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Published April 20th 2016

Social Media Marketing World 2016: 18 Marketing Tips & Ideas

In the midst of meeting friends old and new, the BuzzSumo team was taking in sessions at Social Media Marketing World in San Diego. Here are 18 key takeaways from this idea-rich event.

Michael Stelzner:

“Live video is hot.”

In his opening keynote, the founder of Social Media Examiner, Michael Stelzner, said that the growth in video marketing is the biggest surge that he has seen. The conference center was dotted with people filming live video snippets–some casually, others with more professional looking kits. Social Media Examiner led the way–facilitating live video with staging areas and numerous staff wielding smart phones and encouraging conference goers to chat about their experiences at the conference.

SnapChat is the next big thing

Stelzner also predicted that SnapChat will join Facebook and Twitter as one of the top three social networks. For an example of effective marketing with the SnapChat platform, Stelzner suggested taking a look at ChocJohnny, of PerfectionChocolates.com.au. Johnny responds to all his snaps personally and quickly. I sent a quick snap to Johnny, and I got a story snapback (it made me hungry; it made me smile; it was better than cats).

Knowing the tiniest bit about SnapChat, I took a quick screenshot so I could share a taste of ChocJohnny’s ideas here:

My favorite, though was the Snap with Mom. But, in true SnapChat fashion, it was gone when I went back to grab a shot (this is THE challenge for marketers with SnapChat–how to efficiently create and curate content with zero shelf life).

Brian Solis

“Experiment constantly.”

People make decisions in micro moments. They don’t have time to read an entire website or watch a video. When you design, you have to design for people with little time. Small incremental changes are important. Iterate, observe, repeat.

Mari Smith

“Facebook live creates video content that you can repurpose–you can download.”

Mari emphasized Facebook’s preference for live video, and suggested several tips for using it. Her reminder that the content could be repurposed for use later was a super suggestion that makes the platform more attractive.

“Facebook reach is highest when you are broadcasting live.”

Facebook wants to be the live television in your pocket, Mari said. Their algorithm incentivizes live broadcasting. When you are broadcasting live, you get better reach. Capitalize on this by broadcasting for at least five or ten minutes, and if possible longer.

Mari and Sumo High Five

Brian Fanzo

“Never film live video at more than arms length.”

After all of the sessions emphasizing video, it’s impossible not to consider running out to buy a new (or better) selfie-stick. Brian Fanzo appeared at just the right time to reassure people that arms length is the best length to create engaging videos.

Ian Cleary

Focus on the PRISM model

Ian recommends paying attention to People, Relationships with influencers, Inbound Traffic, Subscribers, and Monetization. For monetization, he suggested Opt-in Monster to help target blog visitors with pop-up coupons based on their interactions on sites.

Jay Baer

“Every complaint is raw material for getting better.”

Getting fewer complaints is an easy metric to get, Jay said. Simply don’t answer the phone. But, companies who choose that path miss the opportunity that negative feedback brings…the chance to improve. Look hard for feedback, and answer the complaints that come in every channel; every time.

Ian Anderson Gray

“Scheduling tweets is a good idea because you don’t want to be on Twitter all the time.”

“I make a conscious effort to put my phone away and spend quality time with my family. Scheduling makes that possible,” Ian said. Specifically, he recommends the power scheduler function in Buffer, which can be used in conjunction with the analytics function to find and retweet your most popular tweets.

Pro-tip: Don’t send an automated thank-you-for-following-me message. Just don’t.

And, if you have an inbox that is filled with these type of messages, Agorapulse can filter those messages out. Setting up auto-filters to get rid of direct messages is a real time saver. “I can finally use my direct inbox on Twitter,” Ian said.

Mark Schaefer

[Tweet “”Social sharing may be the most important metric we measure.” Mark Schaefer”]

“Many of the benefits of social media are qualitative, not quantitative, baby.”

Expecting quantitative ROI immediately is not the right metric to pursue, Mark said. Marketing of all kinds, and specifically, marketing with social media is a process of growing awareness, reliable reach, and then ROI over time. Those things should be measured, in the appropriate order, at the appropriate time.


Gary Vaynerchuk

“Obsess about the behavior of people.”

During his keynote session, Gary described his commitment to observe people and base his decisions on what they respond to. Marketers should spend less time worrying about the permanence of a new tool and more time using what works now.

Steve Dotto

“If we create good content, we have to shine a light on it.”

In his session on using YouTube to build an email list, Steve talked about the importance of amplifying content. The time and effort spent to develop good videos doesn’t automatically create social shares, Steve said. When the work of creating a great piece of content, in this case a video, is finished, the hard work of drawing attention to it begins.

Ann Handley

“The biggest missed opportunity in marketing is playing it too safe.”

Think like a publisher, Ann said. Take risks; tell bold and insightful stories so that people have a great experience with your content and your brand.


Darren Rowse

“Shareable content is so important…but don’t go overboard.”

The first stage of engaging an audience is to get their attention, and shareable content is a huge part of that equation. Research what your audience shares, and you will increase the number of people who see your content. With that said, Darren reminded the audience to beware neglecting other types of content–assets that fill niches in the engagement process beyond that of social sharing.

“People do business with people when they feel known, when they feel liked, when they feel trusted.”

Demonstrate that you know your customers by identifying what causes them pain, and then offer the solution to that pain. Identify their problems and then solve them. This type of content creates a quick win, and is part of gaining your audience’s interest.

Amy Porterfield

“The energy of your business is directly tied to the strength of your email list.”

Amy provided a five step process to build an email list on a budget. The biggest takeaway was Amy’s suggestion to build an epic blog post–actionable and shareable, with great images– and then embed a killer offer in the post itself. Her rationale: Facebook loves ungated content, so you will get more organic reach from the ungated post and grow your list with the free offer.

What did you learn at SMMW16?

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