In a fast-changing world, social media seems to work at the same speed or even faster. At Double Forte, we work hard to understand the current landscape, and the new tactics and best practices for each platform. In an effort to continue to learn, our team recently attended Social Media Marketing World 2020 (SMMW2020) in San Diego to hear from experts in the space on strategies and tactics to navigate today’s landscape. We went to a lot of panels, and here’s what you need to know:

Theme #1:  Video is King

This is something you already know, but it deserves repeating: Video is king. This theme was prevalent at the conference and with everything from YouTube to Tik Tok, Linkedin Video, Pinterest Video, Instagram Stories, IGTV, Facebook Stories, and Facebook Live… there was a lot of ground to cover. The opening keynote from the Founder of Social Media Examiner, Michael Stelzner, focused on video, likening the current “Streaming Wars” to the rise of video on social media. People are reading less and instead are streaming more TV and watching more video in a documentary storytelling format. Factors such as these present an opportunity for social media managers and storytellers.

LinkedIn Video Gets Up To 3X The Engagement Rate of Other LinkedIn Posts

Consider long-form video content, such as Linkedin Video, a relatively new feature that can see up to 3x the engagement rate of other Linkedin posts (source: Goldie Chan). However, you may want to begin with short-form video, such as TikTok, which will be much easier to produce and experiment with for your brand or company.

Theme #2:  Authenticity

One of the greatest parts about social media is the ability to connect with your consumers or audience at a more personal level.  Personal branding expert Rory Vaden encouraged the thinking of brands as a reputation. Your brand, or reputation, he said, is an assessment of your trustworthiness, and social media is a great way to build that trust (see our blog post from last month on more ways to build trust through transparency).

Digital marketing expert Ann Handley presented a keynote on this very topic of building trust, convincing our audiences we have something of value, and ultimately building a relationship with your followers. The more specific you can be with your storytelling on these platforms, she said, the more relatable you will be. At the end of the day, every story we tell is a human story about a universal truth, and your followers will relate best to that.

The silver lining with authenticity is: you don’t have to be perfect. When speaking about social media, especially short-form video, many speakers noted that your content does not have to be perfectly shot, Oscar-worthy filmmaking. There are exceptions of course, like avoiding video with shaky frames, poor audio and out of focus figures. But the content itself, and how it serves your audience is the most important factor.

Theme #3:  Solving problems With Social Media

When creating content for your brand’s social media, ask: how is this content solving a problem or answering a question for my consumers or audience? This was emphasized over and over again throughout Social Media Marketing World.

Solving problems for your consumer through social media starts with a)knowing your audience and b) focusing your content on a specific purpose. As storyteller Miri Rodriguez noted in her panel, assigning a mission to your story or content is step #1. Is the point of your content to educate? To inspire? Is it a personal story examining the heart of your brand?

Also, consider the platform you are using for the content. Was the content created in a thoughtful way that is optimal for that specific platform and audience? YouTube expert Steve Dotto noted that YouTube shouldn’t just be a place to throw up videos to re-purpose content from other platforms. Instead, consider what problem the re-purposed content might be solving for your audience, and if it is properly formatted for the platform you are re-posting the video on (Check out our DF Blog post on comparing the benefits of IGTV vs YouTube)

Theme #4:  Experimentation

To be successful with a social media content strategy, you cannot use a copy-and-paste method. Because each brand’s story and audience is unique, what works for one brand may not work for another. Many presenters encouraged the process of experimenting with different methods of posting, content format, and platforms to seeing what sticks. Linkedin expert Goldie Chan emphasized that with Linkedin Video, for example, there is no optimal style! Instead, experiment with different formats for your video and take note of what your audience engages with the most.

Social media gives us plenty of new things to learn.  And new platforms (Tik Tok) and features ( Linkedin Live) emerge all the time. With so much possibility, how you utilize all these tools will look different for each brand you work with. Now get to planning!

-Alexis Karis