Social Strategy 101: What We Learned at Social Media Marketing World

Social media marketing

When you think about social media strategies, what’s your biggest challenge? Are you tired of the vanity metrics? Not sure how to deal with “Facebook Apocalypse?” Are you spending hours trying to pinpoint your target audience, only to find you have no idea how to navigate Google Analytics?

As an agency that’s constantly training an army of social media mavens and refining its own internal social media strategy, we’re working really hard to stay in front of everything. Not only do we juggle the challenges of social media marketing for our agency social channels, we also assist many clients day in and day out. Whether it’s building out a larger campaign with unique visuals or doing a deep dive into competitor metrics, we’re always looking for the latest and greatest in tips and tools.

That’s why we attended Social Media Marketing World 2018 in sunny San Diego last month. It was invigorating and refreshing to network with social media beginners and experts. Plus, it was jam-packed with tricks of the trade from some big names in marketing, public relations, journalism and social media. We walked away with new additions to our toolbelt, new ways to connect with our audiences and new ways to help our clients make the most of their social strategy — no matter what stage they’re in.

Here are our #SMMW18 highlights:

#1. How to make visual content your secret weapon

Did you know our brains process images in as little as 13 milliseconds? This couldn’t be more true in today’s digital age, where we have so much content at our fingertips — we can’t possibly read it all, so we skim.

In order to stop the skimming, marketing performance strategist Rebekah Radice suggests using visual content as a secret weapon. During her panel, she highlighted a 5-step process, where you design with your audience in mind, nail the visual style elements, create the content your audience wants, build engagement fast, and lastly, use the tools to help build your visual brand.

At Highwire, we often look to one of our favorite visual and graphic design tools — Canva. With Canva, we’ve created visual content to use across social media. In fact, some of our top-performing posts on Twitter included a Canva visual, like this one from #WorldKindnessDay (see below). There are several other must-have visual tools in addition to Canva, and Radice recommends Storeo, Drool and

Social media metrics

In order to amplify #WorldKindnessDay, we used Canva to create fun graphics to share on social media – visual content like this earned us 2,137 impressions.

#2. How to get traditional media exposure through social media

We’re always looking for new ways to create a massive buzz for our clients in the media, which is why we sat in on PR expert Josh Elledge’s panel on how to get traditional media exposure only using social media.

The big takeaway? Leverage your connections to create a bigger outcome for your clients.

“Find your targets – get to know them and follow the stuff they’re talking about,” said Elledge. “[It’s] all about the influencer: find, follow, connect, engage, have a relationship…[and then] collaborate!”

#3. How to build a digital marketing plan

We also stopped by a panel featuring Rich Brooks, founder of The Agents of Change and the man behind flyte new media, an award-winning digital agency.

His tactical workshop for building a successful digital marketing plan for your business (or clients) used “the BARE Essentials of Digital Marketing,” which is:





With this approach, you need to think about developing a platform that converts visitors into leads, driving qualified traffic to your site, staying in touch after they’ve left your site, and reading and digesting traffic reports.

“Who cares about viral?” said Brooks. “You want value.

Our favorite tips from the track? Take whitepapers and marketing collateral that are buried on your site and turn them into blog posts – which you can then use for social media posts. And when it comes to your customer’s inbox, remember: it’s the most valuable property on the internet. Unlike your ex, email is stable, said Brooks. We’ve seen the changes in social platforms and we’ve felt the tremors — but your email list? You can control that relationship.

If you’re looking to grow your email list, consider tools like your website, email service provider and conversion optimizer. If you include a pop-up on your site to encourage readers/customers to sign up for a newsletter, you have to offer them something (access to a newsletter is not enough!). Consider a store discount, a free webinar, free gift, puppy, etc.

Need help building a social program? Highwire can help – contact to learn about our content services. Want to join our team of storytellers, visionaries and difference-makers? We’re hiring!

Breaking Down Barriers with Diversity and Inclusion Training

Highwire Inclusion and Diversity Training

I bet you I’m the only one who…

“Was raised by a single mother.”

“Fell asleep on national television.”

“Travelled to Washington D.C. on a bus just for the Women’s March.”

These quotes do not come from a company happy hour or conversation across our internal communication platforms. This was just a warm-up and quick exercise from our four-part diversity training at Highwire PR — a new initiative we are setting off on to break down barriers and better gain self-awareness of personal perspectives.

“As Highwire grows, we want to continue our focus on our people to better understand the team members and clients we work with,” said Andrew Robinson, head of human resources at Highwire. “The program’s objective is for us all to learn to leverage unique characteristics, perspectives and life experiences that define us as individuals to ensure an environment where all team members feel valued, engaged and supported to reach their full potential.”

Robinson added, “This diversity and inclusion initiative will not just be a series of training sessions, but will also include a roadmap to incorporate into our overall way of life at Highwire led by our inclusion team.”

Not only can training help our organization as a whole, it is now a component of building a stronger community and environment for those at the agency.

Going for our goals  

For our diversity training across all of our Highwire offices, we called in Lia Shigemura from Enact Leadership, a women-owned leadership development firm in Berkeley. Shigemura encouraged us to stay engaged and “practice digital detox,” meaning no electronics were allowed — thus forcing us to stay in the here and now. We also made sure we stretched out of our comfort zones in order to gain new perspectives and learn from different experiences.

And that’s the purpose of the “I bet I’m the only one who…” opening exercise. While it was a fun way to break the ice and share some laughs, it was the perfect segue into a discussion of our overall diversity and inclusion goals, and how they connect back to the principles and success of Highwire. At our agency, new perspectives fuel creativity, help us grow and evolve and make us better suited to help our wide range of clients (and our own team too!).

From SAE’s to interns — a positive experience overall

Although it can be difficult to break away from our busy schedules, the feedback from our first training session was overwhelmingly positive. Colleagues across all levels — including our principals — sat together to discuss what makes us unique and how we can better ensure that all voices and perspectives are valued at our agency.

“While Highwire is a close team, this training is sparking conversations that let us see our colleagues’ perspective,” said Ben Liwanag, an account associate at the agency.

Other team members found it beneficial to sit down with colleagues and learn from their different experiences.

“It was a nice change of pace for this training to look outward and focus on the people we work with, rather than to be solely focused on our own work and clients,” said Natalie Pacini, a senior account executive for Highwire. “I think investing in this type of development will have big payoffs down the road for how teams interact and how successful we are as a whole.”

On the road to a more inclusive agency

At Highwire, we have people who have come to the agency from all walks of life. We want to foster fulfilling careers, while still catering to those with differences, whether that be work experience, skill sets, religion, race or passions.

We want to be proactive about our diversity and inclusion strategy, which is why we still have three training sessions to go. From there, we will make sure we are actively pursuing our goals and our guiding principles that help everyone at the agency feel welcome.

After all, at Highwire, we are our people.

If you want to be part of something different, consider joining our team as a Highwire Walker. Learn more about our opportunities here.