ICYMI: Key Takeaways from AdWeek’s Social Media Week in NYC 2024

April 12, 2024
Posted by: Reagan Castleman, Social Media Manager

If you missed Social Media Week, you missed a lot of great conversations about where our industry is heading and how to prepare your brand to enter this new era of niche communities and community management. I took a lot of notes on all the wonderful insights the speakers and panelists were giving, and here are all the key takeaways:  

Be authentic. Be authentic. Be authentic.  

That was the strong message shared throughout many sessions of Social Media Week. So how do you do that?  

  • You must understand your brand personality. This is beyond just tone and voice; it is understanding how your account would act if it was a real person creating the content. Who would they engage with, how would they teach their audience, and what trends would they do? 
  • Know the environment you are engaging in .One of the best examples of this came from Lodge Cast Iron. They are active members of the cast iron subreddit, but they are acting as a member, not just a brand. They had to tailor their approach on how they engage based on the platform. It was reiterated multiple times that Gen Z can immediately tell if the content is an ad or not, so if you want your content to be seen, make sure it doesn’t look like an ad. 
  • Don’t overthink everything you post. Lots of people (creators & brands) brought up how something they shot on their phone performed much better than something they had done in a professional shoot.  
  • Be comfortable being uncomfortable. It’s not easy to post new, different types of content. Every single creator and successful brand account had to get comfortable knowing that not everything they post will be something they know will work. There is an uncomfortableness in the unknown of posting untested content on social, but those moments where you do it will be the ones that provide the most growth. 

Let creators create.  

Another big takeaway was when you are partnering with creators, you need to let the creators make the content that they know will resonate with their audience. There was also talk about instead of doing one-off campaigns with creators, working on a long-term partnership with them.   

Listen to your audience. 

Your audience will tell you what they want to see on your account. You just have to listen. You can do this manually by scrolling though thousands of comments or use a social listening tool or use LiveWorld’s social listening program to help you gain valuable audience insights. Reddit mentioned how they are launching a beta version of a listening tool for brands; it’s also a tool that allows brands to track how they are engaging. This is a great tool for brands to use to track conversations that people are having about your brand or other topics you need to listen to. Reddit is a place where people are going to have real genuine conversations with each other, so it’s a powerful place to listen because you can get so much more information. 

Safety is necessary to create a community. 

With so much happening on social media constantly, making sure your page provides a safe and welcoming comment section to let your community flourish. People have so many options when it comes to spending their time, if you make sure your comments are properly moderated, then people will feel more willing to comment. One social team spends hours each day reading every comment and hiding the ones that they know aren’t welcome in the community they created on their accounts. That is a lot of hours to spend reading comments, LiveWorld helps brands navigate hiding comments & moderating social pages; this can free up hours for social teams to create content that resonates with their audience and do community management.  

Diversify Content Formats 

Experiment with various content formats such as videos, infographics, polls, and live streams to gauge audience engagement. Don’t hesitate to try out new platforms or features like Instagram Reels, Twitter Spaces, or LinkedIn Shorts to keep your content fresh and dynamic. 

  • Test and Learn Approach: Embrace a test and learn mindset by continuously A/B testing different strategies, messaging tones, and posting times. Use analytics and insights to track the performance of your experiments and iterate based on what resonates most with your audience. Creators and Brands alike said they often use TikTok as a testing ground for new content. 
  • Collaborate and Co-create: Partner with influencers, customers, or other brands to co-create content and reach new audiences. Collaborative projects not only bring fresh perspectives but also foster community engagement and authenticity, driving deeper connections with your target market. 

Understanding Underutilized Platforms 

Reddit is a place where deep conversations are happening, and people go there to learn & ask questions. When they are on the platform, they are already more likely to be in a mindset to learn & click-through to another website. This mind-set is very valuable to brands that are looking to get high-intent clicks to their website. 

Pinterest is where people go for ideas, research, and knowledge. While fashion, beauty, and art are dominant on the platform, there is a huge area for growth when it comes to educational content. Infographics and videos have been seen to perform well, and they are evergreen. So, if you make a few pieces of content for Pinterest, you could still be seeing results from that content a year from now. Even Megan Thee Stallion says Pinterest is her favorite social media platform!  

YouTube is one of the main social media platforms, but brands often don’t show up unless it’s with a creator. National Geographic shows up on YouTube in an exemplary way. They are posting full content on their YouTube channel, full episodes! They aren’t trying to get watchers to go to their website to watch or go watch them on streaming; they know that keeping their audience on the platform and keeping them watching videos will provide them more growth.  

A new platform that is coming up is called Spill. It comes from an ex-twitter employee who saw a gap in the market for a platform that prioritizes creating a safe space for historically marginalized communities. It’s not unknown that those communities have created a lot of what we now recognize as the culture of the internet. There is a lot of promise here for marketers because the creator of the platform knows of the importance to create a space where people and brands are showing up together and making sure advertising isn’t an afterthought they have to force into the app. While it’s still growing, it’s a good idea for people to get on and see what it’s about. It has the potential to become one of the places we see culture and trends being formed before they go to other platforms. 


I have so many more notes and thoughts from Social Media Week, but these are definitely some of the key takeaways from the event. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn, Reagan Castleman, Social Media Manager at LiveWorld, and message me if you want to discuss any of these more. 😄