Social Media Marketing World brought together some of the best minds in social media and marketing. With all that information being shared, which ideas really stood out? We asked social media experts for their favorite takeaways.

Social Media Marketing World 2020 wrapped up only a few days ago, but we’re already developing a growing nostalgia for the event and what it represented. The event took place in San Diego just a little bit before our world wobbled on its axis and we all started practicing self-isolation and social distancing out of love and concern for our family and friends.

At SMMW, we still had the opportunity to meet our colleagues face to face, to listen to marketing speakers who inspire us to work better and more mindfully, and to drink deep of the creativity that was served up generously.

We asked some social media marketing experts about what left the greatest positive impression on them. Here’s what they said.

jay baer's social media marketing world takeaway

Jay Baer said:

“This year’s SMMW was extremely practical and tactical. I loved how they had multiple sessions devoted to each element of every social platform. A session on IG stories, for instance. And a different session on IG ads. Very useful to be able to dive into areas where you feel less than fully informed.

“I believe this was the best SMMW on the programming front. One of my favorite sessions was Natasha Takahashi presentation on how to integrate Messenger and bots into webinars. Super tactical, but massively useful.

“It was terrific as always to run into so many old friends. As a person who has spoken at every SMMW, it’s like a homecoming every year. But it’s also spectacular to get to meet many fans of my work; people who just come say hi in the hall and let me know they listen to my podcast or read my latest book. It’s food for the soul. Now that blog comments are less of a thing, and social interactions are spread across so many platforms, it’s amazing to have someone tell you face-to-face that your work made a difference in their life. Thanks for that, SMMW!

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Erin Cell's social media marketing world takeaway

Erin Cell said:

“My biggest takeaways from Social Media Marketing World 2020 are connections and relationship building. I don’t necessarily go to conferences to learn but to connect with other attendees.

“The great thing about SMMW is if you get the All-Access pass you receive all the recordings and can listen to those when you return home. I have listened to a few, and I really enjoyed Jasmine Star’s keynote. It was both inspirational and informative with tips to implement on Instagram immediately. Including starting conversations with those who are following, liking, and commenting on your posts. Another great session I listened to was Kim Garst, and she shared all kinds of awesome tools for upping your video game online. I’m most excited to check out &”

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Paul Colligan's social media marketing world takeaway

Paul Colligan said:

“In my ‘How To Podcast’ workshop, I asked the audience how many of them were looking to launch a podcast soon. About 95% of the room raised their hand.

“Podcasting keeps getting bigger—and I couldn’t be more thrilled. In Chalene Johnson’s amazing session on IGTV, she pointed out that people want to know that you’re trustworthy, and an easy way to do that is to publish on a predictable schedule. Lots of podcasters could learn from this truth.”

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Ian Cleary's social media marketing world takeaway

Ian Cleary said:

“1. In my session, I talked about lead generation and content marketing. I believe that there are many opportunities to generate leads from content, but we’re not taking full advantage of them. For example, you can create more content that is valuable to you and your audience. An example of this is case studies. As long as your case study steps through something practical that your audience can implement, then it is really valuable to them but also very valuable to you because you get to share the great work you do. The takeaway is to reconsider if you are generating enough leads from content.

2. The importance of measurement … We create content, we share, but do we measure? Each year, I stress the importance of this, and I was glad to see that other speakers also did. If you don’t measure, you can’t improve!

3. Video is great if you create the right type of video. A 30-minute interview series is something influencers can get away with because they have an audience and invite other influencers to be on the same. An influencer interviewing an influencer is an unfair advantage. For all others, video is awesome but you need to work hard at it to get it to work. Don’t follow the crowd and do an interview-style video. Come up with something different, short, captivating and fun and you’ll have a better chance. So invest in video content but don’t follow the crowd.”

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Alex Khan's social media marketing world takeaway

Alex Khan said:

“My biggest takeaways were to be more transparent about our prices, to create experiences for our clients, and to focus more on YouTube and TikTok.”

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Stephanie Liu's social media marketing world takeaway

Stephanie Liu said:

“I was struck by how successful people were around me who entered the conference with a goal. They arrived with a vision for what they wanted to accomplish, a sense of purpose, and they pursued that goal relentlessly, even though they often employed different strategies to achieve those different outcomes.

“Some friends like Jenn Herman sought and found speaking engagements. Others like Sean Cannell, Owen Video, and Ecamm worked hard on collaborating and creating content. While still others like Goldie Chan used the event to surface and foster brand deals and work. And those who didn’t have a clear plan were still able to take advantage of the people and resources present at the Connections Corner where they were able to make introductions and even get advice on which sessions to attend from helpful souls like Kendra Losee. And through it all, I was singularly impressed at how damn helpful everyone was at work to make sure everyone else got what they were looking for.”

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Kelly Noble Mirabella's social media marketing world takeaway

Kelly Noble Mirabella said:

“My biggest take away is actually something I already knew but always good reminders: Never put all your eggs in one basket and diversify your portfolio. These marketing tricks and tactics only become real strategies with real ROI when we think through the whole customer journey and work to integrate a multi-channel and yet seamless approach to our marketing and sales. And NEVER NEVER forget that human relationship trumps all.”

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Donna Moritz's social media marketing world takeaway

Donna Moritz said:

“This past week, I was speaking at Social Media Marketing World for my seventh year. I presented a workshop to a fun audience of 700-or-so marketers, there to learn about visual design for non-designers. Presenting a workshop is a great gig because I get to speak early and then attend more sessions at the event. This year, I targeted speakers and sessions on storytelling and how to create amazing experiences with your audience and potential customers to stand out.

“Here are my key takeaways:

“1. My good friend Tyler Anderson reminded us that user-generated content (UGC) is the type of content that the majority of our consumers want to see from brands (and is most likely to influence their purchasing decisions). Yet many marketers focus on hashtags only, missing a wealth of amazing organic, authentic content. Tyler shared examples of brands that go beyond the hashtag, asking for UGC, offering incentives and contests in creative ways and creating remarkable experiences that create community, generate talk-triggers, and showcase our customers. My takeaway? Pivot back to more UGC (and get creative with it) because the stats (and our communities) show that it’s the best type of content to share.

Hint: Check out the Savannah Bananas, Graduate Hotels and Breakfast Republic on Instagram to see three of Tyler’s stellar examples.find out why teams love managing their social with agorapulse

“2. The ever-smart Mark Schaefer shared a new presentation about ‘Winning the War for Attention on Social Media.’ One tip Mark shared, I had heard him share years ago, and use often with clients and my community. It was to ask yourself and your team to finish this statement: ‘Only we _________.’ As Mark said, if you can’t answer this with clarity and cohesiveness across your team, then you don’t have a marketing strategy and if you don’t have a marketing strategy, then you don’t have a social media strategy. Answering this question will reveal what it is that makes you different and what makes people love you and connect with you. Mark’s session also made a strong case for zigging while everyone else is zagging, creating a conversational brand and how you can focus on bringing a human presence and giving unique value to your audience. If you ever get to see Mark speak, run, don’t walk, toward his presentation.

“3. One of my favorite wordsmiths and all-round entertaining speakers, Ann Handley gave a brilliant keynote around the theme of gaining the attention and trust of a friendly wild rabbit Bun. Entertaining fluffy rabbits aside, her key message around attention and trust were powerful. Ann suggested to us that we shouldn’t ask, ‘How can I get your attention?’ but more so, ‘How can I gain your trust?’ We should also remember that your customers are asking themselves three questions too: Do I like you? Do I trust you? Do you see ME consistently? But one of the best reminders of her presentation for me was that the (often-overused) word authentic, really means imperfect. It’s OK to show up and be perfectly imperfect.”

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Andrew and Pete's social media marketing world takeaway

Andrew & Pete said:

“Our favorite thing about SMMW is the people. It’s our 6th year now and it’s like a family reunion that just gets better year on year. We love to see some of the best people in our space getting together in the Californian sun.”

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chris penn's social media marketing world takeaway

Christopher S. Penn said:

“The top takeaway for me from SMMW20 was a hallway conversation with an attendee trying to solve a local business problem, reaching audiences that were not necessarily addressable by digital means. We talked through the problem and realized that they weren’t leveraging social data in the offline world, but it’s relatively straightforward to do so. I look forward to seeing what they come up with.

“In terms of Agorapulse, walking through the new reports interface with Emeric and seeing how cleanly the data is formatted. I built a piece of software that cross correlates social activity with conversions in Google Analytics to ascertain whether or not what I was doing in social had any impact on growing conversions while I was in the Agorapulse booth.”

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Neal Schaffer's social media marketing world takeaway

Neal Schaffer said:

“Social Media Marketing World is simply the best conference if you want to keep your finger on the pulse of social media marketing. All of the leading speakers that you would want to see are there, but what makes it a special conference for me are not the sessions per se, but the people you meet and conversations you have in the halls and after the event. From staying up until nearly 3 A.M. the final night of Social Media Marketing World to chat with speakers and attendees to striking up a conversation with attendees that I had never met before and then going to the Top Gun bar to eat Kansas City barbecue, Social Media Marketing World is a very special event that provided me with both education and long-lasting memories. I already can’t wait for #smmw21!”

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Dustin Stout's social media marketing world takeaway

Dustin W. Stout said:

“Sometimes, it’s not the new information that is the biggest takeaway, but old things heard in a new way.

“When listening to Jasmine Star talk about sharing things that are valuable to your audience, it hit me that I’ve let this slide a little bit in my personal brand accounts.

“Something about the way she said it made me think about how I could be more aware of what value each social media post is bringing to my audience. If it doesn’t bring any value, either find a way to make it valuable or don’t post it.

“And I believe that value comes in three primary forms: entertainment, education, or information. And if I can’t find a way to craft one of those forms into my post, I’m simply not going to post it.

“Value should always be the intent.”

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Dan Willis's social media marketing world takeaway

Dan Willis said:

“Community is the clear takeaway. Surrounded by acquaintances, fellows, mentors, and experts the community provides you the value at SMMW. New ideas, small breakout mastermind sessions at any given moment and priceless conversations.”

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Yvonne's social media marketing world takeaway

Yvi said:

“Personality and real connections are more important than they’ve ever been.

“Yes, automation and templating has its time and place—heck that’s how I make my money—but in the rush of optimizing our business and cutting costs, many have skipped over the personal aspect and viewers, followers, and potential clients/buyers are getting weary of not being able to connect with YOU.

“Throughout most of the sessions at Social Media Marketing World 2020, there was one common thread … connection, no matter if using video, Facebook groups, or in DMs.

“I’ll be taking those recommendations and now focus even more on implementing personal touches and connections into mine and my clients’ everyday business life and admin work, too.”

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