Hint: Your online should match your offline (thanks for that one Erika)
This year, I returned to the Social Media Marketing World conference in San Diego, and I learned a whole lot more than I bargained for.
Did the presentations and sessions blow me away?
Despite a lot of the sessions being duds, everything else around the sessions did teach me so much more. So I will share with you the 2 biggest lessons I learned:
Lesson 1 – Not all social media marketers are created equal
There is a fine balance between “social” and “media” that some marketers still don’t understand, and it is quite tricky to get right.
Social media really took off around 2007-2008 as the internet changed and people wanted spaces where they could connect more with people they knew – family and friends – and also connect with others with similar passions, hobbies and beliefs.
As businesses got excited about the marketing opportunities in this new channel, unfortunately the media side of social moved slightly out of balance.
Even though the social side, keeps reminding the media side – “Hey, we do not want to be spammed, we do not want to know about you and your business. We only want to know when we are looking for you.” The media side perseveres and the social side roll their eyes.
And such was still the case at SMMW15.
I met some brilliant marketers who were humble, looking for learnings and real connections, to take back onto the online space.
And I met some of those marketers who still don’t get it. You know the ones. You’re standing there holding a business card, thinking “who really was that?”. They poke you on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with a “come to my session invite” like a robot. They follow around keynote speakers like puppies, and they ignore everyone else. And yes, they think #hashtag signs add meaning to their photos.
Luckily, I dodged a few bullets and spent all my time with the good ones – and you know who you are!
Your online matches your offline. And that’s how you be authentic in social media.
Lesson 2 -There are some kick-ass marketers pushing boundaries
From the 2,500 marketers at the conference, there was an amazing variation of corporate marketers, small business marketers and agency marketers.
Despite our different histories and backgrounds, we really all seemed to want the same thing:
To be excellent, To improve, To learn, To make real connections, To achieve our goals
There was so much marketing knowledge and expertise in such a small space, it really was overwhelming. And though it seems the “big name” players are asleep at the marketing wheel, so many others are forging uphill, trying different ideas, different campaigns, wanting to serve their customers better, testing and measuring, with great stories to tell.
I learned that we share similar marketing passions from Auckland, to Toronto, to Florida, to Minnesota, to Switzerland and Ireland. We will continue to stay in touch, and help each other grow.
I was blessed to meet these people, spend time with them, and be the ultimate student. That is what Social Media Marketing World does for me, and will continue to do for me.
As Mark Schaeffer from BusinessesGrow.com said, “I am not an expert, I am a student, and I always have more to learn”.
If you remember that, you will always be authentic in social media.