From Us to You: Nuggets of Social Media Conference Gold

Top 10 Takeaways from SMMW17

We were among the 4,000 people who attended the fabulous Social Media Marketing World (SMMW) conference in San Diego March 22-24. In terms of star power, this conference has it!  Speakers included “social celebrities” Guy Kawasaki, Mari Smith, Scott Monty, Jay Baer, Ann Handley, Michael Stelzner, Michael Hyatt, Amy Porterfield, Chris Brogan, Mark Schaefer, Sandy Carter, Lee Odden and many others whose names you might recognize.

If you missed the event this year, no worries. We’ve brought back some shiny gold nuggets of ideas for you. Here are our 10 takeaways:

1) Mind meld with the like-minded. It’s great to be at a gathering of fellow professionals. We typically go to technical conferences where attendees discuss the latest innovations in our clients’ high- technology markets. This conference was a refreshing change because everyone was discussing the social-media marketing issues that we are consumed with on a daily basis. We highly recommend it.

2) Promote yourself and your stuff.  Not only did the conference include areas to take selfies and shoot video, but speakers provided their social media account names, and shared their content via Slideshare or another similar method. Some influencers even had giveaways from partners (think Harry & David, Williams Sonoma) that shared images for presentations. 

Caption: Sister Act–Colleen @martellcomm (left) and Michele @mjmartell pose for a sister-selfie at SMMW17 in San Diego.

3) Social isn’t just for the young. The age range of the 4000 attendees was vast. Many folks attending were seasoned professionals (with gray hair!) who have added social media skills to their professional tool chest. And, of course, we met people at the other end of the age spectrum, such as the Las Vegas college student learning about social media before she graduates.

4) Never miss a session.  Being able to listen to ALL the workshops via the recordings is a great feature of SMMW. Even with a team of two, we couldn’t attend all the sessions that we wanted. But, having the ability to go back and listen to recorded sessions is very valuable.

5) Video: Just do It.  We were motivated to try shooting video after attending one of the first workshops of the event. So we made a pact to each do at least 5 videos a day. Having someone there to operate  the camera made it easy to just jump in. We learned from every video we shot.

6) Try a new social tool. Companies are experimenting with new platforms all the time. We heard several stories about companies that were trying out Snapchat, Pinterest, Facebook Groups, live video, etc. and they shared their mistakes. Participants in social media have what one researcher called lower “representational anxiety” — meaning that they are less concerned with how it appears, given how quickly content disappears. Speakers told us not  to get hung up on production quality or perfection, but to engage authentically with your audience.

7) Take home wisdom. Many speakers authored books that were available for purchase at the Networking Plaza. Colleen picked up Gini Dietrich’s Spin Sucks and John Lee Dumas’ Podcast Launch

8) Network, a lot.  We particularly enjoyed the “bingo” style questions we had to ask other attendees at the USS Midway Networking Party the first evening. The game was a great ice breaker and led to lots of fun conversation (especially the question about finding a person who snorts when laughing!).

9) Ask peers for perspective.  We really went out of our way to talk to other attendees. We chatted with the folks next to us waiting for a session to start, struck up conversations at lunch, attended one of the Table Talk events and went on a Networking Dinner. Not only did we make great contacts with really interesting folks to interview for later posts, we also learned a lot. Michele got a hot tip on a session with a top Snapchat influencer, and it turned out to be one of the best speeches she attended. 

10) Sisterhood is fun! We’ve  been working together for over a year now, which gives us a unique perspective on sisterly cooperation outside the family setting. We are familiar with each other’s quirks, can finish each other’s sentences, and we can push buttons to motivate each other better than “regular” co-workers. Plus, no one does your hair and makeup better than a sister :).  

Read our next post for a recap of the top sessions… and a few more nuggets of gold.


Caption:  Social media people want lots of photo opp locations, so there were plenty of areas set up throughout the SMMW conference. Say “cheese!”