7 Knockout Takeaways from Social Media Marketing World #SMMW15

Every year thousands of marketers converge on San Diego for the world class Social media Marketing World.

I am truly honored to speak at this event and excited to be returning as a 3-time alumni.

Here are my 7 knockout takeaways from the conference in 2015 – 7 things you need to know.  

7 Knockout Takeaways from Social Media Marketing World #smmw15
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Boxing Gloves by Shutterstock

If you want to attend Social Media Marketing World find out more about getting your annual ticket (or virtual ticket) in this article.

From the start of Michael Stelzner's opening keynote we witnessed an avalanche of tweets, posts, instagram snaps, pins and moments throughout the event.

As always, I turn not just to my own notes and a-ha moments, but to the Twitter and Instagram Feeds to share with you my top takeaways:

7 Knockout Takeaways from Social Media Marketing World

#1  Video is Hot… in any format!

Michael Stelzner yet again started the event with a bang in his keynote, dazzling us with cutting edge statistics about social media – what's working, what's not and where we are headed this year and beyond.

There were some repeat players from last year and some new finds.

Michael made a BIG point about video being HUGE in his keynote. Not only is YouTube video here to stay but native embedded video on Facebook is going to be massive.

Michael called it an “untapped frontier” and I believe he is right.

Video content is an untapped fronteir - Michael Stelzner opening keynote at Social Media Marketing World
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Michael Stelzner opens Social Media Marketing World with a bang.

Check out these stats:

      And if you don't feel up to the challenge of long form video feed, then be sure to check out short form video: on Instagram with 15 second videos, on Vine with 6 second videos and by using new tools like Twitter's Periscope, where we can live stream our lives (and businesses).

In short, don't leave your video opportunity on the table – if nothing else grab your smart phone and start creating using one of the awesome apps available.

In my session on Visual Content I talked about tools like: VideohanceHyperlapse, Stop motion studio and more…there is so much you can do with a smart phone!

#2  Visual Content Drives Traffic

My session on the Thursday morning was all about Visual Content – specifically how to create a visual content strategy that works. There was an underlying message that I wanted to get across: Visual Content Drives Traffic.. and sales.

For a sneak peek of some of the content I talked about,check out my article released for Social Media Examiner on the morning of my session (great timing, hey?!). The article covers off on some of the key points from my case examples. This includes a recent slide deck we uploaded to SlideShare and some awesome traffic-driving infographics produced by Outrigger Resort.   Click the image below to read it:

Visual content that gets results, that drives traffic, can result not on in engagement, but in subscribers, customers and repeat customers.   It can result in sales. Kim Garst also presented on Visual Content and specifically how to use visuals to drive sales.

Here are some nuggets of gold from Kim's session:

As Kim pointed out, Social is about selling too.     If you have a product or service, then capture the testimonials you receive in a visual format and post them on social channels. Kim sold many copies of her new book directly as a result of image testimonials posted on social media.        

Testimonial Images by Kim Garst
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Kim had some other great tips for using visual content to sell on social. She highlighted how little hashtags are included on visual content, yet how powerful they can be for driving sales:

How does Visual Content work so well for social selling? Simple – it catches our attention, and compels us to take action.

In my session I talked about how it can be used to set you apart from other businesses in your industry.

I shared a hierarchy of visual content that you can use to find a “jumping in point” to get started. At each level of visual content, the investment of time and money may increase but so does the return on engagement, traffic and sales.

Here it is:

Visual Content Hierarchy
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How to Create a Hierarchy of Visual Content for your Business

I also gave this challenge to the people in my session. Work out which level you are at, and then take action on creating some visual content that will take you to the next level.

For example, if you are already using images and photos, then perhaps set a goal to create a checklist (do you know a system or procedure that you can share?) or a snackable infographic or slide deck.

We had 3D glasses in my session to encourage people to take them home, sit them by their desk and start to think about their content from a visual perspective.  What will you take action on from #SMMW15?

PS If you have access to the virtual pass you can find a special link during my session – it includes all of the tools, links, resources and articles that I mentioned – including a free (and awesome) canva template to create your own infographic. It's exclusive to people attending the session or on the virtual pass… so be sure to grab it by watching my replay here.

#3 Consistency is More Important than Frequency

I was excited to hear Michael Hyatt speak this year – as a blogger, I struggle with the idea of consistency vs quantity. I usually post once per week but struggle with doing more than that (2 or 3 times per week). When I do manage to do more, I often can't keep up.

Michael talked about how he experimented with dialling back his posting from 5 times per week to 3 times per week and his traffic barely changed after an initial drop. He highlighted how just one post a week, published consistency, might be the minimum effective dose of content needed to get traffic and readers.

Consistency builds trust and builds your platform. Like Michael says, Consistency is more important than Frequency.   After Michael's timely advice, I will be sticking to what I am doing, creating more detailed, helpful, valuable posts for my readers, and only increasing the number of posts… IF I can maintain that consistency.

Because consistency is more important than frequency.

#4 Organic Reach is Alive and Well on Facebook

Holly Homer runs a highly successful Facebook Page for her business, Kids Activities Blog.   Her session was a must-see for me, as she has built a huge level of engagement on her page – much higher than the average Facebook page.

Holly had some golden nuggets to share. I'll let the tweets do the talking:

She gave a great break down of the content she shares on her page:

        Holly pointed out that you need to be persistent with (and recycle) your content on Facebook – it may be the 2nd or 3rd posting that brings the win:

And to finish, you can't beat Holly's simple advice:

#5  Pinterest is the new Google

Many of my friends and Pinterest experts were speaking at Social Media Marketing World and I was so excited to be able to catch some of their sessions. Peg Fitzpatrick, Vincent Ng and Cynthia Sanchez all gave powerhouse presentations on Pinterest. There were many things that were said about Pinterest that were, quite literally mind-blowing, but one of the most mentioned was its power in search:

…and how more people are turning to Pinterest, not Google as their primary search engine, combining the power of search with visual content:

On the topic of search, Vincent Ng gave some hot tips about guided search. He advised that you use the Pinterest search bar for keyword ideas and customer insights.

The longevity of visual content was mentioned by many of the speakers – a Pin on Pinterest has huge longevity.   What you pin today may turn up in the search a day, month, year or many years from now:

The best pins link to timeless content - Peg Fitzpatrick #smmw15
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In order to take advantage of the search capabilities on Pinterest, Peg recommended that you pin 10-15 times per day. It's time to get pinning:

I loved how many of the speakers mentioned Tailwind App – it's my go-to tool for pinning. Trust me, after trying Tailwind, you won't know how you ever managed to pin content without it!

And a HOT TIP for sharing content to Pinterest – be wary of using hashtags – focus on keywords instead:

Vincent also recommended that pinners be wary of stacking too many keywords into descriptions, because, as he put it: “Pinterest is on to you”…

There were so many takeaways about Pinterest – but I have to mention the session by Cynthia Sanchez too – she talked about Promoted Pins and the benefits of advertising on Pinterest:

I also love this cheat sheet Cynthia provided about what not to do with Promoted Pins:

During my session, I recommended that you focus first on optimizing your images on your website so fans can easily find and share your visual content to Pinterest.

You can do this by having Portrait sized “Pinterest-friendly” images on every page, and header images with text overlay to add context when the pin is separated from your website on Pinterest.

Cynthia followed up this advice with a reminder to also prepare your website to receive an influx of traffic if you use promoted pins:

    With so many great sessions on Pinterest, it has re-invigorated my love for the visual web. I hope you are inspired too!

#6  Post Like a Fan, Not a Marketer

In my session I talked about the importance of native, visual content across all platforms.

You need to take a step back, look at what is resonating with your fans, and also what YOU like to see posted on your primary social media networks… then start posting that type of content. Stop posting like a marketer and start posting like a fan.

I talked about how on Facebook, your fans don't come to buy your stuff (sorry, it's true!) but instead they are there to hang out with their friends and family and be entertained.

On Facebook, visuals like quotes, images (behind the scenes and funny photos) and especially nostalgic photos work a treat.

Why else do you think we love #ThrowbackThursday?

On instagram it might be different – Instagram users are there to share moments in their lives with images.

While on Pinterest they may actually want to buy things – or at least to aspire to buy things.

No matter what type of platform, you need to take time to understand the “native” content of that platform.

Holly Homer also touched on this point when she talked about the importance of reflecting on the type of content you like to see on Facebook:

And of course, back to Mike Stelzner's keynote, Facebook “native” video is huge.  Facebook is promoting video uploaded directly on to the Facebook newsfeed..giving it high “reach”:

Another example of native content achieving big things was highlighted by Kim Garst in her session on visual content.

Kim gets huge organic reach by posting a lot of native visual content – especially original visual content. She also highlighted the power of a tool that I love too – Post Planner.

In particular she talked about how Post Planner helps you find “proven” content to share.

You can either curate the content of others or use it as inspiration to create your own content based on what is already working.

I highly recommend you check out Post Planner and take a free trial to test out their Viral Photo tool – it's a great way to find visual content that is already being shared well on other pages… which you can then share too.

And remember… take off your marketing hat. Step into the shoes of your fans. Then post like a fan, not a marketer.

#7  Hug Your Haters

I was excited to see that the final keynotes for each day were about customer service and how important it is. John DiJulius, a “Customer Experience” expert was amazing on Day 1 and Jay Baer rocked the house in his final keynote to round out the end of the conference.

Both of these smart guys presented on how to give your customers – even your haters – an amazing customer experience.

Yes, it is possible to turn your complainers into raving brand advocates.   Jay said so.

And he said it convincingly with awesome case study and a barrage of memorable tag-lines!  The entire audience now can't wait for his new book to come out, titled Hug Your Haters.

Some of the stats that Jay Baer presented in his final keynote were just downright mind-blowing:

Not to mention the case studies (including this one) from Airline KLM, who actually show their expected response time (and update it regularly) on their Facebook Page:

Jay made a great case for putting customer experience first (and responding to your “haters” or complainers) … each and every one of them:

  And it was this revelation that I loved the most:

And let's take another look at this from a different angle as it really is something we need to take in (and because this is an awesome shot by Mari Smith!).

Not surprisingly, when you break it down, Facebook is the main location our customer's need to be heard!

Most Popular Social Media Complaint Channels (via Mari Smith) - Jay Baer Keynote #smmw15
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Probably the most memorable tagline from Jay, which summed up the entire keynote was this:

Haters are not the problem - ignoring them is - Jay Baer, Keynote, Social Media Marketing World, #smmw15
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and how do you do this?

According to Jay, it's simple:

How do you turn complainers into fans? By responding to every complaint, on every channel, every time - Jay Baer Keynote, Social Media Marketing World #smmw15
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If you follow Jay's simple advice, then your most seasoned complainer, might just become your biggest fan!

Over to You

Were you there with me?  What were your biggest takeaways from Social Media Marketing World?  

And if you couldn't make it … will you join me next year?   

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Donna Moritz

Visual Social Media Strategist at Socially Sorted
Donna is a Visual Content Strategist and founder of Socially Sorted, listed by Forbes as a "Top 5 Social Media Blog You Need to Know About". Donna helps brands leverage the power of visual storytelling and content strategy in their business. Her content has been featured in publications such as Forbes, Inc. & Entrepreneur and she is a speaker and trainer on visual content for the marketing and tourism industries internationally.
7 Knockout Takeaways from Social Media Marketing World #smmw15
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  1. Vincent Ng - MCNG Marketing

    Thank you Donna for coming to my presentation and doing such a great job of summarizing content from SMMW15! I enjoyed your talk a lot, and appreciate you taking a photo with me with the 3D glasses, your support meant a lot to me. I’m so grateful.

    I was also at Michael Hyatt’s talk, and struggle to consistently produce content. It’s something I’m doing my best with. I’m going to have to make it one of my quarterly goals and to get back on track.

    Wishing you the best,

    • Donna Moritz

      Thanks so much Vincent – you rocked it at S#MMW15. Michael Hyatt was awesome, hey! He is someone I look up to a lot when it comes to blogging. The consistency thing is hard, but I have to tell you a story that helped me with blogging – I was at Problogger in 2012 and a lady called Nathalie Brown from Easy Peasy Kids talked about how she blogged once per month (but had great traffic and a successful blog) – I always remembered that it is about consistency not frequency and i tried just sticking to once per week with the occasional extra post – it’s worked pretty well for me so far, but I would love to maybe increase it to twice per week lol. I think winning the Best Australian Blogs Award last year was confirmation that you can build a solid blog with once a week quality posts. And the best part is that your readers will definitely read that one post! It’s a good place to start PS loved that 3D glasses shot with you! So fun! Talk soon!

  2. Janice Hostager

    Thanks so much for sharing-there are some real gems in here! I was so disappointed I wasn’t able to attend SMMW this year, so I appreciate your summary!

    • Donna Moritz

      No problems Janice – glad you found it useful – now I am off to watch what I missed on the virtual pass. Can’t wait!

    • Donna Moritz

      Thanks Michael – Great Conference!

  3. Krithika Rangarajan


    Thank you, Donna

  4. Kristy Schnabel

    This is so awesome Donna! (Thanks for featuring one of my tweets!) ~Kristy

    • Donna Moritz

      Glad you liked it Kristy – thanks for making it easier to write!

  5. Heather Bayer

    Wow Donna – this is amazing. I couldn’t get to San Diego this year so this summary is brilliant. Shared out to my Twitter followers in real estate and the vacation rental industry. They need to know all of this

    • Donna Moritz

      Awesome Heather, glad you found it useful – thanks for sharing with your people!

  6. Cathy Hackl

    Very insightful. Thank you for this post, Donna. As a virtual attendant, it got me excited for what I’ll be learning from SMMW15. Glad you touched on Pinterest and its importance in brand building. I’m hoping to attend next year and hope you’ll be a speaker again. Would love to hear you in person.

  7. Mickie E Kennedy

    Fantastic roundup. Kim Garst’s quote is especially powerful: “Every piece of content you share on social media has the ability to create future sales.” Couldn’t agree more.

    • Donna Moritz

      Absolutely! Thanks for stopping by Mickie!

  8. Ken Carroll

    Excellent. There’s so much stuff here and it points ti how you’ve been right ion the money with visual. I’ve taken up your advice and gone heavy into learning about visuals and made a real push towards Pinterest.

    So, it’s really rewarding to see that all of the experts agree with this general thrust.

    Good job, Donna.

    And please keep it up.


    • Donna Moritz

      Hey Ken – thanks so much, glad you liked it. It was a great event! The great thing about Pinterest is that so much content is shared by users not by brands from websites, so just starting by getting freat visuals to share on your website is a smart move – then start pinning more from there. Yes it was very powerful to hear those words from so many experts… SMMW is often like that – trends emerge every year!

  9. Lauren Grace

    Consistency is more important than frequency?! Wow. That is an important and valuable bit of information to have. Sometimes I guess we all think that quantity is the way to go but this simple idea dispels that notion. And who knew that Pinterest was the new google. I didn’t before but now I do. Thanks to you, Donna. As I continue in my education, I’ll be getting my BA in just a few weeks, I will keep checking back with you so I can build my blogging site using your helpful insights.

    • Donna Moritz

      It seems almost too simple to be true, hey Lauren? I know that I won Best Business Blog in Australia after posting pretty much weekly for 3 years so I agree that consistency can outstrip frequency… of course I would love to ramp it up to test and see if it gets momentum and hopefully i will find the bandwidth to do it – even twice a week! Glad you enjoy the blog – you are always welcome down here with the cool commenters!

  10. mcerikat

    Wow! Blessed to have all of this valuable information from your experience Donna! Thank you. Visuals 4 Life 🙂


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