On Thursday, I was lucky enough to take part in the inaugural OMG Social Media Conference. I was given the position of “expert” which naturally was an incredible boost to my ego, but also allowed me more of a chance to interact with fellow delegates. (Believe it or not, as a social media conference, your head is not always buried in your phone, tweeting madly. This only happens 72% of the time.)

Some highlights and nuggets of wisdom learned throughout the day:

Your EFFECT Matters More Than Your AFFECT

The “affect” in social media is what you did. You tweeted. You posted on Facebook. You Instagramed a photo. But that means absolutely nothing unless you got some sort of reaction – your “effect”. You can tweet 1704 messages a day (not recommended) but if absolutely none of those tweets creates any kind of engagement, lead, sale or reaction in general, it was all for naught.

Use Your Platforms Wisely

This is incredibly important, especially if you are new to social media. Do you need Facebook? How about Pinterest? What exactly is a Vine video anyway? If you conduct business in a visual medium such as printing, you should be showcasing your goods on visual platforms such as Pinterest. If you’re an accountant, you can skip the pretty picture platform and stick to Twitter, where you can engage with your customers in real time.

A rule of thumb is have no more than three platforms to start and master them first. If you feel like your business warrants it, move on to more. But much like you tend not to book a hotel sight-unseen, don’t do the same without checking into what social media needs you need.

Is It Groundhog Day?

Didn’t I just see that?

Don’t post the same content across your social media platforms. This one is tough in our time-crunched lives. However, most of your customers and clients will follow you on more than one platform, so try to post content that fits that particular medium. A video introduction from your CEO on your Facebook and a link to related-industry news on your Twitter feed.

If what you want to share is incredible (like say, your latest blog…) then do post it across various platforms. Just make sure to change the wording and relate it to the platform. Facebookers are more likely to open a link attached to a snazzy picture. (If you’re reading this blog via a link on Curve Communications’ Facebook page then you know it works!)

You #$*!

Ever since we got introduced to what “red pen” meant on English class essays, we’ve have to deal with negative feedback. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Really give the feedback a thought: Is it constructive? Is there something you can take from it?Remember, your customers and clients are passionate, and will share that passion immediately, via social media.

Find a constructive way to turn their negative into a positive. Nine times out of ten, they will feel validated, cared for and will remain a loyal customer. The key is to do this on the same platform where they send the feedback. So yes, you might have to own up to a mistake in public.

Time To Bake A Cake:

No, this one isn’t just for bakers and cake shops. Think of your website like a cake. Certain ingredients should be “baked into it” rather than “slapped on top like icing.” They need to be integral parts of your website, rather than afterthoughts or “someone told me I needed this.” These ingredients include your call to action and SEO.

Your call to action (what is you want a potential customer or client to do when they arrive at your website) needs to be obvious within 30 seconds, or else they go elsewhere. If your potential customers and clients can find it within 10 seconds, you’re brilliant.

“The Best Place To Hide A Dead Body Is On Page Two Of Google”

– actual quote from OMG Social Media Conference

SEO” (Search Engine Optimization) is in a nutshell, how you’re found through places like Google and Bing. Many of us never go beyond the first page of a search (but apparently we might find Jimmy Hoffa there), so it’s important to make sure you show up where your potential customers are looking.

SEO is also one of those ingredients your “website cake” needs baked in. Forgetting it is like forgetting the flour. The cake will still bake, but with each bite, you notice something is off.

SEO is tricky (especially with the ever-changing algorithms of search engines), so it might be best to enlist some professional help here. Full disclosure: Curve Communications offers SEO as part of our online marketing services.

As many at the OMG Social Media Conference discovered yesterday, social media is a necessary part of your marketing needs now. There is a lot to take in and take away. Done correctly though, you should see the benefits of your hard work.