Social Media Week LA 2017, or Digital Folks Escape Office for a Day in the Sun
By Jason Holte, Social Media Manager
Every year, the titans and tastemakers from across the social media landscape gather in major cities around the globe to share best practices, predictions for the future, and opinions on the challenges that currently face social media professionals. And, of course, to spend their time between sessions performing community management for their brands – after all, social media doesn’t take days off. I’ve had a chance to attend the Los Angeles summit twice now, and both times have walked away equal parts intimidated by the sheer magnitude of what I have left to learn about social media and inspired by the potential to apply these valuable lessons in my own work. For the 2017 edition, these were my key takeaways:
Mind The Marketing Funnel
Organic reach is dead, according to data presented in “Advanced Facebook Media Buying: Why Video Views are the New Page Likes and Why It Matters,” hosted by mllnl. Knowing, and accepting, this means recognizing that the advertising space on Facebook is more crowded than ever, making it vital to advertise smarter than your competition. As marketers, it is far too easy to approach a client’s advertising needs by simply defaulting to the Facebook ad product that best accomplishes their goal (traffic to a certain landing page, lead generation, etc.). This is an outdated way of thinking, and it leaves valuable potential conversions on the table. The proper way to approach a campaign is to utilize multiple Facebook ad products to drive consumers through the marketing funnel via retargeting: first prime the audience with a video about a company, product, or service, then serve video viewers an interactive Canvas ad where they can learn more about your offer, then finally push for a conversion either through your website or through a Lead Generation ad unit. Take this a step further by remarketing to the members of your audience who don’t convert at first by negatively targeting the individuals who have already acted on your offer. In short, the marketing funnel is just as important within Facebook as it is from an overall campaign perspective.
Content Is (Still) King
What can a website that bills itself as “your personal wedding planner” teach you about creating content for, say, a commercial real estate developer or a healthcare organization? As it turns out, everything. In “The ‘One Size Fits None’ Approach to Creating Standout Social Content,” a presenter from The Knot shared valuable lessons that any social media marketer should take to heart. No matter your subject matter, social media professionals all face the same struggle: the need to create quality content at velocity. The way to stand out is to know your audience better than anyone else. Understand first their motivations for being on a social channel at any given time. Nobody comes to Facebook or Instagram to seek out content from your brand, so your organic content must be designed to be highly relevant to the audience that you have. Dig into both your comments and your analytics to discover what resonates, then create more of it. You can (and should) experiment outside of the guardrails you establish, but always know your core content buckets for when you need engagement.
Livestrong has come a long way from selling yellow wristbands to raise awareness for cancer. In “How to Build Social Virality into Offline Events,” the healthy living giant shared tips for placing social media front-and-center in your grassroots events. These included simple steps, such as placing your event hashtag on every piece of collateral printed or displayed at the venue, and more innovative solutions like reaching out to local journalism programs for students who may be willing to volunteer to live tweet your event to gain valuable experience, freeing you up to focus on the bigger picture. After the event is over, take the content that you captured and create a quick sizzle reel to show to potential business partners. With a little bit of outside-the-box thinking in the lead-up to an event, it’s possible to create unforgettable experiences for your attendees and to make your social media audience feel like they are right there with you.
Part of what I love about working in social media is that things are constantly in motion. Today’s new and innovative solutions may be completely irrelevant in a year’s time. Taking the opportunity to attend conferences like Social Media Week isn’t about returning with some magic bullet that will forever transform a company’s social media presence; it’s about gathering with the best and brightest minds the industry has to offer to evaluate the challenges we all face, both at this time and on the horizon, and evaluating whether you are doing enough to help your brands overcome those challenges. I remain in awe of these amazing professionals who, once again, succeeded in intimidating and inspiring me.