Social Media Marketing World. While it’s not a theme park for Facebook lovers, it IS one of the largest social media-specific conferences out there.  I’ve ventured to content-specific conferences like Content Marketing World and interactive-focused conferences like SXSW, but thought something social-focused in the midst of recent buzz-worthy items like the Facebook apocalypse would be interesting this year. We have a pulse on social media trends at Lemonly, but getting the chance to be around 4,500 other social media nerds people was something I couldn’t pass up.

While I didn’t hear anything Earth-shattering of platforms going away or changing any more than we’ve already heard, here are five of the recurring themes I picked up during the sessions I attended:

1. Root content in story. (yay!)

“The basic human operating system is wired for stories.” – @chrisbrogan

I mean, I already knew this working somewhere that specializes in STORYTELLING, but it’s nice for that to be reaffirmed. Storytelling was mentioned in almost all of the sessions I attended, and for good reason. Simply put, people are sick of marketing meaning they’re being shouted at. (Pro tip? Learn how to show, not just tell.)

2. Automation is for everyone.

Chatbots, messenger marketing, it’s just the beginning. Tons of brands are taking notice and utilizing automation in many ways for their brand. You CAN be authentic (see below) and automated, you just have to try harder to weave it in. Though automation and chatbots seem like a scary ordeal for a small service company, it’s something I’m definitely paying attention now and will continue to explore how it can save us time while not sacrificing our brand.

3. It’s [still] all about authenticity.

This isn’t new, but a key theme in several sessions I attended mentioned being authentic as a brand, no matter the platform. Users want to see the real you, know the true story. It’s all about getting past the buzzwords and marketing speak. Social media was originally created for PEOPLE, not businesses. *Preach!*

4. You’ve gotta try video. (duh!)

Live video, short video, long video, we heard about it all. In the end, it’s smart to do SOME form of video but really think about which type fits your company most. Since we record, animate, and produce videos as a service, we should post those and typically stay away from relying on live video as a consistent part of our social story. We can shine live on Instagram stories, where we share “behind-the-scenes” content, but as a brand, we’re not going to go live on all platforms just because the algorithms are telling us to. Customize your video use for what makes sense for your brand.

5. There is so much to analyze.

Campaign tagging, custom channels, predictive analytics, oh my! There are so many things to track with online content, but you have to know the reasons why you’re tracking it all and connect your data together. I know on behalf of Lemonly there are more things we can track with our internal content, and thankfully there are tools out there to help with this. A big takeaway for me was to utilize Google Tag Manager. I didn’t realize all of the things it can do!


Now that I have some takeaways and new tools to try, it’s time to implement! Huge thanks to the SMMW crew for a great event and providing access to so many speakers at once.