Friday, September 27, 2013


As a Social Media Week (known to those savvy as #SMWChicago) newbie, I attended this weeklong production with no expectations or previously acquired feedback. I went in blind. I left with renewed, even enhanced, vision. Vision for social media strategy, that is.

While I'm constantly immersed in the world of social networking, I never rule out an opportunity to learn more, research more and expand my skills. That's the nature of this industry. It's constantly changing, so the learning and application process simply never ends. And thus, my desire to strengthen my knowledge follows suit.

If you were not able to attend #SMWChicago - a weeklong production of events, lectures, promotions and seminars hosted by Zocalo Group and Tribune Company, I've compiled a list of helpful tips and facts I took away from the eight seminars I attended. As there were many, many lectures I could not attend, I also scoured Twitter and pulled useful information that was live-tweeted by eager attendees during the events. In no specific order or correlation, here are some quick tips via #SMWChicago. Remember, these are just general tips and might not be the best practices for your specific social media purposes.

Random Facts:
  • When it comes to social content, CADENCE is key. If you don't know what it means, click here. In other words, you should always have a 'steady drumbeat of content.'
  • Sweepstakes or contents often help gain short term rather than long term fans. 
  • Brands should not feel obligated to speak out socially during or following a tragedy. If it doesn't somehow directly relate to your brand, it doesn't make sense and might look like you are simply trying to piggyback off of someone else's misfortune for your own benefit. 
  • Consumers see 2,904 marketing messages per day. Of those, they only pay attention to 52 and will only remember four. Be strategic and smart with your messaging.
  • When determining social strategy, three crucial questions to ask are: 
    1. Who are we and what is our voice? 
    2. Who is the audience? 
    3. What are our key objectives? (i.e. More foot traffic in store, Increased sales, More likes)
  • Social content should be only 10% about your brand, products and promotions. The remaining 90% should be content related to your consumer's overall lifestyle.
  • Always carry out the over-arching brand message in all content, even if the post is not directly about the product or brand. 
  • An effective way to interact with consumers and followers is to crowd source. Ask your consumer to share moments of them using the product or service. 
  • When writing copy, to avoid sounding inhuman, ask yourself: "Is this how you would say this to a friend?"
  • Why 140 characters on Twitter? It forces creativity and self-editing.
  • Terms to know:
    • Viral Coefficient: The number of people that a new user shares content with.
    • Cycle Time: The length of time it takes that user to share the content.
  • Four criteria to consider when creating social content:
    • Nostalgia
    • Humor
    • Identity - Will sharing content make the user look good?
    • What's Hot - What's trending/popular?
  • Use lists with odd numbers. We gravitate towards odd numbers and 80% of users only read headlines. 
  • No more than two sentences per paragraph.
  • Always try to use a photo or graphic when posting on Facebook. 

Ways to increase SEO with social:
  • The first 40-42 characters of your Twitter bio are extremely visible to search engines. The first 27 are like 'rocket fuel.' Choose these words wisely, using crucial keywords. 
  • 'Write for human beings first but understand the rules of the robot.' - Amy Guth 
  • Use Twitter lists to your advantage:
    • When you create a Twitter list, an additional URL is created to be picked up in searches.
    • Choose title effectively, using keywords you want to be picked up in search engines. (ex: Social Media Editors)
    • Each time a member of your list tweets, it sends that to search engines. 
    • Inactive members bring your SEO for Twitter lists down, so remove members that don't tweet regularly. 
    • Make your list public so that search engines can see it. 
  • Regularity of content rather than volume is more favorable on Twitter.
  • Twitter Rule of Thirds
    • 1/3 of the time, share your own content.
    • 1/3 of the time, share information related to your experise that you did not create.
    • 1/3 of the time, interact with users. (RT, thanks for RT-ing, engage in conversation, etc.)
  • When uploading images/videos to Flickr, YouTube and Pinterest, rename the file to the name of the person (people) in the photo or the name of the event. (ex: Monika_Dixon.jpg) File names are very visible to search engines.
  • On LinkedIn, it is very important to fill out all information on your profile. The 'Summary' section is most visible in searches, so use keywords, and make sure they are at the beginning of the text. Write the 'Summary' and job descriptions section in third person. It may feel awkward, but this is helpful with SEO.
  • Things you must know about Google+
    • The 'Story' section is very visible in search. Make sure this is complete with keywords, written in the third person and is made public. 
    • Build a profile, even if you are not ready to use it socially. Simply having the profile will help with SEO.
  • Twitter and Google+ are the most important social media platforms to keep current. Inactivity on these hurts SEO the most. 

Live Tweet Tips:

As a parting gift, I wanted to share this video, which includes some really fascinating statistics about social media. Prepare to be amazed!

To get the full effect of #SMWChicago, visit their website, or search the #smwchicago hashtag to see the bits of wisdom that attendees felt was important enough to share with the Twitterverse. 

And as always, if you have any questions, please ask by commenting below or tweeting to @emilycleary10!

By Emily Cleary, MDPR Social Media Director

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