Top 5 Tips from Social Media Week

IMG_1350Guys, I have to tell you all this up front: Social Media Week in NYC offered free coffee, Krispy Kreme doughnuts AND emoji cookies. EVERY. DAY. If this blog post reads like a very caffeinated person wrote it, then congratulations, you are very astute.

Okay, now that that excitement is over, I want to share with you the top 5 tips I learned after five days and three times as many sessions on digital and social media.

Also, I want to recommend this conference to everyone. While some sessions were duds (not a great sign when you are more knowledgable than the panelists), I found the majority of sessions to be worth my time. Pro Tip: get your passes on Cyber Monday for a pretty significant discount.

Onward with the learning!

1) Look to the future

Every digital media rockstar at the conference was talking about starting to use platforms like Snapchat and Slack. While many of us are familiar with the more public and widely used platforms like Facebook and Twitter, some of these public/ private platforms might sound unfamiliar. These platforms by no means would replace the ones that millions of people are using, they would help people continue a meaningful conversation about a topic in a place where 25,000 other people aren’t publishing content the same moment as they are.

2) Don’t target people with blanket marketing

Target people you already know care about an issue or are invested in a brand. They will then share, and it is this model of peer sharing that is highly successful for all types of businesses from corporations to nonprofits. This model is also aligned with human behavior. It has an “I will do it if you do it” mentality that actually motivates people to action.

3) Content is the honeypot

Gone are the days of using likes and followers as metrics of success. As the New York Times’ T Brand Studio team emphasized during several Social Media Week sessions, the metrics listed above are faulty; you can even buy clicks. Attention is something that you have to be worthy of to hold. In a world where attention spans are akin to that of a gnat, attention is a hot commodity. Knowing how to measure this and use it as a metric to improve strategy is key. How do you hold attention though? Look to no. 4 for the answer.

4) Tell compelling stories

Do I still have your attention? Excellent. Storytelling is important because If you are telling the right story in the right way to the right audience, you have the power to drive people to action. This action can be anything from buying a product to starting a social movement that saves lives, but the point is it drives people to do something. Action is also a great metric of success. This potential byproduct of strategic storytelling demonstrates that people are relating to your stories in a human way. They appreciate the raw and authentic tone of a story that often is tricky for brands or companies to have and use as a currency. But with newer avenues like strategically crafted branded content, even corporate brands can discover their story and use it to connect with their audience.

5) Use free tools that allow you to expand your social, storytelling and marketing efforts

Out of desperation comes innovation. We know this to be true, but many organizations still think that everything needs to be designed by a designer, coded by a developer and filmed by a videographer. As someone who has learned skills from basic Photoshop to basic coding and used tools like Canva, Piktochart, Google Fonts and more, I can tell you that there are a lot of free tools out there that merit your attention and testing. While at Social Media Week, I learned about Wirewax, a very cool interactive video tool that allows you to insert tags, photos, information and overlays into videos (there is a free version). The demo was mindblowingly impressive. Since we all know (now) that one minute of video can contain about 1.8 million words, we can acknowledge that video is a great storytelling medium; and interactive video, something that holds the user’s attention, is bound to be even more effective since it is driving the user to get involved and take some sort of action.

See how this all tied together so nicely? Now you can run off to write or film that compelling story that you have been sitting on for months and meaning to create. Just me?

There was so much to learn at Social Media Week that I couldn’t list everything here, but you’re in luck because I captured a lot of other knowledge through my tweets. I encourage everyone who wants to learn more to check out my Twitter feed @asanders88 and the hashtags #SMWNYC and #SMW15 for more nuggets of social and digital knowledge.

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