I was very fortunate to attend the Social Tools Summit 2016 (#socialtools16) yesterday. Brian Mahoney ( @compelum) and Neal Schaffer (@nealschaffer) put together an excellent conference. I particularly liked the format. It consisted of series of panel discussions where the participants shared their views and real life stories on a variety of subjects of how they manage social media with their companies or for their clients. Panelists were a good mix of in-house, consultants and vendors of social media tools.
Here are eight takeaways from the event that made me take notice.
- From @nealschafer – Social media replaces nothing but complements everything. I loved this comment because there is quite a bit of confusion around social media outside the realm of digital marketers. The technology and market has transformed so rapidly that if you aren’t focused on it there is likely to be some hesitation as well as misconceptions about the role of social media within the context of business.
- Social media is like a networking event. I am not quite sure who said this but using this analogy is an very effective way of educating people on the power of social media as well as what is required to tend to this ongoing 24/7 networking event. Social media is a great way to expand your network for new opportunities whether they are for new employment, partnering, or new business, but it takes time and effort to cultivate your network. Social media is an equal-opportunity networking event. You don’t need an invitation, it is open to everyone.
- Social media is 10 years old, and acts like a 10 year old. This insight came from Wayne Kurtzman (@waynenh), Social Media Marketing Manager at Pitney Bowes. This is just a reminder that the technology and use cases are still very young. We can expect everything we know today to continue to evolve rapidly.
- There is no magic formula when it comes to short or long form content. Pawan Deshpande (@TweetsfromPawan), CEO at Curata, cited very impressive stats as a result of Curata transitioning to publishing more long form content versus short form content. Another panelist cited, I believe it was Alan Belniak (@abelniak), Content Marketing Manager and Social Media Lead at Alignable, had the exact opposite results. Alan’s audience is small business owners who don’t have a lot of time to read blogs whereas Curata’s audience are digital marketers. So, short form or long form? It depends.
- There is no magic time to promote content. Conventional wisdom has told us not to promote content on a Friday afternoon or on a Saturday morning. But for Kate Hutchenson (@kehutchinson), Sr. Project Manager, Social Media at EMC, it is the perfect time to promote technical content. It is when she sees the most engagement from her technical audience.
- Visual tone needs to represent the brand. This insight came from the Future of Visual Social panel. Colors, filters and subject matter should align with brand guidelines and enhance your brand.
- High engagement comes from employee advocacy. Ami Chitwood (@achitwood), Sr. Manager Social Media Team at Deloitte told us that they see 60-80% more engagement from traffic that comes in from employee advocacy.
- Excel unifies social tools – There are so many tools that were mentioned throughout the day for various aspects of social media. Surprisingly, the one tool that was named over and over again was Excel. Jannette Pazar (@sociallyclimb) from DragonSearch was the first person to mention the use of Excel. It is the great unifier among social tools because you can import and export information from one tool to another using Excel.
Social media is no longer optional – even in B2B. Here are some recent statistics from the 2016 B2B Content Marketing report published by Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs.
- 88% of B2B Marketers are using content marketing
- 94% of B2B Marketers use Linkedin to distribute their content
- 97% of B2B Marketers use Twitter to distribute their content
- 84% of B2B Marketers use Facebook to distribute their content
- 74% of B2B Marketers use You Tube to distribute their content
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