A Masterclass In Social Marketing: 7 Tips From The Experts


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Twice a year the smartest minds in social media come together at Social Fresh Conference. They share their best strategies and tactics for building a better business using social marketing.

We pulled together some of the best tips these social media leaders brought to the stage at Social Fresh.

Grab one of these recommendations and incorporate it into your digital marketing today. Also, be sure to join us in Tampa Bay on Sept. 23-25 for our next round of expert presentations at Social Fresh 2015.

1. Turn Your Data Into Timely Charts – Josh Karpf

This tip from Josh Karpf at Spotify is gold. Every company has data or they can easily collect interesting data. Look for opportunities to use your data as a visual story. Numbers and spreadsheets are not sexy, but a chart about a recent news item or something timely and on your customer’s mind, can generate high engagement and press mentions.

An example from Spotify is a chart they created about how a song that was featured in the Breaking Bad finale saw an amazing spike in listeners immediately following the show’s airing and for days afterward. Spotify noticed a spike in conversion around the song online. And when they went to look at the streams data (number of listens) they saw a 9,000% increase.

break bad finale song from spotify

Another example I love is from social listening platform Synthesio (a Social Fresh partner). After the launch of the Apple Watch they leveraged the data of how people were talking about the watch before and after the Apple Keynote. They took a unique social listening angle on a highly relevant news story.


2. Speak The Customer’s Language – Laurie Meacham

JetBlue’s interactions with their fans is famous for being very funny and organic. They do a good job at making you believe there are other humans running their social media.

jetblue twitter funny

Social Fresh Conference speaker Laurie Meacham shared some of their secrets with us earlier this year, including their focus on speaking the language of the customer.

JetBlue takes great care to pick the right people and train them well, but sometimes it also takes a little research and reliance on a team to understand the wide range of references JetBlue customers throw at them.

One of my favorite examples is below. A customer who was praising JetBlue on Twitter made an obscure reference (dysentery) to the old Oregon Trail computer game. JetBlue responded in kind with their own obscure Oregon trail reference about buffalo meat.

But the key to this story is that JetBlue worked for it. The first person who saw the reference did not understand it. But they had a feeling it meant something and might be referencing a cultural touchstone that they did not understand.

When they reached out to their fellow JetBlue social media team members, the connection became clear and they were able to create another one of the human (and funny) interactions that they are so famous for. The kind that gets people to screenshot it and share it on blog posts even.


3. Use BCC For Content Inspiration – Chris Moody

Blogging or creating videos around commonly asked questions is a great strategy for content marketing. Having this content ready for when your customers search for it online can create real business value.

But taking the time to pool all the questions your customer service and sales teams get can take a lot of time and effort. And sometimes it is simply difficult for them to remember everything.

Social Fresh Conference speaker, Chris Moody of Oracle, shared with us a brilliant tip for how to make this much easier for any business, simple using email. Chris recommends creating an email alias that will allow your team members to simply BCC any conversation they have with a customer or a potential customer that they think could turn into quality content.

content via email bcc2

Your sales and service teams are constantly sharing their knowledge and expertise about topics that your business has never thought to blog about.

Creating a simple email alias will allow you to bring all those potential content topics together in one place. Later on, your content team can review and filter for the best stuff. And they will never have a shortage of relevant content ideas again.

A bonus benefit of this technique is that it doesn’t just give you the customer questions that can lead to great content. Since your staff can BCC on their reply to the customer, it gives you answers to those questions too.

4. Get On The Front Page of SlideShare – Jason Miller

According to Social Fresh Conference speaker Jason Miller of LinkedIn, Slideshare might be the most underutilized social networks available to the modern social marketer.

Most people simply never try to get on the front page of Slideshare. If you take Jason’s tips and put a little bit of effort behind it, the number of eyeballs and potential leads you can generate are well worth it.

slideshare optimization

Here are 5 tips from Jason to help you get on the front page of SlideShare:

  1. Design your presentation for SlideShare instead of just uploading existing slide deck files you created for another purpose. This one tip will put you ahead of 90% of the content on SlideShare.
  2. Give attention to good design. The editors on SlideShare are looking for content that visually stands out. Have a designer work with you to create something unique and visually powerful. Something that is not boring or predictable Make sure you have a cover image that stands out right away.
  3. Simplify your images, text (and copy length), and in general do more with less. This is not a book. Help viewers get through the content quickly with short headlines, big dynamic images, and visual surprises.
  4. Make sure you are telling a story, and not just listing facts. SlideShare content that actually takes the viewer through a narrative gets shared a lot more and is a more likely target for the front page.
  5. Focus your resources to get your SlideShare content shared on social. Blog about your SlideShare content, share via email, ask your network to share it, etc. SlideShare is going to see content that is trending in views more easily.

5. Blast More Content in More Places – Jay Baer

When Social Fresh Conference speaker Jay Baer presented this concept from the stage, he knew it was antithetical to social media best practices from the last 5 years. And he said it even made him feel a little weird to think about social this way.

But Jay believes firmly, because of the numbers and how hard it is to get real reach on social networks today, that more businesses should be publishing the same message to many more social networks.

Traditional wisdom is to take a more tailored approach. Only take part on social networks where you have time to create quality engagement. And on those social networks create custom content for each channel. Jay calls this the Rifle Approach.

Jay wants you to consider putting down the rifle and picking up the Shotgun Approach. Namely, publishing more messages to more social networks. And don’t be afraid to post the same content to all the social networks.

rifle shotgun jay baer

Because of how hard it is to reach your customers on social networks organically, the chance of your fans seeing the same message on several social networks is negligible.

6. Use Contests To Help Bridge Your Content Gap – Erica Byrum

It is very difficult to produce enough fresh content on a regular basis. User generated content, from contests, can really help bridge this gap.

Social Fresh Conference speaker Erica Campbell Byrum of Homes.com shared with us how they stumbled this benefit of a social media contest. After a mediocre result from a “Coolest Space in Your Place” photo contest, they realized the content that was submitted was pretty high quality. And that the winners were all bloggers and influencers.

The contest brought them some great images, but it also brought them relationships with influencers that could help with their content in the long term.

Hosting a couple social media contests each year allows Homes.com to find content creators and user generated content that helps lift organic traffic to their blog and website year round.

Winning photos from the Homes.com "Coolest Space in Your Place" contest

Winning photos from the Homes.com “Coolest Space in Your Place” contest

Some of Erica’s tips on hosting a quality social media contest:

  1. Make the prize unique. Do not award cash, but instead think outside the box for a prize that connects with your fans emotionally. Give them something that they will cherish and talk about. Maybe something they can’t buy.
  2. Look to partners. Include industry blogs and other organizations that your business works with as part of the contest. They can greatly aid the promotion, reach, and results of your contest.
  3. UGC. Focus, from the beginning, on a contest that can create quality user generated content for your business. Have a strategy for this from the start.
  4. Include stakeholders before you announce the contest. Tell employees, companies you work with, and past contest entrants about the contest before you announce it so they can help promote and get involved early in the process.

7. Separate Community From Marketing – David Spinks

David Spinks, Social Fresh Conference speaker and founder of CMX Summit, has spent his life building communities. I asked David to speak at our last conference because I run into so many companies that just do not use their communities well or at all.

Building and engaging a community in support of your business is an intimidating task. But it can be core to your ultimate success as a business.

David shared a ton of tips with us, but I thought his opening recommendation was a great place to start. David emphasized that businesses need mentally separate tasks associated with marketing and tasks associated with community.

marketing vs community

Marketing is everything up until you bring the customer or user through the door and community is everything after.

Some of my other favorite tips from David’s presentation:

  1. Start out with low tech. Every community (even Facebook) started out very basic. Whether it is an email list or Facebook group, don’t get stuck searching for technical bells and whistles before you get the human parts of a community right.
  2. Step One. Want to know the first step in building a community? Pick up the phone and call one of your customers. Have a conversation with them. And then do it again. Select your most passionate customers/users and reach out.
  3. Treat your community like a startup. Instead of creating a minimum viable product, start with a “minimum viable community” and grow from there. Whether it is 10 people or 50, once you get a core healthy community, growth is much easier.
  4. The purpose of your community should be to solve the problem of the people in it. Sometimes it is hard to figure out what that problem really is. To get there, talk to your audience and ask them “why?” five times. Every time you think you know their problem, ask “why” again to see if there is something deeper behind it that you can solve.

Want more?

These are just a handful of the tips that these speakers dished out on the Social Fresh stage in 2014. And they were only a sample of the 18 total presenters we have on stage at each conference.

To get more tips, tactics and strategies like these, join us at the next Social Fresh Conference in San Diego on October 28-30, 2014.

Reserve your ticket to Social Fresh 2015 here.



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