Yesterday I attended the Social Media Summit in St. Louis. The Social Summit brings together experts, beginners, and everyone in between to learn about compelling content for their business. The summit consists of two keynotes, one in the morning and one to close it all down. It also includes something called breakout sessions where there are 3 “lessons” at the same time in different rooms, so you choose between the 3 sessions depending on what you want to learn. So let’s get into it and recap on what I learned.
The opening keynote: “Building STL’s Innovation Brand: The Power of Sharing and the Power of US” with speaker Katy Jamboretz (@stlpartnership). This segment was based around the STLHustle campaign that involved a bid for Amazon. was all about sharing the stories of the people of St. Louis (huSTLe) with Amazon to collaborate on something big for the community of STL.
Two of the main quotes from this session that stuck out to us that Katy said was:
- STL wakes up earlier and stays up later”
- “If you’re doing the brightest work, other bright people will want to be around you”
I liked this quote because to me, it speaks to the dedication of STL business owners and how hard they are willing to work to reach their goals. The second quote piggybacks off the first one, if you’re waking up earlier and working harder to create something wonderful and ‘bright’ you will find that people will become attracted to it without you having to prove yourselves – the proof is right there for them to see.
Katy really went into how the work ethic of STL is something different and amazing in its own way and how STL can benefit with the Amazon big that STL Partnership is wishing for. Katy was focused on showing the audience about how there is a power of sharing through authentic stories and people, being real will go a long way with a lot of people. Everyone has a story, and we can harness those raw stories to create an overall greater experience for those who love this city, the community within it. Showing the real side to different aspects of your business and mission will make people believe that you are more real and raw and will set you apart as a business or community.
Breakout Sessions 1:
- “Nestle Purina’s Journey from Employee Sharing to Information Sharing” Laura Lee, Nestle Purina (@Purina)
- “Facebook Ads & Retargeting 101” Will Hanke, Red Canoe Media (@RedCanoeMedia)
- “A Case Study from @STLMetro: Building the Right Platform for Effective Engagement” Matthew Hibbard, Bi-State Development (@MRHibbard)
I obviously went to the Facebook Ads & Retargeting 101 session. The session was great and a full house, standing room actually! Will first talked about how if you’re trying to get your computer fixed you’re not going to go build a motherboard, buy all the components, build a hard drive, and everything else that goes into building a new computer. Instead, you’re going to go to the ‘computer store’ and get it easily. That process is no different than getting traffic to your website, if you want Facebook traffic then go to Facebook.
Will talked about certain steps every brand should take before going straight into creating ads:
- Creating a persona – the persona worksheet is something you fill out to understand who you’re trying to reach with your ads. Take it slow and dive into what kind of person is in your audience that you want to target
- Hook worksheet – There are 5 categories in the hook sheet: Give/Have, Feel, Know, Status, Speed. So after you create the persona worksheet, you take your person and put them in under each of these categories. How will the feel after they receive your product? Will their status be higher? Will they gain some knowledge from getting your product? You have to go in depth with each of these and really dig in to your personas.
- The Ad Matrix – the Ad Matrix is after you’re done with the hooks and personas, you can finally start creating your ad. Take the 5 categories from the hook sheet and start writing out content that applies to your persona. After you’re done with the Ad Matrix, you can finally create a successful ad campaign.
Breakout Session 2:
- “Slacktivism to Activism: The Role of Social Media in Shaping Local Policy” Bronywn Ritchie, New Leaders Council/@Timmermann Group (@Brontchie)
- “How AT&T Pursued Happyness in Social” Wendy Buske and Sam Schmiz, Rodgers Townsend, DDB (@RodgersTownsend, @wendyburke)
- “Best Practices for Facebook Groups” Jason Flamm, HLK (@jmflamm, @HLKAgency)
I decided on the third option, Best Practices for Facebook Groups, to go and learn more strategies for using Facebook groups to their full potential. Jason talked a lot about the different types of people in Facebook groups, the kinds of groups, and the Do’s and Don’ts of being in a group. Firstly, though, Jason went in explaining that a Facebook Page isn’t the same as a Facebook Group. A Facebook page is mostly for your business whereas a Facebook Group is all about joining a community of people just like you. Facebook groups are a great way for your business to captivate audiences, get support from your peers, gain insights and organic reach. When you’re in a group, you’re talking to people who have the same interests, stress points, questions, etc. as you. Whether you’re thinking of creating a group or joining a group, there are a few pinpoints you must know beforehand. There are 3 types of Facebook groups – closed, open, and secret. Closed groups are groups that you must ask to be a part of, open are where anyone could join, and secret are those groups that are invite only.
Jason talked about the 5 people in Facebook groups:
- The Wallflower: doesn’t post anything but likes everything. Is just there observing the content that gets posted
- Champion: outspoken, puts out valuable information for the group, believes that the information they’re sharing is something the group needs to read
- Spammer: their only goal is to spam everywhere and anywhere, then get kicked out.
- Contrarian: disagrees with everything and anything, tries to start arguments just for fun
- Admin: trying to keep the peace, keeps the spammers out, makes informational posts to keep conversations alive and flowing.
Are you any of these in the Facebook group that you’re a part of?
The last thing that Jason talked about in his session was a fun Do or Don’t game. He read multiple instances of what could happen in a Facebook group and asked us in the audience whether we think those are Do’s or Don’ts. What would you say are some major Do’s and Don’ts in Facebook groups?
Breakout Session 3:
- “Crisis at the Speed of Social” Cully Eisenbeis, FleishmanHillard (@CullyE, @Fleishman)
- “Don’t Be Creepy: Tips for Connecting Appropriately with Reporters via Social Media” Allison Babka, Freelance Writer (@RiverfrontTimes, @AMBabka)
- “Chatbots, AI, NLP, CaaP – How Do You Leverage These Technologies to Create Exceptional Customer Experiences?” Michael Lamb, nativeMsg
Next I attended ‘Chatbots, AI, NLP, CaaP – How Do You Leverage These Technologies to Create Exceptional Customer Experiences?’ to learn about how I at RCM can take chatbots to the next level. Michael started by giving statistics about what’s the most used platform, which of course was SMS text messaging. His take on this was everyone in the room (or you reading this) have plenty of unread emails, but if you look at your phone right now, how many unread texts do you have? People are always checking their messages, so your business should be utilizing a way to communicate through chats. Artificial Intelligence in your company is now becoming easier and easier to implement. For example, talk-to-text is now something that anybody can do by a click of a button and have your phone or computer recognize what you’re saying by listening. Neuro-Linguistic Programming is a program that is inside of the chatbots that helps provide a human like experience. Lastly, CAAP – Conversation as a platform, is important with chatbots because you’re providing again a human like experience and having conversations that you can set guidelines to provide the best for your customers. Another aspect of chatbots that Michael covered was something called ‘Dark Social’ which is where you’re browsing a website and see something you want to share so you copy the link then send it to someone through text messaging. These aspects affect chatbots and can help bring a great customer service opportunity to your business.
Here are a few things that Chatbots allow you to do:
- Set alerts to text your audience reminders through the chat box
- Provide carousal images when someone interacts with your brand. The images allow the customer to pick which image they want to interact with.
- Tell stories using emojis, learn more buttons, and more. When your audience interacts with your chat box, telling them a story is a way for them to get engaged and not have a sales pitch immediately.
- Have a Buy Now button that allows you to sell to your customer through the messenger app. This can be of great use to your audience as they could go through the entire customer journey in just a messenger app. From choosing exactly what they want, to buying it, to receiving transaction confirmation receipts, tracking records, and after they receive it you can send a thank you message.
One of the most interesting aspects of the chatbots we found was that you can provide your audience with a newsletter inside of the bot! You keep your audience engaged and talking to your brand through messenger bots, which in the end gives them a less frustrating and an on the go experience that helps with their questions or concerns.
Breakout Session 4:
- “How To Create Visually Compelling Content for Social Media” Lindsay Scholz, Lindsay Scholz LLC (@lindscholz)
- “Operationalizing Social Media” Sarah Gamblin-Luig, City of St. Louis Emergency Management Agency (@SirenLadySTL)
- “How Social Media Changes the Public Relations Classroom” Amanda Staggenborg, Missouri Baptist University (@awokurka)
For this breakout session, I choose to go with “How To Create Visually Compelling Content for Social Media.” Lindsay taught us some new tips for social media that everyone should be implementing. First, she talked about the 4 main things to be trying to accomplish with your social media content.
- Brand Recognition
- Brand Differentiation
- Audience Engagement
- Audience Conversions
For a company to have all four of these important aspects, they will need to create compelling content that captures their audience and makes them want more. A quote from Lindsay that I thought was incredibly important was that “creating one piece of content and expecting it to do well on all social media channels is a mistake.” If you have a great blog post and want to share it on all your platforms, you’re going to need to alter it in different ways to match the platform you’re posting on. You’re not going to go word heavy on Instagram and Pinterest, so don’t expect to create one thing and make it grab engagement on all of your social media.
Here are two fun facts that Lindsay pointed out before going in depth with the social media platforms:
- Infographics receive 3X more engagement than anything else.
- Tweets with images receive 150% more engagement than those without images
Next, let’s cover what Lindsay saw as the most important aspect of each social media platform.
- Live videos: Live videos on Facebook allow you to engage in real time with your audience.
- In feed videos: with in feed videos you need to entice your audience immediately with the cover photo. You also need to have a compelling video that can be played without sound on, because most people scrolling through social media don’t listen to videos with sound on. So having a short, interesting video with some text overlays could be helpful getting your audience engaged.
- Carousels and GIFs: these two are a great and different way to catch your audience’s attention instead of the normal single image or graphic with a quote.
- Instagram Stories: the main advantage to Instagram stories is the fact that once you post a story it is always at the top of your customers feed. Just like Facebook live, it gives your customers a real life look at your brand. You can also have clickable links and use the swipe up feature to have your customers leave Instagram and go to your business page
- Instagram videos in your feed: you want to create snappy content that captures the audience’s attention immediately (just like Facebook). There are plenty of trends with Instagram videos that you can explore including 6 second videos and stop motion
- Effective Pin Design: with Pinterest you want to always have a clear effective pin design, something that has a distinct CTA and is simple enough that also provides text overlays, stacked images, and pops of color. You don’t want to make it look too clunky and meshed together. Infographics are a really good source to use on Pinterest.
- Branded snaps: Branded snaps allow your audience to once again see you in ‘real time.’
- Geofilters: geofilters allow your company to add special filters to the snaps of anyone that is in that certain area that you choose.
Breakout Session 5:
- “Building Communities through Social Media” Gilberto Pinela, Cortex Innovation Community (@CortexSTL, @TVHost)
- “Do’s & Don’ts of Influencer Marketing” Laura Heying, HEX (@hex_stl)
- “The Case for Brand Publishing” Lisa Grimm, PowerPost (@PowerPost)
For the last breakout session of the day I decided to go to the “Do’s and Don’ts of Influencer Marketing.” Laura talked about what influencer marketing is, the types of influencers, how to find them, how to use them, and of course the Do’s and Don’ts.
Influencer marketing is a native type of advertising. It is when you use real people to tell your story by providing them with your products so they can reach out to their own followers with a review or promotion on it. Laura talked about how there are a lot of influencers out there doing this for brands and nowadays other people in that same audience prefer to see an influencer trying out and using a product from a brand. As someone in the audience, when you see a ‘real’ everyday person using this product it becomes more compelling for you.
Types of Influencers:
- Instagram personalities
- Live streamers
- Other brands that you collaborate with
You can put each influencer into 3 different categories: micro, macro, and celebrity. The lowest cost is micro and it goes up until celebrity. Most people are more comfortable with the micro influencers.
How to Find Influencers:
- Current customers – you can talk to your current customers and ask them if they would like to do some influencing for you. You’ll want to make sure that they have a good social media presence and have the same audience that your business has
- By Hashtags and Keywords – look up hashtags for your business and see who is posting already and try to collaborate. Searching by keywords is also something that can help you find influencers who are already out there talking about things that relate to your product.
- Google – duh! Just google influencers and try to find the best one that fits your niche.
How to Use Influencers:
- Events – when you have a huge event coming up you’re going to want to have your influencers talking about this event or products that will be available there. Get the word out about the event
- Content promotions – whenever you’re having new content coming out you can get your influencers to speak on it or link to it in their posts.
- New products – this one is obvious. Send your influencers the new products that aren’t available yet to try then go out to their audience and talk about it.
- Have a goal in mind whether it be to increase traffic, build brand awareness, get conversions, etc. you want to make a goal that isn’t impossible to accomplish and is easy to measure so you can later see if you reached the goal
- Create unique experiences for your influencers. Make sure to have your influencer understand what your brand is all about and how you think your brand will help the influencers audience see your brand for who it is
- Find the right influencers. Make sure you aren’t just going to the first influencer that comes your way, its fine to be picky. Also check that your audience matches their audience, if it doesn’t then you’re wasting your time.
- Offer appropriate compensation & negotiate. Ask your influencers their rates but also don’t be afraid to offer trade options that would be of value to them. You can offer free products in exchange for their work.
- Set guidelines for their content. You don’t want to put a creative block on them where they can’t do their own thing, but do make sure that they know the type of content you don’t want associated with your brand and the content you do want associated. Make sure you allow your influencers to be themselves and be authentic. You can provide your influencers with hashtags and/or sayings that your brand always uses.
- Disclose partnerships on social media. It is an obligation by the FTC to post that you’re sponsored and that it is an ad.
- Lastly, make sure you stay in touch! Don’t just leave them after they’re done with their job. Make sure to follow them on social media and possibly create a newsletter or an email specifically for them
- Don’t over communicate. You want to stay in touch but don’t overbear them with communication. Be straight forward with them and lay everything out so they know exactly how you communicate.
- Don’t wait to pay. The typical pay period is NET15. You don’t want to wait until the last day or longer to pay your influencers. Waiting to pay or paying late gives your influencers the wrong vibes about your business. Maintain a good relationship by paying on time.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for your work. If you have a deadline and the influencer hasn’t submitted/posted their part of the deal, then don’t be afraid to reach out and request that it happens soon. If it’s due then it’s your right to ask for it.
- Don’t hesitate to ask for their metrics. Every influencer has their metrics available so you can see their statistics and then decide if they are right for your brand
- Don’t miss out on sharing the content that your influencer posts. Not utilizing every aspect of your influencers is a mistake. You can take what they posted and create your own post to get the most out of it!
- Don’t forget your goal. Make sure to track your results and measure your goal to make sure you’re staying on the right course.
- Don’t forget that Influencers are people too. They are busy just like you and me. Things happen and we can’t forget that they have lives too and can’t expect everything to be perfect all the time
I had to leave early for a client meeting so I wasn’t able to attend the last keynote.
Overall, the Social Media Summit was one for the books. I learned a lot of valuable information and hopefully you can pick up some of the great ideas that I did! One last thing, throughout the whole day I kept hearing one common word: authentic. With every aspect no matter what you’re doing, it is important to have authenticity with your brand. Not only does being authentic produce better content in most cases, but it also shows that you are a real person behind that brand and overall your audience will appreciate the realness that you’re providing them.