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Social Media Marketing World 2018 Key Take-Aways #SMMW18

This past week I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at Social Media Marketing World in San Diego. This was my third year attending and it did not disappoint!

This was my second year in a row I was asked to be a track leader and I had such a great experience this year as I did last – I wanted to write a recap blog post about the sessions I helped to moderate and I also reached out to some of my favorite speakers and friends to get their take-aways. Grab your favorite beverage and get ready to dive into some great tips!

Video creator and YouTube sessions…

For two days as I was the track leader, I was in sessions solely devoted to video creation and YouTube so the majority of my take-aways are going to be from those sessions since those are the ones I was in the most. I was pumped to be moderating these tracks because I’ve really been working on amping up my video and YouTube game these last 15 months. At the beginning of 2017 I made the commitment to publish one vlog a week and we have kept to our commitment and it’s been awesome to see our community grow because of it. However, I knew I still had a lot more to learn. Here are some of the big takeaways…

Selfies with the awesome speakers I had the pleasure of getting to know during my time as a track leader for #SMMw18

Tim Schmoyer @timschoymer (check out Tim’s YouTube channel here)

I really enjoyed Tim’s talk. Before I met him in person, I quickly became a big fan of his style on YouTube. He’s upbeat, really friendly and super knowledgeable. I was really impressed when I met him in person – super down to earth with a ton of great content to share.

A common theme throughout the day at SMMW was the reminder of how important it is to know your audience. Tim said, “generic video = generic responses” and I couldn’t agree more. He also reminded us to really tell your story and integrate it into your video content. Aren’t you more likely to trust someone when you hear their backstory? Also, don’t be afraid to share a belief or an opinion. I completely agree with this – this is one of the best ways to attract your tribe!

Want to grow your channel? Tim recommends collaboration with other YouTubers – how? Offer visual effects, music composition, expertise, write a script, provide a shooting location, give them a week off! Where to find collaborators? Reach out to fans, check out, check out creator Facebook groups, channel search on YouTube (QUERY, channel), ask your channel, attend meet ups and events.

In terms of titles and trends, Tim recommends using Tag Explorer and spend time on your titles, make your own twist on it. He also recommends to watch trends – see what people are posting and see if there is an opportunity to jump on trends.

Grant Thompson @thekingofrandom (check out Grant’s YouTube channel here)

I really enjoyed Grant’s talk at SMMW for one big reason. He got very, very real with the audience and shared the struggle of always having to “do it all” as a business owner. He shared how he was able to let go of some of the video editing by creating one of the most detailed checklist I have ever seen. With his background as a pilot – he knew creating a detailed checklist was key – so he could hand off video editing to just about anyone and they could create a King of Random video.

Here are some tip from Grant on how to do this: as you think about a process in your business, every step – write it down on a google doc and make a spreadsheet and then as you hired someone to do this job – as they ask you questions, you modify and refine the checklist to add what you missed. When asked about how to hire or find a great editor, Grant recommends creating a form in Google docs for an application but somewhere in the text of the application ask them to do something really obscure. Grant’s example was “in the 3rd question on this form, type the word “sledgehammer.” This was an easy way for Grant to weed out people who weren’t really reading the details or following directions. My big take-away from Grant is that you should be thee “master of the system vs being tied to the system.” 

Dan Markham @whatsinside (check out Dan’s YouTube channel here)

I really enjoyed learning more about Dan whose YouTube channel originally was created after a school assignment with his son – and from there, their channel has exploded! What makes Dan’s channel work? They focus on: edutainment (education + entertaining), keeping it family friendly, authentic and optimized for the algorithm. Dan really impressed me with how much he knew about YouTube and the analytics behind what makes a successful video.

His long term algorithm tips include: shooting in 4K, always using captions (using, he recommend TubeBuddy or VidIQ for title and tags and he recommends following up successful videos with more of the same. He said that the YouTube algorithm favors regularity, consistency. 

Amy Landino @Schmittastic (check out Amy’s YouTube channel here)

I was really excited to connect with Amy again. I had first met Amy online on Periscope a few years ago and then met her in person last year at SMMW but this was really my first chance to see her speak live. I am also a big fan of her book, Vlog Like a Boss! (affiliate link!)

In Amy’s talk she really emphasized a few key things: hooking the viewer right from the start (you have to grab their attention quickly) and she recommended using tactics like cut-aways, ‘Easter eggs’ (where people have to pause and rewind to see something), cropping in and out of a shot (great tip: crop in when you make a joke or say something ironic.) She reminded us that one shot does not have to be static – you have to keep the eyes moving to increase your audience retention rate.

Amy gave a great tip on how to create more content and engage your audience. She suggested creating videos highlighting comment from other videos – when you can reference a past video and some of the comments – it gets people to go back and watch that video (plus, the person you highlighted is excited you highlighted them.) What a win-win! “Comments = content.” Love that. She also talked about YouTube cards and how this is such a great built-in opportunity to link back to other videos.

Lastly, at the end, during her Q/A – she was asked about her audience and creating videos for a specific audience. She said something that really stood out to me. She said, “I know HER.” She was referring to the person/persona/audience she knows is “her people” or “her tribe.” Again, this was such a great reminder to not just know who you are talking to in your videos – but really lean in and think of exactly who they are, what they look like, sound like and the more specific, the better!

Shaun White @Shonduras (check out Shaun’s YouTube channel here)

I am embarrassed to admit I was not familiar with Shaun – aka Shonduras until before SMMW – but holy moly, I was so impressed. He had a packed room and he was so gracious and kind to everyone who approached him – after his talk he had a massive line and he took time with each and everyone of them. Shaun’s talk was about working with brands and I loved that instead of having slides he spoke from his heart and his experience.

One of the first things he said that really resonated with me was about growing your social media channels. He said, “What’s more powerful than a giveaway to grow your social media accounts? How about instead focusing on giving your community shout-outs and recognition?” I love this idea and I try to do this all the time with my community as well!

Shaun talked a lot about the delicate balance when creators work with brands and brands work with creators. He said he really loves trying to document REAL experiences and real reactions when working with a brand v. something that’s so curated and polished it doesn’t come across as meaningful. He shared some great insights on working with brand by being very specific with their goals – and how when you are on the same page, you can really make the brand the hero!

He also said that if you are a creator, even if you don’t have a big following you can still work with a brand – highlight your engagement not your numbers. Engagement is always better then the overall number of likes or followers. He also encouraged brands to look at people you have never looked at before. There are so many great content creators out there – you have to find the right one for your brand!

Jeremy Vest @vidpowbarn (check out Jeremy’s YouTube channel here)

I really enjoyed hearing from Jeremy Vest, the founder of Vidpow and Video Marketing World Conference. Jeremy gave some great tips when it comes to your video thumbnails. He recommends this: “Pump up your thumbnail colors by 30%. Sharpen your thumbnails 30% more. Have a thumbnail with eyeballs (i.e. people in the thumbnail) and ACTION counts! Look at trending videos and create thumbnails in opposite colors to stand out!”

I love when Jeremy said this, “Don’t just publish video for the sake of publishing. Bring value!” I couldn’t agree more. He went on to talk about how important it is to hook people within the first TWO seconds of a video you have to captures people’s attention. Start FAST and have a hook. He also talked a lot about the power of why someone SHARES something. He said, “Why do people share a video? You’ve made them FEEL something.” Love this – thank you Jeremy!

Steve Dotto @dottotech (Check out Steve’s YouTube channel here)

Steve was one of my favorite speakers at SMMW because he was so real, down to earth and was very transparent. His talk was about how he makes money on YouTube and I was pleasantly surprised with all the revenue streams he shares: Adsense, affiliate, brand deals, crowd-funding and more. He recommended the site which I plan on digging into more. He shared his personal journey of recently starting his own vlog and also gave this great suggestion: “let your community lead you to your products and your content.” Thank you Steve!

Zach King @finalcutking (Check out Zach’s YouTube channel here)

The room at SMMW became very, very full once Zach King took the stage! You may remember Zach from Vine – he is known for making incredible illusion videos (you have to see it to believe it) I loved his tips he shared on creating video and growing your channel.

Want to have a yearly video plan? Create one video a week – be consistent like your favorite TV show. Why make it more complicated right? I loved hearing this as we have been doing this the last 15 months! He challenged everyone to make one video a week for the rest of the year and then track your results. He recommends as a great place to check out analytics and check on your channel growth.

He also talked about video on Facebook and said that Facebook knows when you shot the video on your phone and upload it directly – they tend to do better on Facebook (although it’s not as good in terms of production value) – but this reinforces what I’ve always felt about Facebook video – that sometimes raw and uncut tends to work better!

He also talked about the power of a story arc, of telling a story by including lots of action and not having to rely necessarily on sound or language. He also talked about the power of going super hyperlocal. I loved that he gave a real estate example: The Brandon Porter Show – which focuses on Newberg (which is near Portland, Oregon.) But, the value of really digging into your niche is so powerful! 

Roberto Blake @robertoblake (Check out Roberto’s YouTube channel here)

I really enjoyed Roberto’s message at SMMW. He was so poised and well spoken – I found myself wanting to go to his channel to learn more. One of the first things he said that stood out to me was this: “Search is intentional. Do you OWN the answer in search (for your niche?)”

He also said this: “Be the Netflix in your industry. Re-cycle and up-cycle relevant – but older content that was successful.” I so, so love this. If you know me and how I think about re-purposing content – Roberto was speaking my language!

Roberto talked a lot about numbers and analytics, but he also said, “You can’t fake attention. Time is the currency on social media – more so than views or subscribers.” I love this and I love how he said, “analytics eliminate assumptions.” He recommends a tool called Morning Fame (link here: and really talked about the power of how each channel (whether it is YouTube or not really focuses on minute to minute, hour to hour engagement. He said the first hour you post a piece of content is crucial but especially with YouTube – it is all about watch time in that first hour. They key to getting more watch time is in your distribution strategy. Great tips Roberto!

Whew! Still with me? If you’ve made it this far into our blog post (2,400 words so far) – I hope you will read a little bit longer. I reached out to some of my favorite speakers, friends and colleagues who were at Social Media Marketing World and asked them for their big takeaways – here is what they had to say!

Kelly Mirabella @stellar247

Social Media Marketing World is always amazing. There was a lot of talk about automation, chatbots as well as creating superfans. My big take away – At the end of the day, there is a lot of noise and OVER automation. Bring the social back to social media. Be real. Be authentic. Care, and most of all create an experience for your tribe that they won’t ever forget. Learn more about Kelly here!

Sue B Zimmerman @suebzimmerman

Biggest take away for me – pre-game before I get introduced to be on stage by going live on my mic and talking to everyone in the room. People feel more connect to me and I’m able to get a sense of the energy in the room. Also, animated Gifs on Instagram are a an opportunity for you to take a stagnant clip and turn it into a branded entertaining piece of content that can capture the attention of your followers. Learn more about Sue here!

Rebekah Radice @rebekahradice

The resounding theme of Social Media Marketing World 2018 was relationships. And if you look across the social landscape, you’ll see that mindset has come full circle. What started as a community eager to interact on a real level, evolved into marketers with a mission to overtake social media. We’re now back to a relationship first focus. Whether it’s with customers, employees, or team members — conversation, caring, and empathy is the key to success. Learn more about Rebekah here!

Andrea Vahl @andreavahl

The presentations highlighted that now more than ever, an emphasis on community is the best social media strategy.  Mike Stelzner went into the changes with the Facebook News Feed that will favor longer conversations, Pat Flynn showed that building a tribe means that the medium doesn’t matter, and Brian Solis gave us the rallying cry that it’s time to take back social media from the bots, the fake news, and move forward with community.  Meeting all the friends that have been coming to Social Media Marketing World for years is proof that community wins the day! Find out more about Andrea here!

Chris Strub @chrisstrub

I was reminded how important it is and how valuable it can be to simply be good to the person next to you, no matter what they do or who they are. I was impressed to learn about the deep variety of experience and passion that many of the attendees brought to San Diego from around the world. Find out more about Chris here!

Kim Garst @kimgarst

There is tremendous power in one on one conversations with your customers and prospects. Chatbots were all the talk this year at #SSMW18 as they are a way to scale those one on one conversations in an authentic and fun way IF you don’t mess it up by not planning them out. Live Video is still one of the best ways to build deeper relationships with your community and to build the know, like and trust factor with new people! Content is KING! Focus on creating quality over quantity! Okay content is going to be lost in the sea of content that is out there. VALUE based content is the way to go. Find out more about Kim here!

Heather Heuman @heatherheuman

Social Media Marketing World 2018 left me with so many golden nuggets that I am so excited to implement in my business. However the biggest takeaway for me was to boldly stay in my lane and serve exactly who I want to serve.  As I spoke on stage just with the name of my brand and a 1-sentence tagline of ‘we help Christian businesses, brands and non-profits grow using the power of smart social media strategy’ led to countless meetings, coffees, conversations of the exact clients we want to serve and just confirmed what I’ve felt all along.  Doing this in such a large venue like SMMW can feel a little daunting because it is possible to fear that you are leaving money on the table, but my experience was the exact opposite and it brought even more opportunity! I’m thrilled. Find out more about Heather here!

Cathy Hackl @cathyhackl

Experience, experience, experience. Social media marketing and content are all about how people experience your brand. Focus on community and having a smaller audience rather than vanity metrics. We are moving away from content that is 2D to content that is augmented, virtual and holographic. The future is now. Social Media will be greatly impacted by how we humanize technology moving forward. With VR, AR, AI, 5G and Blockchain or industry will change dramatically, but being human will always remain. Find out more about Cathy here!

Vincenzo Landino @vincenzolandino

SMMW18 had so much information and great speakers, but one thing stood out the most to me. In a time when so many people are talking about bots and AI, there seemed to be an overwhelming amount of advice from the stage about “in real life” connections and connecting with folks face to face. Putting the “social” back into social media was something I heard a lot in conversations both on stage and off. Find out more about Vincenzo here!

Whew! You made it to the end! There is so much more I could talk about when it comes to

Thank you Mike Stelzner!

Social Media Marketing World – it has made such a big impact on me personally and professionally! A big thanks to the entire SMMW team for putting on such an incredible event – especially Mike Stelzner and Phil Mershon – you guys rock!

I’d love to hear from YOU – were you at #SMMW18? What was your big take-away? Leave me a comment below! 

P.S. If you enjoyed this blog post, I’d love if you’d take a screenshot of this blog post on your phone, tag me in an Instagram Story @katielance and let me know you read this post. I am giving away copies of my book #GetSocialSmart to the most creative IG Stories – ready, set, GO!



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