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Isn’t professional development grand? I mean it. Isn’t it amazing to attend a conference or event focused on your industry? To be surrounded by hoards of people who are passionate about the same things as you are? I just came back from Social Media Marketing World 2015 and let me tell you, I was in social media heaven.
Not only were many of the world’s biggest and brightest thought leaders from the social media and digital industries present (Guy Kawasaki, Mari Smith, CS Penn, Marcus Sheridan, Jay Baer, Chris Brogan, and so on, and so on), they were accessible, approachable and helpful. I attended sessions on Facebook Advertising, Instagram, Pinterest, marketing, blogging, SEO and more. I am rejuvenated and raring to go. So much so that I’m writing this on the plane ride home because I’ve got so many blog posts up my sleeves!
I learned a lot at #SMMW15 in three days, but here are my 10 biggest takeaways for you!
My SEO advice is solid
If you’ve read my blog posts on beginner SEO, you’re on the right track. Those techniques are “white hat, future proof, and totally legit” according to the SEO expert, Andy Crestodina, at the conference. I was really relieved to have this confirmation and to not have to rewrite those posts!
Customer Experience Trumps Everything
From the conference team, to John DiJulius, to Jay Baer, we heard over and over again, customer experience will win every time. You can say whatever you want about your product or service, but today, if your customers disagree, they’re going to tell the world. If you want loyal customers, you need to spend your time taking care of the ones you have now and ensure they never want to leave. And then you need to “Hug your Haters” and turn them into ambassadors.
Mobile is no longer an option.
You’ve probably been hearing about the upcoming changes to the Google algorithm, but in case you haven’t, Google has announced they will begin penalizing non mobile-friendly websites in search. That means, if your website does not provide a good experience on a phone/tablet, you will be dropped further down in the search results! Getting a mobile-friendly website is easy and whether or not you care about Google rankings (why don’t you???), your customers are increasingly trying to access your information on a phone/tablet. A mobile-friendly website is just good business. Do it.
We are voracious consumers of live content.
Just a few days before I headed out to the conference I began seeing these strange links in my Twitter newsfeed for Meerkat live streams. Meerkat and Periscope were the popular topic of the conference, especially with Twitter’s launch of Periscope on the first full day! Conference attendees were Periscoping entire sessions via their cell phones! Imagine, free, live-streamed info right in your Twitter stream. And it grew, and grew, and grew. As a society, we just can’t get enough “reality” content it seems. You need to start thinking about how you can add this into your mix.
A selfie stick is harder to use than I thought.
Cision wins the battle of the conference schwag, for sure, by handing out “selfie sticks”…although I didn’t see too many people using them other than myself. It is a great little tool, but you have to remember to set the timer and get the thing in just the right position. I will practice and report back.
Most of the social media “gurus” really are just regular people.
And they all started right where you and I are now. Almost every one of the speakers started out with no public profile to speak of. But look where they are now! Some were small craft shop owners turned Instagram experts, ministers who blogged themselves out of a job and into a new career, someone who got laid off and threw themselves into a new avenue and excelled at it. My big, hairy, audacious dream is to be invited to speak at a conference like this someday. Meeting the speakers and hearing their stories gave me hope and inspiration to make it happen. Here’s the video I was brave enough to ask for from Guy Kawasaki…I wasn’t brave enough to ask for a redo when I realized it was sideways.
There’s more to Instagram than good pictures.
I knew going in that hashtags were important, but I also learned about using emoji and ways to move traffic around from your pics to your bio to other places. I’ll be writing a full recap of the Instagram learnings soon. Instagram is going to be a big player for the next few years at least, so if you’re procrastinating on this one, get in there before all the good names are taken!
Don’t use #hashtags on Pinterest.
(in 2018 hashtags became a game-changer on Pinterest)
I had heard mixed suggestions on this previously, but Peg Fitpatrick was definitive. Pinterest penalizes pins in the Smart Feed/Smart Search when they try to “game the system” with hashtags. Just be descriptive, use appropriate keywords and you’ll be found.
Don’t be afraid to talk about price.
Probably the biggest, scariest thing we consultants have to talk about is price. Marcus Sheridan’s advice was simple…answer ALL the questions about your industry on your website. Be the resource people use to educate themselves. Not only does this build your credibility and reputation as an expert, it has the added benefit of incredible SEO powers.
Answer every complaint. On every platform. Every time.
Jay Baer closed out the conference with this gem. Obviously this is going to be harder for some companies, but the principle is the obvious…don’t ignore the complaints. If you’re on Facebook…answer the complaints. If you’re on Twitter, respond to the complaints. Ignoring a complaint is often the third time that person has been disappointed by you (once on the phone, once by email perhaps), so don’t blow it again.
WOW. That is some powerful stuff! And there’s so much more to come in future blog posts.
You too can experience this amazing event. Join me at the next Social Media Marketing World!