Editors note: We asked Laurie Shook, President of Social Media Dallas, to write about her first experience at Pubcon in Las Vegas after winning a free ticket to the event during a monthly DFWSEM meeting.
Business card magically turned into a Pubcon admission ticket
In August, I threw my business card into the fishbowl at DFWSEM, not expecting that I would be the lucky winner of a free pass to Pubcon 2015 in Las Vegas. In October, I got off the AA flight, not expecting that the next four days would leave me intrigued, exhausted, yet hungry for more at one of the best national digital marketing conferences.
So many familiar faces
One of my biggest surprises was how many familiar faces I recognized.
Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz and Duane Forrester, Senior Product Manager with Microsoft Bing, both appeared at State of Search in Dallas when I attended in 2013. They were headline speakers at Pubcon this year, and did a top notch job.
Guy Kawasaki, author, Apple Evangelist, and Evangelist for Canva, was the opening keynote. He sold out the theater when he appeared at Social Media Dallas. I’ve also been fortunate to hear Dennis Yu, CTO of Blitzmetrics and presenter of a full-day workshop on Facebook advertising, multiple times at Social Media Dallas.
So clearly, Dallas is a draw for top-notch digital marketers. But I was also pleased to see that the Dallas marketing community has tremendous respect nationally, as there were 14 (count ‘em, 14!) DFWSEM members featured in the individual sessions. In fact, the Dallas Pubcon contingent has its own years-long history known as the “Dallas Mafia”.
Incredible conference. Incredible content.
I tried to sample sessions off every track: organic SEO, Expert spotlight, Social Media, Mobile Optimization, Paid Search Marketing, Marketing, Analytics and Interactive Site Reviews. Here are my three most important takeaways:
- You probably aren’t posting enough. Guy Kawasaki does 85 tweets a day, and recommends at least 1 Facebook post a day. How can organic social still be worth doing, when Facebook has throttled back on the algorithm? The strategy recommended is to throw all your content into Twitter to see what sticks. Then take the most popular posts and post organically into Facebook and LinkedIn. Then use social advertising to promote the most popular posts or “unicorns” in Facebook and Twitter.
- You need to make sure your website is mobile friendly—like, by tomorrow morning. If a site isn’t mobile friendly, it’s dead to Google. This spring’s search algorithm update began to seriously punish non mobile friendly sites with lower ranking. And it’s appropriate since there are now more mobile searches than desktop searches. If your site hasn’t specifically addressed mobile friendliness enhancements in the last two years, it’s being pushed down in search rankings. A handy site assessment tool is located at https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/.
- Images and video really, really work. It isn’t just talk, it’s backed up with detailed academic studies and business results. Every post should have a graphic, according to Guy Kawasaki. And uploading a video natively to Facebook will provide 6X the reach, Guy says. According to Researcher Christina Baldas, the image in a Facebook ad drives 70% of the click through behavior. And making that image a face increases CTR by six-fold.
State of Search Conference is nearly here
These takeaways are just the tip of the iceberg. I felt so fortunate to attend Pubcon. However, you have a chance to hear some of the same national caliber of speakers next month without ever getting on an airplane. The following Pubcon speakers will be appearing at the State of Search conference November 16-17, right here in Dallas!
- Rand Fishkin, Co-founder of Moz, and Inbound.org
- Duane Forrester, Webmaster Outreach, Microsoft/Bing
- Gary Illyes, Trends, Google
Will I see you there?