June 18, 2019

Lima News
How can brands cut through the noise on social media? NOW Marketing Group’s annual Social Media Week brought digital marketing experts to the UNOH Event Center on Tuesday and Wednesday to explore new ways of engaging online audiences.

The conference, now in its seventh year, is expected to draw more than 300 attendees.

“My motivation to create a local conference was to bring a next-level experience to our hometown so area businesses could stay ahead of the curve without spending big city prices to do so,” founder Jessika Phillips, president of NOW Marketing Group, said in a press release.

This year’s theme – “Craveable: How to Create an Irresistible Brand” – focused on honing messages that resonate with online audiences.

Speaker Jeff Howell, for example, told attendees it’s no longer enough for businesses and brands to simply post content on social media. Businesses must identify which social channels their audiences rely on most and transition their strategy accordingly.

Audiences today, Howell said, are looking for authenticity and interaction. He suggests using personal stories to show the human side of a brand.

“You have to pick and choose where your vulnerability is,” Howell said, noting that being vulnerable online exposes brands to backlash. But he believes brands can reap long-term rewards for sharing authentic stories.

He encouraged attendees to interact with their readers and customers on social media, too, as ignoring comments may cause customers to disengage.

The conference features 28 local and national speakers discussing a range of topics, from relatability in marketing, creating a personal brand and the “harsh truths” about content creation.

Wednesday’s sessions will follow the same theme, with discussion of Facebook groups, subscribers, small business ROI and other marketing strategies. The conference concludes at 4 p.m. Wednesday.