Absolutely worth every dime. What I found most surprising is the size of this industry is still very small. I’d say about 30 percent represented an organization that wanted to learn more about digital marketing and 70 percent were representing an agency. I can honestly say I didn’t attend a bad session. I kept my attention in the advanced sessions where the presenters often spoke about real world case studies and findings. I had 3 great takeaways from SMX West and I have broken them down below:
1. SEO is alive and well. I was beginning to change my perception of the term SEO. We are proponents of using the word ‘search,’ essentially combining SEO and SEM. While there is very much a strong relationship between SEO and SEM, these are still separate practices. While many people are doing very well in non-branded and branded SEO, there are two very large opportunities that many businesses are missing out on.
a. The power of SEM as it relates to real life events, like weather, celebrities, sporting events or games. An example would be purchasing keywords like ‘score of Lions and Packers game’ for a company interested in getting in front of male viewers aged 18-24.
b. Leveraging big advertisers huge TV campaign budgets to purchase keywords about the product or industry they are building. This is also important for the actual companies spending on TV already and where the 1+1=3 comes into play. What a huge opportunity and it requires your organization to be on the constant lookout for new opportunities. The power of listening is extremely valuable today.
2. Visual communication is the future of the web. We are continuing to skim more content and faster, giving ourselves less time to decide if we are going to engage or not. By 2018, 84 percent of the communication done on the web will be visual. This means content must be more creative than just a blog or landing page. Infographics, charts, maps and digital stories with video and audio are becoming more crucial in converting a visitor into a customer. The story your brand tells is continuing to grow in importance. I know, you say that has always mattered, and it has, but not as much as it does today. Now, we have more options. Bottom line, web content is getting better and will allow us to learn and absorb information much faster.
3. Your brand can lead your industry by relying entirely on Google, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. I’m repeating, you can and should build a multimillion dollar business and only market yourself online. I knew this before I went to SMX, but it was confirmed multiple times. For example: There was a mattress company that has established themselves as the top searched branded keyword in their industry and it only took them about one year. How did they do it? They told a great story and leveraged it through the power of social media.
SMX is an absolute grind. The sessions go from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for three days with only two, 15 minute breaks and half an hour for lunch each day. When you throw in networking and a couple cocktails, you don’t have much time to get your actual business work done. However, this is the cost of a really good expo. I would suggest bringing a couple people from your office and split up the events to cover more ground. The perfect combination would be someone from management and a beginner. Both will learn a great deal and at the same time learn a lot that can be shared amongst each other. Thanks to everyone who attended, all the speakers, the sponsors and #SMX.
It was a great first day at SMX West. There are probably only around 1,500 people here, which really surprises me. It also excites me because it puts SSDM in a small group of agencies that are not only attending these, but are able to come back and implement. I attended “Thinking Outside the SEM Box” which had a lot of great case studies about unorthodox campaigns. Like KitKat purchasing football team names in Adwords to attempt to give scoring updates to their every challenging 18-24 male market.
A repeating theme of the day was how social and search need to be connected in strategy and execution. Looking at SEO and Social and PPC separately is not the way to go, we know this, but it’s nice to get the affirmation. Maggie Malek (@MagsMac) was really good. Speaking about the relationship between search and social, Maggie said, “We know everything is changing but everyone is acting like nothing is happening. Brand development happens through social and search.” There is so much education that has to continue to happen in the marketplace.
Bruce Clay is basically the Father of SEO, I’d say Perry Marshall is the Father of PPC. Bruce had a lot of swagger actually. He was kind and humble but didn’t want to take anyones shit. A true sign of a man that’s been around awhile, maybe a little cynical but certainly a master of his craft. The biggest takeaway was Bruce was saying how his agency has to reinvent themselves every 6 months to remain relevant. The ‘not set’ organic change was a big hit, but uses an API from Search Council that allows him to see the actual keywords being used to generate SEO traffic.
Bruce Clay Key Takeaways:
- Pop ups should show up with the follow: average time on site divided by 3.
- Disavowfiles.com – Keep adding websites. Accumulated report over all-time.
- Outbound links are valuable. – Think like bibliography.
- “We’ve increased page ranking by removing bad/old content.”
- “If you’d been using the same website for 8 years, give it up.”
- API from Search Council to see your organic search terms.
Dynamic ads and visual content are the future. 85% of communication will be visual by 2018. I’ll have more on this for my Day 2 recap, stay tuned!
Watch the recap here:
It is pretty common knowledge that Facebook and other social media platforms (SMP) are capturing your behavior on their sites and selling it as data (anonymously of course) to the highest bidding agencies. Naturally, the question of privacy is bound to come up. Of course, Facebook or any other SMP offers a multitude of options to keep certain things hidden from your timelines or limit who can see what actions and posts. However, do you ever wonder what information is available to the public or even what the data about you being sold looks like on the other side of things? With the help of tools like Data Selfie and Stalkscan we can now have a glimpse behind the proverbial curtain.
These two tools do a couple of things that a person might find useful:
1. Data Selfie is more geared toward helping you see how a company could interpret your data and associate it with you as an anonymous individual. A weird concept to think about, but what is becoming more and more prevalent to advertisers are your habits, your age, where you live and who your friends are. They want to know your political views, what you’re saying about candidates, whose posts are you liking, how long exactly are you looking at that stranger you hardly know, Facebook’s page. If anything, these things won’t stop people from creeping on your profile, but at least you will know what they are looking at or what they can find out about you.
2. Now, a tool like Stalkscan will at least make you aware of the fact that you maybe need to adjust your privacy settings. This platform gives you a bit more of a comprehensive look at what the public can see about you.
The moral of all this is that knowledge is power and you should want to know how things work. Take the reigns of your digital footprint as much as possible. We all know that digital privacy concerns are a hot topic and an ever growing concern but studies continue to show us that the majority of users online don’t even bother to touch the privacy settings they have available on social media platforms. It’s not always about hiding your data but rather understanding what can be deduced about you through that data.
On Feb. 15, our creative director, Michael Taylor, headed downtown to the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Digital Marketing Bootcamp. Here, he and fellow panel members discussed tips and trends for improving your digital marketing strategies. Panelists discussed the evolution of social media and how not to be a robot in your social media communications.
A few key takeaways from the event include:
- Many brands spend too much time crafting their social media posts and lose the human element.
- Spend less time editing social content and more time focusing on what your audience wants.
- Before starting social media efforts, determine which platforms make the most sense for your audience.
- Apps and tools exist to help you with your social media. Some of our favorites are Buffer and Slack.
- Gary Vaynerchuk liked one of our tweets! Thanks Gary!
February has been full of fun opportunities for SS Digital Media. We can’t wait to see what else 2017 has in store for us!
We celebrated Valentine’s Day in the best way: by heading to Google Ann Arbor for an exclusive senior healthcare industry event. SS Digital Media Founder, Nick Skislak was joined by Google representatives Isha Vij and Taylor Kobryn. The discussion included a focus on digital marketing and its benefits for the senior healthcare industry.
Check out some of the key takeaways from the event:
- Social media is more than just creating content. It’s about listening and interacting with your audience.
- Life is made of tiny micro moments — moments when a customer experiences something that requires an immediate answer. Make sure you are there when your customers need you.
- The need for senior healthcare is only going to increase. The projected U.S. population ages 65+ in 2050 is 83.7 million people.
- More than 2 billion people use Google on a daily basis. If you’re not advertising here, you should be.
- In Michigan alone, Google ads for senior health care are receiving more than 1 million impressions a month.
Following the discussion, we took an exclusive tour of the Google Ann Arbor office. Did you know, at Google you’re never more than 150 feet away from a microkitchen? How cool is that!
Creating social media profiles for your business is no longer optional. Maintaining an online presence is now needed in order to make your business seem relevant and reliable to current and potential consumers. While you may have successful personal social media skills, strategies and tactics for your business’ social media are considerably different. Learn the do’s and don’ts for your business’ social media with SS Digital Media.
Know Your Audience
Social media posts for your business should be geared toward your target audience. Having an understanding of who uses your products or services can help you create content that this demographic will find useful, informative or entertaining. Do some research and determine who to target prior to creating new content.
Note: All social media content should provide your audience with some sort of value. Even if the value is just a quick laugh, make sure all posts have a purpose.
Between scheduling softwares and admin abilities, it is more than likely you will have multiple people posting to your social media channels. Make sure that the voice, tone and posting schedule stays consistent no matter who is managing the content. This helps to make your business appear unified and well branded to its current and potential customers.
Tip: Create some brand guidelines for your business’ social media to help keep your social channels consistent.
RELATED: Creating Content Guidelines
Have some fun with your content! Creating posts that are unique and branded will make your social media feel more personable and entertaining to your followers. No one likes reading the same stale content everyday, so switch it up and get creative.
It’s pretty obvious that you should be answering customer questions or concerns on your business’ social media pages. However, responding online shouldn’t stop there. Taking the time to thank someone for positive feedback by commenting or giving a shoutout establishes brand loyalty and could provide you with a customer for life. Engagement online is key to success.
Like Your Own Content
There are few things more taboo on social media than liking your own content. This small mistake could cost you followers and interactions in the future. By liking your own business’ content, you are doing two things:
First you are telling users that your content is getting so little likes that you are trying to boost the number for appearances.
Second, this shows followers that you are not social media savvy and are unaware that this behavior is taboo.
Either way the user looks at it, liking your own content can only hurt your business’ social media. It is better to have zero likes on a post than one from yourself.
Delete Consumer Comments
Unless it’s an extreme case, such as an inappropriate image or language, keep all comments visible. It may be tempting to delete negative feedback for fear of losing customers, however this can harm your business’ reputation. Instead of deleting, respond asking to take the discussion to a private message. Even if you’re unable to find a peaceful resolution, responding shows other followers that you care about their opinions.
Don’t spam your followers with an unreasonable amount of content. While you may think that more posts will lead to more online visibility, the opposite is more likely to happen. If your business is posting too often, followers may become annoyed and unfollow your account. Instead of flooding social feeds with your content, carefully craft a few posts a day and schedule them a few hours apart.
Effectively using social media to promote your business can be difficult. With an understanding of these do’s and don’ts, you are on the right track to gaining more followers and interactions across all platforms.