social media reviews

*****UPDATE: Congrats to Eric Diamonstein, winner of the comment contest. See his winning comment here. We also congratulate Kim Morrison, our Twitter winner. Our winners are coming from Australia and the United Kingdom respectively.****

Want to win a free ticket to the industry’s largest social media marketing conference of the year?

Social Media Examiner has worked hard to bring you our very first physical conference.

And we’ve come up with a fun way to get you involved.

First, what is this event?

Social Media Marketing World 2013 is the world’s largest physical social media conference dedicated to help marketers and business owners master social media marketing.

Watch this video for a quick overview.

Over 60 of the world’s most respected social media marketing experts will share their strategies with you—and you can meet them face to face.

Presenters include Guy Kawasaki, Mari Smith, Chris Brogan, Jay Baer, Mitch Joel, John Jantsch, Michael Stelzner, Dave Kerpen, Lee Odden, Mark Schaefer, Mario Sundar, Cliff Ravenscraft, Jesse Stay, Joe Pulizzi, Michael Brito, Marcus Sheridan, Ric Dragon, Brian Carter, Amy Porterfield, Nichole Kelly, Derek Halpern and Pat Flynn, just to mention a few!

Check out some of the brands presenting:

There will be 49 sessions presented in 5 tracks spread over 2 days. Topics will include tips on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, social strategy, the psychology of social media, measuring social activities, community management, selling with social and content marketing.

We expect to sell out before the event starts on April 7, 2013. People attending represent large and small companies just like yours and some attendees are flying in from places like Australia, New Zealand, Peru, India and Ireland.

One of the best parts of this year’s conference is the cool networking opportunities. Not only will we have a Networking Plaza where you can connect with experts and peers between sessions and during dedicated networking times, but we also have two parties planned that are designed for professional networking. Learn more about the Networking Cruise and the Opening Night Networking Party here.

How can you win tickets?

We have two free tickets to the conference, valued at $1297 each, plus the opportunity to be promoted to more than 190,000 of your peers!

Two ways to win

There are two tickets up for grabs and two ways to win:

#1: Twitter Entry

Simply click the button on the right or tweet what you see below for a chance to win one ticket:

I want to win a ticket to Social Media Marketing World via @smexaminer #winSMMW13

You can tweet up to two times per dayEach tweet is an entry to win. We’ll randomly draw the winner of a free ticket. All tweets must have the #winSMMW13 hashtag included.

#2: Written Entry

The winner gets a free ticket, two free nights at the San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina PLUS a mention in the Social Media Examiner Newsletter (190,000+ subscribers)!

Simply write about your biggest social media marketing challenge and why you should win a free ticket in the comments box below (scroll down).

The judges—Mari Smith (social media speaker and trainer), Pat Flynn (founder, Smart Passive Income) and Mike Stelzner (founder, Social Media Examiner)—will select the winning entry. Their decisions are subjective and final.

What you need to know:

  1. You can enter to win either or both prizes.
  2. Tweets must contain #winSMMW13.
  3. The deadline is Wednesday, February 13, 2013, and the winners will be announced shortly thereafter.
  4. If you’ve already purchased a ticket, no worries. If you win, we’ll either give you a full refund or you can give your spare ticket to someone you really like.
  5. No purchase is necessary to win.

We look forward to seeing your comments and tweets. Good luck!

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  • Pingback: video marketing | Win Free Tickets to Social Media Marketing World 2013 + MORE 02/04/2013 | Free SEO Training()

  • Our biggest challenge is to make customers understand the importance of social media. Basically all of them are still budgeting (way) more to press and tv ads than to social media. How can we make them realize that the great majority of final customers spent most of their time online, on social media? Convince them to increase their budget for social media is one of our biggest challenges.

    I’d like to win because this would mean so much for me and our company. For me because I would meet extraordinary people, who I otherwise just dream on meeting. For my company because I am 100% sure there will be so many useful information in the conference that we will be able to use to grow our market and help our customers even better.


  • My biggest challenge is getting clients in rural pennsylvania to understand the importance social media can have on their brand. Many dont realize that this could increase their customer interaction and engagement 10 fold.
    I would like to win a ticket to learn how to better serve my clients and to help build their brands into well known online companies. This contest would mean the world to my company as we are a fledgling marketing/design firm.

  • Ken Fehner

    My biggest social media marketing challenge is get clients to realize this is a partnership and that all our efforts won’t succeed unless they are actively involved in the process. It’s rewarding when I see the client have had that aha moment and they understand how important their roll is in making social media work for their company. Unfortunately some company just want to be hands off and despite our efforts to get them involved in the process they are non-responsive 🙁

  • Chelsea

    My biggest social media challenge is transitioning from B2C to B2B – and learning to love B2B as much as I love B2C. I want to be as comfortable with myself in B2B decision making and strategy as I am with B2C.

  • Awesome post Phil! My biggest social media marketing challenge this year is to strengthen my social media following in order to convert followers to EntrepreneurOnFire podcast subscribers. I feel that I have already made headway with the marketing efforts I put into my brand last year and I just need to continue producing great content and reading great material from you and everyone else of SME!

    Have a wonderful day everyone!

    ~ John Lee Dumas

  • My biggest challenge is figuring out whether a brand really needs to be on every single social channel, and how to create/curate content for each one. This is especially a challenge with Pinterest. If we all need to be on there, but we don’t offer any tangible products that have an image to post, what should we post? Is it really worth it for us to be on there?

  • My biggest social media marketing challenge is simply keeping informed of best practices and understanding the ever changing landscape of this space. As we work with clients, we need to develop strategies that can be implemented with today’s tools and techniques but also need to plan for future updates/changes and build that into an overall marketing strategy. I have a great deal of knowledge and experience to share with other attendees that I would meet at the event and would immediately take the insights and inspiration I gain from the great lineup of speakers and immediately integrate it into my social media marketing strategies.

  • Kathy Van Duzer

    My biggest challenge as an independent consultant is time and budget management. I cannot afford all the analytic’s that larger firms can have but need to know which are appropriate for clients, companies and which are not. I need to do a lot of due diligence and get as much feedback as possible so I can make informed decisions. By winning a ticket and accommodations I will have the chance to ask directly from leaders in social media what their views are and gain invaluable advice and experience.

  • My biggest challenge as a consultant is creating engaging ads. I work for a company where are are new to social media. We’re getting the clients but since “I am” the social media department I need help in creating ads not only for our business but also clients. I know that there are rules on Facebook on what to do and what not to do and I also know that you can read articles online but there are so many out there that one can get overwhelmed. I am sure there are other people who need this ticket much more than I do but to have the opportunity to win a ticket means that I can ask the experts directly questions that I might have and soak up as much knowledge as humanly possible. Well good luck to everyone!!!

  • Tara Husband

    Hi Mari, Pat and Mike,
    First, thank you for all you have taught me up to this point.
    My biggest social media challenge is taking social media to the next level. is a new social media start-up under development. Plug in the name of your drug and find real side effect from social conversations. It’s a big data aggregation in the pharmaceutical industry. Much of the time I’m alone in my office working extremely hard for clients dreaming I can do something to help influence the industry.
    Thank you.
    Tara Husband

  • What an awesome opportunity! Thanks for allowing us to share our stories and challenges. As a social media manager for an institution of higher ed, I am thrilled that I get to help not only tell my college’s brand story to a variety of constituents, but also encourage others to share in that telling — like a continuous co-authored piece of nonfiction. My biggest challenge is reigning in the “misguided enthusiasm” of academic departments, club leaders and campus programs; so many want to jump on the social media bandwagon but they do not have a clear-cut strategy in place. Not every club on campus needs a social media presence, nor do they have the manpower, knowledge or succession plan (I’ve found many “dead” accounts with our College name, some for the same group that tried several times over the years to establish a Facebook page) in place to properly use these channels. And, for the ones that do warrant one, it also is a challenge to make sure they adhere to branding guidelines, while still maintaining their unique voice. I have to delicately and diplomatically approach this, providing guidance (to perhaps use the official channels by providing me content ideas) while at the same time not discouraging their desire to communicate in new ways. I’ve risen to this challenge though, by implementing a social media blog for campus users, launching a student social media street team, and doing presentations (my first was called “I’m brushing my teeth right now! And Other Social Media Myths) on campus to better educate folks on the right way and right reasons to embark on a social media adventure. So, while I am working on this challenge, getting the buy-in, campus-wide, is still a work in process.

  • CorporateHipster

    My biggest social media marketing challenge is trying to find ways to make myself, a 4th year public relations student, stand out from my competition, especially with graduation just around the corner. Being part of Generation X, places high expectations on you and your knowledge of social media. It seems every day there’s a new site popping up that people want to engage in. I’ve had the opportunity to manage regional and national social media campaigns as well as an international crisis situation all through social media (Facebook and Twitter mostly). I applied my own understanding of the social networking sites to help do this however, there are vast differences from social media for personal use vs social media for business use. If granted the free tickets to Social Media Marketing World, I would be able to go directly to the source to ask questions and get an insiders look on the ins and outs of this growing method of communication. Having the chance to do that will give me that competitive edge when it comes to applying for ‘real jobs’ and make me strand out as a Top Trend instead of a Retweet.

    Thanks for your consideration. Best of luck to everyone!

    Olivia McDonald

  • Jennifer Graham

    My greatest social media marketing challenge is pretty much everything. I’d love to learn more about marketing for B2B and learning the best way to reach and engage with prospects. I’m still pretty new to the social media world and I love every minute of it. I’m anxious to learn more and feel the conference would be a HUGE help for me personally and professionally.

  • My biggest marketing challenge is pulling it all together… I’m the Director of Marketing for a single location independent insurance agency in Upstate New York. Unlike most independent insurance agencies we’re growing and reinvesting in our agency with a focus on marketing. We’ve segmented our contact base into three 10,000 foot categories, Prospect, Clients, Lost Clients. My job is the market to all these groups using content, social media, email, etc.

    I’m good at the content creation. I understand how to tell our story and make is resonate and add value to the insurance consumers of Upstate New York. I have no formal marketing training and where I’m lacking real expertise and experience is in the nuts and bolts of pulling this entire program together. I get the major concepts and theory but what I really want to learn is the technical best practices of tying an enterprise wide marketing program together and making it hum…

    I have buy in from management that this process is going to take time… Now I just have to do the work, but what I’m sick of is learning through trial and error. I read the blogs of most of the people that will be speaking at Content Marketing World and I’ve learned so much from all of them already. But I feel like listening to them live with the opportunity for in-person feedback would take my game to the next level.

    I’m trying to take our marketing effort from project to process… Something that isn’t being done in independent insurance agencies and I have a feeling that CMW would be an adrenaline shot to the heart of our marketing program.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    Ryan Hanley.

  • Mimi

    My biggest challenge is learning Facebook’s best practices. Their customer service doesn’t exist unless you’re paying lots of money for ads and everything is buried in pages on legal mumbo jumbo.

  • Thanks for the amazing opportunity to win free tickets. What a treat! I am in love with social media. It’s sad, but true. SoMe has and continues to, fundamentally change the way we not only communicate with each other as individuals, but also how individuals communicate with companies and vice versa. This is a transformational time in human history all fueled by the power of one to few (tribes) interactions.
    I’ve taken webinars with Mari and Guy and continue to try and learn as much as I can on my own, but the opportunity to attend social media marketing world would be game-changing for me. I’m a service-disabled, veteran-owned, small business that specializes in recruitment strategies. Essentially, I help companies find great talent – and social media has changed that landscape. My biggest challenge is learning to leverage specific SoMe channels and platforms that target the right talent, in the right place, at the right time. This is a different application than many of my peers, but special nonetheless. Using the power of social media, I have a chance to help companies grow, spur the economy, and put people to work. Packing those offerings to add value to employers seeking talent and employees seeking opportunities continues to be my specific challenge and it’s been that way for quite some time.
    Again, thanks for the opportunity and good luck to all!

  • My biggest social media challenge is that I work for an agency that specializes in marketing services – not products. The sites that we market for are also all virtual – not physical locations for customer’s to visit. I think we can agree it is much easier to promote a physical business and product, making my job even more challenging when I have neither.

    Most seminars, conferences, and speakers focus on how to deal with social for products – what about the rest of us? I would love to come to this conference and take away solid ways to improve my current processes, and engage my audiences in new, innovative ways.

  • Niceevana

    I work for a major University and my biggest social media marketing challenge is getting alumni involved in our online communities and keeping them actively engaged. Social Media Marketing World 2013 would be an amazing opportunity to hear what has or hasn’t worked for others when it comes to engaging and keeping customers involved in online social spaces.

  • When it comes to social media marketing, my greatest challenge is getting ahead and really learning more about the best (most relevant and appropriate) ways to use the platforms, plugins, tools, etc. to create effective and engaging experiences for the brands I work with. Social changes at a very rapid pace and the opportunities for marketers change with them. By attending Social Media Marketing World, I would be able to connect with some of the best minds in social marketing, soak up some of their knowledge and share that knowledge with others so that we can all be more effective in helping brands meet their business goals. Not too mention that the networking and interview opps (blog content) would be AMAZING. What a PHENOMENAL lineup – thanks for putting it together!!

  • The biggest challenge I have is trying to help clients understand why the strategy I have chosen for them is the best course of action to take.

    I currently run social campaigns for 17 different small and medium sized businesses that vary greatly – from auto repair to construction to retail to a grocery store, etc. Each has a different strategy based on their user/buyer persona. What makes it difficult is trying to get some clients to see that certain social platforms are perfect for them while others aren’t. For instance, you might want to be on Pinterest because you read it’s the 4th Largest Traffic Driver in the world. But, your products aren’t really going to be searched for on Pinterest, so why waste your time there?

    The second part of this challenge is trying to help clients understand how a blog will work for them without needing to stuff it full of keywords. We write blogs for 10 of our clients and the content we provide is still based on keyword research for them, but not every blog has to sell product or push their website. The blog should be a point of communication for the client with their audience; it is a way to connect with current buyers, future buyers or people that may never become a lead but like to see what you are doing and may spread your blog to others who could become leads.

    As a former television news producer, I feel like I am line producing newscasts but for completely different audiences and producing 16 newscasts on 3 to 5 different social platforms. It is fun, exciting but can be more of a challenge than it needs to be daily. I feel that this conference will offer me some great content ideas and strategy ideas so I can come back and better explain to clients why we chose to go the way we did with their social campaigns.

  • As a freelance social media strategist and journalist, I have been faced with a plethora of challenges at each event, issue or breaking news moment.

    I was honoured to work as one of the socia media coordinators for Canada’s Olympic Broadcast Consortium, CTV Olympics, last summer handling all the social media feeds for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. There was one distinct moment I found very challenging during the Games – the Canada versus USA women’s soccer game. Many argue there were unfair calls against the Canadian team, and I found that my tweets, Facebook posts and Instagrams from the CTV Olympics account were going viral within a matter of seconds every time I posted.

    This was a moment from Spiderman – “with great power, comes great responsibility”. Staying neutral, calm and collected while tweeting was key in this situation, and also during any other high-profile (or low) event. As a Canadian, I was frustrated and shared the same sentiments as my followers. However, as the voice of the brand, I was collected and calm. My job was to report the facts and how I saw the Game, not comment on it.

    It would be a fabulous opportunity to attend the Social Media Marketing World 2013 conference and hear from so many. The industry is changing everyday, and I strive to have my skills sharp and ready to jump at any project.

  • I’m a recent college graduate (majored in PR) looking for more opportunities to expand my knowledge and experience. Shortly after graduation, I was offered a full time job with the company I had been working for as a student (I was a printer technician). It’s a small IT business that is growing rapidly and I have since been designated to head up our marketing efforts. Our biggest challenge is that we are a B2B company in a small town trying to expand into the bigger surrounding towns. Trying to get our name and brand out (and what we do/how we can help them) to the right people has been a challenge. The other challenge is that we have almost zero budget for marketing at this point so we have to be wise with how we use our time and money for any sort of marketing (or conferences such as this). I need to know how to get the biggest bang for my buck so we can turn the best ROI. I haven’t had much experience in the B2B arena so I would really like to find out how I can apply my previous experiences and knowledge to help my company grow in this market. I’v found a lot of help through Social Media Examiner’s blogs and emails so I would love to make it to the Social Media Marketing World to keep learning from these experts.

  • Shannon Fox

    I’d really love to win a ticket! I’m a recent college grad who was unemployed for six months and recently ended up working for a real estate company doing social media.I was hired as an intern for social media and internet advertising and am now the head (by default of being the only person in the entire department) of all marketing and advertising. I really love my job and my employers and want to do the best job I possibly can. This conference is being held in my city, which is just such an amazing stroke of luck. I read your blog religiously and have learned so much from it. As I am the only one in my department, I am without a mentor. This is my biggest challenge, navigating everything and doing all the learning on my own. Even just a few days in the company of such amazing speakers in this division would be so beneficial and powerful. My biggest challenge, beyond not having a mentor, is handling all of the day to day responsibilities by myself. I would like to find more strategies to maximize my efficiency and make the best use of my time, as I am a one-woman show! Keep up the good work for all you do to the community!

  • Marissa

    As the social media manager at a car dealership, my biggest challenge is creating content and getting fans to engage. Therefore, coming up with engaging content.

  • Gary

    Wish I could attend- I learned much from last year’s summit. As an aside- your experts gallery would look better if all of the images were either black and white or a sepia tone- sorry it’s the graphic designer in me 😉

  • Kayla Patterson

    I believe my biggest social media marketing challenge to be balancing quality management for several organizations and brands. I work for GoMedia, a division of, and specifically our social media management and consulting service, which we’ve cleverly named GoSocial. I have been a mostly self-taught community manager for about two years, and have managed several social media presences at a time. Currently, I am working to restructure our internal staff in order to be more flexible, provide higher quality content, and bring on new clients more fluidly. I hope that attending a conference like SMMW will help me figure out if I am identifying and assessing the correct challenges, as well as whether or not I am finding good solutions for them.

    Furthermore, I think I should win tickets to Social Media Marketing World in order to be able to expand my knowledge and network with others that may be in similar situations. While I have attended one social media conference before, it was ultimately very basic, and many of the attendees were just beginning to learn about social media. I hope that if I were able to attend Social Media Marketing World that I would be able to learn about marketing and social media, as well as community management, at a more sophisticated level. Also, it just makes my soul smile to think about being in the presence of some of the best social media minds in the country! Here’s hoping I can #winSMMW13!

  • Ariana Salvo

    I would love to attend the conference! I manage social media for a number of culinary and tourism clients: PEI Flavours, The International PEI Fall Flavours Culinary Festival, Discover Charlottetown, and PEI Culinary Adventures, among others. I am also moving into doing workshops for clients. I have two main challenges right now. The first is how to give clients concrete financial reasons what I am doing for them on social media is worth dedicating part of their marketing budget to. Everyone wants a social media presence and strategy, but I would like to be able to show them how this is growing their business. Most people understand the value of strengthening relationships with their customers and offering customer service using social media. But when it comes down to investing as much as they need to for me to continue doing my job and achieving great results of them, having a way to track and report on the financial benefit to them would be invaluable. My second challenge is that I am at the point where i cannot take on many more clients that I am actually managing content for, and am ready to begin training companies to do this for themselves. I have done a few public presentations, and have a few more coming up, but I am finding the learning curve from managing content for companies to training others to do it themselves to be a little bit steep. I could use some practical steps to help me get from where I am now to being able to run regular workshops and webinars for larger groups without being run off my feet. I know I have the experience, and feedback on my workshops has been very positive, but finding the balance between developing new materials, maintaining content for ongoing clients, and building a new client base that participates in workshops/webinars is where the challenge lies for me right now. Thanks for the opportunity to win a ticket to this exciting event! 

  • Cindy Elhaj

    I am the Social Media manager for one of our Fortune 500 clients…one of the biggest technology companies in the world. This company is embracing social media because it knows it should, and their approach is acquiring social companies/platforms, and integrating it into all of their other products, which may be for HR, accounting, CRM, etc. The biggest challenge I find, and I believe that many other people find, is exactly this, integrating social media with all of their other channels. Questions like, how can social benefit the HR process, the accounting process, the internal intranet process, and so forth. Is social media really only for clients and customers, or can it be used also for functions within the company itself amongst employees? I don’t believe there is a magic formula, but what I would love to see and learn is beyond tweeting and posting, how are we integrating social media internally and externally? I would love to win tickets to see what other companies are doing, and I believe that I would be able to provide some valuable insight from my perspective, especially since I currently work with a huge tech company that I believe is going to change the social media landscape, so my input would be appreciated as well. I just need to get there! Thank you!

  • Jannine Murray

    My name is Jannine and Im a personal trainer and bootcamp instructor. The biggest challenge for me is wrapping my head around all the strategy and tracking and really making all my social media efforts fly and ditch the techniques that aren’t working.

    Ive spent thousands of dollars on this learning curve over the last year and a bit, as in my last business it was’nt part of my daily tasks. I had a fitness business with my partner who took care of all of this stuff and we were very successful. In the end I lost that business and found myself totally broke, lost everything and really afraid to start again on my own as I didnt think I had it in me to do all of his duties and mine.

    It is tough as a single woman recovering after a heartbreak and losing her life’s work, but I have slowly been studying this stuff and trying to apply the techniques one by one. Its hard because I want to take these great courses like social media world, but I still struggle with the income as I kinda have to rely on my social media to bring in my income.. Funds are tight and my experience is limited, but I do have a burning desire to make it work and really no other choice haha. Its kinda a catch 22, as I dont have lots of money to spend on marketing campaigns or courses, but I need money to know more and to make my marketing efforts grow.

    I feel I have a good base and pretty good at learning this stuff now after being in it for a while. Lots of stuff still goes over my head, but I know that if I won something like this opportunity it would help me sooooooo much! And there is a lot of competition in my small city within my industry. I have applied a few techniques I learned last year from social media camp and Chris brogans talks but feel I am ready to take the next step and put more together and really get things systematized and flowing. I would be honored if you would help me and pick me for this amazing opportunity.

    Thank you for considering my application:) xoxo Jannine

  • I have 2 equally pressing challenges. 1) I represent multiple consumer brands that are all commodity products. Truth is that there isn’t a huge difference between one brand and the next, which is why to sell product we must connect on an emotional level. It’s about loyalty and harnessing the power of brand evangelists. Figuring out how to reach new evangelists and keeping all of them actively engaged is an ongoing challenge. Second challenge is more of a personal one. When I spend all my time focusing on creating content and engaging with fans for my clients, how do I find the time to create content and social media posts for my own company? I realize the importance, but the cobbler’s children have no shoes….

  • Rae Majors-Wildman

    My biggest challenge is that I have actually build a tribe and community that are responsive and invest in my products and service. This is not the challenge the tribe…it is how to manage these opportunities (i.e. speaking, purchase my programs, etc) that come to me via FB and LinkedIn. I am losing business because I don’t know how to systematize and automated leads flowing through social media.

  • jasminepowers

    Hi my name is Jasmine Powers and my biggest social media marketing challenge is measurement and proving ROI for clients. Hands down. Without this data a good job still looks like wasted money for my clients.

  • Crystal Apilado

    My biggest social media marketing challenge is that my company has multiple niche audiences that we market too. We cannot use a one-mold type of approach when it comes to reaching out to them because each audience has a different feel and dynamics in regards to responding to us. Not only have I had to distinguish the right way to appeal to our different audiences but as times and new trends have occurred in social network marketing world I have also had to find the best ways to incorporate them. I would really benefit from being able to attend The Social Media Marketing World 2013 by just being there in person. I attend webinars all the time, but being able to attend a conference with these social media marketing experts and to be given the opportunity to ask questions and get hands on training will not only motivate me, but also inspire and challenge me in a new way to engage and connect with out different niche audiences.

  • Socal Media Surfer

    I would love to be able to come to the conference. I am a Social Media Manager/Brand Strategist with a small company I started on my own. I have been struggling for a while to find my niche in the market and seem to just never catch a break until I stop over thinking it and just do what I do best, HELP people find what they want, match them to their needs and do the best job I can to make them increase their bottom line and fulfill goals. My small company does not have a large reach (yet), but I am hoping by getting that Golden Ticket, I will have the opportunity to talk with and learn from the people that I have been subscribed to in email newsletters since I started. I feel as if they have become my mentors and coaches, I continue to learn something new each day from each of them. I would be so appreciative of just being there, it is an exciting time to be in Social Media work. Thank You for all that you do, Miccilina Piraino – SoCal Media Surfer

  • As the Marketing Manager at a Immigration law firm in Los Angeles my biggest challenge is coming up with content that our followers on Twitter and Facebook engage in and share with others. It is equally difficult to gain new followers and in turn new clients. There are so many other immigration attorneys out there and with advances in technology most of our clients are based all through out the U.S. and other countries in the world. Since we have to be so universal with the way we market it is hard to come up with a marketing plan that fits all aspects of the target markets we are trying to reach. I am a recent graduate whom has the responsibility to sent up an entire marketing plan (by myself) and implementation for a company who essentially did not have any social media presence less than a year ago. Since the company I work for is quite small it would be very difficult to afford to go to this conference. Going to the Social Media World Conference would be so beneficial to me and my company. Being 24 and a Marketing Manager right out of college is pretty stressful and there is a lot riding on what my professors taught me in school.

  • The biggest challenge I face as the Online Communications person at our small family company is trying to do it all. We are a three-person family team, and it can be a real challenge to stay on top of everything. I handle our company’s Social Media, Blogger Outreach Program, and write the content for our blog. Learning more about effective (but *not* hands-off) automation would be very helpful, as would learning about how to measure, record and interpret the metrics and analytics that I have at my disposal. Unfortunately, since we’re such a small company, the ticket price for the conference is out of our budget at this time, even though we all understand how beneficial it would be to attend. It would be amazing to attend Social Media Marketing World 2013! My fingers (and toes) are crossed that I win a ticket. Thank you for the opportunity! 🙂

  • Y’all can bring this Texas girl back to her home state of California for Social Media Marketing World!

    After taking the plunge and leaving my career with Chevron in November 2011, I started my own social media marketing company just outside of Houston. I’ve grown by leaps and bounds. I’ve struggled through figuring out what I want to do and what I DON’T want to do. Right now, I’m focused, I know where I’m going and I’m ready to catch my wave. My biggest challenge in social media is implementing the changes I must make to attract my ideal clients. I’m sick of the results of my “shotgun” approach and I’m eager to promote myself with laser focus. I want to come to Social Media Marketing World this year because the tracks are exactly right for where I am this minute and I can’t wait to rub shoulders with people who are as excited about marketing in social media as I am!

  • Leanne Jones

    For me it’s all about being Authentic.
    So many people, so many businesses, everyone wants their share …
    We are constantly told by ‘experts’ that we should be authentic, and I agree … but how do we really get our authenticity across on such a massive global platform?
    I’m a really authentic person if you meet me in the flesh – but getting that across to the masses can be so difficult. I’m up for a big learning curve and a big challenge. HOW CAN I STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD?

    My passion to help other people be the most successful they can possibly be.
    ANYTHING is possible, we are all capable of so much more than we can ever know on a conscious level.

  • When you work in professional services marketing, you have challenges traditional marketers don’t. Not only do I have to promote my company’s services and brand on social media, but also the personal brand of hundreds of CPAs plus industry and service-line segments. This requires I train these people on social media and encourage them to participate whether that means becoming active in social media themselves or at least embracing requests to share their expertise as we develop relevant content. In addition, CPA firms have a small marketing staff (I’m more advanced than most with two) and minimal dollars (often less than 2 percent of revenue). As a low cost marketing tactic, you’d think CPAs would embrace social media. However, you’re in a setting where tactics need to be approved by 40 plus owners of the company who are skeptics and question whether their target demographic are even on social media let along using it in the buying decision.

    Also, there are some topics that are more “sticky” on social media than others. People engage differently with happy, consumer-driven products than they do with things they view as necessary evils. Admittedly accounting, auditing and tax are not the sexiest areas for people to engage with via social media. That gives me both a supply and a demand problem to solve!

    Accounting is an industry that is typically behind traditional corporations as it comes to applying cutting-edge marketing tactics. Some of my competitors have yet to embrace social media to begin with. Yet, I find myself in a position where I need to kick up our efforts to the next level – without spending more dollars or hiring additional marketing staff. I would treasure the opportunity to interact with leading social media professionals to learn what they do so I can try and apply it to my firm. To learn new strategies being pursued. To ask those I meet about successful lead generation and conversion tactics.

    In addition, I’m president-elect of the Association for Accounting Marketing where I work to help shape the education/professional development of hundreds of people just like me at CPA firms across the country. If given the opportunity to attend this event, I would seek ways to share what I learn with members of the association so they too can use social media to grow their firms, ultimately advancing the profession. If I can personally stay up-to-date with the changing social media environment and meet people that are in a position to teach or help our members, I can bring the two together to help further integrate social media into an industry that does not yet fully embrace it.

  • Linda Pavelich

    Sadly, I have no proven track record from the big firms and companies that are my current client listing. or one thing to learn. 🙁

    Instead, I have enthusiasm and a proven track record in more traditional marketing methods as I grow my company.

    I have been searching, reading and learning all I can to take the next step by offering social media to my clients.

    OVERWHELMED would be an under statement on who and what I take away from ‘experts’, products and service offerings. It is CRAZY out there and as a ‘newbie’ I need help from the pros. Lots of help!

    Your site has begun to show me the light in this darkness and I look forward to the updates but it would be a dream to be there in person..

    My one goal is to become one of ‘you’ in this field. Where best to start this journey than at the SMMW13? There is only ONE answer – no where! There isn’t going to be a better place to immerse yourself as we all benefit from your guidance. I will be smarter and stronger and in less time than I can imagine and it would be thanks to all of you!

  • The largest obstacle I’ve overcome in the rapidly evolving world of Social Media, is the challenge of proving the value of this industry to antiquated companies. I’ve worked as the social media coordinator for two of the largest homebuilders in the United States, and I must say, it is challenging to be a 20-something in a world of older corporate executives who do not understand why Social Media is so vital to their industry. It IS tough when you’re constantly trying to prove your worth and scrutinized for “playing on facebook” all day–and yes, even answering the redundant “so, what do you do again?” inquiry.

    I’d like to represent my age group at the Social Media Marketing World 2012. I think most overlook us 20-somethings as tech hipsters, who companies hire because they know they need a dedicated “social” expert, however; they have no idea what to ink in the job description. I’m young, tenacious and passionate about Social Media. I am constantly learning and absorbing as much information as possible. I earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism after rebelling against the “never embrace social media” traditional news professors and I’m thrilled to have a job in this economy in one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. Social Media and technology is evolving, and I’m looking forward to growing right along side it.

  • Kitrina Caputo

    Why not…..give it a shot! To win would be beyond my wildest imagination to have such an opportunity! I have started a small business from nothing but an idea for something that I am very passionate about, laid the foundation of a beautiful website (with help) and I am currently overwhelmed with conquering the giant of social media to begin to generate traffic. I have established accounts in various outlets like FB, linkedin, twitter, hootsuite, etc. am vaguely familiar with each of them (but don’t rock with any of them …. yet!) and have questions like: how to manage my time efficiently and effectively to use each outlet to build relationship as well as to organize and manage information. I want to manage my social media and not have it manage me! I’m not a big company in fact, it is only me but I have a target audience of 45 million people. Once I begin to reach them, I will need to learn how to manage their responses to maintain relationship and to efficiently run the business. Social Media is like Goliath to me and I’d like to confidently knock him between the eyes. I’d like to win the ticket to redeem time spent wringing my hands in fear at the taunting of my lack of knowledge and experience. It is not an impossibility and I am not without hope of moving forward!

  • My biggest challenge is organizing all of my content and delivery ideas into an easy-to-manage plan. So many thoughts, so little time – paralyzes my mind.

  • Fredrick Moore

    My largest social media marketing challenge comes from within the company. I head the marketing department for a privately-held engineering and project management services
    firm (SMB). Business is doing well, but I’m convinced that through social media marketing, we can grow our firm faster, strategically recruit top talent, and get clients interested in us with having to spend valuable sales time talking about who we are and what we do.

    We are a mature firm, with “old school” management and sales managers. Unfortunately, everyone is not on-board with using social media (nor marketing, really) – many even
    uncomfortable. They feel it’s more for retail and eCommerce not B2B service firms and industries like oil & gas, wood products, and construction.

    But through persistent and begging and pleading … I’ve been able to convenience executive management to support my efforts and entertain ways to produce unique campaigns. The start was to get our employees active and excited about signing up. I hope to have training sessions and appoint content leads that can help me effectively utilize LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+.

    I should win a ticket because I am an advocate of social media and believe in its influence. I would love the opportunity network with marketing peers, enhance my social media knowledge and skill-sets, and ultimately, bring back ideas that will benefit my
    department, company, and clients.

    I’ve been given the thumbs up-to “try social media” for the company, but with little backing. Therefore, I know having the opportunity to attend this event will not only improve my capabilities professionally but also be an opportunity to help position my firm
    in the direction to where every company should be going. With success, it won’t take much for my executives to support and believe in social media usage within our industry. I’ve shown them the power of CRM, with much success. I know social media marketing will be the perfect compliment.

  • Laurie Marshall

    I am the Development Coordinator for a small, regional non-profit serving cancer patients and their families in Northwest Arkansas with emotional and financial support as they navigate the journey of cancer treatment. I manage our social media content which includes Twitter, Facebook, a blog and e-newsletter, and small but promising YouTube channel and Flickr accounts.

    We are unique in the area, we are doing life-changing and powerful work, and we are praised to the heavens by families who have been helped by our services, but our budget is extremely limited. Social media has been a fantastic tool for us due to its relatively small cost to execute marketing pieces and communication, but we’ve gone through most of the ideas that we can implement at this time. I need to fill up the creative tank again, but I need help to make that happen.

    Last year, the budget for professional education for the development and communication staff was cut to $0, and this year it is $1,000.00 per employee (there are 3 of us). Certainly, that is more than some small shops have available, and I’m grateful to have it, but as you know, it doesn’t go far… I have yet to find any quality conferences that would work when registration fees, hotel and airfare are added together.

    We are doing GREAT THINGS here, and there is so much opportunity to expand our reach and engage new friends and donors. In order to maximize my time and talents, I need to continue to add to my tool kit and learn the best ways to communicate with our audience online… I feel stuck. One of my biggest challenges (aside from the budget for education) is the local competition for the hearts and minds (and let’s be honest – the pocketbooks) of our community. Several national organizations support local affiliates here, and there are only so many tweets and Facebook status updates that can be ingested by our fans and friends. Our special events are not attracting the large sponsors they need and deserve, and we are not always the first name on the list when a family has a cancer story to honor with a donation.

    Help me overcome the hurdle of Small Budget Syndrome! I would thank you, my fellow development team members would thank you, and – most of all – the people we serve every day would benefit.

    Thanks for this awesome opportunity!!

  • My Biggest Social Media Marketing Challenge

    by Sherry Day Foster

    OK guys, here is MBSMMC (My Biggest Social Media Marketing
    Challenge) in a nutshell. My biggest social media marketing challenge is
    pulling together all my social media ( twitter, facebook, website, LinkedIn,
    and online news column, “New to the Cariboo” at Welcome to Williams
    Lake or Got News Network ) in preparation for my first launch of original CD
    music I’ve written.

    However there are gaps:

    1. Age Gaps. One is a
    deep chasm. It’s called the age gap. Most of you are my grandchildren’s age. I
    seriously doubt any are my youngest son’s age–43. I will be 73 on my next
    birthday. You’d be surprised how much I’ve been able to learn on my own. I
    won’t be the Grandma Dinosaur at your event. I’ll be “The Life of the
    Party.” They don’t call me Miss Razzle Dazzle for nought!

    2. Travel Gap. I have to drive for a day to get to Seatac,
    or ride the winds over the mountain to Vancouver, and then spend the night
    there to catch a plane into Seatac. Give
    me a break! I need what you might be able to teach me; however, I live in the
    interior of British Columbia so it’s a challenge for me to get past the 49th
    parallel. If I won, I’d take the distance challenge and show up!

    3.The Money Gap. Retirement came for me in May 2012, when I
    moved to B.C. after securing Permanent Residence. My hubby and I met on
    Eharmony and Married in July 2011. I’m an Xpat and a US Citizen. We aren’t poor
    but we aren’t rich either. My hubby, Nick, is a brilliant technician and a
    webmaster for CSAR and he’s also my webmaster. I want to win two tickets so he
    may attend with me. We spend most of our days on the Internet. I own over 400
    E-books and access them on my Kindle Fire…yes, even in Canada. (Thanks to

    Check me out on I’m E-literate,
    photogenic, a fast learner (and a retired music teacher and professional
    musician) I’ll work hard and Nick and I will make you guys proud of us. We will
    be excellent poster children and ambassadors for your ongoing Social Media

  • How do you stick out among all the noise? How do you keep creating killer content but not having your laptop as an umbilical cord? How do you stay ahead of the curve? Apps? Costs? I have so many challenges… but this conference will help me answer so many! I’ve got amazing clients who would greatly benefit from the knowledge I would gain from going to this amazing conference with all the SM greats and mentors!

  • Kimberly Allison

    Our biggest challenge is with our clients. Specifically showing value and proving ROI for their investment in social media and social media marketing for their business. Tracking their success with KPI’s and other analytics to show trending and also ways to convert social media fans to in store sales for clients. I am also looking forward to learning key ways to make impact in social media that no one else is doing yet. We are in Canada, and we are way behind what you are doing in the states, so I hope to get secrets that I can implement for my exclusive clientele. I am really looking forward to this conference featuring all the social media SuperStars that I can learn from. Hope to bring my whole team with me. Thank you for the opportunity to win tickets. This is year 2 of our social media business and it would help us a lot if we won the tickets. It’s so generous for you to do this contest. YOU ROCK! I’ll tweet and facebook like crazy if I win! LIKE 5-10 times a day! Kimberly

  • Giulia Langella

    I’m a university student who’s recently delved into the world of social media for a NGO and one of my challenges is being able to manage all the accounts in a timely and organized fashion while still being able to do well in school and maintaining my life. The newsletter has helped me incredibly but I also want to expand my audience especially because I work for such a great organization and the team works so hard and its my job to let the world know what we’re doing! Pressure! But besides that I am learning every day and I think I should win (well I would like to win) is because I am so new and ‘young’ I want to be able to learn from the pros on how its done and, network with incredible people who have shaped my generation and made social media the incredible tool it is today! I’ve got so many questions and an open mind to learn and take notes on how you guys do it. This event would be a great chance to equip my self with the tools to make it! I’m also on the ‘poor student budget’ and could never afford to go unless i win tickets. 😛

  • Adam Parchert

    The biggest challenge I have is genuinely engaging fans and followers to build community and engagement.

  • First, I want to thank you for providing us with this awesome opportunity! I am an owner of a start up company helping the real estate industry take advantage of Social Media and Online Marketing to grow their business. As a start up, we have little funds to pay for needed and necessary trips like this! Our niche market is starting to understand the importance of social marketing and how it can have a positive impact on their business. I have been doing this for 3 years now and I continue to push myself to learn more every day so I can better help my clients. I would LOVE the chance to be at this event to be able to soak in the knowledge, strategies, and new ideas from these experts. Being an owner, social strategist, and project manager of a rapidly growing company, this is EXACTLY what we need to continue growing as a mentor to the real estate industry.

    We have a few challenges when it comes to social media…1) we are former real estate agents, so this is why we chose this niche market. We know it. We have been approached by restaurants, insurance companies, small business, and more to help them with their social marketing strategy and we turn down the business because our lack of knowledge for their industry….2) There are so many tools for social marketing, I know we have only been exposed to a fraction of what we could be using. I would love to learn about more tools so we can provide more options for our clients…3) HIRING! This is so difficult! We have been searching for employees for about 6 months and finally found a great gal who loves what she does! But we are going to need more. How to hire the right person to handle social for our clients.

    Thank you for reading this and even considering me as a candidate. I can not tell you how much this would mean to be able to be exposed to something like this!

    – Alex

  • LC in Vegas

    Biggest challenges are customer involvement and showing ROI. Most customers don’t realize they need to be involved in the social media process and feel that once they outsource it, it’s up to their marketer to come up with content. The customer needs to understand their role in guiding the marketer. Then, when it comes to contract renewal, ROI is one of the hardest things to explain since it’s such a new field and complex sales channel.

  • Well here goes, I’m a social media/marketing rookie.
    My FB Business page and Twitter has a collective total of about 50 followers.
    I’ve worked in home alarm sales for over six years, and have been in sales for
    over 20 years. The primary source of business is or was door-to-door sales.
    This past summer my door knocking days were forcibly retired due to a condition
    known as Plantarfasciatis. My primary source of income was door-to-door sales; it’s
    what I’ve learned and know, generating business online has been foreign to me.

    I’ve had a successful career and have excelled at nearly everything I’ve put my mind to, however not being able to do sales the way I know has basically left me with no income. As a result of not being able to generate income via door knocking my financial situation suffered severally. I couldn’t afford to maintain my home or support my family, as such my wife could no longer deal with the stress and decided to leave me and move on with
    her life. I was also forced to move out and into a family member’s home. My heart may be broken however my spirit isn’t and I’ve never been one to give up on my quest to succeed so easily.

    So after spending hours researching on how I can better my situation I soon realized social media was the way to go. Now there are tons of great articles and numerous experts all offering great lessons on building a brand online. However most want an investment for the good stuff, and as I’ve mentioned money is in extremely limited availability these days. I’ve done some work with my brand online however I’ve only begun to learn how to be effective and have yet to generate any business. My biggest challenge is buiilding a following and generating leads.

    Why should Social Media Examiner give me a ticket to the event? I guess to put it simply; my future depends on my ability to create a new way of generating income, this event could give me an opportunity to get exposed to the tools that could potentially change my life. Thank you for your consideration…

  • I work for a State Housing Finance Agency that messages to more than 8 different audiences. It’s challenging to pick the right social media platform for the specific audience, plan a strategy to support it and get buy in from the C-Suite. We have successfully leveraged Facebook to share information about homeownership and making any place feel like home. Our blog, established to encourage conversation amongst localities, developers, non-profit and for profit organizations, launches this week. What we don’t have is a sense of ownership from the entire authority. To be truly successful, we need to embrace the Orchestra Model where employees and consumers take control of content. I’ve heard that employees are not typically as engaged in their company’s use of social media as the company is. I’ve held open discussion forums for the entire business, and had 6 people show up. How can I get more employees interested in contributing to the conversation?

    A manager just asked us to prove that we will benefit from using social media! HELP!

    I’d like to attend SMMW to gain the data and strategy behind how to select and support multiple social sites through embracing cohesive, collaborative methods.

  • I am the Marketing Coordinator for a Telecommunications company in American Samoa, a territory of the USA. When I first joined our Marketing Team 2 years ago, I was given our facebook page to manage which at the time only had 99 Likes. I worked hard to get our fan page going by keeping it interesting with games I post on our wall for a chance for people to win free credit, phones, etc. As of today we have 10,061 fans on our page. We have a population of about 65,000 people who live here and not all have access to internet service. I’ve tried to reach out to the Samoan communities off island who are on facebook to like our page so they can get updates as to what’s happening back home. My biggest challenge is gaining more likes and getting all 10K that I have now to participate in our daily activities. At most we would have about 100 – 200 people participate in our activities. I feel this Conference would really help me learn new things about social media & networking.

  • This year I have three challenges:

    1. How can I use persuasion ( you know, the Cialdini rules) within social media? Persuasion is easily to use in text and pictures. This year, I want to proof that using persuasion rules will help you to improve your conversionrates.

    2. The second challenge is to make a workaround for A/B testing on Facebook. A/B testing on the timeline isn’t possible. I want to figure out a way to test different messages and pics on Facebook, so we can learn which message is the most succesful.

    3. The third challenge is social data mining. What do we learn from the tons of tweets that are made each day. I’m now doing a project that wants to proof the relation between weatherconditions, powerfailures and Twittervolume and sentiment of a energy supplieer. What can the learn and how can they use this information to improve their customerservice?

    Why should I get this ticket? I think it is very inspiring to share ideas with the top social media consultants of the USA. I hope I can surprise you with some Dutch social design 🙂

  • Jose Solís

    My biggest challenge has always been nurturing and looking after the diverse communities we establish relationships with. I’ve done social media work with sports, arts, travel and entertainment and I have always been passionate about growing these lists organically. Even if other people around me suggest that we buy likes and followers, I have never believed the numbers mean much. After all, it’s not about quantity but quality. I’d always preferred to have 1000 followers who care about what we share with them and who engage with us, than having 2 billion who don’t remember we exist. I also get very excited when something “negative” happens because we are reminded of the human factor. Once at a job we had a terrible review posted on our FB page and the entire company freaked out. Some even suggested deleting the post. I, on the other side saw it as an opportunity for growth and engaged in direct communication with our dissatisfied customer who then proceeded to give a great review to our customer service. No one saw that coming but I had faith that all those words that seemed so threatening onscreen were actually coming from a reasonable person. I guess my eternal challenge is reminding people that even if social media happens through computers and phones and tablets, it’s still people behind the screens. My other challenge would be trying to convince my dad that social media is important, but you know how parents can be, so that’s another story…

    I’d love to win the tickets and hotel stay because something like this might never happen to me again. I come from a part of the world where social media is still seen as something unimportant. I’d love to learn more about it so I can help educate people back home about the advantages that social media can bring to their businesses and lives. After all, social media in the third world can also be a great resource of empowerment considering how most economies are built from small businesses. My great grandma owned a tiny grocery store when I was a kid and people would come over from all around the city to buy her special tamales and eggnog during the holidays. I can only imagine how much she’d have benefitted from something like Facebook if she was still alive.

  • Winning this trip would be a dream come true for me. My husband and I own a small RV dealership centrally located within the United States, and attending this meeting was simply out of our budget. We sell, service, rent and store RV’s as well as maintaining our own camping club (always looking for new members!). Anyway, I have developed a passion for maintaining all of the social media as well as keeping our website up-to-date. It is a challenge that I enjoy! I guess, if I had to pick one area that has me stumped, it would be our Blog. It resides within our website (which I’ve been told is the optimal place), but is practically invisible! I have tried interfacing all of our social media so that one refers to another, but am disappointed in the ROI with our Blog (perhaps it’s the content?). I would relish the opportunity to get to meet so many awesome people in one place!

  • Jules Blundell

    G-Day from Australia. WOW what a great opportunity, thank you for providing this free ticket opportunity. In Australia I think the there are two greatest challenges being faced at present and that is 1. Lack of quality internet connection, Australia wide and 2. Massive skill gap with leaders in social media. I want to use this opportunity to bring the latestt and greatest social media strategies to Australia. The USA is leading the charge when it comes to social media and I want to be an ambassador for Australia and bring back the latest and greatest social media idea into australia to help move us forward. I hope you seriously consider my application. Many thanks, JUles

  • Thank you for this opportunity! I would love to attend Social Media Marketing World, but I just can not find room for it in my budget this year. It’s also great to see what other industry professionals are struggling with, we’re all in this together 🙂 As owner of Bellflower Communications our motto is “Where passions run deeper than pockets” and we focus on providing social media services to small business owners. The biggest struggle for me this past year has been showing potential clients the ROI and overwhelming need of social media (and having professional maintenance) for the branding, traffic and sales of their business. Many are not only uncertain, but plain old weary of social media and when you throw in that ROI for solely social media is hazy at best it doesn’t make them feel certain they need our services. I am a devout listener to The Social Media Marketing Podcast and its value for continued education is immeasurable to me. That being said, this week’s show “Measuring Social Media: How to Determine Your ROI” with Nichole Kelly wasn’t has informative as I was hoping to show ROI to potential clients. I understand that this is something our industry is struggling with as a whole, but I would love to be able to better convey the importance. Thank you so much for all that you guys do! #HopefulApplicant!

  • Alyssa

    Every day I wake up thinking about how to turn around the local economy here in my little patch of desert. Working with locally-owned and independent businesses here and throughout the country, my biggest challenge is giving small business owners hope that they can compete and imparting a vision of abundance to my community. I really, truly believe that the rise of DIY media is a huge boon for mom-and-pop shops. The learning curve may be steep, the tools may be so plentiful as to be overwhelming, but working together, I think we can do it. One of my biggest joys is coaching individuals on how to use social media. They move from being frustrated and discouraged to feeling successful and gaining a vision. I am irrevocably committed to seeing local, indie businesses worldwide close the marketing gap between them and “the big guys” by empowering them, and I need to stay at the top of MY game to do it.

  • As a company that’s only been involved with social media for a few short months, most of my marketing problems stem from within the company. I personally have had plenty of experience and success with social media marketing as a career, but nearly all of my co-workers and superiors feel that social media is only being implemented because it’s supposed to be. I’ve had tons of compliments and great reviews from my peers, but I can tell they still think having a Facebook page, Twitter account, etc. is just “fluff.”

    My biggest marketing challenge is getting my team to realize the tremendous impact social media marketing could have on the company as a whole. With my co-workers having zero or little knowledge of the platforms, it’s difficult for them to understand the potential. I’ve driven results and created a powerful online reputation of superior customer service through social media tools, and now, I need to prove its true value to our brand.

    Thinking outside of the box and generating new, more engaging content and unique ways to use the platforms will ultimately enable me to grab their attention. Not to mention, allow us to surpass our competitor who is always nipping at our heels. This is where Social Media Marketing World comes into play! Encountering several social media and marketing professionals at a large networking event like this would allow me to open my mind and boost my creative thinking to finally bring my co-workers into the wonderful world of social media in business. Plus, Jay Baer is one of my most referenced social media experts, and I would sincerely enjoy seeing him speak!

  • Kelly Bostick

    I am the electronic communications coordinator for a
    university alumni association. Because I work in higher education, funds are limited and because I have many different duties, getting the most out of social media in the small amount of time I have to work on it is proving to be difficult. I subscribe to several social media list serves as well as sign up for web conferences and research when I can but
    honestly, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to just stop and read an
    article or watch a video. One of my smart goals for work in 2013 includes increasing our Facebook “Likes” by 4,000 (or more) before the end of this year. With the new promotion feature through Facebook, without paying money, achieving likes is much harder than it used to be. Furthermore, branching out to Instagram and Pinterest and building a
    follower base through those is a very slow process. Another task of mine is an
    in depth social media strategy. Currently my strategy consists of me rushing to
    post something before the day ends. Because social media changes so often, I
    just need to set aside some time to take it all in. Clearly I need help. Please
    pick me!

  • my biggest social media challenge is finding talent. Specifically, marketers that can embrace emerging social strategies, channels and data, then layer on their historic marketing principles and know-how. For me it was a lot of reading, trying out, and collaboration. Basically just jumping in and learning it. So how do we encourage marketers to embrace social media? To apply a test and learn method more? How do we encourage marketers to try blogging on their own, or try a new account on Instagram or Slideshare, or start an online dialogue, etc. when they are already so extremely busy trying to keep up with all the other stuff they need to keep up with? At our agency we dont want to hire all new people for the social media roles, we also want to help evolve our existing talent to “get it”. Many have, but not enough to keep up with our pipeline of work. I’d love to hear real-life success stories and suggestions.

  • Alessandro Restagno

    Hi Michael!

    My biggest social media marketing challenge is create a Social Media Marketing movement in my area (Cuneo – Italy)

    Stiil now, business owners don’t consider Social Media Marketing a tool that can be a competitive advantage.

    So, I’m trying to convince, at least, one business to start a Social Media Marketing campaign, so they can see the results they can get.

    Thanks for your advices!

    Have a nice day


  • Hello Michael,

    I am a Sr. Marketer for Thomson Reuters and my biggest challenge with social media is ROI. I am having to do a lot of my metrics/reporting manually to see if we are getting a good ROI. I am the one who manages social media for our large/medium law segment. I act mostly as a resource for our followers on Twitter.

    I read your articles every day and find them very helpful. Would love the opportunity to see you guys in person and learn more about social media.

    Any suggestions on better ways to track ROI for B2B?

    Thank you,


  • Brittney Golden

    Newspapers are dead!! Or aren’t they?? If I had a nickle for everytime someone asked me this – I’d totally have $42.55! And while the actual print product may be declining — newspapers are becoming smarter about how to use digital media to our advantage. Therein lies my biggest social media marketing challenge — how to promote something that is changing constantly. The news is a living, breathing entity…. so how can I utilize social media to get my “customer” as engaged as possible? How can I get my advertisers to realize they need to hit customers on all fronts = print, online and via social media? I have all the tools I need…. now, what do I say?

  • I am an entrepreneur who founded and grew my own business for 8 years. I knew nothing about social media back in the early days and relied on others to carry out my marketing strategy. As time went on, however, I became more hands on as knowing my market better than any agency, allowed me to be infinitely more successful. It wasn’t long before I became intrigued with social media because of the economies of scale it offered over traditional marketing. Moving from one-to-one to one-to-many just made sense! After selling my company over a year ago, I immersed myself in training and education related to social media and have developed some expertise. Drawn to other small and medium sized business owners, I began assisting them with their marketing needs using social media and quickly found that the demand for these skills was insatiable. I have since started my own social marketing firm but recognize the benefits of learning from the great ones…hence, my participation in your Social Media Summit which starts tomorrow! With that said, the success I have enjoyed throughout my career has been built on the strength of one-to-one relationships. And, as has been mentioned by others in this forum, there are still many places in the world where social media is, at best, misunderstood, and the strength of one-to-one relationships is held in such high regard that it undermines the concept of developing relationships at scale. I think that in order to close the gap, we need to help these business owners understand how the ties that bind people in work and relationships can be replicated virtually and on a scale that benefits their business. I would value the opportunity to meet all of the thought leaders in social media marketing in person and explore ways and means of turning virtual relationships into the kind of powerful connections that one-to-one relationships offer. Furthermore, I will have an opportunity to put these new skills to work in the very near future as I will be moving from Toronto, Canada to Muscat, Oman (Middle East) for a two year period. The Omanis are a very strong relationship-focused people and I believe that to be successful growing my business in the Middle East, I will have to create a compelling picture of how the one-to-many approach of social media supports and even strengthens the success of one-to-one relationships. Thanks for this great opportunity to win a ticket!

  • Amy

    My biggest social media challenge, as a freelance marketing consultant to charities and small businesses, is developing smart, creative social strategies that can be easily managed and executed internally.

    I would love the opportunity to attend the conference and learn from the best of the best. There’s nothing like this in Australia and the only thing prohibiting me from being there is the combined cost of the ticket and flights. So, a free ticket would be amazing. Good luck to everyone 🙂

  • Steven Howard

    My biggest social media challenge is operating from a vacuum. I need to meet more people from within the industry to exchange ideas, notes and success stories, rather than just relying on the wonderful information available via Social Media Examiner and other resources.

  • Being a community manager in Australia is one of my biggest social media challenges! As Amy said, there is nothing like this in Aus and the cost of travelling internationally is beyond the budget both professionally and personally.

    The opportunities for professional development in this area of marketing are really quite limited “down under” so to be able to attend an event of this calibre would be out of this world!

  • Becka Fay

    Trying to connect with other businesses via social media is so hard. I’ve learned some tips but I would really love to learn more about B2B social marketing.

  • Camille

    I am challenged in many technological ways (Why won’t Instagram let me sign in as two users? How do I mention that a product was given to me free without alienating my readers and losing credibility even though I actually do like it and I’m not just saying that because it was free? When are emoticons appropriate or are they ever? Is Vine even worth starting an account for? What exactly is the point of Google Plus again? How many cat videos is too many to watch in a day?), but if I had to choose my BIGGEST social media marketing challenge that I’m hoping SMMW 2013 will help me solve, it would be this:

    How do I place a reasonable dollar figure on my services and explain said figure to potential customers without backing down and ultimately working for free when they question it?

  • Camille

    Forgot to address the “why” part of the question (please don’t hold it against my chances of winning, Mari Smith & Pat Flynn & Mike Stelzner!)…

    I can’t say that I necessarily SHOULD win the ticket, as there are many worthy candidates who probably all deserve a free ticket in some way or other, but I would very much LIKE to win a free ticket because I have been a registered student for several SMExaminer events (e-conferences and webinars), and I faithfully read every blog post and newsletter they post, and I study hard and work hard at perfecting my social media marketing craft, and therefore the free ticket would not be wasted on me. I would put it to very VERY good use.

    Thank you for your generosity in giving one away!

  • Ron Nakamoto

    My biggest social media marketing challenge? Developing and executing on an overall strategy to deliver many consider to be worthwhile content. My business partner Lee Brower became well-known from the movie “The Secret”. He is a powerful speaker on the topics of gratitude, empowering families, and family leadership. Yet he has not been very successful in getting his message out beyond his live speaking audiences. I intend to change that, largely through intensive immersion in social media marketing. Lack of resources (i.e., no money, no experience, no contacts) has stymied our progress but nevertheless progress has been made, particularly in the creation of unique content (see Social Media Marketing World 2013 will undoubtedly have an exponential positive impact on me, the marketing of an important thought leader, and ultimately the promotion of concepts and ideas that can make a huge difference in countless families and individual lives.

    Why I should win a free ticket? First, because I will be the most grateful person in attendance. The reason? Simple…because right now, I can’t afford to attend and barely have enough to survive month to month while the business gets launched. Second reason: there will be no one who will get more out of the experience and apply more of the learning, connections, and wisdom than I will. I won’t be the only one who derives a big benefit but no one will do more to leverage the experience than I will because I can’t afford to waste opportunities and I know my dedication to my cause and my work (I’ve been at it since October, 2011, with no pay and no funding). Thank you.

    With Gratitude,

    Ron Nakamoto

  • Quite simply, my biggest social media marketing challenge is time, since I am also a Civil Engineer, trying to build a marketing business that will allow me more time home with the kids (when they arrive) and to actually make an impact in this world, as my company only serves non-profits and small businesses of charitable purpose. Nobody has better stories to tell then my specific clientele, often borne of pain turned to triumph, with palpable compassion and desire to help human beings of similar plight. I am deserving because I am up and coming, multi-talented in person to person marketing, storytelling, ebook writing, content marketing, social media marketing, etc. I’m also a manageable 5 hour drive from the event. I just cannot afford the tickets to come see, mingle, and hopefully interview and/or pick the brains of so many off my heroes in the business.

  • Rex Kan

    My biggest marketing challenge is convincing management of the value to be found in social media/inbound/content marketing. I’ve been subscribed to your awesome publication since my third day of work, but I am forced to sit here cold calling prospects that have no awareness of our brand and submit my call records for review to ensure I am meeting quota. I see some of the amazing tools the authors get to use and I am envious. I see success stories that you sometimes post and scour them for the ability to accomplish the same in my spare time or by spending extra hours in the office. I have been able to do none of it without support from management.

    The terrible irony is that our company is a marketing agency. The services we provide to our clients have become severely pigeon-holed and our customer base is rapidly shrinking.

    I believe fiercely in the value of inbound marketing and customer understanding/customer service through engagement, but have been unable to convey any kind of measurable or guaranteed ROI to get any traction with management. This, of course, extends to being unable to purchase tickets to attend Social Media Marketing World.

    Thus, without education or willingness of management to seek help or guidance of any kind, the company ekes along on what new business I am able to close. This is becoming less and less sustainable, as no one wants to hear how we can bring them in new leads if we are not engaging in any of the activities ourselves.

    If I were able to attend Social Media Marketing World and engage with the people in the know who have been able to successfully bring these strategies to fruition, I know I could come back with a real, actionable plan, make a proper pitch to management, and save this company.

  • Tonia Brewer

    If I’m being honest, and I don’t really know how not to be…my biggest social media challenge is that I work for a company that is owned by very savvy and progressive thinking people who believe what I tell them about what works in marketing and I want to be sure that I am always telling them the truth. I follow most of the speakers on the schedule in every way I can trying to absorb, evaluate, and practice what they example. Another challenge? We are an independent insurance agency offering the full gamut of products which means we must market both B2B and B2C. Our target audience is huge. I need to make sure as little falls through the cracks as possible. I imagine it will be a bit like marketing heaven to be in a room with people I consider to be the cream of the crop in today’s marketing arena. Yes, I’m aware that was a blatant display of brown nosing. I’m ok with that. Looking forward to meeting you…. 🙂

  • Cheri Carroll

    I have already bought one ticket because I want to be able to help my son launch his great idea for a new website, as well as to be able to help my SCORE clients with specific and up-to-date information. I would love to win the free ticket so that my son could attend the conference as well. He already has one successful business, and it could be even more successful if he were more expert in social media marketing. I think this is going to be an incredible conference and an opportunity to learn information that no other source can give us.

  • Dumsile Vilakati

    My name is Dumsile. I am a Lecturer at the University of Swaziland where I teach marketing. Swaziland is a very small country which is struggling economically. About 60% of people in the country live below the poverty line. The global financial crisis has affected the public, private sector and more especially the small business sector. I registered for SocialMediaExaminer a while back and I have been overwhelmed by the benefits of social media especially for a country like mine. I have done some research on this concept and I strongly believe that if Swaziland could embrace such a noble idea a lot can be achieved in terms of economic and financial empowerment. I would like to attend the conference so that I get a chance to network with gurus in social media and tap the brains of all the academicians, researchers, and practitioners who will be in attendance. Sadly this to me is likely to end up being just a dream. With my education I strongly believe that I hold the key to resurcitate my country from the shackles of poverty but I am not able to attend the conference due to the fact that I cannot afford. I wish to be one of the winners. Thank you

  • Andrea Rodriguez

    My biggest social media marketing challenge is getting businesses to realize that social media is more than just posting stuff on Facebook or Twitter and that it requires investment of time,money, commitment and the know-how. A lot of businesses are good at selling but not good at engaging and taking the time to listen to their customers. They feel that it’s a waste of money to hire someone to help or give advice. In Belize it seems that once you’re good at posting on Facebook you’re qualified to run a business page.

    I should win because I want to attend this conference and soak up as much knowledge as I can so I can come back to my country and share what I have learned and help other small business and mompreneurs like myself to succeed in their social media marketing efforts. I have just started my business working from home and to have an opportunity to mingle with the people that I follow online and learn from would be beyond amazing.

  • Joannix Ochart

    Hola soy Joannix Ochart. I’m a Social Media Manager in Puerto Rico. I help business owners with their online marketing and social networks. My market is business of Hispanic speaking audience, a newly developed market in social media, that I’ve seen
    grow for the past two years.

    My biggest challenge is to educate business owners about the importance of marketing in social networks. Many do not understand why they should invest time and money on these networks, because they believe that it is fad that in time will end. I strongly believe that this event will help me learn to implement new marketing strategies in my growing market. I also have a Spanish training (Aprende Social Media), all about social media marketing for business, and I believe that the knowledge to be gained in the conference shall be of much help to my team and by this help business owners worldwide.

    ¡Muchas Gracias por la oportunidad!

    Connect with me:

    En Español>>

    Mi nombre es Joannix Ochart. Soy Social Media Manager en Puerto Rico. Ayudo a dueños de negocios con su mercadeo en Internet y las Redes Sociales. Mi mercado son los negocios de habla hispana, un mercado virgen en esto del social media y que he podido ver crecer por los pasados 2 años.

    Mi reto más grande es educar a los dueños de negocios sobre la importancia del mercadeo en las redes social. Muchos no entienden porque deben invertir tiempo y dinero en estos medios porque creen que es una moda pasajera. Entiendo que lo que voy aprender en este evento me ayudara mucho a implementar nuevas estrategias de mercadeo en mi mercado que está en crecimiento. Adicional tengo un entrenamiento en español (Aprende Social Media) sobre mercadeo en las redes sociales y sé que los conocimientos que gane en la conferencia los podre enseñar a mi equipo y así ayudar a dueños de negocios alrededor del mundo.

    Puedes estar en contacto conmigo en:

  • Shefali

    Hi, I am Shefali and I work in a very Research and development inclined B2B company. Our social media presence is equivalent to non-existent but there is so much potential there. Though head quartered in Denmark the global marketing team is seated in Asia.
    I believe in the power of social media and know it can make a lot of difference to my company. Unfortunately, an event which is of your scale and reach does not happen here and I want to be there at this event of the year.
    Please make it happen, cause how much my company would benefit and the growth I can bring about- would be much simpler after I take back the knowledge and experience from this conference.
    Hopeful and excited,

  • paulawhidden

    Hi Phil and Michael,

    Thanks for offering this opportunity to win two tickets.

    I manage social media for churches and nonprofits.

    The groups I manage vary in size. Many of the tools I’ve learn from people like you and other presenters work wonderfully with large churches who have a strong offline presence. For smaller churches and many nonprofits this isn’t as easy. They long to see social media help them to build the offline community. I’ve noticed difficulty in building momentum within social media for the smaller groups in order to build their community, raise money and change the world.

    That’s my challenge.

    I long to learn how to help these small organizations build momentum online through social media to give them a larger offline base.

  • Monica F

    My biggest challenge is creating a content strategy for social media that will get my audience engaged. I want to post things they are really interested in as well as promoting our clients’ brands.

    I started my position as an Internet Marketing Coordinator just 4 months ago. It’s my dream job so I want to be well educated in all areas of my field. Attending SMMW13 would definitely benefit me more than I can even comprehend. Help this Arkansas girl further her career goals.

  • I would love to win the tickets to social marketing world so I can simply have fun talking about what I love with people who share my passion about social media. (without get the *yawn* or evil eye of boredom look.) As the co-founder of a wonderful group of women bloggers, The Green Sisterhood, our goal is to change the world. One of our steps is change what people buy to save the Planet. Helping our green companies with limited budgets increase their reach is our priority. Going to this conference would just increase our super hero tool bag of tricks to get their message out loud and clear. Plus, we need to beat Climate Change who has an amazing social media staff. Will you help?

  • Hi Mari (I’m a hug fan of yours!) Pat and Mike,

    I’ve been following last year’s tweets and blog posts and have been awaiting this conference since! It would be absolutely awesome if I could win tickets to attend this year 🙂

    Speaking a bit about me; I’m head of social media for a digital media agency in Colombo, Sri Lanka. In my country, social media marketing may not be huge in ‘numbers’ but there’s a pretty decent interest and a following among businesses, notably this year. Our company, manages SMM for a significant number of brands in our country. However, the biggest marketing challenge we have is that most clients (except for a handful) look at social media marketing, more like a feather on their hat. I would like to see them becoming truly social businesses – especially those who have been with us for the past couple of years. Some clients truly have the potential to do so right now but it’s near impossible to make them take that leap of faith! While it’s encouraging to have noted a higher spending towards social media marketing from most brands, that alone is not where I would like to see them this year.

    I’m not saying that if I’m able to attend the SMMW13 I will be able to achieve what I want this year just like that, but it would definitely help! It would be life-altering to experience firsthand what SMM is like in the world out there, speak to like-minded people and of course meet the amazing people I admire and follow on a daily basis 🙂 Win or lose, I won’t want to miss a single update from SMMW13 so keep up the great work!

  • Melissa L Allen

    I recently began working with an emerging company in Indiana. When I signed on, they were beginning to get their social media marketing going, but I was hired to do it all. My biggest challenge to date was to work with them to design a social media plan from the ground up. I had personal experience with SM, but my list of business experience was very limited. So prior to my start date, I spend 5 days straight (not sleeping for two) researching all across the web different tactics, tips, “do not do” lists, and best times to post. I made lists upon lists of different SM sites and what would work best with the type of business I was going into. I looked into strategy and started writing a list of questions to ask to form the SM plan that would cover all of their bases, including a list help them understand what to expect and how to gauge success (although I also wrote up a list of questions to find out how THEY would gauge success). In the end, I had about 500 pages of articles, information, and ideas that I printed and put in a nice book to keep on my desk.
    I would say that creating a SM Strategy from the ground up for people that didn’t know much more than they wanted to be active in SM was my biggest challenge, although in a market that demands always knowing whats going on and the next big thing, I look forward to the many challenges that this job will bring.

    I would love to attend the conference to learn more and become much more of a better SM artist. I signed up for this newsletter in order to learn more and to constantly be learning, and this conference is what I need to take my career to the next level.

    Thank you.

  • Writing about our biggest Social Media Marketing Challenges, what a fantastic idea. I can’t wait to read everyone elses stories below!

    My biggest challenge has to be combating the false ideas that the general population has about social media. What does that mean? Well, in a nutshell, we spend a lot of time in the online space, and most people discussing social media online are marketers or people working directly in the field. I got into social media / social business because I started as a business person looking to use the social advantages for my team, my business and as a marketing tool. As a result I uncovered far more than I ever expected and immediately leaped into this social world. However, the other business people out there, the ones who are just reading about social media in the news, or getting information based on what they see people doing on Facebook, or what celebrities are doing, don’t get it. I am approached regularly by people wanting to learn more, yet when we start talking I realize their perceptions and ideas are totally full of propaganda. So my challenge is to bring them on the journey I took, and find ways to get them to relate to the ideas that can help their businesses grow. Whether its been members of my own team (who range from age 20-70!) or whether it be in the community, I am always looking for ways to make the world of social about being human, so that they can relate to something that they can apply to their business, and not get carried away by propaganda and hype. I realize this may sound like everyone’s challenge, but coming from a business standpoint, and not as a member of a social media marketing agency, the way people approach me is quite different, and finding ways to understand their business and then put myself in their shoes to help them along has been interesting and challenging, especially when you realize your knowledge has become quite deep and you have to back track to remember what it was like to be in their shoes, and start over so you can take them with you on that journey. The payoff however has been as I have watched non-profits take chances and come on board, people start blogging and sharing their stories, relationships forming as I have connected people, people feeling empowered, where they weren’t before, employees feeling valued, and efficiency increasing, overall things changing for the better, and people being inspired – and that’s the whole reason I do it all. So that’s my challenge and my reward, and I would love to be able to attend so I can keep learning, growing, networking and then sharing- essentially, as I believe, helping this world be a better place in my own way 🙂

  • Hey Paula, I love your mission. If you want to connect on twitter, I would be happy to share some strategies with you and help any way I can, this is one of my passions 🙂 @milaspage

  • Natalie Moon-Wainwright

    Thank you for the opportunity to get a ticket to an event I would love to attend but which I cannot possibly pay for. I’m a fan of Mari, Michael, Pat, and many of the speakers who will be at the conference. I am a solopreneur social media manager. My biggest challenge, among many, in social media marketing is marketing myself as a social media manager. When I started, only last March, I decided to promote myself by promoting my small tourist town. I would demonstrate to local businesses I could do all the social media platforms and give back in promoting the town with a blog, a website, and activity on social media. What a disconnect! I enjoy blogging about my town, but I’m not telling businesses what they need in social media and, therefore, I’m not getting many clients. I’m trying to figure out how to make both work. Do I need to start blogging about social media, like so many others already do so well? I also promote myself as a wedding celebrant. Do I need a separate website and blog for that? I feel like I’m going in too many directions but I’m not sure what to let go or how to unify them. In one sense, it all ties together. In another, each direction is very unique. This is my biggest marketing challenge.

  • My biggest social media marketing challenge is personal. I am an early adopter of disruptive technologies, joining Facebook in 2005, LinkedIn in 2007, and Twitter in 2008. My blog explores new and emerging media and I started it in 2005. I know what works, and I share my expertise as a higher education digital marketing instructor.

    I scan the faces of presenters above and I recognize almost all of them. I’ve seen their faces on prior conferences here and there. I’ve tweeted with many of them, or commented on their blogs or they on mine. But as much as I try to speak at or attend conferences like SMMW, either I miss the call for speakers or the price of admission is too high — when you add in the cost of airfare and lodging from Massachusetts.

    My biggest challenge is to sell myself. I am great at selling other people, other companies. Give me a product or a dongle and I’ll sell it until that thing has thousands of social networking fans and sales inquiries start coming in. But my own personal/professional brand? That’s priceless and that’s a strategy I really want to learn from the names of speakers in April.

    I’d love a free ticket.

  • I,m Jathu from Colomb Sri Lanka, I have been working as
    Social Media Executive in a company which gives education services.

    I used to read most of the article by some articles really helps me in my work time..

    Our country is in a stage of growing period of
    SMM, like my company some have attention towards SMM and they spend for it and
    we have some Advertising agents really keen into SMM and improving by giving
    proper guidance perfect works. but some companies like me working not ready to
    spend with advertising agents so they hire like people interest in SMM and try
    to train them. the biggest challenge i have ever faced in my experience the
    CEO’s Brand Developments managers never
    understand about SMM.. and they are not ready to spend on it… but in my case
    i have challenged with my company CEO and Brand Executives we have better
    platform in SMM in Sri Lanka, and show them in 2011 ROI rate better way ..

    if i get a chance to participate in #SMMW13 it will be really helpful for me to
    grow my knowledge in SMM…

  • Heidi Weinstein

    A toll road and social marketing what? The first toll road in the U.S. to push the social envelope? Gas taxes are not enough to fund the transportation infrastructure? Is it possible the tolling industry will blow up only viable optional fix the bottlenecked road system? These are the reasons why I should be selected to attend this conference. I work for a toll road that embraces social media and social marketing. This opportunity will help me better understand how I can help an industry and my workplace thrive through social. As a the social expert in my workplace it is crucial to attend conferences to keep me up to speed on the latest and greatest. More recently, tolling agencies are looking at my workplace as a social example to start their efforts. Attending this conference will help the entire industry get smarter on social media. How so, one might ask? Every year communications teams within the tolling industry gather and discuss social media, along with many other communications and marketing topics. In addition, each year I gave the opportunity to present how my agency uses social media for marketing and communications. If I am selected I can not only have takeaways, but I will also be able to pay it forward. In selecting me, you select the whole tolling industry.

  • Silia

    A big thank you to the Social Media Examiner, for this opportunity to attend the SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING WORLD. I know the chance to win this prize is slim, but it never hurts to try out. I own a small digital agency of 2 people in Cyprus. Digital marketing is at its infancy in this part of the world. And social media marketing is only just taking off.

    My dream is to learn from more advanced and mature markets and import social media marketing and social media marketing solutions to Cyprus which can act as a hub for the region – EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa).

    My current challenges are manyfold. I opened my company in the midst of the economic recession, where budgets are being slashed. The larger advertising / communication budgets are predominantly allocated to the traditional advertising agencies…what was prabably the case in the presently more sophisticated markets. Which means work harder, and for very small budgets. I wish to expand my business to the neighbooring countries in order to survive. But being a perfectionist that I am, and wanting to add value to my clients it is very important that i don’t experiment with my clients, but that I undertake social media marketing for them with results. I hope I will be considered…it will be a dream come true!!! Once again..a big thanks for this opportunity! 🙂

  • As a passionate online marketer who is always thirsting for new knowledge about the latest apps, online tools, SEO, social media trends, social interfaces and new ways to measure and analyse online performance, I believe that attending a conference of such magnitude would really give me a great advantage as an industry professional. I absolutely love the fast-pace of the online world with its ever evolving and changing nature. I also get a kick out of the various challenges that social media marketing presents for clients and believe that very often open mindedness, irrationality and going against the norm, is what really creates memorable campaigns that stick. One of my biggest social media marketing challenges is actually an ongoing challenge through and through, and that is trying to get clients to understand that they cannot immediately sell online via FB or Twitter or any other social platform of their choice. They have to first engage, befriend and offer value to their potential target market who then start to feel a connection to their brand because of their identity and values. These potential customers are then a lot more likely to be interested in their products as opposed to a competitors.

  • My biggest social media marketing challenge? I work for the Belgian mobile internet provider Mobile Vikings. We choose to put our members, the Vikings, first. Creating loyalty and ambassadors by delivering them the best possible service drives us.. And that’s what we also want to achieve on social media. Not easy, but a totally different approach. Nonono, we don’t want sales via social media. We want our marketing to be our communication. We want our social media to help our members. And that’s exactly our challenge. So please send me right into the arms of all those experts, with whom I can exchange ideas and experiences.

  • Tadziripa Madzima Bosha

    As an intellectually hungry African Zimbabwean woman, I am looking for ways to feed my mind with ideas and knowledge that can revolutionise and change the progress in my continent in a positive way. I have seen that our continent is falling behind the benefits that social media can bring to companies and organizations alike because we lack enough knowledge and skills to master social media. Without access to information, everything becomes extremely limited and Africa is not as wired as it should be. Though we are slowly trying to catch up, we still have a long way to go. Still there are a group of hungry professionals out there, like myself, a new generation of African makers, doers, inventors, venture capitalists, bloggers, policymakers – who have been let down by their governments. All they want to do is reshape the continent. I believe it will take a group of dedicated and hardworking professionals to push for the positive change that can come on this continent through knowledge about social media. Africa is becoming increasingly attractive to international investors, and the growth in its human capital is also very exciting. I currently work as the creative director for an agency called M2 advertising in Dar es salaam, Tanzania, though I am Zimbabwean by nationality. My work experiences have taught me the hard truth that most companies are still disinterested in the idea of social media or even lack knowledge about it all together. Its true that we as humans tend to be skeptical or even afraid of what we don’t understand. My reasons are quite simple and others may perceive humble. Social media will transform communication about a continent that did not always have the chance to speak for itself. Misconceptions about Africans and their cultures, failure of Africans to communicate about what they feel or think about political circumstances, sharing on different trends and keeping up with international innovations are all possibilities through social media for governments, companies, businesses and investors alike. Africa deserves a chance in this revolution and has always been overshadowed in the process and always trying to “catch up” with the rest of the world in terms of keeping up with trends and latest ways of communication. As an African I will leave this conference as a change maker, charged with the potential and knowledge to share all I would have gained at this conference at transforming the lives of people, companies and organisations with social media. I do plan to share this knowledge with other companies and organisations here in Tanzania, after I return, at an open and free forum, by hosting a day of imparting and sharing on what I would have learn’t at this conference. That way I am passing it forward, and it will not remain with me. I do believe sharing is caring. Please give me a chance and also the rest of Africa at being a part of this great revolution and change. Thanks for giving away some free tickets towards this event. You guys are change-makers!

  • Nathalie Tachet

    I would be honored to win a ticket since I am European and we do not have such social media exhibitions, so going to the source of it in the USA would be great. My biggest challenge is to bring new ideas with no ressource at the moment 🙂

  • I would love to win tickets. My biggest social media marketing challenge is engagement. I write questions or post great information and barely get likes or shares…and almost never get comments. It would be great to learn how to finally break through and engage my audience.

  • I would love to assist to this conference. I’m starting a new career and trying to develop new skills. This could help me get some of the experience, skills and knowledge I need to succed on marketing and communication on social media platforms. I work for a very small company and things like this can really help us grow. Please help me get these tickets ! 🙂

  • Kris

    My biggest challenge in Social Media Marketing is just figuring it out. I was thrown into this role and I am not getting the best results. I know there is a way to make Social Media Marketing work for our company, but I have not found it yet. I will never be able to convince the boss to fund this so if I won a free ticket it would be wonderful. I could attend the conference and “WOW” them when I returned by making our Social Media platforms take off.

  • Pamela Stewart

    I would love to win a free ticket. I own a small PR firm that has specialized in traditional PR for over 25 years. We need a facelift -We are behind the times when it comes to social media and viral marketing! In regards to why I should get a free ticket…a year ago I was in the middle of heavy chemotherapy for stage 3 breast cancer and then suffered a severe reaction to one of the drugs, landing me in the hospital for several months in a catatonic vegetable state. I had to put my business on hold for almost a year. It’s hard coming back, and during this process I want to reinvent the way we do business. We can’t afford this kind of program but I would love to go!

  • Doug Wood

    We operate a Community Education Program in Michigan. The biggest challenge we have is building a market. We are connected to our school system and must live by the rules of engagement of a public entity. Some of the promotional ideas suitable for a business may not be right for our area. And then there is the safety concerns that lead people to question whether we should be using any of the social media platforms at all. We all know we need to be in the game but are learning how it is played on our field. My hope would be to network with other school or non-profits to learn and share ideas.

  • My biggest Social Media Marketing Challenge?
    So far, has been on-going measurement (that is both meaningful and relevant) for our Senior Management. While utilizing various tools to record engagement; Talking about this, Re-Tweets, Replies, etc. providing a meaningful “number” is an on-going challenge. It’s not all about the ROI, but it is about associating numbers with brand awareness and market growth. I’d love to attend Social Media Marketing World 2013 to hear the guest speakers, but also connect with other Social Media professionals and share their challenges and successes.

  • Victoria Philpott

    I work as the content and social media manager for My biggest social media marketing challenge is that we are the biggest gap year social network in the world, but with all the social media sites popping up it’s hard to keep up and keep our audience on site. We have 30,000 members but around 29,500 are inactive at the moment. I started here three months ago and we’re seeing the activity levels increase, but not enough. I’d love to come to Social Media Marketing World to gain advice and tips on how to incorporate the stalwart social media sites into what we do, as well as pick up tips on emerging ones and on how we can continue to be a market leader and to expand and grow. The line up looks amazing and I want some first-hand advice please!

  • Mark DeSimone

    My biggest challenge is figuring out the our audience and the conversations and topics going on in a real time way so we can define what we need to do better. I want a system to tell me the trending topics, not me defining keywords as I will not always know ahead of time what people are talking about. So, more about intelligent analytics and how toast up and interpret the data surrounding our audiences and industry.

  • Leigh Willson

    It would be amazing to win these tickets. I have been thrown into the social media world in an industry that mostly still clings to the old ways – Our farm was one of the first to embrace using a blog and facebook/twitter to communicate with both our clients and prospective clients – That means having to learn a lot and learn it fast, and the opportunity to be among the best social media experts would be invaluable!! At the moment our campaign has been to make people aware of us and the horse racing industry and to try and entice the younger generation to join us, however it would be fantastic to learn how to generate this interest into actual earnings!

  • Alison Stoodley

    The challenge I face as a social media marketer is convincing prospects that social is not going to be a waste of time. They see it as a major time allotment to an already busy day and that it will cost them another marketing budget but they can’t see the results as they can with a newspaper ad that gets people buying immediately. I would like to learn from the experts how to approach businesses in a way that has them understanding the benefits of creating social relationships with potential clients. I would like to know how people like Mari Smith and Chris Brogan manage their time, their clients and prospects and the growth of their businesses and I would like to know how they did so before they had a team to help them.
    As a single mom who started and manages my business completely on my own, a break like this, attending this fabulous conference, would add enormous credibility to what I do and would inject incredible enthusiasm into my vision for the future of my business.
    I have no doubt that I am creating the future of my dreams every single day as I weigh my choices and move forward regardless of fears and challenges that are presented. I am a hard working, innovative, self-taught woman who would make the absolute most of this opportunity and would be incredibly grateful for every single moment of it. Cheers!

  • RibbonPrint

    Love you guys and listen/read all the time. My biz comes from trade shows and now social marketing efforts. I’ve been surprised how many leads I get already as I’m learning this new (okay still somewhat new) way to attract business. I come from old school sales of direct mail marketing. After corporate life, started my own business and LOVE that the future is all about the customer. I was doing that before it was even “cool” and it fits so much with my personality. So marketing through social media is a natural for me already. Love the intensity of the course schedule and would be thrilled to be included. Pick Me! So I can do even more for my customers.

    But if not … have a great conference and I’ll catch you in the online courses.

  • My biggest social media challenge is mindset. Like many of the folks who have commented, I am in an industry, psychotherapy and addictions counseling that has not had to market until recently, or it was considered undignified to market. “I couldn’t possibly be like those late night addiction treatment center commercials, they are no better than ambulance chasers!” Even Mari’s enthusiasm in the Extreme Fanbase Growth training only made small crack in my armor. Yes, yes, I would say after each lesson, then sit and look at Facebook, paralyzed.

    I have a particular niche, and am struggling to get out in front of it. It is a niche that surrounds the folks in it in shame and isolation. I struggle with how to get out in front of this audience, and I think social media might be it. My niche is the families and friends of addicts and alcoholics; specifically, the parents of young adult addicts, ages 18-30 who are still living at home due to their addiction. They have failed out of college or never launched, and are turning the family upside down. The parents are angry, frustrated and scared, and have no idea what to do. Other children in the home are affected also, and often, the parents’ energy goes toward the using sibling, and the others get lost and neglected.

    Since the effects of addiction are so wide-reaching, my audience can be anyone, anywhere: the US, Canada and abroad; lawyers, doctors, school teachers, coaches, therapists, business owners and employees in every type of corporate situation and industry; any gender and economic situation. I think social media is the way to reach more people, to help more people deal with this issue.

    I am passionate about helping and especially helping those for whom few resources exist. Lots for the addicts and alcoholics, but very few for the families and few for the friends who love the addicts.

    Thank you for the opportunity to write about my passion. Jerri Shankler Recovery Alchemy

  • Whitney Savoie

    As the marketing and advertising coordinator for one of the largest automotive groups in the South, our biggest challenge is calculating the ROI from social media venues such as twitter, facebook, pinterest… etc. In this industry, it is VERY important to prove your value through the amount of profit you generate. We are trying to find new and innovative ways to produce leads and revenue for the company. We need to show these old school folks that there is value in social media.

  • My biggest social media challenge? Well I’m new to the realm of Marketing and with that my 25 year old brain goes “Yah you know everything there is to know about social media, you were born into it”. Boy was I wrong. I’m currently a Digital Marketing Coordinator and manage 4 clients social media and they range from Wine to Therapeutic cream and every day proves more challenging to find content that will engage our fans. I’m new to Marketing and would really love to grow and learn more about social media as this is what I would love do. I love talking with people and providing fun content, but sometimes our clients guidelines are so restricting I can’t find content. I’m always signing up for webinars on SEO and social media because you can never stop learning about it. Social media will always grow and change and if I was able to go to this conference I would be able to help guide my clients and our social media efforts for effectively.

  • Brenda Trott, M.Ed

    The biggest social media challenge for my clients is getting started with followers so their compelling content can be shared. I want to win because I know just enough to be dangerous but I always yield to the experts at socialmediaexaminer and I share thier content often.

  • Hi Mari, Pat, and Mike!

    My name is Melissa and I work for a small online marketing agency in Austin, Texas. I manage both social marketing and SEO across many different clients. I would absolutely love the opportunity to attend Social Media Marketing World. This is the #1 conference I want to attend, as it revolves around social marketing. I could learn so much and network with the best in the industry.

    I would say that one of my biggest marketing challenges is finding a way to use social marketing across so many different types of clients. I work with doctors, furniture stores, real estate companies, restaurants, and more. It becomes quite the challenge to individually cater to each client, as their social marketing strategies are so vastly different.

    I hope you select me as the winner! Thanks so much for the opportunity to win!


  • So much of social media marketing seems like trial and error; our biggest challenge is to stay on top of best practices and maximize results from each campaign.

  • I’d love to attend to be able to not only learn what I can for our own business (newspaper group), but to promote information shared at the conference both via live tweets, and after via local Score seminars, Chambers of Commerce meetings, and one-on-one meetings with local small and medium businesses.

  • Today there is much discussion in the education and business sectors about the widening digital divide between those are proficient in the use of social media marketing platforms and channels once entering the workforce and those who are not. What I tell high school and college students, small business owners, is that social media has already permeated their chosen profession and business, no matter what that profession or business is. Many (not all), seem to think that becoming proficient in Facebook, SMS, and Twitter will suffice for the world into which they will soon enter. A persistent challenge for me has been underscoring the importance of: 1. Establishing, maintaining, and growing a positive online reputation. 2. Proper utilization of professional online etiquette. 3. Commitment to consistent, ongoing professional development, as the world of social is now evolving daily. 4. Willingness to take calculated risks online, as very few of us will grow in the social space simply by posting, tweeting, and liking here and there. 5. Embrace Social Entrepreneurship. SMM does not always have to have mere profit attached. try mixing things up by blending social with a worthy cause.

    The aforementioned challenges are ones that hope to gain more knowledge from by attending Social Media Marketing World! Thanks, and here’s to your continued success!

  • Hola Mari, Pat and Mike! In the past few years, I’ve been responsible for the conception and implementation of our social media efforts in the accounting industry. You could imagine the day I sat across the board room table from my CEO explaining why it makes sense for his 400+ staff to spend billable time online. Fun. 🙂

    In the past few years, however. We’ve made some REAL progress – battling boring accountant reputations everywhere using YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter and more. I am – of course – always struggling with the need to stay ahead of the curve in a way that makes sense in a professional services firm. Here’s a link to one of 3 videos that have made our accounting firm “famous” in our industry.
    I would love the opportunity to come out and join you guys. Teach me everything you know!
    Super thanks,

  • A few years ago I was laid off, and during that new free time, I became active in the Social Media Club of Kansas City – and promptly fell in love with social. Eventually I was able to obtain a position at an search engine optimization company that is now expanding into social media. I want to learn everything that I can to help my clients and my company, but also because I want to share the knowledge with SMCKC and with the other organizations that help out the non-profit communities.

  • Robin Whalen

    Hi Mari, Pat and Mike,

    I have followed all of you on Twitter for quite some time so it’s very fitting that you are presenting at the SM Conference and judging this contest.

    I run a digital agency in Toronto, Canada and the vast majority of our business is in the social sphere. In addition to my ‘day’ job, I chair the Digital Marketing Council for the Canadian Marketing Association. I live, breathe and eat all things digital and social :). It’s my passion and profession.

    Our biggest challenge in Social Media is how to leverage the various platforms in order to help consumer packaged goods companies sell their brand and engage their consumers. All to often our clients expect a direct correlation between social and sales. Although CPG brands understand WHY they need to engage consumers and build relationships, their #1 concern is often pushing the product off the shelf immediately. Therefore, marketing budgets are often directed primarily to Shopper Marketing.

    We work tirelessly to integrate all marketing activities into our social programs across many brands but are constantly challenged to answer the question…what’s my return on investment or what is the calculation for return on engagement.

    So to recap: the challenge is: How can CPG brands effectively use Social Channels to both help sell products AND engage consumers over the long term.

    Would absolutely be thrilled beyond words to attend the conference and soak up the knowledge shared.

    Robin Whalen

  • Alfredo Reche

    Hi, my name is Alfredo Reche from Spain. I am just launching a Marketing Agency called Nementio ( I was fired in 2012 from a big consultancy firm where I was Regional Marketing and Sales Manager and then decided to go on my own. I have spent one year trying to learn marketing and online marketing from the best (including all the people at Social Media Examiner and my true inspiration, Pat Flynn) and using it to help some different SMEs (including a Latin Jazz Festival, a Teatre, and a small restaurant).

    My biggest social media marketing challenge is to bring social media to Spanish companies, specially to SMEs and new entrepeneurs that are working hard to try to get this fantastic country out of the terrible economic crisis. I trully bealive that marketing is absolutely necessary to develop new and profitable business here and to help us to beat the devastating unemployment rates.

    I am also involved in another project to create a platform to develop Open Source Text Books for children at school, helping families to reduce their budget for scholar material, and I am sure that SMM can help us to get support for this project.

    And, why not, at least I hope that Pat read this message and answer me about a proposal I made him to create a spanish version of the Smart Passive Income. Any other platform that wants to have a spanish version is welcome!

  • For the past three years I have been given the opportunity to develop a marketing department from the ground up. The problem is that my few helpers are part time, and none of them know how to run social media as a brand and marketing tool. So it falls to me to try to figure out what social media can do for our little company, then make it happen. I have felt that by properly utilizing social media we would be able to really propel our vision forward, and benefit many lives with our product. Which I strongly believe has the capability to impact the entire world. However, I am relatively clueless as to how to utilize social media to make that happen. I feel that a chance to learn from the leading experts in the industry, and network with people who are successfully using social media everyday would be a huge opportunity for me. As well as pave a successful path for the mission of our company. Yet due to costs the only way that I would be able to go to this conference would be by winning a free ticket. Therefore, I submit my plea.

  • Jennipher Harrill

    Hello to Mari, Pat and Michael,
    Thanks for allowing us to write in for a chance to win. I find my biggest Social Media Challenge is keeping up. Meaning keeping my clients post, tweets, pins, connections all relevant and up to date. And then staying on top of the ever so many changes to Social Media each and everyday. Which is why I love this job. It’s always changing, keeping us on our toes.

    I feel like I should win the tickets because I have been following Social Media Examiner for a few years now, but it wasn’t until last year I quit my job to start a Social Media company. I have been blessed by the support of local businesses where I live and I find my business is growing weekly. Truthfully I am looking for a mentor. I don’t know where to go next and I feel attending this conference will allow me to not only learn more than I could ever dream of, but also connect with others that may be experiencing similar issues.

    I love following each of you on the various SM networks and I have learned a great deal thus far. I feel attending this conference would put my company on the next level. Unfortunately, I cannot afford to pay my way at this time. So, I am really looking forward to the day you post, tweet and blog my name as the Winner!

    Thanks again for your time and knowledge.

    Stay Connected,


  • Diane Gibbs

    Hey y’all,

    My biggest challenge in social media marketing is reaching the correct audience for my clients. I also need communicate to my clients what are clear and reasonable goals as to how long it will take to build an audience and begin seeing results (not just “likes” or is this enough?). Lastly, knowing where to promote for different clients and what to put in these promotions?

    The Reason to Pick Me:

    I am driven to help businesses succeed. My passion is fueled when I see small businesses able to get their message/product/service to their audience. So many businesses have awesome products or services and are not able to reach their audience due to lack of knowledge. I want to help businesses share their expertise through the amazing world of social media.

    I not only want to attend to help my clients’ businesses, I also have a passion for helping other designers. That is why I started using the new face-to-face social media platform called Spreecast back in the Summer of 2012. I host “The Design Recharge Show” a weekly, interactive show for designers. I have a small audience now and need to continue growing it. I know that meeting with these experts and other marketers from around the world will give me an opportunity to not only network but also glean knowledge from sessions and other attendees while sharing what I know. I am pumped about meeting and connecting with other marketers and hope you will find my application worthy.

    I am a full time college professor teaching graphic design, a host of a weekly show for designers, and a working designer with clients. All these people who I touch would benefit from my attending this conference. I am attending the online conference, the Content Success Summit and look forward to all I will learn there. I am helpful and have lots of energy. I will help sign people in and volunteer in other ways, whatever I can do just bless me with that winning ticket and hotel stay. Thanks!

  • Thomas Rojas

    I am a small marketing company (one employee, myself, and one 1099 compensated). Over the past few years I have begun to specialize in Social Media services for approximately 15 clients, all from different industries, including a restaurant, medical practice, medical skin spa, family entertainment center, software developer, an actor and others. This wide range of clients makes the daily social media process challenging. I am trying to keep up on the latest platforms and how they can help improve the results my clients are seeking and deserve. I lay in bed at night stressing and wondering how I can do a better job for my clients. How can I receive or produce better content from them, and how do I integrate new platform features that are being offered all the time, I always feel like I can be doing a better job on their behalf. Because I am such a small company I am not able to afford the seminar so I am hoping to receive a free ticket! Thank you so much for your consideration! To be able to attend this seminar would be a BIG opportunity for our clients! Thanks again!

  • claudia kittel

    My biggest challenge in marketing is that I don’t understand enough about it. I see the need for what I offer and I have an understanding of how to do it, however, I am the sole proprietor of my business, and have not the training staff to give my employees the skills that they need to help with developing my strategy.

    I would like to attend in order to learn how to train people in these skills, and also how to develop courses that would attract students to my classrooms.

  • Valentina Herrera

    I would love to attend Social Media Marketing World because I am an artist manager in the process of building a big following for my artist through social media, and I am in desperate need of tools and ideas to make this happen! I am thirsting for knowledge! My artist wants to make a difference in the world with his music, independently (without a mayor label telling him how to be), and we know the only way to do this is through social media… this ticket would be the beginning of something great!! Thanks!

  • imperial bartenders

    Our largest obstacle is marketing to multiple cities and staying relevant to each. Quite a challenge we are not living up to currently. We deserve a free ticket because we will make a great case study in the near future.

  • Kyle

    I would love to attend the conference because for over 20 years I have been trying to find out where I fit.

    My parents told me to major in this and I failed at it.

    I got married and took an insurance job I hated and I failed at it.

    Anyway,it is a list too long to mention.

    Until now.


    I belong here. I am going to succeed. I am good at it. People come to me with questions and I go dig up the answers because it helps me learn too.

    My Mission Statement :The Success Of Others

    Social media is what I was born into.

  • diana

    Mabuhay Mari, Pat and Mike! I am Diana from the Philippines. I work as a virtual assistant. My boss is based in Australia.

    The biggest social media challenge for me was when my boss instructed me to post to all SM accounts calling out for interested distributors worldwide in the efforts of saving the company from financial trouble. I was asked to post several
    times each day everday. A few days after I got an email from our webhost, who was also doing the marketing for the brand, questioning me why on earth was I spamming the social media accounts? So I told him I was just following my boss’s instructions. I get that my boss just wanted to be heard immediately hence the bombarding of posts. So to compromise I decided to limit the posts to once per day. In the end, we didnt get any conversion at all.

    I strongly believe in the power of social media. I know I still have a lot to learn. I deserve to win a ticket because I know that everything I will learn from
    the conference can be applied to my boss’s business and help the business get out of
    difficulty. It will be a great success story.

    I’m from the Philippines so I need to get a visa for this, but if I get denied then I would be more than happy to give this to
    my boss because I know she deserves a little R&R. Business and pleasure if you will. She can then share with me what she learned from the conference just as she has always in the past.

    Best of luck to all contestants!

  • Cuyler Gibbons

    I’d love to win a ticket to Social Media Marketing World. My biggest challenge is simply keeping ahead of the learning curve in general. I’ve been in publishing marketing since 1984,with companies the size of Time-Warner to my present position as Consumer Marketing Director at a small 2 year old start up. Though our print brands provide “the essential DNA” we started the company intending to be far more than ink on paper from the beginning, and we’ve successfully built an on-line presence across numerous on-line platforms – twitter,Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and our own web-sites and newsletters. But boy do things move fast. We are a small shop – 8 people, – and we all wear a lot of hats. I manage our social initiatives (as well as manufacturing, subscription fulfillment, and distribution) and every day is an education. I’d desperately like the opportunity to learn directly from the best in a concentrated environment, but I need your help to do so. Did I mention I’d really love to win a ticket to Social Media Marketing World? Thanks for listening (and considering my plea).


    Cuyler M. Gibbons, Jr.

    Consumer Marketing Director

    Move Press LLC.

  • I just discovered the hope of entrepreneurship in the beginning of January 2013 through a re-introduction to Dan Miller. Through the last month, I have devoured every resource I can find, through books (audio and written), podcasts (including Smart Passive Income, shameless play to the judges Pat ;), youtube interviews, and local networking with successful business men/women. I have even more recently decided to start a business that I believe with turn the entertainment industry on it’s head (a much needed change), and know very close to nothing about social media. Enter Social Media Examiner. In seeking the best ways to develop and market this company (in theory first, and then in business), I found the Social Media Examiner website and was thrilled to have another legitimate, credible source of information and advice. I have learned so much in the last month, but with the goal of having this company running by the end of this year, and profitable by the end of next, I have some serious work to do. There is, in my mind, no better way to learn than conferences. The energy, the personal experience, and the networking blows any other medium out of the water. While I am very nearly addicted to finding all of the new information I can through any means possible from home, I would love to have my heart kick-started through what looks to be a powerful conference in a beautiful city. Please give me a free ticket, so that I can come and thank you in person. 🙂

  • As a Sagittarius and strongly diverse individual Social Media has been my escape. It’s depth of ever changing material, rules, and platforms fascinate me! I’ve never been so full of life, energy, and happiness until I met my crossing with Social Media Marketing. I’ve jumped from web development, advertising, sales, retail, wedding planning, and now marketing with Social Media. I must say I’m at the best place in my life because I found something that keeps me excited day in and day out! However, the most challenging part that I feel many companies face was understanding how it progresses. After working in various industries I’ve become sculpted to a routine. Once that routine was established, I merely implemented it every day. Social Media marketing provided this great challenge of change, of never being the same, and of complete consumption of my time. As a Sagittarius, I enjoy change and challenges so the adaptation did not come from my incapabilities but rather from my daily routines. After joining Big Squid Interactive and introducing them to the world of Social Marketing, I have enhanced their services and doubled their clients! This small agency now receives many inquiries for my advanced Social Media marketing consulting and full service applications as well. I am continually updating and researching social media outlooks to better myself as a professional and to better the industry as well. All knowledge that I attain, I share! Because I strongly believe my clients deserve the right to understand such a vastly growing platform! I believe I would be a great asset to this conference and could tremendously benefit with the knowledge I attain.

    Purvi Patel

  • Alyssa Colton

    I’m very interested in attending this event! For the past 9 months I’ve been learning all I can about social media and am doing freelance work for a membership association. I also use it to promote my own work/business. I’m finding there are big differences between using sm for my own biz and using it for an organization like this one. I’m finding a dearth of information out there on this topic, and so I want to learn more about it to help me but also to pass along to others! This seems an area that there needs to be more information/resources.

  • Brittny Wisong

    Good afternoon Judges,

    It is a beautiful February day here in Lees Summit Mo where I work as a Social Media Director (in training). I graduated from college about two years ago. During these last two years I have struggled to find a career in online communications due to my lack of experience. Finally, my break came when I was offered a job to work with Google Fiber as a Field Marketing Representative. Unfortunately, that was a contracted position. Not too long after, I was offered a home from the company I work for now. They have taught me so much and have given me so much responsibility, so much that they have made me their first ever Social Media Director. It is such an honor and I know I can bring so much to this position. I do not want to let them down and I want to help our new social media department soar.

    Recently, we have had a couple malfunctions with a social media client of ours. It is very difficult to make them happy. I have brought their engagement up to where it was when they first opened, and better. However, they do not trust that I am the one for the the job. They want someone with more experience. I would like to win these tickets because I believe this conference will set me in the right direction and help build my knowledge base. Please, help me help my company prove that I am the one for the job.

    Thanks a million!

  • Lori R

    My biggest challenge IS Social Media:

    S – San Diego Baby!
    O – Overwhelmed with how to start
    C – Convincing management
    I – Internal expertise is limited
    A – Awareness measurement that works
    L – Leveraging limited resources

    M – Myself!
    E – Education
    D – Developing other employees
    I – In-depth strategy
    A – Availability of time

  • Hello judges!

    I’d love to win tickets to this conference (but to be fair, I’m guessing there isn’t anyone posting here who *wouldn’t* love the chance to go to the conference). My biggest social media marketing challenge is getting people to connect with our company on a deeper level online. We are a B2B company, and getting people to engage (and then turning that engagement into a lead) via social media has been proving to be very difficult. This conference looks like it has some great tracks for B2B companies, along with just tons of other great sessions.

    Why choose me for the free ticket? I handle all of our company’s social media marketing, and I know I have a lot to learn about the subject. This conference has so many great speakers, many of whom are thought leaders that I follow online, and getting to attend their sessions in person would be a dream come true. There are so many opportunities to get tips from the experts and crowdsource ideas from other attendees as well. Winning tickets to attend would be school-girl “squueeee!” worthy, and the company I work for would appreciate it too. Thanks for your time and consideration!

  • Bryn Stewart

    Ms. Smith, Mr. Flynn and Mr. Stelzner,

    I would love the opportunity to attend Social Media Marketing World 2013. I have been working for a small company for 3 years in which we all wear many hats (as with any small company). Until I was hired, there was no marketing “team”. I now work closely with our COO, who has extensive marketing experience, although the realm of social media marketing was (is?) new to both of us. To launch our social media marketing initiatives, we had to hire consultants to help us navigate the world of SEO and SMM. Although I feel we now have a basic grasp on our efforts, I think we still rely too heavily on our consultants.

    Due to some restructuring within the company over the last few years, I have had to take on an inside sales territory. While I am thoroughly invested in helping our company reach its potential, I am finding it difficult to manage all the different platforms in the small(er) amount of time that is now allocated to marketing. As a result, our consultants are still on the payroll.

    My biggest challenge is understanding and identifying the key activities for each social media platform that will maximize my time, effort and resources. This will not only help us focus our SMM initiatives but will also help us save money on consulting fees.

    Additionally, I am very curious to know how the Social Media Marketing plan I created for 2013 compares to what the experts have to say!

    Thank you so much for your consideration. I hope to be able to thank you for the ticket in person!

    Warm Regards,

    Bryn Stewart
    VitaMedica Corporation
    Los Angeles, CA

  • I’ve been in the marketing and communications and field for nearly 30 years now. Yep. Thirty long years. I started creating publications on a Compugraphic, transferring a disk the size of a salad plate into a reader (limited to two fonts at a time) the size of a side-by-side fridge, then putting film into a processor the size of a deep freeze before feeding galleys of type through a wax roller and laying it out on graph board. I could cut a piece of rubylith to perfection and slice in a comma with my Xacto. My, how things have changed. And I have changed right along with emerging technology and converging ideas without hesitation and with success. I used to tell clients to give me any widget and I could sell it. The challenge never was selling a product or service or philosophy I first had to immerse myself in like it was my own. The challenge has been keeping pace with the vehicles I could use to sell it, and that has also been the fun. When social media began to emerge, I looked at it and said, “Maybe I’ll retire from this business before I have to deal with all that.” But I couldn’t help but be intrigued, drawn by this new world not so distant from my years of creating databases and writing code for highly targeted direct mail. I joined Facebook, then Twitter, then LinkedIn, then Pintrest, started blogging, found myself on my computer constantly. I was hooked — not on using these for myself, but learning how to put them to work for my clients. Why do I want to attend SMMW? I’d be a fool not to. This old girl isn’t quite a blank slate; but savvy enough to know what I don’t know and challenged to learn more. I can’t afford to attend, and that’s my loss. Perhaps you will make it happen. This old dog is always up to learning new tricks. Why not learn them from the masters? Thanks for your consideration. And thanks for all that I’m learning from you already. Cheers!

  • wmarkwhitlock

    In 2007, if you entered “Mark Whitlock” in a Google search, my blog and news articles would fill up the first page. Near the end of 2007, I fell into some controversy. If you Googled my name, you would still get several links to me, but they would be unfavorable. Now, I don’t even warrant the first page of results. Two other “Mark Whitlocks” show up in those results. My biggest social media problem is: regaining the ground I once held.

    please enter me in the contest for free tickets to SMMW13

  • Tiffany Wright

    I am so excited about the opportunity to be able to enter this contest. As the executive director of a national staffing company based out of Houston, we have just began our journey in the the social media “jungle”. As the leader of this journey, I was so excited to stumble upon the social media marketing podcast, the website and all of its features (and benefits!). Our biggest social media marketing challenge is getting the other executives to see the benefits of social media marketing – and providing a clear return on investment for the time that it takes to not only manage but get started with so many social media options available! Why select me? I will take this info back and USE IT!

  • Rhonda

    So I have social media challenges, I’m female, and my startup dream is to build a socially connected sports fan community. What uphill struggle? So far, I’ve missed the lists for the fabulous under 40, the fantastic under 50 and by the time this conference is held, I won’t even qualify for the sensational under 60 list. So I’m shooting for the stupendously successful in social media under 70 list. Can I get a high five? And score a ticket?

  • happysociety

    My biggest social media challenges are gluing the pieces together for the Secret Society of Happy People ( which has been around since 1998. I have an active FB following, respectable Twitter following, growing Google+ and Pinterest following. I quit collecting email addresses a few years ago but started collecting them again this past August and that list is growing again. Challenge One is content per the different social media outlets. How do I make it unique to the people who follow that particular source, yet slightly unique to that social media outlet for the people who follow all of my social site. Challenge Two is converting my social media followers to sales. Challenge Three is video but I’m signed up for Mari’s new video course to assist with that.

    Why should I win over others … there’s not easy answer for this, but when you help me, you are helping create a happier world for everyone else.

  • I am co-owner of Crochetville, a website focused on providing information and support to those who love to crochet and helping continue the love of this craft on into future generations. We have a thriving message board community (; roughly 60,000 members), an active Facebook fan page (; over 15,000 fans), a blog (, and a free crochet pattern directory ( We provide all our services to our customers for free, with the exception of online classes.

    The latest industry survey showed there are nearly 1.7 million households in the US with members who crochet. We aren’t reaching even a tiny fraction of those people.

    We need help building up our social media campaign through our blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest so we can reach these millions of crocheters and bring them to our site.

    We operate on a very tiny budget. Although we receive a lot of site traffic, our niche is notorious for paying very low ad rates. If we were in the “make money online” niche, we would easily be pulling in 3, 4, or 5 times what we do now.

    But we’re in this niche because we love it and are crocheters ourselves, with positions in the crochet industry. Help us be more successful in this niche that is so near and dear to our hearts!

  • Dan C

    Well. Hmmm… I got nothin’, really. I just need to get out of Baltimore. Yeah, the Raven’s won the Super Bowl, but have you been to Baltimore? So while I’m stuck in Baltimore (dreaming of So Cal) slaving away doing digital marketing and “Oh, by the way, can you do social media too?”, because that shouldn’t take much time; “Just do a couple of tweeters every now and then”. But its important since “…everyone else is doing it, so we should be doing it, so go make us some money. And get back to me a in couple of weeks with how many Lickers we have and how much they’ve spent. Let’s put the video of the CEO and his dog on YouTube. And why can’t any employee post something on the company Facebook page? Well, maybe not any employee but certainly the very knowledgeable ones. Wouldn’t that be better? You can just delete any bad comments. This will be great because social media is free!”

    Anyway, San Diego sounds really nice.


  • Gemma Moore

    Dear Mari, Mike and Pat

    How are you? In some ways I feel like I know you already and I guess
    that’s one of the amazing advantages of social media.

    My name is Gemma Moore and I live in Western Australia. I am
    a mum, a wife and a business owner. My title is Chief Storyteller for my business Shout Consulting. My aim is to tell my
    client’s story through whatever forum will connect with their ideal clients and
    social media is obviously playing a huge part of that.

    I love a good challenge and it seems now with access to
    social media we can find solutions to most of our issues so I prefer not to
    call them challenges but instead reasons to win the free tickets and
    accommodation to Social Media Marketing World (despite it taking 40 hours to
    get there 🙂 ).

    I like to envisage social media as a way to connect online
    and then have the ability to translate those into “real life” relationships – (just
    think you could make this a reality). In some cases it obviously works the
    other way as well. In my experience it’s
    a little too easy to get comfy behind my computer screen and being based in a
    regional town of Western Australia it’s not exactly easy to network and meet
    other social media professionals face to face. Attending Social Media Marketing
    World would of course be amazing not only to hear the blazingly good guest
    speakers but also to experience San Diego and to meet colleagues from around
    the world.

    My second reason is what I am finding is that people are
    separating social media and marketing as two separate functions when for me I
    think of social media as one of the spokes in the bicycle of marketing.
    Communicating a story is the same whether you are using Facebook or a newspaper
    – you are broadcasting key messages. I’d
    love to explore this idea further and learn from other people’s experience
    about how we educate our clients and communities into what we actually do.

    Hopefully we get to chat about this in person soon.



  • My social media marketing has gone to the dogs…literally.

    As marketing manager at Pet Sitters International and national spokesperson for Take Your Dog To Work Day®, my daily social media marketing challenge is to not only
    reach and engage with pet owners and pet lovers—but to inspire them to take
    action to save pets’ lives. This year is the 15th annual celebration
    of Take Your Dog To Work Day (www.takeyourdog). Since its creation in 1999, the day has become a part of popular culture, but along the way the fun of having dogs at work has overshadowed the event’s real purpose: celebrating the great companions dog
    make and encouraging their adoption from local shelters, humane societies and
    animal-rescue organizations. My unique challenge is to use social media
    marketing to its full advantage—not only to reach as many businesses and
    individuals possible—but also to make sure the urgent message is clear: When
    looking for your next four-legged best friend, adoption is the best answer.

    Winning the free ticket and attending Social Media Marketing
    World 2013 would help me learn how to shout (or bark!) this message from the
    rooftops. Why should I win a free ticket? There are 5-7 million companion
    animals entering shelters across the U.S. this year depending on me!

  • Heather Ehrhard

    Houston I have a problem… Okay, so effectively navigating the social media world isn’t rocket science; but we all can agree that social media marketing is a complex and expanding universe. Winning a ticket to the conference would help me to launch my firm’s brand into the next stratosphere.

    As the Marketing Director for a boutique accounting and consulting firm, I have spent years trying to convince my CPA partners to take their marketing efforts beyond the golf course and into the realm of targeted social media. As any good accountants will do, they identified the “risks” to this proposition and declined – until last week!! Now, after 8 years of pleading and being put off, the partners are finally on board with the possibilities that social media can create.

    I need to create a targeted, effective strategy for the firm now that the partners are on board. My challenge is that I simply don’t know where to start. NASA was kind enough to give Neil Armstrong directions before Apollo 11 went to the moon. I too need a navigation system before I can launch.

    The conference video gave four reasons why I should attend Social Media Marketing World 2013. I feel it only fitting to leave you with four reasons why you should award a ticket to me for the event.

    1. I love to network and I’m fun at parties. The networking opportunity that comes
    from rubbing shoulders with Social Media’s best and brightest while surrounded
    by dinosaurs is too ironic to be missed.

    2. It would be a great way to give back to a marketer in need.

    3. I live in Connecticut, it is currently 27 degrees and I could really use a

    4. No line item for conferences in the budget; if I don’t win a ticket – I can’t go.

  • As someone who has only been navigating the social media and marketing sphere for the past 3 years, I’m still a baby compared to many others out there but am hungry for knowledge from the best and brightest.
    I’m currently a Senior Marketing student at UTDallas and recently started to manage the Social Media/PR for a consumer electronic accessories manufacturer here in the DFW area. While I am confident in what I know, everything I know comes from me doing research on my own. Seeking out the information where I can..whether from reading blogs, books, or spending my own money and going to different networking events/digital summits so that I can continue learning. There is only 1 course offered in Digital Media at our school and it only taught the basics of navigating the social networks and the trends of each. That is not enough for me. I taught myself those basics years ago and continue to watch the trends come and go already. I need more.
    My largest challenge though is trying to figure out a way to show my company the value in utilizing social media and all the good it can do. We are a B2B company and for the past 6 years they have solely focused on marketing directly towards the buyers. The realization to market towards consumers was finally conveyed in 2012 and I was brought in at the start of 2013 after completing a market research project for them. Though I work with quite a few young people in sales/creative/management….the understanding for the need of a B2B company to market using social media directed at consumers is just not there. As the only team member in my marketing department (yay for team of 1!!!) it can get overwhelming and frustrating at times, especially when I’m still trying to learn on my own.
    The chance to attend this event would not only help me leverage our social media initiatives but also help me as an individual, by exposing me to one of the best opportunities to learn from those considered the “best and brightest” in this field. As someone who knows I want to work in this field and nothing else, I want to network with people, learn from others, experience what it’s like to be surrounded by others who are excited by social media….and all of this can happen by being able to attend Social Media Marketing World 2013.
    Thank you.

  • I want to build a financial planning business in Australia that unlocks all of the fees, commissions and ‘kickbacks’ associated with financial products and advice. People do not fully understand the money that indirectly flows into most financial advisers’ pockets, from their own.

    The very small number of financial planners who refund commission are essentially starting a new product category. The market is not yet fully aware that you can get much of these fees back in Australia.

    And, herein lies my challenge. I need to educate people on (1) what products incorporate these fees, (2) how to avoid (or refund) these fees and (3) why it is ultimately better to pay for advice in one upfront fee rather than indirectly over time through commissions.

    In 2013 I’d like to implement a blogging and social media strategy that builds awareness within consumers and ultimately adds to a (much too) slow shift in thinking and fee practices in the industry – to one that is fairer for the average person.

    As Australia is often at the forefront of legislative change in financial services and seen by many countries as a testing ground for new laws in that industry, methods and attitudes for charging fees and taking ‘kickbacks’ could easily spread elsewhere in the world, including the USA. Similar practices have done so in the past.

    I think the contacts and knowledge I gain at this conference could ultimately help many people.

  • I’ve been working as a social media manager for a small, boutique-like agency in Toronto for almost 2 years. Most of my clients consist of doctors (LASIK) and dentists with private practices… along with some retirement homes and luxury hotels/resorts. The biggest challenge for me is trying to figure out what is appropriate to say that will benefit their industry + customers (especially potential ones). I have a lot of freedom in terms of writing content, but the first step is to gain knowledge about each industry. The content also has to be interesting and compelling enough to make people want to follow you (social contests help).

    Of course, it is highly beneficial at the end. Ask me anything about LASIK/cataracts and I will probably able to answer your question, hehe.

  • Nicole Q.

    My biggest social media marketing challenge has not really started; I currently work as a Social Media Coordinator for a small government municipality, which has really introduced me to the whole marketing side of social media. The challenge i face is with how I personally market myself on Facebook.

    I signed up for Facebook while still in highschool, therefore all of my content (pictures, likes, friends etc.) does not accurately represent me now. Nowadays, especially with a position directly related to Social Media, employers do background checks of your online profiles, (although I only have Twitter, Vimeo, etc. posted on my personal website), and it’s often hard to explain to people why their business should sign up for Facebook, when they know that I rarely use it.

    Should I keep on with what I am doing by neglecting my personal Facebook account, delete all the photos/content that is no longer relevent, start over by creating a new profile, etc? I guess my other dilemna is more personal, in that I do not think that people should judge me based on things i said or did many years ago, and that i shouldn’t try to change myself for other people/jobs/etc.

    It’s easy to good find information (esp. Social Media Examiner) that are geered towards how businesses/companies should market themselves, but what about individuals? How can I confidently use social media as a personal marketing tool for myself now, and in the future?

  • The biggest social media marketing challenge I face is authenticity: I am an introvert by nature, and social media allows me to communicate in very non-introverted ways. The rapid speed at which social media marketing operates is a stark contrast to the slow methodical thinking I go through as an introvert. The attention span of social media is also much shorter than the in depth and exhaustive way I naturally communicate. Communicating effectively through social media while communicating the value I can contribute as an introvert constantly tugs at authenticity, making the whole process challenging!

  • Kevin Lockett

    My “biggest social media marketing challenge” happened in the spring of 2008, when I was a lowly street marketing guy for the concert venue Lock 3 Park in Akron, Ohio.

    The summer concert season was just around the corner and at the time I was just studying social media after seeing Don Tapscott speak at the Univetrsity of Akron earlier that year.

    Although I helped break the attendance reccord with my street marketing campaign, I no longer wanted to be brochure guy. So during our weekly meeting, I sugguested to our group that I wanted to create a social media campaign.

    The group grew silent and looked at me with confusion because all of them never heard of social media, (even though now they all claim to be experts now).

    All of sudden, I heard a few people chuckle around the wooden table about my request.

    The chuckles grew louder as my shoulders began to slump.

    As I thought about anothr year of passing out brochures started to become a reality, I noticed one person wasn’t laughing.

    My boss Dave whom is always thinking of the big picture, looked over to me with a intense brow and said give it a shot in his matter of a fact manner.

    Like the rest of the group, Dave didn’t understand what social media was either, but he believed in me and my enthusiasm for the campaign (as well as the fact, he didn’t have to pay me extra for doing street marketing and social media).

    During that summer season, I launched a Myspace, Facebook, a blogger and Twitter account, which at that time only had 100 people combined in Akron AND Cleveland.

    I used social media launched scavenger contests at local book stores (remember those), created a video tour of concert venue for out-of-towners on YouTube and I shot and posted a weekly stream of concert photos Flicker.

    Now this was 2008, people were just getting the handle of MySpace and social media was met with skepticism. However, my social media was quite beneficial for concert goers who not only won tickets online but those who wanted more than just the regular concert experience.

    This sounds common place nowadays, but back then it was like landing on the moon.

    While ignored locally, I won an award national for my social media effort, which told me social media is where I belonged as a profession (the blog is still up from that 2008 year and still receives traffic

    The reason, I want to attend the Social Media Marketing World 2013 is:

    1.) I never been to the west coast.

    2.) I never had a chance to meet Joe Pulizzi.

    3.) I never met Mari Smith, Pat Flynn and Mike Stelzner (shameless plug I know).

    3.) I want to meet liked minded people who will push me to be better digitally.

    4.) I want to show people that Akron, Ohio are just as social as folks the NYC and Cali.

    5.) I want to show young minorities that people who like them do work in the industry.

    6.) It will show in 2012 that my boss’ trust in me was the right way to go in 2008.

    Thank you,

    Kevin Lockett

  • Sherryll

    Challenge: Convince my bosses that social media is a powerful tool worth investing in—and I’m the person to lead the charge! Result: After two years, they are still
    sitting on the fence. Solution: Quit my job (with plenty of lead time and no hard feelings). I’ve been extremely lucky to work as a magazine editor on a professional and polished publication where I put my writing and design skills to good use; and I’ve been paid fairly to do it. But when a challenge grows into a personal mission, it’s time to act. And so I did.
    I’ll be officially starting my own social media business on April 1st —perfect timing for Social Media Marketing World 2013! So, why me? Because actions (like quitting a great job) speak louder than words.

  • Vanessa Morrow

    My Biggest Challenge: Outsourcing SM – how can you be a busy entrepreneur but maintain steady and well strategised SM presence without having to do it all yourself?I simply don’t have time to be posting, updating and pinning while running a business. I have tried many times to outsource my SM but I’ve really struggled to find someone who can be my ‘voice’, my ‘thoughts’ my ‘likes’ my ‘passions’ and ‘dislikes’. I find it difficult to let a hired SM expert pretend that they are me! Help please 🙂

  • asifpremji

    I’ve always said that the Social Media world will revolutionize our society and how we seek information, engage with people & develop relationships to better ourselves and those we invite into our network of trust. But because this world is new, initial focus is always on instant gratification – how many followers, RT, fans etc… But I think Social Media is more than that. It’s not a word, but rather an idea – and that idea is still open to interpretation. Where we will go from here is important and how we use this idea to better ourselves, our networks and the world is up to us. There will always be a percentage of users who utilize Social Media for spam, fun or whatever. But the basis of all social networking is founded upon social objects. And that itself is a term that is brand new.

    My biggest social media challenge is how to evolve an use social networks for better branding myself, creating engaging relationships & encourage communication across all platforms and barriers. Doing that is the challenge. What to say. How to say. What to do. When to do. Where to tread lightly. What topics are hot and not. How to engage with influencial users who can better myself and learn from them. These challenges are apparent among all platforms, but to make be influential in your own way is the challenge. And I hope with whatever comes out of these Social Media Examiners Challenge – that I benefit from learning, education and ameliorating myself to be influence – in whatever capacity I can.

  • TKach

    Biggest challenge: convincing decision makers to let you respond in real time, especially on Twitter. How do you strike a balance between using pre-approved content and the real-time responses.that social media requires.

  • paulawhidden

    thanks Mila. I’ll tweet ya and see how we can connect.

  • Dear Mike, Mari, and Pat,

    Wow, I learn from the 3 of you everyday so how great that you are the crew in deciding someone’s lucky fate for Social Media Marketing World 2013! This event feels off the charts in depth of research and education, practical get-to-it tips, and incredible fun. I would be over the top grateful, appreciative, and so fortunate to attend.

    My Business and My Social Media Marketing Challenge:

    I just surfaced from a 10-year bubble you could say. I didn’t know my academic journey would last that long and demand such a focus of time, energy, health, and finance. I did survive and here I am mid-forties ready to launch, bust-out, give and share what I know, have learned, and have experienced in holistic health and disease prevention/reversal. So… I am actually coming out of the ethers with two platforms: one which focuses on engaging with nature for stress-reduction and offers reviews of fabulous outdoor gear and the other which targets aspects of holistic health for Diabetes Type II reversal and prevention. I have created a 5-part course, including live food & nutrients (juicing & wheat-free liberation), moving our bodies, stress-reduction, food addiction from a social context, and spiritual engagement. Now when it comes to social media, my challenge/opportunity is to learn/create/ decide how to brand myself and both of my businesses. Trying to keep it as simple as possible yet “be everywhere,” thanks Pat, I do appreciate the concept. It does speak to me. It’s really about fitting the pieces of the puzzle together, taking chances, and just getting out there knowing I can make changes along the way.

    Why Choose Me to Attend this Fabulous Conference?

    It would make an incredibly excellent graduation gift! They didn’t tell me that battling out the time and energy to receive this thing called a Ph.D. in clinical psychology would leave me exhausted and in deep debt. There is no reward here. No break, no “way-to-go” girl now why don’t you rest for a while, honey 🙂 Attending Social Media Marketing World would give me an edge in propelling my projects which seek to empower others, particularly folks in marginalized (lower income, less access) groups – to natural health and healing. You could help me blow the whistle on corporate big pharma and the numerous lies our people have been force fed to believe to put big bucks in the hands of the greedy. Yes.. I am very passionate about this. So give me a hand? During my final year of dissertation writing, I quietly researched online business building/marketing into the deep hours of the night and also reversed Diabetes Type II with 100% holistic lifestyle medicine. I guess I was researching that too.

    I am an excellent learner. I will take the teachings to heart and soul on a very deep, organized level. I deserve to go. “This or something better for the highest good of all concerned!”

    And here is a visual… I’ll be taking the train from Oakland to San Diego… SO, so excited, incredibly thankful… listening to your podcasts and reading your blogs all the way down the coast!

    Dr. Nicki

  • activesuccess

    As a professional, the big challenge is consistently trying
    to be transparent and making sure a majority of my relationship building
    efforts are about the other. At the same time, I’m kind of an outgoing and opinionated
    guy and so while creating a ruckus each day, I’m constantly having to remind myself
    to be cautious about sharing too much to avoid stepping on people’s toes.

    I do understand the importance of being real and having an opinion. However, living in
    conservative Orange County, it’s all too easy to ruffle feathers online. Does that make sense?

    I have a feeling many professionals across the country are dealing with the same type of issues—balancing a certain professional image with being open, genuine and transparent while interacting online. Thanks! Mitch

  • Tamara Krause

    I literally stumbled into my current position as a social media coordinator and have been self-educating along the way, learning what works and what doesn’t. Although I am leaps and bounds above what I knew 18 months ago when I started my position, I know my skill set is still limited. There are so many avenues that I’m probably missing or haven’t found yet that could take my work to a whole new level. To have the chance to learn from the best in the business would be an opportunity of a lifetime. I am eager to absorb information and put it into action.

  • Sheryl Puracchio

    Thanks for giving all of us fiscally challenged social media
    minions an opportunity to attend the largest social media marketing
    conference. Wow!
    My biggest social media marketing challenge would be to “effectively
    use all social media avenues to reach the widest audience that needs my skills
    and talents”. I am currently in the process of launching Cause441: A How To on Developing,
    Establishing, and Expanding Your Cause; from getting a stop light to addressing
    society’s biggest issues. I have been on every webcast, blog, Tribe, Facebook
    etc. soaking up everything I can and this would “complete me”!

  • Ravi Shukle

    I’m going to keep this short and sweet. I would love to win this prize for 1 simple reason. “Living the dream for me means sharing my passion in Social Media to help others”. Having the chance to meet the thought leaders in the industry really would be the dream opportunity to take this passion to new heights meeting some of the greatest minds in the Industry.

    Good luck to everyone who has entered wish you all the best guys!

  • As a social media consultant, I often do not have the budget
    to attend conferences such as Social Media Marketing World. While I am able to
    stay connected and learn virtually, the experience of attending your conference
    would expose me to the social media space on a much grander level. To travel to
    San Diego from Ohio and learn from the pros (like the three of you), while also
    interacting with my peers from all over the world, sounds more like a dream
    than a working trip!

    Choose me because I am an engaged, passionate, savvy social
    media marketer willing to exploit a wonderful opportunity by sharing an online comment for all the
    world to see!

  • As the new Digital and Social Media Coordinator for a West Michigan credit union, the greatest challenge I face will be ensuring compliance with upcoming FFIEC guidelines for social media risk management. Our platforms have become another means to providing our members with the financial education and attentive member service they expect and deserve, and we are fortunate to have members who enjoy sharing their financial success stories with us via social media.

    Meeting the majority of the FFIEC requirements will not be difficult. Primarily, it means formalizing our social media policies and procedures and establishing regular audits. However, we will also need to measure the ROI from our social platforms. I have yet to find an efficient way to create the sort of comprehensive report that would accomplish this goal. Attending the Social Media Examiner conference would allow me to talk through our analytics challenge with other professionals. Being able to measure these strategic benchmarks won’t only ensure our regulatory compliance; it will allow us to substantiate the benefits our social media platforms provide to our members.

    As the credit union community is tightly-knit and collaborative, the opportunity to discover a solution to this challenge currently confronting the entire industry would benefit not only my organization, but many other non-profit financial institutions. As we’ve seen such success engaging our members on social media, many other credit unions reach out to us for advice, and our strategies been featured in various trade publications. I would love to uncover an efficient solution to this requirement to share with others in my industry.

  • Kimberly Crossland

    The biggest social media challenge I face is juggling strategies between companies. I help a variety of businesses manage their social media efforts. Each company has unique goals, a unique voice, unique content they want posted, etc. I’d love to attend Social Media Marketing World 2013 to gain a deeper understanding of how I can help each of my clients in their unique efforts while keeping them all ahead of the curve, fresh and competitive in the social media atmosphere. Pick me and you will have a passionate, engaged and enthusiastic participant ready to absorb all of the SMM goodness that will undoubtedly be delivered here.

  • Erin Moriarty

    My biggest social media challenge is engaging my audience. As a marketer in the construction industry, I find it difficult to “find” my audience. My company wants to be bout a source and resource for our customers – we aim to be the company they come to for information on emerging technologies, methods, products news, etc. We have established our voice, but it often seems as though we are talking to no one.

  • My biggest social media marketing challenge is finding the time to read everything and learn everything about social media to successfully use it for my clients. I think that this conference will make it easier to combine it all in a condensed time frame to leave me time to work for and with my clients.

  • I believe the biggest challenge with Social Media today is the ability to provide quality unique content that proves to be useful to our fans in a timely manner across all the various social media platforms on a consistent basis.

    Maybe many other people and businesses are able to relate to this various topic as well. From beginners to experts this may prove to be a challenge at some levels to us all.
    I would enjoy the opportunity to attend such an amazing event with so many reputable expert speakers and all the wonderful people that are sure to attend. I know it would be an educational experience bar none combined with so many possibilities to meet new friends while vacationing and taking in the beauty of a city I have yet to visit.

    With the launch of Internet Marketing Show coming this spring I would be honored to receive a free ticket so I may enjoy the experience, have the opportunity to learn as these powerful guest speakers share their own knowledge, network with other attendees, and contribute by giving back to others through some mutually consensual interviews.

    It would allow some of the attendees the opportunity to get some free exposure, showcase their own business, and their experience at “The Social Media Marketing World 2013” if they choose on their free time to conduct special guest interviews to be aired on

    This would certainly prove to be a huge opportunity and life changing experience for myself and Internet Marketing Show on many levels if I were to be presented with a free ticket and two nights stay at The San Diego Marriott Marquis and Marina to attend The Social Media Marketing World 2013 Event as well as the credibility received from the mention of Internet Marketing Show in the Social Media Examiner Newsletter.

  • Claire Kelly

    My biggest social media challenge is how exactly to reach as many people as possible through social media (in order to help as many people as possible…) Without losing the authenticity and integrity of my message. A ticket to this expo would literally change my life.. & those who I can reach and connect with from a result of applying the knowledge learnt over the expo.

  • johnnybarko

    Out education system is not only ripe for change in terms of curriculum and instruction, at Brother Rice, we have changed the way schools use the web and social to engage our students, families and alumni. With the chance to hit a million page views this year, we have created our own network of content through our High School. We certainly have come a long way, but need that extra push and assistance that this conference can provide. @BrotherRice

  • Thank you for this great opportunity to attend this amazing event!!!
    I believe I should provided this opportunity because, my ultimate goal to attending this conference is to gain what I learned and bring it back to educate my community. As an social media conference organizer, my goal is to create an affordable platform for local organizations, to gain, learn and be inspired on how to incorporate social media into their business.
    The biggest social media marketing challenge I face in organizing an event is how to find and bring creditable social media speakers/educators to our Hawaii event. Social media expert speakers who are affordable, motivational and are able to present the most updated practices for a variety of demographics.

  • Rachel Smith

    As head of a prosecutor’s community affairs bureau, my biggest social media challenge is help my team use the media effectively while balancing our mission and goals with our legal and ethical obligations. The Community Affairs Bureau helps our office both to educate the public and to dispel myths about the criminal justice system. Social media platforms are cost effective, universally available and efficient tools for my team. For two years the Circuit Attorney has used social media to reach our citizens with important information. Sustaining interesting content while working within the limits imposed by ethics and the law is a constant challenge for my team. Few examples of successful social media outreach or strategies exist in either the legal or law enforcement communities — so with the assistance of a public relations expert we look to the private sector for information and guidance. Attending the social media conference would allow me to hear from leaders in the field and provide me valuable information and contacts to shape our strategy going forward.

  • Dwayne Quimby

    Dear Mari, Mike, and Pat,

    I would love the opportunity to learn strategies from the experts and help me improve my skills and abilities in social media!

    My biggest social media marketing challenge is that I work in the pharmaceutical industry and we have major restrictions due to FDA compliance. Also we have concerns with accidental leaks of confidential information. How to get pre approved content out quickly, or ways around not getting content approvals. Lastly techniques to get buy in from the top leadership!



  • AyunH

    I need to learn when and how to apply the brakes, so I’m not tempted to categorize Googling my own name and compulsive checking of retweets and likes as “work”.

  • Muthuri Kinyamu

    Pertaining to your post, I would like to express my interest in being a part of the audience at SMMW13. I have great passion and enthusiasm for social media what solutions it can give to Africans by connecting them, networking, sharing knowledge and information and boosting collaboration thus nurturing innovation in this continent. To see this happen I need to have a deep understanding in various disciplines of social media.

    Here’s why I deserve this opportunity.

    I conceptualized and spearheaded the formation of social media clubs in Kenyan universities. The core objective of these clubs is to teach, educate, create awareness and impart knowledge & skills of social media to the university students and faculty.

    In 2012 I conceptualized and spearheaded the formation of social media clubs for
    universities in Kenya called SocialPRO clubs. We also launched an advocacy
    campaign dubbed “I am SocialPRO” to promote responsible & ethical
    use of social networking sites.

    I am also currently working with Eyeballs Marketing in organizing Social Media
    Awards (the first in Kenya and probably in Africa) to take place in Mid 2013 .
    We shall be focusing on awarding social media excellence on 3 major platforms
    (Blogs, Facebook and Twitter). Nominations are currently ongoing at

    Please make it happen for me…I really want to win a ticket to Social Media Marketing World 2013, represent Kenya and learn more about social media. Since I am a blogger and very active on Twitter I will share whatever I learn at the 3 day conference with other Kenyans and Africans

  • Eric D

    Mattresses. Nobody wants to talk about them, nobody wants to read about them, and nobody wants to research them. In a recent survey, consumers ranked mattresses as number 199 out of 200 different products they would shop for, only placing it ahead of tires. With the tremendous growth and impact of social media today, marketers from all industries are seeking the proper tools to understand, execute, and optimize their marketing efforts through these revolutionary and personal mediums. As a marketing team in an industry that has a frustrating shopping process, our biggest social media marketing challenge has been to connect with and engage potential consumers. Furthermore, being a B2B company makes that challenge even more difficult. Because social media is still highly underutilized in the Australian mattress industry, there remains substantial potential for our marketing team to learn and increase our presence in social media and to gain an advantage over our competitors through it.

    So Ms. Smith, Mr. Flynn, and Mr. Stelzner, I believe I should win a free ticket to this event, as well as a mention in the Social Media Examiner Newsletter, for three reasons:

    Firstly, within the mattress industry, there is a chasm between the manufacturers and our end consumers. As we progress into an age of primarily digital marketing and advertising, our company aims to close this gap via our increased efforts in social media and digital marketing campaigns. I see Social Media Marketing World as a significant and unique opportunity to learn from and network with some of the most influential and knowledgeable individuals in social media, an area of marketing that remains relatively unexplored for our company. Attending this conference would ultimately enable us to acquire the resources, the knowledge, and the contacts that will help to guide us towards achieving this goal. We seek to achieve this goal primarily through gaining a better understanding of how to efficiently connect with consumers in the research phase, as well as sustaining that engagement once they have purchased our products.

    Secondly, the very fact that someone from the mattress industry is applying to win this ticket shows the remarkable and widespread impact of social media on the future of businesses, marketing strategies, and consumer behavior around the world. By selecting us to win a ticket to the event, you will demonstrate the extensive impact of social media and the abundant opportunities it creates across myriad industries.

    Lastly, the Social Media Marketing World event would not be complete without participation from individuals representing markets outside of the U.S. Working in the Australian mattress industry, I think this opportunity would help our business to exchange ideas with individuals from different markets and industries in addition to helping us learn a tremendous amount about the power of social media.

    Thank you for your consideration in this contest and I look forward to seeing you all speak in San Diego!

  • Ashley N. Cline

    What I have always loved most about social media is the two-way conversation it has opened up between brands and consumers. With this being said, you can imagine my frustration working with two large consumer-faced, medical device companies and working under the constraint of little to no engagement with fans and followers. My biggest challenge in 2012 was cultivating conversation with these brands’ audiences but not being able to reply back to the simplest of questions or comments. Working in social and the medical industry there are many restrictions and little guidance from the FTC and FDA as of yet. Two of the largest obstacles that hold us back from two-way conversation: 1) Often times our replies to questions could be construed as medical advice which is not allowed and 2) Despite being a consumer brand, the Doctors (providers of the products) are our customers – not the patients so we must respect the doctor/patient relationship and not interfere. Nonetheless, myself (and my team) were successful in doing this and making big strides with these companies for a more forward thinking social strategy given FDA, FTC and internal legal counsel restrictions. Looking forward to making more strides with these clients in the social sphere in 2013.

  • Angelica Carol

    My biggest social media marketing challenge is my lack of officialty. Let me explain.

    I’ve never truly known what I want to be when I grow up but my passion for people and the way they interact with brands has always been a constant. Should I major in advertising? Marketing? Public Relations? All of the industries interested me but I didn’t see myself committing to just one. So, I took a more general approach and received a BA in Communication and Journalism.

    Graduation was about a year and a half ago and unfortunately I haven’t had the greatest luck finding full-time employment. But a girls gotta eat. So I’ve settled for part-time work. For the past five months I’ve been working at a comedy club. I was hired as a Box Office Representative (mostly administrative work) but agreed to take over the company’s social media because the person running it before me “was over it”. My job comes with a lot of perks. I have the opportunity to work with famous comics on a weekly basis, and going into the office is more LOL (the good kind) than OMG (the bad kind). Being a Box Office Representative is great! But being an unofficial Community Engagement Manager is even better. It seems that in the midst of not knowing what I want to be when I grow up I’ve decided what I want to be when I grow up. I love my job but I love my unofficial job more, and that’s why my biggest social media marketing challenge is lack of officialty.

    Currently, the comedy club doesn’t have a paid social media position (although the idea was pitched). The social media work I do for the club isn’t part of my official job description but I do it because (1) I know social is an important part of business and (2) I love it. I’ve fallen in love with social media marketing and I think I have a shot at being really good at it. The knowledge I use for my unofficial job position is self taught. When I’m not on the clock I spend my time online taking social media webinars, reading the latest social related articles/blogs (Social Media Examiner is one of my daily stops), teaching myself how to use new platforms, networking, etc.

    I’m appreciative of the internet and my natural social media prowess, but attending Social Media Marketing World 2013 would be life changing— literally. This conference would provide me with an abundance of industry knowledge and help me start an OFFICIAL career in social media.

    My name is Angelica and when I grow up I want to be a Social Media Pro. To be the best you have to learn from the best. I heard a rumor that Social Media Marketing world 2013 is going to feature the best…

  • I am currently facing my biggest social media marketing challenge. I manage social media for a company who has a large national brand and hundreds of localized versions of the brand, and thus, the potential for hundreds of social media accounts. The challenge is choosing which social media accounts to create and focus on, and also how and when to promote national content versus local content. If I attend this conference, I am confident that I can pick up a few new tips to help improve and solidify the direction of our company’s social media accounts. Thank you for the opportunity to enter!

  • Julie

    My biggest social media marketing challenge is that I manage social media for an extremely regulated industry (mortgage/finance), and my company is used to being ‘under the radar’. I’d like to implement social media strategies that would be helpful to my employer while still recognizing the slower progression of PR. Plus I have to be careful of how we market since there’s a set of rules and compliance issues that can complicate my position. I’d be really happy to check out this conference!

  • Why the free ticket should be awarded to me: I am at the stage where I have figured out how to do alot online, I have a huge following on LinkedIn, I have a successful local small business network, I have a presence in many different places but don’t have a clue how to integrate all of that in a way that makes sense for my own business…save me from myself…and I would be the perfect candidate to use as a before and after success story…the pupil is ready for the masters to show up… 🙂 Kathryn

  • Liz Gross

    My challenge: I’m starting social media from scratch, by myself, at a company in a highly-regulated industry with 6 million customers gained almost exclusively through federal contracts. We are allocated customers based on a score calculated through performance metrics and stakeholder surveys. I can’t use simple customer acquisition strategies on social media because I work for a company that can’t acquire customers with an ad campaign – we have to earn them. There will be no flashy start-up as we launch our social media accounts, because I can’t advertise to the public; I must be strategic and targeted. My role in the company is potentially huge – happier customers (which can be influenced by providing valuable content an interaction on social media) result in higher scores on stakeholder surveys, which then result in more customers.
    I can do this, but there’s no road map for me. I need to gather all the information I can, analyze it, and create my own path to success. I think Social Media Marketing World would allow me to do that.

  • Jennifer Blanchard

    My biggest social media marketing challenge is explaining what I offer and why it’s valuable. I’ve come to find that my target customer tends to rank themselves low on their priority lists, and my services/products are all about taking good care of yourself. I’d love to learn more about, not only reaching the right audience, but also how to prove to them why they need me once I do find them.

  • My biggest social media challenge is being confident in the social media marketing tactics I use. I am new in my career, I just graduated college a little less than a year ago and since have been working for 2 different company’s social media presence. I research constantly, do my homework, and put as much effort possible to create the best possible presence for my employers. I yearn to learn more and consider myself a social media “sponge,” however as I coordinate the efforts of the company’s presence I am truly looking for inspirational, social media gurus to provide me with some guidance. I want to be the best, and am truly working hard to be the best. The Social Media Marketing World event would truly be a milestone in my career path, and help me develop myself to one day be a speaker at one of these conferences. 😉 Please help me out! Thank you- Ben.

  • Ginny Cooper

    My biggest social media marketing challenge? Convincing the small businesses in Southwest Florida that the effort will pay off. Challenging times all around, but especially here where the real estate bubble first burst here, and the economy is slow to recover.

  • Shanda

    My biggest social media challenge is getting people engaged to what I write on facebook, twitter, etc.

  • You know I feel you are point on with the way I communicate as well. Social media allows me to think differently. I’m not quite sure what it is yet that allows the extrovert to show through, but I can say my introverted side is definitely not as fun as the extrovert. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about using social media and your struggles.

  • Why should I win a free ticket to the event? First, going to this event will be like stepping outside my comfort zone. I have been within the confines of my own home and my own mind for what seems like forever. I really need this reach to self inquire who I am amongst winners and successful entrepreneurs. I realized in high school that I would be an entrepreneur but did not know how I would put it to use, until I discovered social media.

    What am I currently struggling with in social media marketing? I am currently struggling with building my business to be online only. I was starting to reach out to local companies, but my family life does not allow time for this. I truly need and want something that is online so I can take the business with me via mobile phone while I take care of personal matters on the go. I need a product to create and market that will be valuable and learn how to funnel my leads. Email marketing is SOO new to me even though I have read thousands of emails.

  • I would love the chance to explore the western side of the US. I have never been past Topeka, KS so this would be a wild adventure for me.

  • Sabeen Armani

    First of all I would like to thank the team at the Social Media Examiner for the work you do…being a social media enthusiast, I thoroughly enjoy learning from you. The past few years have been interesting watching social media and its growth. I would have to say my biggest challenge is to get “traditionalists” to believe in and embrace the power of social media for business, and to implement different tools. Most businesses I meet with eventually warm up to social media after I present them with the many benefits, but I’ve especially found that long-established small to medium-sized firms who have succeeded so far without using social media are the most difficult to convince. I would be honored to attend Social Media Marketing World 2013 should I win because I’m a 23 year old female entrepreneur and recent triple degree Master graduate who has just created her own design and social media agency after several years abroad– a chance to attend this event in my native Southern California would be an amazing opportunity for me to meet leaders in the industry from around the world, learn from the pros, and exchange valuable social media experience, tips & tricks with all attendees.

  • Guest

    First of all I would like to thank the team at the Social Media Examiner for the work you do….as a social media enthusiast, I thoroughly enjoy learning from you! The past few years have been interesting watching social media and its growth. I would have to say my biggest challenge is to get “traditionalists” to believe in and embrace the power of social media for business, and to implement different tools. Most businesses I meet with eventually warm up to social media after I present them with the many benefits, but I’ve especially found that long-established small to medium-sized firms who have succeeded so far without using social media are the most difficult to convince. I would be honored to attend Social Media Marketing World 2013 should I win because I’m a 23 year old female entrepreneur and recent triple degree Master graduate who has just created her own design and social media agency — a chance to attend this event in my native Southern California would be an amazing opportunity for me to meet leaders in the industry from around the world, to learn from the pros, and to exchange valuable social media experience, tips & tricks with all attendees.

  • My Biggest Social Media Marketing Challenge

    How do you build an agency brand and a client brand at the same time? I am a branding strategist for a small marketing agency in New Hampshire. Every client we take on gets our full attention because we know that the work we do in the early stages of our development will shape our agency brand down the road. As such, our challenge is two-fold: deliver the results our clients are expecting AND demonstrate the high quality, creative, and unique work we want the agency to be know for. Strange as it sounds, the client’s marketing goals rarely overlap with the budding agency’s marketing goals. We always put the client first. Unfortunately, putting the client first leaves our agency as an after-thought. Our biggest challenge, which we face on a daily basis, is how to grow the reputation of the agency without interfering with the messages we deliver on behalf of our clients. It is a double edged sword, a camel with two backs, and the one thing that keeps me up at night. We hope that attending Social Media Marketing World will help us overcome this challenge and learn to co-promote our agency and our clients.

  • Syd,theBrownSkinLady

    My biggest social media marketing challenge is working for a very small organization with senior management that is unsure about delving into social media. Asking them to fund my trip to San Diego for the conference is not an option. Attending this conference, on someone else’s dime, would be beneficial to my organization because I could bring back information like tips on social strategy, measuring social activities (which is key for management), and
    selling with social and content marketing. It would put us in a better position to move forward with our social media marketing efforts instead of just waiting on the sideline because we’re unsure of how to jump in.

  • Elyse Duggan

    My biggest social media challenge is having deeper interactions and building a social media presence from the ground up. I recently relocated to KC and started a new job as an Admin/Sourcer. I am in charge of my company’s Twitter and Facebook right now. We are a small IT recruiting firm based out of St Louis. I am looking to broaden our social media presence. I formerly worked at an IT Recruiting Agency in Boston which had a Marketing Director who would give light training to our Recruiters/Sourcers on social media/marketing. Everyone was very receptive and even within the company we could keep constant activity on our social media pages. We had a Youtube channel, Twitter, Linkedin, blogs, websites, yelp page, etc.

    I am looking to spearhead my new company’s efforts in becoming more social media savvy. As of now we only have Facebook/Twitter and most of the recruiters have twitter but don’t actively use it. I want to help build our online presence and show my company the significant benefits that come from social media. Whether it be building trust with our customer base, finding new candidates/leads, or showing off our company and culture. It is hard to build a real following when you only have an articles or jobs posted. I want to know how I can connect more/have more interaction on our social media platforms. Also, this would be a great way for me to build my skill set, have more responsibility, and move my career forward. Please help!!!

    Thank you for your time and consideration! 🙂

  • Sarah Lanse

    My biggest social media marketing challenge is the type of
    product my company sells. We are a cleaning supplies distributor, which is by
    no means a sexy topic. We are primarily a business to business company and sell
    to several quick service restaurant chains. Their level of social media use by
    their employees is restricted, so I am unable to reach many of our clients
    through social media. Therefore, we are using social media to reach new
    customers and establish ourselves as cleaning experts against big cleaning
    supplies companies.

    I was hired in May 2012 as the first-ever social media
    coordinator for my company. Many of our competitors are still not utilizing
    social media. However, I am having
    trouble capitalizing on that. I do not come from a social media background; my
    education and prior job experience are in news, where I used some social media,
    but was not the main coordinator. I would like to learn some tips and
    techniques for small businesses that cater to other businesses. The big problem
    is that the majority of webinars and seminars I attend are either for beginners
    (think people who have never signed into Twitter and don’t know how to Pin on
    Pinterest) or they focus on how big name businesses have utilized social media.
    None of those apply to my company.

    I cannot afford to attend Social Media Marketing World 2013
    but I am confident that it would be extremely beneficial for my career and my company.
    I need help and advice on how to better market cleaning supplies via social
    media and would greatly appreciate the opportunity to attend Social Media
    Marketing world. Thank you for your consideration.

  • I have been working for a social media company in St. Paul, MN for the last two years. Over this short time, I have expanded greatly in my knowledge and skill, but I still feel like there is a piece missing. My goal is to build up the company since it is a smaller business at this point. Even though I do not own the company, I feel like it is still my baby after being there from almost the beginning.

    My problem? I started working for this company shortly after college so am fairly new to the professional world. Unfortunately, they don’t have any classes in college that teach you how to network. I have grown my networking web, but I feel like I don’t know enough professionals to look at as a mentor and/or connection to help me fulfill my long and short term goals. Over the last few months, I have been trying to ramp things up by networking a ton, reading up on the different happenings in the social media world, as well as listening to podcasts like the Social Media Examiner. I am finding these things incredibly inspiring and have given me the push I have needed over the last few months. But I know I need to do more. When I go to networking events, it gives me a rush after meeting new people and finding how we could work together and how I can help them grow their business. I still have a lot to learn about social media and being a successful professional in the industry.

    2013 has already started out solid, but I know this event would help be a turning point not only for personal reasons, but also in the business. Again, because we are a smaller company and something like this is not in the budget (yet!). Attending this conference is on my goal list and has been ever since I heard Michael talk about it on his podcast! But my short term goal is to attend it early on in my career. Either way I look forward to hearing about the conference and continuing to learn from the SME! Thank you for your consideration!

  • Kelly Morris

    Thanks Mari, Pat and Mike for reading all of these entries! My biggest social media marketing challenge is staying focused on the best tools out there for my clients to use before the next best thing comes along. Having been an early adopter of social technology, I’m always amazed to see the new shiny players in the marketplace and am easily distracted 🙂

    I have always had a passion to help clients find their way and see the amazing techniques and technologies available to them. I work closely with nonprofit organizations in Alberta Canada and I hope to become more specialized in certain aspects of social technology to help them create more awareness for their causes in a more efficient manner. This conference would be an incredible experience to learn from the experts.

    Looking forward to the conference!

  • Bill Delaney

    Ms. Smith, Mr. Flynn and Mr. Stelzner:

    My biggest social media challenge is fully incorporating private industry social media marketing concepts and best practices within a large public sector fire and rescue department. While Montgomery County (MD) Fire & Rescue (MCFR) is generally considered a leader in public safety social media communication, emergent and non emergent, I feel I am not realizing the full potential.

    Attending this conference will, I believe, assist me in developing a whole new way of doing business not only for MCFR but for public safety agencies in general. Likewise, I believe my presence will add a non-traditional angle to the conference that will be mutually beneficial.

    With no travel and training budget to speak of, my only hope of attending this conference is by winning the contest and only having to personally pay for the airfare.

    Thank you, in advance, for your consideration.

    Stay Safe,

    Bill Delaney
    Program Manager Community Life
    Safety and Social Media
    MCFRS Office of the Fire Chief

  • Paulina M

    Hi, my name is Paulina M. and I am a community manager and SEO at Sea Side Reservations in Hermosillo, Mexico. In recent years, the internet has grown tremendously in Mexico. We now boast 46 million online users. With an average age of 27,
    the Mexican market is ripe for social media marketing. However, many of the country’s rural areas, which boast outstanding touristic, cultural and culinary adventures, have yet to realize the web’s potential. I have a difficult time describing the benefits of social media to potential clients, especially when they pay little to no attention to their own web presence.

    Unlike Europe and the rest of North America, we are merely at the dawn of social media marketing. Accordingly, much work remains in the professionalization of our work.
    That said, I believe that social media marketers in Mexico play an important role for prosperity and development. The difference between my generation and that of my parents’ is that I have the knowledge to help others get their message out to diverse communities that are willing to listen. With social media marketing, I can help a food coop in a rural village obtain donations from a nearby corporation, or I can highlight the good work of entrepreneurs that lead Latin America in innovating. This work is
    important to me because my country’s image abroad has been tarnished over the
    past 6 years by consistent media misinformation that revolves around violence
    and crime. Tourism has suffered, as has our international reputation.
    The best way I can think of to contribute to my community’s development
    is by using my skills (social media) to bring Mexicans into contact with
    others. I believe that when networks can experience the warmth of our
    culture and our businesses, we can revert that negative image into shared
    prosperity for everyone.

    In sum, my biggest social media challenge is convincing all of the pessimists at home and abroad that social media is a real tool that can have very real results in helping us out of our current dilemma. The opportunity to participate in the Social Media Marketing World 2013 would help me find the tools and inspiration that I need, and hope to share with my colleagues.

  • Cheryl Thomae Viirand

    I am the founder of a boot-strapped startup, preparing to launch a new online service to help the millions of Americans with food allergies and intolerances. As such, my biggest social media *challenge* is how to develop (and, with super-slim resources, to implement) a strategy to take advantage of social media’s tremendous *opportunity*.

    Millions of American kids and adults alike suffer with potentially life-threatening food allergies and with food intolerances that can cause symptoms from digestive upset to asthma and panic attacks. Yet getting that diagnosis can make one feel like you’ve fallen off a cliff, kicked out of the tribe. You no longer get to eat at the communal table with “them”. Instead, you are suddenly plunged into a high-stakes, socially isolated world of logistics. How do you find safe foods and recipes – or a whole new way to cook? How do you keep your kids safe at school? And how can you find others with the same restrictions to lead you through it all?

    Social media is ideally-suited to solving these problems. Through the tweets of social
    media rock stars like your very own keynote Guy Kawasaki, we learn about articles relevant to kids with severe food allergies. Through the heroics of allergy-free kitchen blog warriors we find a new way to bake without gluten, egg, dairy – and whatever other restrictions we might have. And through break-out discussions on social media boards we find others who’ve had success on their own journeys.

    Yet these findings are like panning for gold: they are brilliant once you’ve found them but
    you have to sift through a whole lot that isn’t relevant to your particular food restrictions before you get to them. Our startup’s mission is to make it easier for people with food restrictions to eat, by creating a new community where they can find and connect with each other, share recipes, products and blogs – all organized in a way that lets each user find the options that work for their diet needs, without having to sift through all the ones that don’t. Along the way, we hope to feed the hands that literally feed us, by giving to the food bloggers and companies that help “custom eaters” targeted, direct access to the customers who need them most.

    This vision can only reach its full potential with an effective social media strategy. As a business, we need social media to help us reach, engage and pull in other custom eaters to join our community – all on a shoe-string budget. As an agent for change, the more effectively we can integrate the tools and the learnings of social media into our platform, the more we can help others with food restrictions to see that while they may no longer be part of the broader eating tribe, they aren’t alone – rather, they’ve just entered a more exclusive club.

    So what are the key elements of effective social media engagement that should be ‘baked’ (pardon my pun) into this new community platform? How can we harness the promise of social media to reach the enclaves of custom eaters already out there on the
    web? How, as an itty-bitty startup with no brand recognition, can we cut through the din of a crowded marketplace and be heard? And how, with our limited human resources, can we maintain an effective campaign to hold those visitors and convert them into evangelists for our brand, our mission and our site – while our community is still young and doesn’t yet have anything like a critical mass of members?

    I come to this venture not as a developer, a designer or a social media guru but as a Mom-on-a-Mission, determined to make managing food allergies and intolerances easier for others. Our family was plunged into this world two years ago, with the adoption
    of our second child. Helping him helped us, as it led us to discover our own food intolerances, resolving a range of health issues that had plagued myself, our older son and others of our relatives for years. The sheer improbability of our story, and the challenges of making our diets work, made us wonder how many others out there are like us. And it compels us to do what we can to make it easier for all others in our shoes, if only as a way to honor the gifts our little one has brought us.

    To have the opportunity to attend the Social Media Marketing World conference – a stretch on a bootstrapped-startup’s budget – would be a tremendous step towards realizing this mission. We are right now preparing our social media strategies for our initial
    launch and trying to make sure that our platform integrates the best practices of connectivity, engagement and evangelism. Learning from the best-of-the-best among social media thinkers and brands – now is the time to do this, while we can still stir those learnings into the very batter of our (gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free) cake.

    For all these reasons, I was beyond thrilled to see your ‘free ticket giveaway’ and could not resist the opportunity to share our story and throw our hat in the ring. Thanks for your time, and I hope to have the opportunity to see you in San Diego.

  • Elizabeth

    My biggest social media challenge is getting potential users to believe in the brave new world of social media marketing, not just traditional marketing. I teach in a graduate business program at a public university, with a focus on real estate development. The students are in the mid 20’s to 40’s, average age of 30. While they believe in using social media for entertainment and personal communication, they do not think of social media as a tool for real estate development. I would like to change that, and need the tools and knowledge that I can find at this conference to make that happen.

    I am also working with local developers, to change their mind set about social media marketing. Real estate marketing is pretty traditional in the local market. I am trying to convince the leaders that an engaged audience, is part of the new marketing paradigm. But it is hard. Most of the decision makers are baby boomers, and need a lot of convincing about social media, specifically on business strategies and ROIs. This conference will give me the knowledge and tools to talk to these people.

    I view the conference as a means to bridge the present with the future (the students). I hope to leverage the knowledge from the conference to transform marketing in the real estate (development) industry.

  • Dolphins, sharks, cheetahs and snakes = very cool, interesting, tweetable topics that attract attention on social media and inspire innovation. Like when the National Zoo decided to live tweet their panda’s 8th round of artificial insemination (#pandaAI) or when an escaped cobra inspired a mystery person to set up a brilliantly funny handle (@BronxZoosCobra).

    Climate change, ocean acidification, bush meat crisis and corporate sustainability initiatives = not as ‘sexy’ as the charismatic megafauna mentioned above. But every bit as important because this is where the rubber meets the road – leveraging social media marketing strategy and tactics to influence people to change their behavior for positive impacts on the environment.

    I am a woman entrepreneur with a small business (co-owned by my partner in Australia) and two additional start-up efforts which all target the link between conservation and sustainability initiatives with cutting edge communication/marketing principles. Our clients range from large, international non-profits and corporations to local governments and communities.

    My biggest social media marketing challenge is connecting the dots between the innovations in the industry and translating these effectively and simply for my clients. To effectively connect the dots, personal relationships must be made. So, in the simplest of terms, my biggest challenge is not personally knowing the players who I can tweet, Facebook, message, poke and follow. It’s one thing to connect virtually and a completely different thing to scribble down ideas furiously on a cocktail napkin over a glass of wine. Even with all of this social media prowess I still crave and thrive off of inspiration written on cocktail napkins.

    If provided this opportunity to meet face-to-face, I can assure you that I will be the networker working the room to connect with as many people as possible. A self-confessed conference junkie, I relish any opportunity to learn in person and push the boundaries of possibility. I will do my part to get the chosen hashtags trending and apply social media marketing principles to a unique set of clients, partners, and projects who are working to make positive changes for the future.

    After all, it’s been a long road to develop a game about climate change for Facebook with six Aquariums located around the Gulf of Mexico so I really want to see it take off…

  • Hillary Shepheard

    I really hope you give this comment a chance considering I just came across the competition… My name is Hillary Shepheard and I am merely 20 years young. Fortunately, due to the social media revolution we have been and continue to witness, my age works as a benefit in the new world of advertising. I currently attend TCU but due to various personal complications, was struggling severely financially this previous summer. A series of events brought an idea to me in which resulted in me opening my own AD PR firm that specializes in Social Media Marketing, known as Social Enginuity. Between school, work, and managing the accounts I currently hold, I hardly have time to even sleep. The clients I have acquired however need me in a way I can not ignore… Every client I have found ME because if they didn’t do something quick, they would no longer have a business. I dedicate almost all of my time to creating strategies, campaigns, and anything else that could potentially bring in more business. I used to dedicate a lot of my time volunteering for various community service but since I don’t have the time to right now, I make it a requirement for each client to partner with a cause and help develop a campaign to help both of them. With absolutely no experience, money, or help, I have already made such an impact. If I were given the opportunity to attend something as revolutionary as the Social Media Marketing World 2013, the possibilities would be endless. I have friends all over the world thanks to the high population of international students at TCU that have begged for help that I would be able to provide with the kind of knowledge this event would give me. I know I can change the world, I just need a chance.

  • Erin Blunt Robbins

    One of the most difficult social media marketing challenges has been dealing with the conflict that arises when a client asks for help in growing their social media presence, such as adding likes to their facebook page, but fail to recognize or allow us as digital marketers to also work on truly reaching their audience. Some clients either do not seem to care about the fact that simply adding likes does not necessarily mean that they are reaching more people or they choose to ignore the power of reach after it has been explained to them. With this “only size matters” approach to social media platforms, clients can lose business and add to some of the advertising bidding wars on social media sites. There seems to be a fine line between those who are purely interested in establishing the social proof that comes with a large social media account versus those who aim more for reaching people who can make a difference and add value to their business. We of course feel that both social proof and legitimately reaching the right people are important.

    My team deserves to win a free ticket because our owner is selfless and recently purchased a ticket for me but has not done so for himself. He leads and inspires our team and is truly of the “innovate or die” mentality. He works countless hours and will be one of the great minds in the future of social media. Trust me, you want him there as he will add tremendous value to the conference!

  • dave p

    Great Summary!

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