Day 1

The first day energy was kicking in as our team walked through the doors at the San Diego Convention Centre for Social Media Examiner’s Social Media Marketing World 2016. With the opportunities to learn, network and share with some of the greatest minds in the social media space available to us, it was easy to get swept up in the energy that runs rampant at this event.

Day one was marked by Workshops and an incredible Networking Event aboard the U.S.S. Midway. The Workshops covered everything social media marketers need to enhance the profiles of the brands they work with.  Whether you were here to build your own brand or take the company you work for to the next level through social media, learning how to write a proper blog or employing incredible visuals and images within a campaign, finding a room with valuable information was as simple as walking into any of the rooms on the second floor of the convention centre.

As for the Networking Event, the U.S.S. Midway was rocking! In such an inviting space getting to know our fellow attendees was a great experience.  And, taking a spin in one of the flight simulators was an experience in and of itself – especially when Social Know How’s Mike Aquino is piloting your simulator. Barrel Rolls for days anyone?

We’re so excited to get the meat of the conference going.  If day one is any indication, we’ll be gaining valuable information to execute for our clients in the GTA. And, just maybe, we’ll be able to bring some of this great San Diego weather back with us too when we’re done!

Day 2

While the first day of the three-day phenomenon that is Social Media Marketing World 2016 had some valuable workshops and provided an incredible networking opportunity aboard the U.S.S. Midway, day two gave attendees a lot to digest in terms of where the future of social media is going. With the who’s who of social media marketing in the house, names like Gary Vaynerchuk, Guy Kawasaki and Mari Smith to name a few, this was an opportunity for people looking to boost their social media marketing offerings – and doing so on the shoulders of giants in the social media space.

The morning began with Michael Stelzner talking about the power of social media and how mainstream media is sourcing celebrities from social media to get a boost in ratings. The Amazing Race featured contestants with a combined 33,000,000 person following, hand-picked by the show’s casting directors, as a means of generating a buzz to increase viewership. This should be a direct message to businesses of all sizes – if a company like CBS sees the value in social media to help their product, an industry that was founded on making celebrities now finding their next big things from social media platforms, imagine what you could do with the proper social media marketing and management.

Once the Keynote ended, the almost 3000 people in attendance dispersed and vied for the valuable real estate that a chair provided for the workshops and presentations available.  With 7 learning tracks available, finding a way to better understand content marketing, analytics and strategy could not have been made any easier to accomplish. With so much to learn, selecting only a few takeaways wasn’t easy.

Content is King

Social media success is predicated on consistency. The most consistent and persistent message from the moment we walked into our first session at Social Media Marketing World 2016 was the importance of content. How content is shared, what form it comes in and what platforms are being utilized to communicate with different demographics.  Content is the backbone of any successful digital marketing plan.

Whether through sharing engaging content on a website or posting live video on Snapchat and Facebook Live, all successful social media marketing campaigns are predicated on building a large, loyal following that craves what your company has to offer in the content realm. Content Generosity was discussed and the term outlines how brands can use free, engaging content to build a relationship with potential leads and current customers. Basically, content is a value add that businesses have no choice but to utilize to begin the conversation.

Shaan Puri of Blab gave a stirring presentation that showcased the power of influencers, poignantly summed up in his analogy of your audience being more like a Tribe.  With so many brands looking to hit a home run by signing a Kardashian or a Seacrest to their brand, he laid out the need for brands to look at creating 1000 influencers to create the buzz of 1. These influencers can form a “tribe.” Think of what a tribe means to you.  A group of people with one common goal, moving in the same direction to maintain survival and ensure the long-term health of the group for generations. Now, think of what that means in terms of building a following. One consistent & unique voice, creating value by providing pertinent information your audience searches for and finally, making your social media Page or blog a place that generations of consumers will look to for their content needs. Only after building your audience by gaining their trust can you then look to monetize that relationship.

Live Video is the way of now and the future

50% of all mobile traffic now is now made up of live video, according to Amy Schmittauer. The Savvy Sexy Social star from Youtube and www.savvysexysocial.com used her “How To Use Video to Build Brand Authority” session to also shed light on future trends. That number, according to Schmittauer, is expected to reach 80% by 2019. And that’s not just mobile traffic. That’s 80% of all INTERNET traffic.

With such a dependence on video related content to share with social media users, understanding how your business can benefit from this reality was top of mind for us here at Social Know How.

The rise in video has also brought to light the shorter attention spans of the average user. In many rooms we were in, the key point that jumped out was just how little time you have to make a first impression on people who come across your video.  You have 3 seconds to capture someone’s attention and about 8 seconds before they decide to keep watching your video or skip it. The emphasis on having quick, impactful messages or grabbing your audience’s attention immediately is more imperative now than ever. And, with the growth of Snapchat and Instagram video, younger audiences flocking to these platforms will be reaching prime consumer demographics in no time.

The Highlight of the Day

With all of the talk about attention, who better than Gary Vaynerchuk, a man who is a self-proclaimed “day trader of attention,” to close out the day during the final Keynote. Granted, Tim Washer’s comedic “Social Media Production Hacks” was a great lead-in following a day on presentations and workshops, the attention of the audience was squarely on Vaynerchuk and Marcus Sheridan as the Panel Discussion to end the day captivated the entire contingent.

In fine form, the cooler headed Sheridan played the perfect foil to the manic energy of Vaynerchuk – a man who’s made a living on hustle, foresight and bursts of genius that have made him a go-to for social media marketers looking for social media advice in an entertaining way.

While topics like “Facebook Live vs. Snapchat” were touched upon, the biggest takeaway from the session was gaining insight into the man behind the wildly popular #AskGaryVee & The Daily Vee.  After a day of taking in plenty of information regarding current and future trends, it was refreshing to get a little perspective on the personality of an individual who has made this space his playground to grow businesses and create a cult-following.

Stay tuned to this blog tomorrow for a recap on day 3 of the conference as the Social Know How team has another full day of sessions and speeches to take in. Visit the Social Know How Facebook page for photos of our team and some of the event’s biggest names.

Day 3

Saying goodbye is never easy. When something excites you, inspires you and helps you see the bigger picture of where your life and that of those around you can go, it’s that much more difficult to just walk away without a little tinge of sadness. Sure, there are deep lessons you take with you.  While these lessons can help you achieve everything you felt while you were in that moment, it’s hard not to fall into a case of ‘what if.’ The 3rd and final day of Social Media Examiner’s Social Media Marketing World 2016 definitely provided a few of those moments.

What if the conference were just a day or two longer? What if I could just have been able to see a few more sessions? What if I could just take in just one more workshop? What if an opportunity was missed while staring down at my iPhone while Tweeting out just how exciting living through those three days felt?

Live Video Keynote Perks Up Audience in the AM

Before those questions began to creep in, Day 3 kicked off with the panel discussion “Live Video: Why the Future of Marketing is Going Live.” Led by Joel Comm and featuring Mari Smith, Kim Garst & Shaan Puri, the discussion centred around the impact live video is having, and will continue to have, on brands worldwide who properly utilize social media marketing to get their message out to consumers. The panel masterfully ran the gamut of live video hot topics.  Facebook’s algorithm and how broadcasting video can help broaden your organic reach, creating immediate value through an unfiltered look at individuals and brands, how video is exploding on mobile devices thanks to apps like Snapchat, Periscope & Facebook, each of these talking points he the how’s and why’s was made simple throughout the morning Keynote.

One of the little talked about moments of the conference is watching attendees file out of Hall D and heading up the escalator to the workshop and session area. There’s few stragglers who veered their way off to the side to head to Starbucks or even outside to enjoy a crisp San Diego morning. The group rides the escalator with purpose, sharing ideas and thoughts on what they’d just seen, as they head up to the exhibit halls on the upper floor. It’s an amazing thing watching so many people searching for the same thing using their time not to compete, but to provide value to the people around them through sharing and collaborating. It’s like watching the essence of why social media is so popular take human form in the real world.

Passion is Contagious

Depending on where you were, takeaways from Day 3 obviously differ. Our Social Know How Team took the “divide and conquer’ approach the entire conference so finding multiple takeaways in each track was made easier. On the content side of things, there may have been nothing more refreshing then taking in Marcus Sheridan’s “7 Qualities of Outrageously Successful Companies” session.

I’ve loved a lot of things in my life, but I don’t think I’ve ever had as much passion for anything as Sheridan does for the possibilities of social media and teaching people how they too can achieve incredible success in business utilizing content marketing best practices. As one of the final workshops of the day for many, learning about how companies can mobilize their sales force and other departments to help market their business and the need for dedicated content managers was made easier by his captivating delivery. After using an example of how a piece of content he used shared the names of some of his competitors, he provided a piece of advice I know will resonate with me and the rest of my team long after our planes touch back down in Toronto.

“Consumer ignorance is no longer a viable marketing strategy,” he said twice to emphasize its importance. With so much being shared on social media and search engines like Google mere fingertips or thumbs away for so many people, depending on your audience’s lack of awareness of the marketplace is just plain stupid. Information is easy to attain and it’s only becoming more accessible with content forms becoming easier for people to consume.

Where Are You on Your Journey?

On the analytics side of things, Christopher Penn’s “How to Create a Data Driven Customer Journey” was a must for people looking to gain access into the habits of the consumers they’re looking to reach. Content generosity, advertising and campaigns are all fine and dandy, but isn’t it important to know where your content is being searched within a consumer’s purchasing cycle?

That was answered poignantly by Penn, as he showcased how tools like Google’s Customer Journey to Online Purchase & Tableau can help you see just what type of marketing you need to be utilizing within your digital plan.  The power of knowing just why a consumer is on your Facebook Page or why they’d be Googling your name is insanely valuable in helping you and your marketing team determine just what content should be awaiting them in those moments.

In terms of specialization, using data to pinpoint your strategy can help you take your brand, or the brands you work with, to the next level of success and keep you ahead of the competition as a thought leader within your industry.

This is the End

Before the curtain closed on Social Media Marketing World 2016, Mark Schaefer shared “Breakthrough Growth Ideas: How Marketers Can Truly Fly,” as the final Keynote Address for this year. This truly galvanized the audience and sent attendees out of the San Diego Convention Centre with a message that should resonate after all of the talk of new technologies, apps and ways to utilize them to build brand awareness.

Schaefer’s keynote was predicated around on changing courses within the social media space while keeping the one thing most important to brands -humanity. He encouraged people to “Be. More. Human,” while outlining the importance of building loyalty by displaying the most humanity in a world where gadgets are used by people to stay connected.  It may seem simple, but sometimes that message can fall by the wayside when people wade through heaps of data to determine trends and success.

At the end of the day, this is all about staying connected with your audience. Until someone invents a way for your dog to watch Facebook Live videos and comprehend the content, you’re marketing yourself and your business to people. All of your efforts should be centered on providing value to people at the most basic level.

So Long…For Now

And on that note, it was time to depart the San Diego Convention Centre and say our goodbyes to #SMMW16 and the many faces and voices that made this year an epic trip for our team. Saying goodbye wasn’t easy, but what we left with (and what those of you who missed the event should consider in the years to come) is that the amount of information available to social media marketers and brands can at least leave you with something to remember it by. Implementing ideas sourced by this information, while also staying connected with the people you meet at events just like this, can make the entire experience worthwhile. While it was hard to start the process of packing our bags to leave San Diego, the part that made it the easiest was the realization at the airport that Social Media Marketing World 2017 is just 11 months away – and the chance to join the Social Media Examiner Team and marketers from around the world is too valuable an experience to pass up. See you all again next year.