My Big Five from Social Brand Forum 2016

My Big Five from Social Brand Forum 2016


Last week, I attended Social Brand Forum 2016, a two-day digital marketing conference in Iowa City. Here are the five things I took away from #socialbrand16.

1. Define your differentiating story.
Joe Pulizzi is my content idol. He kicked things off simply stating, “Before 1990, there were only eight ways for customers to get information about us. Now there are hundreds of thousands.” This means that we, as marketers, need to be smarter about how we communicate.

Joe’s central point always came back to how we communicate and who we communicate with. He stressed the importance of building your audience first and “being a great thing for the right people,” because we can’t be everything for everyone. My takeaway: once you identify your audience, focus content on what makes your company different, your wow factor. That will keep followers coming back for more.

2. Video is the new HTML.
Kristen Craft presented on a topic that is so crucial right now. Everyone loves video. Everyone is using video. Video works. There were five video types that work best to drive ROI: product video, teaching video, recorded webinar, FAQ video and sales video. Videos that drive ROI all teach viewers something or help answer a question that viewers have.

3. Hug your haters.
Did you know that one-third of all customer complaints are never answered? Jay Baer believes, “Customer Service is the new marketing.” We are bombarded with comments, positive and negative, because there are so many channels for airing opinions. No matter what, we have to hug our haters, answer every customer, in every channel, EVERY TIME. Saying nothing says something – and it doesn’t reflect well on your brand. The takeaway: Negative feedback is a petri dish for good content. Use it!

4. Someone convinced me to reconsider Snapchat.
Full disclosure: this was the presentation I was most unsure about. Although I am a big fan of Snapchat for personal use, I’ve never felt the same about using it for business. But, Jed Record walked me through how it could work: Snapchat ads. Do you remember the Taco Bell Cinco de Mayo Taco Face? Well I do because it was genius. It was viewed 224 MILLION TIMES, in ONE DAY! It had an average interaction time of 24 seconds. Most snaps on Snapchat are 10 seconds, so that’s huge.

My opinion of the platform as a whole was not changed. However, the thought of advertising on a platform is super intriguing because people, especially millennials, are responding to its creativity.

5. The death of email marketing.
Do you use email marketing? Have you set goals and expectations for your emails and for your readers? If you answered ‘no’ to any of these questions, then you’ve killed your email marketing, according to Michael Smith. But, you can revive it.

Email is all about connection. We have to get away from thinking of email as a “blast.” Like other online communications, email is a two-way street. We have to decide what we want our readers to feel and how to best connect with them.

Rejuvenated and ready.
I came back to the office this week really excited about the potential of digital marketing for J.W.Morton’s clients. I’m excited to start implementing some of these ideas into my client’s digital portfolio, including a Snapchat ad campaign (believe me, there will be another post when that’s been done).

Do you want to see everything that happened at #socialbrand16? Click here.

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