I just returned from the ‘Super Bowl’ of all social media conferences; Social Media Marketing World #SMMW17. This was my second time attending; after leaving last year I knew I had to go back! I have the pleasure of speaking at conferences across the country, but I am a big believer that you have to ‘sharpen your saw’ and surround yourself with the best of the best from your industry. You never stop learning!
This year I had the pleasure of not just attending, but of being a Track Leader and moderating two rooms for two days during the event. This was a huge honor; I felt like in many ways like a “co-emcee” to the event as Phil Mershon (@Phil_Mershon), the event director called the role. As a track leader, I had a birds-eye view behind-the-scenes at Social Media Marketing World and this post is going to share many of my key take-aways and a-ha moments. I just want to warn you – this is a super meaty post. And, ironically I know my take-aways only scratch the surface of what was covered at Social Media Marketing World. I also asked some friends their key take-aways as well and I’m excited to share those with you today!
So, sit back – grab a hot cup of coffee (or your favorite beverage) and let’s dig into the take-aways!
The Art of the Interview
I had the pleasure of introducing Michael O’Neal (@solohour) who runs a wildly successful podcast for his workshop at Social Media Marketing World; and his talk was so refreshing.
First off, he started with a drum solo – which was a great way to be unforgettable!
He gave some awesome pointers about the art of asking questions, of being a great interviewer and of being interested not just interesting. He said, “It’s not about the questions you ask in an interview – it’s about how you make them feel at the end.”
One of my favorite tips that I took with me throughout the entire conference, was the art of the introduction.
He said, “The most powerful words of an introduction are the last two words – the name of your guest. Don’t utter their name until you get to the end. Think about how Jimmy Fallon introduces guests – he will say something like, “And our next guest is an Emmy-winning actor and stars in the hit show___, please welcome (First Name, Last Name.)” As I was charged with introducing people throughout the conference – I took that advice to heart and I can not tell you how much of a difference it made and how much more powerful it sounded.
He also gave the tip that when you are interviewing someone – look for opportunities to plug them throughout your show – so they will really feel like they had a great experience. He also recommended people to tell their stories – people love stories – and ask them the questions no one else is asking.
Conference Networking for Introverts
The next workshop session I attended was led by the amazing Jillian Vorce (@jillianvorce.) I had watched her TedX talk prior to SMMW but was still so blown away. She gave some amazing networking tips such as:
- Listening is one of the most important elements of networking. People need to be
- If you keep saying thing like, “I’m shy, or I’m not good with groups of people…” this may be a fulfilling prophesy. Challenge that!
- There is nothing like the face-to-face handshake, high-five, meeting up for coffee, etc. You can tell when people are really present. And the best gift you can give people is the gift of your attention.
- Remember we are all ‘human’ and all have our ‘stuff’ going on!
What I really liked about Jillian is she really talked the talk and walked the walk. Before her talk, she was walking around the room – meeting and connecting with people. She was so “present” – which in this day and age is hard to find!
How to Set Up and Run a Successful Mastermind
I was really excited for this session led by the wildly successful Dan Miller (@48daysteam) as this is a topic that I have been mulling around for some time. I knew I was in for a treat when he introduced me to his lovely wife Joanne and one of his daughters Ashley, along with several members of his mastermind group who were in the audience to support him!
He led the workshop with one of my all-time favorite Jim Rohn quotes, “You are the average of the five
people you spend the most time with.” Such a great reminder to me of the importance of surrounding yourself with the right people in your life!
He talked about how so many successful people in history created mastermind groups like Benjamin Franklin – and that when you are a part of a mastermind the legacy that you can leave because of your mastermind. When you bring people from all different walks of life together you are as Dan puts it “living life together” and the experiences that can come from being in a mastermind together are incredible. Dan referenced the 1935 classic book, Think and Grow Rich which said one of the number one commonalities of all wealthy and successful people was that they were all part of a mastermind.
He reminded the crowd that there is a danger in being so independent – having a mastermind allows for a sense of being connected and that in a mastermind you can achieve more in a year than you can in a lifetime!
The Social Media Marketers Guide to Artificial Intelligence
I have to admit, this session, taught by the well-spoken Christopher Penn (@cspenn) intimidated me at first! But, I gained so many interesting insights from his message. One of his core points was how marketing really lacks scale and profitability and if you have ever said, “I wish there was a better way to track…. or
to measure…” – this is where you start when you start thinking about AI.
Christopher shared with us how 83M news stories are being published each year and how certain publications are outpacing the competition because they’ve actually developed the technology to automatically write and create content. He also talked about influencer marketing and he reminded all of us that is’t not about the number of followers but who actually is following them that is key. We’ve already started to see chat bots cropping up and the AI that is right around the corner is exciting (or, terrifying – depending on who you talk to!) 🙂
How to Create Breakthrough Written Content
I was thrilled to introduce one of my favorite writers and speakers in the content marketing space – Ann Handley (@marketingprofs.) She started off by reminding all of us that the most important part of writing, isn’t writing, it’s reading the headlines, it’s idea gathering, it’s being a collector (or hoarder) of ideas!
Some of the tools she recommended for idea gathering and inspiration were:
- Google Scholar
- Blog About
One of the things I love about learning from Ann is her sense of humor to make a great point. She talked about the “Screw and Do” in writing which includes WIIFYA (What’s In It For Your Audience.) She also talked about how grammar is more important for the editor, not the writer and recommended a few great editing tools such as: Hemingway App, Grammarly and Wordy.com.
I think what I loved most about her talk was her reminder to all of us to “start with a curious mind!” Great advice for any content creators.
How Businesses Use Facebook Groups to Build Communities and Grow Sales
This was a fantastic panel discussion led by New Zealander Pauline Stockhausen @stockhausens. She led a power-packed panel discussing how to grow and lead a Facebook Group to build sales and build a community. Her panel included: Philip Taylor (@ptmoney), Molly Pittman (@DigitalMktr), Marc Mawhinney (@MarcMawhinney) and Jenn Scalia (@JennScalia.)
Some of my favorite ideas I jotted down from this panel included:
- Have consistent posts each week like the “friend train” or “AMA” (ask me anything)
- Let people once a month or so self promote themselves
- Use challenges to drive engagement and sales to a product or service
- Giveaways like books or Starbucks cards are a great way to grow your group
- Grytics.com is a great tool to help manage conversations in groups, find posts that have not been answered
- Set rules including who and who can not go live in the group
- Name your Facebook Business Page and Group differently to avoid confusion.
I am a huge believer in the power of Facebook ads – thank you Pauline for a great discussion here!
Facebook Live for Brands
I was thrilled when I had the opportunity to introduce the super-talented Cathy Hackl (@CathyHackl) who I first had the pleasure of meeting on Periscope last year. She led an all-star panel talking about Facebook Live for brands. Her panel included: Jennifer Watson (@jwatson_wx), Ursula Ringham @Ursula_Ringham and Scott Nickels @scott5cents
Here are some of my favorite take-aways that I think can apply to ANY business owner (large or small) using Facebook Live:
- Good audio and lighting is key
- The Weather Channel is broadcasting on Facebook Live 3-5 times a day (holy moly!)
- Watch what other people are doing in the space
- People love stories – tell a good story!
- Use the prescheduling features Facebook has available
- Re-share your Facebook Live back into the NewsFeed once it’s over to gain exposure again.
- Prediction – the next hottest job will be virtual production companies that are assisting companies and brands with their live broadcasting.
- Brands to watch who are crushing it with Facebook Live include: Game of Thrones and The New York Times.
- There’s a new Page admin role on Facebook – which allows you to grant access to someone to go live and essentially do a “take-over” of your page.
Remember, Live is only 2 years old! Adoption may take time. Keep in mind you are doing something most people and brands are not doing yet. It’s not going to be perfect!
Native Advertising Success: Lessons From Branded Content Campaigns
I was excited to meet and introduce another awesome female speaker Melanie Deziel (@mdeziel.) She kicked off her presentation with this tip, “Every time you tell a story, think of five more ways to tell that story.” I love this idea especially as I think about how we repurpose content and think about storytelling on multiple platforms.
She reminded us that it’s key to understand the nuances of each platform (i.e. please no selfies on LinkedIn!) 🙂 She gave some great storytelling examples like: the American Doers campaign (Advil), the Billions campaign (Showtime) and Dove’s legendary campaigns focusing on self-image and inner beauty. The big take-away here is roll up your sleeves and tell real stories. Dig deep and embrace diversity in your storytelling!
How to Creatively Use Facebook Video Ads to Grow Your Business
I purposefully chose this session because as you may know – this year our team intentionally decided to go ‘all in’ with video. We are creating and producing more video than ever before from my #GetSocialSmart weekly vlog to my #KatieSpeaks, behind-the-scenes videos as I’m on the road – to Facebook Live’s – it is all about video! I’ve been running a number of video ads as well but I was excited to hear from Rick Mulready (@rickmulready) and hear his tips on the subject.
A few big take-aways for me:
- Video creates an emotional connection with people and it’s a great way to move people along a sales funnel, create awareness and conversions and tell stories that connect with people.
- Are you selling a product or service? Retarget people who visit the sales page but don’t purchase with a Facebook video ad that is a client testimonial.
- On Facebook – you need to be an interrupter. The video ads that tend to work best are fun, casual and lead with value
- Facebook is protecting the user experience at ALL COSTS!
- 75% of Facebook video views are on mobile
- Experiment with vertical and square video ads
- The objective for your campaign is critical to getting the ad to perform the way you want it to perform
At the end of the day, Rick reminded us that this was the key: “Mindset + testing = Facebook ads success” – and I couldn’t agree more!
How to Build a Facebook Marketing Funnel With Ads and More
I am always excited to hear Andrea Vahl (@AndreaVahl) speak and this topic is something I definitely wanted to hear her thoughts on at the conference. She talked about the four different types of Facebook ads: Awareness (i.e. reach, engagement,
video views), Consideration (i.e. web clicks, email opt-ins), Conversion (i.e. sales) and Retention (i.e. reviews) and this can make a huge difference when you are creating ads for different audiences. By using retargeting and the Facebook Pixel you are able to put the right ad in front of the right person at the right moment.
Andrea gave some great tips for boosting and that is to look at your Facebook Insights and sort posts by engagement. She recommends boosting posts that have a 5% or higher engagement rate. The biggest mistake she sees business owners making with ads is not split testing. She also recommended using Lead Gen ads if you don’t have a landing page to use for your ads.) Great tips by Andrea!
Becoming Known: How to Establish Yourself as a Thought Leader
This may be one of my favorite sessions of the conference. I loved hearing Mark Schaeffer (@markschaeffer) at SMMW last year and I knew I didn’t want to miss his session based on his new book, Known. Mark really spoke from the heart and said, “You can’t go where everyone else is going. Be more human. This is the filter we should be using.” I couldn’t agree more.
He advised that you need one source of rich content to be known whether that is blogging, video or podcasts. And it’s not enough to just create content. What do you stand for? To become ‘known’ don’t worry what other people are doing. Focus on building your content and do it for at least a year. He revealed that in his studies he discovered that it take on average two and a half years for personal brands to tip the scale and become ‘known.’ 30 months!
How many people give up too soon? I really related to this – this is something I teach all the time in our #GetSocialSmart Academy – the value in sticking with creating content over the course of time. There is the proverbial tipping point that happens after time where you start getting noticed and recognized for your content and what you are putting out in the world – and you start to become seen as the expert in your field. As Mark said, you can’t quit too soon! You have to look for qualitative measurement – the ‘sign posts’ in the road that signify that you are becoming known – like when you are getting asked to be on an interview. There is NO shortcut. And the good news? Everyone has the ability to do it.
I loved Mark’s talk and I already ordered the book on Amazon!
How to Promote and Sell Using Live Video
There really is no one better to talk about promoting and selling using live video than the one and only Kim Garst @kimgarst! I’m so thrilled that Kim so generously wrote the forward for my book and it was wonderful spending a bit of time with her at the event.
She gave some fantastic tips on how to use live video, but one of the big take-aways was that you should “make live video THE thing – not one more thing” in your business. She talked about the idea of speaking your blog content and then transcribing your content into text. When you use live video – there are so many great places you can repurpose it such as:
- 5-10 one minute video segments
- 5-10 quote graphics
- Text tweets
- One-minute video clips for Instagram or Pinterest
- You can strip out the audio to just have an audio file for a podcast
- Create a Snapchat or Instagram Stories
Kim also really emphasized the importance of using live video to increase your list. As Kim says, “The money and the relationships are all in the list!”
Whew! Are you with me so far? This has turned into a monster of a blog post! Does your coffee need a refill? 🙂
I also wanted to include some key take-aways by some of my friends, thought leaders and fellow speakers in the industry! Here they are:
Takeaways, LIVE is the now, figure out how to use it in a way that is unique and gives your audience a perspective of “experiencing the moment”. Messenger is the next evolution of how marketers will be able to target, story tell, communicate and market to. Social is moving fast and we need to continue to find the opportunities to be in front of our audience only where it’s worth it!
Live Video & Snapchat are still all the rage but a renewed focus on leveraging Facebook ads & Twitter chats has emerged.
Video seemed to be a part of every conversation, but the issue amongst the audience still seemed to be what content should be on video and what analytics should they be measuring.
Overall, the excitement about the future of social media seemed to be at an all-time high and there seems to be a massive shift towards wanting to be practitioners of all aspects of social media like customer service and human resources no longer checking a marketing box.
Great content is still KING. Quality content is winning over content that was created for content’s sake. In other words, mass quantities of “okay” content is going to get lost in the mix. It’s a sea of content out there today so you have to rise above and stand out somehow. Amazing, value based content is the way.
Live video, whether it’s Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Twitter Live, Facebook Stories, Snapchat, etc. was a huge topic of conversation. Live video, across the board, is the wave of the social media future, in my opinion. It’s the fastest path to the know, like and trust factor and that’s important because people buy from those they know, like and trust.
My first takeaway is – insource. Rather than the much talked about outsourcing model in business, it is important to make sure that we are bringing on people to accomplish our core mission and objectives by the concept of insourcing. Simply meaning that we are allowing those that write for us, create copy for us, graphics for us are truly staying on brand and following the systems and processes that we orchestrate to get the best organized flow of work production for our core offerings.
Second, Facebook Live and live video in general is not going to be free forever. So not only should we optimize THIS opportunity to use it now to help us grow and expand our audience but we must realize that this window of time where we can use it for free is limited.
My first take-away is to run Facebook ads to promote ONLY your best content. If you get a higher than 5% engagement rate, promote it with no more than $50. You’ll get huge reach since the relevance will be super high thanks to the organic results it got prior to boosting.
Second, We’ve all seen Facebook’s Instant Articles, which load instantly. Well, Google has a similar program called Google AMP, for mobile google searches. You can “turn on” AMP for your website, or portions of your site, and once your page is altered to meet AMP’s layout criteria, you’ll benefit from more prominent SERP ranking and placement as well as lightning fast page load times. I’m exploring AMP for my website now.
First, social media is a craft and a lot of skills are unspoken, unwritten and by intuition. Hearing these speakers share their best practices is priceless. You almost need an hour after each class just to decompress and absorb all the knowledge.
Second, Social Media Marketers are quite possibly the hardest working group of people alive. There is as much value gained outside of the workshops as there is in the #SMMW17 classes. The relationships you build with other marketers, leaders, & volunteers make this experience critical to any business. Continue to share, support, & grow these connections. I couldn’t afford NOT to attend.
So many tangible activities you can implement right now! Leverage Facebook Messenger, mix up your content- use images,
video and remember, frequency isn’t the answer- quality content is king. But if you ask me, engagement is Queen!
My biggest takeaway was from Chalene Johnson’s keynote at the end of the conference. She talked about the “Infomercial Formula” for Facebook Live videos and she said that the big companies haven’t figured out Facebook Live yet. And, we have a unique opportunity to use Facebook Live now before they figured it out. Because when they do, it won’t be free anymore. Great point!
Then, my biggest takeaway from the networking is you HAVE to invest in conferences like this to meet the people you want to connect with. You have different conversations when you meet people in person (even just connecting with old friends again) and magical things happen. This conference will grow your business – guaranteed! Not only with tips you get in the sessions but in synergy that happens with the connections you make.
I continue to be amazed at how much SMMW feels like a family reunion. Only this family multiplies and grows faster each year! My biggest takeaway is ALWAYS the people I get to play with in this social media sandbox.
There were SO MANY key take aways from this conference. The ones that really stood out to me were to get into live video NOW before the big media companies figure it out and prices go up up and away. The other BIG take away is to just be your unique weird self. Weird works. Authenticity is a small business unique value proposition that big businesses WISH they had. Be true to you.
For all the naysayers who doubted the power of Social Media, who said Social Media isn’t a legit business practice, and who *still* scoff at its value… well, you go ahead and keep right on holding that sentiment close in your hard little lump of a heart. In the meantime, I’ll be in San Diego every spring with 3000+ of those who can demonstrate otherwise.
Social platforms are incredible at forging connections with broader audiences. But there’s nothing quite like sharing a coffee, a drink, a meal or a high-five with someone in real life.
Virtual is awesome. But in-person is more important than ever.
This isn’t an astute or new observation — but nonetheless I’m always slightly surprised when I realize it anew because of another conference or meet-up. It’s hard to keep up your social media activity when you’re busy talking to people face-to-face. Said another way: Don’t you hate it when actual conversation gets in the way of Facebook posting?
Facebook is the talk of the town. Michael Stelzner said that in a list of top 10 social media categories Facebook would be 1-6. Facebook is running out of Ad space so is looking at new ways to display ads. I see Messenger ads is the next hot channel for display advertising. If you have been on the fence about Instagram now is the time to jump on the train and take advantage of all the attention IG is getting. That means going all-in on stories, live, carousel pics, and hashtag tactics. Lastly, influencer marketing. Shonduras educated us that we all should start local with influencers first (if we go the IM route) and rethink the metrics. We should be asking influencers to engage and make the brand the hero of any of their campaigns, rather than just having them share content.
Community is the new black. Creating private Facebook or Snapchat groups encourage engagement and conversation which creates relationships and business
Organic social has to be complimented with paid social to generate and capture a higher volume of leads.
Facebook Messenger ads are two new ways to reach an audience and is new enough that the open and consumption rates are as high as 60-80% (for now!). Messenger offers instant communication!
Social Media Marketing World 2017 was another year of explosive engagement, networking, and learning opportunities. A few key takeaways:
- LinkedIn isn’t going anywhere and in fact, it’s more important than ever.
- Email marketing is a long way from dead and not building your list is a rookie mistake.
- Video, video, video. Continuing the conversation from 2016, video is the future of social media.
Whew! You made it to the end! A gigantic thank you to Mike Stelzner and the entire #SMMW17 crew for putting on a fabulous event. It was amazing!