You Had Me at “Social-tini”
When considering conferences and other professional development opportunities, I look at three factors: what the topics are, who the speakers are, and who is likely to be in the audience. These questions are all about what I am going to learn and whether I will meet interesting people. The Social Tools Summit provided plenty of coolness in both categories.
While the conference was dedicated to discussions of best practices in digital marketing, the tools summit also offered up plenty of discussion of both favorite and cutting-edge tools as well as deep dives into topics such as employee advocacy, social selling, and content strategy. And they gave out vodka drinks in the afternoon.
The material was broad ranging and dynamic, yet a few recurring themes rose to the surface over the course of the day.
Here are a few key takeaways that may impact what you are doing, regardless of goal, platform, or tool.
Quality over Quantity
This came up time and time again, demonstrated with references to metrics and KPIs as well as anecdotes and plenty of “agreed” head-nodding.
Whether we were talking social strategy, a blog post, or a contact list, the general consensus was that if you focused on quality over quantity, you will be more successful. For example, one well-crafted blog post drove much more lead generation than two SEO-stuffed but superficial pieces.
Tools, tools, tools
One would expect plenty of discussion of tools at something called the “Social Tools Summit,” but the takeaway here seemed to be that folks are using dizzying array of different tools (many of which can do the same things). In fact, there was some call for a “tool to rule them all.” Ironically, the one tool that got consistent love from the participants was about as old-school as they come: Excel.
People loved using Excel for contact lists, content archives, editorial calendar, analytics, reports – you name it, people had invented an Excel hack for it. In addition, there was also plenty of discussion of various tools to make the most of Excel spreadsheets.
In Search of Dorothy’s tribe
On one hand, the summiters eagerly embraced the latest technological solutions, most of which took existing automation one step further. On the other, the biggest takeaway of the day was the very simple conclusion that marketing without a brain, a heart, or some courage was not marketing at all.
One of my dad’s favorite saws, “People sell to people,” was tossed around more than a beach ball at a high school graduation. While the tools exist to streamline workflow and automate where possible, it was universally agreed on that the name of the game was targeted messages, not “spray and pray.”
This theme took many forms: be authentic, it’s about human to human, be real, etc., but it is really about crafting messages with a brain and a heart…and I’m adding in courage so the lion doesn’t get left out.
Again, I heard about dozens of very interesting apps to help marketers monitor conversations, pick up on trends, develop and publish their own content, and measure the success of that content,
Of all the the many tools I heard about, here are my favorites:
- Agorapulse – a cool social media managing platform
- Curata – content curation made stupid simple
- Talkwalker – social media managing with image recognition