The 2014 Agents of Change Conference was packed with insightful, useful information that I cannot wait to fully digest and use! The speakers all know their stuff and walk the social media walk. It was a pleasure to watch them speak and learn from their experiences.
If you couldn’t be there, I do pity you. There are still digital passes available so you can watch all the fabulous presentations. And make sure to sign up next year – I know I’ll be there!
Here are my top takeaways from each speaker. (I have about 20 pages of notes so sift through, so I’ll make this brief!)
1) Pat Flynn – Convert Casual Readers Into A Thriving Community of Fans
Pat Flynn’s wife is a huge Backstreet Boys fan. He used this example throughout his engaging presentation as a way to build an immediate rapport with his audience, but also to illustrate some of the things that BSB does to create stark raving mad fans.
- Speak your audience’s language! Use their search terms, their slang, their jargon – not what you think they should be using, or what you want them to use.
- Provide your audience with “small, quick wins” that will help them immediately in their business and in their lives. Think Angry Birds – that first level is so easy, and you get a quick win, and you are immediately hooked.
- If you have a small mailing list, reach out to your subscribers or your online community members one by one. Ask them simply, What can I help you with? What are you working on?
2) Nathan Latka – 6 Easy Ways to Turn Fans Into Paying Customers
Nathan’s energy was infectious! He showed the audience step-by-step how to create great Facebook giveaways and contests and how to create Facebook ads that work.
Top takeaway: Give away something that your fans REALLY want. Make sure it speaks to your fans in particular, and not to the entire world. Do not use something that EVERYONE really wants (iPad etc.) as your prize giveaway – that won’t help you build up a targeted community of fans.
3) John Lee Dumas – Grow an Audience, Create a Product, and Sell on a Webinar
There were so many takeaways from John’s talk that I took about 3 pages of notes. I’ve seen him speak before about the power of podcasting, and it’s amazing what it’s done for his life and his business.
Top takeaway: When creating a product or an online course for your audience, ask them what they want. Sell the product BEFORE you fully create it – people will “vote with their wallets” and really show you if it’s a viable product or service.
4) Heather Jackson – Email Marketing for Success: Simple & Effective Strategies
Heather is a Constant Contact and digital & email marketing expert. She schooled us on subject lines and the importance of being succinct and interesting in our email communications (lest we get deleted immediately).
Top takeaway: Email subject line formula that is the key to getting more opens – Use a # or a ? + an adjective + keyword + promise.
5) Greg Hickman – Your Business is Mobile: Whether You Like It Or Not
According to CNN, in January of this year, “Americans used smartphone and tablet apps more than PCs to access the Internet — the first time that has ever happened.” Nearly half of consumers say they won’t return to a website if it doesn’t load properly on their mobile devices (I know that I am one of these people). The statistics go on.
Greg Hickman explains that you need to know your audience’s digital habits. Whether they are using their devices on the toilet (they are) or on the subway or while watching TV, you need to be there and to provide the best possible experience for them.
Top takeaway: Keep mobile in mind when sending emails! The email subject line in the iPhone 5 is just 5-9 words before it gets cut off.
6) Rich Brooks – Advanced SEO: The Art of Visibility
SEO and YouTube marketing are key. YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world, so use it wisely and make sure your videos are optimized for the platform!
Top takeaway: Use the free Google tools Keyword Planner and Google Trends, to research the terms people are actually searching on in your industry, and to compare different search terms over time.
7) Chris Ducker – The Business of You: Building Your Online Brand
Chris Ducker is hysterical. And I mean really. He had quite a few “tweetables” – wisdom put into a visual slide and in less than 140 characters.
My top takeaway from his talk was that I need to immediately purchase and read his book, Virtual Freedom, and Google all of his past talks.
8) Stephanie Sammons – How to Build LinkedIn Influence to Grow Your Business
Stephanie is a tough-talkin’, boot-wearin’ Texan. She’s also a renowned LinkedIn expert. Stephanie urged us all to take ourselves a little less seriously and to combine our personal and professional personas on LinkedIn.
Top takeaway: Try using LinkedIn intentionally for 10 minutes per day. Comment on others’ posts, post yourself, share a resource, create value. It’s worth it.
9) Cynthia Sanchez – Pinterest for Local and Service Businesses
If you are a business or service professional that targets women, you probably know that you need to get on Pinterest. With 70 million users (80% women), 23% of which use it once per day, Pinterest is fast-becoming a business must-have, especially for brands selling items online.
Top takeaway: Nonprofits can use Pinterest! See my blog posts on this topic:
Nick and Rick walk the Facebook walk and have garnered huge success from the social network. They offered their blueprint for Facebook Ad success.
Top takeaway: It’s not about selling directly in Facebook. Think about why people use Facebook – they use it to check in with their friends and family. You need to create and promote (with ads) a great offer or incentive to make people pay attention, while competing with all the other brands on Facebook (not to mention family and friends).
Did you attend the Agents of Change Conference? What did you think? Post your thoughts in the comments!