David Kirkpatrick

Social Media Marketing: Tools and takeaways to implement today

August 29th, 2014

Earlier this year, I was asked to moderate a case study panel at DFW Rocks Social Media Day. It was a fast and furious two days with multiple concurrent tracks and a lot of great information for attendees.

Since so much was happening at once, I wasn’t able to take in all the great content. So I reached out to Lissa Duty, Organizer of DFW Rocks Social Media 2014 and Vice President of Community Management at Advice Interactive Group, for her take on the event to give MarketingSherpa readers the opportunity to learn some of the top takeaways.


Insights from the organizerDFW-rocks

From the organizer’s perspective, Lissa said that this year’s event placed a higher importance on live content.

She explained, “This year, I really saw the value in having the live blog to share the conference sessions and highlight the speakers, even after the event, plus the live tweets, which did make for the #DFWRocks2014 hashtag streaming on Twitter at one point.”

What’s Lissa’s quick-hit advice on social media marketing?

“You must start with creating a social media plan,” Lissa said.

She then outlined three key points:


Key Point #1. Understand why you’re using social media

It’s not just to “get rich.” Understand why you feel social media is important to you, your customer and your brand.


Key Point #2. Research what your customer wants to know about your brand

Discover how you can share that message uniquely in each social space, and then create a plan to give them that message.


Key Point #3. Implement your plan

This step is usually where the ball gets dropped. Businesses find it easy to create their social media plan once they get in the right mindset — thinking of creative ways to share important information about their brand online. Execution is always the problem. This is because the person who is great at creating the plan is not always the right person (or the person assigned) to implement the plan online. These two individuals must work together effectively to achieve social media success.


Insights from the speakers

I sat down with some of the event’s key speakers to share their top takeaways with you.


Amy D. Howell, CEO, Howell Marketing Strategies

When you give a keynote, it is always one of my objectives to offer practical advice and tips that people can use immediately. I think several key highlights of my talk were the following:

  • Your digital and traditional brand merge now in the age of social, and you cannot hide who you really are.
  • If you don’t tell your own story, someone else will, so build your social profiles and be present online now — before you need help.
  • PR is now 24/7 and viral, so you must monitor your brand all the time, watch what is being said, and prepare your responses accordingly.


Bernadette Coleman, CEO, Advice Interactive Group

  1. Information is faster today, so our audiences’ expectations have changed.
  1. Real-time communication is expected in everything we do.
  1. For real-time engagement success, you need to act in the moment, but plan in advance.
  1. If you are creating content and don’t have an audience or an engagement plan yet, please stop creating content.
  1. Learn human engagement: Capture your audience’s attention, speak directly to your audience’s heart, talk about things your audience loves and is interested in, share ideas, listen to concerns, and consider feedback.


What was the single most interesting thing Bernadette learned at the event?

“Over the two days at DFW Rocks Social Media, I learned that if you can add value, give freely and serve others, then you can power your brand and reach your goals faster with social media,” Bernadette said.


John J. Nosal, Founder, NosalCentral

First, we have to keep it simple. There is no need to try and eat the whole elephant in one bite. We need to break the data, which even small businesses have available to them, down to small digestible portions.

We don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on tools that give us way too much information to effectively understand the big data concepts of who is coming to our website or one of the social media platforms. In other words, don’t try to master Google Analytics, Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics all at once. Spend a little time on each platform, and get the basics down.

Next, we need to identify the trends, or what we can think of as the who, what, when, where and why of your Internet presence. Large businesses, like an airline, know what destinations we have looked at and tailor our future visits to their website with information around those results.

We, as small businesses, can go for the low-hanging fruit. We do this by identifying who is visiting our website, what they are searching for, when they have visited, where they went, and why they were there. We can identify all of this by using the analytical tools on each of the platforms we use. Oh, and did I mention that these tools are free?

With Google Analytics, we can identify the traffic quantity and quality that is coming to our website. Below are two custom dashboards that help you to simplify the view of the data that is available.

Editor’s Note: You must be logged in to your Google Analytics account to see and use these tools for your site:

Google Webmaster Tools allows you to see what your search traffic is, how many search results have you appeared in, what your average rank is in those results, and how often you were clicked on.

Twitter Analytics gives us an overview of the content we have posted and the number of retweets and favorited posts you have, ultimately allowing us to see what the hot subjects are.

Facebook Insights can show you not only your reach value, but also when the most eyes are on your page and seeing your content.


John said the final step is to create great content based on the results of your analytics.

“We want to add blog content, landing pages and more Q-and-As to our FAQs so we can continue to feed the trend of visitors that we have,” he said. “Make the title of the page in the form of a question, then answer that question in a minimum of 300 words. Building great content is the key to creating customers that trust and respect your expertise. “

He also offered the most important lesson he learned at DFW Rocks:

My big takeaway from the event was that content still matters. We need to do more than just be ‘sell, sell, sell’ with our content. We need to tell our story, put a little of the personal side in our content, and talk about our passion, why we are doing what we do.

We also need to ask ourselves if we would read our own content. We need to engage with the content to tell a good story, instead of being a cure for insomnia.


Image credit: Scott Peek Photography 


You might also like

See more useful links and content from John Nosal

Social Media Marketing: How a small e-commerce site attracted 293,000 Facebook fans [Case study]

Blog Analytics: How do you measure the company blog’s performance? [More from the blogs]

Social Media Marketing: Social metrics from “likes” to ROI [More from the blogs]

Social Media: 4 simple steps to calculate social media ROI [More from the blogs]

David Kirkpatrick

About David Kirkpatrick

David is a reporter for MarketingSherpa and has over twenty years of experience in business journalism, marketing and corporate communications. His published work includes newspaper, magazine and online journalism; website content; full-length ghosted nonfiction; marketing content; and short fiction. He served as producer for the business research horizontal at the original Office.com, regularly reporting on the world of marketing; covered a beat for D/FW TechBiz, a member of the American City Business Journals family; and he provided daily reporting for multiple LocalBusiness.com cities. David’s other media and corporate clients include: USA Today, Oxford Intelligence, GMAC, AOL, Business Development Outlook and C-Level Media, among many others.

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  1. September 2nd, 2014 at 09:20 | #1

    A must-share – thank you, David!

  2. December 9th, 2014 at 19:13 | #2

    So true. So many businesses can put a social media strategy together, but implementation and completing the strategy is key. If only some way this could be automated. 🙂

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