Digital Summit DC: The Mothership of Digital Marketing and Social Media Trends

A few DC-based Digital folks recently attended the Digital Summit DC to close out the summer with the latest industry inspiration top of mind. With speakers ranging from top execs and brand managers at LinkedIn, Facebook, Refinery29, The Onion, U.S. Census Bureau, Animoto and more, we left with a slew of inspiring digital nuggets and trends to consider for the remainder of 2018.

On to the learnings!

digital media and social media trends 2018


Lead with Insights:
Finola Austin of Refinery 29 taught us to always lead with the insight. We often get so wrapped up in campaign details that we automatically shift into assumption mode, fully misrepresenting who we’re trying to reach (i.e. DYK: 67 percent of women in the U.S. wear a size 14+, vs. 2 percent of the images we see in this capacity).


  • Articulate your insights with clarity, brevity and empathy; people want to be acknowledged without being stereotyped.
  • Experiment with content like a creative scientist to find out what works.
  • Do whatever it takes to know your consumer – talk with them, not at them.
  • Get clients outside of their comfort zone – work that ticks the boxes doesn’t get attention.
  • Always. Lead. With. The. Freakin’. Insight. It will work wonders.

Tools Tell All:
Thanks to Paxton Gray (97th Floor), who embodied living, breathing, sleeping, with the best digital tools Quinn Tempest who lives, breathes, and sleeps Instagram, and NASA who is just out-right launching their own digital command center to do, well, almost anything.


  • Do you even Spyfu? I know, RYTE? See what search terms surrounding your brand and website are trending, incorporate them into your content and search strategies and know how your competitors are doing/ranking in the space. This can then effectively inform content and paid strategies to really hit that ROI home.
  • Follow Wonk is also a great tool for analyzing brand followers to see how to best engage with and target them. Crushing the Instagram content calendar and scheduling game? (or maybe not and could use a digital hand…!) Check out these trendy #lifesavers: Later, Planoly, Preview, and Plann (that).
  • To drive interest through (platform appropriate) hashtag sets, break it down into topic sets and don’t be generic (#entrepreneur), but go niche (#savvybusinesspwner, #ladypreneur, #brandedhash).
  • Search general terms to get to your niche via (major tool alert!)

Be Smart, Not Silly, on Social:
Yes, you can beat the Facebook algorithm, showcase effective video content, engage audience members, etc. Industry professional Carlos Gil stated, “Your brand is stranded in a digital ocean and there are digital pirates stealing your reach.”


  • Tweet. Go where your audience is (which others backed to do in trusted, authentic, yet self-outrageous, ways).
  • Here are some (proven) things that will have you #winning the Facebook algorithm: Spark engagement (comments, likes, shares) to ignite conversation and comment back with links. (Which, this totally, more than ever, proves the ongoing need for community management).
  • Launch Facebook Groups and Events, and native video where 16-23 seconds is the average video watch time and you best be making sure the opening thumbnail image is good, that’s the first thing viewers see. (bonus tool!) can also be used to add video captions to increase SEO and watch time.
  • Don’t be afraid to GO LIVE, (schedule and promote prior) this is how Facebook competes with YouTube so they will only continue to increase importance for Video.
  • Post blogs from your website to Facebook notes. Repurpose blog content (facts, stats) into snackable videos and GIFs. Ultimately, be more (human) like DJ Kahled and less like a brand!

Re-engage, Re-engage, Re-engage:
From data and lead gen to Facebook algorithm hacking and video, re-engagement was definitely a prevalent theme. A spokesperson from the U.S. Census Bureau honed in on the fact that people don’t engage with you right after they (email) sign-up, they need to be re-engaged.


  • As the Facebook algorithm favors engagements most, we can drive them to the maximum by replying to, and liking, all comments obtained (perhaps with a link to your brand website), if possible within 24-hours (cough community management, cough, cough).
  • It is even algorithm-encouraged for brands to go back to older posts with unanswered comments and re-engage with those parties by commenting and liking back.

Be Your Best Test and Invest:
LinkedIn’s Jon Lombardo and Megan Golden both eluded to the importance of testing, investing and the essence of time. Expensive advertising works; cost is cost but quality is what wins via costly signaling. As marketers, we struggle to do what our audience wants (who doesn’t like a gorgeous ad?) and not what we, as marketers, want. Most CMOs want wins in the short term (sales) but brands win in the long run (18-24 mos).


  • They both compared strategy between newsrooms and blockbusters, using an example of New York Times’ stock compared to Disney. While it’s not news that the print industry has been on the decline – pushing new stories every day can be part of it. Whereas Disney hones in on what works, over time – focusing and concentrating on growing and developing these storylines beyond the screen (in merchandise, events etc.) and even creates revamps and sequels of the movies that work well and are familiar vs. its screen competitors who are cranking out the extensive animated films like hotcakes and making less profit in comparison.

Interested in working to implement some of these learnings? Contact me or [email protected] to get started!

Special thanks to Emily Cooper, Jessica Salani and Erin Taylor for their contributions to this post!