Last week I was speaking at the Social Media Strategies Summit in Dallas – this is what I learned.
For those of you who are my biggest fans, you’ll know that I often speak at the various Social Media Strategies Summits held by GSMI. Last week, I was presenting a session in Dallas about the importance and flexibility of Google Analytics, and how businesses can start using the platform for more than simply tracking website visits.
While attending other sessions, I learned quite a bit. Enough so that I wanted to share a few of those lessons in rapid succession with this blog post. These are the fastest moving social business trends I noticed in Dallas.
The attention span of marketers is pretty short; every few months we’re most interested in something new when it comes to social media. Now, it seems like social is synonymous with data. More so than every before, speakers (myself included) focused heavily on the importance of data and analytics. For a long time, it was only early adopters that really loved the value of data. Now it seems like marketers from brands both big and small want to know what their insights are telling them and how they can be used to accomplish business goals.
When I was speaking in Chicago, I mentioned that when it comes time to engage – particularly in a time of crisis – brands needs to start being selective with the comments they’re going to respond to, and that selection should be based on an evaluation of the potential damage a comment can do to a brand. A few of my audience members were surprised by that. In Dallas, some major brands (that I will not name here) mentioned points along those same lines. We’re starting to realize that for as social as we should be, decision related to social media need to be approached in the same way as decisions related to every day business.
Which brings me to my next point…
Social Is Becoming Business-As-Usual
When I talked about what I learned in Kuwait, I noted that one of the most interesting things I heard – and something that resonates to this day – is that social media, a communications tool, tends to have its own department as opposed to permeating multiple departments (as email did). Finally, brands are showing that this is the case. Social is becoming a more important part of everyday business, and it is slowly becoming a common practice as opposed to a unique instance of its use.
Data is Everyone’s Biggest Hurdle
Analytics might be the thing on everyone’s mind, but understanding and leveraging data is still many marketers’ biggest obstacle. It is generally understood that these data are virtually invaluable. In almost every session in Dallas, speakers noted how they used data in order to create effective and hugely successful strategies. But as I spoke to various attendees, it occurred to me that for every marketer (or marketing department) that has figured out how to leverage these data, there are dozens that have yet to pinpoint how their insights can be used to build an effective campaign or strategy.
Keeping Up with the Times is a Close Second
Data might be the biggest hurdle, but keeping up with the changing social landscape is a very close second. I have found that education is amongst the most important keys to success with it comes to social media. The field literally changes shape every day with updates, acquisitions, deployments and much more. Keeping up with those changes is a full time job. If you’re expected to know anything and everything about social while at the same time managing a marketing department both on and offline, you’ll find that it is next to impossible. Things change so quickly in this realm that even full-timers have a hard time keeping up in some cases.
Dallas Heat and Humidity Can Help Explain Relativity
Albert Einstein is famously quoted as explaining his theory of relativity in the following way: “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.” I think that does a fine job of outlining what the theory means, but I think a better example is mine: “Walk six minutes to your conference in Dallas heat, it feels like six hours. Spend six hours delirious and standing next to an air conditioner while waiting to go back outside, it feels like six minutes.”
As always, there was a ton to learn in Dallas from some hugely impressive speakers and some very interesting attendees with just as much to offer. September is going to be a busy month for me, so if you’re in any of these cities, let me know!
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