The Biggest Themes of Social Media Week Austin

Social Media Week Austin Themes - Brittany Ruiz
Brittany Ruiz
Digital Content Strategist

Social media and digital media, in general, are fast and always evolving platforms that require a lot of continuous education. But you already knew that, since that’s probably what led you to this blog. Attending Social Media Week Austin (SMWATX) last month gave me the opportunity to step away from my computer screen and have real-life conversations with industry thought leaders. And, after three days of learning from some of the best in the business, I walked away with five themes on how to improve your social media strategy that were too good not to share.

Theme 1. Storytelling 

Storytelling was the official theme of the conference this year. The social space is crowded, and attention spans are short. These days, you have less than six seconds to capture the attention of your audience. Storytelling allows you to connect with your audience by creating an emotional connection. Emotion, how you make someone feel, is what’s going to make you stand out and be remembered. 

Three tips for storytelling: 

  1. Utilize one of the oldest story structures, the Story Spine. This children’s fairy tale structure is the same one Pixar uses for many of their films.  
  2. Get good at the Three Act story structure.
  3. Ask yourself, “What are you trying to evoke in the content you’re creating?”

Theme 2. Authenticity

“The world is starving for authenticity.” - Rob Dial

While storytelling was the official theme, authenticity was by far the number one theme sung throughout the conference. The biggest takeaway? People no longer trust what brands have to say, they only trust what they see. Authenticity has to be a way of living. This is why, at Texas Creative, we place a huge emphasis on developing brands as a personality rather than a company in the social space.

Three ways to infuse authenticity into your brand:

  1. Be credible. Find something your brand can own and put it on blast.
  2. Be unique. You need to stand out in a crowd. Identify your brand’s persona and let your personality shine.
  3. Be relevant. How can you connect with your audience's’ values and beliefs, and solve their problems?

Theme 3. 1:1 Engagement

It’s easy to fall into the expectation that your social media efforts should reach the masses, but the truth is there is merit in talking to the few. When you actually engage your audience, you build relationships that lead to advocacy. And that’s a gift that keeps on giving.

Three tips to achieve 1:1 engagement:

  1. Engage with people driving the conversation you’re trying to be a part of.
  2. Do unto influencers as you would want them to do unto you. When you interact and engage with their content, they will return the favor.
  3. Follow up and follow through. Following up with conversations shows your audience that your listening, and humanizes your brand.

Theme 4. Organic Content

While paid has been the conversation for years now, I was impressed to hear how much emphasis was put towards focusing on organic content. For my job, I develop both organic and paid social strategy for clients. While I can find a plethora of articles on paid strategy, I rarely come across strategy on how to develop organic content. Organic content is important because that is where you are building a more engaged audience because there is a higher buy-in. You didn’t pay for their engagement, you had to work for it.

Three tips on creating engaging organic content:

  1. Tell a story, and if you can’t tell a story, then focus on being visual.
  2. Utilize video. Pull them in with a powerful opening (first three seconds) and make it stick with a memorable ending.
  3. Build for the customer, not yourself. You want to create content that has value for your audience, whether it’s educational or entertainment value.

Theme 5. Video

Did you know that it’s predicted that over 80% of content consumed in 2021 will be video? If that doesn’t light a fire in you on integrating more video into your content strategy, here’s 37 more stats that might. I can tell you, for Texas Creative, we have put a lot of resources into making videos a large part of our content strategies.

Three tips to start incorporating video today:

  1. Keep it simple. Choose one platform to start and do it well.
  2. Choose a cadence you can maintain, and stay consistent.
  3. The key is to take one piece of content and multiply it.
  4. Bonus tip: Read one of my other blogs on how to optimize your video ads for social.


Are you still with me? If so, I hope that means you found this information as useful as I did and are considering attending the conference next year. I highly recommend you do. While I tried to pack in as much information for you all, I barely scratched the surface on these themes and there was a lot more I learned at SMWATX.

If you have questions regarding anything I mentioned or have questions about social media best practices in general, leave a comment. Having conversations and asking questions with other subject matter experts has been the number one factor in my growth and continued success with social media strategy – and I want to help you get there too!

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