Why SMX Social Media Marketing Is A Must-Attend Event

October 12, 2011 by Chris Sherman

Social media marketing is hot—and everyone agrees that it has become a must-do activity for all companies wanting to connect with customers, reach out to prospects and maximize brand awareness. A recent study by online ad agency Collective found that 90 percent of marketers want to try new things online, and 62 percent of marketers anticipate increasing social media spending in the next 6 months.

Yet, astonishingly, only 12 percent believe that social media marketing is valuable for brands.

What explains this remarkable disconnect? We believe it’s because most companies don’t fully understand and aren’t leveraging the advantages that this powerful new form of marketing offers. They’re using familiar tactics and techniques that have worked in the traditional world of marketing, but that fall flat in the new online social media universe. Or companies fail at the crucial task of honestly engaging with customers in a genuine, social way. Worse, they don’t understand how to allocate resources or people in ways that can be measured and quantified to demonstrate real value.

We designed SMX Social Media Marketing to help marketers address and solve all of these issues, and more. Our agenda features sessions with a relentless focus on best practices for how to do social media marketing, when it’s most effective, which channels provide maximum return and why it works. Whether you’re wanting to step up your game via Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or any other social media channel, SMX Social Media Marketing will provide you with cutting-edge tactics and techniques from some of the foremost experts in the world.

Our speakers aren’t just pundits—they’re active pioneers and practitioners who’ve created and refined proven approaches to social media marketing. What’s more, they’ve all agreed to share what they’ve learned in ways that everyone attending will be able to immediately apply to their own social media marketing campaigns.

Oh, and did I mention the event will be taking place at the fabulous Westin Kierland Resort in sunny Scottsdale, Arizona on December 5-6 (you know, when it’s cold and miserable everywhere else)?

Here’s a personal look at the show. I’d like to offer you a preview of the agenda, and why we think it’s going to be a killer show for everyone who attends.

Friending Facebook – The Right Way

It’s almost a cliche, but it’s also true: If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world. It’s the largest online community, and continues to grow and solidify its lead. Said another way: It’s a huge universe of opportunity that’s impossible (or foolhardy) for any marketer to ignore.

Smart companies and brands have embraced Facebook. Yet virtually every day we see stories of companies and brands committing “Facebook follies” or “Facebook faux pas” – social media blunders virtually guaranteed to alienate thousands or even millions of once loyal customers.

SMX Social Media Marketing kicks off with two sessions dedicated to successful Facebook marketing. Free Facebook Tactics to Drive Traffic & Conversions looks at how to drive traffic and conversions through fan pages, viral campaigns and more. If you’re familiar with search marketing, you’ll love this session, because the focus is on optimization—but rather than the tactics and techniques you use to boost search visibility and conversions, this session looks at the subtleties and nuances of being a popular and exemplary “citizen” in the land of Facebook (and, of course, how that can return significant dividends in a multitude of ways).

And don’t forget that with its huge number of daily visitors, Facebook offers rich opportunities for advertisers. Successful Targeting Strategies For Facebook Ad Campaigns takes a detailed look at Facebook’s advertising system, with an incredible array of ways to target people by interests and demographics. You can catch people early in the buying cycle and use your existing customers to help win new ones. Other cool features? Social actions, targeting, real time reporting… if you’re not advertising on Facebook you’re missing out on tons of potential traffic from the second largest internet website.

Terrific Twitter Tactics

There’s a common (and sadly, often tragic) misconception that Twitter is “easy” – after all, your tweets are restricted to a mere 140 characters. What can go wrong with that kind of limitation?

Lots. Many companies and brands are guilty of using Twitter as a one-way megaphone, rather than the richly subtle and engaging channel of multi-way communication that it can be. These offenders, in the words of critics, are engaging in “tweetorreah” rather than using Twitter as a customer-centric tool of engagement.

And that’s a huge mistake that not only alienates customers, fans, followers and potentially loyal advocates, but can be harmful in other, far-reaching ways. We’re all familiar with stories of how Twitter can be a powerful force, from enhancing brand loyalty and increasing sales to being an essential component of game-changing events like the Arab Spring. But when misused, Twitter can be equally powerful as a damaging force.

In Boosting Business With Twitter Marketing, our panelists will demonstrate decisively that Twitter isn’t just for fun. It’s big business, being used to drive traffic and generate buzz and conversions for companies. But remember: Twitter is opt-in, which means if you get even a little bit spammy people will un-follow, or worse, push back with negative tweets that could damage your company’s reputation. This session explores the finer points using Twitter as a business tool, and how to get more from this important source of referrals.

The “New Kid” On The Block: Google+

Google has recently found “social media religion” and is making a huge bet on its new social media platform, Google+. Although not a Facebook killer, just the fact that it’s Google and the company is making such a big push with it means marketers can’t afford to ignore it. But it’s not enough to simply replicate your Facebook campaigns on Google+.

Like Facebook, Google+ allows people to share photos, places they’ve been, videos, links and status updates. But it’s also a way for people to indicate what they like within Google’s search results, within Google+ or on sites across the web. Both are proving to be valuable tools for marketers, and are likely to impact how Google operates across the board going forward – in all likelihood influencing how your search (and other) marketing campaigns will have to change as a result. This session explores both the potential of Google’s new social elements as well as specific tactics for getting results now.

Social Media Tools, Tactics & Best Practices

Beyond taking close looks at specific social media platforms, SMX Social Media Marketing has a number of sessions that explore other important aspects of creating and managing successful campaigns. Marketing Campaigns Gone Viral! explores how the right content, done the right way, can spread like wildfire on social channels. This session offers case studies, exploring the elements of successful viral campaigns, how they catch fire, and the best channels for different types of content.

One of the most interesting aspects of social media is how many people engage on mobile devices. For the first time, web-enabled mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are outselling computers as people increasingly want to be online everywhere. Kleiner Perkins internet visionary Mary Meeker has deemed the next five years as the era of “SoLoMo” – the intersection of social, local and mobile. Accordingly, SoLoMo: Social, Local & Mobile – A Crossroads Of Opportunity explores this new era in depth. At Search Engine Land, we’ve been observing the SoLoMo phenomenon unfold for years, and have concluded that if your marketing strategy isn’t in alignment with this megatrend you’ll be missing out on huge opportunities. This session looks at check-ins, daily deals and local search opportunities through the lens of social media.

One of the greatest challenges marketers face is getting “buy-in” on social media marketing from clients or management. Sure, social media is sexy, but how do you measure its effectiveness? How can you justify spending money and paying people to conduct social media campaigns? Measuring Social Media ROI looks at emerging social media analytics methods, how to measure “conversions” when there may be no tangible transactions, as well as some of the tools available to measure ROI and performance of social media activities. If you’re looking for ways to prove that social media marketing is worthwhile, this session will equip you with the knowledge and a powerful set of tools to make your case.

Along similar lines, Best Practices & Tools To Maximize Your Social Media Efforts will help you get the most impact from your social media spend. As with any type of online marketing, you’ve got to scale up to reach the maximum number of people possible. And the only effective way to do this is by automating your campaigns with tools designed to leverage the efforts of your social media marketing team. This session explores many of the available tools, and more importantly, the right way to use them without annoying or alienating your customers.

Keynote Roundtable: Real Social Media Stories From The Field

So many social media channels. So many social media challenges. Are you there for customer service, to boost your brand recognition, to increase sales and transactions? How do you integrate your efforts into other business units at your company? This roundtable discussion features experienced social media managers from prominent and well-known brands for an “in the trenches” view of these and other issues.

Quality Programming

All the SMX sessions I’ve described above are what we call editorial sessions. People are speaking on them because we feel they have great information to offer. No one has, or ever will, buy their way onto a panel at any SMX show.

Each session is developed by a “session coordinator” who reviews speaking pitches and reaches out to knowledgeable people to assemble a panel. The session coordinator works with the speakers to create a session where presentations support each other, rather than overlap. In most cases, the session coordinator is also the session moderator.

Formats also vary. Sometimes we have panels with multiple people. Sometimes we have only one or two speakers. Some panels are all Q&A. Some feature presentations. We don’t lock ourselves into one particular format, because different topics require different approaches. Instead, we focus on creating a great overall experience.

The entire editorial portion of the show is overseen by me and my co-chair Danny Sullivan. We’ve been organizing search conferences for more than a decade – longer than anyone in the industry.

The attention to programming is part of what we call the SMX Content Difference, and it’s why we’re able to guarantee the quality of our events.

Come On Out!

I hope you’ve found this preview useful and are ready to attend. You’ll find more details on the SMX Social Media Marketing web site, including the full SMX Social Media Marketing Agenda. You can register online or by phone at (877) 242-5242. Do it by November 12 to get the best “Early Bird” rate on your ticket.

See you in warm and sunny Scottsdale in December!

SMX Social Media Marketing is one of the Search Marketing Expo events that Search Engine Land’s publisher Third Door Media runs each year in the United States. You can read about the others, including our shows in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Europe and Australia on our main Search Marketing Expo website.