Four Key Takeaways from the 2023 Social Media Marketing World Conference

Vibrant vector illustration. Different speech bubbles with hand drawn doodles and textures. Social Media Communication concept.

by Gabriel Muñoz

Double Forte went to the 10th annual Social Media Marketing World Conference, where the main topics of conversation were artificial intelligence (AI) and how important TikTok is today, despite questions its parent company faces. The 3-day conference in San Diego brought together creators, influencers, technologists, and experts to collaborate and learn.

Our four key takeaways:

The Age of Intelligent Automation is Finally Here

As mentioned in our January blog post, A.I. is taking a huge step forward in 2023 and evolving into something completely new and exciting. On the cusp of the marketing conference, several companies made a slew of A.I. announcements, including OpenAI with its new version 4.0 update to the seminal Chat GPT, and Google for the A.I. features integrated into its Workspace apps. Runway announced the next phase of its online AI video editor and storytelling app,  Gen-2, at the conference. Paul Roetzer, CEO of the Marketing AI Institute, shared his opinion that 80% of what marketers do every day will be intelligently automated to some degree in the next two-three years. However, A.I. won’t completely replace marketers, but marketers who use A.I. will replace marketers who don’t. 

Twitter was a Complete No-Show

With 40 keynotes, panels, and workshops, we anticipated at least some discussion of or presence by Twitter given that it’s….Twitter. However, Twitter was nowhere to be seen or even talked about. Twitter was shut out of the conversation by anyone at SMMW, which sets the agenda for so many companies and agencies. Even during the many talks and discussions our team attended, only one speaker mentioned Twitter by name. The platform’s reputation has plummeted since Elon Musk purchased the OG social platform for many reasons, not the least of which is that hate speech on Twitter is demonstrably on the rise. At the same time, journalists still use Twitter to break news, even while most reporters are branching out and repeating themselves on other platforms too. As we progress through 2023, it will be interesting to see in what direction Twitter goes and how we all use it as a community, news source, and advertising platform. 

Growth vs. Engagement and How to Increase Both, Separately 

In social media trainer Millie Adrian’s keynote talk, “How to Level Up Your Instagram Marketing in 2023,” she outlined how to build an Instagram presence that works. Growth, as defined by increasing the number of accounts that follow you, has a different set of tactics than if the ultimate goal is to increase engagement, which is the measure of how often your followers interact with your content. If you’re interested in increasing your number of followers, she encourages Instagram users to focus on Reels, collaboration features, and shareable content. If engagement is the central goal, Adrian encourages users to prioritize stories, lives, and in-feed posts. Want to do both? We recommend doing one first for a 4-6 week period and then integrating the second, to get traction first and then expand.

Use TikTok the Right Way

While the future of TikTok in the U.S. is murky given the federal government’s recent stance, TikTok is a behemoth of a social media platform. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. TikTokers make money through the platform, and its popularity only continues to rise – the company announced on Monday it’s reached 150 million monthly active users, a large percentage of whom are under 30.

TikTok is the most dynamic of any of the social media platforms. With short-form videos being the currency on Tik Tok, hooking viewers quickly is critical. Focus on being one of the three Es in each video: entertaining, educational, or emotionally thought-provoking. Video content should be 95% of the storyline, and only 5% should be about the product you might be trying to sell. Users tend to ignore TikTok videos that extol the virtues of a product, whereas videos that demonstrate how a product, practice, or service functions and how it can enhance a viewer’s life gain much more traction. Even though the algorithm will always show your content to new people, people will only follow and/or interact with it if it is interesting, helpful, or makes them feel something. 

Lastly, while attention is focused on utilizing trends and specific music or sounds, we recommend that creators use them only if they jump on them at the beginning of the trend, or they’ll get lost in the mix.