About two weeks ago, some members of the Netplus crew started our morning bright and early at Tonic Design for the Social Media Innovation Seminar, a Philly Ad Club event moderated by our very own Denise Zimmerman. It was a win-win: attend a local marketing event as a team and hear from a panel of five industry experts from the Philadelphia area on the latest in social media, advertising and content strategy.

Each speaker covered a different topic and brought their own insights, but there were a few key takeaways that each touched on in one way or another. Here’s what we learned.

Know Your Audience

No matter who you are, if you’re promoting something on social media (a brand, a blog, a service, etc.), you need to know your audience. This seems like a no-brainer, but brands should be weary of jumping into activities like Facebook advertising, influencer marketing or even social media trolling à la Wendy’s before they know their audience. Understanding who you are talking to helps you target and connect with the right people, resulting in an efficient social media strategy.

Influencer Marketing 101

When it came to the Q&A portion of the seminar, the audience was really interested in social influencers and how to work with them. A common theme? Again, knowing your audience plays a key role here and should affect how you approach it. Clearly it doesn’t make sense to have a fashion blogger promote car parts or a sports blogger promote makeup. Influencers suitable for your brand goals is essential.

Another point was the fact that not all influencers require payment. Some are open to talking about your brand strictly based on the fact that they love your brand and believe in your product. Share of audience is also compelling to influencers since a mention on social media by a well-known brand can lead to more follows for them purely based on brand trust and affiliation. So when it comes to influencer outreach, don’t immediately offer up monetary payment in return for brand promotion—it may not be necessary.

New ≠ Better

Kelley Galloway of Slice Communications raised an issue that I deal with on a daily basis as a client strategy manager when talking to clients. As marketers, we’re tempted to try every new product that comes out on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. However, it is important to take a step back and decide if these tactics relate to your business goals.

When considering new social channels or technologies, brands need to ask themselves questions like: How will this help drive my business? Why am I doing this? Will investing in [a Facebook Live video, a Snapchat geofilter, etc.] help get customers in the door, grow our following or acquire new email subscribers?

The bottom line: while keeping up with the latest trends helps brands stay relevant, asking these questions and digging deeper will help find the right tactic to meet your business goals and avoid wasting time and resources to boot.

Paid Social Is A Must

With every brand, blogger and business out there on social, content is constantly being created and shared. Because of this, Facebook created an algorithm that tailors the content that people see so that it’s relevant to them. As a result, organic posting or failing to post during optimal hours will hurt your chances of having your content seen.

The only way to improve your reach and impressions is to promote your content. Doing so will not only help get your content in front of your existing audience, but will also help you get in front of new people who could become potential followers and more importantly, new customers. Paid social media also allows you to choose the objective of your ad, whether it be awareness, conversions or repeat visitors, which will ultimately help optimize the ad’s performance.

Overall, the seminar covered a lot of ideas that all good marketers know, but can be easy to forget with the ever-changing landscape of social media. Though keeping up is always important, keeping certain realities in mind will help you decide how to move forward amid all the chaos. If you were at the seminar, what did you learn? Let us know!