I was eager to attend the very first Social Media Day here in Halifax and it did not disappoint! This was a day set aside for my own professional development. I was content to be on the audience side of things – which isn’t always easy for me to do. Armed with a go-with-the-flow mindset, I showed up to network, gain some learning nuggets, and be inspired.
I wasn’t alone. There were close to 300 people from various backgrounds and interests sharing one thing in common – a desire to get better at social media. The buzz in the room was full of high energy lending to the excitement of the day. The venue was also fun. How often do you get to attend a conference at a movie theatre where the seating is comfy, the view is unobstructed, and you get movie popcorn on your afternoon break? It definitely added to the ambience and made it a welcoming space to learn.
The sessions I attended had great speakers and offered lots of nuggets. Here are some of my takeaways:
- Keynote speaker Erin Trafford’s message that influencer marketing is about serving not selling and that influence comes from that sweet spot between heart and hustle resonated. I also appreciated learning that I was a “perennial”. A perennial is someone who uses social media daily but maybe passive in their interactions. Although they have the money to spend, they are not someone often considered as part of our “target” audience. She also made me realize that every time I post to social media, I need to be thinking about how I can add to the experience for someone else.
- Social Media Day organizer Anita Kirkbride shared her knowledge of chatbots by demoing a chatbot as part of her presentation. What a great way to engage her audience and show the power of what a chatbot can do. She shared a study in her chatbot by Gartner which estimates that by 2020 ( 2 years away!) 50% of businesses will be using a chatbot and 85% of consumer communications will be handled by one. She also shared baby boomers are just as likely to see value in chatbots as do the millennials or generation Z. Knowing chatbots have a 90-100% open rate, I am inspired to build one now.
- At the Event Planning Panel, consisting of Menna Riley, Maria McGowan, and Michelle McCann, I was reminded how important it is to think of the event’s goal and what you want to achieve when deciding on a social media strategy. It is also helpful to have someone who is dedicated/responsible for the social media and to create a toolkit so that all involved are able to share the same message. It is also a good idea to have a photo and social media wish list for the actual event.
- The Podcasting Panel, featuring Mike Tanner, Duane Jones, Erin Trafford and Stacy Maynard, was perhaps the most practical session for me. Lots of great tips on how to record, where to host and the best technology to use. But my biggest takeaway was to stop over thinking and just do it. Record yourself talking and once you feel ok about it start publishing it. Being authentic, sharing your stories and being ok with talking about failure are the keys to a good podcast.
- Social Media Strategist Lisa Larter shared her best tips but a few things stood out for me. First, the “you economy depends on you”. A gentle reminder to show up and add value. Second, measure what matters so you spend the right effort on the right things. Third, remember that social media is about people to people and to help them see what’s in it for them. Finally, make sure there isn’t a disconnect between your website and your social media platforms. Consistency is vital.
- Marketing expert Allan Gates shared how our stories reflect our brand. Others want us to speak like a human (be real) and we should know what keeps us grounded. When we tell our story, we should be unflagging and repetitive. Equally important is to live your story – it should come through every aspect of your business. Are you living your story in your PR, your internal communications, your advertising, your customer care and thought leadership? It should be consistent throughout.
Well, that was a lot of learning for one day. Now, to get busy and implement it all.
It was a great day and I am looking forward to #SMDH19.
Thanks to 2018 conference attendee Sandra Currie-Samson for sharing her experience!