18 Can’t-Miss Insights From Social Shake-Up

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You know those tired, old social media tactics you rely on? It’s time to shake things up.

Around 500 communicators gathered in Atlanta for Social Media Today’s Social Shake-Up 2015, where dozens of social thought leaders spilled the beans on the latest industry best practices.

Here are some of the top takeaways from the two-day event’s first 24 hours.

How Social Has Changed Communication

1. Before social spread from novelty to must-have, your brand had to go through gatekeepers to tell its story. Those gatekeepers often didn’t have the same definition of newsworthiness as you.

For example, they told the story of the Apollo 11 moon landing and the Apollo 13 disaster, but hardly of the other successful lunar missions, says John Yembrick of NASA. Now, you and your audience define what is newsworthy. Feed them great content that tells your brand’s story.

2. We’re not just competing with competitors but with everyone else, Red Pantz CEO Petra Neiger says. Brands need to prioritize what they put in front of their audience. If they do too much, their audience will tune them out.

3. “You don’t want to be (on social) 10 minutes after the crisis happens,” Yembrick says. “You want to be (on social) 10 seconds after the crisis happens.”

How do you do that? Prepare for crises before they happen.


Social Media Participation

1. Want the space-age method for creating brand ambassadors? NASA’s Yembrick says the space agency invites its biggest fans and influencers to exclusive behind-the-scenes events in the hope that the invited create content.

The VIP treatment builds loyalty that rarely is achieved through digital means alone.

2. Just because something doesn’t immediately drive transactions doesn’t mean a brand should avoid it. Community is the future of business, says Brian Fanzo, the chief digital strategist of BroadSuite.

3. “I don’t want more followers on social media,” Fanzo says. “I want more people that I can have a handshake with.”

4. “People understand you can’t personally connect with thousands of followers, but they want you to connect with some,” vtricity CEO Peter Ebert says.


1. “No one is going to ever complain that you’re helping them too much and providing them too much value,” Fanzo says.

2. Often, brands think that they have to build a platform to build community, but that isn’t the case, Fanzo says. Find content and platforms they already love and sponsor it. Provide value by helping grow a community.

Titania Jordan, the CMO of KidsLink, agrees. She says “build it and they will come” is no longer true. Instead of building new ground, brands should find where their audience already exists and determine how you can meet their needs.

3. If you work for a large brand and have a lot of fans or people connected to you, it is impossible to have a 1-on-1 relationship with each of them, Neiger says.

Identify your power users and influencers, understand who they are and build real relationships with them.

4. The audience that you aim to communicate with is made up of people like yourself, Ebert says. They’re busy, they have passion, they have relationships. They are not just on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. They’re everywhere, like you.

5. Never automate the personal touch, Ebert says. When you put out content, your personality and value comes in and you don’t want to automate that.

As Neiger puts it: “You can automate amplifications, but you cannot automate relationships.”

6. “Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about,” Ebert says. “Be mindful of that and think about what you can do to create happiness. (If you do), it will come back 10 times what you would get back if you just sent content that’s not about them.”


1. When it comes to acquiring data, don’t wait for your target audience to give you feedback. Seek out social intelligence among your audience, Fanzo says.

2. Data without insights or data that just reflects the status quo doesn’t really do brands much good. Josh Martin, the director of digital and social media at Arby’s, requests that his team doesn’t send reports unless they contain new information and actionable insights.

When you can show what’s good, what’s bad and why that’s the case, you tend to get more resources.

3. The best marketers have amazing guts and should trust them, says Laura David-Taylor, of MaxMedia. You need to prove your instincts are right, though. That’s where you need to rely on data.

4. Should brands use mobile beacons? Yes, but they should use discretion. Beacons shouldn’t become a new medium for spam, David-Taylor says.

“No one in this world wants to walk into a store and have beacons beat up their phone,” she says. “There’s a difference between ads and value.”

5. “Data is about being contextually relevant,” Martin says. “We’re trying to get the right message to the right person at the right time.

“We should be smarter about delivering a better personalized experience.”

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Tags : social media

About Brian Conlin

Brian Conlin is a content marketing manager for Cision. A former journalist, he enjoys researching and developing accessible content. When not writing, you will find him watching baseball and college basketball, sampling craft beer and enjoying Baltimore. Find him on Twitter @BrianConlin13.

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