Top 10 Takeaways from Social Slam

Last week, I had attended Social Slam, a fantastic social media conference in Knoxville. Just like last year, by far the best aspect of the event was the relationships.

I FINALLY got to meet some people IRL (“in real life”) that I had gotten to know online – folks like Stanford Smith, Gini Dietrich, Marcus Sheridan, Margie Clayman, Sean McGinnis, Adam ToporekDavina Brewer and others. I love it that I got huge bear hugs from people I’ve never met and from those I met for the first time last year. That’s certainly a testament to the power of social media!

But, in addition to reuniting with friends, the day was full of tips and ideas from digital marketing leaders. If you weren’t able to attend, here are my top 10 takeaways from the conference:

1. Focus on Integrated Marketing

Gini Dietrich kicked off the day with an awesome keynote about the importance of an integrated marketing approach. Gini encourages companies – large or small – to tear down the silos and create a “marketing round”, a roundable of various departments (i.e. HR, customer service, marketing, etc.) working together towards business goals.

I’ve seen this approach firsthand and it definitely works if you’re willing to invest the time into it. Gini’s got a book coming out in a few days that talks more about this. I encourage you to check it out!

2. Creatively Promote Your Blog

Stanford Smith of Pushing Social offered up 10 blogging ideas in 10 minutes and it was jam-packed with good stuff (see the link above for his slides). He encouraged folks to find creative ways to promote your blog, such as printed materials, invoices (after all, everyone reads those!), email signatures and offline advertising.

I also liked how he talked about personalizing your blog to include “bright faces” – you, your customers and employees. Readers love seeing content that focuses on PEOPLE.

3. Use LinkedIn for Personal SEO

Although LinkedIn has tons of potential for business purposes, it’s also a great SEO booster for individuals. Presenter Jon Moss shares a name with a band member from the Culture Club, so he used LinkedIn to help his name higher in Google search results.

He also talks about you can use LinkedIn to pimp your blog and showcase your expertise by answering questions. You can see more of his tips here.

4. Start Using Video

Companies don’t have to have professional actors or high-level equipment to use video effectively. Stephanie Wonderlin tells businesses that they can get started using video for less than $2,000. She encourages businesses to tell stories and also emphasized the importance of speed – videos should be between 1-2 minutes.

5. Use Social Media as a Focus Group

The super-smart Tom Webster of Edison Research shared his insights on the deluge of data we see regarding the social web and how to make sense of it all.

He talked about how social media can be a tremendous focus group. And, while social media will never give you all the answers, it will help you ask better questions. Tom urged attendees to do your homework to help you find the right answers for your own brand.

Tom also did an excellent job recovering from some technical difficulties during his talk. Truly, the mark of a skilled presenter!

6. Pay Attention to Social Search

Whether you’re a fan of Google Plus platform or not, there’s no denying it has an effect on search, said Sam Fiorella, Sean McGinnis and Eric Pratum during the Social Seach Panel.

Google Plus is a layer on top of your search engine experience that ranks certain pages higher based on the number of times an article was shared for +1’d, regardless of whether you have a Google Plus profile. Even if you don’t engage on the Google Plus social platform, you might want to add the +1 button to your blog posts and set up a Google Plus Profile page.

Also, the panelists suggested using the “rel = author” tag to connect your Google profile with your blog. This pulls your avatar into search results, which helps improve visibility.

 7. Use Personalization to Give a Better Experience

With social media, brands, platforms and retailers are at war for our attention. Mitch Joel’s keynote focused on urging businesses to start thinking about the consumer – what’s in it for them?

Mitch gave an excellent example with Charmin’s “sit or squat” app. Instead of being another lame app that points to a company website, it uses GPS to locate the nearest public bathroom. And, it provides user-rated feedback about cleanliness and amenities (i.e. changing table, etc.).

This app isn’t focused on overt selling. Instead, it’s about helping consumers. But, in doing so, it breeds brand loyalty. More companies should follow this example.

8. Email Marketing is Not Dead

Although social media is all the rage, DJ Waldow shared that 77 percent of people want to get permission marketing messages via email.

He offered a few ideas to integrate your email and social media efforts – add social icons to your emails to make them shareable, add links to share your emails on social networks and send dedicated emails with a call-to-action to follow you on each social network. You can find his full presentation here.

9. Use Content as a Sales Tool

Marcus Sheridan talking about content strategy

Marcus Sheridan, aka The Sales Lion, is one fierce presenter! He got the crowd energized while talking about how content marketing helped turn around his fiberglass pool company during the recession. Just Google “fiberglass vs. concrete pool” and you’ll see his company, River Pool and Spas, comes up first.

Not only does blogging help businesses from an SEO perspective, it also gives you information to share with prospects. In fact, he requires that anyone who wants to meet with his company has read a few designated blog posts and their ebook first. That way, their sales team spends less time teaching and more time closing. Smart stuff.

10. Anyone Can be an Influencer

Mark Schaefer ended the day with some tidbits from his book, Return on Influence. On the social web, you don’t have to be a celebrity to have influence. Mark shared stories about how regular folks like Calvin Lee has become a citizen influencer with the extraordinary ability to spread content online.

Mark also shared a story about how one company was receiving criticism through social networks and they were trying to decide how to respond. The company checked the Klout scores of the people complaining and determined the individuals did not have the ability to spread content in a way that would make it go viral. So, the company decided not to respond and the issue quickly blew over. That’s a win.

Whether you agree with Klout and other influencer measurement applications, it proves there are meaningful ways these tools can be used for businesses.

A Round of Applause

The event was championed by Mark Schaefer and put together by the Social Media Club of Knoxville. They deserve a huge pat on the back! Also, thank you to all of the volunteers, speakers and the sponsors for putting together an excellent and affordable social media conference!

What were your takeaways from the event? What did you learn?

Thanks to Jenn Whinnem for the picture of her, Stanford Smith and me. It turned out WAY better than mine! You can see more of my photos from the event here.

Note: The links to books are affiliate links.

 

About Laura Click

Laura Click is founder and CEO of Blue Kite Marketing, a Nashville-based integrated marketing firm. In addition to being the lead blogger on the Blue Kite blog, Laura is a proud Mizzou alum, avid runner and dog lover. You can connect with Laura on Twitter at @lauraclick, on LinkedIn or Google Plus.

  • http://www.312digital.com Sean McGinnis

    It was so great to meet you in person Laura. Thanks for sharing your personal story with me during the VIP party. Your success should serve as an inspiration for those who are on the verge of “taking the leap.” Looking forward to seeing you again soon (I hope).

    • http://flybluekite.com Laura Click

      Well thanks, Sean. That means an awful lot! It was great to meet you too! I’m sure we could have talked about legal marketing/communications all night! And yes, hope to see you around. :)

  • http://spinsucks.com Gini Dietrich

    I am SO HAPPY I finally got to meet you! I love you online and love you even more IRL. You’re absolutely darling. And thank you for the nice mention of the book. Maybe I can talk you into coming to Counselor’s Academy next year…as a communication firm leader. :)

    • jennwhinnem

       My best friend pre-ordered your book for me for my Christmas present. *clears throat*

      • http://spinsucks.com Gini Dietrich

        THAT is an awesome best friend!

    • http://flybluekite.com Laura Click

      The feeling is mutual, Gini! I just wish we would have had more time to chat! But, I guess it’s only fair that we let you leave to get to the birthday boy. :)

      And what’s Counselor’s Academy? I’d love to hear more! 

      • http://spinsucks.com Gini Dietrich

        Here! It’s a big conference for our people every year. It starts on Sunday in New Orleans. I think it’s in Austin next year: http://counselorsacademy.org/

        • http://flybluekite.com Laura Click

          Cool! I’ll have to check that out. Do you have to be in PRSA to go?

  • Carol

    Great notes!  Wasn’t it an excellent event?  And all volunteers.

    • http://flybluekite.com Laura Click

      Thanks! And yes, it was!

  • jennwhinnem

    So great to see you again Laura! I’m so glad we all took so many photos.
    You and I had such a similar experience of the event that it’s eerie.

    • http://flybluekite.com Laura Click

      Likewise, friend! I wish we could hang out more! 

      And yes, great minds…. ;)

  • http://www.thesaleslion.com/ Marcus Sheridan

    Laura, so great meeting you this past weekend!! And thanks for the kind words :)

    To many more events like this one,

    Marcus

    • http://flybluekite.com Laura Click

      Likewise! Wish we would have had more time to talk! And you’re welcome – you’re one heck of a presenter, my friend. :) I wish I could bottle up your energy!

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  • http://twitter.com/adamtoporek Adam Toporek

    An excellent roundup Laura! You must have taken much better notes than I did! Now, we just have to find time to put it all into effect.

    It was a pleasure meeting you finally. Hope your race went well!

    • http://flybluekite.com Laura Click

      I suppose I can get my notetaking skills from my days as a reporter. ;) 

      Great to meet you and you’re wife too, Adam! So fun! Oh and the race went well. Thanks!

  • http://www.jonfmoss.com JonFMoss

    Good takeaways. Great seeing you again. Till the next event…I’ve turned my slideshare into a video for your aural pleasure: https://vimeo.com/41311620

    • http://flybluekite.com Laura Click

      Great to see you TWICE this month, Jon! :) And love the video version – of COURSE you included Cama Chameleon! But, I thought it was going to be narrated by you. That would have been cool too.  

  • Rosemary

    Awesome roundup Laura! It was fun meeting you and the rest of the gang too.  I’m working my way down the list of action items this week :)

    • http://flybluekite.com Laura Click

      Likewise, Rosemary! Meeting people “IRL” is the best part in my opinion! :)

  • http://www.clickandinc.com/blog Sarah Kolb

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience! I wish I could have gone, and reading through your notes and checking out the slides from the event is the next best thing. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • http://flybluekite.com Laura Click

      You’re very welcome! Glad you found my notes helpful. You’ll have to go next year!

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  • http://www.jontusmedia.com/ Jon Buscall

    I am SO jealous. I would have loved to been there, but Sweden is a bit far off. Next year, perhaps. 

    Thanks for this overview. I’m trying to dig around online to all the best links from the day.

    • http://flybluekite.com Laura Click

      And we would have LOVED to see you too, Jon! Hate that you couldn’t come, but totally understand – that would have been quite a trek! But, you would have won the farthest travel award for sure! :)

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