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You Can Do It: Words of Wisdom from a Social Media Week Veteran

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February is a tough time to be in NYC. It’s too cold; the holidays are over; spring is still far off; everything seems mundane, except for the arrival of one of the best networking events of the year: Social Media Week (SMW).

I got involved with SMW in Feb 2011, pitching my first event partner idea with an industry colleague. After filling out the very straightforward online SMW event form, we held our breath, and hit the ‘send’ button.

We waited to hear the results, and our topic was picked! Great.

Now, we wondered, could we possibly pull this off, and get anyone to sign up for our obscure topic? Or so we thought, at the time.

Not only did they sign up, we sold out within 2 hours of our selected venue space. What to do? How could we turn away an audience that was looking to soak up the info we were so passionate to share?

Serendipity, itself greeted us, when a larger venue became available and we were able to accommodate our 300+ attendees. For those who’d like to see what it looks like, here’s my very first SMW event info and the videotape: Financial Services Social Media Champions Tell Their Story

Having had such a great experience in Feb 2011, I returned in Feb 2012 again as both:

Speaker and Event planner: Social Media Strategy for Financial Services
Blogger and attendee: My Day as a Social Media Week Speaker

It does include lots of work; so you may ask, why be a SMW event host?

For me, the benefits include:

  • + Increasing your online influence and reputation
  • + Introducing your ideas to the world
  • + Becoming a disruptive innovator

Why I Continue to Host SMW Events

As a veteran Social Media Week event partner, there are numerous reasons I continue to get involved. I love bringing what I know to others who want to learn about social media. It also gives me an opportunity to get to know the SMW team more. The SMW team vibe is positive and supportive. In addition, by hosting an event, I get to meet the most fabulous people from around the globe. I still keep up with folks I have met in person (aka IRL = In Real Life) and those who live-tweeted around the world.


What I’ve Learned as a SMW Host
  • + The best way to hone your craft and knowledge is by sharing it with other from the SMW stage.
  • + Even though you’re only in one city, you have access to over a dozen cities around the world participating in SMW events.
  • + Even if your city is not on the list, you still get to participate virtually. I *attended* a September 2012 London event and blogged about the experience: SMW London: Export is Easier Than You Think

Tips for First Timers

I understand being intimidated. It’s work, but here are my tips to you if you’re considering taking part for the first time!

  • + Just fill out the SMW event form! We were all first timers once. You can do it and your ideas are waiting to be heard.
  • + Once you’re selected – congrats! Give your social media skills a workout by getting your friends and fans to spread the word about your event.
  • + Remember to tweet me up @JoyceMSullivan for SMW love and support. SMW event alums are here for you first timers!
  • + Keep working your SMW tweets and hashtags to get the word out about your event.
  • + Get all your details squared away ahead of time and ask questions of the SMW staff earlier than later. They can ensure you are prepared so you can rock your audience.

You can do it. No matter which city you’re in, you can make it happen. Remember, you are the only one who knows what you know.

You are amazing. Let everyone at SMW know it. Let me know it, too!


Joyce Sullivan is founder and CEO of SocMediaFin, a social media consulting firm for financial services, specialty firms and industry executives: http://SocMediaFin.com. With over 20 years experience as Vice President with firms including, Citi, Credit Suisse, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo/First Fidelity, Ms. Sullivan brings a seasoned industry perspective to the emerging world of social media. As an advisory board member of the Financial Women’s Association, she serves as their Chief Digital Strategist. Ms. Sullivan holds an MBA from the Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College, City University of NY in International Finance and Marketing, a BA in Education from University of Saint Joseph, Connecticut, and the Project Management Professional (PMP) designation from the Project Management Institute.




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