Editor’s Note: During the YouToo Social Media Conference on April 10 at Kent State University, Ben Brugler and Ryan Collins challenged the student attendees: send us your best recaps for a takeover of our Microbrew blog, typically reserved for AKHIA interns. University of Akron junior Zaina Salem, a journalism major, is featured today.

Last Friday, our Converged Media Immersion Program went to Kent State University for the eighth annual YouToo Social Media Conference. The conference is dedicated to giving students and professionals social media strategies and tips for today’s world.

My favorite guest speaker at the conference was Mark W. Smith, editor for mobile web at The Washington Post. His keynote took a look at what makes content suited for social as well as giving journalistic tips on social sharing.

Mark’s presentation was enlightening for an aspiring journalist like myself. Here are seven of his points I found most important:

1. Social media isn’t as special as you think: Mark said we shouldn’t think of social media as a different “thing.” It’s just a new marketplace. It’s where people hang out.

2. Your social traffic is mobile traffic: If your goal is for people to share something, you have to create it for a mobile phone.

3. The homepage is dead: Gone are the days when people go to a news outlet’s homepage to find news. Mark said every article is now a homepage, and each headline/Facebook post/tweet/etc. should be tailored to grab the audience’s attention.

4. “If news is important, it will find me:” Social media is special because everyone can choose what they want to see. If something is important to you, social media will find a way to make sure you know about it.

5. Tenets of optimal social content:
• It’s declarative and says something substantial. Be careful when using question marks in headlines.

• It’s comprehensive. Good social content should incorporate all aspects of media, including pictures and video, to grab a reader’s attention.

• It delivers on its promise. Good headlines give away the ending or else people won’t click.

• It tells us who we are. The kind of content we like to see reflects our interests and personalities back to us.

6. Create the curiosity gap: A good headline omits key information to get the reader interested
enough to click the link.

7. Post, post, and post some more: Don’t be afraid to post often and at different times. There will be a new audience at every time of the day.

What were your top takeaways from the conference?