3 Social Media Lessons from Digital East 2013

A good conference jump-starts your creativity, offers several networking opportunities and provides numerous take-away lessons. That’s what I found at Digital East 2013 (@DigitalEast) a few weeks ago just outside Washington, DC.

With that in mind, I offer you my top take-aways from Digital East, as well as recommendations for a few social media experts you should be following on Twitter:

1. Twitter is one big, live public conversation.

Plan for the big moments that you want your brand to be a part of.

Twitter’s director of Southeast, Brent Herd (@brentherd), was the Digital East opening keynote speaker. Herd showed us two heartwarming, smart videos of UK brands taking advantage of the moment and gaining loyal customers. In one, Pampers joins the enormous online conversation about the royal baby, and in a second, Adidas uses one its stars, soccer player David Beckham, to surprise fans.

What are the big events connected to your association or company that you can plan ahead for? Brainstorm ways you can link your brand to major upcoming cultural events. What would a health organization have to say about the Oscars? What could a tech company tweet during the Super Bowl?

Bonus: Twitter stats from Herd:

  1. It took Twitter more than three years to reach 1 billion tweets. It now has 1 billion tweets every two and a half days.
  2. 50% of Twitter users access the platform while watching TV. Social conversation around TV shows is up 500% year after year.
  3. Only 31% of active Twitter users are in the US.
  4. 70% of users access Twitter on mobile devices, and that figure is growing.
  5. Schools and universities are beginning to use Twitter more and more in their curriculum—teachers are creating handles for students to follow.

2. Get on LinkedIn now.

LinkedIn users have money to spend. The average age of the LinkedIn user is 44, and the average household income is $83,000, said Eve Mayer, CEO of Social Media Delivered (@SocialMediaDel).

Mayer is known as @LinkedInQueen for her passion for and knowledge of the site. She recommends that companies and individuals post on LinkedIn at least once a day.

When writing your profile on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, don’t just tell your company’s history: “In 1999, we started our company with four employees…” Instead, tell compelling success stories that illustrate your uniqueness to potential customers.

I would also add that individuals should not necessarily use their job title and description as their LinkedIn headline and summary. Use keywords or search terms that show your expertise. When I worked for a health association, my title said something like, “Health editor and content director. Social media manager,” even though my official title was “communications editorial manager.”

3. Make time to blog.

There is always something else that needs to be done. There are always excuses about not having a post idea. But according to Hubspot, companies that blog 15 or more times per month get five times more website traffic than companies that don’t blog.

At SpeakerBox (@speakerbox), employees are required to blog, said Lisa Throckmorton, executive vice president of SpeakerBox communications. The way she looks at it: All 17 staff members blog twice a month, and each blog must touch 5 platforms, which equals 170 pieces of content every month.

Not sure what to blog about? What are you an expert in? What tips can you offer readers? Set up a Feedly site (an alternative to the now defunct Google Reader) and follow news sites, magazines and blogs in your topic area to generate ideas. As a longtime health writer and editor who also manages social media strategies, I follow health publications, as well as sites about writing, grammar, journalism, social media, SEO, technology and more.

Throckmorton suggested anticipating industry announcements and blogging about them as they happen—the new iPad release, for example. And, give your customers the inside scoop from your company, what new tools you’re trying out or what recent conferences you presented at.

What other unique ways can you get involved in the conversation on Twitter, and how can you find new blog post ideas?

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