Last month, we dusted off our business cards and made our way to Charlotte, NC to attend one of our favorite conferences: Social Fresh!
Deemed THE “summer camp” for people who live and breathe social media, us Likeable folks were thrilled to attend this year as a sponsor. We listened, we learned, and we networked, connecting with like-minded social media professionals and leaving the conference feeling energized to apply our learnings to our work.
Ready for the 5 five takeaways from this year’s Social Fresh?
1. Relationships > Reach
There’s nothing quite like word-of-mouth marketing, and having solid foundations with your customers is a great way to keep them excited about your business both on and off social. However, that reach only extends so far. You need to continue to build and nurture those customer relationships across your entire social ecosystem so they keep coming back again and again.
But what happens when you, the real person behind the account you manage, do not align with the demographics of your customers? Joseph Galbo of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests taking a “documentary film approach” to creating those relationships, aka always be willing to learn.
This learning can come in many forms: using social listening to monitor for certain topics and keywords, using customer feedback to bring best practices to life, or immersing yourself in learning about things your community is interested in outside of your brand.
2. Employees as Brand Advocates
In a talk about LinkedIn with Micah Laney, a Senior Manager of Social Strategy at Walmart, one key thing stood out: individuals are stronger than brands on the networking platform.
At its core, LinkedIn is an employment-oriented service that allows users to share content, network and job search. Brands as advertisers can definitely fit into that puzzle somehow, but let’s consider this: instead of using the platform as a self-serving tool for acquisition of employees and customers, what if brands used the platform to build brand advocates out of their existing employees?
Branded massages have a 561% reach when shared by employees compared to branded channels.
For years, brands like Walmart, Delta and Microsoft have done just that. Training their employees on social best practices and equipping them with templates for content sharing have proven integral to brand success. Not only do these posts by employees become authentic representations of their employer, they also create a surplus of user generated content for use across other parts of the marketing mix.
3. Video Above All
You definitely knew this hot topic was coming. Video is king, and it’s not stepping down from the throne any time soon. From short form videos to TikTok to live streaming, the conversation about moving pictures at Social Fresh did not stop. Here are some of the key takeaways:
- For social networks, video = more time users spend on the app. Consider revamping your content strategy (of course, Likeable can help with this!) to lean more heavily into short-form video.
- “Think mobile-first when it comes to short form video.” – Michael Ibe of Great Wolf Lodge. Full screen, immersive experiences that can capture a user’s attention quickly are key for his brand.
- What if you don’t have the resources to prioritize video content? Consider using free tools or agency partners to add motion to your static imagery or turn photos into simple slideshows.
- When considering live streaming opportunities, look to make them a shoppable or lead generating moment, as conversion rates are much higher within that format.
- On TikTok, completion rates will be your most valuable metric. With the next video a simple swipe away, locking in a user for the full 15 seconds speaks volumes.
4. To Meme or not to Meme
Memes are to social as the color orange is to Likeable.
It’s no wonder that brands are leaning into the call to be more “authentic” and jumping head first into popular culture by sharing their take on memes as part of their marketing mix.
Because of the lack of polish, memes are an easy way for marketers to insert themselves into current conversations and piggyback on trending moments. That being said, is the juice really worth the squeeze?
At Social Fresh, speakers kept returning to one key idea: while using the borrowed interest is great, make sure the meme aligns with the voice and tone of your brand. If a meme is political, outspoken, sexy, or humorous (and your brand is none of those things), simply don’t engage.
And even if your brand is all of those things, give the content a good vetting before pushing it live. Think about it this way: with email marketing, users will unsubscribe if they’re hit with too many emails. The same goes with a high frequency of the same content on social channels.
5. Amplify Organic Success with Paid
It’s no secret that organic success is still attainable (*cough, cough* TikTok), but paid advertising still plays an integral part in social media marketing. Much like Likeable’s standard approach, many speakers at Social Fresh this year suggested two routes:
- Amplify top organic performers with paid dollars to gain more reach. Use this as an opportunity to introduce your brand to lookalike audiences, increasing the potential to convert them into customers and/or followers.
- Approach paid campaigns with a test and learn approach. It’s important to try out different story hooks or visual cues to learn more about what convinces a user to engage with your content.
Interested in chatting more about these findings? Reach out to our team of experts here.