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Telling a Story at #SMDayDet 2017

By Samantha Gray

On June 30th, digital communications professionals from all around Michigan and Metro Detroit joined together at the Atheneum Suite Hotel in Greektown for #SMDayDet. Social Media Day is an event hosted by the Social Media Association of Michigan (SMAMi) that provides a great learning experience and amazing networking opportunities. The structure of this day-long event was different than previous years as they focused on providing more educational experiences. The event was filled with six amazing presentations from experts in the digital marketing community like Jason Falls, Michelle Gilbert, Eric S. Thomas, and others. Guest speakers educated the audience on a majority of topics from how to expand your organic reach, to the perfect sales equation, to Jason Falls’ favorite types of bourbon. Here are the key takeaways from this extraordinary event:


Amber Heard – Making your employees your brand

The day started off with Amber Heard who talked about what type of content receives the strongest reach and best feedback. She explained that messages shared by employees reach 561% further than the same message shared by the brand. For your company to get in on the action, have your employees share brand posts, do Snapchat takeovers, or even do HONY style photo features with the employees. It is important that your employees having a strong representation of your brand’s values in their personal values. This makes it easier to make your employees your brand and create and convey true company culture.

When you’re trying to create content that will reach a huge audience, Amber says, “Animals always win on social.” For example, a Father’s Day video that QL posted with employees who are fathers received about 1,000 views but a video they posted featuring employee’s pets reached 4,500 views! Tough break, Dads.


Jason Falls – Traditional vs. Conversational Research

Jason Falls, lover of bourbon, not only shared with us about his favorite types of bourbon but also gave his insight into why he prefers conversational research over traditional research. Conversational research is unstructured, has unsolicited feedback, is without bias, is in real to near-real time, and is cost efficient. One point that he stressed wasthat you should conduct conversational research before you start any marketing strategy. This is because the research can reveal different demographics that originally you may not have marketed to.


Eric S. Thomas – How to get the perfect sales equation

Eric started off with a LOT of energy, which I loved! The first point in his presentation was that “no one cares what you are selling.” It sounds harsh but it’s the truth…  everyone scrolls past the sales pitches on social because no one wants to look at it. The best way to overcome this is to express your passion. This is easier to sell because you have the excitement and energy about the product or brand.

“The sales equation is trust + product. This is the most important thing I will say today.” If you don’t have trust from people and the product to back you up, then you will not be successful.


Nikki Little – Ditching the cookie cutter approach

Nikki, who works with Hudsonville Ice Cream, spent time discussing a specific marketing campaign that she is currently running. It is called “Random Acts of Ice Cream” and it works by people nominating others who do good in their community and the winners receive ice cream. This is such a strong marketing campaign because since it has such an emotional aspect, it has received 7 pieces of media coverages so far. They have not had to spend a lot of money because the personal stories touch people and then the campaign is spread through the people sharing it on social.


The theme of this year’s event was “Storytelling” and each speaker gave their take on how to share a story in the best way. There was so much information shared at this event than I couldn’t possibly fit it in one blog post so be sure to look out for future SMAMi events. Hope to see you there!


Samantha GrayComment