Last week, I learned something that will change the course of my business this year. I wasn’t alone almost a dozen other people felt the same way about their own business.
I would predict that many who attended Social Media Marketing World in San Diego would feel the same way.
Let me set the stage for you –
Imagine having constant access to the top social media marketers on the planet. I mean you can walk in a room, grab a free cup of coffee, and see Mari Smith chilling out catching up on Facebook.
Or how about Pat Flynn posing for photos and graciously answering questions from everybody even from people (me) playfully threatened to rough him up.
My highlight was talking 90’s hip hop with Chris Brogan (“I’m not a businessman. I’m a business. Man.” – Jay Z) and finally getting to meet Brian Clark and Mike Stelzner.
After hobnobbing with the Internet rich and famous (literally) you can attend their sessions where they give you their best strategies. I learned enough from Amy Porterfield alone to revolutionize my business.
I also finally figured out what worried me about Pushing Social after delivering my talk on Blogging Growth Hacks.
(Hold on, I’ll tell you what it was in just a minute)
After gorging yourself on tactics, tools (thanks Ian Cleary!), and big-idea strategy you can walk across the street from the Hotel, eat some Kansas City Bar-B-Que and compare notes with Top 10 Social Media Bloggers (Jamie Turner, Ian Cleary) and have a good laugh with LinkedIn royalty (Viveka van Rosen).
That was Social Media Marketing World 2014 and you are seriously hurting your business if you miss it next year. You’ve got a year to save up.
Key Takeaways From Watching the Experts
(A quick note for active members of the “don’t call yourself an expert” tribe: When I use the term “expert” I actually mean “gods among us”. I love the term expert. The only thing I love more is the guts to say you are an expert.)
1. Focus on Your Reader’s End Result.
It’s easy to think that Amy Porterfield is singularly focused on Facebook. Viveka Van Rosenon on LinkedIn, Martin Shervington on Google+. They are not. They are focused on building their reader’s businesses and helping others achieve their goals. Yes, they use social media to accomplish their goals but the platform is secondary to the reader’s goal.
That little mindset shift hit me square in the jaw during Day 2 of the conference. You see, it’s easy to think that I’m focused on blogging for blogging sake. But as my client’s will tell you – blogging is the sizzle but hardcore business advice is the steak. I will be tweaking my story in the year ahead. Should you?
2. You Gotta Love What You Do
I spent about 72 hours talking about blogging, social media, growing a business, and beating the dog slop out of the competition. I thought I would be totally exhausted by the end. I wasn’t. In fact I got stronger each day because I absolutely love the medium, strategy and tactics. Love comes from down deep. It sticks close to your heart and powers your God given talent.
Are you doing what you love?
3. It’s About the People
I arrived at Social Media Marketing World (SMMW14) with one goal – Learn people’s stories.
That means I went looking for my fellow attendees heroes, challenges, villains, and special X-men powers. I learned that
- Paul Banker is passionate about dog toys and has a neat way of getting you psyched about them too.
- Jillian Vorce is a true power networker an almost supernatural way of making you a better networker by just speaking with here
- James Hahn owns his category – oil and gas marketing because he’s willing to give 110% to helping other’s succeed
- Sara Piccola and Chelsea Hejny are probably the most engaging networking team on the planet. It helps to work for a company with a cool name like Shortstack.
and dozens of other stories that taught me something new about the real power behind social media — YOU.
4. You Must Invest in Deep Expertise
Every expert I met at SMMW14, on and off the stage, where masters of their domain. Although everyone could speak generally about social and content, they preferred to dig deep into their chosen specialty. They cared about the How, Who, Why, When, and Where and most importantly – What if:
- What if you use Google+ to sell a book?
- What if you used LinkedIn to find donors for a nonprofit?
- What if you could use Pinterest to promote a startup?
I believe the same devotion to deep expertise or mastery applies to your niche. Remember James Hahn? He is the expert on helping oil and gas businesses market themselves using online and social media tools. He knows more about the category than I ever will. Period.
Can your peers (or your competition) say that about you?
5. Be Curious or Be Left Behind
Marketing is evolving faster than every year. You can bet that tomorrow there will be another killer feature for blogs, Linkedin, twitter, Facebook, Google+, or Pinterest that had the potential to improve your business.
What you knew last week might be obsolete next month. The only way to stay on top of this stuff is to get curious about different ways to promote your business. If you don’t have the time, hire someone who does.
What marketing innovation are you curious about? What are doing to learn more?
6. “IRL – In Real Life” is the Secret Sauce of Success
I’ve always suspected that the real business in any niche happens face-to-face. I love all of the shiny tools too but it figured there was another deeper force at play. I was right. Going to conferences, breaking bread, and hanging out is the absolute best way to make connections that turn into real opportunity. Sitting on your butt, walled away in your office, isn’t a marketing strategy. Find a way to meet customers, peers, and the experts in your niche.
Who will you be meeting “IRL” in the next 6 months?
I’ve Got More – Stay Tuned
In the weeks ahead we’ll be discussing some incredibly effective ways to get more sales, establish your authority, build profitable partnerships, and save time using blog marketing.
I’m glad you are along for the ride.