5 Things I Learned at SXSW (That Every Social Marketer Should Know)Lucy HitzBlogger ExtraordinaireSimply Measured
I learned more than five things at SXSW. For instance, not included in my ruminations below: you can now buy and sell houses on WhatsApp, 70% of highly resilient people process emotions by writing them down, and the best way to spawn your own late night hotel pool party is…well, that last one you’ll have to DM me for.
But all those factoids aside: here are the five things I learned at SXSW that should be required knowledge for every social marketer.
During the State of Media and Tech panel–featuring Pete Cashmore, founder of Mashable; Billy Parks, Senior VP of the Fullscreen Strategic Content Group; successful travel YouTuber Joanna Franco; and Bloomberg reporter Lucas Shaw–the speakers touched on the importance of consistent engagement and relationship-building with your audience over one-time success.
Another significant theme in this panel: how brands can partner with influencers to create this consistent engagement. Both Joanna and Billy mentioned her partnership with AT&T and their HelloLabs…
…and what makes an influencer-brand relationship thrive:
.@jofranc0 talks @ having to please 3 groups as an #influencer : your audience, the brands who pay you, and your own moral compass. #SXSW
But this is a message that the elderly statesmen of social marketing (if there is such a thing) need to hear. Guess where I found that GIF above? Giphy. Many marketers use Giphy, but it’s more than just a GIF repository.
.@giphy founder talks other previous "meaningless formats": music videos in the eighties and short videos and #VR not so long ago.
Some other interesting ways to think about GIFs (and using them as brands), as explained by GIF founder Alex Chung in a GIF-centric prezo, which made my day:
Photography gave us visual nouns…GIFs give us visual verbs
Gifnosis is the process of hypnotization and brainwashing which GIFs can create
A major part of Giphy’s mission is to redefine search
Giphy has 150 million unique visitors per month
Giphy has created its own agency — and they’re hiring!
Most of Giphy’s site content is actually licensed and legal
If I were you, I’d begin thinking about partnering with Giphy for brand-centric GIF creation, keeping an eye on this platform and how you can use its future integrations with other social platforms, and incorporating GIFs into your social marketing strategy.
3. We Are Oversaturated by “Social Media Experts”
This makes it hard to tell who the real experts are.
How do you know who is actually a social media expert when they say they are?
I went to a panel entitled Stay True to Your Craft and Online Brand, featuring Helen Todd, CEO of Sociality Squared; James Burns, Director/Producer for Tilted Productions/Vice Media; Jey Van-Sharp, Business Advisor for MyÜberLife; and Martin Waxman, President of Martin Waxman Communications.
The panelists posed a lot of questions and gave a lot of statistics around generating content and buzz for your personal brand in an era when the buzz can be overwhelming and building brand loyalty and trust is harder than ever.
Along with learnings about personal branding (taglines like “Your network is your net worth” got thrown around quite a bit), my big takeaways were:
Your brand needs to find a major differentiator to stand out in the increasingly oversaturated social and online environment
That major differentiator had better have more behind it than just good marketing, or you will break your audience’s trust and/or never get your brand’s ball truly rolling
4. Don’t Delete Your Brand Differentiator
Speaking of differentiators…I had a really interesting time at An Honest Conversation with Yik Yak. The founders discussed major issues, like how they interact with law enforcement, and matters of privacy for users.
It was all fascinating, but I was shocked during the Q&A. Someone asked the founders if they considered the anonymity of the platform a defining feature of their app which will last into the future and never go away.
They said no.
I know it is difficult for emerging platforms to monetize when the foundation of their app is anonymity, but anonymity seems to be the only differentiator between Yik Yak and other apps like it. I don’t see much future for Yik Yak without this feature, because I don’t see much value from the user perspective. This is an important issue for any brand to think about.
So how does this apply to your social marketing organization?
Be vulnerable: Through her research, Brown has found that vulnerability is the most accurate measure of courage. Create at least occasional social content which shows the soft, “real” side of your brand
It’s okay to fail: Brown also found that people who have no tolerance for failure create nothing new. Take a risk with your social strategy, and you’ll generate awareness as an innovator, not a follower. Analyze and optimize your social efforts on a consistent basis
We are born to tell and hear stories: A lot of what Brown talked about was the power of story to the human brain. She also said:
What did you learn at SXSW, and what do you think about what I learned? Get at me @LLHitz to let me know, and download our 2016 Social + Marketing Predictions for more of the latest and greatest in social marketing.
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I’m the Content Marketing Manager here at Simply Measured. I manage our blog, produce longform content, head our co-marketing initiatives, and host the Simply Social podcast, among a few other things. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.
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