In the world of social media, there is one event that is most anticipated every year. It is not another Facebook update, Twitter news, or Instagram story. This event gathers industry leaders, marketing experts, and vendors from all over the world. It delivers most actionable social media tips, brings true value to its attendees and empowers them with new great ideas.

The event is called Social Media Marketing World (or simply SMMW), and it is held by Social Media Examiner in sunny San Diego. This year SMMW had over 3,000 attendees from 70 countries and was referred to as “the best conference to attend”. In case you missed it, here are 7 major takeaways from the conference speakers.

Care about your customers

One of the major takeaways from the conference was that you should constantly care about your customers. As Mari Smith, the Queen of Facebook, stated in her talk, it’s time to rethink everything: starting from the Facebook news feed to the way you do business. The one thing you should focus on is, how can you really make people feel special? How can you grok your customers? Focus on creating a positive emotional experience for the customer, and they will buy more. If we make people happy, we make more money; that’s the way it is.

 

Grow your audience

Kim Garst, live video marketing pro, shared her hands-on experience with live streaming and the impact live videos had on her business. According to Kim, live video is a powerful instrument that can be repurposed in many different ways: for your blog, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, and more. However, the success of live video depends on many factors, such as the time when your live stream is scheduled at or the efforts taken to promote it, with the most important being how big your audience, or your list, is. The top tip to grow your email list is to create free content that provides value to your potential customers as you can connect to people only if you offer something that matters to them, not to you (read, your product).

 

Become a magnet

The talk “How to Build a Business with YouTube” was delivered by Sunny Lenarduzzi, an expert on video marketing who has 79K subscribers on her YouTube channel. Sunny mentioned that the biggest part in business is mindset. You should become a magnet for your target audience, and people will be looking for things you can provide.

 

The audience is the asset

Joe Pulizzi, the founder of Content Marketing Institute, focused on the importance of building the audience and bringing value to this audience before extracting value. The secret to building an audience that will monetize content? Find out your differentiator point that will help you break through all that clutter, target one persona at a time, be consistent.

 

Every content strategy needs to include visuals

According to Donna Moritz, 84% of communication will be visual by 2019. Donna invites you to think differently about the content you create. When you are doing visual storytelling, it’s not about your story or their story, it’s about where your stories meet.

Get niche

During the panel discussion “How to Monetize Your Podcast” John Lee Dumas, the founder of the award-winning podcast Entrepreneur on Fire, mentioned that what works in podcast monetization today is really getting niche. You have to be as specific as possible; do your podcast differently and speak to one person. While John has expertise in podcasting, these tips can be applied to content marketing in general. The #1 reason to get into social media marketing should be to share value with the audience.

 

Test things and ask questions

Social media marketing is hard! Or so it might seem, if you’re not using the right tools. As Peg Fitzpatrick mentioned in her talk, you should get ready to test things and ask questions. Tell people who you really are with visuals. If you want your blog post or any other piece of content to get shared, make sure you have an image included. And, of course, don’t forget social sharing buttons: they matter so much.

Bring value to people

If you were to focus on one most important thing in your content strategy, this one thing would be to bring value to your audience, whatever the industry. As Pat Flynn puts it, ‘If you give your audience results, they will build a habit of wanting to come back to you for more and more.’ Think of your audience as real people, not just download numbers. Build rapport with your audience, and they will listen to you.