Three Big Takeaways from SMMW 2020 for Small Business Owners

The 2020 Social Media Marketing World (SMMW) conference, held March 2-4 in San Diego, was an incredible experience. Yet it feels like ages ago! 

That’s because the conference concluded just before the COVID-19 pandemic brought life to a screeching halt. I arrived home bursting with ideas and takeaways that (mostly) needed to be set aside so I could attend to the rapidly changing needs of my clients. 

With the benefit of three months of reflection and application, I’d like to share three big takeaways from the conference that apply to small business owners and solopreneurs. I’ve been incorporating these concepts into my work since March, and I’ve already seen great results for my clients. Let me know what you think!

  1. Go “All In” on ONE Platform… and Then Repurpose! 

The concept is simple: Pick ONE platform that you love, that your target audience is using, and that you can reasonably manage, and MASTER it! 

Most businesses have accounts on multiple social media platforms – which is a lot to maintain, let alone master. Yes, when you launch a business or brand, you should claim its name on every platform possible to minimize the risk of impersonation. But having an account is different from maintaining an account, which is miles away from mastering a platform. 

When I start with a new client, we focus on one, maybe two, platforms. I write for those platforms, first, and then repurpose that same content for the other platforms that need to be maintained. 

Clear as mud? 

OK, here’s an example!

I love LinkedIn. I have met and maintained connections through LinkedIn that have helped me learn and grow. I have also met clients through LinkedIn. When I write for my business social media channels, I write for LinkedIn first, because that is my primary platform. That is where my target audience can be found.

Yet, since I market myself as social media expert, it is important that I show up consistently on other social media platforms. If a prospective client is not on LinkedIn, they need to be able to find me elsewhere. That’s why I maintain Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter pages on behalf of Emily Writes, LLC. I write for LinkedIn, first, and then adapt that content for my other accounts. 

Now, that doesn’t mean I won’t occasionally throw up an Instagram Story or go live on Facebook. But I don’t spread myself too thin by trying to make Emily Writes huge on every possible platform. 

This should give you some relief, business owners! Pick the platform that you like the best and get really good at it. If you’re not sure what platform to pick or how to go about mastering it, we should chat. I’d be happy to provide some free advice. 

  1. Experiment and Play

Marketing is a space to be creative, try things out, and get comfortable with failure. That’s right – it’s okay to mess up. Once you give yourself the freedom to move beyond perfection, it’s time to have some fun!

I came away from SMMW with a notebook full of ideas. Here are just a few content marketing thoughts that you can start incorporating today:  

  • When you sit down to write an email, a blog, or a social media post, begin with the audience in mind. Here’s a neat template from Miri Rodriguez: “This story is dedicated to ___ so they do ___ and feel ___.”
  • Video is big, and it’s only going to get bigger. As Michael Stelzner said, “It doesn’t need to be perfect – it just needs to be done.” Start small, with short story videos and basic equipment, and then grow into more sophisticated productions as your confidence grows. 
  • Got a video? Great! Now you can repurpose it. Publish it across all your social media platforms – including YouTube, so it can be embedded onto your website. Next, order a transcript of your video and rewrite it slightly so it can be published as a blog and/or email newsletter. You could also export your video’s audio and post that as a podcast. Make sure you grab 5-10 smart snippets and make those into standalone social media posts. The possibilities are endless!
  1. Social Media Isn’t Required, but You’re Missing Out if You Don’t Try It

Can you run a successful business, brand, or organization without social media? Of course! Not everyone has the time and resources to manage social media effectively. Even one platform can be too much. 

Psst… Here’s my chance to plug my services a bit. My packages start small and affordable, so someone can invest minimally and still have a social media presence that will propel their organization in the right direction. I can also train you, or someone on your team, to effectively create content and manage social media for your organization. 

But you’re seriously missing out if you avoid social media altogether. You could be passing up sales or donors – but more importantly, you’re squandering an opportunity for connection. 

Social media is all about making genuine connections. That’s worth repeating: Social media is all about making genuine connections. These connections are between you and your audience AND among your audience members. 

Let’s look at an example. 

In the month leading up to Easter, I started running my church’s social media accounts. In addition to sharing important church news and resources, we started posting simple questions to get people talking and connecting. The best part? People started talking to each other on our posts. That’s connection!

To further foster genuine connections, we started launching intentional Facebook Groups. These groups are geared to subsets of the church audience – parents with little kids, women, etc. Within these groups, content is curated to appeal to the individuals within the group. Once each group started to gain momentum, people began starting their own conversations with new posts or by engaging in comment sections. Even while apart, members of our congregation can stay connected. That’s the power of social media. 


These are just three of the big takeaways I learned at SMMW 2020. I hope to share more in the coming months. Let me know if there is a specific topic, concept, or social media platform that you’re curious about. I’ll make sure to tackle your topic in an upcoming blog.