As an up-and-coming marketer, I found the 2014 Digital Summit to be fascinating and exciting. I had the opportunity to learn from so many marketing experts, but my favorite part was listening to the founding editor of The Huffington Post and Co-Creator of HuffPost Live, Roy Seykoff. His presentation began with a picture of his face self-imposed on Miley’s body from her infamous “Wrecking Ball” video, and from there I knew this guy was crazy and I liked it.

Digital Summit-Roy SeykoffAccording to Roy, HuffPost Live was created because people don’t want to be talked at anymore; they want to engage in a conversation. HuffPost Live allows viewers to interact and discuss current topics via Google+ or Skype, eight hours a day/five days a week.

Mobile technology allows viewers to join the conversation virtually anywhere, at any time. Roy shared a statistic that blew my mind: 42 percent of YouTube videos are watched on a phone. Two years ago it was six percent. Marketers have to adjust to the constantly changing communication channels and how people are using them.

Roy emphasized the importance of community engagement in businesses. There is something genuine about connecting with people and making them part of the conversation rather than just talking at them. Community engagement is key to success.

I found that engagement was a theme at the Digital Summit and many speakers had great advice for how to do it well. Loni Stark, from Adobe, shared her five best practices for customer engagement:

  1. Engage across all channels your audience cares about
  2. Personalize & optimize; use A-B testing and keep it simple without too many variables
  3. Make it fun and sharable; Pew Research took a 140 page report about millenials and turned it into a quiz “How Millenial Are You?”
  4. Harness the power of video engagement
  5. Rally your front line employees; use digital to elevate human interactions and connections

Engaging a customer is much easier with compelling content. Companies that exude emotion, like humor, will draw much more attention and build loyalty. This recent conversation between a friend and the cell phone case company, Otterbox, is a great example of how a company should utilize social media to build loyalty and increase interaction.

Otterbox twitter 1

Otterbox proved that they are a genuine company simply by having a casual conversation on Twitter. Social media can do wonders for a company that posts content that people want to read, share and engage in. Great content will encourage interaction and hopefully do some of your marketing for you.

The Digital Summit taught me that communication should be intriguing, innovative and genuine. Communicate with your audience the way you would want to be communicated with. Make it fun or interesting because no one likes boring!