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4 Lessons from Social Media Marketing World 2019

Recently, our digital marketing agency attended the 2019 Social Media Marketing World in San Diego (key the “oohs” and “ahhs”). This 3-day convention gave us the opportunity to attend workshops and lectures led by industry experts. From social media trends, to Facebook advertising best practices, to how to brand to today’s customers, we learned a lot. Like a lot. And we want to share some of those social media marketing messages with you! Don’t expect us to explain how to get more “likes” – the convention was so much more than that. We dug deep into what makes a brand successful online – what makes a brand HUMAN.

Check out these (fairly existential) lessons from #SMM19:

1. Marketing isn’t about our story. It’s about their story.

At one point in time, about pages were all the rage. Creating a deep “Our Story” section on your website allowed people to see how your company came to be, how it thrived and survived, and how your passion led you to founding the business. While that element is still important and customers do want to know your brand story, values, and mission, they don’t want to be marketed the same “me” material. Social media marketing should be SOCIAL. User engagement thrives on user stories. Think about the coolest ad campaigns you’ve seen (remember North Face’s viral video which was a compilation of user footage? That was cool.). These campaigns push the people, not the brand. They show the people’s story, the people’s experience, the people’s journey, the people’s – you get the idea. How can you apply this to your brand? Focus on customer experiences and push user-generated content.

2. Personal brand is now the company brand.

Remember learning point-of-view in English class? Third person was the way to go in your essays and reports but when it comes to your brand, it’s all about getting personal. Are you a one man-shop? “I” should be all over your website and your social media accounts. Part of a team? “We” is the way to go. If your employee wrote and posted a blog on your website, why not have them write in 1st person and make that personal connection with the reader? Your voice in your writing, your posts, and your ads should be prominent and unique. Users don’t want to talk to a faceless company – they want to get personal, after all, they’re giving you’re their attention and money. Shouldn’t they know who’s behind the curtain? Why do you think Geico uses a Gecko? Approachable, personal, real – in all your social media marketing endeavors.

3. Live experiences change everything.

We’re seeing it more and more. Some of us hate it, and some of us love it. Live video is a serious gamechanger and you shouldn’t just glaze over it. Maybe you’re thinking “I’m not Red Bull. My live videos will suck.” Wrong. In fact, live video is about interacting face to camera with your audience. They don’t want to see you recording a concert or event. Talking to them as they send you questions and answering them in that moment – that’s what these folks are looking for. Want a relatable example? We spoke to a man from Missouri who owns a fencing company. Every Friday morning, he hosts a Facebook live video hour where he answers common questions that people sent to him throughout the week as well as ones sent during the video. He promotes his session beforehand allowing people to send in questions and block the time on their calendar, and on Friday, he’s live. And this coming from a guy who literally helps you put up fencing around your property. And he kills it. Social media marketing done right. Hats off to you good sir.

4. Your culture is your marketing.

In our current environment of hyper-empowered consumers, we see companies that have been around for decades start to fail, and new start-ups thrive. We had the pleasure of listening to Mark Schaefer talk about how today’s buyers are not so easily tricked. We don’t fall for Santa smoking a cigarette or the baby chugging 7Up (real ads from the 1900s that today, just don’t fly). It’s harder for companies to lie and keep secrets since birth of the Internet. So how does the modern consumer make their buying decision? Through human connection and emotion. Talking about how great your product is will not move the needle. But showing how who you are and who your company is will guide you to success. If your company’s culture enables storytelling, connections, and community, people will respond much more positively. Take that 1930’s cigarette-smoking Santa.

We could go on about Social Media Marketing World and all the cool things we learned, the gadgets we bookmarked to buy, and the 80’s party we attended (where Andreas and Georgia absolutely killed it on the dance floor – I mean like Dancing with the Stars style). But that would take forever. So, we leave you with these key points and hope that you had as much of a marketing existential journey as we did. Social media marketing is about being social. It’s about interacting with the users and creating a conversation.

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