Six Lessons From My Week at SXSW

Can I take a moment to brag about my job? On behalf of our client Whole Foods Market, I flew to Austin, TX last week to attend SXSW Interactive Festival and soak in the creativity from other social-minded individuals. In one week I marked off my first trip to Texas, a concert with Girl Talk, swinging on the Mashable wrecking ball and dining a few tables down from Jeffrey Tambor (George Bluth Sr. for the Arrested Development fans). To top it off, between endless tacos and celebrity sightings, there was an endless amount of inspiration to bring back and apply to our social media strategies. Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 2.08.58 PM

1. Images drive actions because they trigger emotion: When was the last time you went to your brand or personal Instagram to evaluate what content worked? Chances are your lowest engaged photos are dark in color and missing context. Before you snap your next social photo, ask yourself, “does this background complete my subject’s story?” Consumers want “snackable” content, and lets face it, images are consumers’ favored snack.

2. Insights should be actionable: Let’s keep it simple. If your reporting isn’t effecting your actions, then your reporting isn’t giving you value.

3. Allow flexibility: For months leading up to SXSW I spent hours reading through scheduled workshops and panels to carefully create a plan. But the exhilarating thing about South By is that you never know who you might meet and where it can take you. The same goes for your editorial calendar. Let your customers modify your content in real-time by listening to how they engage with you. By changing my plans and going against my strong will to stay on schedule, it led to some great memories including a selfie with Nicholas Cage and my first taste of a cronut.

4. Every time you tweet, go read five other tweets from other people: Thanks to Marshall Kirkpatrick of Little Bird for this tip! So often we are self-focused with the obsession of receiving Likes or a retweet on our original content. Curation adds value by giving a unique perspective.

5. Your customers aren’t using #ThrowbackThursday in relation to your brand: Hashtags are incredibly helpful for SEO and engagement purposes, but are you letting them drive your content? If your customer isn’t using #ThrowbackThursday with a reference to your product then you aren’t relating to them. Research your target and find out what tags they are using in relation to you.

6. Be a human being: It all comes to down to this. Write this on a post-it note and don’t you forget it.