The Importance of Transparency for 2019

Key Insights from Day 1 at Social Media Week in Austin, TX

Our host, Claire Winslow, kicked it off talking about the biggest theme that has emerged for social media marketers in 2019—TRANSPARENCY. With trust at an all-time low, it’s critical that marketers be transparent about the data they collect and how they use it, as well as authentic in the brand stories that they share. The following provides the ways in which this theme emerged time and again throughout the day:


Everyone knows that social media is a great way to build up a network of followers. But that network has to be built on meaningful, authentic relationships that provide reciprocal value. Jared Kleinert, award-winning TED speaker and entrepreneur, talked about the importance of being intentional about who you spend your time with and how you connect with them on social media. He suggested that you approach all connections like friends (whether for your personal social media accounts or for your brand social media accounts).

Rob Dial, a podcaster and prolific video content marketer, discussed the importance of using social media with a goal of elevating the content quality. And he defined that quality by the authenticity and vulnerability that comes through in what you share, rather than the literal quality of the video or image. He also shared his formula for keeping it simple by taking one piece of content and multiplying it by distributing it in different forms across various media.

Client First

Agencies often make the mistake of positioning themselves as the hero for clients. Instead, they need to change their perspective to the role of guides. The clients and their brands are ultimately the heros. Jason Swenk, a former digital agency owner turned agency mentor, explained this concept well using the analogy of a client as Batman and the agency as Alfred.

Earned, Paid, and Owned Content

Belle Hunter, Mairin Annen, Rafiq el Arculli, Caitlin Williamson lead the organic social marketing talk.

Belle Hunter, Mairin Annen, Rafiq el Arculli, Caitlin Williamson lead the organic social marketing talk.

If you’re in marketing, you’ve probably heard that organic social marketing is dead. According to several panelists today, such as Belle Hunter with Facebook, Rafiq el Arculli from Whole Foods Market, Jane Ko with A Taste of Koko and Mairin Annen with HomeAway, it’s alive and well. Rafiq explained it well by describing the difference in paid and organic in terms of their objectives. Paid is about expanding and growing your reach, while organic is about community and fostering a connection and ongoing relationship with your fans. Marketers must be vigilant in cultivating those relationships by responding to any engagement whether directly on posts or by direct message.

Joshua B. Lee, a LinkedIn and social selling specialist, built on Jared Kleinert’s earlier point about authentically connecting with your network. According to Joshua, being an authentic and active contributor on the LinkedIn platform means that you should be doing 4 things every day:

  1. Make a post of your own.

  2. Comment on someone else’s post in your network.

  3. Like someone else’s post in your network.

  4. Share someone else’s post that aligns with your overall message and values.


Instagram expert and fashion influencer, Travis White, wrapped up the day as he explained the shift that has occurred on the platform from the highly polished influencers like Kylie Jenner to it now being “anyone’s game” today. He reinforced the importance of engaging with your followers by posting once a day, responding to every comment and talking with your audience in direct messages.

We’re looking forward to sharing more insights gleaned over the next two days!

Angie - Byline vS.jpg

Angie Yarbrough is a co-founder and Principal at Stratistry where she leads the Brand Strategy practice.

Email | LinkedIn