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10 Things I Learned at Social Media Week

smw chicago

I attended a few dozen sessions during Chicago’s recent Social Media Week. Presenters ranged from Tribune reporters to non-profit advocates to social media managers and even chefs. They gave tips for telling your brand’s story and insight for measuring your social media efforts. Needless to say, I learned a ton!

And if you were following me on Twitter (@jennmulligan) that week, you may have felt like you were in the sessions with me. If you don’t follow me (or are leery of scrolling through that many tweets), take a look at my top 10 takeaways from Social Media Week.

  • Tweeting is good note-taking. I found that I typed my tweets much faster than I could hand-write notes, so I quickly ditched the notepad and stuck to Twitter. twitter pc
  • “Bullet points” are called “bullets” because they’re deadly. People don’t remember points. They remember stories. The best way to get your point across is to tell a story.
  • People will tell you anything if you call their baby or pet cute. Brands have found it difficult to hold social media contests that require personal information from people. The two exceptions being contests that require pictures of pets or babies.

boo gif

  • Social media is most effective between people not organizations. Journalists use social media to find leads and push their content out to the public. Public relations professionals should leverage this by sharing their favorite journalists’ articles and interacting with reporters online.
  • Post when your audience is online. You know your audience better than anyone else. Don’t listen to research to determine when to post; listen to your audience.
  • Twitter cares more about twerking than Syria. This summer there were 75,000 tweeters mentioning Syria and 775,000 mentioning twerking. What can I say? Talking about pop culture is more fun than international affairs.

Miley Cyrus

  • Your brand voice is your first-impression online. Take time to develop your social media persona. Is it sustainable, appropriate, attracting the right audience?
  • Social media humanizes brands.  Social media is not just about sharing company news and talking with customers. It’s an opportunity for organizations to be personified. Is your company spunky, nerdy, a best friend? Decide and show it.
  • Avoid jargon social media. B2B has a bad rep for alienating people with its industry vocabulary. Remember that even B2B professionals are consumers. B2B companies should speak clearly, use consistent messaging, and connect personally with clients in social media.

reba mcentire

  • Women in their 50s love Reba McEntire. To narrow down your target audience for Facebook ads, think about more than demographics like age and gender. For example, many, but not all, women in their 50s like Reba.

All in all, it was a valuable conference for anyone working in social media or wanting to learn more about how to use it for business. Let me know if I you think I missed anything in my list, and you can check my tweets for everything I learned.