Every year around this time I write a blog post with my top take-aways and lessons learned from Social Media Marketing World, but this year it’s a bit different. In the past, I’ve always been an attendee or volunteer for this mammoth marketing conference that draws 3,000+ people. This year I was part of the staff that organized the event.  As a true insider, here are some behind-the-scenes observations.

  1. The content that the speakers present is incredibly current. We all know that it’s a challenge to stay up-to-date with the many changes in the social media marketing industry. Each day social media platforms announce new features, new tools are introduced, and tactics can cease to be effective due to changes in algorithms. I was impressed at how the speakers at SMMW went out of their way to ensure their talks included the very latest trends and news. These professionals pride themselves on having their finger on the pulse of the industry and they go to great lengths to share it with attendees. This is not an event where a speaker prepares slides months in advance and then shows up to walk through them. These speakers often need to make same-day changes to their presentations to ensure they are sharing the very latest industry news.
  1. This conference is a community event and the volunteers who participate shape the experience. Each year Social Media Examiner recruits enthusiastic volunteers to make the event a success.  This year over 180 volunteers were part of the event from a variety of backgrounds, ages, interests and even countries. They arrived early to the event and received several hours of training and preparation to do their on-site assignments. They wore staff shirts and were entrusted to represent the organization and the Social Media Examiner brand.  Their assignments matched their interests – people focused on networking were on the 14-person Networking Ambassador team, people with customer service skills worked at registration. I personally got to meet and work with a group of 12 people who were volunteer Speaker Handlers. I was amazed by how much enthusiasm and inspiration they contributed to the event.  Days after it is all over, many of them are still networking with each other online. Which brings me to my next observation:
  1. #SMMW17 is networking on steroids. Whether you are an experienced-networker or not, you were sure to find many opportunities at this conference – all carefully planned and orchestrated by the planning team. This year’s event included a session on Networking for Introverts, a total of 180 Table Talks where industry leaders and speakers facilitated conversations over lunch, Meet-ups for meals not on-site, and at least 4 online networking platforms that were all managed by event staff. In addition, a dedicated team of uber-friendly volunteers were tasked with iPads trained to help attendees find their ideal connections.

How about you?  Did you attend #SMMW17 and have some take-aways? If so I would love to hear about them. Just send me an email at christina@marketingstaircase.com

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