I’ve been a fan of using social media to boost business results for about 7 years now – wow that looks like a long time – so when the opportunity arose for me to fly for a whole day to get to San Diego to mingle with those “in the know” I jumped at the chance.
I learned about the event through following Social Media Examiner (my new Mashable), and the speaker list featured 2014’s best and brightest in the field.
My reason for attending was not really the content, as you can kinda find that content online. I was just keen to meet other social marketing strategists and corporate marketers that I could learn from and even help. It was also cool to meet a few of the influencers and party on the USS Midway 😉
The Speakers – Thursday
Here’s who I opted to see:
Jay Baer – How to Turn Employees into your Best Social Media Advocates
“You cannot be the best place to buy, if you’re not the best place to work” – There were some great learnings at this presentation. Jay reinforced just how powerful employees can be as brand advocates and how employees coached and supported using social media can generate 300% better conversion rates. Equally important is for employees to know how their engagement will be measured, related to results.
Lee Odden – How Content Plus an Influencer Network Can Grow Your Business
“Brands need to move from Mechanical to Meaningful” – I got so many takeaways from Lee’s talk. Lee addressed the issue marketers face with breaking through the ever-growing avalanche of content currently available online, and how collaborating with and tapping into key influencers could help break through. Lee also covered the essential content ideas and gave a great example of how to use his advice. Very cool…
Andrea Vahl – How to Use Facebook Contests for More Engagement and Sales
“Make the prize relevant to the business – no more iPad giveaways!” Andrea’s presentation was practical from the get-go. It was helpful tip after helpful tip and I learned the core bits and pieces for running a successful Facebook contest, including what to do, what not to do and which apps Andrea uses. Clearly, she knows here stuff…
Chris Brogan – From the napkin…
“Find your freaks, and ignore the fence sitters” Ok, Chris’s talk was actually titled – Build your own media empire: here’s how – but in true Brogan-style he decided to focus on the humanism behind the content, culture and the power of “monchu”/ one family. It was a little bit “rock star” but I kinda loved it, and my friends and I are still talking about it.
The Speakers – Friday
Jay Baer, Ted Rubin, Jeff Rohr, Nichole Kelly – Have we lost the Social in Social Media?
“If your blog doesn’t start a conversation then don’t blog” – Nichole Kelly. Great spark and great entertainment for a Friday morning. My favourite strategists didn’t hold back with their honesty and beliefs about social media marketing. I would watch this again…
Kim Garst – How to Use Twitter to Grow Your Brand, Leads and Sales
“People will connect with you on a personal level, before they connect on a business level”. Ok, I’m a big fan of Twitter, but I know there is always more I can learn, so why not learn from Kim – the ultimate Twitter chatty-kathy! Kim shared her preferred strategy of a range of personal tweets intermixed with automated evergreen content – very helpful! However, she was adamant never to automate your voice!
Lynette Young – How to Build a Strong Google Plus Presence in only 30 Days
“Identify your position, Learn the Ecosystem, Expand into Power Tactics, Make it work cross-strategy”. I always knew that Google Plus would break through and eventually become a contender in the social network arena, and I get a feeling that time has nearly come. Lynette laid out the facts – that Google Plus is getting results – and then gave us a 4 week plan to implement to get up to speed. Awesome stuff…
John Jantsch – How Businesses Are Integrating Inbound and Outbound Marketing and Sales to Win Customers For Life
“The future of marketing will be less about demand creation, and more about organising behaviour”. John’s talk was all about strategy. I get the impression that thinking outside the box is dead, and now it’s more about – let’s just build our own box based on creating the best experience for the customer. John discussed in detail the new buying journey and the 7 behaviours we need to understand as marketer’s to create a better connection and better conversion with our market. Cool…
Neal Schaffer, Martin Jones, Connie Bensen, Michelle LaPierre – How Brands Are Benefiting From LinkedIn
“Help your employees use and optimise their LinkedIn profile”. Wonderful panel session and a lively discussion about how different companies are using LinkedIn in a corporate environment. With insight into Dell and the Marriott, there were excellent learnings – like the need to develop a Customer Care Plan for your business and employees on LinkedIn. Definitely amazing human-to-human (no longer B2B or B2C platform).
Ted Rubin – How to Achieve a Return on Relationship: Going Beyond Social ROI
“Social Media drives engagement, engagement drives loyalty, and loyalty correlates directly to increased sales”. Ted is definitely an excellent storyteller – and the bow tie and socks will forever be burned in my brain! I love that Ted’s hashtag is #RonR and it is clear to see he is the real deal, understanding true social marketing strategy. It is about the stories, and listening, and building trust – amen!
Marcus Sheridan – Timeless Qualities of Great Content and Social Media Marketing
“Social Media is really about listening, communicating, teaching, helping”. The event closed with a powerful keynote by Marcus who is also known as the Sales Lion. He did not hold back from asking the tricky questions that face all social media marketers, and he shared his powerful story of how by answering customer questions through his company blog led to the enormous success of his pool business. Very inspiring…
It was like drinking from a fire hose – too much information in such a short space of time. This event could easily and comfortably rest across 3 or 4 days. It was a shame to miss some great sessions due to the timing conflict, but I guess the organisers had to do it, so that people would fit in the rooms.
Despite that, it’s the best conference I’ve ever been to. And the people I met were the best part of all – a selection of the most dedicated social marketers who care so much that they flew so far to learn and meet similar minds.
I would definitely go again if given the chance.
You Stay Classy…