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Top Take-Aways From Social Media Marketing World 2016 #SMMW16

This past week I had the pleasure of being in San Diego for Social Media Marketing World – one of the largest social media conferences. With more than 3,000 in attendance, the San Diego Convention Center was literally buzzing with excitement!

Selfie at #SMMW16 (grinning ear-to-ear!)

Selfie at #SMMW16 (grinning ear-to-ear!)

Going to #SMMW had been on my list for sometime – but as many of you know, I already travel a few times a month, speaking at various conferences. So, to plan another 3 days away from family, on my own dime – I really wanted to make sure it was worth it.

My objectives for the conference were to network with the best of the best; fellow social media colleagues and learn from others all over the world. My objective was also to just be a student – to soak in and learn as much as I could from other top-notch individuals. This conference FAR exceeded my expectations in so many ways!

I have always believed that you never stop learning and growing and the best professionals are the ones who continually strive to ‘sharpen their saw.’

In no particular order, I am going to share with you some of my biggest take-aways from Social Media Marketing World 2016:

A picture is still worth a thousand words (and more!)

Excited to meet Peg Fitzpatrick IRL!

Excited to meet Peg Fitzpatrick IRL!

I attended Peg Fitzpatrick’s (@PegFitzpatrick) image and graphic workshop on the day before the event officially kicked off and she shared some fantastic resources she uses to create amazing graphics for social media. Some of the tools I am most excited about are and

Think like a publisher

Peg also talked about her success in blogging and how important keeping an editorial calendar is. She said that keeping an editorial calendar keeps you ‘honest and consistent,’ and I could not agree more! She reinforced everything I believe about getting organized with your blog content. When you plan ahead, it gives you the big overview to see where your gaps are in your content.

Creating quality written content is more important than ever before 

I attended Heidi Cohen’s (@heidicohen) writing workshop and she gave some great tips on how to become a better writer. As much as I love video content, I’m always trying to up my game when it comes to written content.

She suggested: creating writing rituals (special place, tools, the right coffee etc.), schedule time for writing (use a smartphone alarm, a calendar, etc.) and read, read read (the more you read – the better writer you will become.) She also talked a lot about the value of headlines.

She suggested brainstorming and writing 25 headlines before you decide on the best one – because the headline is the thing that will draw people in. She shared some great sources to write better headlines: and

It was great getting to meet the founder of Social Media Examiner onboard the USS Midway at the opening party of #SMMW16.

It was great getting to meet the founder of Social Media Examiner onboard the USS Midway at the opening party of #SMMW16.

Facebook, Snapchat: The numbers don’t lie

It was fascinating to hear Mike Stelzner’s (@Mike_Stelzner) keynote address where he shared some fascinating data around social media and social media marketers. Hearing him speak about trends like Live Video (Facebook Live and Periscope), the decline of Facebook’s organic reach and Snapchat – really reinforced where I feel the needle is moving. I’ve been saying this for almost the last twelve months, but I really feel like we are moving to an age of (dare I say) more authenticity and less of ‘the perfect post’ that so often we see in social media. Live video and platforms like Snapchat allow a ‘realness’ and authenticity’ that we have really been craving.

Here were some stats that jumped out to me:

  • 73% of marketers are increasing their use of video in 2016
  • 21% claim it’s their most important form of marketing
  • 2016 is the year of live video. Currently, 14% are using live video.
  • 50% of marketers are increasing their use of live video in 2016

These stats came from the 2016 Social Media Marketing Industry Report (which will be due out later this year.)

Snapchat is one of the leading social platforms. Are you on Snapchat? Let's connect!

Snapchat is one of the leading social platforms. Are you on Snapchat? Let’s connect!

It was also great on the last day to hear Joel Comm (@joelcomm), Kim Garst (@kimgarst), Mari Smith (@MariSmith) and Shaan Puri (@ShaanVP) talk about the state and future of live video. It’s incredible how fast the platforms are evolving – even as we speak!

Jon Loomer, Facebook Ad expert addressing a big crowd in the hall after his presentation at #SMMW16.

Jon Loomer, Facebook Ad expert addressing a big crowd in the hall after his presentation at #SMMW16.

Time is precious – don’t waste it!

I had the pleasure of being in Jon Loomer’s (@JonLoomer) Facebook class. I have been a fan of Jon’s for quite sometime – he is without a doubt, one of the most trusted Facebook ad authorities online. He shared a very poignant story about his family in the beginning of his talk – and it was so awesome to see someone get so emotional about their family – it really set the stage so beautifully for what he had to talk about when it comes to Facebook ads. Time is precious and when it comes to Facebook ads, the ads can get stale. Stop hitting your same audience over and over again. Jon really emphasized the importance of targeting website custom audiences as the best way to build evergreen ad campaigns. Let’s just say, I thought I knew a lot about Facebook ads until I took his session!

Pat Flynn teaching the value of segmenting your lists at #SMMW16.

Pat Flynn teaching the value of segmenting your lists at #SMMW16.

Are you delivering the right message to the right person at the right time?

I loved hearing Pat Flynn (@PatFlynn) speak at SMMW. I have been a fan of his podcast for many years, but this seemed be a newer topic for him to cover. He revealed in his talk that one of his biggest mistakes he had made in his business was that he was treating everyone the same. When he did this with his email list (which at the time had about 130K people on the list), he was getting a 20% open rate and 3.5% click-through which is still above-average. But, now that he segments his list into ‘3 buckets’ he now has an email list of 165K with an average open rate of 65% and a click-through of 8.5%. Is your mind blown open yet? I know mine was! In addition to segmenting, he challenged the audience to post on social media right then and there, “What’s the one challenge you have related to (your specialty.)”

So, never one to back down to a challenge – I grabbed my phone and immediately posted to my Facebook Page. What was surprising to me were a lot of the answers I received. This simple piece of feedback is now helping to shape our blog calendar and will continue to shape the content we roll out to our #GetSocialSmart members and throughout social media. By simply asking your audience what are their biggest pain points, they will many times surprise you! We also decided to take this a step further and will be asking this question through our email list and other social channels this week.

Ann Handley discussing how to create bigger, bolder, braver content at #SMMW16

Ann Handley discussing how to create bigger, bolder, braver content at #SMMW16

Bigger, bolder, braver content

I was so excited to hear Ann Handley (@AnnHandley) speak – she is so well-versed and someone I have really come to respect in the world of marketing and content creation (plus, she’s a kick a$$ power woman!) She talked about the importance of quality content versus quantity – but what really hit home for me is when she said, “The biggest missed opportunity in marketing is playing it too safe.” This really resonated with me – I think so often we play to the middle, to the safe spot – but in our content (whether that is written, video, live video, etc.) – are we playing it too safe? Am I playing it too safe? Ann’s talk reminded me of back when I first started blogging for Inman News in 2009 and I remember the advice I received from many skilled bloggers, which was – “Don’t be afraid to assert your opinion into your content. People will read your blog to see what YOU think about something.” Hearing Ann speak really revitalized that passion for me and how much I do enjoy writing and creating content – not just for the sake of creating content but for doing something that makes a difference, something that I am passionate about and feel that I can contribute to the conversation. My big take-away from Ann’s presentation is to ‘tell bolder stories!’

Thrilled to meet one of the nicest guys and talented author/speaker Jay Baer!

Thrilled to meet one of the nicest guys and talented author/speaker Jay Baer!

Hug your haters

I was thrilled to see Jay Baer (@JayBaer) speak at SMMW and his talk was focused on achieving social media customer service success. It was really interesting to hear him talk about customer service in the age of social media. Jay talked about the importance of brands embracing their complaints and not running from them. He said “95% of people never complain publicly – they just disappear. The other 5% complain – they are your most important customers.” The advice he gave that really resonated with me was, ‘do not trade empathy for speed.’ We see this all the time where someone complains, and someone in charge of social media copies and pastes this ‘approved corporate speak’ and now, as Jay says, ‘the customer goes from mad to ‘supernova mad!’ Such great take-aways from this talk – I can’t wait to read his new book, Hug Your Haters!

We all have room to ‘sharpen our saw’

As the great Stephen Covey once wrote about; the best educators, trainers, coaches, speakers – you name it – the best of the best always take time out to sharpen their saw and to invest in themselves to get better at their craft.

There were so many other fantastic speakers whose sessions I attended because there are areas of opportunity I know we can be doing better at such as:

  • I loved hearing Amy Porterfield (@AmyPorterfield) teach how she has grown her email list on a budget with Facebook ads.
  • I also loved hearing from the great Michael Hyatt (@MichaelHyatt) about developing a product. This was an important conversation for me, as our team works on developing more training and informational products in 2016 and beyond – in order to serve more people.
  • One of the biggest highlights for me was attending Michael Port’s (@michaelport) session on Heroic Public Speaking. I first discovered Michael Port a few months ago when I found his podcast and have just loved his content and his style. As many of you reading this know – I love to speak and I’m honored that I am asked to speak at many conferences – sometimes two to three each month. I believe we can always get better and my speaking skills are something I’ve been very intentional about working on and improving. His session completely blew me away. Reflecting on his talk, some of my big take-aways were how he approaches public speaking as a performance – every movement, every story, every voice inflection – has a purpose. He brought up to the front of the room novice and experienced speakers and was able to give incredible feedback on the spot. As an audience member, it was really thrilling to see this type of ‘hands-on’ workshop. He said, ‘great performances require great rehearsal’ – and that really struck a nerve with me as an area I know I can improve on!

#HustleBaby #AskGaryVee

Gary Vaynerchuk (@GaryVee) rocked his Q/A keynote as well. I think he could talk about the hustle of paint drying and I would still be so fired up. The man has so much passion in one finger – it always get me pumped to hear him live. I particularly loved hearing him talk about the patience of building a business.

The ROI of social media is real

If you missed my recap article about Mark Schaefer’s (@MarkWSchaefer) keynote – click here to read. I loved hearing him talk about the qualitative values of social media; everything you get out of social media doesn’t always appear on a spreadsheet!

It’s always about the connections and friends you make

I can’t talk about #SMMW16 without giving a huge shout-out to the amazing people I connected with in real life. The connections and friendships I made were priceless!

It's all about the friends and connections you make!

It’s all about the friends and connections you make!

I know I covered a ton in this post, but for as much as I covered – I know there was so much more! I am looking forward to spending some time watching the replays! If you attended #SMM16 leave me a comment below with your thoughts and your biggest take-aways. Would love to hear from you!

Can’t wait until next year!

Join me at Social Media Marketing World this year!

World’s Largest Social Media Marketing Conference Join 180+ experts (including Guy Kawasaki, Mari Smith, Scott Monty, Jay Baer, Ann Handley, Michael Stelzner, Michael Hyatt, Amy Porterfield, Chris Brogan, Mark Schaefer and experts from dozens of brands) as they help you master social media marketing and content creation at Social Media Marketing World 2017. Live in San Diego, March 2017. Click here for details.

Can’t attend in person? Grab your virtual pass right here.


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