Social Media Marketing World 2015: Recap & Memories from #SMMW15

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There was quite a bit of buzz surrounding this year’s annual Social Media Marketing World (SMMW15) conference, held every March in San Diego, California – and for good reason. With nearly 2,500 marketers in attendance and a lineup of speakers at the top of their game, this mega-event designed to inspire and empower attendees with social media marketing ideas was nothing short of amazing.

As a publishing company that provides our featured businesses with custom media solutions for brand and reputation management, it’s necessary for us to stay in the know about the latest social media trends, apps and tools to help us help our clients. So, we sent our director of content marketing, Erica Berry (that’s me), and Karyn Dowty, our director of operations, to the show to get the scoop. Here’s a recap of what sessions we loved, what we learned and how we plan to take action.

Favorite Session

Ted Rubin, Digital Communication: How to Shake Hands and Look Your Customers in the Eye Online

Why did we love this? Well, not only did Ted Rubin speak from the heart (a slightly distracted heart, but that adds to the entertainment) about how to use social as a means of communication and relationship building, we also got to hear from Brian Fanzo on how the two connected over social media, bonded and are now “real-life” friends. It’s a great example of how social is changing the way we are connecting and is opening up the world to us – if we use it correctly.


Plus, per Ted’s recommendation, there are some new books heading to the TLP library soon:

Most Useful Session

Jay Baer, Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Turn Bad News to Good

As Jay Baer of Convince & Convert put it, “Haters are not the problem, ignoring them is.” While it may seem easier to just ignore complaints about your business, service or products, the truth is that answering complaints increases customer advocacy and not answering decreases customer advocacy. People want to be treated well, especially when they are spending money, so how you treat your customers – both happy and disgruntled – is a competitive differentiator. Ignoring complaints puts gas on the fire you created, while replying not only gives off the impression that you’re trustworthy and stand by your business, it also gives you a chance to make lemonade from lemons.

Key tips to handling haters:

  1. Reply quickly.
  2. Don’t take it personal.
  3. Apologize.
  4. Take online complaints off-line into a private setting like email or phone.

Top Social Media & Content Marketing Tools

Without a solid strategy, posting to social media and creating blogs is a waste of time. Strategy is the first step in having effective social media and content marketing. Once that’s in place, tools like the ones below can help save marketers some time and even help boost those efforts to produce further impact. Here are a few we can’t wait to try:

  1. InboundWriter (content guider, predictive analytics)
  2. Animatron (animation creator)
  3. Oktopost (social media management)
  4. Nuzzel (Facebook news story discoverer)
  5. Periscope (live video broadcast app)
  6. Fyuse (interactive photo app)
  7. ContentGems (discovers content)
  8. (content finder)

Key Takeaways

Over the course of two packed days, there was a lot of information to absorb. From the networking events, to the general sessions, to the keynotes and after-parties, our notes and memories are endless. Here are the top 4 takeaways we can put into effect now:

  • Go visual. As Guy Kawaski said, “Add a graphic to every stinkin’ post!” Adding a photo or video to your posts helps to gain maximum exposure, but don’t use just any image. Create a custom graphic or “thumb-stopper” that catches your viewers’ eye.
  • Post, repost and share again. Your audience isn’t online 24/7 so re-sharing content is the best way to reach the most relevant people. Plus, it saves you time and effort from creating fresh content every time. Just be sure to watch engagement and know when to stop.
  • Experiment. As things change and algorithms shift, marketers are continuing to have trouble reaching their audience, so what worked in the past may not work now. By making small changes and evaluating data, you can see what works and what doesn’t, and move forward.
  • Be real. This was one of the most stressed lessons at the conference. Social media is all about being social. If you start a conversation, finish it! Be authentic and personal, as being yourself is what wins people, and customers, over in the end.

After all SMMW15 events came to a close, Karyn and I stayed for a few extra days to soak up the San Diego sun and explore America’s Finest City. We ate too many fish tacos to count, enjoyed the nightlife of the lively Gaslamp District and strolled along the Pacific Beach boardwalk. We had a blast and are already looking forward to next years’ event!