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Social Media Marketing World

We attended Social Media Marketing World (SMMW) in San Diego from Feb. 28 to March 2. While that feels like a faraway time when people were allowed to gather, we still wanted to share some of our takeaways because they are still relevant pre- or -post COVID-19. 

One of our biggest observations is that our little social media babies are all grown up. Some have left home entirely and there are social media grandbabies being born. Sure, there were sessions on the basics of social media, but the questions have changed from whether social media has value and how to show ROI to how to get the most out of the algorithm. Although one person called it a logarithm, most people nodded sagely when a speaker talked about going beyond the algorithm. 

Some platforms like Pinterest and Twitter seem to be grown up and moving out of the house. Are they even social media platforms anymore? Pinterest is increasingly considered a search platform and Twitter has framed itself as a news source – a place to find out what’s happening right now. Then there’s the social media grandbaby TikTok, which is so new that only one expert could be found to speak on the topic. Across all platforms and sessions, we saw five recurring themes.

1. Long-form video is coming

Long-form video content is the next “big thing.” Streaming video is where all the large corporations see potential (hello Disney+) and social media marketers should take note. Right now the algorithms are optimizing for longer-form video content that can keep people on their platforms. Think IGTV.

2. Focus on providing value

People will pay attention if you provide value. We heard quotes about people’s attention being shorter than a goldfish’s, but in the next breath, people cited marathon Netflix sessions. The middle ground for marketers seems to be storytelling. Tell a story and make people feel an emotion, and you can make the content as long as it needs to be.

social media marketing is storytelling. Our brains love stories.

3. Be messy and learn from it

Use unrefined content to inform your refined content. People want more videos and stories, but it’s okay for it to be raw and unedited in the stories space. Use that space to test different strategies or topics and get feedback from your viewers. Once you see what gets responses, use that to drive what should get turned into more refined content for your main feed.

4. Write and rewrite those headlines

You can’t write just one headline. Whether it was YouTube, Facebook or Blogging, everyone talked about how a headline can make or break your content. Savvy marketers are writing different headlines for search where people are looking with purpose and using their own words, and for social where people are bored and looking to be surprised.

5. Invite people into your social media backyard

People want to connect with their tribes. Have you heard the term Dark Social? It’s where people are connecting directly with their friends on platforms like Snapchat and Facebook messenger. As always, we’re paying attention to the features being promoted by platforms, and right now for Facebook (judging by their Super Bowl commercial) Facebook groups is the place to be where brands can still be part of the conversation but where people feel they’re in a safer space. Bella Vasta talked about Facebook pages as the front yard and Facebook groups as your backyard.

If you’ve got questions, want more details or even would like to engage in some friendly debate about what we’re seeing, connect with us on Twitter @MeetAtCT.

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