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August 18, 2021

Top Takeaways From Social Media Week Lima 2021

By NOW Marketing Group
Top Takeaways from Social Media Week Lima 2021 NOW Marketing Group blog

Wow... Social Media Week Lima 2021, our annual conference, took place on August 11 + 12, 2021, and not only are we still riding the energetic high but we are awed by how much magic was created in a span of just 2 days. 

Our hearts are bursting with gratitude and love from the connections created and our brains are filled to the brim with ideas as a result of our incredible speaker lineup dropping so many value bombs during the 2-day conference. 

We've said it before but it bears repeating: SMWL isn't your average conference.


Our conference is known for its big heart and electric energy, and this year was no different. In fact, this year might have been the most intimate year we've ever had.

There was this feeling of authenticity and closeness in the air amongst attendees, speakers, and our entire NOW team. It was clear that everyone in the room was truly there to create connections that would enrich their lives and businesses. 

Woman laughing at SMWL21Getting Unfiltered:

The theme of this year's conference was #Unfiltered.

Because, let's face it -- if there was one year to really pull the curtain back and share from the heart, it's now. We have been craving that sense of human connection for so long! 

Our goal was to generate meaningful, #Unfiltered conversations about what it looks like to lead in crisis, pivot your business and create authentic content that drives engagement from your audience. 

With panel discussions on Trust Currency and Leadership in Crisis, we set the stage for Unfiltered conversations to happen.

This wasn't a year for small talk; it was a year of getting deep with each other in order to truly create a sense of connection.  


We knew that having speakers show up and share from an unfiltered place, would create an atmosphere of authenticity and create a safe space from which attendees would feel more comfortable getting to the heart of their pain points as employees and business owners. 

The Top Takeaways:

Not only did our speakers deliver by sharing so many raw and personalized stories on stage, but they each took their own unique spin to tieing the theme into their specific area of expertise.

The result? >> SO much value for our attendees, who got to learn from a diverse group of speakers with different areas of expertise, experience, and background. 

We encourage you to check our speaker lineup out and start following them on social media because the best part is these speakers don't just shine ON stage.

These speakers truly shine everywhere they show up, which is why we asked them to be a part of our event. They are heart-centered and deeply passionate about what they do, and MAN did they drop value bomb after value bomb at the event!

Our top takeaways from Social Media Week Lima 2021: 

Day 1:

Jessika Phillips

Jessika Phillips speaking at SMWL21Unfiltered- Shedding some light on Dark Social

Jessika started off the day with a bang, sharing all about the power and importance of dark social and building relationships as brands. Mainly how relationships are the name of the game and the only way to create conversations as brands. 

Google is ranking on sentiment, and other networks like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are all measuring sentiment via the overall experience your brand is providing and what your audience is taking on, talking about, or sharing. 

The algorithms reward experience in what they show, so in order to become truly memorable as a brand and establish a loyal customer base, we have to measure the sentiment of our brand and truly start from the inside out. 

"Who we are is what we care about, how we show up, and how we serve. And nobody can take that away from you." @jessikaphillips (click to tweet)

Our biggest takeaway >> It's not about your tool. It's about the technique that you use.

Follow Jessika on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Brian Fanzo

Brian Fanzo speaking at SMWL21Future-ready Your Business

Brian had the entire audience leaning forward in their seats for his discussion about making your business future-ready and learning how to adopt and adapt to, the rapidly changing industry that is digital marketing. 

"You need to TELL YOUR STORY—or else you will be drowned out by the fakers who don’t provide the same experience you do." @isocialfanz (click to tweet)

Our biggest takeaway >> We have to find the cross-section between being human and incorporating these tools as a way to amplify our humanity online. 

Follow Brian on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Julia Jornsay-Silverberg

Julia Jornsay-Silverberg speaking at SMWL21How To Be More Human On Social Media in Order to Create Connections

Julia got our attendees to really tap into the feels during her vulnerable presentation all about how being human is the best way to cut through the digital clutter and truly create connections on social media.

She shared her 6-point HUMANS system with us as a way of inspiring each of us to take up space and start sharing more openly with our audience.

"Surface-level content generates surface-level responses. If you want to get to that next level with your audience, you need to go there yourself." @jbethjs (click to tweet)

Our biggest takeaway >> Being your real, unfiltered self - as brands and individuals - is the best way to truly build deep connections online.

Follow Julia on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Juntae DeLane

Juantae DeLane speaking at SMWL21Marketing In The New Normal

Juntae's talk was all about the importance of shifting our mindset so that we can be successful as marketers working in this rapidly evolving digital space.

What works online today isn't what worked yesterday, and Juntae shared a number of examples of brands who have learned how to embrace what it looks like to market in the new normal.

"On social platforms, customers don’t want to be helped; they want to be ENGAGED." @juntaedelane (click to tweet)

Our biggest takeaway >> We have to be nimble and adaptable as marketers because change is the only constant in this industry. 

Follow Juntae on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Craig Severinsen

Craig-4The Goldilocks Zone Of Growth: How To Evolve Your Offer to Attract Your Perfect Client

Craig's presentation was perfectly suited for those who are ready to take their business to the next level but struggling with the specifics of how to truly grow in a sustainable way.

Our biggest takeaway >> The three problems that stop growth for businesses are not retaining enough clients, guessing what clients want, and forgetting that marketing messages are often ignored.

"When marketing doesn’t get traction, it’s usually because you’re speaking a different language than your audience." @craig_sev (click to tweet)

Follow Craig on LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook.

Mike Gingerich

Mike Gingerich Panel with UNOH Students SMWL21Panel Discussion with UNOH Students - #Unfiltered Conversation With the Next Generation About Brand Loyalty 

During this lunchtime discussion, Mike led a panel of super-smart UNOH students all about brand loyalty and what the next generation cares about when it comes to brands they choose to purchase from.

Our biggest takeaway? >> The next generation wants to buy from businesses that truly show that they care about their customers. These brands need to be value-driven and heart-centered, otherwise, loyalty won't be generated. 

Follow Mike on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Troy Sandidge, Christine Gritmon, Jen Cole + Jeff Howell

Troy Sandige, Jen Cole, Jeff Howell and Christine Gritmon speaking at SMWL21Panel Discussion - Trust Currency - How To Build Brand Equity and Customer Loyalty

This super-informative panel was all about generating trust as brands and how showing up consistently is the first step to doing that. By focusing on the experience of your customer, you show that you care which helps to build trust.

"When you have a community surrounding your brand, that says EVERYTHING!!" @jencoleICT (click to tweet)

Our biggest takeaway? >> Lean into the platform where your audience spends time so that you can create a community there. 

Follow Jen on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Follow Troy on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

Follow Christine on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Follow Jeff on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

The Laughing Lovebugs

Laughing Lovebugs at SMWL21The Laughable Truth of Growing Our Brands From The Inside Out

This session was an absolute crowd-favorite, as the laughing lovebugs had the entire audience engaged in laughter yoga! Not only is laughter yoga fun, but it's proven to help boost immunity and flood your system with happy chemicals because the body can't tell the different between real and fake laughter. 

The energy in the room generated from having 150+ people laughing together was truly next-level; we've never experienced anything like it!

"Culture starts from the inside out. When we're having fun and laughing, we're more likely to succeed!" #TheLaughingLovebugs (click to tweet)

Our biggest takeaway? >> Culture starts from the inside out. When you make your business a fun place to be, and embrace the power of laughter, more people want to work with and for you! 

Follow the laughing lovebugs on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

Chad Illa-Petersen

Chad Illa-Petersen SMWL 21Unscripted - Telling Stories You Didn't Know You Had

Chad's session was all about helping us to tap into and discover the stories that we have inside of us without even realizing it. The power is in creating these moments that allow others to engage with us. 

He reminded us that stories are what create connection more than anything else and that nothing is more memorable than sharing stories. 

"Your stories are pennies. They aren’t worth nothing; together, they are VALUABLE. You’ve just gotta share them." @_storycatcher (click to tweet)

Our biggest takeaway? >> We don't have to be the best at what we do, we just have to be memorable! 

Follow Chad on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Allie Bloyd

Allie Bloyd SMWL21#Unfiltered Business - How To Make A Big Impact In A Small Business

Allie's session was all about making an impact with your business and being yourself. She discussed the importance of standing firm in the face of opposition and why it's important to have sincere and personal convictions that you're willing to stand behind.

Our biggest takeaway? >> We need to know our audience so that we understand whether they align with our values because not every value aligns with your business and is worthy of discussing with your audience. 

"You have to know what you stand for in your business so that you can determine whether that value is worth discussing with your audience." @alliebloyd (click to tweet)

Follow Allie on Instagram and Twitter.

Candice Denise

Candice Denise SMWL21#Unfiltered Momentum - How To Find Flow In Your Creative Process

Candice talked all about creativity and how to find flow when working creatively. She reminded us that creating a process for channeling creativity is critical because nobody feels creative all of the time.

By keeping our eyes on our lane and getting clear on why our business exists, we can help ourselves spark creative ideas. She reminded us that our creativity is always here, it's just a matter of tapping into it.

"Innovation is cool, but it’s not cool if it’s making you crazy, and you lose track of what you need to be doing." @bycandicedenise (click to tweet)

Our biggest takeaway? >> When you're in a creative funk, do something different! Try something you've never done before as a way of stepping out of your head and getting refreshed!

Follow Candice on Instagram and Facebook.

Sarah Kelsey, Bella Vasta, Jennifer Watson + Julie Riley

Bella Vasta, Jennifer Watson, Julie Riley and Sarah Kelsey SMWL21Panel Discussion - Unfiltered Leadership - How To Lead During A Crisis

This panel discussion was all about leadership and how we can pivot our businesses during a crisis, something relevant for every single attendee. As business owners and marketers, we have to be nimble to adapt to changes. 

These four incredible women shared their personal stories about how they pivoted their lives and business as the world changed with the pandemic and inspired us to bring our humanity front and center. 

"If you wake up in the morning and you’re struggling, know that other people are struggling too. You have to learn different coping mechanisms so whatever’s going wrong doesn’t snowball into all the other things that are going right." @jwatson_wx (click to tweet)

Our biggest takeaway? >> The true sign of success is how many times you stand back up after falling. Every time you pivot in the face of crisis, you get better and faster at adapting and learn to pick yourself up even during the times when you feel you can't. 

Follow Sarah on Instagram and Facebook

Follow Bella on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Follow Jennifer on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Follow Julie on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Angus Nelson

Angus Nelson SMWL21Unleash Your Marketing Mind

Angus ended Day 1 with an incredibly motivational talk about going outside of the box to open up possibilities and stop shame from hindering our growth.

By facing the resistance, and changing our beliefs, we are truly able to grow as individuals and business owners. It comes down to creating your own reality and recognizing that our beliefs are what attract and create everything in our world from relationships to job opportunities.

"Your mindset determines the experience for your team and your customers. You are your marketing." @angusnelson (click to tweet)

Our biggest takeaway? >> It all starts with our mindset. We should ask ourselves two questions: what do I want, and who must I become? Answering these questions will set us on the path towards successfully rewiring our brain to make these things a reality! 

Follow Angus on Instagram and Twitter

Day 2:

Marc Bowker

Marc Bowker SMWL21Entrepreneurship #Unfiltered - How To Take Care Of Yourself So You Can Take Care of Your Team

Marc started us off with an incredibly vulnerable discussion about entrepreneurship and the importance of turning inward and taking care of ourselves first and foremost so that we can show up for our families and businesses.

He inspired the audience to adopt the SAVERS mentality, shared by Hal Elrod's Miracle Morning, which is: silence, affirmations, visualization, exercise, reading, and scribing.

"There’s science to back up how affirmations inspire action, focus energy, and change your thought patterns." @marc_bowker (click to tweet)

Our biggest takeaway? >> We all go through hard times and "have our stuff," but when we take care of ourselves, we amplify our power in life and business. 

Follow Marc on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube

Brian Fanzo

Brian Fanzo SMWL21The #Unfiltered future of Voice in Marketing

In this session, Brian shared all about the growing trend of audio-only functionality and how voice is so powerful today as a way to connect with others.

Audio capabilities are being introduced across virtually every single social media platform right now - from Clubhouse to Twitter Spaces, to Facebook launching their own audio-only capabilities, so we need to stay on top of this growing trend. As marketers, we can find creative ways to use this technology to create a closer connection to our audience.

"With audio, you can’t outsource it, you can’t have your assistant do it. There is an intimacy and a vulnerability there that is truly beautiful." @iSocialFanz (click to tweet)

Our biggest takeaway? >> The future of marketing is relatability. We need to think about how we're relating to our audience in order to connect with them. 

Follow Brian on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Andy Crestodina

Andy Crestodina SMWL21Building Better Mousetraps - A Content-Driven Approach to Conversion Optimization

Andy shared so much valuable insight into how to drive more conversions from our website during his session. By thinking about how your website can go from question, to answer, to providing evidence, to inspiring action, we have the ability to drive conversions!

He inspired us to find ways to incorporate testimonials throughout our site vs. putting them all on one testimonials page, which is often one of the lowest-viewed pages of any website. 

"Visitors come to our website with questions. Our job is to answer those questions, give them evidence to support those answers, and create a clear path to action." @crestodina (click to tweet)

Our biggest takeaway? >> If you want to drive conversions, you need to simplify your homepage and spell out exactly what you do for customers. Make it super clear!  

Follow Andy on LinkedIn and Twitter

Jennifer Watson

Jen Watson SMWL21How To Captivate An Audience With Confidence On Live Video

In this hands-on, engaging session, Jennifer showed us exactly how to go live on Instagram and spoke to the power of live video as a way to connect to our audience in real-time.

There is so much that we can do with video from featuring our clients, to sharing success stories, providing useful information and tips, to just pulling the curtain back and showing them behind-the-scenes of an event or experience they wouldn't otherwise have access to!

"People struggle with getting confident on camera, especially live. Force yourself to do Stories to warm up. Do them daily, so it gets you used to being on camera." @jwatson_wx (click to tweet)

Our biggest takeaway? >> Live video lets us connect to people, so just show up as you are! You'll get more confident and comfortable with each time you go live. 

Follow Jennifer on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

George Damanis, Sarah Kelsey + Jena Stearns

George Damanis, Sarah Kelsey and Jena Stearns SMWL21Panel Discussion - Pivoting Your Business

In this panel discussion, these three business owners shared their personal stories about pivoting their business during critical times. While it's not easy, it's a necessary skill to have as a business owner. 

Because our businesses are reflections of us, it's important for us to understand what's going on for us as individuals -- because it WILL come up in our ability to show up in our business.

"Most of us aren’t working in the field we got our degrees in. Guess what? We all pivoted." @GDamanis (click to tweet)

Our biggest takeaway? >> Leaders show up consistently, even when it's hard to do. 

Follow George on Instagram and Twitter

Follow Sarah on Instagram and Facebook

Follow Jena on Facebook and Instagram. 

Joanna Toronto

Joanna Toronto SMWL21The Real Ad-Vantage

Joanna reminded us of how quickly the digital landscape changes during her session on paid advertising and inspired us to keep our fingers on the pulse as it relates to changes in algorithms and best practices.

The best ads are ones that solve people's problems, so we always want to be aiming to provide solutions with our ads.

"If you want someone to give you their email address, you have to offer them something they really care about." @joannatoronto (click to tweet)

Our biggest takeaway? >> You have to provide something truly compelling and valuable if you want people to opt-in to your email list and/or click on your ad. 

Follow Joanna on Twitter

Byron Ingraham

Byron Ingraham SMWL21Maximizing Your Content Creation Efforts

Byron really got us thinking about how to create better content during his session. He reminded us that the strongest pieces of content are those that educate, entertain and/or inspire someone to take action.

It's worthwhile to research your audience, as well as topics, to see what your community cares about so that you can craft content that speaks specifically to them. 

"The more objections you can overcome, the easier it will be for you to sell later. Think back to all your sales calls. What were the objections? Put those into your content." @ByronIngraham (click to tweet)

Our biggest takeaway? >> Take the time to find out what people are looking to get from you so that you can craft your content in a way that will spark conversation! 

Follow Byron on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube

Brie Anderson

Brie Anderson SMWL21The Social Media Glass Ball - Analytics 

Brie ended the conference with a bang as she brought her unfiltered personality to the stage to do a deep dive into analytics and why they are so important for us to better understand and pay attention to.

We need to be using Google Analytics, among other tools, to track the value of our social media efforts. Not to mention, spending time tracking the trends will lead to valuable insights about what pages on our site are most popular, where people are spending time and what sources or pages people visit before converting on our website.

"Social is a part of the bigger picture. A lot of times, it’s more about assisted conversions than direct conversions. When I played soccer, we all knew the person actually making the goal was not the only one responsible for that goal." @brie_e_anderson (click to tweet)

Our biggest takeaway? >> Data is critical. We have to use it to guide our path if we want to be successful and best understand our audience's behavior. 

Follow Brie on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook

Taking Action:

It's one thing to digest all of the information shared at a conference, but it's an entirely different thing to actually take action and implement what you've learned.

SMWL21 Group with hands raisedThat's why we wanted to encourage you to make a sustainable and realistic action plan for yourself.

With a plan, you'll be able to truly take advantage of all of the ideas that you have for your brand and business. 

Here's our recommended post-SMWL action plan:

  1. Week One - August 16-22, 2021: Make your "top three" list - aka spend time writing out the most important 3 action items you are going to implement. We have to give Brie Anderson credit for this one, as she suggested doing this in our SMWL21 Facebook Group. (Which, if you haven't joined yet, should be your number 1 to-do.) 
    • Some suggestions for action items you can take are:
      • Following our speakers on social media
      • Sending a FREE SUGARWISH to someone you met at the conference
      • Re-writing your website copy to better speak directly to your audience
      • Examining your current client list to see whether they truly align with your mission and goals. 
  2. Week Two - August 23-29, 2021: Take action by completing every single item in your top three list. Notice how we didn't even include the action-taking for week one. Week one is all about getting organized, whereas week two is about implementing that action. 
    • We recommend taking one action per day and focusing on one item until completion. Keep it simple so that you can actually generate some momentum here and move on to week three! 
  3. Week Three - August 30-September 5, 2021: Build relationships! Follow up with someone you met at the conference by sending them a personalized note.
    • We recommend reaching out on social media or email with the goal of starting a conversation! Don't just say hi, but ask a few questions to truly start deepening the connection created at the conference.
  4. Week Four - September 6-12, 2021: Look back at your notes! You'll be amazed at how quickly this month flies by and there's a chance that there are a few people you wanted to connect to, or a few action items you wanted to take, but just didn't have the chance to. Now is the time to circle back on those items and make sure you do them! 
    • We recommend setting calendar appointments with yourself to accomplish these to-do list items. When it's on the calendar, it's not forgotten and this will be a great way to hold yourself accountable.
  5. Week Five - September 13-19, 2021: Mark your calendar for SMWL22! Time flies and before you know it, June 15 + 16, 2022 will be here and we'll be doing this all over again!
    • Tickets will never be priced as low as they are right now, so don't wait. (You know the FOMO is going to be brutal if you don't join us.)
  6. Week Six - September 20-26, 2021: Set aside time for brainstorming. Now that you've implemented some ideas that you got from the conference and created so many more connections, take some time to let it all marinate in your head.
    • Candice Denise reminded us of the importance of taking time off during her session, and this is where that advice really comes into play! Scheduling time in your day/week to just brainstorm and think of ideas is a critical part of the creative process! 

We know that conferences can be overwhelming at times, and the emotional crash afterward is a real thing. That's why we want to encourage you to keep the energy high and the momentum moving! 


Our event truly would not have been what it was without the amazing support from this incredible lineup of businesses who showed up to help us make this event possible! 

Thank you to our incredible Social Media Week Lima 2021 Sponsor Lineup: 






  • Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce
  • The Meeting Place on Market
  • Biggby Coffee Lima
  • Streamyard
  • The Coworking Center
  • Sign Solutions of Ohio
  • X-Stand
  • Sara's Sweets
  • Westgate Entertainment Center

Thank you SO much for all of your support! Our conference would not have been what it was without you. 

jjs maskWhat's Next:

We already feel excited as we look ahead to #SMWL22, taking place June 15 + 16, 2022!

We encourage you to snag your ticket TODAY, as we currently have a sale for a HUGE discount. 

Seriously, you don't want to experience the FOMO of missing out on the connections created and the insights gained from these 2-days of epicness. 

We can't wait to #CoCreate with you at Social Media Week Lima 2022! 

Do you have a takeaway from SMWL21 that you want to add to our list? We'd love to hear it! Share it in the comments below!

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Tags: social media conference, Social Media Week Lima, event, SMWL, Lima Ohio, SMWL21


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