(photo credit: http://on.fb.me/1GeMI8n)
I recently returned from Social Media Marketing World 2015, run by the fine folks at Social Media Examiner. As I returned home, three themes hit me: old stuff is making a comeback, newer than new is what wins, and being smart > being trendy.
The Event Was Put Together and Executed Well
It was my first time attending, and I hope not my last. The event was run very smoothly, in a great location (San Diego!), by a friendly staff, with fantastic content. There’s not much to dislike (ok, there’s some room for improvement, but that’s not the point of the post – ask in the comments or ping me privately, if you like). I got to re-connect with some old friends, and make some really solid new connections. That’s one thing that really impressed me about this event: they really impressed the importance of networking, and how it’s an open event, and that we should all be accepting of each other. Never was there a time that I felt like I couldn’t join a circle of a conversation.
— Alex Mitchell (@Amitch5903) March 26, 2015
Old Stuff is Making a Comeback
Podcasts – Google the phrase ‘podcast rebirth’, or use Google Trends (hat tip to Mike Stelzner on this one – he shared it his opening keynote). Maybe it’s the effect of Serial, maybe it’s something else. It’s on a return trip, and I hope it’s here to stay. Veterans of the genre are likely rolling their eyes over the renewed popularity. Or maybe not, since it’s shedding light onto a format that needs more light. I personally like them because it fills two times that I otherwise couldn’t read or watch something: commuting, and exercising. I’m excited to see how this space will grow, and more importantly, innovate.
Networking, connecting, and genuinely caring about people over links, likes, and comments – Backlinks are good for traffic, sure. Likes increase reach on Facebook, and … These are mostly superficial metrics, since they are all public numbers (see slide 6 here, and below, for a great Jay Baer description). Instead, our attention is now turning more toward networking and connecting people. As I mentioned above, this event placed a huge focus on connecting one to another, making introductions, and focusing on the ‘social’ of social media. This is not meant to undervalue why we all do what we do, but more to put a focus that there are humans behind all of it.
Newer Than New is What Wins
(not to be confused with ‘More Human than Human’)
Personal Video – I’m not quite sure what to call the movement of smaller-scale digital video subverting mainstream media. YouTube just turned 10 in February. Since then, it’s introduced us to new ways to showcase talents and humor and all kinds of things that traditional video (read: TV) never would have surfaced. And for a while, YouTube was the way to connect with others via video outside the majors. But Facebook video starts to rise, and rise quickly at that. Then Vine comes out with 6-second looping videos. Instagram retaliates with 15 seconds of video. Then, a one-two punch of the ability to embed Facebook videos outside of Facebook, and Facebook suppressing YouTube videos in lieu of Facebook video is delivered, signaling that there are more players. Twitter now supports 30-second videos. And then as if by design, during the conference, Twitter announces Periscope, a competitor to Meerkat (launched only a month prior!).
— Chris Sabbarese (@csabbarese) March 26, 2015
That’s a lot of ‘new’ in a short time frame. And the newer new seems to be winning – at a minimum, it’s running off with the limelight.
Being Smart Trumps All
This isn’t really a take-away for this event, per se, as it is for life in general. Here’s how I see it applying. We were lead to believe and know that content is what turns the crank of social networks. So we created content. LOTS of content. But (smart) Ann tells us “We don’t need more content, we need better content.” We’ve deluged ourselves.
On Facebook, we were lead to believe that ‘social media is free’ and that we can all post here and everyone will see it. Organic reach now for brands hovers in the (on average) sub-10% range (sub-5% for some). The smart move? Better audience targeting, using ads the right way (as Jon Loomer smartly shows us), and looking at our Facebook insights will yield a better return of time spent on the platform.
Speaking of insights … we’re told to look at analytics. For some, it’s nauseating or fear-inducing. For others, it’s a necessary evil. We tend to want to see things going up and to the right. What about looking at variances from the mean? What about Bollinger bands? What about having our data tell us a story before it’s too late, like the canary in the coal mine? That’s what (uber smart) Christopher Penn tells us in his session.
— wen (@wenphd) March 27, 2015
Being smart trumps all.
Those were my three high-level meta-lessons, with the ways they were packaged to me. Or at least how I parsed them. It was a great event, and I hope to go back next year.
What about you? Did you go? What did you take away from the event?
Thanks and shout-outs for the tweet embeds go to: Alex Mitchell / @Amitch5903 ; Visual Creatives / @vcreatives ; Jay Baer and SlideShare ; Chris Sabbarese / @csabbarese ; Healthcare On Social / @healthcareos ; wen / @wenphd ; Ann Handley / @annhandley ; Christopher Penn / @cspenn ; Jon Loomer / @jonloomer / Jay Baer / @jaybaer ; Michael Stelzner / @mike_stelzner