Me and 1100 of my closest social media friends, followers, likers, influencers and retweeters gathered in San Diego April 7-9, 2013 for the most successful Social Media Marketing World ever. (Well, it was the first, after all.)
By the end, I was spent, but satisfied. Networked out.
Mike Stelzner, Founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner, and his amazing team pulled off a wonderful inaugural event that sets a high standard to meet (and exceed) in years to come.
The two-day event was a social networker’s dream. Social media A-listers by the boatload (literally) mixed with an abundance of smart and ambitious front-line bloggers, Tweeters, community managers, and entrepreneurs across a diverse range of businesses.
My mind is still swimming with new contacts and information and strategies gleaned from this incredible event.
So, here are some of the most important takeaways for me from Social Media Marketing World 2013:
1. Social has disrupted marketing
Mike Stelzner kicked off the event talking about the disruptive force of social media. Search has fundamentally disrupted sales. Blogging has disrupted publishing. The web is disrupting all kinds of business models. My take-away: Doing what you’ve always done in marketing is going to return less and less.
2. You have to give to get in networking
Larry Benet talked about connection currency and the culture of generosity and kindness. Networking success, he reminded us, comes more from what we give than what we get. My take-away: “People don’t care how much you know until you show them how much you care.”
3. Find your “one true thing”
John Jantsch shared the importance of having a marketing strategy that unifies your vision and customer experience with your internal business culture. My take-away: Find the “one true thing” about your business and build a community around it.
4. Start yesterday
Guy Kawasaki brought a number of excellent tactical recommendations to his session on using Google+, among them: the importance of a friendly face profile picture, curation of great content, how to ride trends and restrain self-promotion. But the key take-away for me what his first, most succinct point: start yesterday.
5. Answer your customers’ questions
Marcus Sheridan doesn’t call himself the Sales Lion for nothing. He is poised and alert, ready to pounce on nuggets of truth with a ferocity that is awe-inspiring. My take-away: Embrace honesty and answer your customers’ questions about cost, problems and competitors and you will build trust and close more sales.
6. Brand your personality
Sally Hogshead mesmerized all of us by, among other things, helping us understand the importance of using our own personalities in our marketing. My take-away: Understand your personality then use it to differentiate by being more of yourself.
7. Focus on the media, not only the social
Chris Brogan’s Trust Agents (with Julien Smith) is still one of the best social strategy books out there. But, followers and friends don’t pay the bills. So, Brogan says, focus on the media not only the social. My take-away: Build your own media empire and use your content to attract email subscribers and build a community around your business.
8. Twitter forces you to rethink ROI
From a simple Tweet, Mark Schaefer traces a cascading series of relationships and business opportunities. Approach Twitter with a social media mindset of meaningful content, targeted connections and authentic helpfulness and you will succeed. My take-away: Traditional ROI calculations overlook many of the benefits of relationship-building on Twitter, so change how you measure benefits and ROI, don’t abandon Twitter.
9. Invest in your product and experience
Lee Odden ran a good session on content marketing into which he crammed tons of relevant information. But it was as an aside that he made his most important point about marketing: Investing in your product and service is the best marketing.
10. Be consistent online and off
Dave Kerpen’s keynote seemed a good way to close out the conference. The author of Likeable Business is a likeable guy with the gift of the gab. My take-away was some advice Dave offers for CEOs in social: “Be the same person online and offline, in public and in private.”
- Stephanie Sammons wasn’t as tall as I thought she’d be, but Jay Baer was way taller. Both were as warm in real life as their online personas suggested.
- Neal Schaffer is a serious guy with a head for social media strategy and planning in businesses. Looking forward to learning lots from him.
- You can tell Kyle Lacy spends a lot of time on the road. He’s a real pro.
- Derek and Melanie Coburn are doing a very interesting networking thing with cadre in DC.
- Brogan’s new book is great, but I bet he wishes he didn’t use the Lance Armstrong reference in the prologue.
- Peg Fitzpatrick has one of the best business cards from the whole show. And that’s saying something considering Sally Hogshead’s card and the cadre card.
Finally, if you want some additional insight into the key messages and take-aways from #SMMW13 check out Anne McColl’s wonderfully creative “sketchnotes” and sketch tweets from the event.
Sadly, I didn’t actually meet Anne at the event, but there’s always next year…
What were your take-aways from the event? Please share.