It’s that time of year again when I share my top takeaways from social media’s super bowl, Social Media Marketing World (#SMMW20). This was my fourth year flying across the country to sunny (and 75 degrees) San Diego to hang out with some of my Internet best friends, learn from rockstar practitioners in the social media industry, and connect with the amazing attendees (4,000+) who gather together.
This year, like every year before it, I volunteered on the Connections Crew (pictured below). Our main objective was to help connect attendees with other attendees. Just call us the business matchmakers. In this role, I got the opportunity to meet a ton of people, learn about their businesses, help create those unforgettable experiences.
Every year I have a goal for the conference and this year my goal was to embrace the unexpected, to lean into the imperfect, and to pay attention to the alignments. Essentially my goal was to not have a ridged goal. All about that easy breezy.
Here’s how this un-goal was just what I needed.
I didn’t have a ton of social media colleagues/connections in the corporate or government scene in the D.C. area. So glad I met many of them in San Diego! Every session I attended in my off-hours or just walking the convention center during my volunteer duties at the conference, I kept meeting, sitting next to, or eating lunch with professionals from the D.C. area. Just by happenstance! Win.
I didn’t have a roommate until two weeks before the conference. She was absolutely awesome and we had a lot in common. We both got married late last year, we’re both obsessed with the ocean, and we have way too much glammed out 360 photo booth. Win.
I didn’t have dinner plans or parties planned ahead of time every single night, yet all my evenings I had something fun to do that helped me deepen my relationships with those I’ve connected with at this event for the past several years. Win.
I often roamed the hallways during breaks because I was there to connect and meet others. I ran into someone who has been a member of the same Facebook group as me since 2015 and it was the first time we met in person. Win.
But the real reason you’re probably reading this rundown is to get those knowledge nuggets. So here they are…
Throughout the conference, there were 3 common threads that kept bubbling up from session to session.
1. Be a good storyteller.
It’s not enough in today’s social media world to create content and throw it up on your favorite platform and be done. Many of the speakers were challenging attendees to step out from behind the logo and record the video, share that content with the audience that may not feel as polished. Essentially — be human. (this is something that was also the main takeaway for me at #SMMW19)
In today’s world people are served up tons of mumbo-jumbo and being a real freaking human is where people start paying attention. Here’s an easy recipe you can implement in your content that should tell a story.
- Beginning: Be sure to set the scene.
- Middle: Give value – this is the knowledge/experience/information you’re wanting to share with your audience. Bonus points if you’re sharing your face during the middle (via IGstories)
- End: Ask for the engagement in the form of a question.
The last part is important because your audience is consumers…they consume the content which doesn’t always mean they take action. Encourage them to take action, tell them how!
PRO TIP: This was such a simple yet total “ah ha! moment” for me in Tyler McCall’s Instagram session. Instead of telling people to “click the link in bio” ask them to direct message you, “DM you.” Why? Because you’re starting a conversation that way! They get the info directly from you without having to click back to your profile, click the link in your bio (which is probably a linktr.ee account) then find the link in the list they want to look at… that’s 3 extra steps…who has time for that? Nobody, that’s who.
Those of you who are wondering the accounts that have 10k+ followers on Instagram with the swipe up feature, Tyler recommends the same “DM me” strategy because it’s again, all about making real connections.
2. Stop putting all your worth in the “algorithm.”
Hear me out! As business owners and content creators, we give a lot of weight to what the algorithm likes. What about what your audience likes!? The purpose for creating content is to educate, entertain, and get your ideal audience to take a desired action.
How do you do this? ASK THEM!
But wait a hot second, before you think I’m throwing analytics out the window, let me remind you that you must always measure what works and what doesn’t so you can better understand which topics, styles of content, and platforms are your audience’s preference. Test and tweak…test and tweak…
So instead of catering to the algorithm focus on giving your audience what they want! Ahem, not what you think they want.
Feeling like you’re paralyzed, overwhelmed by content creation in general? Here’s another way to think about it, when you care more about creating value for your followers (whether 2-200,000), you stop making excuses. #micdrop
3. Slow down to show up right for your customers
How is a potential buyer going to trust you? Show up! How will prospective clients know if they like you? Show up!
With social media, if you’re not showing up consistently you can’t build a connection with your audience. Something that Ann Handley shared during her keynote had me “yasssss girl”ing from the audience.
Truth X Time = Connection
It’s a very simple equation yet one many social media managers and business owners alike forget. When you show up consistently overtime you create that momentum, that attraction and, that is the fuel that feeds the fan fire.
In the name of keeping social, social — Ann Handley projected a slide that had hundreds of heads in the room rapidly nodding like the cluster of MLB bobbleheads on the back window of my neighbor’s car.
“You have to slow down to build the relationship.”
Read that again, write it on a Post-It, and stick it on the frame of your laptop. Do it!
The next time creating content just becomes something to check off your to-do list, look at this sticky note, breathe, and reconsider. Please and thank you.
To wrap this post up in a neat bow, I’m going to lean into a key point Ann Handley (that’s Ann pictured above!) shared, it’s another beautiful and intelligent word equation. Are you ready for this knowledge nug?
Customer-Obsessed X True Story Over Time X In a Relatable Voice = Trust + Affinity
In more words, show up consistently for your audience, give them value in a way that’s human and relatable, and you will have raving fans who trust you for the long haul.
Let’s help keep each other accountable!
In the next two weeks, I’m going to come up with 10-20 frequently asked questions that current clients and prospects have asked me during calls and meetings. I’m then going to show up consistently to answer them on Instagram stories. Follow me on Instagram.
Now it’s your turn. What social media platform are you going to show up more on in the next two weeks? Share your link below in the comments so I can follow along! How are you slowing down to show up for your audience? What stories could you be telling that gives your audience some ah-ha moments? Happy content creating!