Flash Communications

Tales from a student-PR agency at Kent State University

YouToo Social Media Conference Recap

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IMG_0947I can’t believe the ninth-annual YouToo Social Media Conference has already come and gone! A lot of preparation went into the day, and the day could not have turned out better.

Kyle Michael Miller

The morning began with a keynote from Kyle Michael Miller, lead social media producer for NBC’s TODAY show. Kyle spoke about everything from content to his working environment. He reminded us all to look for stories.

One thing he said that really stood out to me was, “People aren’t going to Facebook for the TODAY show. They’re going for their mom, friends and dog.” I thought about that quote a lot during the rest of the day, especially when I was in a later session and Alyssa Purvis from Key Bank said the same thing. Being in charge of a brand, you become enthralled with what the brand is doing, and it’s important to you. However, it may not be so important to others, and that is where creativity and research come in.

Kyle shared with us the story behind the post of Kathie Lee Gifford talking about her recently deceased husband and why it was so successful. “Authentic moments always win in the social space,” Kyle said. People can tell when you’re being unauthentic. People are responsive to raw emotions. As Kyle said, does anyone really pass up a video of a husband crying after seeing his wife’s new makeover?

Another huge theme of the day was social media analytics. Looking at the analytics of posts to see how they were received by your audiences is beyond important. Having the ability to judge the success of a post on more than just how many likes it received can help you craft future posts and learn more about what content is best received by your audiences. Kyle talked for a while on Facebook analytics and how he uses them daily to track the reception of posts. That information then carries over into future posts.

Two key takeaways from Kyle’s keynote:

  1. Content should be shareable and easily digestible. Make sure you are posting something that people would want to post on their own walls and share with their friends.
  2. You must become a brand expert. What does your brand look and sound like? How should your posts be worded? Who are your audiences? What do your audiences look for?



Scott Monty

The afternoon keynote was Scott Monty, CEO and founder of Scott Monty Strategies and former head of crisis communications for Ford Motor Company. Before I talk about Scott’s keynote, let me begin by saying he was hilarious. The audience was engaged the entire time because of his charisma and perfectly crafted presentation. Scott began by stating that attention and trust are the two most valuable things an audience can give you. If you have their attention, you have an opening to get your message through to them. If you have their trust, not only will they read or listen to what you’re saying, they’ll believe it.

One thing Scott mentioned stood out to me because it is stressed by my JMC professors: “The power of earned media cannot be underestimated.” With social media on the rise, it seems earned media can be placed on the back burner. Scott reminded us all that even though you have control of company’s social channels, earned news media should not be forgotten. Each public relations class I have taken has talked about the art of pitching to the media and earning that media attention. It was nice to hear from an industry pro as well. Scott put it just as well as all of my professors have said it, “Earned media: don’t listen to what I’m saying about me, listen to what others are saying about me.”

Scott introduced the acronym ARC to the audience. Authentic. Responsive. Compelling. Organizations should follow this acronym when creating and carrying out a social strategy. Be authentic because people can tell when you’re fake or saying things that sound really cheesy or un-genuine. Be responsive because people need engagement. They will feel special if an organization responds to them on social media, especially if it is not an obvious automated answer. In the example Scott used, people will think, “Wow! A huge company like Ford took the time to answer ME!” Be compelling so that your audience will want more content from you. People don’t wake up in the morning thinking about their favorite brands, so those managing social media need to remember that. Do not post something to post; post because it is meaningful and will interest or inform your audience in some way. This is where creativity comes in. If you have something to say and it is not exactly interesting, find a way to make it interesting so that your audience doesn’t get bored.

Making sure to speak like your audience was another point that Scott made. Know who you are targeting and know what kind of language they use. Everything from the wording of posts to the tone should have research to back it up. Besides talking like your audiences, let them speak. If people feel as if they have a voice, they will be more receptive to posts from your organization. The customer is always first. Scott gave us a horror story example about a Ford car salesman that undervalued and degraded a customer. He talked about how it was inappropriate, but mostly he talked about how no customer problem is too small. Each customer should feel as though the organization they are buying from or engaging with somehow cares about them.

Two key takeaways from Scott’s keynote:

  1. The customer is always the first priority.
  2. Use the ARC model when creating and implementing social strategies.

Overall, the YouToo Social Media Conference was full of social media tips and tricks. I learned a lot about how to handle social media. I also had a great experience networking with professionals and talking with fellow students. I can’t wait to see who will be speaking at the tenth anniversary YouToo next year!

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