Seen and Heard at Digital Megaphone’s 6th Annual Social Media Masters Summit

Seen and Heard at Digital Megaphone’s 6th Annual Social Media Masters Summit

#ICYMI #smms14 was a trending topic yesterday on Twitter. Not surprising when 150 social media masters conglomerate in one room, but it certainly speaks to the power of sharing engaging content.

Business Marketing Association Chicago

I was able to attend the 6th Annual Social Media Masters Summit hosted by Digital Megaphone in Chicago on May 15. The event hosted some of the best and brightest talent in the social world, with CMOs and social directors from brands like @Clorox, @BuzzFeed, @Threadless, @United, @ConAgraFoods, @Arbys, and @VanityFair, to name a few.

If you want a marketing career that keeps you on your toes, social media is the route to go. The always-changing, never-static socialsphere is ripe with learning opportunities and challenges. It can be hard to keep up at times, but nothing beats the feeling that comes from seeing your social media campaign take flight.

Speaking of learning opportunities, here are my key takeaways from the summit.

1. “Content might be king but distribution is queen and she wears the pants.”

Dana Shank, associate director at Kraft Foods Group, delivered this line to the group and the #smms14 feed exploded.  Well said, Dana. Well said. To her point, you can have the best content in the world, but if you aren’t pushing it out on the right channels, to the right audience, it’s all a wash. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

B2B Marketing Awards

2. Know your story.

Brands need to have a good (ok, really strong) grasp on where they’ve been, where they are, and where they’re headed in order to share their story with fans in an engaging way. Try telling a story that you don’t know. It’s pretty difficult, right? Knowing the brand inside and out is what helped Shanna Quinn (@Shanna) from United build the company’s Instagram channel from scratch.

3. OGSM = Objectives, Goals, Strategies, and Measures

Threadless’ Jess Hanebury (@JessHanebury) let us in on the power of OGSM (Objectives, Goals, Strategies, and Measures). This framework is nothing new for marketers but just reinforces the fact you need to build a strategic plan if you’re expecting a successful campaign.

4. People want an emotional hug.

According to BuzzFeed’s Colleen Callinan (@CeCall), “Hard news will never be as shareable as a cat video. Sad but it’s true!” The supremacy of the cat video exists for a reason: it makes people happy. Nobody watches “Surprise Kitty” then walks away to have a good cry. Tugging on heartstrings is a common marketing ploy because it works. Just ask P&G. Lesson learned: put out feel-good content and your fans will come back for more.

5. Planned spontaneity.

It’s amazing the impact one viral tweet can have, not only on a brand, but also the social media team behind it. Josh Martin (@JMart730), Arby’s social media manager, experienced this first-hand after his tweet to Pharrell went viral during the Grammys. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, you must be new. Welcome. With over 85,000 RTs, that one tweet landed Arby’s and Josh in the social media Hall of Fame. Josh’s advice: you need to plan for spontaneity. You also need to trust and empower your social media team to make quick calls and split decisions. His famous tweet would never have happened or been as successful if he had to get approval first.

Arby’s social media manager at twitter

6. Learn how to disconnect.

I know I’m not the only social media manager who’s woken up at 2:30 a.m. because push notifications are blowing up her phone. Although most of us have come to accept the 24/7 attention that social media channels require, it doesn’t mean we have to lose our beauty sleep over it. So, how do you balance the “always on” factor with having a life? It’s one of life’s greatest questions. For Arby’s’ Josh Martin, it means knowing when to take a break, and having a reliable team that will help you take that deserved time away. I’m lucky to have awesome coworkers who all work as a team to meet the demands of the 50+ channels Tell Your Story manages for its clients.

7. Don’t chase a number.

Every social media team has benchmarks they want and need to hit but these numbers alone shouldn’t be the driving force behind content creation and distribution. We all have to answer to someone at the end of the metric reporting period but keep in mind it’s the activity behind the numbers that counts.

Social Media Teams


In a nutshell, listening is the number one most powerful tool you have at your disposal. Hours and days are spent creating engaging outbound content but it’s not about how many pieces of content you can whip up around Cinco de Mayo or Memorial Day Weekend. True success on any social platform is the amount of dialogue taking place. Drop the mic and take the time to comb through the endless data at your fingertips to see what your audience is talking about and adjust your content strategy accordingly.

The list goes on and on but, alas, the social channels are calling!