Back in November, four Command Partners team members had the pleasure of attending the 2013 Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC. They spent three days attending conferences, concerts and after party events learning from and connecting with fellow digital marketers from all over the United States. Everyone from Buzzfeed to Lowes to Yahoo! were in attendance, offering insight into their best practices and inspiring attendees to take advantage of all the digital world has to offer.

The Command Partners team spent all day Wednesday and Thursday listening to the brightest minds in digital marketing. Some of the biggest hits from the conference were Gary Vaynerchuk’s opening presentation, Alexis Ohanian from Reddit, Eric Harris of Buzzfeed, Sean Bartlett of Lowe’s, Erica McGillivray of MOZ, Jennifer Van Fossen of YouTube and more. With over 30 presentations and a plethora of speakers, the Command Partners team enjoyed hearing and learning from these great presenters.

Now, we aren’t going to go into detail of every single presentation and topic of the conference. Instead, we’ll focus on our three key takeaways.

1. Content Strategy on Social Platforms

Since content behaves differently on various platforms, it is key to have a content strategy for all social content. Which is why Buzzfeed’s Eric Harris said, “social content is both an art and a science” Harris’ statement means building a strategy that is crafted using both logic and creativity.

First, is the art of social content. You must identify the angle for your content to make it resonate with your audience. The options are inspiration, identity, humor, nostalgia, educational, oh and of course, cute animals. Secondly, social content is also a science. Since content performs differently across social channels, it is important to identify the type of posts that perform best. While posts on Twitter are most viewed in the first 24 hours, posts on Pinterest last for days and have a much longer life. To determine the best content for each platform, it’s important to communicate with the analytics team to identify and measure KPIs (key performance indicators) and to review any insight gained from social listening. Since increasing engagement is a common goal because it (according to MOZ’s Erica McGillivray), “leads to greater knowledge of inbound in the community and reaches a broader marketing audience,” we suggest focusing on KPIs related to engagement. Some examples would be replies on social platforms, RTs and shares, conversion rate, amplification rate and applause rate.

Distributing relevant and timely content is also very important. To stay up to date with all the current events and latest news, McGillivray showed all Internet Summit attendees the magic of IFTTT (If This Then That), a service that allows you to create the exact alert you need. Some great IFTTT recipes are posting tweets to a Google spreadsheet and favorite tweets sent to Feedly. McGillivray also suggests using Sprout Social to expand on bit.ly link information, Followerwonk to find key Twitter influencers and True Social Metrics to find real engagement levels.

By creating a content strategy that is built on true insight and analytics, your company can continue to post content that is relevant, interesting and engaging. This strategy will help to increase awareness and make your brand a key influencer in your respected field.

2. New Ways to Use AdWords

AdWords has recently added some new features for us to enhance our campaigns. Andrew Delamarter from digital agency, HUGE, provided attendees with some tips and ideas for how to use these new extensions with current PPC efforts.

First, use site location extensions to qualify links. Instead of limiting small businesses to a specific area, expand your geographic area to show up in more local search results. This will allow the brand to reach more consumers and generate awareness beyond their region. Second, use a custom number for call extensions. Google now offers a way to track specific numbers to see how successful an ad is, which helps to determine how local PPC is performing. Third (this is my favorite), enhanced campaigns. One feature of enhanced campaigns is that Google now allows you to boost keywords at specific times. An example might be boosting bar/restaurant keywords at dinner time on mobile devices, such as focusing on “best bars in charlotte” at around 7:30pm on a Friday night to drive traffic to your brand.

3. The Power of UX and Mobile

From their awesome work on Pinterest to their website, it is no secret that Lowe’s has become a digital marketing trend setter. Sean Bartlett, the director of mobile strategy and platforms at Lowe’s, gave a great presentation about how to best improve UX. Bartlett recommends building an elegant app that aids in achieving desired customer outcomes, not perceived capability needs. In layman’s terms, this means instead of working towards internal goals, we should put customers first and focus on helping them achieve what they are looking for and what they want. The mobile site/app should be simple and maintain a consistent tone throughout, allowing for easy navigation without overloading customers. Since mobile marketing is continuing to rise, Bartlett’s words are definitely something to think about.

Recently, Lowe’s implemented a new mobile app with an enhanced UX for customers that is unlike any other. Via the app, customers can search for the exact product they are looking for, and Lowe’s will provide an in-store map that guides them to their desired item. The app also allows users to create a profile, explore competitors pricing and see any deals offered. By using two profiles, one for consumers and one for employees, the app gives the option to skip lines and cash out with a store associate, providing fast and effective customer service.

By using all that digital marketing has to offer, Lowe’s creates the ultimate standard in customer service, truly working to give their customers the best experience possible.

 

The 2013 Internet Summit was a great time for the Command Partners team. We learned, we had fun, we witnessed Coolio’s “comeback,” and came back to Charlotte feeling inspired to start implementing the strategies and tactics we learned. From content strategy to new Google extensions to mobile UX, we left the conference with our minds sharpened on how we can use what the speakers shared with us.