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Top 5 Takeaways From The 2012 Midwest Social Media Summit

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to take the workday and attend The 2012 Midwest Social Media Summit. It's always nice to take a step back from the to-do list and really focus on learning and sharpening the saw so to speak.

The event was chock full of information, but I want to share just the top 5 takeaways from the day. (If you are interested in reading the full recap from the event including quick tips, tricks, and the best one-liners from the day, check out the official hashtag #MWSMS on Twitter.)

1. Mobile is Social.

If you haven't already, it's time to think beyond the PC. Jim Kukral shared a compelling image that showed the sharp decline of PC sales after the release of the first generation iPad. Great news for Apple, but what does that mean for Social Marketers? It means that people are able to bring their social networks with them wherever they go. Our smartphones and tablets join us at the dinner table, in the bedroom, and for some- even in the shower. I would be a liar if I didn't admit to having a docking station in the bathroom just so I can stream Spotify while I shower. Because of these devices, and ease of using Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn the effects seen are unbelievable. Over sharing, intimate information and the ‘breaking news’ phenomenon would otherwise not be captured. As a marketer, we have insight like never before into the brains of our clients and consumers. Don't let it slip away!

2. Content is King.

It's something we hear over and over again, but it remains true. Without content on our blogs, websites, and social sites we are nothing. People use social networks for entertainment and information. If we are not giving people content that evokes emotion or makes them smarter we are of no value to them. Prioritize your content creation or be left in the dust.

3. Use your Advocates.

No matter what type of business you’re in, you have real live people that are raving fans (you probably also have raving enemies, but crisis communication is another post for another day). Raving fans make businesses feel great. Happy clients are what keep us doing our work again and again each day. Since social is the new word of mouth, it's important to leverage your advocates. Create testimonials, written and recorded, upload them to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Let others know that you've made a difference for someone and maybe, just maybe, they'll take a chance on you too. Not only will you look awesome, but you'll also turn your clients into lifelong brand partners.

4. Don't Focus on Fans or Followers.

So many social users or brands that are developing social goals say, "All I want is a ton of followers on Twitter and thousands of fans on Facebook." Social has always been about winning an Internet popularity contest and it's easy to get caught up in the numbers. The room went quiet yesterday when we were reminded that we do not own our Twitter accounts and Facebook pages, Twitter and Facebook own them. At any moment they can choose to delete accounts, shut down the company, or change regulations to ridiculous heights. All of those followers and fans can be erased at the drop of a hat. So what should we focus on? Driving traffic to your website or blog should be the number one priority, because you do own these sites and that data. Focus on email subscribers, it might not be as sexy as other social networks, but email is medium you can count on for results. Lastly, focus on engagement. It doesn't matter what you say to your thousands of followers if no one cares to talk about it with you. Take your follower and fan base and talk to them- create conversations, after all it's what social is all about.

5. Keep Your Energy Moving.

This is not at all meant to discount the importance of planning and strategy, but keep in mind that social is constant and changing; therefore your energy should be changing with it. It's difficult to be in the moment on social all the time, but try to chime in on conversations as often as you can afford it. Don't over schedule your posts and turn your accounts into robots. Engage and flow freely with your followers, change sub-topics often while staying true to your main messages. I can guarantee it will help your conversions.

Did you also attend the Midwest Social Media Summit? If so, I'd love to hear your top takeaway in the comments. On the opposite hand, if you didn't attend: what is something you are dying to discover about social today?

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG via

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