Key Takeaways from Social Fresh 2018

The Social Fresh 2018 conference was held last week in Winter Park, Florida.  Marketers from around the country came together to learn and share the best strategies and the latest trends in social media marketing.

Below are some of the key takeaways for businesses from that conference.

Content for Your Audience

Several speakers made the same point throughout the three-day event: Create content that is intended for your audience. Of course that means you need to be aware of who your audience is, intimately.

Once that is known, you can also determine which platforms you want to use based on their demographics. When it comes to social channels, another key message was that businesses don’t need to be on every platform, just those that make sense for them.

 Social media’s role in content creation was another topic discussed.  Typically, social sites are thought of distribution channels and are the last things to be considered in the creation process.

However, because of their unique needs and capabilities, social media should be a consideration early in the process.  This will ensure that the right content is created in the right way for that audience and channel.


Another key message was that consumers respond to marketing positively when they don’t know that marketing has been directed to them.  That is the advantage of brand storytelling.

The concept behind storytelling is a simple one: There are opportunities everyday to interact with the public.  Tell a story of how your brand did that. Companies have multiple touch-points with consumers, many that they don’t even realize. So don’t waste the opportunity to impress them.  These interactions become stories and those stories shape how your business is perceived.

Stories can be about how your customer service goes above and beyond. Or how your brand supports a cause.  When you do this type of storytelling right, it is fearless.  It breaks the mold of traditional marketing and advertising and tugs at the heart strings. 

It also finds creative ways to own mistakes or imperfections and make them your own with humor. It’s the kind of marketing that can be done on a small budget, yet it can still have a big impact when done right.

A Swamp

Of course the recent woes of Google and Facebook were also briefly addressed at Social Fresh.

Needless to say, social media and internet companies have seen better days. Just this week, Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified in front of lawmakers about the search giant’s perceived political bias.

Earlier this year Unilever’s CMO Keith Weed commented, “We cannot continue to prop up a digital supply chain…which at times is little better than a swap.”

Of course he was referring to all the negativity and anger on social channels. They have been accused of not censoring terrorist propaganda, while censoring opposing political thought. 

Weed’s quote harkens back to a 1961 speech given by the then FCC Chairman Newton Minow when he called television a, “vast wasteland.”  Perhaps new, mass communication technologies go through these phases.

This disharmony concerning social media and Google even prompted Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg to comment earlier this year, “I’m not sure we shouldn’t be regulated.”

The Wrap

Questions are being asked about the fairness and censorship tendencies of internet and social media companies. But don’t let that pull you away from using these platforms to market your business. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and others remain cost-effective channels to reach new prospects.

Using the right storytelling content for your audience will be key to attracting them to your brand.

Do you have questions about using social media to market your business? Call me at 513-237-5530.


Bob Turner is a Digital Marketing Consultant with RevLocal in Cincinnati, Ohio.


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