From the Trenches

5 Social Marketing Lessons from Social Fresh Baltimore

Right Source | November 30, 2011
@mashable's @bdresher addressing the Baltimore crowd at #socialfresh.

Yesterday and today, I joined social media marketers from around the Baltimore area and the country at Social Fresh Baltimore. I’m posting this blog post halfway through the second day, so if the afternoon talks are left out, my apologies–please help me out and comment with your afternoon takeaways.

Here’s the top five things that stood out for me from this event:

1. Measure the impact of mobile marketing before you dive in. As both @seo_girl and @jeannehopkins spoke to for web, and @meladorri spoke to for email, check your web and email program’s analytics to see which platforms and devices people are using to consume your content. If a lot of your traffic comes from mobile devices–and more importantly, as @seo_girl pointed out, if your mobile bounce rate is high–you’re probably missing opportunities for mobile marketing, or doing something wrong.

2. QR codes can be cool, but they can also be wasteful and ridiculous. Whatever you do, provide multiple options for access. Yes, more and more people are using QR code scanners, but that doesn’t mean you should plaster QR codes everywhere. As @thetimhayden covered, first, think about how people are actually using their phones–do you really think people are going to be able to scan a QR code from a billboard? To get around this, when possible, provide a link, an SMS option, and a QR code so people can access your content in the way that’s best for them. For a laugh on this count, check out @unmarketing’s video ranting (thanks to @cc_chapman for providing).

3. Don’t forget SMS. According to @justinpgh, with emails, you’re lucky to get a 20-30% open rate. With text messages, 90% of people read the message in the first 15 minutes. I’d love to see the data on this first hand, but basically, for urgent, last minute, and real time marketing, SMS marketing can’t be beat.

4. Earn attention, don’t interrupt. A recurring theme throughout the event is one we harp on all the time @rightsource: don’t interrupt people to get attention, find out where they’re already paying attention and go to them there. In her lunchtime keynote, @maggiefox pointed out new advertising models from media companies such as Digg and StumbleUpon that insert content into users’ organic streams (Reddit and Twitter do this too). That makes advertising content, rather than products, essential for success–but the opportunities to create lasting relationships and grow an audience of fans who love your brand are huge. (Thanks @noordnrycherry for suggesting this point!)

5. Use psychology in your marketing. Even though he had the hard task of waking us up with the first talk of Day 2, @derekhalpern incorporated some really interesting psychological concepts into his talk. I loved his idea of thinking about your customers and potential customers as groups united against a common enemy. Derek used Apple as an example. They didn’t make Mac and PC users feel…snarkiness…toward each other with their “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” commercials. They simply took the innate human tendency to unite in groups against a common enemy and capitalized on it. Brilliant. How can everyone, Derek asked, split our customers and potential customers into groups? Then, how can we play those groups against a common enemy in a way that benefits our businesses?

If you’d like a more comprehensive review, check out my open for editing Google notes here. They’ve been a hit–and thanks to @jasonkeath for the free Social Fresh T-shirt!

Last, if you attended, what did you think was a huge takeaway? Which afternoon sessions did it really suck that I left out? If you weren’t there, do you agree with the above points? Let’s talk in the comments.

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