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Social Media Week Chicago 2013

I had the privilege of attending Social Media Week Chicago 2013 two weeks ago and was overwhelmed by the forward thinking, informed leaders in the social media and digital marketing community with whom I made connections. #SMW is a mostly free conference held over 5 days on 4 different continents and features professionals and industry leaders simultaneously sharing knowledge with one another.

It was humbling to be in rooms and take part in a few of the 181 seminars with leaders from some of the largest communications firms in the world and find that Upright Tire is right on track. Here are my highlights from the events:

Content Marketing that Wins: Making Brands, Readers AND Google Happy.

1. Build consumer trust through useful content.

To build your audience’s trust and create a meaningful relationship, write your content with the reader in mind, not metrics. In this, quality over quantity really speaks volumes of your brand.

2. Create consumer action.

Great content can be its own well-oiled machine if it has the consumers’ needs in mind. If content speaks to your audience they will answer with a click, a comment, or a recommendation and it will move them to take action.

3. Satisfy a brands business needs.

Social media needs to have a strategy carefully planned around your business goals and needs. From raising brand awareness to increasing sales, your goals should be clearly set in order to take steps to obtain the results you desire.

“Never sacrifice the quality of your copy for the sake of search engines.”

 – Matt Cutts, Google Webspam Team

Bottom line: SEO can’t be the end all be all of a marketing plan, but rather a carefully implemented part of the overall strategy and driving force. Integrating social media, great content, and sharing it will add credibility to your brand in the eyes of a consumer. So create your brand through digital marketing, tell your story and drive your goals.

Social Media is Bullsh*t: The Real Value of Social Media

In the middle of downtown Chicago’s old Library, B.J Mendelson, author of Social Media Is Bullshit challenged the crowd to see social media as what it is, should be, could be and how it is actually used. He also gave a little lesson in logic, honesty and colorful language.

Did you know? A  Facebook status lives for about 11 minutes, and a tweet lives an even shorter lifespan before dying in the newsfeeds and waves of other posts.

SO? Take it offline. Research everything on your consumer, know what they like, and what they don’t so you are able to create content based upon what they do like. Have a conversation with them by reaching out via tweet and not just responding to an inquiry or the negative review.

ABGD: Always Be Gathering Data. Then use that data! The more you know the more you can relate and understand your audience needs.

AARR: Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral. These are the basics of word-of-mouth or viral marketing. Engage with a customer, activate their knowledge of your business, retain with customer service and gain a new customer with a referral. The marketing circle of life!

Bottom Line: 93% of word of mouth marketing is offline according to Jonah Berger and his bestseller, Contagious: Why Things Catch On. Social media provides us real life opportunities to connect with people we have never met and share information about our business and beliefs and we should take advantage of it. It should not be used as another way to vaguely connect but a chance at an introduction to become personally acquainted.

Highly Recommended: Harnessing the Power of Word-of-Mouth and Social Media to Build Your Brand

Paul M. Rand gave a stirring sermon regarding how social media has changed the dynamic of the way businesses are being run today. Recommendations are seen as the new key measure of determining if products, services and businesses are successful. Social media now allows for every aspect of a company to be openly discussed, critiqued, or praised, and the companies that understand how to manage this to their favor will come out on top.

The Science of Social Proof: 91% of consumers make a recommendation after a positive experience and 49% of people say they recommend a business to help guide someone else, according to Paul M. Rand. Paul continued by citing an example of visiting a common business like a grocery store while seeing a client out of town. The client went on to recommend a particular grocery store, raving and recommending this specific store for 30 minutes. It was the experience that kept this consumer coming back to visit and with the right mentality; businesses can emulate this to their advantage.

Bottom Line: Create an experience. We all have a preference based upon experience for almost everything. Make it your business to make your business someone’s preference and hopefully their next recommendation.

 

To sum it all up: Social media is a great addition for your tire business no matter if you are in a small market or large. It provides a way to reach out to consumers, and previous customers to show appreciation, open a dialogue, create a brand face and share special deals with your fans who will more than likely recommend you to their friends.  The chart below illustrates the popularity and growth of social media from 2005 to 2012. With a free advertising tool and such a huge reach what is not to love about jumping on this bandwagon?

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