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This Post Is For People Who Publish Content on the Internet.

Please pardon the brief pause today from your regularly-scheduled work-related post. Today’s blog is about some smart thoughts I heard at a conference last week.

Wise words about work will be back on Monday.


Digital East 2012: The 10 Best Things I Learned.

I attended Digital East 2012 last week, a conference in the DC area with big lessons and ideas for those of us who make stuff on the web. Here are some of my favorite lessons and tidbits from the conference:

Storified by Dan Oshinsky · Mon, Oct 08 2012 15:46:56

1. This Is Excellent Advice — Two speakers really got me excited at Digital East: Alexandre Douzet of The Ladders, and Anthony Melchiorri of “Hotel Impossible.”

Douzet talked about finishing his first Ironman. In his own words:

"Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional"- Alex Douzet/Ladders at #deast12 @DigitalEast http://pic.twitter.com/eWcsHF0rJustin Berk
"If aim low, you will land low." via @adouzet #deast12Amir Zonozi
Melchiorri talked about the importance of focusing on your business first. What is it you really do?
Take care of the customer. Don’t worry about how you look online. @anthonyhotels #deast12Vicky Dobbin
key takeaway from @AnthonyHotels keynote: "If your life sucks. You suck. Your business sucks… You suck." #wordstoliveby #DEast12Caitlin Romig

2. We Need To Learn How To Measure Social Media. — Because here’s the simple truth:

A fan is not a business metric #DEast12 #stage1 @MergeRJ
This, too:
"Unicorn farts and magic dust and all of a sudden people are going to share it" ~ misconception of how social content goes viral #DEast12Amanda Klein
What’s the metric you’re actually using to track social? Total shares? Clicks? Likes? Whatever it is, the sooner you settle on it, the better:
Find the "guiding star" that leads your metrics, then track your progress. #DEast12Ifdy Perez
Brands need to 1- move past the fear of negative feedback online and 2- define what ROI means to them — no more mushy metrics! #deast12Joe Gizzi

3. Social Starts With a Big Ask — Too often, we fail to actually engage our fans and followers. So, what’s the solution?

How can you invite/make it easy for people to be part of your brand story? #deast12 Alison
If you want people to engage, give them a task. It makes them feel like part of the community @orihoffer @METRO #DEast12RJ
"@districtjoe: Social Loyalty is about Action + Reward." #DEast12AK Stout
That’s what we’re really working towards: loyalty and trust.

4. YouTube video: Okay. Streaming Video: Better. — Online video is an excellent tool, but streaming video might be an even better one. Here’s a stat that shocked me:

20% of online video views click away from a video in the first 10 seconds or less #DEast12Justin Ihara
But here’s the same metric for streaming video:
#deast12 live video watchers are engaged. Watch 12-14 mins compared to 2-3 mins on YouTube or Vimeo.Casey Higgins
Streaming video has a few other benefits for brands:
#1 reason to stream live media: to amplify a brand event #DEast12 #stage2 @MergeRJ
"@SamKimball: You can’t replace IRL networking but live streaming events leads to a huge opp to deliver to more people." #DEast12AK Stout
RT @jccjhiggins: #deast12 Why not live stream events? Can embed into an FB app or tweet the link on Twitter and it plays within the feed.Jay S Daughtry M.Ed.

5. Rethink Content — This seemed like a simple — but under-appreciated — lesson from the BuzzFeed guys:

Alex Weidlin, BuzzFeed: Content is a gift and you want to share good content with your friends. Yes, yes, and yes. #DEast12Ken ReCorr
The point: People love sharing stories that are relevant, timely and — oh yes — make themselves look cool/clever/awesome.

6. We’re Going Visual — More and more, we’re pushing content that’s visual.

(The speakers didn’t talk about the importance of great design on the web, but I think that’s absolutely worth talking about here, too. Great stories deserve to be presented beautifully.)

“@R2integrated: "90% of info transmitted to the brain is visual" youtube and pinterest are platforms leveraging this statistic #DEast12”AK Stout
@nickschaper says our news feeds are turning into slide shows and wonders how long b4 we stop seeing letters. #DEast12AK Stout

7. Your Fans Aren’t Seeing Your Facebook Posts — Here are two numbers that should scare anyone with a Facebook page:

Brand pages reach 16% of fans each week on average and this will keep shrinking #DEast12Christie Michalec
"@districtjoe: You have 3-6 chances (posts) to get your fans to engage with you before you become algorithmically irrelevant." #DEast12AK Stout
You read that right: If you’re not generating likes/shares/comments with fans in the first handful of posts, Facebook will just stop showing your content to fans. And here’s why that’s especially bad news:
65% of consumer engagement across Facebook is on timeline; 29% in newsfeed, 6% in ticker #deast12Michael Murray
But there’s hope for you on Facebook:
Posts containing imagery/video generate 100-180% more engagement per post on Facebook. #DEast12James Wong
@Fracked says the MOST engaging Facebook posts have under 40 characters text or less with a cool picture #deast12Lauren Ashley Wolfe

8. There’s a Lot We’re Not Tapping Into On Facebook — Three things that we should be talking about: the possibilities of Open Graph (more details here); using complementary colors; and the role of sponsored stories.

"@extoleinc: With the FB Open Graph we move beyond the ‘Like’. Now recommend, bought, claimed, loved, synced, etc…" #DEast12AK Stout
"@Fracked: Orange is a complimentary color to FB’s blue. The brain likes complimentary colors." Need to go find some orange pics. #DEast12AK Stout
"@extoleinc: Sponsored stories are more effective than Facebook ads bc friends endorse brands and provide social context." #DEast12AK Stout

9. SEO Still Matters — Google continues to be a huge driver of traffic to many sites. And the single most important SEO strategy is still this: Create good content. (Yes, it’s that simple, sometimes.) 

Preach! SEO is not just something you tack on at the end of the publishing flow. #deast12Heather Kuldell
Forget CTR. When comes to ads measure interaction rate and interaction time. Better measure of brand awareness. #deast12 Alison
(CTR = Click through rate.)
"@SimonHeseltine: Even no follow links have an impact because Google & other SE’s look at social relevance." #DEast12AK Stout
(The short version here: Google doesn’t place a ton of importance on social, but it has a small role. So make sure people are sharing your content.)

10. Your Email Needs to be Mobile-Friendly — This is something I acted upon the day after the conference, actually. Your email newsletter needs to work on mobile devices. (Mine didn’t, I discovered.)

"@cameronbrain: 30%-40% of email newsletter opens occur on mobile devices." #emailmarketing #DEast12AK Stout
Make your emails mobile-friendly! Approx 70% of ppl who’ll open your email on their phone will delete it w/o reading – @mheinsler #deast12Razoo.com