Social Media Marketing World 2016: Top Takeaways

For the second year, I’ve been fortunate to attend Social Media Examiner’s annual conference, Social Media Marketing World. Last year I focused my time on learning more about Instagram and SEO. This year I focused on Snapchat and storytelling. What a difference a year can make! Here are my top takeaways from this year’s event.

The Snapchat possibilities are endless

From virtual thumb wars to pizza coupons, businesses are already taking advantage of the creative opportunties Snapchat provides. There were several sessions on “How to Snapchat”, but the theme was the same…get in there and figure it out. Show your personality. Give something more than “advertising”. Some people likened Snapchat to “the way Facebook and Twitter used to be” because there is less noise and you can easily see the content from everyone you follow (unless you follow 6000 people). For creative ideas on Snapchat use I follow these Snapchat gurus (and yeah, I’m calling them gurus ‘cuz they totally are!)

Live video is the new black

Live streaming video is already here, and in a big way, but it’s also still very new. Periscope, the first of its kind in the live video arena is really just a year old, and that’s an infant in the social media world. People want to see people, not brands. The more you can tell your story through video, the more you will build your trust and likability factors.

Be personable. Be human. #Snapchatmarketing #Snapchat #quote #qotd #SMMW16

A photo posted by Anita Kirkbride (@twirpcommunications) on

Storytelling has a formula

Tina from Lift Communication, who traveled with me to the conference thought everyone knew this because she spent years studying story theory and teaching it. However, while I could certainly see patterns in movies and stories, I never really knew the theory of The Hero’s Journey. This formula will be at the front of my mind now whenever I’m creating any kind of content (except recaps like this, and how-to’s which have a different formula LOL).

Tag everything to get the best analytics

This is something I already knew, but something I don’t take the time to do. You must tag everything that points to your website, otherwise you can’t analyse where people are coming from. Google Analytics only tells you some of the information without tagging. Proper tagging of your incoming links can show you whether or not your social media efforts are working.

Gary Vaynerchuck is really quite smart

Yes, I knew this before. Clearly he is smart if he was an early investor in platforms like Snapchat, and used social media to build Wine Library into the business it became. I don’t watch all of Gary’s stuff…he puts out a LOT of content, but when I do it’s usually through-provoking. And when I have seen him live, he is epathetic, caring and honest. Two of my favourite quotes/thoughts came from Gary at the conference.

“Imperfectly done and out there is better than perfect and in your head.” In other words, don’t wait for everything to be right before jumping on your business idea, that course, that live video, that platform. Get in there and figure out how to make it work.

“Don’t worry about the future of a platform, use it while it is available.” This one is for all those people who are waiting to see if Snapchat, Blab or some other new platform will be around for the long haul. Why wait!? Use it to the best of your ability while you have access to it. What you learn from using it can most likely be transferred to another network if this one should happen to close down. After all, platforms come and go, but strategies are the same (if implemented somewhat differently from place to place).

Be human

Throughout all the sessions, the one overarching theme I felt was “be human”. We hear a lot about being “authentic” and it’s only going to be more important. Snapchat and live video are all about showing the human side of your business, or showing your own unique personality. Your customers don’t want to converse with a brand, they want to talk to another person. With the rise of chat bots on the horizon, being human will be ever-important if you want to stand out among the crowd of businesses taking the easy and cheap road to customer service.

Even more interesting is that my web designer (yes, new website coming soon), said the conference she attended last week left her with the same basic takeaway. This isn’t just a social media thing. Businesses need to be more human to thrive in the era of social media.

If you attended SMMW I’d love to know what your top learnings were. Please share them in the comments.

Why not join me at the next Social Media Marketing World event?

Social Media Marketing World


2 thoughts on “Social Media Marketing World 2016: Top Takeaways”

  1. Hi Anita…

    Love the quote from Gary Vaynerchuck “imperfectly done but out there is better than perfect but only in your head.” I confess that I’m guilty of that–and the fact that there’s a saying about being in that situation means I must not be alone. I’m going to commit to action. Thanks for the post.


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