February 2018 is finally here, and we’re just a few weeks out from Social Media Marketing World, the largest social media conference on Earth.
This will be my first Social Media Marketing World, and like many other attendees, I’m geeking out over seeing some of the bigtime speakers. I’ll be a volunteer at the event, and there’s plenty of buzz in our private Social Media Marketing World volunteers Facebook group about the familiar names that everyone is excited to see. (I’ll admit, I’m pretty amped about meeting Shaun Ayala .)
Me with Social Media Marketing World 2017 track leader Dan Gingiss at The Social Shake-Up 2017
But my favorite phrase in social media, courtesy of Joe Wilson, is that “We are all famous to a few people.” For every great speaker flying into San Diego this month, there’ll be a hundred attendees with diverse backgrounds, interesting backstories and their own brands they’re working hard on.
Here are eight non-speakers that I’m particularly amped to meet up with at Social Media Marketing World 2018, along with their Twitter handles:
Brad Ouldhouse @NextGenBizMan
Former host, “The Snapchatters Podcast”
Brad has been atop my must-meet list for years. Brad is a pioneer in the business of video, recently founding SocialFlixx as an unabashed dive into helping businesses around Montana master the medium to reach their goals. Unlike many other social entrepreneurs who spend years or decades trying to refine their approach, Brad has found his way with SocialFlixx and continues to humbly put businesses around Montana — Montana! — on the proverbial map. I’m a big fan of Americana, and it’s awesome to always be able to tune in to one of Brad’s client videos to learn more about a state that is sometimes overlooked on the national stage.
RELATED CONTENT: Chris Strub on The Snapchatters Podcast with Brad O, Aug. 5, 2016
But Brad’s been in the game since way before this recent launch, and what really got me hooked onto his brand was “The Snapchatters Podcast,” a passion project fueled by his pure appreciation of the Snapchat community in its glory days, and the creators who drove much of that wave of enthusiasm. Brad built his reputation through hard work and respect, and now it’s continuing to pay off with SocialFlixx. Brad is all-around one of the nicest guys in social media, and gives the state of Montana a great representative at the world’s premier social media event in San Diego, even if he’s not on a big stage. For all these reasons, Brad O tops my list of finally-must-meet non-speakers.
Logan Riley @logannriley
Media Buyer, The Penny Hoarder
I attended a bunch of smaller (by comparison to SMMW) Social Media events in 2017, and Logan might’ve been my favorite person I met all year long. At Social Media Day Dayton (Ohio) in September, Logan was a complete firecracker on stage, the sort of panelist who stole the show for all the right reasons. Logan’s a young, hilarious, endlessly energetic and delightfully outspoken millennial who works hard and plays harder (she’ll be the first in line for any karaoke events!). I appreciated Logan’s efforts at Social Media Day Dayton so much that I wrote an entire separate blog post inspired by her . Logan’s flying in from St. Pete to bring her #DogMomAF perspective to the world’s biggest social media extravaganza. Look out, world.
Todd Bergin @toddbergin
Creator, ‘Grammer School’
Within the inner circles of the live-streaming community, everyone will tell you that Todd Bergin is “one of the good guys.” Todd is genuinely supportive and helpful to so many of us trying to make it in the space that he’s established quite a community of his own, despite his relatively late entry into the live video space. Todd’s equipment setups are second-to-none, but what I admire about the guy is his nose-to-the-ground style of try, try, try again: while others tend to marinate on ideas that often never materialize, Todd’s portfolio includes a deep mix of live-streaming shows and podcasts that have connected him with many of the biggest names in the industry. Todd’s well on his way to someday speaking at SMMW, and after meeting him and his entrepreneurial young daughter (follow her on Instagram: @ooeyooeygooey) in person last year at VidCon, I’m excited to see him again in a few weeks in San Diego.
RELATED CONTENT: Grind, Defined - Actionable steps to building winning relationships on social media
Jen Cole @jencoleICT (right) & Julie Riley @SocialJewelsICT
Co-founders, DepICT Media
Jen and Julie are two of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet, social media-wise or not. They recently merged their social media enterprises in to create DepICT Media, which is bound to quickly monopolize the local market in lovely Wichita. In addition to building successful strategies for their clients, these two young ladies stage a weekly show on Facebook Live that has plugged them — and, by association, the city of Wichita — into the rest of the world. Marketers can seem like a dime a dozen in places like LA and NYC, but Julie and Jen are a duo of true diamonds in the rough in the great state of Kansas. (Note: although they’re not speaking in San Diego, the DepICT team both work on the Social Media Examiner squad as community managers.)
RELATED CONTENT: 23 Under-The-Radar Snapchatters to Get to Know in 2017
Jerry Ascierto @jascierto (pictured with Shonduras)
Executive Editor, PR News
Jerry won’t be on the stage in San Diego, but like many other social media executives, he’ll surely be doing “opposition research” as planning continues for the major conference he’ll be leading, The Shake-Up Show 2018, in Atlanta in May. Jerry’s different than the average suit, though; he’s an energetic, down-to-Earth, fun-loving fellow with a sharp wit and a keen sense of humor. If you’re an aspiring social media speaker, Jerry is a guy you definitely want to connect with at Social Media Marketing World.
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Ai Addyson-Zhang, Ph.D. @aiaddysonzhang
Edu Tech Evangelist
It’d be difficult to find anyone genuinely more supportive of her social media community than Ai Zhang. I’m amazed that our paths haven’t crossed in person yet, as I’ve watched with serious FOMO as she joined the #TwitterSmarter crew last year at #SMMW17, recently presented with Dr. Karen Freberg (@kfreberg) in Chicago and even toured her current home of South Korea with my pal Sabba Quidwai (@AskMsQ). Ai airs a weekly Facebook Live show called Classroom Without Walls: Using Technology to Reimagine Education, and it’s been wonderful to see how well-connected she has stayed since moving back to South Korea in 2017. I’m very excited to meet Ai in real life back in North America in a few weeks.
RELATED CONTENT: Chris Strub on ‘Classroom Without Walls: Using Technology to Reimagine Education,’ June 12, 2017
Zala Bricelj @ZalkaB
Content Whisperer / Team #TwitterSmarter
I’ve never been to Slovenia, but I’m blessed to have a good friend there in Zala Bricelj. Growing up, the idea of a pen pal in a foreign country was jaw-dropping: getting to hear, maybe once every few weeks, a few words from another soul on the other side of the country would be a major joy. Social media has infinitely accelerated those friendships, and today, I find myself publicly trading 90-second video replies with Zala, and the world, at the touch of a button on a mobile device. The #VideoReplyDay movement — formerly known as #TwitterVideoReplyTuesday, and successfully multiplied by (#SMMW18 speaker) Madalyn Sklar — has sparked a frenzy of “face”-to-“face” interactivity that will culminate in once-unimaginable real-life meetings at Social Media Marketing World in San Diego.
There’s many more folks, speakers and non-speakers alike, that I’m looking forward to seeing again/meeting in San Diego, but I’m curious, who’s on your list? Tweet using the hashtag #SMMW18 and feel free to @ me ( @ChrisStrub ), and let me know if you’ll be there!
Chris Strub is the first person to live-stream and Snapchat in all 50 U.S. states, author of ‘ 50 States, 100 Days, The Book, ’ creator of the Thinkific course ‘ Live-streaming for Nonprofits ’ and a National Red Kettle Ambassador for The Salvation Army. Chris will be speaking at the Midwestern Digital Marketing Conference in St. Louis in March, the Social Media Strategies Summit in Chicago in April and The Social Shake-Up Show in Atlanta in May. Learn more about Chris at TeamStrub.com, see his full list of live appearances past and upcoming here , and subscribe on YouTube here.