Social Media Marketing World 2018 – Key Takeouts

So after 14 hours and just under 11,800km I finally made it to San Diego for the Social Media Examiner’s “Social Media Marketing World 2018” conference.

For those who aren’t aware of what this conference is all about – it’s  one of the largest, exclusively social media conferences in the world. With over 4,000 marketers from around the world typically in attendance, the jam packed three day event hosts a collection of keynote speakers and practical workshops to equip the attendees of all knowledge levels with insight and practical implementation skills.

This years edition had Social Media expert speakers such as Mari Smith, Jon Loomer and Guy Kawasaki.

With over 120 total sessions, there were just not enough hours in the day to see or take it all in. Thankfully, there is a year’s access to slides and audio recordings from across the conference, where I’ll be able to catch up on what I couldn’t get to!

So what did I takeaway from San Diego?

You can read the full summary of my key takeouts below. Alternatively, you can also check out my daily Twitter Moment summaries for facts and additional photos:

Takeout #1 – Chatbots, Chatbots and more Chatbots

Many of the sessions centered around chatbots and their increasing impact on streamlining business processes and making customer experiences frictionless.

“2 Billion messages are already exchanged between Facebook Messenger & Buisnesses every month.” – Linda Lee, Strategic Partnerships Manager for Facebook Messenger.

What’s driving this is the slide of CTRs in email and our obsession with Social Messenger apps (Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram etc). In addition to this, we as a society are moving away from email at work be it via Slack or standalone work-focused instant messenger apps.

Messenger solves a lot of Email problems. We can’t get messages without a user permission, though if done correctly, are far more personal and “fun”.

“Chatbots need to be entertaining and fun – think conversational marketing. Imagine talking to a Jordan Chatbot rather than a Nike representative” – .@markwschaefer#SMMW18pic.twitter.com/sMFI2DLSFU

— Dan Howe (@howedan) March 2, 2018

The common misconception is that Chatbots require a developer or some technical ability. This isn’t the case and the largest Facebook Chatbot provider ‘ManyChat’ is more of a drag and drop tool. Easy. The guys at ManyChat are also providing a free training centre for marketers and brands to upskill in chatbots: http://course.manychat.com/

After a lot of talk, 2018 could really be the year of chatbots and Chatbot marketing.

Takeout #2 – Double down on Video

Along with Messenger, Facebook are also “doubling down on Video”. Late last year Facebook announced Facebook Watch which by all purposes is the social network’s attempt to take on the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube Red. No word on when – or if – this will get an Australian release.

Unlike the rest of the field, Facebook isn’t going to ask for a monthly fee but instead serve… yep you guessed it… video ads.

This provides marketers a huge opportunity to get in front of that highly relevant audience which has been created through custom and look-a-like audiences.

Takeout #3 – Think Vertical

“Instagram is the new Facebook”. This statement came up over and over again – and the stats back it up:

What’s driving this? The Facebook algorithm change has certainly helped, but it’s predominantly the Stories feature, which as Zuckerberg recently said, “We expect Stories are on track to overtake posts in feeds as the most common way people share across all social apps”.

This seems to be good news for businesses and brands with:

“1/3 of the most viewed stories are from businesses”

With more stories being consumed, this is again good news for advertisers and those that embrace shooting at 9:16 and vertical rather than traditional 16:9. The NFL team, Kansas City Chiefs found using success with Stories during the course of the 17/18 season:

“We had a 604% increase in team merchandise sales because of IG stories for the @Chiefs last year.” @jamesroyer#SMMW18pic.twitter.com/jKBttZtZpv

— B. Clark Campbell (@BenjaminClark) March 2, 2018

We already think mobile first, but it’s time to shoot video mobile first.

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