Thursday, November 19, 2015

SMW Chicago: 10 Things I Learned



I attended Social Media Week this year for the second time....due to my schedule at work, I could only make it to one day of classes but didn’t feel cheated at all because I came home with a ton of great content (which is perfect because content is king! Think I heard that in every single class on Tuesday) :) Speaking of content...

10 things from SMW Chicago:
  • “Putting out great content without any promoted dollars is like shouting in a forest when there’s nobody there.” – This was probably my favorite quote from the day and it came from Jenny Heinrich at Edelman, another speaker on the same Niche panel. As hard as it is to swallow that your passion-driven organic content isn’t enough to create engagement, it’s truthful and logical when you think of how much over-saturation there is in the world of social. P.S. Jenny was hilarious, I laughed out loud at many of her comments, even when no one else did and decided we were social spirit animals ;)
  • One of my favorite speakers was Eric Munn from The Onion – He was part of a fantastic panel on how to build Niche Awareness on Social Media (btw, think about how you say the word niche out loud, this was a huge debate in the class!) He mentioned that the target audience for the publication doesn’t want to see advertising on their site but on that same note, there are a lot of brands looking to advertise with the Onion because of its popularity with millennials so they make sure to do it in a way that fits in with their brand. He talked about working with Bacardi during a previous holiday season, using the idea that people love drink around the Holidays because they are forced to spend time with irritating family members. Using Bacardi products, the Onion created actual cocktails including a margarita recipe that required you to blend all the ingredients together, thus using the noise of the blender to tune out annoying Aunt Judy. I thought this was super clever and made so much sense…they would lose people if it was just a basic ad, but there is useful information here mixed with humor which is a great way to appeal to their audience.
  • Many of us spend time analyzing our content and one thing we look for at the best times to post…Bob Gearing of Social Bakers shared that engagement has been dropping on the zero and on the half so he suggested posting at odd times to avoid all the clutter…see you guys tomorrow at 9:34am ;)

  • Random tidbit: It felt oddly welcoming to be surrounded by hundreds of other people who have no shame about photographing every moment of the day. To the fashionable girl snapping a lay flat photo of your badge and the beautiful succulent, I feel you ;)
  • Beth and Andrew of Sharablee looked at what content is most shared between the two sexes and found females prefer to share content that is useful and makes us “feel smart,” whereas the guys, not so much…they are looking to share humorous content with their fellow friends. Seems about right…I don’t see many guys re-pinning no bake oatmeal bites or 10 reasons to incorporate yoga in your life.
  • B2B content is growing on social, even faster than financial services (which is good I think?) Woo B2B, people! I feel like so much of social data is based around consumer so this was exciting to hear since I do a lot of B2B in my role at the exhibit design company.
  • Random tidbit: The Merchandise Mart is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city, inside and out. My company is a preferred vendor there, as we do a LOT of signage/graphics and installs for their various showrooms but I have only been a handful of times and on each occasion, I have been stunned by all it has to offer. By the way, I stopped at the Protein Bar for a pick-me-up smoothie which only reconfirmed that if one of these was located near my office, I would be short a few more (hundred) dollars.
  • “Think of blogs less as publications and more as Tupperware parties” – Another one of my favorite quotes, shared by Erin Bassett who you all may know from the Windy City Blogger Collective (#WCBC, hey girl hey!) This resonated with me and sums up why I love writing for our blog so much…it’s a space that allows you to share your feelings, just as if you were having apps and wine with your girlfriends ;)
  • You don’t always need a high production budget to create engaging and interesting content– Serena Schaffner of the American Egg Board (who connects American Egg Farmers with consumers -- cool right?) said they are always looking for visual ways to make the egg interesting and appealing (on Instagram, specifically). They noticed that avocado toast is really big across the food spectrum right now (You don't have to tell me!) so they created some beautiful images of the snack using eggs as part of the recipe. This took little to no budget and fit within current trends so people who may not have ever found the American Egg Board, now had a reason to.
  • Random tidbit: For any future conference you plan on attending, don’t be afraid to walk up to someone and say hi. It can be as simple as, “is the WiFi working for you?” and all of a sudden you are exchanging information about your jobs and walking to the next class together. It’s like being in 4th grade all over again but in this case, you’re swapping business cards instead of treats from your lunchbox ;)
Have you attended social media week before in Chicago or another city?

I want to hear your thoughts on the conference! Share them with me on IG or here, below!