Last week I had the opportunity to attend my first ever Social Media/Marketing Conference; Social Fresh East. "Social Fresh is a social media education company. Our goal is to inspire people to create better businesses through social media. Social Fresh produces some of the top social media conferences and online training programs in the industry." I am fairly new to the world of Social Media and certainly a newbie when it comes to marketing.
However, I am not inexperienced when it comes to conferences. I've been to conferences as a restaurant professional, a science teacher, a marine biologist, an environmental scientist, and a librarian. This conference was unlike any other I had attended in the past. What made it different? First was its size. This conference was tiny compared to the National Science Teacher's Convention, or the American Library Association's National Conference, where tens of thousands of people were in attendance. This conference had 330 people and many were from right here in the Bay Area. This made mingling and networking very easy because we had something in common right off the bat (besides being interested in social media .)
Second, was how the speakers were set up. There were no strands to pick from. You had one speaker at one time, and that was it! And it was great! No worrying about missing something and getting notes from a friend. And the last big one was the TIME! Any other conference I've been to has started bright and early at 8am, and ends very late, with a large break for lunch. But not Social Fresh, they start late, have a very short lunch break, and then end in the late afternoon. The presentations were 30 minutes in length, long enough to learn something, but not so long that you get bored. Not that THAT would EVER happen at a social media conference, though.
There were some great speakers. I did have three favorites: Spike Jones of WCG, Morgan Johnston, from Jet Blue and Ted Rubin of Collective Bias. All the speakers were top notch and I took a ton of notes, but these 3 really resonated with me. I walked away from their presentations with three big objectives learned:
1) Build relationships with your online community.
2) Inspire humanity.
3) Don't hide behind your keyboard. Don't say anything to your social media community that you wouldn't say to their face.
One of my big goals when I went "social" with my blog, Facebook page, Twitter, etc., was to inspire other people. Throughout the past 5 months, I've received numerous emails from people (both women and men) who tell me that my story inspires them, and gives them hope that they too can be successful in their weight loss journey. I have yet to encounter someone in MY community who is a hater. But I see many tweets, posts, etc., where other people have been bullied and mistreated. WHY?? I just don't understand why people have to be nasty to one another. How is that HELPFUL at all???
Ted Rubin called for volunteers, and I always volunteer and he picked me I skipped down the conference aisle at Social Fresh (my cardio for the day) and for my participation he gave me a copy of his new book and autographed it, too! He wrote, "Jenny, thanks for volunteering to skip with me at Social Fresh. We are now officially friends. Remember...relationships are like muscle tissue, the more you engage them, the stronger and more valuable they become! It's all about Relationships! Ted." And he's right. It IS all about relationships!
I had the opportunity to speak with Morgan from Jet Blue and relayed Ronin's flight experience on Jet Blue when he got to call out FREE SNACKS on the intercom while sitting in the pilot's chair and he asked for me to send him a tweet with the photo, which I did, and then he later retweeted it. Jet Blue is rolling out a special needs program for kids with Autism at the Tampa International Airport VERY soon, and I hope to be a part of that, along with my au-some son! Wings for Autism has been highly successful at Boston Logan International Airport (they've done it 5 times) and they hope to repeat this program in other markets.
That my friends is making a connection; going the extra mile, inspiring humanity, and building relationships. Treating people like YOU would want to be treated.
I look forward to implementing other marketing strategies, but for now I'll stick with being the change I wish to see in the world.