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iStrategy Miami: Crucial Takeaways From the Digital Marketing Event

by Kerry O'Shea Gorgone  |  
May 16, 2013

iStrategy Miami in April brought together an all-star lineup, including Facebook marketing expert Mari Smith, business development and marketing media executive Dorothea Bozicolona-Volpe of Social Espionage, and Ken Segall, formerly of Apple.

For those folks who couldn’t make it to iStrategy Miami, here are some key takeaways from an action-packed two-day event.

Harness the power of simplicity. “Simplicity is instantly likable,” says Ken Segall. To best serve your audience, boil complex concepts down to simple turns of phrase, and use common words, familiar to your audience. This makes your content accessible to everyone.

Also remember the human element. What story are you telling and why does your audience care? Simplicity and the human element infuse every aspect of Apple’s organization, and brand loyalty reflects that.

Digital is a valuable part of the marketing mix, but it’s still just one part, as keynote presenter Jason Falls reminded the audience. An integrated approach is necessary to attract and maintain your audience’s attention. Social metrics, such as likes and retweets, are also not as valuable as comments. Falls derided "likes” as the virtual equivalent of a high five in the high-school hallway.

Fortunately, Facebook has more to offer than likes, but you need to cultivate engagement, not just maintain a presence.

Mari Smith’s presentation, “Five Facebook strategies for maximum impact, reach and ROI” comprised a mix of insights and tactics. Smith recommends first growing your fan base, then engaging them with audience-centric content, and ultimately using this momentum to move fans to action.

In Smith’s estimation, 80% of your content should focus on the audience, with the remaining 20% left to focus on your business.

“For every Facebook fan you engage, there are 34 more reachable friends,” said Smith, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to resort to promoted Facebook posts. Smith suggested posting first to allow more “organic” following, then promoting the post later to expand your reach.

Schedule posts for optimum visibility among your target audience. Smith was actually posting tweets from her Twitter account while speaking on stage. She let everyone know she scheduled those tweets in advance. Don’t be afraid to schedule posts. If you can’t be online when your audience is, scheduling makes sense.

Remember to include calls to action (CTAs). You might drive engagement on Facebook itself or direct traffic from the social network to your website, but whatever your goals are, support them with clear CTAs.

Also be mindful to actively monitor your Facebook presence and to reply to posts from followers there. Smith pointed out that Facebook’s algorithm now factors in negative feedback on a post, which means that negative feedback can undermine your post’s reach. Addressing any negative comments can help to turn the overall sentiment around, thereby saving your visibility.

There are more tangible benefits to engagement than brand sentiment: 80% of Facebook users who receive a response after they post go on to make a purchase, said Smith, citing a 2011 study.

Once you have your audience’s attention, Dorothea Bozicolona-Volpe emphasizes the importance of continued engagement. Remember to continue interacting with your audience after you’ve gotten the like and/or follow you were seeking.  “Twitter is like a one-night stand,” she observes. “After that first encounter, what’s the relationship?” Know your audience and continue to engage them once they have accepted your invitation to connect.

For more information about iStrategy Digital Marketing Conference, visit

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Kerry O'Shea Gorgone is director of product strategy, training, at MarketingProfs. She's also a speaker, writer, attorney, and educator. She hosts and produces the weekly Marketing Smarts podcast. To contact Kerry about being a guest on Marketing Smarts, send her an email. You can also find her on Twitter (@KerryGorgone) and her personal blog.

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  • by Lynn Ponder Fri May 17, 2013 via blog

    Hello Kerry,
    We have so many friends in common like one of my favorites Sean Gardner and wish I would of met you personally at time for sure! I believe we were both on Sean's list of Twitter Passionistas.

    Thank you lots for mention of my interview with the amazing Mari Smith and your post is great recap of this exceptional conference :)


  • by Kerry O'Shea Gorgone Tue Jun 4, 2013 via blog

    Hi Lynn,
    That would be great! Hope to see you sometime soon.

    Best wishes,

  • by Sandra Jones Wed Sep 11, 2013 via blog

    Every conference is exceptional for me. Every event has helped me learn something new. Be it digital marketing as a whole or simple mobile marketing, I have got new ideas every time I landed in such conferences. Hope to see you guys in the forthcoming largest digital marketing event which is to be held in India.

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