Social Media Marketing World was held in San Diego at the Convention Centre. SMMW16 is regarded as one of the most notable social media marketing conferences in the world, which covers topics on Social Media, Marketing, Business, Business Development and Marketing Strategies and far more. This year saw almost 3000 keen social media marketers from over 50 different countries head over to watch 50+ expert led sessions.

At this conference, the very funny and very charismatic Mark Schaefer gave a fantastic talk about the Content Code and 3 things holding people back from social media marketing success: ROI, Resources, and Reach.

  1. ROI

He begins his discussion on ROI with an interesting story about a person he met through Twitter, and how it slowly moved from being a quick conversation on social media to having a mentor, then a job offer, then collaborative partners and beyond! For the folks like me in the audience, his story shows that there are qualitative, quantitative, and unmeasurable benefits to every piece of communication in the world. The question is, how do we measure it?

From just the first year, 80% said they received awareness, and 40% said they were getting financial goal. However, with social media, the sales do not start tomorrow. The first step is awareness. Awareness, then acting as a “reliable reach” (as coined by Jay Baer as people who are saying “Hey! I like what you do, keep telling me things!”) to your customers through ROI. This comes from ongoing interactions with customers and time.

When Do We Measure?

Mark recommends that in the first year, it is best to focus on awareness. That awareness is traced through audience gains, publishing goals, web traffic, engagement and so on. In the second year, he advises watching the opt-ins, lead ten, customer advocacy and social sharing. Finally, in third year, he brings us to customer retention, conversion rates, benefits, cost reductions, loyalty, etc.

What Is the ROI of Bankrupt?

Mark gets straight to the point, telling us that if you are not on social media, you are setting yourself up for bankruptcy.

  1. Resources

For resources, Schaefer gives the example of toner cartridge, a product that does not sounds sexy at first, but with creativity, it can still have a presence on social media. The entry barrier to creating content now is nearing zero because everyone around us is also able to create content. Another way to think of this is in the making of tacos—taco content. We all make the same tacos. Taco Bell in fact only has 14 ingredients, but a new product every month. Somehow, we continue to go back over the same things.

Mark reminds the audience that in order to make use of our resources, we need focus. There are the ‘shine red balls’ of social media (hello, path, meerkat, quora, foursquare, etc) but while platforms change slowly, it is important to recognise that strategies change quickly.

  1. Reach

How Do We Achieve Reach?

Mark Schaefer tells use his steps.

  1. Be Online.
  2. Be Found.
  3. Be Relevant, Interesting, and most importantly, Helpful.

According to Schaefer, data is set to increase by 500% by 2020, and this is coming from selfies and… well, stupid things. Yet this is all your competition for attention—a common thread between many of the speakers at the conference. A Facebook Executive addresses that, “when the average person visits their news feed, there are an average of 1500 possible stories we can show.” Mark believes we need to think differently about how we talk to our audiences, because without ignition, our content will never move. 85% of people say reading content that other people share helps them understand. This is something to utilize.

But Why Do People Share?

Humans share as an act of generosity and kindness. Sharing is a symbol of love and support, and trust emerges as a result. People are able to self-identify with sharing. This means that for business, not breaking that trust is a point of difference. In the race to success, the most human company will win.

Overall, this was a fantastic session which I’m so happy I had the chance to see it. If you went to the event or have seen Mark Schaefer before, feel free to respond with some comments below.

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