The 8 Key Strategy Insights From Social Fresh

social fresh west conference san diego

It’s all about WHY you do what you do.

social fresh west conference san diegoThe Social Fresh West conference was held here in San Diego August 22-23rd, 2013 at the Hilton Double Tree in Mission Valley. It is a fantastically well run conference focused on delivering high value to a limited and focused audience of Social Media professionals. Attendance is limited to only 400 people and instead of multiple tracks or the ubiquitous panels Jason Keath and friends kept it tight and fresh with one track with one speaker at a time and all attendees in the same room. And the speakers had a fast 30 minutes to drive home their point. it was rapid fire, hard hitting and glorious. You must go next year.

The majority of the presentations were focused more on strategy rather than detailed tactics. (awesome for those of us who love strategy!) And every one of them was exceptional. So to pick out only 7 key strategies is hard with such an onslaught of great strategic information. But here they are:

The 8 Key Strategy Insights From Social Fresh

  1. Mobile IS your Social Media Strategy!

    Mobile is the 1st screen  – Tim Hayden TTH Consulting
    Design for mobile 1st, then the desktop  Justin Kistner Shopignitier

    The theme of mobile was throughout the conference and most speakers touched on it. However these two gentlemen drove home the point like no others! The mobile revolution already won the war, and it won it last year, we just haven’t caught up yet. Approximately 70% of Social Media consumption is on smartphones and that number will continue to rise! Everything you design and make MUST be fully responsive, designed FOR mobile first and THEN make sure it works on desktop. And focus on Social Landing Pages that are focused, focused, focused. There’s nothing worse that getting a message, link or share on your smart phone, clicking on it and landing on some 2000’s throwback website that is so large and clunky that you can’t even see it let alone use it. Get with it, focus on mobile. Assume that your customers have smartphones and reach them where they are.

  2. Strategy is King, Tactics are Tools.

    Social Media Tools are what you use to become more relevant NOT your purposeBrian Solis, Altimeter Group

    Brian is one of the leading futurist and strategic thinkers in Social Media. Brian is whipcrack smart. He had a mountain of great quotes and hard data about the crucial role of strategy in your social media marketing program. He said “Social is NOT media, it is a philosophy of business.” We are now marketing to audiences with audiences, to influencees who influence. We are all competing for audience and relevance. But it is not about age groups but about lifestyle. Being on social media and on mobile devices is no longer about age groups but simply lifestyle. He brought every tactic back to strategy, to knowing WHY you are using the tools and what your objective is. Social Media Strategy = Achieving Business Objectives. And make sure you spend a lot of time analyzing the gap between what your brand experience promises and what it actually delivers.

  3. Visual is the New Headline.

    Don’t be afraid of the media, be the media! (Jello Biafra) –  Jason Miller, LinkedIn

    Jason gave a hard hitting and in your face presentation on the power of Slideshare and how creating badass visual slides of your message can deliver huge results. Of course is a hugely popular site and is one of the top 150 sites in the world. But far more importantly he said that the medium is the message. Studies show that people read the headline 4.5x more than the body copy of an article. And if the headline is a visual it is even higher! So he recommends taking your core content marketing message and creating a custom Slideshare deck to clearly, visually and rock and rollingly tell your own badass story.

  4. Stop, Pull Back, Find the Problem & Think Like the Customer.

    Pull back a bit and look at the problem and find the real emotional connection wit the customerPaula Berg, Linhart PR

    It is so hard to see the forest for the trees when we are eyeball deep in executing our massive social media strategy and getting wild on twitter, facebook and youtube. But it is even harder to stop our headlong rush BEFORE we even start and seriously analyze what the real problem actually is. Imagine how truly impactful and effective our social media campaigns would be if we crafted a strategy for each one (that of course fit within our previously written 3 year social media strategy) that focused on the real problem and found the emotional connection with the customer. This seems simple but dang it’s a power nugget! Maybe those touchy-feely PR folks have something here!

  5. Employees are Your First Customer.

    Put employees first and customers second because if you have happy employees you will have happy customersChristi McNeil Southwest Airlines

    This is a maxim I have tried to live by in all of my previous business operations. It is a hard path to take at first and takes guts and strength, but it pays amazing long term dividends. Southwest airlines is one of the best examples of this philosophy working. Christi shared a lot of examples of this benefiting their social media strategy. This is not purely a social media strategy but it’s a dang good business practice. However if you take this idea and focus on your employees and making sure that they are loved, happy and satisfied and THEN provide encouragement and opportunity for them to be active on social media you can easily 300-10,000 X your Social Media brand engagement!

  6. Your Fans Are Your Brand.

    Your fans are your brand, engage with them! – Bryan Srabian SF Giants

    Engage with your fans, meet them where they are. Engagement leads to affinity leads to sales. Since you are assuming that all of your fans have smartphones, and you already are designing everything for mobile 1st then it’s time to take advantage of this and LET your fans be your brand. Actively, consistently and never-endingly encourage and help them interact with and engage your brand. Create (and use popular existing) hashtags to help your customers receive the social credit they crave by being associated with your brand experience. It can be as simple as signs up asking fans to post their photos and videos to instagram or twitter and to use your hashtags and @brand. If you don’t ask you don’t get. If you take this approach and combine it with putting your employees satisfaction first and empowering them you have an unbeatable social media army of rabid, loyal and engaged fans.

  7. The Overall Brand Experience is Key.

    Online sentiment is NOT a proxy for overall brand health and satisfactionChuck Hemann, WCG

    Chuck spoke with passion and eloquence about online customer care and delivering exceptional customer service using social media tools. He provide valuable insight, proofs and data to show that providing customer care online is smart, effective and powerful. But almost as importantly he impressed upon us that just because people on twitter, facebook and instagram seem to like you, does NOT mean that your overall Brand Experience is delivering what you want nor what your customers except. So once again Social Media sentiment is not a proxy or replacement for your overall brand marketing strategy nor overall strength.

  8. Never Forget About Your Offline Relationships

    To keep your offline relationship healthy  here are 2 questions to ask your Spouse/Significant other: (in morning) What can I do to show you my love today? (in the evening), What have I done that I need to ask forgiveness for today? Adrian Parker, Intuit.

    Always remember that online relationships should always take a second seat to your true offline relationships if you want to reach your objectives. Adrian recommended you put a ring on it and show some daily commitment to both your online and offline relationships. I have started to use this advice in my relationship with my awesome wife and it has helped me a great deal. I think that we can all easily lose sight of whats important in our rush to get more twitter followers, facebook fans and instagram likes. So I advise you to turn off the computer, turn to your loved ones and ask them right now what you can do to show them that you love them today. (of course right after you share this on social media and leave a comment!)

By Andy Newbom

My name is Andy Newbom. At this time there are less than 10 Newboms in the world. Not sure if thats good or bad.


  1. Sounds like an interesting conference.  I totally agree real life is far more important than online and  it’s the quality of followers not the quantity that should be focused on.  Do what you have real interest in, the rest will happen.

  2. mkbain agreed! the conference was quite amazing, one of the best i’ve ever been to. Total # of followers is more about vanity than strategy, overall reach is important but WHO you are reaching and what you say carry the day

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