Five Key Takeaways from Social Fresh West

August 26, 2013

Social Fresh West, a social media conference, happened last week with a fantastic line of speakers and sessions in beautiful San Diego. I was thrilled to be a part of such an amazing event and learned a tremendous amount from a lineup of very forward thinking marketers.  Although there were many takeaways, here are the five that resonated most with me as a content marketer.


1. The more empowered customers and prospects are, the more demanding they become.

We are competing for attention and relevance. Futurist marketer and author of “What’s the Future of Business,” Brian Solis’ session was probably my favorite of the conference. He spoke about the need for marketers to take a step back from technology and simply ask, “What are you trying to do with social media?”  He suggests asking the following question: How are you going to get the attention of customers and prospects and then hold onto it through a process? “It’s about behavior, feeling and how people interact with one another and using social tools to help you build these connections,” he says. Customers are going to go on that journey with or without you and as a marketer; it is your responsibility to design that journey.

2. Always think behavior before media or technology.

Mobile marketing expert Tim Hayden delivered a solid session that focused on the importance of mobile moving forward. I think that a lot of marketers, especially in the B2B space, continue to discount the importance of mobile, but after hearing Hayden speak, your mindset will change very quickly. When it comes to the world of social media, Hayden says think mobile first. You need to be thinking of the smartphone as a social device. Why? Hayden states that 60% of Americans 12+ are carrying a super computer in their pocket and 70+ %  of social media consumption is happening on smartphones and tablets. He finished with a prediction, “The mobile commerce revolution is going to be like putting the collaborative economy on steroids.”

3. Influencer marketing is a big deal, so treat it like one.

C.C. Chapman kicked off Social Fresh West with a hot topic gaining traction with many modern marketers: influencer marketing. C.C. is in a unique place since he is walks a fine line between both an influencer and marketer himself. Influencer marketing at its core is the building of a community through influencers and advocates around your business or brand. Bringing together these influential folks as content creators to talk about your business or brand is a fantastic way to reach new audiences. C.C. shared some tips for being successful.

  1. Success = Planning. Set your expectations up front and take the time to successfully plan your campaign. There’s no silver bullet
  2. Influencer marketing is a two way relationship.
  3. The bigger the influencer, the more they are going to know how much their time is worth.
  4. Choose your influencers wisely; Klout is only one measure of influence and should not be the sole determining factor here. 
  5. Keep it short and get to the point; influencers don’t want or need a pitch or your press release.
  6. Don’t forget about your campaign after the launch; constant communications throughout your campaign is absolutely crucial.

4. “If it don’t Make Dollars, it don’t Make Sense”

Hubspot’s data scientist Dan Zarella delivered an interesting session around the importance of measuring your marketing efforts. He quoted the lyrics from a rap song as his inspiration: “If it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense.” I tend to agree with him and even take it a step further. We are way beyond the philosophical golden age of social media. It’s time to get on to some hard metrics and prove the value of social and content. CMOs are getting on board and they will be calling the marketing department asking for an ROI of your department’s spend on social and content. Can you provide one? You can if you have the right strategy and dashboards in place.

5. It’s hard to put on a good social media conference these days.

Having been to many a social media and content marketing conference over the years, it’s hard to really get the most from attending. Jason Keath and Social Fresh take a different approach than most. Less than 400 people attend each Social Fresh conference and they like it that way. It’s a single track event with all attendees in the same room, all speakers on the same stage. Interestingly enough, they also don't do panels. Each speaker owns the stage for 30 minutes instead of an hour which makes the entire conference move along swiftly while the speakers get right to their points. It’s refreshing, and I look forward to attending again next year.

Stay tuned for more on the presentation I gave sharing “7 Badass Tactics for Slideshare Content Domination" at Social Fresh West.

Editor's Note: Photos by Adam Wallace and Spherical Communications, courtesy of Social Fresh.