In early October, I had the opportunity to attend Upstate Social Sessions, a social media conference in Rochester, NY presented by Digital Hyve. The two-day conference covered everything from startups and storytelling to TikTok and trolling. Here are my 10 biggest takeaways from some of the local and national presenters.
1. Authenticity Is a Necessity
In her presentation titled, “The Future of Marketing Is Human: Creating Connection in a World Cluttered With Content,” Julia Jornsay-Silverberg of Telesco Creative Group encouraged those in attendance to get vulnerable with their audiences. There’s a lot of noise and competition in the digital space, but social media has shortened the distance between marketer and consumer. We should take advantage of those opportunities for deeper connection when we can.
2. Create Divisible Content
When planning your content, think from the top down and develop content that can serve multiple purposes. If your primary content stream is video, can your videos be turned into a blog that can be broken up into individual social posts? Think about it at the highest level and you’ll create content that will live a longer life and reach a wider audience.
3. Tailor Your Content to Your Platform
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn — each social platform offers a unique experience to users. Your content should do the same. Crossposting is an easy way to get the content you’ve worked so hard on creating out to the largest audience as quickly as possible. It’s not always the most effective method though. Each platform thrives because of the unique way users create content for them.
A lengthy post designed for Facebook won’t read the same way on Twitter. Break it out into a more digestible tweet thread instead. Reframe the story so that it takes advantage of Twitter’s 240-character limit. Your content will be more engaging and your unique audiences across each platform will be more inclined to interact with it.
4. Square Video Is Still King
When talking pure mobile real estate, square video is your best option. According to a study by Buffer, square video takes up 78% more real estate versus landscape video. With mobile content consumption on the rise, this is a stat that can’t be ignored. The study showed that square video, “out-performed landscape video on each social media network in terms of video views, engagement (likes, comments, and shares), and completion rate (%). It’s no surprise then that this drove advertising costs way down when compared, apples to apples.
5. Closed Captioning = Accessibility
The majority of users on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram do not listen to video with the sound on. Closed captions, or subtitles, makes your content easier to digest and remember , while allowing deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals to engage with your content as well.
6. Does This Content Provide Value?
It might not feel like the most natural question to pose for every piece you create, but it is a necessary one. The second worst thing you can do to your audience is bore them. The worst is bore them and leave them with nothing to takeaway. This translates well to influencer/brand ambassador marketing, too. Are the ambassadors you’ve engaged adding value to your product or service? If the partnership is strictly vanity, expect vapid results.
7. Review Your Analytics
All of your social platforms include tools designed to help your content perform better. From suggesting times to post when your followers are most active to showing that video content outperforms static images nine times out of ten, data and analytics hold the key to better engagement and, ultimately, better content. If you don’t know what you’re looking at or where to start, Facebook offers online training via their Facebook Blueprint program. The courses offer a free and comprehensive look at advertising via Facebook and Instagram.
8. Avoid Burnout
Social media can be draining. If you spend your day bouncing among Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube, burnout is inevitable. Creating content doesn’t end when it’s posted. If you want your followers to engage with your feed, you’ll have to engage with them. It can be tough to maintain that level of interaction each and every day. To avoid burnout, create a content calendar and develop a post schedule that is manageable for your workload. This also goes back to the concept of divisible and evergreen content. If you create a bank of content to pull from and aren’t starting from the ground up with every post, you’ll save time, energy and a little bit of your sanity.
9. Print Is NOT Dead
Emily Schultz, social media manager for Bon Appetit magazine and its subsidiary Basically, spoke about the rise of BA’s social and digital prominence and how it serves their print publications. Content and campaigns are designed from the beginning for print and the digital team meets with the editorial staff to create content that will complement what appears in the magazine. The meteoric rise of their YouTube channel is a testament to strong content planning.
10. TikTok, Trolls & Timelapses
TikTok is surging in popularity with more than 1.2 billion downloads. It’s especially popular among Gen Z, the future desired audience of advertisers. The social media manager for Corn Nuts spoke on how she increased business by 15% through trolling on Twitter. The creator of the popular app 1 Second Everyday spoke about the unique ways people are documenting their lives and how they’re shaping the future of the app. The landscape is changing daily but it’s important to remember that you don’t have to be everywhere, all the time. You don’t have to be on every platform and follow every trend. Figure out what makes sense for your business and find the platforms that will help you reach your goals.
The conference featured presenters from every corner of the industry, and it was a refreshing reminder to hear so many individuals with different backgrounds and experiences reiterate the need for genuine authenticity in content and social media marketing. At the end of the day, your audience wants to engage with you – that’s why they chose to follow you. Producing content that’s worth engaging with is easy when it comes from an authentic place. The rest of the tools are here to help refine and simplify that process.