Alison Garwood Jones

My Top 10 Takeaways from Social Media Week Toronto, 2018

November 15, 2018

#SMWTO Social Media Week Toronto 2018Illustration by Alison Garwood-Jones

If you are a social media user in 2018, do yourself and your friends a favour and be adaptable, patient, proactive, and hopeful. And share some of your professional failures on LinkedIn. In an Insta-perfect world, people are looking for ways to better connect with and learn from each other.

These were some of the overarching themes I took away from the first two days of Social Media Week Toronto, 2018.

Organizers Michelle Pinchev, Elle Bulger and their team at Pinch Social spent months lining up 50+ Canadian and international speakers and participants.

In turn, they gave a packed audience a “state of the nation” on digital marketing, including the ramifications from the fallout from data breaches and how algorithm changes on Facebook and Instagram are forcing us to rethink ways to better reach our target audiences (hint: Reddit and Pinterest are both experiencing a boost).

Social Media Week 2018, Speakers Lineup

Photo: Pinch Social

If you couldn’t make it, I hope this round-up helps you understand where we are taking technology, and where it is taking us:

10.  B to B storytelling works best on LinkedIn Publishing (its baked-in blogging platform) and the LinkedIn newsfeed. Salesy B to C posts fall flat almost every time. ~ Goldie Chan, Top LinkedIn video creator.

Goldie Chan

Photo: Goldie Chan

9. A play button is the most compelling CTA on the web.  If “content is king,” then the king of content is video. “Today, video is the most effective way to communicate what’s important to you; it makes your audience feel much closer to you and your ideas than any written post ever could,” says Jason Hsiao co-founder of Animoto.

PS: just don’t shoot poorly-lit talking head videos at your desk. Get out in the field. Mix it up. LA native Goldie Chan (above) shoots her Influencer Tips videos at Disneyland. Often in costume. What’s your angle?

Jason Hsiao of Animoto

Photo: Jason Hsiao

8. Pre-scheduling cut-and-paste content is out (sorry, Hootsuite and Buffer). Why? Because viewing behaviour differs across platforms. As Hsiao reminds us, we go to Facebook for updates, Instagram for inspiration, Twitter for what’s current, and YouTube for education. All of this requires different headers and CTAs.

viewing habits on social

Photo: Alison Garwood-Jones

7. Not ready to be a social media activist? Fifteen-year old Hannah Alper, who calls herself a member of the “massacre generation” (as in mass school shootings) says, “one person, one action, and one moment can make a difference.” It’s never too late to use your voice. Let the good take back social.

Hannah Alper

Pick up a copy of Hannah’s latest book, Momentus

6. Instagram has an organic reach of about 50% (versus less than 1% on Facebook). It is still the platform with the highest engagement. But with the recent departure of founders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, further rejigs, unfriendly to users, are only a matter of time. Get ready to adapt again.

5. If you are still waiting for people to find your website, stop it! Take your message to where the conversations are already happening on social.

4. Create for mobile: Square video is currently the most effective format for viewer engagement. The verdict is still out on the rising popularity of video shot in vertical/portrait mode (à la Instagram Stories and IGTV). Whatever aspect ratio you settle on, be sure to add captions because 30% of viewers are watching your video on their phones with the sound OFF.

Unsplash Photo

Photo: @Shuganth on Unsplash

3. Diversify your social media strategy. “Consider new options outside of Facebook and Instagram,” says Aletta Brandle, The Globe and Mail‘s Social Media Strategy Lead. Reddit has the highest time spent of all the social media platforms at an astonishing 11 minutes/day. But you need to understand how Reddit works before you wade in, says Brandle. Before you advertise, join some conversations. And don’t push your brand. “If your content survives on Reddit, it will survive anywhere,” says Brandle. If you want to find out how her first Reddit ad campaign played out, her blog is an excellent resource for her A/B testing.

Social Media Week Toronto 2018Photo: Social Media Week Toronto, 2018. Brandle is in the centre with the striped shirt.

2. Pinterest was built for people who want to discover a product. So why aren’t you there? “Users on Pintereset are further down the sales funnel than on any other social platform,” says Brandle. “50% purchase after seeing an ad.”

1. “We need to regain conrol of our data and our attention to fix our slide into a dystopian world.” ~ Ramona Pringle, CBC contributer, Associate Professor, RTA School of Media, Ryerson University.

Social Media Week Toronto 2018

Photo: Social Media Week Toronto, 2018




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