Please excuse typos, this is a live blog from the Social Fresh West 2014 Conference at the Omni San Diego Hotel
Couldn’t make it to Social Fresh West 2014 this year? We’re all about sharing the love. We’ve created this live blog to share our favorite strategies from the great minds at Social Fresh. Conference attendees, we’re essentially taking notes for you!
Stayed tuned for a full recap of the conference on the Organik SEO blog.
The Value of Long Form and Higher Quality Content
@PaulaBerg of @HP
Paula Berg, formerly of Southwest Airlines recently began working at HP and did what any new, enthusiastic employee does: she developed an impressive, detailed strategy for content marketing for her boss to showcase her passion for her new role. But what she learned was that her boss sought simplicity and asked her to just focus on ‘solving for x.’ She wanted her to find one or two key objectives to build the strategy around.
As Berg learned, “Good Strategy is as much the art of exclusion as it is inclusion.” -Meg Whitman, CEO of HP.
Her strategies for a successful content campaign were as follows:
Not posting everyday
Whoa. These are fighting words to some content marketers, but here’s why Berg implemented this strategy:
- It’s a strategic approach, rather than an approach that seeks to just ‘feed the beast’
- It allows for coordination across the business to make sure the most important information is communicated
- It focuses on delivering quality content to the right people at the right time
Not making everything snackable
Infographics, short form content, snappy quotes. That’s what digital marketers have been trained to create. Berg suggests we think differently. Did you know that most of the research saying that most people prefer ‘information snacking’ is from the late 90s? Perhaps it’s time to rethink the trend.
Not focusing on hard sells
71 percent of executives say that brand content turns them off when it seems too sales pitchy. Yet 93 percent of marketers focus on pitching.
Not “settling” for perfection
Berg asks that marketers focus on determining what did and did not work with previous campaigns. Take time away from the daily grind to truly dissect what is best for your brand. You know your brand better than anyone so don’t be afraid to ignore best practices and make your own rules.
Important fact: I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Paula (I’m going informal for this) speak at multiple conferences and she always mentions her love of wine. I like this about her. Go ahead, Paula!
Marketing Lessons from Kickstarter
@ClayHebert from @KickStarter
Platform. Story. Compelling offer. This is Hebert’s foundation for a great marketing strategy.
“Crowdfunding is the ultimate mixing board for smart marketers.”
Hebert shared stories of three marketing successes that worked beautifully. One starts with a cat. Lee was cat sitting for his friend’s cat, Pasha. He did what any good friend/cat babysitter does, and shared adorable pictures of Pasha to make Pasha’s parent feel secure that her furry child was in good hands. A lightbulb went off and Kittyo, a product that allows pet owners to play with their cat, feed it and receive pictures when they’re away, was born.
Step 1: Find the platform
“If your product is amazing, sometimes the best way to build a platform is to borrow a platform.” Lee did this by promoting his product on cat lover sites like HousePanther. He created a giveaway for emails on HousePanther and Facebook. He found people who owned Facebook pages in his market.
Step 2: Tell a great story
Lee appealed to the emotion of cat owners: Play with your cat, even when you’re not home.
Step 3: Make a compelling offer
He was fully funded in 36 minutes on KickStarter because of his efforts.
How you can take advantage of crowdsourcing:
Find the best crowdfunding options for your business.
Try various options.
Don’t be afraid to try and fail. You’ll be taking more of a chance than many other businesses.
The Social Toolkit Refresh
@PRSarahEvans of Sevans Strategy
Sarah Evans wants to change the way you think about content amplification. Her experience in both PR and social media helps inform the strategies (tried and true!) she shared with the Social Fresh group:
Real time photo sharing
Latergramme to manage Instagram
Viralwoot or ViralTag for Pinterest
Two tools that allow you to monitor your brand and alert you to important events
Zapier – Robust but pricey
IFTTT – Free ifttt.com/p/sarahevans ←-Sarah’s favorite recipes
Third party involvement:
Apps for creating visuals from your phone
VSCOcam – Most sophisticated free editing app
GifBoom – Animated Gifs
A Beautiful Mess
Wedgie (what a great name!)
Predictive Social Analytics
@jrevoy of ViralHeat
“The role of a marketer has changed dramatically. There’s been a shift from broadcasting to business results/ROI.” Revoy began his presentation with this quote, which received, not surprisingly, a lot of head nods from the audience. Marketers understand the necessity of creating relevant content and showing ROI.
While content is still king, harnessing the power of data to make it actionable is what helps marketers achieve results. For example, use social data to identify users, scrape IDs and be able to target them with paid advertisements.
Before embarking on a social media campaign, ask these four important questions:
1. Who is your audience?
2. What content works?
3. Where are people engaging with it?
4. When are they engaging with it?
4 Social Media Lessons for Generation X
@thesuefunke of TV Land
One of the biggest challenges for social media marketers is encouraging lurkers to actually engage. As Funke says, “So you’re following our brand but not engaging? Thanks for coming!” She said this in jest, but she makes a great point: while followers are fantastic, we all strive to foster followers that are so excited about a brand that they are moved to engage often and purposefully.
Here are Funke’s tips for encouraging engagement:
Know your platforms
In honor of George Clooney (the dog, not the handsome celebrity) on the TV show ‘Hot in Cleveland,’ TV Land asked its audience to share adorable selfies with pets. This, as you can imagine worked on Facebook. It did not, however work on Pinterest.
Reassess your strategy
Funke and her team reassessed their campaign and instead shared hilarious and inspiring quotes from TV Land shows on Pinterest. This strategy worked well, but they wanted more. The team took a more searchable tactic, leveraging Halloween to encourage engagement. Funke created a Halloween board and saw even more meaningful engagement.
Appeal to your core demographic
Funke creates social updates that are clear, concise and compelling to appeal to Generation X.
Do away with the negative
Funke bans highly negative or mean fans on TV Land’s Facebook pages. She says “fan pages are for fans” and has noticed that this tactic has created a much happier presence on TV Land’s Facebook pages.
Build a Customer-Centric, Results Driven Social Practice
@Ben_Farkas of Synthesio
Farkas had us at ‘the scandalous topic of ROI.’ It is quite scandalous, isn’t it? Many marketers still struggle with how to showcase their results in meaningful ways. It starts with thinking strategically about social media. Farkas refers to this growth as ‘The Social Maturity Curve.’ Brands who mature move up the curve and think strategically to set real, tangible goals.
How can you become a ‘mature brand’? Farkas suggests implementing the follow tactics:
Put the customer first
Are you focusing on what pain points you’re solving for customers? Do you understand their needs? Or are you just broadcasting what you think they want? Content should represent the ‘sweet spot’ – a happy medium between sharing your resources and brand goals and sharing information related to the clients’ direct needs.
Break down the silos
Social media, thankfully, is becoming more integrated into marketing and communications. In order to completely break down the silos, we must understand how social media impacts sales, marketing, PR, and customer service. It’s our job as social media pros to convey this to each team.
Scale social intelligence
Social media provides marketers with a vast amount of information. Understand how to use this information to give consumers what they want. Find out what customers care about.
Develop business-facing KPIs and report on them
Farkas tracks awareness, engagement, reach, sentiment and much more. He outlines specific goals important to each campaign and creates detailed reports based on those KPIs. Examples of these reports include:
- Customer Awareness Reports
- Customer Acquisition Reports
- Customer Satisfaction Reports
Content Marketing That Pays Off, a Blueprint
@tamadear of Oratium
Does your content drive action? Does it inspire your customers to take a specific, clear next step? Webster shows that without developing trust and a clear objective (the action you want consumers to take), your content is not purposeful.
Webster gave the audience a note-taking break and shared this handout with us:
User Generated Social, When and When Not To Use It
@jeannieymullen of Barnes & Nobles
Mullen knows that you can’t just “show a product to people and put it out there” expecting it to sell. Here’s how she helped market the now very popular Nook.
To move forward, look to the past
The founder of Barnes & Nobles, Leonard Riggio, realized that to move his brand forward, to inspire passionate people to talk about his company, he needed to develop user generated content. Television was the vehicle for user generated content in 1976 for Riggio. For Mullen’s team, it’s social media and the Internet.
Find your fans
Mullen asked people to read a book they love and share their expressions on the Nook website. While some spoiled a few endings for other readers, the engagement–and passion–people showcased was worth any spoiler alerts.
- Make it honest
- Make it real
- Make sure it doesn’t look staged (because it shouldn’t be)
Collaborate across departments and stores
Each department and group came up with their own KPIs to create a successful campaign. Having the same goals but allowing team members and departments to expand upon these goals to showcase creativity helps those involved in a campaign feel truly connected to it.
Create content your fans care about
Nook fans are passionate. Mullen tapped into this passion and began creating Nook memes of notable literary quotes. This not only spurred shares, but inspired people to comment on their favorite books. This was also research for the Nook team. The comments helped them understand what people want to talk about.
Mullen paired with a company called ‘Resourceful Mom’ to create a #NewNook Twitter chat. The chat trended on Twitter because it gave book–and Nook–lovers another avenue to share their passion for reading.
She left the audience with this powerful quote, “User generated content only works when it’s sincere and based in reality–and it never ends.”
How to Connect to the ADHD Consumer
@PeterShankman of Shankminds
Are we using social media as a crutch? Shankman says that too many brands are still using social media primarily to talk about themselves and devote time solely to crisis management. This puts businesses behind. Way behind.
“Having people follow you on Twitter is a privilege, not a right. Like wearing spandex.” We couldn’t agree more with Shankman’s too true sentiment.
What should you do to become deserving of followers, likes and shares? Shankman suggests the following:
Think offline before you think online when marketing on social media
The bar is extremely low for great customer service offline. This is mirrored often online. If you go one level above the norm online, you’re going to win every single time.
Shankman shared the example of great offline customer service. Morton’s Steakhouse asks customers if they’re making a reservation for a special occasion, if so, they include this information on the menu. You’d probably Instagram a “Happy Birthday [your name here]” on the top of a high-end steakhouse’s menu, wouldn’t you?
Go the extra mile for customers online and watch them share the love.
Turn that hater into a lover
If you’ve made a mistake, own up to it. “There’s no better lover than a former hater.” If you let the customer find their own resolution, you’re already too late. Admit the problem. Solve the problem. Be transparent.
Shankman had a terrible experience at Hertz. He had to speak with five different people in an attempt to rent a car. He ended up renting an Avis and in true social media fashion, wrote a blog post about his experience. Hertz called Shankman, but the damage was done. As he says, “one employee can have a bad day, not five.”
All you have is your brand
Everyone is networking. The more people you meet, the bigger your network becomes. Talk to your audience. Ask them how they like to get their information. Be transparent. Because of social media, your brand is out there. Make sure it looks good.
How to Survive Content Envy
@JasonKeath CEO of Social Fresh
“The secret to being creative is spending more time on a problem than the next guy.” Have you considered how long great artists, writers and comedians spend on projects? Jerry Seinfeld spent two years developing and editing his pop tart joke.
Understand what kind of content to create
Do you know the difference between high intensity content and low intensity content? High intensity content includes any kind of content that takes incredible research, time and dedication to prepare: conferences, e-books, long-form well-researched content, or presentations. This should be your bread and butter.
Your low intensity content supports all the time and energy that was put into creating the high intensity content. It includes Facebook posts based on the e-book you wrote, YouTube videos from your conference, memes, quotes, tweets, etc.
Master the 80/20 rule
Most marketers know this rule, but are they following it? Share 80 percent of other people’s content, 20 percent of your content. Create community, don’t simply push your agenda.
Original ideas are almost nonexistent
Feeling a lot of pressure to create completely original content? Chances are you won’t–and can’t. That’s not a bad thing. Repurpose content. Find the brands that inspire you. Figure out what works for them and build off their ideas, with your own twist, of course.
Ice, Ice Baby
Focus on your high intensity content. Keath calls this the “Vanilla Ice Rule.” Social Fresh spends about six months preparing for their conferences (their big hit). But the benefit of the conference doesn’t end for Social Fresh after the event is over: they repurpose the conference readily for six months after the event in the form of:
- Guest posts
- Posting video interviews on YouTube
- Creating content for the Social Fresh blog
- And more
Another opportunity to extend content is through the creation of valuable e-books. JetBlue created a fifty page e-book that the company still shares information from on social networks.
The key to creating great high intensity content is ensuring that it’s useful, presents special, powerful information and that it has a direct call-to-action (email signups, for example).
The bad ideas, suggests Keath, are those ideas that are top of mind. The ones that are too obvious, or the others that are absurd. “The great ideas exist between the obvious and the absurd.”
How to Test Everything in Social and Where to Put Your Money
@rachaelgking of DogVacay
Ahhh, everyone’s top-of-mind struggle: How should you spend your money on social media? King believes it starts with taking a scientific approach (no test later, thankfully) to marketing. Test what works well to determine where to spend your money.
Here’s what you need to ask yourself:
What should you test?
Everything! Test the length of posts, the best time of the day to post, different versions, targeting–all of it.
How should I test?
A/B test everything. Employ surveys (try SurveyMonkey, for example). Use the power that is social media to ask people what they like and don’t like.
How should I measure my progress?
First, choose a focus. Perhaps you’re hoping to get email signups from your social media marketing campaign. Maybe you’re trying to develop a community and you’re measuring it by engagement (comments, shares). Determine your focus, check in often to see if you’re achieving your goals.
How can I determine what’s working?
Keep A/B testing your campaign. Consider posting the same content over the course of four weeks. Mix it up. Put the call to action at the beginning of the post, try it later at the end. Dive deep to figure out what works best.
How much should I spend?
Be a scrooge (at first) until you’ve determined what works. When you have a good idea of which strategies make the most sense, invest in them. King gave the example of a social media marketing company that has been targeting the #socialfresh hashtag on Twitter. They’re spending more money to reach a targeted audience.
Power User Communities, Giving and Getting Value
@Lamiki of HTC
Think about your social media community. Do you know people who frequently retweet your content? Is there someone you can count on to comment on your latest blog post? These people are your brand advocates. And it’s your job to keep them happy, inspire them and spur them to share your content. But how?
Motivate your audience
Do your research. Figure out who your power users and ask them to be a part of your social activation team. These are the people who are defending your brand, sharing information about your product. They love you and they’re excited about what you’re doing.
Your fans want to help you innovate. When you’re testing a new product or service, ask your advocates about it. Let them be a part of your brand and its progression.
People love to tell other people how to do their jobs. This isn’t a bad thing. Find those people online and tap into their insight. Show them that their opinion matters. Show them that you need them.
Reward your advocates
Give them front row, insider access to your company. Give those who helped with research and feedback front row seats at events and product launches. Have a swag bag ready just for them. And, of course, thank them. Let them know how their insight influenced your product or service.
Deciphering the Viral Video Code
@twittier of ThinkModo
As nice as it would be to simply produce cat videos and watch them hit viral levels, we can’t base our business on cats can we? Don’t answer that.
We all want to create videos that attract copious amounts of attention. And we want those videos to meet our business goals. How should we do this?
James Percelay shares his best practices for creating videos that might just go viral!
Your video content and name should be original. This influences SEO and the number of eyeballs viewing your content. Be creative. Be unique. Be searchable.
Do you have access to celebrities or influencers? Showcase them in your videos. Use props. Make it seem real.
Surprise and delight your audience
We can’t all hope to get Jean-Claude Van Damme featured in our company videos, but we can surprise and delight our audience. Videos like this Volvo video featuring the action star inspires marketers to think outside the box about product promotion.
Know the message you want to communicate
You only have a small window in which to communicate your message via video. You should have one, clear, concise message. More than one message will get lost and confuse your audience.
Use everyday situations to connect with your audience. For example, this video was created to promote buzz for the movie Carrie. It features people in an everyday situation: at a coffee shop.
If you don’t have the quality tools to produce video, don’t worry! Make your video feel immediate and real. Subtly shaky with the camera? It might actually help your cause.
How Smarter Listening Builds Better Customers Relationships
@Jmart730 of Arby’s
Arby’s has one primary object for this year: Fuel consumer engagement with the brand. The company’s goal is to encourage conversations and continue to create a dynamic, excited audience.
Here’s how Arby’s social media pro Josh Martin does it:
Arby’s has a social media listening room that tracks and monitors the brand’s name and keywords. If someone is tweeting about what to eat for lunch, Arby’s is there to suggest its roast beef sandwich.
Social media is also the place people go to tweet grievances. If one too many people tweet about too much mayo on their sandwiches, the Arby’s team can use this intelligence to determine if a recipe should be modified.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram: social media is the place to go to monitor your competition. Perhaps your competitors are doing something you haven’t thought of yet. Find out how they communicate with their audience and see how their fans responds to them.
During Halloween, Arby’s launched “Saucepocalypse.” This campaign was born because Arby’s noticed how often people posted on social media about being short on Arby’s special sauces. This couldn’t continue! Arby’s asked people to share their most terrifying sauceless moments on social media. The company shared favorites on their social networks. Then Arby’s took it to the next level: the company created billboards in the winners’ hometowns.
Arby’s noticed that people were frequently talking about wanting more meat on sandwiches. This social listening inspired Arby’s to actually create a meaty-heavy sandwich–for their secret menu. This created a meat-loving media frenzy. And made fans feel like they were let in on a special secret.
Be ready for those golden moments. Martin tweeted a saucy tweet during the Grammy’s that caught a lot of people’s attention. Musician Pharrell was wearing a hat that very much looked like he had gone shopping with the Arby’s logo. Martin saw an opportunity and seized it. He tweeted “Hey, @Pharrell, can we have our hat back.” Social media gold!
Spotlight: Pinterest & Instagram: Marketing Where Your Audience Looks
@luckyandy and @samosborn1 of Piquora
Why do you use Pinterest and Instagram? These visual platforms attract visitors for a special reason. On Twitter and Facebook, you share content to garner engagement. The same can be said for Instagram and Pinterest, but these platforms appeal, especially, to people exploring what they’re passionate about: travel, fashion, food and more. Here’s how to reach those passionate fans:
Share the right content at the right time. Do this by experimenting with posting at certain times of the day, sharing different versions of visual content, and dipping into popular Instagram hashtags to see what’s working for others. Tip: Osborn says that research shows seven hashtags are optimal, more than that and posts become spammy.
“It’s about finding out what works best for you,” says Osborn. After you’ve researched what’s working well for others, experiment. Stay on top of analytics to find out what content is working well and what content you can do without.
Launch creative and engaging promotions
If your brand is product based, consider hosting a contest or creating a promotion specific to a visual platform like Pinterest or Instagram. Your brand advocates will happily share their content with you. And if you reward them for it? Just watch your engagement soar!
Spotlight: 5 Ways to Create More Profitable Content
@cnmoody of Oracle
Finding content can be difficult. Can I get a ‘hear, hear’ content marketers? Your social content needs to be engaging, compelling, have a clear call-to-action–this list goes on.
Moody shared ideas to help you take your content to the next level:
Oracle wrote questions on a white board, asked employ experts to answer it and created videos. Eliminate the blinking line. Ask clients and employees specific questions to spur great answers–and great content!
Host a company blog-a-thon
Have everyone in your office spend one-to-two hours every day for a week creating content. This content can then be edited and repurposed frequently.
Stop trying to hit home runs
We can’t all be Oreo or Arby’s. Each company should play to its own strengths. If you’re an SEO expert, share useful, actionable tips for SEO best practices. If you’re a fashion brand, showcase your designs on Instagram.
Take questions that customers are asking you in emails and turn them into great content. You know, firsthand, that this will be valuable content for your audience.
How Digging into the Data Will Give Your Social Marketing an Edge
@JuntaeDeLane of University of Southern California
“In order to be successful, you have to have a thirst for knowledge.” DeLane uses this mantra to build USC’s brand on social media.
DeLane’s team listens in forums, blogs and social media to monitor mentions of the university. His goal is to learn what type of content his audience wants, what technology they’re using to gather that information. His team also creates surveys to gather data.
Have a question? Tweet us!
USC encourages students to ask questions on Twitter. DeLane’s team then analyzes the type of questions being asked (by keywords) to ensure that email communications are fitted to the needs of students.
USC’s social team scans Instagram and social networks to find people who post about being accepted and tags them with #accepted. They do the same with the hashtag #alumni. This achieves two goals 1) It fosters pride 2) It allows the USC social team to collect data about alumnis and new students.
Understand your funnel
USC’s funnel looks this:
Acquire: Identify platforms on which to engage and build a following
Engage: Interact with prospective students
Drive to action: Use social media to increase inquiries and applications
Trojan conversion: Use social media to increase letters of intent
Have you created a funnel for your brand?
TV pun! But really, be creative. DeLane and his team created a version of ‘MTV’s Cribs.’ Students showed off their dorm rooms in true Cribs-like fashion (wardrobe changes and all). This showcases USC’s culture, student life and the lovely dorm rooms. Wins all around!
Shifting Brand Perception Through Instagram
@eleni_t of Lilly Pulitzer
One might think that fashion brands have such visual gold that they need not worry about creating an Instagram strategy. But Lilly Pulitzer is no ordinary fashion brand. The company believes Instagram is the best platform for its brand–and it’s using it well.
Know your brand
Lilly Pulitzer is about luxury, travel and fashion. Tavantzis ensures that this is reinforced on social media. Particularly on Instagram. As Tavantzis said, the company’s Instagram presence is “100 percent on brand.”
Life in Print
This is Lilly Pulitzer’s ‘thumb stopper’ on Instagram. The team creates intricate, whimsical designs atop photos of models wearing Lilly Pulitzer designs. What’s your brand’s thumbstopper?
National Wear Lilly Day
June 29th of every year is ‘National Wear Lilly Day.’ To promote this, they created a 5×5 print design and asked other brands, like Barbie, to ‘join their party.’ Brands then shared the custom pieces of art created for them by Lilly Pulitzer’s team.
What is social media marketing?
Brian Clark of Copyblogger
Social media marketing is about engaging, sharing content, having conversations and listening. But that’s not where it ends. That’s just the common go-to description of social media marketing. Clark challenges marketers to think differently, think deeper:
Media not marketing
Using media – TV, video, social media – to share information, rather than push your message, will significantly improve your social campaigns. For example, you’ve probably heard of social media star, Gary Vaynerchuk. His parents owned liquor store in New Jersey. He took their business to the next level – from 3 million to 40 million – by starting the video blog Wine Library TV.
The audience experience
Your audience isn’t just people you want to sell to. But in order to create brand advocates who don’t feel like they’re being sold to, you have to build trust and share great information. Clark did this by creating an opt-in experience for Copyblogger. Rather than asking people to sign up for a newsletter, his team created a free ‘content membership’ base people could register for.
Leave the Apps out
No one wants to download your content app. Done and done.
Map the journey
Your brand is not the hero. Your audience is. “The prospect is Luke Skywalker, your brand is Obi Wan.” Brands need to be less ‘me, me, me’ and more focused on their audience.
Successful content strategy = customer success
What do your customers need to succeed? How is your product helping customers achieve success? Copyblogger shares valuable content that educates consumers. Clark calls content that addresses people’s fears and pain points ‘High Five’ content. Why? Because when people are struggling for a solution to a problem and feel like they can’t figure it out, your content is there to say ‘Yes you can!’ Be there to high five potential customers.
And the biggest take-home message from #SocialFresh, “We owe everything to the audience and that is the secret of social media marketing.” – @BrianClark