Last week I stepped away from my desk and drove to the Motor City for Digital Summit Detroit. In the 48 hours that followed, I immersed myself in the digital community where I honed my digital strategy skills, learned about emerging industry trends and networked with other digital nerds like-minded people.
Here are my key takeaways:
Influencer Marketing is the Future
Golf, diamonds, consumerism — those damn millennials are killing everything.
Millennials don’t identify as consumers, so tried-and-true advertising methods don’t work on them. They value experience over inventory — they don’t want to be talked at, they want to be talked to.
Enter influencer marketing. It’s quickly gaining popularity — and for good reason. Ninety-two percent of consumers are more likely to trust peers over advertising when it comes to purchase decisions; 84 percent will take an action based on the reviews and recommendations of trusted sources.
You might not know influencer marketing by name, but you’ve certainly been exposed to it. Some are more obvious, such as Kylie Jenner’s Instagram posts touting her love of Fashion Nova, while others are more subtle, such as Fiji partnering with @whowhatwear for subtle shout-outs that allow consumers to see Fiji Water in a different light.
At Martin Waymire, we’re ahead of the curve. We’ve been implementing influencer marketing into our strategic communications campaigns for nearly two years thanks to talented staff member (and successful influencer!) Andrea Kerbuski.
Mobile optimized isn’t good enough. You must be mobile first.
We get it. It’s 2017 — your business needs to use the power of device and data to provide the best user experience and, most importantly, maintain a user-friendly website.
Anne Gherini reported that a staggering 85 percent of people expect a mobile page to load as fast as desktop. In case you still weren’t convinced — did you know that by 2018, Google will have a mobile-first index?
I could be melodramatic and say that poor load times stress me out — and I wouldn’t be too far off.
A study conducted by Ericcson Consumer Lab measured user reactions to network performance. The study showed that delays in loading mobile webpages and videos led to, on average, a 38 percent increase in heart rate and stress levels.
Every piece of content a company creates should be crafted with mobile in mind — including this blog post!
For example, you’ll notice that this blog doesn’t have a single paragraph with more than two sentences. It also includes visual differentiators such as images and headers to draw readers in.
Wondering if your website is mobile-friendly? Test it with this tool.
Stories are here to stay
First there was Snapchat — then Instagram brazenly stole the “stories” format, and Facebook followed.
As a digital strategist — and, admittedly, as a millennial who is addicted to my smartphone — I tend to get weirdly defensive of my favorite platforms. (Snapchat may be the OG, but let’s be real, Instagram Stories is better.)
Laura Wilson called me out — and for good reason.
Her golden rule: stop romanticizing platforms. Learn the content formats, adapt and adopt.
Finding relevant content to share on stories doesn’t have to be difficult; repurpose your best stuff by repackaging it and tailoring it specifically to stories.
If you still find yourself struggling, map out your content using a simple storyboard. You can find one here.
Banner Ads be Damned
Banner ads are overused, outdated and ineffective; this sentiment was echoed by multiple speakers at #DSDET.
Did you know that 50 percent of banner ad clicks are accidental? If you want to drive traffic, increase engagement or generate leads, native advertisements — such as Facebook ads — should be your go-to method.
Different from traditional banner or display ads, which are clearly separate from content, native ads attempt to mimic the surrounding articles and pages — and they’re effective. Native ads were viewed 53 percent more than banner ads.
Bottom line: say no to banner ads, and yes to native.
KPIs are King
Enough with the vanity metrics, already!
As digital marketers, vanity metrics make us feel warm and fuzzy inside (wow, our reach was how high?!), and they look good on paper. Unfortunately, numbers mean nothing if they’re not actionable.
Hone into your key performance indicator (KPIs). A KPI is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively your company is achieving critical objectives, and these statistics tie back to specific and repeatable tasks you can improve and to the larger goals of your business or organization.
KPIs are especially important in social media campaigns. As a social media manager, you must be able to answer how you are doing both from a campaign-wide perspective and from each respective channel.
Wondering what your KPIs should be for a social media campaign? Start with engagement, reach, leads and conversion.
Now is the Best Time to be a Storyteller
“Now is the best time in history to be a storyteller,” he told the audience. “You are a storyteller. You just have to decide which story to tell.”
As professional communicators, storytelling is at the heart of what we do, whether we realize it or not. The digital age has altered and inspired the ways in which stories are told and consumed, but it has not made storytelling any less relevant or compelling.
Depending on your niche, you might find it difficult to weave storytelling into your strategic communications strategies — but don’t overthink it. Storytelling is relevant for all avenues of public relations because it allows us to better connect with a target audience and, ultimately, influence their feelings, perceptions and behaviors.
I hate to disagree with Beyonce, but girls don’t run the world — data does. The ability to access and analyze data and, in turn, translate it into digestible content is a skill no modern-day PR pro can go without.
Data-driven storytelling has become crucial for brands across all sectors. With that in mind, marry numbers and narratives to develop great stories using insights from data that attract audiences and drive conversations.
Want to learn more about digital strategy or influencer marketing? We’d love to help you! Connect with us on social or email Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org to explore how we can help you with your digital needs.