Adaptly put it in simple terms that anyone can understand.

Social media platforms messaging

10. Everyone thinks they can be a social media editor because they can manage their own profiles. This is where data sets the pro apart.

To a social media professional, no truer words have ever been spoken. In fact, if you’re not doing social media as a profession, chances are you still have multiple profiles across your favorite platforms, and interact with brands each and everyday.

As part of a digital agency, digital marketers experienced in social media are there to help you further drive your business by creating goals and outlining the tactics to get there. Investing in a social media agency is the closest way to get to the data.

You know who your target audience is; the people coming into your business every day. But, in order to reach that audience or to explore a new audience, data is important for making that step. That’s where we, your Speak social media professionals, can help.

Your Speak Social Media Professionals

Want to hear more about the latest trends in digital media? Interested in having our team put these social media practices to work for your business? Contact our social media experts today. We would love the chance to share more about what we learned at Social Media Week and help you navigate the digital marketing landscape with our expertise.

Questions? Comments? Feel free to drop us a line in the comment section or contact us to talk shop.