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Social Fresh Conference: Learning to be Human

By Brittany Weissler, Senior Writer

I have to say, I wasn’t sure what to expect going to my first social media conference. I’m a digital native—no, I don’t care, I’ll say the infamous word—I’m a millennial. We’re supposed to innately know social media. Be the lifeblood of the social sphere. But it’s a lot simpler to say you know social media than to say you understand social media marketing.

selfie stick

At Paradise Advertising, we know how important it is to stay up on industry trends. Just like the Harlem Shake, one day you’re in and the next you’re terribly embarrassing. Advertising and marketing isn’t just a science, it’s an art. It’s a dialogue between brand and consumer, and this dialogue lives in its purest form within social media.

In September, I attended my first social media conference—Social Fresh 2015 in Tampa, Florida. Held in the lovely Marriott Waterside in downtown Tampa, I arrived fresh-faced and wide-eyed, was handed a coffee and a selfie stick, and the industry talks began.

In a nutshell, the theme of the conference was “be human.” Sounds simple, yet it can’t be emphasized enough about how incredibly effective it is and how often it’s done wrong. No one wants to be “handled” or to talk to a robot dishing out canned responses, but it can be hard to remember that the nameless, faceless person behind the screen is an actual human. And that human wants an honest connection, even when talking to a brand. They want humor, sympathy and earnest communication. There is a real human behind every brand message and Facebook post, and it needs to be felt. They want to feel heard when they have a complaint, to be understood when they demand change, and to take part in the product and campaign development of their favorite brands. The world is more connected than ever, and that means stronger connections between brands and their patrons.

Now, there were a lot of discussions and opinions on how to do social “right” and how to do it “wrong,” but some of the most striking facts were the hard numbers.

The average person spends 24% of their time viewing ads while on mobile, but advertisers only spend about 8% of ad money on mobile (directly contrasted with people spending 4% of their time viewing ads in print, but advertisers spending 18% of ad money on print).

Social leads convert to purchases 3x higher than the next most effective channel.

What the numbers said to me was that people are tired of being “sold” and want to have honest conversations about products, brands and lifestyles. Social media is an amazing conduit to have these conversations and develop strong, loyal bonds with our audience. And while social posts help strengthen this bond, a real relationship goes beyond a single Tweet. Here at Paradise Advertising, we turn online conversations into real world experiences. Whether it’s through sharing product previews, highlighting user content, or rewarding loyal fans with giveaways, we’re creating an honest relationship with our audience.

Overall, Social Fresh was a great experience, and it reaffirmed what we already believed. Social communications are among the most sincere and most personal way to connect to our audience. So remember: stay human.