Top Tips and Tools from The BIG Social Media Conference
Top Tips and Tools from The BIG Social Media Conference

Top Tips and Tools from The BIG Social Media Conference

The BIG Social Media Conference took place on the 9th and 10th of July, in Manchester, UK. 

Two days packed full of speakers delivering the latest strategies from the world of Social Media. 

How do you narrow it down? 

Here's my take on the latest trends, tips and tools in Social Media. 


The BIG Social Media Conference

A couple of weeks back I entered a competition to win a ticket to The BIG Social Media Conference. The competition was run by Ian Anderson Gray over at Seriously Social.

I've been following Ian for a while now for a number of good reasons:

  • He knows what he's talking about when it comes to Social Media and Digital Marketing
  • He lives just down the road from me
  • He also has a background in music
  • He's a nice chap

​So, you might say, great synergy!

​Well I was chuffed to bits to hear that I'd won a ticket to attend such a big conference in my home city of Manchester, plus I'd also get chance to meet Ian in person.

Big Social - Ian Anderson Gray |

The Venue

Has anyone ever asked you, "What's the point?"

Well, now I have a good answer.

The Point is a superb conference facility at Lancashire County Cricket Club, Old Trafford, Manchester.

Honestly, it is a great venue, and the events team were absolutely brilliant.​

Big Social - The Point LCCC |

The Agenda

Here's the official overview of the Agenda:

The event which is hosted by online community Social Media Experts will feature key note speakers including Facebook marketing expert Mari Smith, influential serial entrepreneur Lilach Bullock and LinkedIn guru Melonie Dodaro plus a whole host of experts from the UK and North America. Topics on the agenda include social media advertising, video marketing, boosting sales and profits and insight into some of the world’s most popular social media platforms.

As you can imagine, there was a ton of information imparted over the two days. So what I've tried to do below is share some of the key points and takeaways across the various platforms.

Facebook - Mari Smith

Big Social - Mari Smith |

Mari is a Facebook Ambassador, helping with product education across the USA.

She shared some examples of how Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is pushing the world to be more connected.

Comparing him to famous Ice Hockey player Wayne Gretzky she said, “Mark Zuckerberg is travelling to where the puck is going, not to where it has been.”

Facebook is absolutely disrupting a number of industries including television, video, search and email.

  • Social referrals now outnumber search with 79% coming through Facebook
  • Mobile video traffic is set to grow 55% each year until 2020
  • Visual audience - 65% of the audience being visual learners

Facebook Tips

  • Plan your Facebook marketing content 1-year in advance, split into quarters: - Core Phase, Build-up Phase, Promotion Phase, Follow-up Phase
  • Enable the 'Follow' button on your personal profile
  • Utilise the Pages Manager mobile app
  • Google is Search Mode, but Facebook is Social Mode - connect and socialize 
  • Utilise the huge variety of Target Audience options
  • Use the Facebook Tracking Pixel on your website 
  • Be socially devoted
  • Respond promptly - you get a green icon if you achieve 90% in 10 minutes

Mari finished with her catchphrase:

Content is King, but engagement is Queen...and she rules the house!

LinkedIn - Melonie Dodaro

Big Social - Melonie Dodaro |
  • LinkedIn is the best platform for B2B marketing
  • People trust the shared content more than other platforms

Melanie provided some very actionable tips on how to use LinkedIn properly. I knew my LinkedIn profile needed attention, and now I know what to do.

Here's Melonie's 3-Step Formula to Success:

  • Step 1 - Get Found > Make sure you pick the right keywords to use in your profile, and remember that any change to your profile is an instant change in Google search, so this is very powerful.
  • Step 2 - Attract Your Ideal Client > Write a client-focused Summary Section: (1) use the first person, (2) identify your ideal client, (3) share how you can help them and (4) include a call to action.
  • Step 3 - Stand Out > Make sure you complete your entire profile, not just the summary section, and remember to add some recommendations as these are excellent for social proof.

LinkedIn Tips 

  • Don't use the default connection message - always send a personal note
  • Always send a welcome message to new connections
  • Offer new connections something of value; e.g. a free report
  • Don't send spammy messages
  • Respond promptly to messages
  • Never ask for a recommendation from someone you don't know
  • Don't post self-serving content in your groups
  • Don't criticise or comment negatively in groups

Twitter - Lilach Bullock

Overall, I would say that Twitter was the most mentioned Social Media platform during the conference. Time and again different speakers would refer to different tools and strategies to make best use of it.

The main speaker on Twitter was Lilach Bullock from Comms Axis. She shared a load of content over both days, so here's a round up of her Twitter Tools and Tips.​

Powerful Twitter Strategies

  • Get your handle on it > Products, Business Cards, Transport, Merchandise
  • Twitter Lists > Build lists of key people and brands
  • Frequency > Tweet frequently, but only with useful content
  • Bio > make your bio keyword rich and include hashtags; @lilachbullock 
  • Hashtags > only use 1 or 2 hashtags in your tweet
  • Links > make sure the link goes in the middle of your tweet so it doesn't get chopped off when retweeted etc.
  • ReTweet > using the phrase 'Please ReTweet' gets significantly more engagement than 'RT', and even more than just nothing!
  • Length > only use 120 characters, not 140, to allow people to add a Retweet and/or message to the tweet
  • Leverage influencers' reach > it makes sense to ask for help from your influencers
  • Split testing > headlines, hashtags, time of day, which day, plain tweets (no links), questions, tweets with images 


You don't want to end up making a fool of yourself and your brand, so think carefully before starting a trending hashtag. Here are a few bad examples:



  • Hootsuite - management
  • Buffer - scheduling
  • Social Oomph - recurring scheduled tweets
  • Manage Flitter - clean up and manage who you follow
  • - manage lists, relationships, top influencers and supporters
  • TalkWalker - monitoring and analytics, social listening, sentiment, engagement
  • TweetChat - monitor and chat about one topic at a time
  • Vite - create events and groups, send invites
  • Twtpoll - social media poll
  • Hashtagify - search and find the best hashtags and influencers
  • Meet Soda - Twitter advertising

Social Media Tools - IAG

The final piece I want to share is some of the Social Media Tools that can help us to be more effective in a noisy world. 

Some of the problems we face, especially as solo businesses, include:

  • Lack of time
  • Lack of resources
  • Lack of planning
  • No strategy
  • Inefficiency

Posting and scheduling can help you:

  • Find quality content​
  • Spend time on your business
  • Spend time offline
  • Reach people in different timezones

Ian shared 7 Tools to help us become more effective, but you can download the full 30 tools from his website...

Social Media Tools To Boost Your Business

1) Buffer 

​Buffer allows you to post across the various platforms: Twitter, Facebook (profiles, pages, groups), LinkedIn (profile, groups or company pages), Google+ business pages. You can either post straight away or create a schedule for each social platform.

2) Friends+Me

Friend+Me turns Google+ into a fully fledged Social Media Management Tool by allowing you to selectively cross-post​ to Google+ pages, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook. It also has a scheduling system similar to Buffer.


IFTTT is quite a powerful tool that can connect many services and apps together. It uses 'recipes' to make this happen. For example, you can connect Feedly to Buffer, so that each time an article is marked as 'save for later' in Feedly it adds it to your Buffer queue.​

4) Latergramme

Latergramme allows you to schedule and manage your Instagram posts. You do have to be online when it actually wants to post as this is the only way around the Instagram API restrictions. It supports multiple accounts.​

5) BuzzSumo​

BuzzSumo allows you to find the most shared content and key influencers​. This tool was mentioned several times during the conference and is very popular right now. It has the ability to see what is trending right now across the various platforms and provides great input for future content creation or curation.

6) AgoraPulse

Use Agora Pulse to manage your engagement across the various platforms of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. It easily identifies which Tweets have not been answered and provides easy to use reports. It also keeps track of your mentions as it creates an 'inbox' to highlight all those that have not yet been acknowledged.​

7) QuillEngage​

Quill Engage is an easy way to extract valuable insights from your Google Analytics data. It basically makes sense of all your data - site traffic, source referrals, page performance, audience segments, goals and conversions - and sends you a written report. How cool is that!

The Awards

All of the content shared at the conference was excellent, but I just wanted to wrap up this review with my own little awards section

Most Entertaining

This award has to go Yossi Erdman from

For those of you outside the UK, is the largest online retailer of white goods in the UK. The challenge Yossi and the team have is: "How to make boring products interesting."

Well, Yossi entertained us for half an hour showing us all the many ways that AO have utilised Social Media and TV to advertise and promote their brand.

Just check out their website and Facebook page to see what I mean.​

Most Relevant

As an online marketer focusing on Tools and Technology then I have to say that my friend Ian Anderson Gray provided the most relevant material for me.

Ian shared just 7 Social Media tools in his presentation, but all were relevant to me. Some I'm using. Some I've heard of. And some I need to start using more!


I hope you've enjoyed catching just a glimpse of the tips, tools and strategies from The BIG Social Media Conference. There was so much more to share, but I'll refer back to it in future posts rather than overwhelming you here.

But before I go there's something I gotta share...

Photo/Images courtesy of The Big Social Media Conference

David Hartshorne

I'm a freelance writer working with business owners and marketing teams to create in-depth, actionable content that resonates with their audience. When I'm not writing about digital marketing and technology, you’ll find me chilling with a thriller in Spain.