What marketers can learn about social media from DJ Khaled and Drake.

Reach and frequency are dead.

Get scrappy.

Those are excerpts from titles of three of the sessions I attended at this year’s Digital Summit Detroit conference. If those were online content headlines, they would have fallen in the “clickbait” category, for sure. They definitely enticed me to attend the sessions! Thankfully, there was a ton of substance during these sessions and several others I attended at this year’s conference. I left with an Evernote note full of ideas.

Let’s start with the always-intriguing topic of content marketing. The legendary Seth Godin (one of the conference keynote speakers) wins for best advice in this category: Create stuff that matters for people who care.

It’s so simple and straightforward, right? Yet, it’s a challenge. Many “powers that be” at companies still view online channels as only a repository for marketing and sales content. It’s the job of marketing and communications professionals to continue advocating and educating on why the “sell first, sell always” strategy is going to tank.

Here are other smart tips about content marketing from presenters:

  • Aaron Smith from Combustion said “people don’t want to buy lightbulbs – they want to be able to work or read at night.” If your content solely touts the features and not the benefits, then you have a problem.
  • Sarah Rickerd from Content Conquered had an awesome session about content marketing.
    • In the awareness stage, go beyond determining which questions customers are asking and which pain points they’re experiencing. Dig deeper to uncover the gaps that exist in available education/resources in the industry. Also, think through what’s second-hand to you (and your company execs) that your customers need to know for their decision-making process.
  • In the evaluation stage, figure out what others in your industry are getting wrong. This is an opportunity for you to set the record straight (without bashing your competitors).
  • The post-purchase activation stage is the most overlooked stage in the content funnel. Identify what new customers need to know to get their first moment of value as quickly as possible. Also, what are the biggest mistakes customers make when using your products/services?

Moving on to social media. During his session about what marketers can learn about social media from DJ Khaled and Drake, Carlos Gil from Gil Media Co. shared one of my favorite lines from the conference: “Marketing isn’t marketing – it’s moments in time.” So, if you think about this from a social media perspective, don’t create marketing content. Create content that represents moments in time that people can identify with…and going back to what Seth Godin said, make it something people care about.

Here are a few other nuggets of wisdom from Carlos’ talk that resonated with me:

  • Corporate brands don’t rule social content – people do.
  • Get really good at a few channels, and then crush it.
  • Content isn’t king – community is king. People react to what they see. Without community, you just have tech and digital noise.
  • The key to being effective on social is being present and relatable to build trust.

Rand Fishkin (former co-founder and CEO of Moz and current co-founder and CEO of SparkToro) talked about the smart marketer’s battle plan to combat the challenges we’re all experiencing – such as diminishing organic engagement on social channels. A great takeaway from Rand’s presentation is if you have a low-engagement social post, your next post has a harder time reaching a large audience. But when a post gets high engagement, social networks boost the reach of the next post. Facebook (and other social channels) reward high engagement streaks and make content with low engagement basically invisible.

What should you do? Rand advises using a formula like this: (1) high engagement, non-promotional (2) high engagement, non-promotional (3) promotion with link (4) high engagement, non-promotional (5) high engagement, non-promotional.

Let’s end on the topic of search. Clients are increasingly coming to us for help with websites and improving their site content, so I’ve been thinking about and researching how SEO has changed over the years. A session on search, sound and semantics from Upasna Gautam from Ziff Media Group was fascinating. Upasna urges marketers to think of SEO as search “experience” optimization versus search “engine” optimization. Today, search is driven by intent and context – not keyword repetition or getting backlinks on irrelevant directories and listings. We must think beyond what the engine wants.

Upasna also shared:

  • Information architecture is profoundly important for search.
  • High-quality user experience and fast user experience are the same thing. Google may sacrifice quality results due to site speed if your site loads slow.
  • When optimizing for voice search, form follows function. Automatic speech recognition is the form behind the function.

If you attended Digital Summit Detroit, what are some of your lessons learned? Contact us to learn more about how we’re applying these findings!

Nikki Little is as director of strategy at Franco. You can reach her at little@franco.com.

A version of this post originally appeared on the Crain’s Detroit Business website