Social Media Week Miami

15 Things I Learned About Personal Branding At SMWMiami

I just came back from Social Media Week Miami and as you probably think, I am pumped. It was an experience that not only reinforced the concepts and knowledge that I already had but also made me realize about a ton of things that I wasn´t fully aware of, specially in terms of what I want to do next, here are the things I learned about personal branding at SMW Miami:

Social Media Week Miami

Social Media week Miami was held at Miami Ad School

  • Think like a content creator: Thought this is something that I already knew, it has been reinforce greatly, everywhere I look there´s content and an opportunity to use it for a greater good.
  • Purpose: You have to define what the purpose of your personal brand is; is it food? is it travel? is it arts? is it kittens in salad bowls? If you don´t define the purpose of your business aka personal brand, you´re most likely to bite more than you can chew. This will also help you get ROI expectations right for yourself and your clients.
  • Audience: Who are you talking to? What are their likes? Attend those who already like your brand, keep talking to them.
  • Don´t make wonderful content and then fail to promote it. We all agree that not all social media channels are good for all brands, find the ones that are more natural to you and your business and use them right.
  • Think Mobile! Stats are strong about mobile devices usage on basically everything, think big but also think small screenwise.
Conference at SMW Miami

Most of the conferences I attended were held at the super cool Jellyfish Room


  • Keep the content and format useful, simple and delightful: Sree Sreenivassan , Chief Digital Officer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was very strong about this and I have it still fresh in my mind, so I think I better review on my old content and curate some more.
  • Real followers get you real influence in social: In this case, Sean Gardner threw as many social pearls as he could on this subject, real followers will engage with your content (if its useful, simple and delightful).
  • Being stationary is deadly in all aspects of life: trial and error, go step by step but keep trying new things, new social media channels, new devices.
  • Return, Learn, Repeat: This goes directly with listening to your audience, return to what worked in the past, learn from what didn´t work and repeat what worked.
  • Break some rules: Maybe mix up your posting times, experiment on scheduling and content.
SMW Miami Main Room

Ted Coiné at SMW Miami

  • Marketers don´t trust other marketers: Mister Ted Coiné explained this in many ways as well as more priceless advice but I found that this is as true as the sky is blue.
  • Build your brand around visual content marketing and oxidize it.
  • If the channels are not working together, is not omnichannel: Pam Moore explained it really well, omnichannel does not mean that you have to use all social media channels, but if you build your brand around some of them, make them work in a 360º degree level. Use them wisely.
  • Do you want the eyeballs or the conversion? Think this through, what´s more important if to get traffic for your website or convert your audience into sales?
  • Don´t be afraid to fail/ be nice to yourself.

Listening to all these pros and people I´ve followed for a long time taugh me a lot, I could only handpick these 15 things I learned about personal branding at Social Media Week Miami  because I think these are the most important to know in a generic way, anyone could apply them for whatever business or brand they may have and it could be good even for your own social media channels in order to “clean up” a little bit ones social media mess.

Kelly and me being silly while charging our phones on a break of SMW Miami

Kelly and me being silly while charging our phones on a break of SMW Miami

Another highlight about the three day conference was spending some time with Kelly, who has been working on her personal brand The Sober Señorita in a very organic and authentic way for quite some time now; as inspiring as she is to her primary niche audience, she is an example of what you can create and achieve through social media: awareness on any issue, make a point of view stand out, help others. Besides, she is as much fun as anyone could think of and so open to help, I´m glad we could reconnect in Miami amiga!

This trip to Miami was far better than the previous one, I felt love, support and answers so the next steps for me are more clear now, I´m glad I broke some rules and attended SMW Miami. As one of my favorite singers said once ¡Gracias, Totales!

How To Stop Caring About Others And Book A Ticket To Miami For Social Media Week

The first time I heard about Social Media Week was about a year ago, I was scrolling down my facebook Timeline and found a blog that mentioned it. I was interested and looked further and I found out that they were going to held an event in Mexico City in about 6 months, so I started following the event in different social media outlets, I even… I even signed for Newsletters

social media week Miami

There, I said it; I was hooked; I loved getting their e-mails every week with cool and interesting things about social media, how the different generations are facing change, the Braincandy video series and I kept on sharing their stuff and learning from them. Then the Mexico City event schedule and info was released, I asked my Boss permission the answer was a plain NO.

I was bummed and at the time I was in a money shortage so, I kept it cool and waited for my weekly Newsletter patienly.

Last year a low cost mexican airline launched this direct flight from Cancun to Miami, it was cool and since I was able to get an american tourist visa very quick I booked a cheap flight and spent my 1 week vacation there. That was back in July and 2 weeks after I returned home the dates for Social Media Week Miami were released and I was excited to say the least… but still I had to wait to get all the information and insights on the price tickets, the speakers and the topics, I was determined to go.

So about a month ago – August – when the tickets were finally for sale and I could check out the schedule I said to myself “I HAVE to go” so again, I went to my boss, told him about the dates and the speakers and basically everything and I said “We HAVE to go” and he went on saying “I just asked to go to a SEO related event in New York, they said no – his boss – so I´m afraid the same is going to happen with this“.

Needless to say that I was mad, how could a company just focus on what´s urgent and not on what´s important and long lasting ROI? It was stupid and I felt really bad. The mexican working laws do not favor employees in most cases and most employer´s point out that employees should be grateful to have a job that pays the minimun and gives them the minimun benefits (such as social security and some medical coverage).

Thought, I am not here to discuss the mexican law because:

1. I am a foreigner living and workin in Mexico legally and

2. Because I decided to not give a f*&k and book a ticket anyway.

Luckily for me, I had some money left in the bank from my vacations, and started the search for a cheap flight and the tickets… also for a credit card because since I don´t have the permanent resident status I cannot apply for a credit card…

A really good friend lended me his card, I found a really cheap promotion on Interjet and got my plane tickets and thanks to my good friend – and Miami host – Manuel Gago I got a promocode that helped me get a lower price for the full 3 day pass for Social Media Week Miami. I was all set, yay!

So I approached my boss, he looked at me like saying “Are you sure?” but then by the look on his face he was actually kind of happy that I decided to go anyway, he said “I have no problem, just so you know, Human Resources are not going to pay for the days you are away, it will be deducted from your paycheck” and I said “Fine!” then he said “I wished I could trade places with you

So, I´m super excited to jump on the plane next Tuesday and live 3 full days surrounded by the best of the best of Social Media and how it affects us as human connectivity is growing as these new platforms and technologies develop. I´m also very happy because I´ll get to see my friend Kelly a.k.a The Sober Señorita whom I met here thanks to social media and will be attending SMWMiami as well, we are going to have so much fun!

So, I have to pack now, see you in a few days!

Getting My American Tourist Visa Or An Excuse To Go To Merida

I had a “indefinite United States visa” when I was a kid but those were the early 90s, Venezuela was a politically stable country and venezuelan tourist were always welcomed to the United States and basically any country in the world. My mom got ourselves some nice visas in 1992 and that was the year of my first trip to the United States. The indefinite visa off course expired after 10 years.

Fast forward to 2015 and here I am, in my early 30s, living only an hour an a half flight away from Miami where many of my best friends live and I had no visa! I knew it wasn´t very complicated to pay for an appointment to apply but to do so I had to go to Merida Yucatan first to get my american tourist visa again…. what a sacrifice!

I intended to do that within the first couple of months of 2015 but due to * cough * Cancun´s inmigration office my temporary residency card renewal was long overdue and I didn´t get the card until March so I had to reschedule my visa appointment to late March. It didn´t matter, I still got to travel during the nice weather season.

The cozy Art Apart Hostel in Merida

The cozy Art Apart Hostel in Merida

My old friend Adrian was visiting from Venezuela so he took advantage of the situation and travelled with me. We stayed at a hostel called Art Apart which is conveniently located down town. It is an old colonial house with high ceilings, hammocks, art pieces which makes it a little bit kitsch and quirky but was very clean and relaxed. It also had a nice pool in the backyard that i didn´t use because I went sightseen the two days I stayed there.

So, first things first: after arriving in Merida and taking a taxi to the hostel I had a torta for lunch, got a shower and headed to the United States CAS center to get my fingerprints and visa photo done. You can´t take any personal belonings with you such as your cell phone, keys, pens or anything basically but your printed appointment confirmation and your passport. Luckily I got there 1 hour earlier and I had time to walk around and discovered a beautiful colonial squeare with a church and huge trees, the perfect place to ease my mind before the appointment.

Merida sights while making time until my appointment

Merida sights while making time until my appointment

Then I got to my CAS appointment and was done in 5 minutes which left me thinking “why was I so worried and stressed?” I headed back to the hostel and waited for Adrian (he had left to a cenote in the outskirts of Merida), once Adrian and I met at the hostel we decided to walk around downtown and have a nice yucatecan dinner. I was eager to go to “El Tucho” a place where I had been before that has some comedy shows, amazing food and you only get to pay what you drink so, I could use a few beers and have nice treats but… it was closed! Maybe because it was a school night it was closed at 8 o´clock 😦

Casa Montejo and historical center

Casa Montejo and historical center

Still I knew of another place nearby called “La Chaya Maya” that was supposed to be excellent and at a reasonable price so we headed there and to my surprise, the had Mucbipollo! Mucbipollo is a traditional yucatecan dish reserved for Dia de Muertos so it is only available around late October and early November but at La Chaya Maya they prepare Mucbi all year round, I was SOOO happy!

Dinner time at La Chaya Maya.

Dinner time at La Chaya Maya.

Since Adrian wasn´t feeling good I decided not to have a beer but instead had a huge class of delicious Agua de Chaya, he ordered a pumkin soup, had totopos and had a nice chat while dinning. The waitresses of La Chaya Maya are all dressed up in beautiful yucatecan huipiles, their hair is all up nicely and elegantly held with a “peineta” probably something inherited from the spanish conquer times.

Merida´s Historical center at night

Merida´s Historical center at night

After our dinner we continued our stroll in the historical center, I got the chance to take Adrian to some of my favorite buildings in the area such as the old Yucatan University building and the Church of the Third Order. We also passed a few theatres and Casa Montejo; we then went back to our hostel because I had to get up early for my visa interview the bnext morning.

Since I was in Cancun time instead of central Mexico time, I got to my interview appointment an hour earlier! I should have changed the clock the day before but nooooo, I didn´t think of it! Anyway, I had the chance to get some coffee at the Oxxo around the corner and got to talk with some nice people there, discussing about politics and other current affairs until it was time for me to return to the United States Consulate for my interview.

Once I entered the consulate I had to wait for a little while, they basically give you a number and members of the staff will come to the waiting room and get a bunch of people and take them to the interview area. There were families there, students, young professionals as well as United States citizens who live in the Yucatan area (that means, the states of Quintana Roo, Campeche and Yucatan) that needed passport renewal and other documents.

The Chilam Balam and us goofing around

The Chilam Balam and us goofing around

Even though this day was a little bit longer, it was easy and painless. I was very nervous and felt all happy and grown up when the nice official who interviewed me said “your visa has been approved, you will have your passport delivered in Cancun within the next 5 days”. By noon I was back at the hostel and checked out but they nicely let us leave our packpacks there so we could go to the Mayan Museum before travelling back to Cancun.

Mayan temple replicas at the Mayan Museum of Merida

Mayan temple replicas at the Mayan Museum of Merida

We took the bus just outside the hostel and within 25 minutes were climbing the stairs to get to the museum. It is a super modern facility with air conditioning and two main exhibits, the permanent exhibitionis entirely devoted to the ancient mayan civilization and has a nice collection of artifacts discovered in the different sites, it also sets the differences between the mayan language in the different states where this ethnicity lives on in Mexico and you can also get to know facts about the major sites as well as replicas of mayan trademarks like the “The Throne” of the Ek Balam Acropolis or the ball game rings of Chichen Itza.

The Mayan Museum in Merida is a very modern and comfortable space

The Mayan Museum in Merida is a very modern and comfortable space

The temporary exhibition was all about the great meteor of Chicxulub, according to history and geological data, there was a meteor impact 65 million years ago around the town of Chicxulub which may have been one of the causes of the extintion of dinosaurs and also one of its consecuences are the cenotes throughout the peninsula. After spending the entire afternoon at the museum it was time for us to get to the bus station and return to Cancun.

Gracias Merida.


Muelle y palapa Holbox

Despertar en Holbox

Viajar siempre ha sido algo inherente en mi vida, cuenta la leyenda (más bien mi abuela) que a los 17 días de nacida estaba en un avión de Caracas a Maracaibo, donde conocí a mi abuelo y al resto de mi familia. A lo largo de mi vida pude viajar hasta el cansancio y vivir en varias ciudades en Venezuela y tuve la suerte de poder salir del país desde pequeña.

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