From the welcome party to the opening keynote and all the way to the final session, Social Media Marketing World (SMMW) 2017 was incredible.
Allow me to expound…
Putting on events isn’t easy
First off, it’s not easy to put on an event, let alone an event with over 3,000 attendees and 200 speakers from around the world!
SMMW crushed it in several ways:
- The networking events were top notch, including the opening night party on the USS Midway and another night out at Parq, best described as an indoor playground for adults;
- Breakfast and lunch were included both days;
- They had “table talks” so you could easily meet up and connect with others who have the same interests;
- Coffee and snacks were plentiful;
- Directions on how to do what were simple – and if you still didn’t get it, there was always someone nearby who could help;
- Last, but certainly not least, the bathrooms were clean (come on, you know this is a big deal!)
Not to mention the session lineup, which was chock-full of relevant and timely presentations from today’s top social media marketers.
Let’s have a look…
Workshop with Michael O’Neal
Before the conference had “officially” started I got to sit in on a workshop from Michael O’Neal of the Solopreneur Hour Podcast (which I recently appeared on with JLD and Jill & Josh Stanton from Screw The Nine To Five).
His topic: The Art of the Interview.
There were several takeaways from this session, but the one that stood out to me the most was simple: do the work.
At the beginning of the session Michael called someone up on stage, passed her a microphone, and said, “Interview me.”
Timid, confused and caught off guard, the girl stumbled around until she finally whispered, “What’s your name?”
Michael handed her a checklist and sent her back to her seat, giving her the heads up that she’d have the opportunity to come back up on stage at the end to give it another go.
Since I was sitting behind her I had a perfect view to see that she spent the rest of the session checking off boxes on the sheet Michael had handed her.
Come time for her to go back up on stage, she nailed it.
All she had to do was do the work – follow a simple set of steps Michael had given her in order to make her guest feel special and ask the right questions so her listeners walked away with something valuable.
If you want to do a deep dive on Michael’s teachings around The Art of the Interview, you can check him out on Chris Ducker’s podcast where he does a deep dive on the topic.
Opening Keynote with Mike Stelzner
Mike Stelzner is the man behind the entire show: SMMW is put on by his company Social Media Examiner. If you’re in the social media space, or want to learn more about leveraging different social media platforms to grow your reach and business, then his site is where its at.
During his opening keynote, Mike focused on his annual Social Media Marketing Industry report, a report he’s been compiling for the past seven years on the latest and greatest data – plus, what it means.
You can grab this report free if you sign up on his website.
My biggest takeaway from Mike’s session was that Facebook is still #1.
Check out this graph Mike shared on how social media marketers view the importance of these social channels as it relates to their business:
It’s pretty incredible to see Facebook at 62% in terms of the most important social media platform for marketers.
Perhaps it’s because of Facebook Live, or the fact that their ads dashboard can’t be touched by any other social media platform?
Whatever the case may be, live video was also a major topic in the keynote and throughout the conference, in addition to being the one thing Mike said every marketer should be on the lookout for in 2017.
How to Build up Anticipation for Your Next Launch using Facebook (FB) with Amy Porterfield
One of my favorite business podcasts to listen to is Amy Porterfield’s Online Marketing Made Easy, and that’s because Amy knows how to break it down.
Her presentation was no exception.
Anyone in that room who was paying any attention walked out with a detailed step-by-step process to follow for their next launch marketing plan using FB Live.
Amy called this: The 4-Week Facebook Live Pre-Launch Formula
Here are some of the highlights Amy shared for your preparation period:
- Choose your pre-launch and promo dates
Sounds simple, right? Surprisingly, most people don’t take the time to create a schedule for themselves, which can result in lost time.
- Set a topic and lead magnet for each live session you’ll do
Time consuming? Yes. Worth it? As Amy has proven time and time again – Yes!
- Place the FB pixel on all opt-in and TY pages for your lead magnets
It sounds technical and hard, but it’s not. Any landing page builder will have a box for you to simply copy and paste your FB pixel into.
One of my favorite tips from Amy throughout her session was to schedule your FB Live sessions on the same day at the same time every week. This way, your audience knows when to expect your live sessions, and therefore can plan ahead to show up.
How to Land Guest Appearances on Podcasts with John Lee Dumas
This was the most valuable panel I’ve ever attended – and I don’t just say that because our very own JLD was the moderator. With Jessica Rhodes, Jill Stanton, and Aaron Walker by his side, this crew crushed it.
One of the biggest eye-openers during this session was when Aaron Walker expressed that he has literally grown his business based off from the guest podcasting he’s done.
When you take the time to find the right podcasts, with the right audience, where you can deliver massive value, and you nurture a relationship with the host, big things can happen!
The key is figuring out how you can bring the most value to the audience who is tuning in.
As the panelists put it: “Don’t be in it for you, be in it for the host and their audience.”
Getting to 100 Episodes and Beyond with Mark Mason
Another value-packed panel came from moderator Mark Mason, along with Pat Flynn, Lou Mongello, and Cliff Ravenscraft. Combined, these guys have produced over 7,000 podcast episodes!
The resounding answer to “How do I get to 100 episodes and host a successful podcast?”
Each panelists talked a lot about how most podcasters are only concerned with the numbers. But who cares if you have 17 or 700 downloads?… as long as you have engaged listeners who tune in because they genuinely care about what you have to say, your podcast will be successful.
Their parting piece of advice for the audience was this:
If you’re looking to start a podcast because you think you’re going to get a sponsor and make a lot of money, then don’t start a podcast. Start a podcast because you’re passionate about a topic and know you can make an impact by sharing your knowledge with others.
From Blog to Podcast: How to Create and Audio Blog with Kate Erickson
You got it! Yours truly had her first ever speaking opportunity at SMMW this year, and I couldn’t have been more excited for it!
My topic was all about going from blog to podcast: how to create an audio blog, which was quite fitting seeing as this is how I choose to approach my own podcast.
I broke it down step-by-step for those in the audience who already have a blog and want to repurpose their content in a powerful way.
Here’s how to get started:
- Catalogue your content
- Break it down by category
- Create your content calendar
These are the exact steps I followed after posting on the blog for over one year: I simply compiled the content I had already created and put together a plan to turn it into audio episodes.
Over two years later, I’ve switched up my format, gained and lost a lot of listeners, and am loving every minute of the journey.
SMMW feedback and looking ahead
I’d be remiss to not mention a few of the hundreds of amazing people we were able to hang out with at SMMW. Events truly are a platform to come together with like-minded people, especially those you’ve already met online!
That in-person connection can be such a game-changer, giving you the opportunity to deepen relationships, brainstorm possibilities, and so much more.
Several weeks ago we reached out to the team over at Thinkific for a chat around whether their platform would be the right fit for our Podcasters’ Paradise membership site.
Lucky for us, it’s shaping up to be a GREAT fit, and during SMMW we had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with four of their team members, including their Founder Greg.
They not only put together a dinner with about 30 + entrepreneurs (see below), but they were rockstars throughout the entire event.
I even scored my new favorite sweatshirt compliments of Thinkific :)
Alright, now that you’ve heard my feedback what about others who attended SMMW?
When asked what their biggest takeaway was from the event, here’s the feedback I received from a couple of people I met:
The incredible value of deep relationships. I didn’t go for the information, I went to get to know people better that I like, trust and want to learn from. From that comes incredible collaborative ideas. I already have proof of that from this trip, as a huge opportunity was presented to me from being there. I am so much better because of it already.
I’m still processing a bit, but I am reenergized and giving some serious thought to jetting back out on my own. Most of the sessions I attended [proved I’m] up to speed on the latest, but it was so valuable to hear the real life discourse of it all. I was also relieved to know that marketers struggle with some of the same challenges [I do].
And the biggest takeaway from JLD?…
It’s time to start paying attention to Facebook Messenger ads and bots; both will be hot in 2017!
If you want to hang out with 200 thought-leaders in the social media and online business world, attend meet ups and mixers, soak up some valuable content through a number of focused sessions, and connect with like-minded people in American’s Finest City, then be sure to check out Social Media Marketing World 2018!