Opening Keynote at Social Media Marketing World Celebrates the Power of Social

April 18, 2016

After a networking event on the USS Midway aircraft carrier Sunday evening, Social Media Marketing World kicked off in earnest Monday in San Diego with a keynote speech by Michael Stelzner, CEO of Social Media Examiner. He opened his talk with a powerful story that illustrated the increasing influence of social media.

He told the tale of “The Amazing Race,” the reality television show which launched in 2001. Despite earning 10 Emmys in 28 seasons, the show had seen its audience decline from 10.68 million in 2012 to 7.49 million in 2015.

But the producers of “The Amazing Race” had a plan, and they looked to social media to help boost its viewership. This year “The Amazing Race” competitors are all social media celebrities, such as Tyler Oakley from YouTube, Zach King from Vine, and Jessica Versteeg from Instagram.

In the past, traditional media created celebrities. Now social media platforms have the power to create celebrities, Stelzner said. “I call this reverse media fame,” he said.

Social Media Examiner, which organizes Social Media Marketing World, conducted research showing that marketers are bullish about the power of social media. The research found that 89 percent of marketers see increased exposure is a key benefit of social media.

Stelzner noted that social media is becoming an advertising platform that rivals television and is, in fact, siphoning dollars away from TV. He pointed out, for instance, that Facebook recently increased its advertising base from 2 million advertisers to 3 million. 

In his keynote, Stelzner encouraged marketers to look beyond social advertising and to continue to use social media platforms to communicate directly with their audiences. He urged marketers to take advantage of customer advocates. He noted how JetBlue is using #JetBlueSoFly to give make it easy for their customers who have just purchased a ticket to share their excitement about their upcoming trip with their networks. 

Stelzner said Social Media Examiner used a similar technique. When attendees signed up for the event, Social Media Marketing World made it easy to share their anticipation with their networks. This tactic drove almost 3,000 clicks to the SMMW registration page.

But Stelzner may have been most enthusiastic in his keynote about the rise of video on social media. Social Media Examiner’s research showed that 73 percent of marketers plan to increase their use of video this year. Many are even planning to experiment with live video with Meerkat, Twitter’s Periscope, and Facebook Live coming onto the scene in short order over the past year. Even though only 14 percent of marketers are currently using live video, 50 percent say they want to learn more about live video.

Snapchat is poised to grow, despite just 5 percent of marketers surveyed saying they use the platform — although that is up from 2 percent a year ago. Almost 30 percent of marketers say they want to learn more about Snapchat, which generated 8 billion video views this February.

“We are the beginning of a massive revolution,” Stelzner said.

Look for the LinkedIn team this week at Social Media Marketing World. Stop by the LinkedIn booth (No. 16) for LinkedIn and Sophisticated Marketer swag. Join the #SophisticatedMKTG movement!

Photo: Chris Favero