Top Takeaways from Social Media Marketing World 2017

Rachel Trevino and Megan Lagrone with Facebook guru Mari Smith at SMMW17.

Rachel Trevino and Megan Lagrone with Facebook guru Mari Smith at SMMW17.

We recently returned from sunny San Diego where we attended the largest social media conference in the world – Social Media Marketing World #SMMW17 presented by Social Media Examiner. We’ve brought back some great highlights and insights and will be diving deeper into tactics and strategies during a Facebook Live on The DeBerry Group page on Wednesday, April 5, at 4:30 p.m. (CT). Tune in live or submit questions in advance to

Here are a few of our top takeaways:

Quality over Quantity

The solution to a winning social media strategy is no longer more content – it’s BETTER content. Connecting with your precious audience with compelling storytelling will always beat the “more is more” approach. Gone are the days of posting three, four and five times a day in the hopes of beating the Facebook algorithm. Ever wonder why the video of the dad braiding his daughter’s hair or the toddler laughing like crazy catches on like wildfire? It’s a real moment that’s relatable. Quality content will always win, no matter what time of day you post.

Video Reigns Supreme

From Facebook Live to Periscope, YouTube, Instagram Stories, native video uploads, and everything in-between – video reigns supreme and should be a focus of your content strategy. Rather than posting a photo album from your event, think about how the opportunity lends itself to video. Can you highlight an interesting step-by-step process in your Instagram Story? How about a behind-the-scenes interview via Facebook Live with a key speaker at your press conference? Keep video in mind at all times, and you’ll experience increased engagement and visibility.

Facebook Advertising is a Must

Of the 70 million Facebook pages, fewer than seven percent are using Facebook advertising. Thanks to the ever-evolving Facebook algorithm, those who don’t advertise just aren’t being seen. Facebook is one of the most effective and cost efficient advertising avenues to reach your target audience in a compelling way. The targeting and re-targeting options are endless, and for marketers and our clients – a strategic social media advertising plan + quality content = tremendous success.

“Content is King, but Engagement is Queen, and she rules the house.”

One of the leading Facebook gurus, Mari Smith, said this in her session, and it stuck with us. The statement highlighted the importance of strong community management across all social media platforms. It’s not enough to post great content, you need someone ready to engage with your audience to amplify reach, brand affinity, and awareness, and most importantly to keep your online interactions authentic. Focusing on quality engagement with your audience will help keep social media “social,” as it was intended.


Adding Social Media Influencers to Your Marketing Plan

Image Credit: Adobe Blog

Image Credit: Adobe Blog

Word-of-mouth recommendations are among the most powerful ways to increase awareness about a brand, initiative, service, business – the list goes on. In fact, Nielsen reports 84 percent of consumers say they either completely or somewhat trust recommendations and 68 percent trust online opinions from other consumers.

The modern landscape of word-of-mouth recommendations looks different than in the past. Businesses can take advantage of this shift by incorporating a social media influencer strategy into their marketing plans. A social media influencer is a blogger or other notable online personality who can vouch for your business through content on their website or social media channels.

We caught up with three of San Antonio’s most popular online influencers at a recent Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) luncheon. The speakers were Melanie Mendez-Gonzales of ¿Qué Means What?, Tori Johnson of The sTORIbook, and Colleen Pence of San Antonio Mom Blogs. The trio of bloggers shared some key insights around influencer marketing:

Relationships are key

Bloggers write because they’re passionate. Whatever the topic, from parenting to fashion, they choose to write about a topic because it’s close to their hearts. If your business/program/service is something that could be interesting and relevant to their readers, this opens the door for a potential partnership.

If you want to partner with a blogger, you shouldn’t contact them once a year about your business. Influencers are in the blogging business to be closer to a community and to share their personal stories. The panelists suggested starting outreach with an email chain to introduce yourself and your brand and to involve them in the creation of ideas for promoting your business or service.

Do your research

If you want to be spotlighted by a great blogger, you have to know a little about them first. Take some time to read their blog, understand their audience, and get to know the writer. Follow their social media channels and read comments from their audiences. If you want to be included in their editorial calendar, you have to fit their brand.

How to pitch

Social media influencers are not members of the old school media brigade, so they shouldn’t be pitched like traditional media. As Tori Johnson said during the luncheon, “A press release isn’t going to cut it.” You have to stand out to get noticed. For example, Colleen Pence receives 30-60 pitches every single day! Here are some tips to get your brand to the top of an influencer’s list:

  • Pitch in advance. These bloggers have months’ worth of material planned. Not to mention, they are also busy managing their businesses and keeping up with their families. They likely won’t be able to drop what they’re doing to attend your event on a moment’s notice, so keep that in mind.
  • Ask for their opinion and be flexible. They’re the experts here. They know what engages their audiences best. If you have an idea for what you’d like for your business, send it on over to them, but be open to discussing their options and ideas too.
  • Consider what you can do for them. Remember, this isn’t just a hobby for most influencers. “Blogs are brands and businesses,” said Melanie Mendez-Gonzalez. Compensation isn’t always required, but it certainly “sweetens the deal,” as Colleen said. But remember, compensation doesn’t always have to be monetary. It can come in the form of a free service or product from your business.


Our team at DeBerry Group has developed amazing relationships with social media influencers across the country who have helped us get the word out about our clients. If you’re interested in building an influencer marketing program to reach your business goals, email our Social Marketing and Public Relations Manager Rachel Trevino today at

DeBerry Group team members Rachel, Megan, Brooke, Melessa and Molly at the PRSA San Antonio social media luncheon.

DeBerry Group team members Rachel, Megan, Brooke, Melessa and Molly at the recent PRSA San Antonio social media luncheon.


How Understanding Brain Science Can Improve Your Social Content

In a media landscape where we’re bombarded with literally billions of sensory messages each second, it can be a struggle to break through the noise and capture your consumer’s attention. One way to increase the odds that your posts will stand out is to leverage attention triggers our brains are hard wired to respond to. Recent advances in neurology and psychology have uncovered brain functions that can help inform our decisions as communicators and influence how we shape our messages for maximum efficiency.

What’s happening under the hood?

To keep our systems from hitting sensory overload, we rely on our Reticular Activating System (RAS) to serve as a filter for what gets through and registers our attention, and what data will be ignored. Thanks to our evolutionary roots, the RAS is geared to flag data that could indicate danger as a high priority. Motion is one of the flags that has survived thousands of years of human development as a potential cue for danger, and while we’re no longer constantly on the lookout for a potential predator, our brain’s preference for moving images can come in handy when developing content for digital means.

heartbeat monitor gif

Odds are that as you loaded this page, your eyes immediately scrolled down to this GIF as your RAS sensed motion.


How do we use RAS triggers to our advantage?

For brands, using motion in social media content development can lead to a big jump in reach and engagement. Changes to the Facebook news feed algorithm in December of 2014 placed even more emphasis on video content. Messages accompanied by video are much more likely to be shared, and receive more likes and comments. In a blog post from January of this year, Facebook revealed insights that more than 50 percent of active users view at least one video on Facebook a day. Recently, Instagram made updates that allow their videos to play in a continuous loop, mirroring a functionality that helped rocket Vine onto the scene.

If you have an important announcement or promotion to share with your fans, consider sharing it in a quick Instagram or Vine. These messages can be shared across networks like Twitter or Facebook, and with native advertising on both of those platforms, you no longer need to rely on broadcast providers to serve video ad content. In fact, traditional broadcasters like NBC have had their hands slapped when including advertisements in their Facebook video content that were not approved by the social giant.

When budgets or resources take video off the table, consider the GIF. No longer relegated to sophomoric memes, GIFs have evolved into the next wave in motion advertising, the “cinemagraph.” Cinemagraphs are simply moving GIF files where the motion is isolated to just a few areas of the frame. The result is subtle, and often beautifully hypnotic.


Image credit: Cinemagraph™, Jamie Beck & Kevin Burg


Luxury goods, lifestyle and travel companies,  high-fashion clothing and wine and spirit brands such as Ecco Domani have used cinemagraphs in their digital campaigns.

If  either video or moving images like GIFs or cinemagraphs are out of reach, still images can also be used to manipulate the motion bias of the RAS. Implied motion through image blur can activate mirror reflexes in your neurons that stimulate the senses in a way that is similar to if the motion were real.

Flatiron Building at Rush Hour, New York City

Image credit: Andrew Mace, via Flikr

Rachel is the Social Marketing and Public Relations Manager at the DeBerry Group. She brings a smart, fresh perspective to every project she touches, and has developed a keen sense of how to use social and digital tactics to enhance traditional PR efforts. From event management and coordination to media relations and message development, Rachel works with clients in a variety of arenas including government, education, retail, performing arts, utilities and property development.