#SMWLA – My 5 takeaways from Social Media Week L.A.

Social Media Week in Los Angeles has come to a close and there is a lot to digest. Let’s dive right into my top 5 takeaways from #SMWLA.

1. Don’t be afraid of dark channels

“Dark channels” came up in a number of sessions and the biggest question was: Do I report on dark channels? If you look at your data, you may see a number of sessions attributed to dark channels. So what are they? Dark channels aren’t that dark after all. When people share your link on chat platforms, such as Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp, these sessions often show as dark channels as many analytics platforms can’t track these shares by platform. When someone shares your link via email, this also often shows as dark channel. So, yes, you should report on dark channels. These are effectively shares of your content that you can’t control, but (hopefully) these shares are driving engaged traffic as they are personal recommendations.

 2. The best friendships are organic

If you are trying to grow your followers on social media, know that your best friends are organic. Yes, you could go ahead and pay for followers, but these won’t be engaging with your content nor your brand. If you want to build a social media presence with engaged followers, you need to woo them with great content. Get to know your audience. What do they like? What do they dislike? What content types do they like? Do they like gifs? Do they like video?  What type of content do they share? Create content that provides value.

3. Create shareable content

Content has to be bite-sized very often nowadays in a mobile-first-always-on world. Create content that is meaningful, authentic, honest, compelling, emotional, and shareable. Nobody wants to be pitched anymore. And know that your audience can smell a pitch before you hit the “post” button. Brands need to understand what value they provide to their audience. Nowadays, brands are only as important as the values they represent. Your audience – and specifically the mobile-first generation – expects unique content from you. They expect unique content for each social media platform. Understand the purpose of each platform. Learn about your audience on each platform and engage them in conversations. At the end of the day, all everyone craves is human connection.

4. Live streaming is the new Social Media

And this is where live streaming comes in: human connections. It is no surprise that Facebook went ahead and added Facebook Live and Instagram Stories and essentially copied Snapchat as a whole. People viewing live videos are growing. Some predict that in the near future we won’t have TV networks anymore (ok, let’s keep the sports networks for now). Our TV will look more like a giant iPad and instead of network channels we’ll have influencer channels. TV advertising will change forever. Many of the current video influencer have their heart in the right place. They are looking at live streaming with a purpose to influence people to do good, to make them laugh or help them through a tough time. Let’s hope these purpose-driven live-streamers are to stay and provide a good role model for future influencers.

5. We all want to be the person who brings a smile to someone’s face

“A good story, well told, can change the world”. As a content creator you have the power to change the world. I’ll leave this section to a beautiful example of inspiring content. Watch the whole episode, but if you only have a couple of minutes, watch from 5:30.

Bonus: #TacoEmojiEngine

Recently Slack and Taco Bell partnered up to bring chat ordering to a new high with the Tacobot Engine. But far more fun is the TacoEmojiEngine.

Tweet a ? and another emoji to @tacobell add #TacoEmojiEngine and see what happens.


And that’s a wrap (for now) from Social Media Week.

Watch out for more write-ups over the next couple of weeks on content, audiences, bots, and more.

2 Thoughts

  1. Love it. Great insights. In it’s simplified form, some of these principles could apply to other aspects of business

    1. Thank you, Sandeep! Yes, we need to see Social Media as an extension of our “real life” and act with respect and kindness.

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