This past week, two of us from the Earned Media team had the opportunity to attend The Social Shake-Up Show in Atlanta to learn from some of the best and brightest in the industry. We rubbed elbows and clinked glasses with over 500 social media and PR experts, while getting the chance to brainstorm, exchange successes and failures, and discuss what’s next in social media. We heard from agencies, major influencers such as Cecily Strong from SNL (a major fangirl moment), video influencer Shaun McBride, and major brands including Southwest Airlines, NBC Sports, CDC, Home Depot, Coca-Cola and the list goes on!
We divided and conquered the sessions and panels to make the most of our time. As we debriefed our thoughts and insights on our plane ride home, we were amazed with how much we learned from others and left inspired to help take our clients’ social and PR strategies to the next level.
While we couldn’t possibly condense everything we absorbed in our three days of learning and networking, we wanted to share our 14 biggest takeaways from The Social Shake-Up Show with our clients, partners and industry friends:
- Listening to what your audiences are saying on social media can do amazing things for your marketing strategy. Take time to take a deep dive into what they are talking about! Once you really find out your audiences affinities and value, create content and a strategy that correlates to those.
- When thinking about using influencers to spread your message, make sure you’re looking at both micro and macro influencers to reach your target audience. It’s not necessarily about a lot of reach, but rather, the right reach. You can learn more about our thoughts on influencers here.
- Viral videos, photos and posts come and go. But a good message that instills positivity, supports a good cause, or developments emotion will outlast any “viral” engagement.
- People don’t trust brands, but people trust people, which is why building an employee advocacy program is vital. If you want your employees to become ambassadors you have to (first, create an environment employees want to talk about) trust them to spread your message in an authentic way for them to trust you.
- Social media can also be the perfect testing waters for trying out what works and doesn’t work before launching a larger campaign. Spend some time testing different creative concepts or different messages, and find out what resonates. Remember what we just said about listening to your audience? Having this insight and data can help build your larger advertising campaign around it knowing your audience cares about those messages.
- Crisis communications is vital when building out a PR plan, but you can’t forget how social media integrates into that. Update your crisis communications strategy every six months and then spend time practicing your plan, just as you would with a fire drill. Should a crisis happen, social media can be one of the best tools for spreading your message. Be first. Be right. Be credible.
- When creating content, make sure you are creating content with a purpose. Think about the value of the content and make sure your audience can’t easily find that content in another place. Think about what truly sets your brand apart.
- Trying to reach millennials? So is every other brand. Millennials can be very brand loyal, but in order to build that brand value, they want a brand to be authentic and to find a personal connection. Find a way to build an authentic relationship that doesn’t feel forced.
- Key messages are a foundation of every PR plan. But your key messages can’t live alone and tell a story. Don’t shove your key messages into a blog post, video, etc. and expect it to tell a story and make an impact on your audience. Find that emotional connection.
- Don’t be on a platform on channel, just to be there and “have the lights on”. Instead, spend your time and budget to actually create purposeful content on where your audience is most active.
- Social selling isn’t just for B2C brands, B2B brands have a wide opportunity to make personal connections on social media and sell their product. Get your salesmen to build their own brand on social media and make authentic connections. Have them engage in relevant conversations outside of selling the product—when you center social selling on relationships and relevancy, sales will follow.
- When building a social strategy, you must identify specific channel (Facebook, Snapchat, etc.) goals and objectives. Think about your overall business goals and align those channel goals to help you reach the bigger picture.
- You don’t have to spend all your time and effort constantly creating new content. Look in your archives and find ways to reshape or repurpose old content. IF you have a limited budget, spend your time creating content that is more evergreen and constantly relevant rather than engaging in a specific seasonal conversation that is only relevant for a few weeks or months.
- Lastly, we got the chance to meet SNL comedian and actress, Cecily Strong. While creating scripts and performing improv might seem a world away from social media and PR, one of her biggest lessons that stuck with us, was to give everyone on your team a chance to win. Teamwork is extremely valuable and can make everyone better—find ways to let others win and the success will have a domino effect all around.
I’m so grateful MBB+ gives me the chance and opportunities to continue learning and developing my skills. Social media is an extremely fast-paced world where updates and changes are constantly being made, and we understand how hard it can be to stay on the forefront of it all. If you need help developing your social media strategy or just want to pick our brain on the latest social developments —drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, we’d love to chat!