Last week, I was in sunny San Diego for Social Media Marketing World, where I had the opportunity to attend several amazing breakout sessions, hear from industry thought leaders, and meet incredible visionaries from the social media field.
While all the sessions were packed with knowledge, here are three insightful takeaways that were echoed throughout the conference:
1. Content is King, and Engagement is Queen
In every session throughout the conference, the same message resonated: you are nothing without your audience, and your audience craves great content. So to give your audience what they want, start by researching who exactly they are. Only then can you determine what your audience will find relevant to write about it. And if you don’t know what they want to hear, just ask them!
Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you develop your content:
- Keep it simple. Answer the Why, What, and How for your audience. There’s really no reason to make it more complicated than that.
- Provide the good, the bad, and the ugly. Be transparent in your content. Provide competitive differentiators and address the questions your customers really have, such as cost and value.
- Treat your customers like VIPs. As Bryan Kramer stated, “Give long before you ask.” Provide great content on a consistent basis to grow your audience, but take it a step further and continue to engage with them to create lasting relationships. Thank them for sharing your content, mention them in conversations, and reply when they ask questions. Keep it human; no one likes feeling like they’re talking to a robot.
- Be accessible. Your content should be easily digestible and relevant so that it can be shared across all of your channels. Make it easy for your customers to ask questions and engage with your brand, and consider creating a community where your audience can share their experiences with your brand and interact with each other.
2. It’s All About Live Streaming
According to Social Media Examiner’s Michael Stelzner, only 17% of marketers are utilizing live streaming. And those that are, are getting phenomenal results. That’s a lot of missed potential!
So how do you capture live video and even more importantly, do it right? Think like a fan! People are interested in behind-the-scenes, real-time access to brands, so give them what they want. Provide unique access to subject matter experts and open up the opportunity for people to ask questions and converse via live sharing platforms such as Periscope, Facebook Live, and Blab.im.
However, you need to have a solid strategy before going live. I walked away pumped to take on live streaming, but then I realized I needed to figure some things out before jumping on the bandwagon:
- First, define what business goal you’re trying to achieve with live streaming. After all, at the end of the day, your marketing efforts tie to ROI. Depending on what business goals you’re trying to meet, determine which direction your live streaming should go. Here’s a few great tips live streaming queen Kim Garst shared:
- Want to create brand awareness? Stream with customers that are passionate about your product. Ask them to share why they get excited about your product.
- Look at engaging different audiences. Consider featuring your audience, employees, and industry influencers in your live streams to boost audience engagement. Take a look at Brian Fanzo’s video of Bryan Kramer’s presentation, which shows his audience doing the wave.
— Brian Fanzo (@iSocialFanz) April 19, 2016
- When you’re ready to go live, here are a few technical tips to consider:
- Headlines. People join streams based on your headlines they see and whether or not it interests them. Consider your video headline just as important as your blog title. If you want to draw them in, answer why they should watch in your title.
- Keep your stream short and sweet. Try to make your video snackable by only streaming in 20-30 minute increments. This gives the audience time to see you’re actively steaming, but also keeps you from rambling on once the information has been delivered.
- You don’t have to choose just one! You can broadcast simultaneously via multiple devices. This allows you to hit different target audiences.
- Use a tripod. Nobody wants to get sick from your bouncing video stream. Sure, a panning of the floor is great, but when it comes to talking and engaging, do it with a still hand.
3. Snapchat is Where It’s At
It may be a little intimidating to add on another social channel, but the adoption rates are undeniable. Snapchat grew as much in one year as Twitter has in 4 years combined and is now the country’s second-favorite social network, behind Facebook, according to Convince and Convert.
Here are a few tips from Snapchat guru Shaun McBride and Carlos Gil, Global Head of Social Media at BMC, who have both realized extreme success on this channel:
- If you create good content, people will come. Snapchat is a unique channel that deserves unique content. It’s a whole different ballgame from your other social channels. You can’t just write copy that’s tweaked from another channel. With its instant snap-and-share functionality, this channel requires a dedicated content curator. On Shaun’s Snapchat channel, he creates creative content that’s a blend of both video, illustrations, and text. The screenshot below is captured from his recent Snapchat that takes his audience through how to create a custom cereal dispenser.
- Your buyers are people. People relate to other people, not brand logos. Snapchat is about telling stories, not sales. Think about what is relevant to your target audience and then create content for them. Even better, ask your followers what they want to see and then give it to them!
- Engage, engage, engage. Open other people’s snaps. Let them know you saw what they posted. Snap back when you can.
- It’s hard to find users and businesses on Snapchat! Your username is critical to being found by your audience, so make it easily promotable! Be sure to use your other social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram) to promote your Snapcode, which is a unique QR code that links to your Snapchat profile..
- Use geo-filters. It’s a fairly easy and inexpensive way to promote your brand subtly. If it’s well-received, your brand will be broadcasted across hundreds and thousands of messages.
- Create content on a regular cadence. Your timeline is erased every 24 hours, so you need to consistently create new content to keep your audience engaged.
- Think outside the box. Content that is fun and gives followers a look behind-the-scenes performs extremely well. Offer a sneak peek at new products before they’ve been released or give an inside look of your company. And use the platform to tell a story by sequencing photos on your timeline.
The world of social media marketing is ever-changing, which makes it an exciting medium. However, with so many new ways to engage our audience, it can feel overwhelming at times. The good news is there’s always somebody who is leading the way, social media pioneers, who are willing to share their learnings, providing us with the courage to tread new paths and stretch the boundaries. I can’t wait to see what’s next!
Do you have any social media marketing best practices you’d like to share? If so, I’d love to hear them in the comments below!