#SMSS15 success feeds off social media analytics

ASeymour    November 2, 2015


Organization:  Social Media Examiner

Industry:  Social Media Marketing

Contact:  Phil Mershon, Director of Events

Web references: Social Media Examiner®, Social Media Success Summit® 2015,  Simply Measured, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube

Social Media Success Summit 2015 – Social Media Examiner

Social Media Examiner® is one of the world’s largest business blogs, helping millions of businesses discover how to best use social media. Nearly 400,000 people receive Social Media Examiner’s original content in their email inbox daily.  Social Media Examiner also hosts the largest social media marketing conference, Social Media Marketing World.

Michael Stelzner YouTube video imageHere Michael Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner, explains the rapid growth his company experienced, based almost entirely on social media marketing.

Social Media Success Summit® 2015 is a live online conference that took place during the month of October, that empowered attendees to use social media to gain more exposure, increase traffic, cultivate loyal fans and grow their business.  Run as real-time webinars with industry experts, attendees watch live, or, watch the recorded sessions with audio, video and transcripts of each presentation at a time convenient to them.

According to Social Media Examiner’s website, many people who attend these professional development summits report the relationships they establish with fellow attendees are priceless… relationships that often continue to be a source of advice and support for years to come.

During the summit, a private LinkedIn group ( was created, where attendees were encouraged to interact with presenters and fellow attendees.  LinkedIn Social Media Success Summit groupBetween sessions, attendees were invited to  network with other summit attendees on the “exclusive” Social Media Success Summit 2015 LinkedIn group—available ONLY to event registrants.  During the 2015 SMSS, this group had 1847 members.
retweetbutton-summitAttendees also had access to Twitter-based chat rooms through #SMSS15 where conversations continue with live interaction with their peers.

badge-SMSSAttendees were encouraged to publish a “I’m attending Social Media Examiner’s Social Media Success Summit” badge on their own social channels.

As a first-time attendee of this summit myself, I can personally attest to the high caliber content presented and the social aspect of the month-long event.  I had direct interaction via Twitter with presenters following webinars, made new industry connections post-webinar and participated in enlightening conversations through both the Twitter chat room and LinkedIn group which continue now – after the event has officially closed.

Over the course of 4 weeks, 12 webinar presentations were offered each week on various social media topics, hosted by an impressive lineup of industry experts.  These topics covered Facebook, visual marketing and analytics; content marketing, LinkedIn and Instagram; Twitter, Pinterest and tools and YouTube and Google+.

Quick stats:  Social Media Success Summit 2015

  • 92% of last year’s attendees said they’d recommend the event to a friend AND attend again!
  • 3400 marketers attended last year, including thousands of small businesses and marketers from well known brands.
  •  66% of the social media instructors are published book authors

So what exactly IS social analytics?

According to a Simply Measured whitepaper, it’s the ability to discover and communicate meaningful patters about social data. Where social media has ost impacted digital marketing is in the sheer volume of data it produces.  The vast and disparate amount of data available makes the process of analysis more complicated, but the very breadth and volume is also the reason it’s so valuable.



The social marketing process follows the same practices as any other marketing channel – plan, execute, measure.  No marketing strategy is complete without coming full circle from planning to measurement.  In order to  execute tactics, marketers have to plan and strategize and in order to plan, you need to understand how the tactics make an impact on the plan and goals.  However, according to a recent CMO Survey, while social media budgets are expected to increase by 128% over the next five years, only 15% of marketers report that they know how to show the impact of social using quantitative approaches.

Social analytics contributes to the planning process with intelligence from several different components of a brand’s social ecosystem and the measurement process by enabling a brand to understand the impact of its own activities on its audience and business objectives.

Phil Mershon video image

Phil Mershon, Director of Events, Social Media Examiner

Through analytics, understanding the audience, their conversations and your competition, you construct a strong foundation in social strategy.  Couple that with the measurement of brand activities, audience engagement and ultimately, business results and social marketers are able to turn insight into action.

Phil Mershon, Director of Events with Social Media Examiner, describes in a short video interview the value of research and metrics.  Social Media Examiner’s annual reader survey is the benchmark development tool for the content that has populated their Social Media Success Summits.  Distributed via email and through their main social channels, Mershon says the content presented at each subsequent summit, is derived directly from the attendees.

According to Mershon, Social Media Examiner uses Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram to see what messages are resonating with their audience, what is being shared and clicked on.  These channels also provide an opportunity to carefully watch the engagement of their audience and to help build their community.  As live event, their customer service team watched continually to provide live support and solve problems in real time.

sme_logo_brownUnderstanding their audience is imperative for Social Media Examiner – the very nature of the Social Media Success Summit depends on their intimate knowledge of the demographics and behavior analysis to define the evolution of each annual event.  Understanding, and participating in conversations around the Social Media Examiner’s brand is also critical to the event’s success – how may people are engaged, are the interactions positive or negative, are the conversations pertinent and is the audience influential enough to carry those conversations to a wider audience?

A total of 9 presentations covered the importance and value of analytics in social media, including:

Michael A. StelznerHow to track your social updates using Google Analytics

Andy CrestodinaHow to analyze your data to drive real marketing results

Kristi Hines How to use Google Analytics segments to refine your marketing strategy

According to Stelzner’s presentation, social analytics help to define where to put your efforts, something that he himself struggled with after taking over direct responsibilities for social media activities for SME over a year ago.

“One of the biggest questions as a social marketer is – where do you put your efforts?”, Stelzner comments in his presentation, How to Track Your Social Updates Using Google Analytics.  “Analytics establish how your efforts are contributing to traffic and your goals, help you spot trends and, prove what the return on investment actually is.”

Lessons for others:

  1. Despite popular belief – social media marketing is not fundamentally different than traditional marketing efforts.
  2. Social media’s impact is in the sheer volume of data available and, the potential of that data to provide marketing insights.
  3. Social analytics as the basis for planning a complete strategy, and measuring the outcomes, is key to developing successful social programs, understanding the value of those programs and, driving real ROI.

Submitted by: ASeymour, University of Waterloo

To contact the author of this entry please email: aseymour@uwaterloo.ca

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Programme Director, Social Media for Business Performance.