Five for Social Media Explorer - Shirtless Channing Tatum holding a puppy riding a shark

I know I’ve missed a few Five for Fridays. But I was actually super busy this Friday, taking mad notes and fighting to get wi-fi connection at Social Media Explorer’s EXPLORE event (#gotoexplore).  Southern California Media Association (formerly SoCal Blog Crush) invited a handful of us to attend this 2-day event, packed full of great speakers.

The Double Trouble from TEDx OrangeCoast, Resa (@resamichelle) and I, were back together for another round of event coverage and harmless twitter-heckling. Annette (@dananner) turned our duo into a trio which I renamed the Giggle Gaggle.  But as the conference went on, the Gaggle’s online shenanigan grew to include many others. I’d Storify our antics but that will take a year to curate and will be a mile long of a story. 🙂

But even with all that joking around, I learned A LOT.  Now that I have a few days to process all the information, here are the 5 things I learned from the conference.

Creating Killer Content

The content that moves people emotionally is the key to making an impact.

Peter Kim (@peterkim) said that people expect social media to make them laugh, make them cry, and make them famous.  Joseph Heinl’s (@josephheinl1) pointed out that Boo the Dog on Facebook has 5.5 million Facebook fans, setting off the running inside joke for the rest of the event that puppies = best content.

Tim Washer (@timwasher) said that humor should be used in business communications because it evokes positive emotion, cuts through the noise, humanizes the brand, and shows authenticity. He also said this. - Tim Washer and sharks

Then came the entertainment panel where one of the panelists mentioned that if you want more Facebook “likes”, you need to show a picture of Channing Tatum shirtless.

And finally, Jason Falls (@jasonfalls) talked about creating “Holy Shit!” content. Holy shit, that was funny! Holy shit, that was gnarly! Holy shit, what the fuck was that?!  If it makes you go “Holy shit!”, it has made an impact.

Applying all that we learned through out the day, there could be only one content that rules them all.

Holy shit! It’s shirtless Channing Tatum, holding a puppy while riding a shark! - Shirtless Channing Tatum holding a puppy riding a shark

You’re welcome, internet.

They Ask. You Answer.

Marcus Sheridan (@thesaleslion) should’ve been our post-lunch speaker. Dude is one can shy of a 6-pack of Monster, full of energy…and win. He shared his success story and a very simple guide to market by.

They ask. You answer.

People go to the internet to find solutions to their problems. If the people can’t find what they want on your website, they would not stick around.  To make sure people find you and stay put, you need to answer ALL of their questions, not only just the one YOU think they should know but the questions THEY would ask when they do their research.

Marcus cited an example of how he put together a list of the best businesses in the area without even mentioning his own company. People do search for Company A vs. Company B, after all.  And when they do, they land on his post.  At some point, his post gets even higher ranking than his competitors!  Oh yes, counterprogramming works here too.

Larry Rosin of Edison Research (@edisonresearch) pointed out that there is an emerging trend that people who seek a company’s help on social media want to be answered almost immediately.  (See full study PDF here.) Not only do you have to answer the question, now you have to answer it very quickly.  Businesses should commit to the expectation of immediacy or cease operations, he said.

They ask. You answer….and do it NOW.  It’s going to be an interesting journey for everyone going forward.

Find Your Cheerleaders

Courtney Seiter (@RavenCourtney), Tamsen Webster (@Tamadear), and Rob Fuggetta (@robfugetta) all touched on cultivating your brand’s champions.

You need to LISTEN.  Stop “talking” for a second and find your real fans. Engage them. Listen to their conversation about your brand–not just mentions. Reach out in a personal manner.  Reward the behaviors you’d like them to repeat and amplify their interaction with you to others.  Make it easy for people to say nice things about your product and share with your friends.

From my experience as a Fresh & Easy uber fan and Starry Kitchen loyal, I can tell you that when they make me feel like a friend, not just another customer, that’s when they get all of my attention.

During the fireside chat, Kred’s Andrew Grill (@andrewgrill) pointed out that people don’t listen to ads when it comes to making their purchase decision. They listen to their friends–online and off.  Andrew and Jason introduced the concept of “dark social”, the influence on social media activity by someone who is not on social media. For example, how Andrew’s wife informed him of a social media promotion she saw on the television.  You have to think about everyone, not just who’s plugged in.

“Dark social” also illicit a quiet maniacal laugh from me, Frau Blucher style, that sent Resa into a fit of giggles. I just can’t help myself…

Social Media is a Layer

Larry Rosin also said that social media is not a channel but a layer–it sits on top of all other media.

You can see the proof of that in everything nowadays.  I’m looking at my soda cup from a fast food chain, and there’s a QR code on it. Magazine ads have links to twitter and Facebook. Television shows have a hashtag in the corner. You can find extra content can be found on YouTube and share with your friends.

And of course, there’s also the “dark social”.

(Sorry. But it must be done.)

Social Media Pros Are Not All Nerds

I don’t know why I would assume that social media professionals would also be sci-fi/tech/pop culture nerd like me.  They were clearly not and it was made abundantly clear through out the conference as Annette, Resa, and I would laugh, hoot and holler, and squee at things that nobody else seemed to understand.

Like when Robert Rose (@Robert_Rose) mentioned the Kobayashi Maru.

Like when Tim Washer showed this Cisco Valentine’s video which is funny over all. But it is particularly funny to some of us who are married to tech guys because this could actually happen. Annette concurred.

And like when Jason was citing contest by this tool shed company as a case study. The Gaggle were just whispering among ourselves that it would be so awesome if the TARDIS shows up. Not a moment later… - TARDIS tool shed

Hello, sweetie!

Naturally and delightfully, we squealed.  Pièce de résistance, Jason thought we were cheering on for “this cool police box”.

*sigh* Muggles… 😉

But you know, it takes ALL KINDS in this social media field. That is what make being in it so exciting.

EXPLORE is going to Portland next. I highly recommend it. These guys know what they’re talking about.

ETA: I will continue to add recaps from a more trustworthy source than myself below.

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