As you may have noticed from our Facebook and Instagram profiles, our team recently attended Social Media Marketing World (SMMW). This was our fourth year in attendance, and we love connecting and collaborating with social media marketers from around the world. It’s exciting to see where the field is heading, so we’re imparting some knowledge we’ve gleaned from the sessions and talks.
One of our favorite acronyms we picked up at SMMW was “ILT”: Invest, Learn, Teach. (Shout out to John Lee Dumas from the Entrepreneur on Fire podcast for that!) For marketers, this means to invest in skills and tools, learn as much as you can, and then pass along that knowledge to your customers and peers. In the spirit of ILT, here are five of the biggest trends discussed at Social Media Marketing World.
Landing pages are king
A landing page is a standalone web page intended to collect leads. The art and science of an effective landing page dominated many social media marketing talks this year. Landing pages are usually focused specifically on a product, event or feature, so they can be a component to your primary website, but function independently. Luckily, ShortStack makes it super easy to create landing pages, and we have a bunch of templates to choose from depending on what you want your landing page to highlight.
Since visual and audio media was such a hot topic this year, we saw many marketers create landing pages for their podcasts or videos. Podcasting expert Paul Colligan emphasized the value of landing pages in the context of creating podcast show notes, transcripts and CTAs (call to actions). This is a way to promote your multimedia while still interacting with and collecting information from your users, which creates active consumption of your media instead of passive.
Live video broadcasts connect brands with users
Services like Facebook Live, Periscope and Blab.im provide individuals and brands the ability to live stream video broadcasts to their users and followers. This was huge this year, and the conference hall was filled with marketers live streaming in between sessions. A live video keynote (which feature notable live streamers such as Mari Smith, who is an avid Facebook Live broadcaster) discussed why live video is so effective. The takeaway? Live video shows users that their favorite brands and companies are comprised of real people. And people like connecting with other people, not just words and images. Video allows realness to come through. Marketers can use live video to their advantage by creating a landing page to capture leads.
Creative targeted ad use can funnel content to the right people
Marketers are learning the power of creative targeted ads, particularly on Facebook. Ads are a great way to cut through Facebook’s algorithms to make sure your content is seen by the right people. Yes, it requires payin’ up, but the results are so worth it. Our friend Jon Loomer, with whom we hosted a stellar taco and margarita party during SMMW, is the master at using Facebook ads in creative ways. Try participating in one of his experiments, and you’ll be amazed at how he’s able to automate his process to share very specific content with you on your feed, controlling it all through ads.
For instance, he recently ran an ad that gave the viewer three options to choose from, based on their skill level with Facebook ads: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced. After selecting “Intermediate” (some of us around here are more savvy with ads than others), videos Jon had made for Intermediate users began appearing in our feed, with messages and information just for us. We also received an email follow up, all by simply clicking on the Intermediate option via Facebook. We’d think it’s magic if we didn’t have some insight into how powerful ads can be in the right environment.
Which leads us to our next point…
Automation can aid in customer rapport
Automation helps marketers in numerous ways, such as streamlining workflow or connecting with customers. Facebook recently announced the ability to create “bots” for Facebook Messenger, which, like ads, can help you manage the way you respond to and collect information from your users. For instance, when a user submits a question to your company Facebook Page about an order that they want to track, the bot can respond to the user with the tracking information. This allows users to get immediate responses with your signature flair, but it doesn’t require you to answer every single request.
Marketers are also employing features like action-gating into their landing pages and websites. An action-gate requires users to interact with you somehow — such as entering an email address or other contact information — and in return, you share something with them (a downloadable guide, a contest or coupon, etc.). This follows the “if this happens, then that happens” function format. You can try this out by using our Action Widget on your ShortStack Campaign.
Omnichannel marketing is the way of the future
Omnichannel marketing means running marketing campaigns on more than one platform at once. We’ve been evangelising omnichannel marketing for a while, and we’re quite pleased that other marketers are seeing value in it, too. We’ve written about this before since our users have seen major success with running omnichannel Campaigns (in fact, here’s a whole white paper about it, with our original findings from more than 27,000 Campaigns).
So although Facebook was still discussed frequently, thanks to their Messenger and Facebook Live developments, these features were part of a bigger picture. Ultimately, our takeaway is that marketers are using a mix of platforms and tools at their disposal to connect and collect from users. But rather than getting overwhelmed with new platforms and strategies, they’re using automation to streamline this process. Smart, targeted marketing campaigns were the name of the game this year.
We’re putting many of these ideas into practice in the near future. If you need more assistance on implementing these strategies into your marketing plan, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.