Blog More, Facebook Less and 7 More Trends from Social Media Marketing World 2014

blog more facebook less

My head is spinning.

I’m sitting in the San Diego airport at 530am the morning after Social Media Marketing World 2014. It’s not margaritas… but ideas.

The ideas.

Social Media Marketing Word was the first purely marketing conference I’ve ever attended.

blog more facebook lessFor a guy who’s predominantly built his career thus far speaking at Insurance industry conferences, this was an idea exchange like I’ve never experienced before (not that I don’t love insurance industry conferences, I do, it’s just that most of the time the attendees look at me like I have a third arm coming out of my forehead when I start to geek out on digital marketing stuff). 

See I’m a nerd, a geek, a zealot when it comes digital marketing. It was exhilarating to be surrounded by two thousand people who share my appreciation for the finer points of the marketing craft.

But enough fluff.

SMMW14 wasn’t just a bunch of marketers standing around stroking each others accomplishments. There was some serious knowledge transfer and trend analysis.

The following are 8 trends I took away from the keynotes, breakout sessions and random conversations I experienced in the three days at Social Media Marketing World.

1) Blog More, Facebook Less

In his opening keynote Michael Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner and host of SMMW14, made an interesting remark in regards to the future of the digital marketing industry (paraphrasing), “Blog more, Facebook less.” I was stunned. Facebook, the social media juggernaut, minimized at the largest social media marketing conference in world, in the opening keynote no less.

In fairness to the journalistic integrity of this story, Michael did go on to mention Facebook as a necessary platform for social media marketers (much respect to Jon Loomer, advanced Facebook strategy superstar, and former Content Warfare Podcast guest). 

Think deep about the implications of this. The most well-known brand in the world for social media marketing is telling a room full of 2,000 of the most influential social media marketers in the world, THEY NEED TO BLOG!

LESSON: You don’t own the media unless you own the property. It’s that simple, every thing else you create everywhere else can be taken away from you. This is a basic principle of content marketing… but you already know that. Blog more. Facebook less.

2) The Google+ Bandwagon is Officially Open

The second most shocking and unexpected comment from Michael Stelzner was,

Brands have to be on Google+!”

What? Excuse me? Did you say Google+? Please talk into my good ear because I thought you just said that brands need to embrace Google’s “Social Layer” as a primary tool for growing their business online.

Oh you did?

Well I agree.

That’s why I created the Google+ Starter Kit, developed a entire vein of Google+ content and wrote this. Sneaky, content marketers and copywriters have been on the Google+ band wagon for quite a while, with each post inching closer to world domination (read this Google+ prognostication from Copyblogger back in 2012).

However, social media marketers have always ignored Google+ claiming it a “Ghost Town,” incapable of producing ROI. But with Google+ getting top billing in Michael Stelzner’s keynote this week there is no doubt the rush will be on to get brand content into the Google+ stream.

LESSON: It’s important to remember that Google+ is NOT Facebook. There is a culture, similiar in some aspects to that of Reddit, where quality content is not just celebrated it’s expected. That shouldn’t scare you, but inspire, for the content that hits on Google+ goes a long, long way.

 3) We’re All Media Companies

marcus sheridan gini dietrich

I must have heard Jay Baer say this at least a dozen times,

We’re all media companies.”

You may not like it. Possibly you hate it.

But if you don’t view your business, to at least some extent as a media company (a company producing media such as articles, images, videos, etc and sharing into the world), you’re falling behind.

If you’re a small business it’s possible you don’t see it yet in your bottom line because you’re still picking off the Unconnected Generation consumers willing to put up with your traditional marketing methods.

LESSON: If you’ve said, “But that’s the way we’ve always done business,” in the last twelve months you’re losing. You’re not sharing your story, you’re not answering questions, you’re NOT a valuable resource online and potential customers and clients are working with your competition that is.

4) Social Media is a Medium NOT a Method to Human Relationships

This might be the most important trend from the entire conference and I learned it from Chris Brogan‘s session. His session was titled, “How to Build Your Media Empire.” In general I think the crowd wanted tactics, but what they got was the core principle of growing a business…

Build human relationships before all else.

Chris ripped down the curtain (figuratively) and let the audience backstage to his own business. He shared, in detail, exactly what drives his every action. Solid gold.

LESSON: We’re thinking too tactically when it comes to social media. Me, you… we can’t replicate Chris’s business. However, we can look at our business and find ways to build new and stronger human relationships and leverage social media where it works best for us.

smmw14 jay baer

5) Stop Thinking of Content Marketing and Social Media as Mutually Exclusive

This was  clear right from the beginning of the conference with Michael Stelzner’s keynote and was carried through every breakout session. Content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing… these are NOT mutually exclusive activities, where you can “Do” one and not consider the others.

Our digital footprint, the properties and space we take up online is connected in every facet. Connected Generation consumers are connecting the dots from platform to platform. This means your website messaging needs to match your Facebook. Your Facebook needs to match your Instagram and Twitter. Your Twitter and Google+ need to match your email marketing.

I’m not talking about the same piece of content being shared across every single platform. That breaks Gary Vaynerchuk’s sound principle of native storytelling. This is consistent branding and messaging across the spaces where you develop human relationships.

LESSON: Blogging, email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc, they’re all just different mediums, not siloed actions happening in a vacuum. The businesses that win in the coming “mature” era of digital marketing will have a focused, consistent brand message across all social platforms that simultaneously fits the native content style of the platform.

6) Podcasting and other Rich Media is Necessary

There was a day when we could get away with creating text-based blog posts with little to no imagery and the message alone would spread. The Connected Generation wants more.

Specifically, they want more of YOU!

Rich media content marketing, such as podcasting and video, provide consumers with a deeper look into not just our business, but who we are as people. It’s easy to hide behind the typed word, but in front of the camera or microphone our personality shows through.

Listen to the Content Warfare Podcast for a perfect example.

Consumers have more options than they need. Products and services traditionally seen as differentiators in and of themselves have become commodities in the eyes of consumers. It’s the human behind the corporate logo that differentiates today.

LESSON: Use rich media formats such as video marketing on YouTube or a podcast to provide a deeper look at the human side of your business. The effort alone will set you apart, but the experience rich media provides your audience, will turn them into loyal customers.

7) Still No More Powerful Content than Answering Customer Questions

build human relationshipsMarcus Sheridan crushed the closing keynote. Crushed it. Obliterated it. Destroyed it. He lit the crowd on fire in the way only he can.

His message?

They ask, you answer.”

They (your customers and prospects) ask… YOU answer.

The number one most common question I receive when speaking is, “What should we write about?”

Answer questions… duh.

LESSON: Answer client questions, over and over and over again. It’s what Marcus did with his pool business and it’s what I did with the 100 Insurance Questions Answered in 100 Days series. Start answering client questions and you’ll never want for content ideas again. Better yet, you’ll have more new leads contacting your business than could have ever imagined.

8) Winners Outwork Their Competition

This is an oldy but goody. No matter what topic the session was on, panel or solo speaker, everyone mentioned hard work.

Why would these social media marketing giants waste their breath on such an obvious piece of advice?

It works.

Hard work, works. It’s that simple. You can learn every tip, tactic and strategy that exists, if you don’t put in the work you’ll never see success.

You don’t need to be doing all the right things if you’re putting in the work. Your hard work will disguise mistakes until you figure out what the right tactics and strategies are.

LESSON: Every trend can’t be sexy. But from my observations, of the very successful content marketing and social media marketing professionals sharing their expertise at Social Media Marketing World, hard work is big part of why they were on stage and the rest of us were watching.

The Rub

Social Media Marketing World was so much more than I could have ever expected. Not just the setting or the speakers or the ideas shared… but the energy.

The energy was infectious.

It’s time to get to work.

Thank you and Good luck,

I am Ryan Hanley

P.S. Do content marketing better and click here to never miss a post.

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About Ryan Hanley

This blog was created to help brands grow their audience, to grow their business. When I'm not writing, podcasting or creating the videos you'll find on this site, you'll usually find me watching baseball with my son Duke and a cold beer in my hand.

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  • http://www.sociallysorted.com.au Donna

    Great post Ryan – and nicely designed site! This is a really great wrap of some of the takeaways from my favourite speakers at #smmw14. I had to laugh at your 3D glasses photo because in my session on the Friday (about visual content) I actually had 300+ people put on a pair of 3D glasses at the end of my talk. Too funny! That is a great photo – reminded me of all the fun!

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Donna,

      That’s great, bet the audience loved it.

      Thanks,

      Hanley

  • http://www.northcutt.com Ben Ustick

    Hey Ryan,
    Very nice post. It was like you brought us to California with you :) The last point is a really great one. If you look around at almost any industry, the most influential people in those fields are often times the hungriest and the hardest working. Anyway, I thought your post would be of value to our readers, so I included it in my roundup of the best SEO, social media, and content marketing articles of the month. http://www.northcutt.com/blog/2014/04/march-round-up-best-seo-social-media-content-marketing/ Thanks again.

    Ben

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Ben,

      The world has always been and will always be in the hands of hustlers… Appreciate your feedback dude.

      Hanley

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  • http://pvariel.com Philip Varghese Ariel

    Hi Ryan,
    Its really a great privilege to be here.
    Indeed this is an informative piece
    On this much confused subject.
    I am at G+ more than my fb pages
    A good guide to check in and go
    forward with our contents. :-)
    Thank you so much Ryan for
    sharing this for your readers.
    Indeed I learned some valuable
    lessons here. Thanks again! :-)
    Great Going. Ryan Great Going!
    Have a great and blessed weekend :-)
    Best Regards
    Phil

  • http://www.uberflip.com Francois Mathieu

    Thanks for the recap. I also believe that Google+ will get huge traction in the social media world in 2014. Funnily enough, I think that the views count they just added will play a role in consumer adoption. Vanity metrics matter to many people!

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  • http://www.agentredefined.com george

    Totally agree with your takeaways. Google+ still confuses me but I’m making it a point to master now after the event.

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

    Kelly,

    What aren’t you sold on?

    Hanley

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  • http://www.socialsinergy.com Adam

    Sounds like an outstanding event with some very intelligent people on stage. I am disappointed I missed this one, but plan to attend next year’s event.

    This is a great summary of the key points. I respond the same when a business owners asks, “What should we blog about?” Or I ask, “Do you customers have questions?”

    I’ve blogged for a few years, but am finally starting to “branch out” with more rich media (video, perhaps a podcast). You’re right, our audiences want more of us/you.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Adam,

      I’m looking forward to what you come up with and hearing about your results.

      Hanley

  • http://High-Heelers.com Angela

    Ryan -Thanks for this post. Have not visited your site before, but I will be back and I will take a listen to your Podcast. I was not able to be at the conference and am now very envious with all the content and mentions that are coming out of it.

    I am really glad that Google+ was mentioned I am a big fan of it and am constantly telling my clients they need to be using it. However, the whole area of social media is still a big up hill battle. I work with those new to the business world and they still view it with much fear, it is not helped by those businesses that are established that under estimate the value of social media. I find that the further you get from the hub of business centres (mainly cities) the worst it becomes. Sleepy suburbia is also very sleepy when it comes to social media.

    I hope that these conferences continue to get bigger and spread worldwide and that content such as yours continues to spread so that businesses will start to get the message even out here in sleepy social media suburbia.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Angela,

      One thing about the sleepy suburban town is that there aren’t many doing the work, so there is a lot of opportunity.

      Hanley

  • http://www.buildyourownblog.net Matthew Kaboomis Loomis

    Hi Ryan,

    #7 has been on my mind lately, as my website continues to receive higher numbers of email questions. Chris Brogan inspired me yesterday to embrace this connection with personal gusto, and now you have also encouraged me to never delegate this incredible opportunity to reach people and gain valuable content in the process.

    I’m also now considering SMMW15. Thanks for sharing on this.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      KaBoomis,

      Great to see you here dude. Answering those questions is the absolute best thing you can do for your business. The best kind of content. No doubt.

      Hanley

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  • http://woofmedia.com.au Peter Freeman

    Hi Ryan,

    Pleasure to meet you on Thursday. Thanks for posting such a thoughtful summary of some of the key action points from SMMW.

    For me and my team, content production is about to become our priority. It’s something that’s easy to know, but often overlooked when other priorities take precedent. What I took away is the absolute importance of moving (quality) content production higher in the list.

    And, my other take away was dozens of meaningful connections with like minded marketers from all corners of the globe.

    Very much looking forward to SMMW15. See you there!

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Peter,

      It was great to meet you as well. Content production is as vital a function to business in today’s economy as the accounting, sales or customer service departments.

      But it’s so easy to set aside. Good luck and I look forward to connecting again soon.

      Hanley

  • http://www.localtrifecta.com/ Ramesh Ranjan

    Hi Ryan,

    First time reader. Great post. I’ve always been a big fan of Marcus’. He got back to me today on a question I had for him via email regarding his post about Copyblogger removing comments on their blog. Glad to see he practices what he preaches regarding “they ask, you answer”! It’s really what content marketing comes down to – being able to provide solutions to people’s problems with content.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Ramesh,

      You’re right on it dude. They ask, you answer is the whole game. So many businesses miss the mark on that point.

      People want your help, not lists of your product features. Great to connect with you!

      Hanley

  • http://businessallstar.com Paul Serwin

    Thanks for the review, Ryan. I wasn’t able to make it this year, but definitely am planning on making it in 2015.

    I definitely agree with the strategies on Google +, rich media, and blogging more. Those are all strategies that I’ve been trying to implement to take my business to the next level.

    Appreciate your blog!

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Thanks Paul…

      I’m especially big on video. We’re still only in the very early stages of YouTube and what it means to our business. I’m going to keep the pedal down on a YouTube for a while.

      All the best,

      Hanley

  • http://danblackonleadership.info/ Dan Black

    It looks like you learned a lot at this conference! I found #4 is so essential, we have to remember we are in the people business. Building relationships leads to large profits. It’s a win-win situation. Great post!

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Dan,

      There are so many marketers and business owners chasing tactics right now. Not that doing certain things over others isn’t important… but always we have to focus on building human relationships first.

      Thanks.

      Hanley

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  • http://nonprofitinsuranceblog.com Brett

    As per usual, great stuff. Thanks for the breakdown. Next year, there will be an insurance agent carpet bomb of SMMW15, thanks to the likes of you and your (to borrow from Settle) Droogs. :-)

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Brett,

      Honestly dude… That’s my goal. I want on that stage.

      Hanley

  • http://outcareyourcompetition.com/seo-vancouver-bc/ Jordan J. Caron

    Thanks for your insights for those of us who can’t make these conferences!

    Especially agree with Michael about blogging more. The whole property things is something Derek Halpern talked a lot about last year and why building an email list should be a focus of building Facebook fans.

    Marcus’ points about answering questions has been great for me and my clients and something every business should do.

    Lastly, content and social are married. To get the attention of people using social, you can use your powerful content to engage and help them solve their problems.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Jordan,

      You get it dude. Answer client questions… Don’t build on someone else’s property because they can easily take it all away. Great stuff.

      Hanley

  • http://youronline.biz Darnell Jackson

    Excellent report Ryan I almost feel like I was there thanks for sharing your experience.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      My pleasure Darnell… thanks for stopping by buddy.

  • Sara Kumar

    Awesome summary Ryan!

  • http://jimminer-azhomehelp.com James Miner

    I am trying to absorb all of the different platforms and taking a position, however, I must state, “your information and hangouts are excellent”. Always look forward to your next one. Loved the hangout with the Pinterest ladies.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      James,

      I appreciate that! Have a great lineup coming the next few weeks. My advice would be to pick one platform and start there.

      That’s the quickest way to success.

      Hanley

  • http://affordablewebdesignsandiego.com Mark Kaplan

    Great information and insights I can pass on to my own clients.

  • http://www.jeffkorhan.com Jeff Korhan

    Hey Ryan – Happy we had a chance to finally meet in person. Enjoyed sitting down to chat over breakfast!

    Jeff

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Jeff,

      It was great to connect in person. I enjoyed our conversation as well and I’m looking forward to more in the future!

      Hanley

  • http://patalexander.com Pat Alexander

    Ryan, I so wish I could have attended. Just to soak in what some of these speakers have to share would be awesome. I have always said #1 of your points is the most important thing in your whole process. Own your property. It is home base. As always, thanks for sharing you knowledge with us.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Pat,

      You would have loved it. So many great ideas. Exhilarating really. Appreciate you coming by on this one.

      Hanley

  • http://www.nicheaddictions.com scott masse

    Ryan,

    The transformation of your insurance agency with the 100 questions in 100 days was inspiration for the start of my new scratch agency.

    Every new case on the business insurance side, I plan on creating video content for…….thank you for the great ideas!

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Scott,

      I think the trick is creating a culture of looking for questions to answer. Small questions, large questions, they all need to be answered.

      Thanks for stopping by,

      Hanley

  • http://www.marketingovereasy.com Nancy Ramacitti

    Everything that Dave and I receive from you is pure gold. Your passionate wisdom, your enlightened podcasts, your valuable Google+ courses and resources. We want to thank you for sharing your experiences from the Social Media Market Conference. You are a highly trusted leader in social marketing and lucky to be on the ground floor with you, my friend.

    Nancy and Dave Ramacitti

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Nancy,

      Thank you, I appreciate your support as grow this platform and my business. I’m so glad you find the information valuable!

      All the best,

      Hanley

  • http://www.condominiuminsurancereview.com Glenn Montgomery

    Awesome article. I felt like I was there. good content as usual.
    Blog more less facebook. I already live that adage.

    Did you notice at the conference that there was far less personal interaction than a insurance group? At #hubspot last year That was very clear.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Glenn,

      I’ve heard that about other marketing conferences, but one thing about SMMW was that its ALL about networking. I was surprised how outgoing and friendly everyone was.

      Like an insurance conference once they start serving drinks.

      Hanley

  • http://www.SelfEmployedKing.com/ MIchael Kawula

    Ryan this was an awesome summary.

    Couldn’t make this years and saw a great SlideShare summarizing key takeaways and noticed GooglePlus wasn’t mentioned. Glad though that you shared this and Michael’s recommendation.

    Marcus is a phenomenal speaker and truly ignites a room. Sure it was epic!

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Michael,

      Which is weird because it honestly was a huge focus of the conference. I for one am very happy about it and think bigger and better days to come for the plus!

      Great to have you here dude.

      Hanley

  • http://thedsmgroup.com Jason Diller

    Awesome post Ryan.