This week has been a social media frenzy. First, the 2nd annual UT Social Media Week, an event my classmates and I have spent the entire semester promoting via online outlets, finally came to fruition. Then, yesterday I had the opportunity to attend Social Slam, one of the biggest social media conferences in the nation which took place here in Knoxville. Needless to say, I learned so much that my mind practically went into overload. But am I going to keep all of that knowledge to myself? No! Because I love you guys, I’m going to share the top 5 things I learned at each event in hopes that they will help you at some point (aaaand also so I can have them in writing in case I forget them...).
Last year was the first year for UTSMW and, while it was successful, it had quite a bit of room for improvements this year. There was a better idea about when and how it should be promoted. As a class, we were divided into 3 teams–one to promote the event via a blog and mobile site, one to promote it via Twitter and Vine, and my group, which selected Facebook and Instagram. We spent the month leading up to the event sharing information, pictures, and updates about what would be going on. We had speakers from all over the country including executives from Nike, Dunkin Donuts, Erwin Penland, The Tombras Group, the Atlanta Falcons, McCormick Spices, SHAPE Magazine, and so many more. It was overwhelming, but every session that I had the chance to attend was enlightening. Here are my 5 main takeaways:
1) Nostalgia=Engagement–You must get your audience to care if you want them to engage with your content.
2) Don’t put ONLY industry-relevant experience on your resume–Experience of all types can help you get a job. If you’ve worked in a restaurant and gained customer service experience, put that! It can set you apart from other applicants who have similar industry experience to you.
3) Snarky is not good for the social space–to which I say, “Whoops.”
4) To connect with your audience, you must be a good storyteller–Kevin Kirksey of Nike said “Great storytellers broaden our minds, engage, provoke, inspire and ulitmately, connect us.”
5) I will never, in my life, win a raffle. I went 0 for like…25 raffles. #HARDLYFE
This year was the third annual Social Slam. It is a huuuuuuuuuge conference in Knoxville that attracts the biggest and best social media professionals from all of the world. (Yes, world. I heard speakers from Australia, Ireland, and England, not to mention the ones I didn’t have a chance to hear from. #accents) Anyway, I was fortunate enough to get a ticket, thanks to my teacher and a very kind attendee who had set up a scholarship fund for students like myself to be able to attend. This. Conference. Was. Cray. There were over 500 people there, with rows upon rows of chairs, all with outlets for phone, tablet, and laptop chargers because people were blogging and tweeting away. (Yet again, I lost multiple raffles, but that’s neither here nor there.) But anyway, I tweeted away and met some great people throughout the day. But on to my 5 major nuggets of knowledge:
1) Start. Don’t wait to be perfect–This point is primarily targeted towards blogging. There will never be a “perfect time” or a “perfect post.” You just have to start and grow and evolve with it. It will take time to find your voice.
2) Find a passion–If you’re looking to gain a substantial audience on your blog, don’t have too broad a topic. If you’re all over the place, people will stop coming back.
3) You don’t have to be on every social media network. Just be strong on those you do choose to be on–This goes especially for companies. Rather than dedicating time and effort to continually join the newest platform, ensure that the ones you have have a strong voice and point of view. Instagram may work better for some companies, while Twitter or Pinterest is best for others.
4) Add your personality to your blog–If all you write are dry, informative posts, no one is going to read them. People want to know that you’re human and that you’re relatable.
5) If you want 100 comments on your blog, you must make 100 comments on others’ blogs–This one seems pretty obvious, but is often ignored. If you prove that you have good, quality thoughts on other blogs, the writer’s will be more inclined to see what you have to say on yours.
So that’s what I’ve got for y’all. #SocialMediaOrBust