Social Media Marketing World (SMMW14) was quite a ride for over 2,000 people from 40 different countries that attended, especially the team at TopRank Online Marketing.
From an opening night reception on an aircraft carrier (The USS Midway) to surfing lessons to over 120 different speakers presenting across 5 to 6 different tracks, this event was one of the biggest mackers of social media conferences. (macker is surfer for “big wave”).
I’m happy to share that TopRank was actually the first and sole media sponsor for SMMW14 and our CEO Lee Odden gave a captivating presentation to a packed room as you can see below. Lee’s talk focused on how content plus an influencer network can help grow your business using the SMMW14 conference eBook he co-created with other speakers as a practical example. Both the eBook and the presentation were mentioned throughout the conference by other speakers, attendees and of course the lightning-paced conference Twitter stream.
TopRank Social Strategist Emily Bachelor provided awesome coverage of speakers including Jay Baer, Ian Cleary, and of course our own Lee Odden. I had the opportunity to view and write about excellent presentations from Jason Miller, Joe Pulizzi, Todd Wheatland and Michael Stelzner. We made connections with other smart social media marketers and brands from around the world, including British Columbia, Mexico, Africa, the United Kingdom and even our home state of Minnesota.
Like surfing on a perfect day, we weren’t able to ride every wave, simply because it’s impossible to be in 6 places at once (average number of sessions going on simultaneously), but some of the waves we did catch were truly memorable and epic experiences.
Here are some of our favorite social media waves from #SMMW14:
Content and Social Media Strategy
90% of businesses are engaging in content marketing, yet only 45% of them report it to be effective, according to Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute. A hot topic at Social Media Marketing World centered around creating content that gets results, rather than just filling up more web pages and social profiles.
Joe’s advice? Before creating another blog post, whitepaper, video or infographic, online marketers need to think about the ‘why’ behind it. An effective content strategy that answers why, will help content and social marketing teams be more successful by clearly defining:
The Power of Influencers
At TopRank, we have been advocates of leveraging influencers to help boost the reach and effectiveness of content for a long time and it has paid big returns for both our client and agency digital marketing programs. Some notable examples are Dell’s Social Media Predictions for 2013 (TopRank client) the conference eBook TopRank co-created for SMMW14: Riding the Waves of Social Media: 38 Tips from the Pros and LinkedIn’s The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn (TopRank client).
Skilled social media marketers are intimately aware of the power of influencers and there was much discussion at Social Media Marketing World about how to most effectively integrate influencers into content strategy and promotion in order to drive better business results.
Empowering Social Media Brand Advocacy
Speaking of influencers, some of the most powerful potential social advocates for your business are right under your own roof, according to social media guru Jay Baer, seen above with our CEO. Due to their extensive knowledge of your brand, relevant connections and motivation to help contribute to the company’s success, happy employees are some of the best social media advocates.
Jay says the key to empowering social advocacy is to instill a culture of freedom and trust, and that means being comfortable giving up some control over the message. Brands who are comfortable making the trade off are seeing huge boosts to their social media presence and outcomes.
Measuring the ROI from Social Media Marketing
Social media has come a long way in a short time. Once seen as merely an employee time waster, brands are embracing social media marketing as an essential tactic and backing it up with big budgets. Despite this, many are still struggling to measure the true ROI they are getting from their social media investment.
While social media is generally not a primary source of direct conversions, its value as a means of attracting and engaging with customers should not be discounted. It may be some time until web analytics are able to capture the full impact of social media marketing on the bottom line, but there is no doubt that it is a high value tactic that should be a part of any company’s digital marketing mix.
Optimizing Specific Social Channels
In addition to higher level social media strategy, there was plenty of helpful content from experts on how to maximize the effectiveness of individual social channels. Social platform-specific advice ranged from how to integrate LinkedIn into your company’s digital marketing mix from LinkedIn Marketing Solutions’ Jason Miller (TopRank client pictured above) to how to get maximum business value from SlideShare with advice from Todd Wheatland, author of The Marketer’s Guide to Slideshare.
Social Media Marketing Tools
Emily put together a fantastic post covering Ian Cleary’s presentation on a mix of social media tools that can help boost your marketing performance. Everything from social media listening to social and search optimization, social media image creation and social content sharing combine to provide time and resource strapped marketers with tools to compete with.
This powerhouse list of both free and paid tools is a veritable one-stop-shop for social media marketers looking to:
- Target the right people
- Get better results from content
- Convert more traffic
- Analyze and improve results
Here is the full list of #SMMW14 coverage from us at TopRank Marketing:
- Employees Are Your Best Social Media Advocates – Here’s Why – Emily
- 5 Content Marketing Best Practices Most Businesses Aren’t Doing, but Should! – Evan
- How Content Plus an Influencer Network can Grow Your Business – Emily
- SlideShare for Business: Tips and Tricks for Success – Evan
- 5 LinkedIn Marketing Tips That Rock from @JasonMillerCA of LinkedIn – Evan
- 4 Essential Trends in Social Media Marketing in 2014 – Evan
- 24 Social Media Tools To Boost Marketing Performance #SMMW14 – Emily
- Measuring Social Media ROI – Brands Pull Back the Curtain at #SMMW14 – Emily
The near ubiquitous feeling among attendees of Social Media Marketing World 2014 was that the conference was a resounding success. I think many were actually wishing it could have been a few days longer to allow for attending more sessions, meeting more influential social media people and having more of the kind of fun and memorable experiences you can only find at an event like this.
The #SMMW14 tide may have rolled back out to sea for now, but we’ll be sharing stories, trying out new tactics and waxing up our social media surfboards to get ready for next year!
What were your most memorable takeaways from Social Media Marketing World 2014?
Top image: Shutterstock