I had a blast. Not only did I get to spend a few days with my own thoughts and without having to worry about kids' schedules, feedings, naps, bathtimes, etc., but I also ran into a bunch of friends I didn't expect to see at this event.
It's taken me several weeks to unpack and unload so much of what I learned, but I'm finally coming around to publishing some of the videos.
This post started as a post to just share my first 2 vlogs from Social Media Marketing World, but it ended up being a bit of a review. There are more videos, and more thoughts coming on the whole thing, but I wanted to get the 2 vlogs out for now and a few thoughts down. Stay tuned on Twitter or FB for the next posts about #SMMW18 and #SMMW19
Social Media Marketing World 2018
Social Media Marketing World, or as we call it on social media, #SMMW18 took place at the end of February and it was a terrific event.
Even though I have seen the event from previous years unfold through social media, I didn't really know what to expect. There is a stark contrast between this event and the affiliate marketing events I usually attend; namely Affiliate Summit.
I was apprehensive but still went in an open mind.
I was nervous but then realized that I am also a social media fan, advocate, practitioner, and strategist, even an evangelist so really, social media is as much my element as affiliate marketing. I just hadn't been to such a large social media-related event in the past.
The event was well organized. The number of sessions going on was outstanding and in fact, it is perhaps one of my not-so-positive feedback to the event head-honchos. It felt like too many sessions. Add to that, the interview series with industry leaders and I know many people felt like they couldn't make a good choice when picking a session.
If you have ever read any of my reviews, you know that I usually start off with the negative. I like to get that out of the way and then focus on the strengths.
Also as a matter of disclosure and fairness, like almost everything else for my blog, I received everything related to the event free of charge or in exchange for something like consulting, advice, or coverage. I am keenly aware of this whenever I bring up any points related to cost or price. I didn't pay for my accommodations, meals or attendance.
There are some more negative things about the event but I didn't want to focus too much on them.
I'll go through these quickly:
The food left a lot to be desired. I'm used to events in Las Vegas which usually include a proper hot meal for breakfast and lunch, catered usually, and as good as you would get if you went out for a normal meal at any regular restaurant. The food at #SMMW18 was your typical boxed lunch stuff. It wasn't bad, but not quite what I'd expect for the ticket price.
No alcohol. Similar to me being spoiled from Las Vegas events, I think the alcohol was lacking. Maybe it is an issue with permits and the city, or something like that, but if I know anything from running and attending social events is that alcohol makes everything better, people talk more, people are friendlier, etc. We're all grown-ups here, right?
The badge & wristband situation was hokey. Having a badge should be all that is required for any sort of access to any part of the event. For those of you that weren't there, they had us wear a badge and a wristband, and it was never really clear what the difference was between the two. The wristband was clunky and at least a few of us lost it, creating a little more hassle for us and staff. Color-coded badges and good training for all ushers and floor staff would have done the trick.
Cringy performances. This will likely get me some glares and stares at this point, but I'll take those just to get it off my chest. This is my first time at this event, but it felt a lot like a church in some cases. At one point the m.c. actually preached a little bit; ugh. The creative performances seemed out of place and weren't quite up to par for it to be a value-add for me. I can only look back at H3H3's let's get social roast and wonder has the Social Media Examiner staff not learned anything?
With that said, the event was a world-class event. I mean really the only negative points I make are because I have put on events before and helped others run, manage and promote events so I see some things that others may not.
From the perspective of a regular attendee, the event was amazing. The caliber of the speakers was unparalleled and this is when you look at your ticket price and you see my complaints about the food and stuff and realize they don't matter. The level of speakers attending and presenting alone should really make this event be worth $3000 or even $5000.
The coordination for all the sessions, the staff and moving 4000 attendees from one room to another without incident was --from my view-- executed flawlessly. The venue was the San Diego Convention center so it was meant for events like this. Walking from session to session or from the main areas to the sessions could take a few minutes but overall the venue was suitable for this event.
There are two Starbucks inside so there was always a way to get re-caffeinated. If you had the all-access pass to the event you could also get coffee most of the day by going to the food area for breakfast or lunch. The coffee seemed to stay fresh and full most of the time.
Social Media Marketing World videos
Registration & first day
Vlog - Day 1 Part 1 - Registration, coffee, sessions, lunch.
This is what went down on day 1. Overall it was a great day, at first, getting to the event was a little intimidating because it is held at the San Diego convention center, which if you know, it's huge. Luckily I found a couple of wonderful ladies that happened to be part of the Social Media Examiner's staff for the event.
They were happy to guide me to the registration section. From there I ran into friends all over the place, had lunch and attended a session. You can watch the vlog here:
Party at the USS Midway Museum
Vlog - Day 1 Part 2 - sessions, drinks, break, party.
The rest of the day went well, I hit up a couple more sessions and did some more networking. Had a couple drinks with a couple of people then headed back "home" to take a break before heading to the USS Midway for the opening night party.
Something you won't see in the video is that the vibe of the party was a bit more lively than the camera shows. It was hard to film it and do it right because of the low light. I did my best.
You'll also notice in this video, I highlight people's names on Twitter or Instagram. I should have done that for the first video as well but I didn't. Sorry for those of you that went unnamed in the first video. I'll add your names to the description of the video.
That's it for now. I have a lot more to show you and more to say about the event. Remember to follow me on Twitter to see what else I'm doing right now, or on Youtube so you get notified when the videos get posted first. Oh yeah and don't forget to get your tickets for SMMW19... now! Click here to get tickets.