When putting together this year’s annual conference, Social Media Day PHL, we wanted to ensure all attendees could experience all #SMDayPHL had to offer – whether they joined us in person or virtually. Across 47 speakers from a wide range of industries, our sessions covered everything from how to market NFTs to employer engagement and every social media trend in between. We catered to attendees’ experience levels; The talks in our Level Up Room were more advanced for professionals who’ve been in the industry for a while, whereas the Emerging Room’s talks were tailored toward professionals new to social media marketing. Of course, it wouldn’t be an #SMDayPHL without our beloved Flash Talk sessions, so we made sure our Flash Talks covered all areas of interest.
After surveying our attendees, we rounded up some of the most interesting sessions from this year’s conference.
Nonprofit Flash Talk Session
Year after year, attendees rave about our quick 14-minute Flash Talks. This year, we broke down each block of talks by industry, and the nonprofit block was one of the most insightful ones. We lined up presentations from Spur Impact, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Slice Communications, and Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission to educate attendees on all things nonprofit marketing.
Jennifer Saienni, Director of Nonprofit Engagement at Spur Impact, spoke about Spur’s success during the pandemic. She shared that the secret to their success was shifting their in-person event to a virtual peer-to-peer fundraiser. They leaned into the support of Spur Impact’s volunteer ambassadors to help spread awareness through their modified marketing toolkit. In their revamped marketing toolkit, they provided donors with basic information on their fundraiser along with social graphics and recommended copy with hashtags designed specifically for each social media platform. Jennifer found that sending these toolkits in their quarterly newsletters empowered constituents to share with their networks.
Social media manager for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Sabrina Carter, talked all about social media customer service. You may know PHS as the organization behind the annual Philadelphia Flower Show. Due to COVID-19, their team had to completely shift the Flower Show to outdoors, which of course came with some backlash, especially on their social media channels. Sabrina shared her tips for addressing this issue: approach every comment in good faith, listen to the concerns, and thank them for the feedback. She also suggested having a plan, tracking feedback, and above all she stressed the importance of communicating with your team in case things need to be escalated. Through this experience, she also learned what not to do: don’t take it personally, don’t sacrifice yourself in the process, avoid oversharing, and don’t forget your advocates.
To round out the nonprofit speaker block, we had Senior Social Media Account Manager Caroline from Slice Communications and Director of Advancement Elizabeth Hefner from Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission provide tips for utilizing social media to support digital fundraising for nonprofits. Similar to what Jennifer of Spur Impact spoke about, they too advocate for toolkits to streamline the process for social engagement. Secondly, they spoke about the success of impact-focused content. In Sunday Breakfast’s case, they share guest and resident stories by asking prompts like “What does Thanksgiving mean to you?” as well as volunteer spotlights. You can then repurpose this content on social and in emails to show donors the impact on their donations. Lastly, they discussed the importance of community building. Caroline and Elizabeth gave several examples, from engaging with people on social media, running paid social advertising, utilizing third-party programs, and implementing a surround-sound approach across social media and email marketing efforts.
Level Up Room with Sophie Jamison, Chief TikTok Officer at Nerf
Sophie Jamison or Sophie “Lightning” on TikTok represented Nerf / Hasbro in our Level Up Room. While she is only 22 years old, Sophie has already made such a big impact from being named one of Adweek’s Women Trailblazers in 2021 to having the most viewed organic social post in the history of Nerf. During the pandemic lockdown, she started to make videos on TikTok about nerf blasters and quickly built a following that gained over 2 million followers. Nerf recognized Sophie as one of their biggest brand advocates resulting in her being their first-ever Chief TikTok Officer.
From balancing her personal “Sophie Lightning” brand to running Nerf’s TikTok, Sophie Shared her 5 philosophies for TikTok, the first being authenticity. Sophie reflected on how your TikTok content should reflect who you are as a brand instead of trying to mold yourself to try and fit the latest trends. Her second philosophy was community listening + understanding which is key to connecting with your audience. Sophie suggested reading comments, looking at the number of shares and like as well as replying to fans. When Sophie discussed her next philosophy of “entertain then sell”, she asked the question “Why do I want to follow a channel full of advertisements?” This holds true when trying to gain an authentic following on TikTok. To be successful on TikTok Sophie suggests not being afraid to fail when creating content, being patient (because not every post will “go viral”), and being consistent in posting.
Emerging Room with Ben Cathers, Global Principal Solutions Consultant at Hootsuite
One of our most informative presentations in the Emerging Room was Ben Cathers from Hootsuite who spoke about leveraging employee advocacy and social selling.
Ben stressed the importance of employee networks and how valuable they are. He shared that Hootsuite found there is 8x more engagement with content shared by employees vs. owned channels and 24x more shares of messages that are shared by employees versus owned channels. Ben’s research also found that most people do not feel comfortable liking a brand or ad but they will like an employee’s post on a similar topic. This is because people want to learn from employees, not the brand, as they see the individual as the more credible source.
Hootsuite was able to track these trends through its own hashtag, #hootsuitelife. This hashtag is for employees to share any company culture content and will always get more engagement than their company posts. This not only benefits the company, but also allows the employee to build a personal brand for themselves, show off work that they are proud of, and can lead to upward growth in their career.
There are many ways companies and employees can implement employee advocacy. Some suggestions Ben made were in the form of posters, calls, face-to-face meetings, email, social posts, videos, and even a feature in the monthly newsletter. As a caveat, he did note that it is important to showcase a variety of messages so you’re not repeating the same thing over and over.
Virtual Speaker Session with Erika Nardini, CEO of Barstool Sports
We were pleased to have the CEO of Barstool Sports Erika Nardini join us for a virtual session. Erika originally thought she wanted to be a lawyer (just like our founder Cassandra Bailey!). In deciding to leave her path to becoming a lawyer she said “you have to take risks and follow things that give you passion and create fulfillment for you”. Erika worked in a number of agencies before transitioning to bigger companies like Microsoft and AOL. However, she realized she was not happy and wanted to operate a business, not market for one. Her biggest piece of advice she learned from this was to “check yourself on if you’re happy”.
When Erika beat out 70 men and became the CEO of Barstool Sports she wanted to “create an opportunity for talented hard-working people to connect with an audience”. She shared that she did not sit down and strategize her personal brand, it just happened. Erika compared it to the owner of Barstool Sports, Dave Portnoy’s, famous pizza reviews. One day, he turned to her and asked her to film a video on his iPhone eating pizza, and then it became a viral phenomenon. It was not a big strategy, he just had an idea and ran with it, similar to how she runs her personal brand.
During the candid fireside chat, Erika stressed the importance of having people around who do not agree with you and know more than you. She thinks the key to a successful business is keeping these people around and using them to your advantage rather than being threatened by them. Cass asked her about her process when launching new products and ideas, and her advice was to have “clear eyes and a benchmark for things”. One mistake that she made was over-resourcing brands and learned to focus on “3 big things rather than 50 small things”. Lastly, her advice to marketers who want to bring more fun to the internet right now is to be more open and creative on the internet.
Make Everyday Social Media Day
If you enjoyed everything that #SMDayPHL had to offer, then experience those benefits year-round by becoming a member! Participate in exclusive industry workshops and programs with colleagues of all skill levels in a community that nourishes professional growth, and development.