Social Fresh Tampa Redux

Want to attend a social media conference for business this year?  Check out Social Fresh events!  Here’s a recap of Social Fresh Tampa:

Day 1 was a full day Facebook workshop. I sat next to @juliezolfo, a life coach and @megangetter, a college junior studying PR who blogs, is on LinkedIn, etc.  Clearly everyone was there to learn!

@CoreyCreed, Hippo Marketing, started us out with ‘The 5 P’s of Internet marketing.’  “Trust is the currency of the Internet.”

@justinlevy, author of Facebook Marketing, Senior Social Communications Manager at Citrix Online and a restaurateur, provided the ‘9 Deadly Sins of FB.’  #3: Setting up a FB page and then abandoning it.

@TyDowning, CEO of SayItSocial, emphasized FB does not replace a company website and showed how custom tabs can effectively be used for contests, polls, photo contests, slideshows, etc.

@ellieeille, Inbound Marketing Manager for Hubspot, spoke about optimizing your FB page by providing a variety of content:  status updates, links, photos and video. “And Facebookers love talking about FB!”

@justinlevy covered @justinkistner, Social Marketing Manager for Webtrends, presentation: 43% of FB users are heavy users and what those who like your page want are exclusive promotions and benefits.

@cspenn, VP Strategy & Innovation at Blue Sky Factory, outlined how to use the free Google Analytics tool to measure the effectiveness of Facebook ads, which is the SM equivalent of GRPs/TRPs only more accurate!

Day 1 Facebook presentations were exceptional and crammed with useful information on how to create a stellar FB page.   A reception afterwards provided the chance to network; met a lot of great people and connected with about half of the day’s speakers.

Day 2 was an overview of how brands use social media with case studies, panels and keynote speakers. I sat next to @Marymoose16, a local community manager, and watched her manage Hootsuite (4 Twitter accounts:  company, personal and 2 main competitors), company FB page, write a blog and monitor a webinar, yes, all while listening to the Social Fresh speakers.  It was a live depiction of the conference’s content, which was exciting and interesting!

@Bsimi, Director of Digital Media for Vikram Chatwal Hotels, provided an excellent case study on how they use Twitter and Foursquare to grow business and create a community.

Day 1 Facebook experts provided a Q&A panel, which was an opportunity for attendees to ask questions that arose after the massive download from the prior day.

@kristy, Social Business Consultant with Ant’s Eye View (previously with RealNetworks), spoke about how she implemented social media at RealNetworks.  Kristy’s presentation directly addressed the overlap and confusion that can occur between marketing, PR and customer support over their roles and stake in social media.  She provided a great overview of the stages companies go through to reach a fully engaged organization.  Since some people weren’t comfortable with the technology, they invested in solid training and it was smooth sailing from there.  “Implementing a social support strategy is 10% technology and 90% people and processes.” “Community management is cheaper than phone or email customer service; it saves both time & money since one answer is published to many.”

@paulaberg, Digital Media Lead at Linhard PR, who got her social media wings at Southwest Airlines, presented the Top 10 poisons and antidotes to launching a social media strategy in a large organization.  SWA:  S = Servant’s Heart, W = Warrior Spirit, A = A Fun-Loving Attitude.  Southwest should be paying Paula royalties because no one can hear her speak without feeling her passion for the organization, their blog “Nuts about Southwest” and their social media strategy.  “You need people who can think, speak and advocate for your customers.” (I’d bet money that SWA brand consideration rises dramatically after hearing Paula speak if people were polled before and after!)  Lunch followed her and I had the good fortune to chat with Paula and said, “You’re a Brand girl; your passion for the brand comes through loud and clear.”  That is a very important element in community management!

Community Management Panel with @digitalkvan from Microsoft, @johninorlando from Disney, @djwaldow from Blue Sky Factory and @marcusnelson from Salesforce.com.  This was a great Q&A session where attendees could ask people who are currently doing community management real world questions; from someone hating on your FB page, to handling complaints, to running contests.

@schneidermike, who runs digital at Allen & Gerritsen and who co-authored Location Based Marketing for Dummies, convinced me I want to play in the Location Based Services (LBS) market, otherwise known as foursquare, Facebook Places, etc.   Prior to his presentation it felt a bit too “Big Brother-ish,” but after I understood the marketing and customer advantages to checking in.

Keynote Panel with @paulaberg, @zenawiest from H&R Block, @schneidermike and @jasonkeath, President of Social Fresh.  The panel answered general questions  regarding all aspects of implementing a social media strategy.

I went to Social Fresh Tampa with two objectives:  1) to learn and 2) to network.  I definitely learned a ton and connected with as many people as possible.  I had two main questions:  1) Who owns social media? and 2) Do these thought leaders use separate FB and Twitter accounts for personal and business?  The answer to who owns SM depends on the organization, but the overall consensus was that there has to be a dedicated resource or team to implement an effective social media strategy, one that top management fully supports. Surprisingly, these people don’t have separate Twitter or FB accounts.  They believe in being human, real, and connecting via social media for both business and personal. There were about 300 people at the conference, which was perfect, and all of the speakers were exceptionally kind, friendly and supportive!  Since then, I’ve been following them on Twitter and have learned as much from their blogs and retweets of others’ posts as I did @socialfresh.

Data from a webinar today:  “73% of businesses will increase their use of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and blogs in 2011,” per the 2011 SM Marketing Industry Report.  No matter where your organization currently is with social media, I highly recommend a Social Fresh event to move your business forward!

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