This week was the start of a 6 speaking event extravaganza over the next 30 days or so and what a kickoff. The inaugural Social Media Marketing World in San Diego put on by Mike Stelzner and the team at Social Media Examiner was nothing less than impressive.
When Mike told me about the event last year, I had no hesitation about saying yes. What I didn’t know was what kind of experience it would be.
With a very California warm and fuzzy feel, the practical SMMW13 conference sessions were sandwiched with inspirational and engaging keynotes from:
- Larry Benet “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”
- Sally Hogshead “How to Fascinate With Your Social Media Messages”
- Dave Kerpen“The 4 most important words in business are, thank you and I’m sorry”
As they should, the keynotes hit people over the head with compelling insights, perspectives and had people laughing, crying and highly motivated.
The practical sessions at Social Media Marketing World covered the gamut of topics from many of the top experts on platforms, strategies and tactics. It was like a “A-Team” of social media pundits and practitioners gathered together for two days of social vulcan mind-melds. For example:
When you want to dig into LinkedIn, look no further than Viveka von Rosen.
For Twitter, there was Mark Schaefer and savvy brand practitioners Michael Bepko (Whole Foods), Liz Philips (TaylorMade), and Shelly Lucas (Dun & Bradstreet). I couldn’t get into this session at all, it was so packed.
To learn about building trust and relationships, Chris Brogan delivered.
And when it comes to content marketing, I can’t think of anyone better to learn from than “the man” himself, Joe Pulizzi.
Many other practical topics were covered as well, including:
- Social Business (Michael Brito from Edelman, Pam Didner from Intel, Munish Gupta from Dell)
- Podcasting (Cliff Ravenscraft)
- Video (Steve Spangler)
- Community Building (Susan Wassel from Sharpie, Ekaterina Walter from Intel and Kat Smith from Petco)
- Lead Generation (Jason Miller from Marketo)
- Measurement ( Author Nichole Kelly)
- Strategy (Author Mitch Joel)
- Design (Vanessa Cho from Walmart )
- Crisis Management (Author Douglas Karr)
- Social Networking (Author John Jantsch)
- Branding (Brian Ellefritz from SAP and LaSandra Brill from Cisco)
But wait, there’s more!
Blogging was well represented by the likes of brand smarties Justin Levy (Citrix) and Waynette Tubbs (SAS), blogging savant Marcus Sheridan and conference organizer Michael Stelzner. Blogging was also the topic of my session, “How to Integrate Blogging With Content Marketing that Inspires Action”. Here’s a blog post preview.
I was floored by the great energy the audience gave during my session and really amazed at the response on Twitter, guided by the incentive to win a copy of Optimize, for the best tweets. Thanks to the monitoring of TopRank’s Miranda Miller, I learned there were about 275 tweets during the 40 minutes of presentation time.
Congratulations to Rachael Silvers for being the winner of best tweets during my session!
For my presentation, I covered the importance of setting goals, following a plan, measuring progress and optimizing performance of blogging efforts as part of a content marketing strategy.
It might seem like common sense to do this, but it’s simply not in effect. When I polled the audience about having specific goals for their blog, 35-40% raised their hands. When I asked about using a blog specific editorial plan, 20% responded. The follow up to that was about monitoring KPIs and optimizing performance which each resulted in about 10% of hands. I guess they were in the right session, because that’s exactly what I presented and the feedback was amazing.
The punch line to the presentation was an equation: Add passion of individual subject matter experts and what the brand stands for with an understanding of your customers’ needs and the result will be stories that can Attract, Engage & Convert.
Anne McColl actually created a hand drawn infographic on her ipad of my presentation. How clever is that?
Speaking of livetweeting, our friends at Traackr did a cool thing and ran a list of the top 50 microbloggers during the conference.
It was nice to see a strong Minnesota contingent present including Christina Milanowski from Maccabee Group plus Sarah Kuglin and her partner in crime Colleen Olson Marcus soaking up social knowledge everywhere I looked. Sarah is working on a very special project for us and I can’t wait to share when it’s done.
Overall it was a great event and I was very happy to finally meet quite a few people in person for the first time that I’ve known online for years, like Ric Dragon, Liz Phillips, Waynette Tubbs, Dave Kerpen, Sally Hogshead, Viveka von Rosen, Paola Elizaga and many more. Check out some of the SMMW13 photos on Flickr.
Thank you Mike Stelzner, Phil Mershon, Cindy King, Jaci Feinstein, Irene O’Leary and the entire Social Media Examiner staff for putting on a fantastic first conference. Along with everyone else that attended this week, I’m looking forward to the next one.
If you attended Social Media Marketing World in San Diego this week, what was your favorite part?