This time last week two weeks ago I was still basking in the San Diego sun following a fabulous three days at Social Media Marketing World – #SMMW16.

While the weather was stunning (hello southern California!), the people I met, the experiences I had, and the information and knowledge shared was truly spectacular.

It was an investment in my business that I was certainly happy I made, and one I will be making again. I’ve actually already bought my ticket for #SMMW17. All I need to work out is which part of the US I will visit following the conference!

There were just shy of 3,000 attendees, representing (I think) over 50 countries. The Australian contingent was strong, with around 45 of us making the trek across the Pacific.

The biggest thrill for me was listening to speakers whose books I had read and whose advice I have been following for many years: Chris Brogan, Guy Kawasaki, Brian Solis, Mark Schaefer, Mari Smith, Gary Vaynerchuk, John Lee Dumas, Pat Flynn, Chris Ducker.

Others I’ve admired but whose sessions I didn’t make it to included Darren Rowse (sorry Darren, you had stiff competition in your time slot! Plus, I’ve heard you speak many times!), Jay Baer, John Jantsch and so many more. With over 100 sessions squished into 2.5 days it was hard to choose! Fortunately all the sessions were videoed and my ticket includes access to all the session slides and videos. Phew!

Brian Solis - Social Media Marketing World

My top takeouts from Social Media Marketing World 2016

The highlights for me at Social Media Marketing World included:

  • the networking and meeting many fabulous people, some of whom will become friends, many more of whom will become valued contacts and colleagues
  • the opportunity to meet, and accessibility to, industry leaders – so maybe I had a few too many shy moments and didn’t introduce myself to as many people as I could have, but next year I won’t!
  • spending a few days in beautiful San Diego – a part of the US I hadn’t previously visited – well, I did when I was 6, but does that count?

From a learning perspective, the key takeouts for me were:

1. Live video is where we need to be

It was clear that video, and particularly live video, was going to feature heavily at #SMMW16. Michael Stelzner’s opening keynote informed us that his recent research (publicly available in May) indicated that 21% of marketers claim video is the most important form of content marketing. And 73% will be increasing their use of video in 2016. However only 14% of us currently use live video.

There are currently three options for sharing live video:

  1. Periscope (owned by twitter) – one to many
  2. Facebook Live – one to many, but multi-person Facebook Live is coming
  3. Blab – town hall style conversations that many can participate in and contribute to

Facebook has recently changed it’s algorithm (yes, again), to prioritise posts with live video. And live video can be recorded directly via a page as well as personal profile.

Social Media Marketing World

Particularly important to note is that video, and especially live video, builds the know, like, trust factor at a very rapid rate. What does this mean? Well, if you are continuing to communicate via sharing your logo you are going to fall a very long way behind your competition.

Remember that live video is about the conversation, not the broadcast. Be real, show your humanity and share your opinion.

2. Snapchat is a massive opportunity, especially for those who have youth as a key demographic

It’s with trepidation that I talk about Snapchat. There were strong advocates for it (Gary Vaynerchuk for one), and many against. I’m trialling it (I’m @melkettle) and not loving it. I find it difficult to understand and not at all intuitive. I’ll persevere, only because I know it will be of value to some of my clients and potential clients.

So who is Snapchat for? Currently only 5% of marketers surveyed in Stelzner’s research are using Snapchat (an increase from 2% in 2015), however 16% intend to use it in 2016 and 28% want to learn more about it. The main users (52%) are aged between 16-24 years with 32% aged 25-34 years so if you are targeting this demographic it’s a platform to consider.

Social Media Marketing World

3. Create contagious content

This should be obvious, but sadly it’s not. At least, according to the amount of rubbish I see many organisations churn out.

Zach King gave an excellent presentation on this – if you don’t know him, be sure to check out his Vines and his YouTube channel. I’m still giggling over the Jedi Kittens 🙂

Key to creating contagious content is that it is easily sharable, relatable, adds value, has a story and is in your voice and leaves a desire for more. Obviously you also need to know your audience, and your content needs to be released at the right time and place.

To quote another speaker, Brian Fanzo, sharing in real time is easy. Sharing at the right time is hard.

4. Podcasting

I went to many podcasting sessions as I’m about to launch my new podcast, A Great Recipe for Life. This week if all goes according to plan. By which I mean I knuckle down and do the last few things I need to do…

Key takeouts were:

  • about 80-85% of podcasters don’t make more than seven episodes. That’s not too surprising given the massive volume of work involved!
  • your vibe attracts your tribe (thanks Chris Ducker!) – this applies to everything you do, not just your podcast
  • do things that don’t scale – this helps you build your community. It’s the individual human factor that is often the most important
  • put systems in place – systems = consistency = success (John Lee Dumas)
  • remember the I.L.T rule – invest, learn, teach

A big lightbulb for me was that I need to be using the content on my podcast episodes for more than just a podcast. Seriously, why didn’t I think of that sooner??

5. Share experiences

Brian Solis (who gave my absolute favourite presentation of the conference) summed this up by reminding us that “brands talk at people but humans share experiences”. Your audience has better things to do than to listen to you, so make sure what you share with them is worthy of their time.

Listen to what your customers are talking about and then add to the conversation. Remember that story telling helps you relate to your customer and increases the likelihood that they will remember you.

How can you become more memorable? Our attention spans are now shorter than those of goldfish, and we spend on average 177 minutes A DAY looking at our phones. Think about how you can stand out.

Did you go to Social Media Marketing World this year? What did you think? Would you be likely to go next year?

Bookings are now open for Social Media Marketing World 2017 – the sooner in advance you book, the more $$ you save

I’m currently meeting with organisations to share my learnings from Social Media Marketing World. If you would like me to come and talk to your marketing or social media team, please get in touch

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