by Cydney Hatch March 4, 2019

How to Get the Most Out of Social Media Marketing World 2019

What do you get when you cram 5,000+ social media professionals into the San Diego Convention center for 3 days in March?

Social Media Marketing World 2019, of course!

Imagine a place where you can get actionable tips from more than 100 experts on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger bots, live video, social strategy, content marketing, analytics, video creation, YouTube for business, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, and more…

Sounds like a dream, right?

Here at Disruptive Advertising, we are excited to be a part of this phenomenal event. For the third year running, Chris Dayley—our VP of Testing and Site Optimization—will be running a special workshop on how to optimize your website in a way that will turn your social media traffic into actual leads and sales for your business.

Chris has been consistently ranked as one of the top speakers at SMMW and he’s excited to take things to the next level this year. Disruptive will be running a booth throughout the conference and we’d love to see you there. In fact, if you drop by, we’d love to do a free audit of your site and show you some ways to get more results out of your traffic!

But, Chris isn’t the only reason to attend SMMW. Since we’ve been to the conference a few times, we thought we’d share some helpful tips about how to make the most of your time at SMMW. Check out the conference information, tips and tricks below to make the most out of your experience!

Preparing for Social Media Marketing World

As you count down the weeks and days to SMMW, here are some ways to get ready:

Come With a Purpose

Like anything in marketing, getting the most out of a conference is all about purpose. So before you arrive at (or even sign up for) Social Media Marketing World, ask yourself: why am I attending?

Is it to…

Regardless of your specific why, you need to come with purpose or a question to answer!

Once you’ve identified why you’re attending SMMW, you need to figure out what you need to do at the conference to achieve your why. What do you need to do or what question(s) must you get answered in order for the conference to be worth it?

Arrive at the event with a realistic goal like: “I want to talk to 5 new people that I will make an effort to keep in touch with” or “I want to find 5 ways I can improve my business Instagram strategy this year.”

If you take the time to figure out your purpose before the conference, you’ll get way more out of SMMW than if you just show up, wander around and leave thinking “it was nice…”

Plan Your Sessions Ahead of Time

Social Media Marketing World always has a killer list of speakers and breakout sessions to attend, so make the most of these learning opportunities and plan ahead of time!

Since you know why you’re attending, it shouldn’t be that hard to find sessions and speakers that will meet your needs. Take a look at this year’s list of sessions and speakers beforehand so you can plan out the sessions you want to attend!

By deciding which sessions you will attend in advance, you have time to think about the topics and come up with questions you want to have answered.

Networking at SMMW

In addition to offering a variety of great speakers and learning opportunities, SMMW is an awesome place to network with other professionals. Obviously, there are a lot of opportunities to network during breakout sessions and meal breaks, but if you’re smart, there are countless additional opportunities to network throughout the conference.

For example, here are a few extra networking opportunities you won’t want to miss:

  • Meetups: For those looking to connect with others at different points during the conference, these are awesome! Look to Twitter or click here to sign up for Meet Ups happening throughout the conference!
  • Early Mornings: It’s a little less crowded and easier to connect with people before the crowds arrive. The easiest way to do that is to show up for breakfast and sit with someone new.  Another option is taking a walk in the morning with other attendees (SMMW will have networking walks and runs available on both mornings at 6:00 AM. These will leave from the Marriott main lobby).
  • Late Nights: You may be someone who goes to bed pretty early in your everyday life, but if you can, you should look to hang out for a bit after the conference doors close! Low-key settings are one of the best ways to build relationships, so kick back and relax for a bit–maybe even allow yourself a few drinks!
  • Networking Parties: Some people love parties and crowds, but others prefer small gatherings. I suggest you don’t skip these parties. They are the ideal setting for finding some of the people you came to meet.

Networking is an important aspect of conferences, so it pays to spend a little time thinking about your networking approach before you head off to SMMW. Let’s look at a few ways to get the most out of your networking.

Prepare a Quick Introduction

When you go to conferences, many people lead conversations with where they come from and what they do professionally. To avoid awkwardly stumbling over words, prepare a short introduction on how you want to present yourself to those you meet!

To be different, give yourself a little personality rather than plainly stating “I work for… and I do…” Try to think of things your new “friends” will connect with or a fun ice breaker!

I guarantee that if you prepare a short, engaging and fun snippet about yourself ahead of time, the people you strike up conversations with will find it refreshing to kick off a conversation with something beyond just “So what do you do?” Be unique and people will remember the conversation!

BONUS: Wear Something Memorable

For some, it’s a great idea to wear something unique that people will remember. You can get some wacky shoes, bright colored blazers, or a funny T-shirt. Regardless of the WHAT, it’s nice to have a visual element that people can remember.

For example, our speaker from Disruptive, Chris Dayley, wears super unique blazers and rocks a cool mustache which makes him stick out in the minds of people who attend his speaking session and network with him.

By applying the same tactics, you too can stand out a bit more with a statement piece that will make you more memorable (and it makes for a nice ice-breaker). Just make sure that what you wear doesn’t distract people or detract from who you are!

Be an Active Part of Social Media Conversations

To put it simply, you are going to a social media conference, so you better be a part of social conversations on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter!

Social Media Marketing World thrives on conversations on social platforms, so be active, give value and have fun! To help you get started, try some of the following:

Participate in Pre-Conference Conversations

Before the conference, share questions you are looking forward to having answered on Twitter. It’s a great way to start a few conversations!

Social Media Marketing World also offers great pre-event activities like Slack groups and Facebook Group forums. By participating in these groups, you can connect with people ahead of time and discuss topics well in advance to provide value to each other! By the time you arrive in San Diego, you’ll have a tribe of people you feel comfortable meeting with and learning from further!

Follow People You are Interested In 

Follow speakers and individuals before the conference, check out their content, and start building a relationship before you even get to SMMW! Then, when you’re at the conference, try to connect face-to-face with your new friends.

One nice thing about a lot of the speakers at SMMW is that they will respond to comments and questions you put out on social media so don’t be afraid to reach out and intimately talk with and learn from your social media idols!

Share Interactive and Visual Content

Follow the event hashtag #SMMW19 on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram and be sure to share photos and connect with other attendees! A lot of the top posts that thrive on Social Media Marketing World’s hashtagged channels are photos, videos, and interactive posts!

People want to see what you are creating, enjoying and participating in during the conference, so share your own “behind the scenes” moments of learning and networking at Social Media Marketing World!

Bring a Practical Bag

We have all, unfortunately, had the experience of lugging around our luggage or carry on bags during a conference…what a drag, literally!

Not only do they get in the way of seating, but they make a long day that much longer. To avoid this, bring a smaller bag that can carry around the essentials. This will help you focus on what matters and give you the energy to truly engage!

Don’t Look Down at Tech, Meet People With a Smile

If you’re not the most outgoing of people, you might be tempted to hide behind a computer or smartphone at a conference. But, when you are in the main sessions and breakouts, don’t look down at your tech, look up and say hi!

Many times, people’s interactions with others end up mostly being aimed at the top of their heads while the other person is looking down at their phone to minimize their social discomfort. Change that!

Get psyched to meet new people at the conference sessions and hallways! Be a great listener listening about other’s passions, business, and interests! Many times, curiosity and conversation spark collaboration, so do not be afraid to reach out. And, after you meet someone, immediately look them up on LinkedIn or Twitter and connect!

BONUS: Connect With Speakers

After the speaking event, introduce yourself to speakers with a specific reason you like their blog, book, or presentation. When you really want a speaker’s attention, be the last person to talk to them!

Stack Up Your Business Cards

With over 5,000 people in attendance, you better hope you have lots of business cards ready to pass out! Be sure you have enough, and spread them out like candy!

As you collect other people’s cards, get a pen or mini sharpie and write notes on the business cards so you can have meaningful follow-up conversations highlighting things you remember during the conference!

One meaningful connection with someone can make the whole event worthwhile, so remember to follow up! Even a quick “thank you” email, a message via LinkedIn, or a mention on Twitter can go a long way. This strengthens your connection for the next time you reach out to them!

See You at Social Media Marketing World 2019!

SMMW is a great place to learn, network with people and have a great time. We hope to see you there!

Since we will be there as a sponsor, feel free to stop by our booth or attend Chris Dayley’s breakout session on Wednesday! He will be giving a 90-min workshop on how to improve conversion rates on your website, so if you have any pre-presentation questions, send ’em over on Twitter or in the comments! We would love to help!

Also, as a bonus, those who attend his session will receive an awesome eBook which will help any business convert more traffic on their websites or landing pages!

At our booth, those who get a free website audit will be entered to win an electric Juiced Bike, an adventurer Wandrd backpack or a sweet iPhone photography lens! Plus, those who sign up with us at SMMW will also receive a free month of user testing!

See you at Social Media Marketing World and keep it classy! (Haven’t bought tickets? Get them here!).

With so many great sessions at what are you looking forward to attending? What questions are you hoping to have answered during the conference? 

  • Social Media

Cydney Hatch

Cydney Hatch

Cydney is a polka dot wearing business owner, photographer, cupcake enthusiast and writer, who through her work, shares her personal passions about visual marketing, branding and business strategy.

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