I went to a social media conference. It was dope.

A mere five days ago marked the end of Social Media Examiner’s Social Media Marketing World. Or as we social media marketer’s like to call it #SMMW14. Roughly 2,000 social media strategists, managers, and directors – not to mention podcasters, bloggers, and twitter celebrities – gathered in San Diego, CA for an eventful meeting of the minds on all things social media.

See, I did NOT go to school for this sort of thing; I don’t have any semblance of a marketing degree. I have a BA in Economics and Anthropology, which I honestly thought I was going to use to be the next female top dog politician (lol we’ll save that story for another time). So the fact that I’ve fallen into this realm of social media professionally over the past 9 months is exceptionally odd, but I’ve discovered it’s something I love.

If you ask any of my friends I’ve always been the social media freak in the group; I adopted twitter way before most of those bozos, and I literally wake up and watch vines as I drink my coffee in the AM (DO IT FOR THE VINE). I’ve always been keenly aware of everything going on in the tech industry, and definitely pride myself on being on the up-and-up with start-ups, apps, and most importantly social media trends.

So for a #nerd like me SMMW was DOPE. I got to hear from some awesome thought leaders in the social media space, and gained vast amounts of insightful knowledge to bring home to my boss. The most exciting part? Meeting so many like-minded individuals that were way down to take some selfies for Google+ and use absurd hashtags. So, my friends, I thought I’d take this time to share with you the top 5 social media trends I learned about at #SMMW14:

1. Google+: The Bell of the Ball
I know, right? See I was just like you – when Google+ first came out I literally turned to Google and said “lol ok guys good one, tell Myspace hi.” But recently Google has changed the name of the game; by linking our Google+ pages to Youtube, Gmail, URLs, knowledge graphs, and basically everything Google owns with your name on it (which is like…everything) they have dictated the necessity of marketing yourself or your brand on this medium. How you present yourself on Google+ is now essentially how you are choosing to present yourself to THE ENTIRE INTERNET. That’s insane.

For some awesome Google+ optimization tips I’d check out this bad boy and test your score over at SteadyDemand.com

2. Twitter is Getting Visual
Twitter is sick of being the younger sibling and has decided to bring the heat. They announced last Thursday that you can now tag up to 10 people in a single post, and add up to 3 pictures, without affecting character length. Think about the fact that they announced this while hundreds of Twitter marketing types were all in the same room and then think about how we all freaked out collectively. It’s that cool.

MultiUpload_FINAL_1

I’ve already been utilizing the multi-photos and I gotta say – I love it. It really is increasing the power of the timeline, not to mention it’s appeal. Twitter has been my social medium of choice, simply for the variety of content I can find easily, but this just strengthens it.

Plus I’m not gonna say no to Ben & Jerry’s tweeting me extra ice cream-porn.

3. Instagram: Best Place for Brand Conversations
Fact – Instagram posts gain the most engagement. Hashtags have picked up more steam on this platform, with insane hashtag followings for niche markets taking place like no other. It’s just so much simpler to interact with brands on IG; Twitter conversations require you provide thoughtful relevancy, and Facebook gives you too much of an advertising feel on most brand’s pages.

I know that I personally follow at least 5 clothing brands, several magazines, and basically every band ever on Instagram. It’s a great medium for companies to get free visual marketing with feedback from consumers, so don’t be surprised as more and more brands begin to adopt it. I’m waiting for the day brands start turning IG celebrities into commercials a la Vine but we’ll see.

4. Facebook is Basically that Douchey Guy in your Friend Group
Let’s face it: Facebook sucks. You can’t live with it, can’t live without it. On the one hand you want to stalk your ex-boyfriend, post that hilarious article on your BFF’s wall, and see what pictures your grandma insisted on posting from Christmas. But then you sign on and Facebook completely overwhelms you with re-marketing ads and updates from that idiot you did a BIO101 presentation with freshman year. It’s become impossible to see what people you actually care about are doing, and it honestly feels like too much work at times.

But just face it: it’s not going anywhere. And it’s gotten worse for those smaller brands you do love – Facebook has changed it’s algorithms so that only 2% of your audience is reached without paid advertisement. Which basically means the posts from my favorite small boutique probably won’t end up in my newsfeed; or the ones about that cool new bar across the street. It’s all very WTF Facebook.

And yet…I’ll continue to use it all day, every day. So like I said: can’t live with it, can’t live without it.

5. Selfies. Everywhere.
Every single session I went into they asked us to take #selfies. You can’t escape it, y’all.

 

 

 

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