They say that the third time’s the charm. According to the word on the street (and our own opinions), Social Media Marketing World 2015 may have been the best party Michael Stelzner and his team have thrown since the conference’s inaugural event in 2013.
Three of TopRank Online Marketing’s team members – Debbie Friez, Brooke Furry, and of course Lee Odden – flew out to this year’s event in gorgeous San Diego. Hanging out in SoCal definitely makes you want to wear sandals and sit in the sun – which made us ecstatic, coming from still-snowy Minnesota.
But we didn’t completely enter vacation mode. Our goal was to make friends, increase our social know-how, and mingle with fellow marketers. Lee gave a presentation Friday afternoon entitled “Repurpose on Purpose: Personalized Content for your Target Audience,” while Debbie and Brooke live blogged and tweeted the event’s top takeaways.
Here are our best memories and top takeaways from the event.
Takeaways: Debbie Friez
Thursday night’s (indoor) beach party included options for everyone: play carnival games, sing karaoke, sit around an indoor bonfire, nibble on desserts, or dance to live music. Throughout the conference, this kind of variety continued – chances for learning, sharing, and networking were huge, and we were able to find new opportunities in every room.
Brooke and I power networked at the power station (literally, a station where you could charge your electronics). We made great connections and brainstormed on new marketing ideas. Each break and daytime meal provided roundtable conversation opportunities on different marketing topics or verticals. The conference was truly international, and we met marketers from Australia, Iceland, Switzerland, Ireland, England, Dubai, New Zealand and many other countries.
Social Media Examiner’s Mike Stelzner kicked off the conference with compelling statistics on the state of social media and insights into getting the most out of the conference.
John DiJulius completed Thursday’s sessions with customer service insights that could apply to your social media strategy. His main message to marketers? Always be positive. This includes never saying, “No problem,” but instead, saying, “Certainly, my pleasure.”
Is content killing social? I thought the Friday morning panel, including Mari Smith, Guy Kawasaki, Christopher Penn and Mark Schaefer killed it! They found a way to keep us awake with funny and interesting stories and insights.
The conference ended with Jay Baer telling us to hug our haters. As social media marketers, we need to remember a good response can gain a fan, but not responding can go viral.
- Go visual. Don’t forget to add a photo or video your posts to gain maximum exposure.
- It’s OK to repost. Your audience isn’t on Twitter 24/7. Repost the content that is bringing in the highest engagement and conversions.
- Service is the new social. Don’t be the brand that everybody hates. As marketers, we are in the business of building trust. Your job is to be the brand your customers can’t live without.
Takeaways: Brooke Furry
This was my first conference representing TopRank. I found the experience to be professionally inspiring, personally rewarding… and incredibly tweet-able. Can a marketing professional tweet too much? My poor husband didn’t know what to do with my deluge of #SMMW15-themed tweets.
But hey – every session provided little jewels that were too good not to format into 140-character takeaways.
Speaking of takeaways, here are some of the biggest for me:
- Facebook may be pay to play, but it’s still big for marketers. According to Mike Stelzner’s survey of over 3700 marketers, 93% of marketers use Facebook and over half said Facebook is their most important channel. For marketers struggling to measure ROI from Facebook, check out how well your Facebook posts are converting in Google Analytics in order to back your efforts with numbers.
- Content is more prolific than ever, but awesome content still has the power to captivate and capture viral attention. This theme came up again and again, but particularly from Jason Miller and Lee Odden. Are you sharing content your audience wants? Are you answering their top questions? Are you slicing and dicing your best, most authoritative assets to be re-used? As Lee points out, “Content isn’t King – it’s the Kingdom!”
- Figure out your social media process and strategy so you can tweak and replicate. In his session on social media strategy, Neal Schaffer pointed out that if you can’t describe what you’re doing, you don’t know what you’re doing – and you can’t tweak what you don’t know. Laura Fitton similarly challenged marketers to define their Twitter missions and execute to get real results you can measure and improve.
On a side note, Debbie and I made the most of our three days in San Diego, partaking in the city’s delicious Mexican food, visiting the barbecue joint where Top Gun was filmed, and shaking hands with a lot of talented professionals from all over the world. We had a blast!
To see snapshots from the event, check out our SMMW15 album on Flickr.
For all of our #SMMW15 coverage, check out the blog posts below:
Social Media Marketing World 2015 – What We’re Looking Forward To Most #SMMW15 – Pre-conference anticipation and expectations. (Debbie & Brooke)
How To Get Results You Can Measure With Influencer Marketing – Coverage of Douglas Karr’s session on how to measure influence and attract the right influencers. (Brooke)
Twitter Marketing – How Brands Rise to the Top of the Stream: Microsoft, BMC Software, Renaissance Hotels – Panel discussion from big brands on top Twitter tips. (Debbie)
How To Encourage Employee Advocacy on Social Media: Citrix, Adobe, Cox – Panel discussion on guidelines and best practices for employee social media activity. (Brooke)
Facebook Marketing: Hidden Tactics and Tricks from Leading Brands at #SMMW15 – Insight on how Century 21, Western Union, Roadtrip Nation and the San Diego Chargers nurture their Facebook communities. (Debbie)
How Content Marketers Can Tell Better, More Strategic Stories – Tips from LinkedIn’s Jason Miller on how to tell awesome, relevant, visual narratives in your content. (Brooke)
How Big Brands Measure and Communicate Social Media Success – Social media experts at Discover Financial Services, Tyson Foods and Intel Corporation talk about measuring your efforts and using data to share success. (Debbie)
How To Create and Repurpose Content That Customers Really Want – Coverage of Lee Odden’s presentation on ways to curate, co-create, and repurpose your content. (Brooke)
12 Tools To Help You Optimize Your Social Media Marketing Results – These tools will help you save time and provide value, from Ian Cleary’s SMMW15 session. (Debbie)
What was your favorite part of Social Media Marketing World 2015?