Improve Your Business Immediately (Social Media Included)

7 Social Media Lessons From #SMMW15

7 Social Media Lessons From #SMMW15What you take away from a conference isn’t necessarily what’s taught in the keynote or individual sessions.

Rather the power of an industry conference is the gestalt of the entire event and the people you meet. For me, this was true of Social Media Marketing World 2015 (aka #SMMW15).

7 Social media lessons from #SMMW15

If you had observed the Social Media Marketing World conference from the vantage point of my shoulder, you’d have learned these 7 social media lessons that can improve your business immediately regardless of whether you’re a B2B, B2C, not-for-profit or solopreneur. (BTW—Here’s the one element most marketers forget about social media.)7 Social Media Lessons From #SMMW15

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1. Brand your business

Branding matters. It’s not just the exercise of determining your business or personal brand’s key attributes. Rather it’s consistently applying those 360° brand attributes across platforms, especially social networks.

Chris Brogan noted that Jon Loomer consistently uses his professional photograph. As a result, Loomer shows up multiple times in your Facebook feed. You can’t help but remember him.Facebook  Jon Loomer Digital

Key social media lesson from #SMMW15:

  • Decide on key brand elements and how you want to use them to build your brand across social media.

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2. Focus on your audience’s experience first

Before you can sell, you must earn your prospects’ trust by solving their problems.

Email converts 40X higher than social media according to Copyblogger’s Brian Clark.Brian Clark quote at SMMW15 via Actionable Marketing Guide

Create a content driven holistic customer experience. In Brian Clark’s words “content is a media experience that leads to sale.”

Key social media lesson from #SMMW15:

  • Develop a successful content strategy to create customer success according to Brian Clark.

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3. Develop blogging habits

Stephanie Sammons was surprised to see me at Michael Hyatt’s session on how to keep blogging since I consistently churn out content. I believe that it’s always useful to see other people’s tricks. It helps you to appreciate why they’ve become successful.

Additionally, I wanted to meet Hyatt because I sold ton’s of books that his firm, Thomas Nelson Publishing, published when I was at Bertelsmann’s Bookspan division.

Key social media lesson from #SMMW15:

  • Keep a list of titles and ideas for future blog posts and articles in one place, even if it’s an old fashioned moleskin. BTW, Hyatt likes to use Evernote to keep his ideas organized. Personally, I like outlining my articles and longer content by hand first.

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4. Get personal

When I congratulated Melonie Dodaro on her recent marriage, she confided to me that she always includes at least one personal tidbit in her content. At first I was surprised and had to think about this approach since I generally do the opposite.Melonie Dodaro and Heidi Cohen via Crestodina

Then I remembered that when I was head of marketing at The Economist’s online division, I ran research on our site redesign using a few key pages, not the entire site. Over 10% of our readers wrote in and asked what happened to the Obituary section.

Does this mean that The Economist’s readers are morbid? No. Rather The Economist’s obituary is their version of People magazine. The same holds for your content and business communications. Your target audience wants to know who you are and what type of person you are in real life.

Key social media lesson from #SMMW15:

  • Show that you and your team are real people to whom your audience can relate. As Melonie discovered, this works incredibly well. But don’t use your marketing communications to share the minutia of your life. (BTW—Here’s how to get your employees to be more social.)

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5. Provide quality service

Social Media Marketing World 2015 can be summarized in one word: Service.

“Service is the new social! Wow people already in your fold,” according to Mari Smith. In her words, start with your own staff and be generous.” Mari Smith Quote from SMMW15 via Actionable Marketing Guide

Convince and Convert’s Jay Baer, who is always known for a terse tweetable phrase, dubbed it: “Hug Your Haters.” In Baer’s words, “Haters are not the problem, ignoring them is.”

The good news: Responding to complaints on social media yields a 20% increase in advocacy according to Edison Research. By contrast, not responding to complaints decreases advocacy by 43%.

Even more important here are 100 ways to celebrate your customers!!!

Key social media lesson from #SMMW15:

  • Figure out how to respond to every question and complaint. Monitor social media to cull all of the issues. Provide your customer service, sales and other front line employees with the tools and skills to handle these issues.

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6. Build your email list

I had the good fortune to run into Noah Kagan of AppSumo and OkDork in the networking lounge. He was one of the people I wanted to meet IRL. (BTW, I think that email is the king of social media with 10 tips to build your list!!!)

In case you haven’t heard about Noah, he was the 30th employee at Facebook and the 4th employee at Mint.

Kagan’s message: Follow the Zuckerberg Principle: “Focus on one specific goal at a time.

Kagan’s presentation didn’t just teach attendees a set of tips to grow their email lists—he got attendees to implement them. Here’s a great example where we paired up and took each other’s photo. Then tweeted it out from our Twitter account. The goal was to broaden reach. HeidiCOhen #smmw15

(BTW–Here’s an article on LinkedIn Publishing using data. )

Key social media lesson from #SMMW15:

  • Build your email list early and often. You must own your audience. It’s one of the few things that I regret not doing from day 1 of Actionable Marketing Guide.

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7. Done is better than perfect

I met Syed Balkhi of WP Beginner at the event check-in with Ian Cleary. Balkhi is about the same size as my dad (but a lot younger). I’ve been using his company’s Optin Monster for a while and it’s been a boon to my email list. (BTW—I’d appreciate it if you’d use my affiliate link if you’re interested in this excellent tool.)

Balkhi told me that he has a sign in his office that reads: Done > Perfect.

I made a mental note of this point. There are times that we’re so focused on creating the best piece of social media or marketing, that the opportunity passes us by.

Take this image and print it out for your office or bathroom mirror so that you see it every day.Done vs Perfect -Syed Balkhi-via Actionable Marketing Guide

Key social media lesson from #SMMW15:

  • Don’t strive for perfection. Strive to be the best you can be at that point in time. As Nike reminds us, just do it!


While everyone’s day is super crammed with tons of to dos, take a moment to implement one lesson from this list per day to get your business on track to success.

Go on! I know that you can do it.

Download your social media checklist


What other social media lessons did you learn at Social Media Marketing World 2015?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Photo Credits:
@Crestodina with tweet “Big one…
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@Toby39 via Twitter, @Crestodina via Twitter (Here’s Andy Crestodina’s blog.)

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