Social Media Marketing World 2013

social media marketing worldThis spring, I’ve been on a conference bender. I’ve attended three big conferences in the last 3 months, with 2 more in the next month. I can barely recover from one conference before heading out for another, and haven’t adequately blogged about my experiences.

Last week I attended Social Media Marketing World 2013 in San Diego. I was sent by my company, and have already written a recap on the DegreeSearch blog, but there were a few more personal notes that I wanted to put into a blog post here. As soon as I heard about SMMW13, I knew this was THE social media conference for me to attend this year. I’ve been registering for a mix of blogging, search/SEO, and social media events this year, and knew I’d get the best social media information at SMMW13. The list of keynotes and speakers was intense: Guy Kawasaki, Mari Smith, Ric Dragon, Mark Schaefer, Lee Odden, Nichole Kelly, Sally Hogshead, Chris Brogan, Jay Baer, and many other social media practitioners that I’ve come to love and respect.

I knew that the conference would be intense, so I arrived a day before the official conference events began. I did a little shopping, sightseeing, and relaxing. I love going into a conference knowing as many attendees as possible, so I planned a dinner on Saturday night to start the mingling early. The 12 people who attended this dinner ended up being the people that I spent the most time with during the event.

degreesearch business cardsSocial Media Marketing World was the first conference that I’ve attended on behalf of a company. I’ve done some networking for clients before, but it was the first time where I set aside my personal interests (and the business cards with my blog on them) and planned my conference schedule around the sessions that will best help my company. Luckily, my coworker Joseph created these awesome DegreeSearch business cards, and I gained a nice amount of new followers for my company. There were a lot of representatives within higher education, and I loved talking strategy with others who interact in the same circles as I do.

There were some amazing keynotes and sessions that I attended. This is what my conference schedule looked like:

Monday:

  • Social Media Marketing in 2013: New Research and Its Implications by Michael Stelzner
  • Advanced Networking: How to Make Lasting Connections by Larry Benet
  • 10 Ways To Improve Your Facebook Reach by Mari Smith
  • Using Google+ To Build a Platform by Guy Kawasaki
  • The Science Of Community Building In The Age of Social Media by Ric Dragon
  • Social Media ROI: How to Finally Deliver Measurable Results  by Nichole Kelly
  • How To Fascinate With Your Social Media Messages by Sally Hogshead

Tuesday:

  • Are We Getting Better or Just Busier? Panel by Jay Baer, Mark Schaefer, Chris Brogan, and Mario Sundar
  • How to Build a Thriving Community With Blogs – Panel with Srinivas Rao, Marcus Sheridan, Michael Stelzner, and Joe Pulizzi
  • Community Building for Big Brands –  Panel with Sarah Robinson, Susan Wassel (Sharpie), Ekaterina Walter (Intel) and Kat Smith (Petco)
  • Google+ Marketing Success: It’s Much More Than a Social Network  by Jesse Stay
  • How to Implement and Optimize Your Social Strategy by Neal Schaffer
  • Why It Pays To Be Likeable by Dave Kerpen

taking notes at smmw13Every time I attend an event, I’m torn about the best ways to take notes. Do I use my laptop, iPad, or just tweet as I go?

This time around, I decided to take handwritten notes. I’ve read lots of studies that say that you retain information better when you take handwritten notes, and I believe this to be true. I feel like I retained a lot more information than the usual event, but I still kept Twitter open to share awesome quotes. I had a few people tell me that they wished that they took notes by hand. Maybe it will be the new trend. I’m going to do it again at Type-A Philly this weekend.

One of the sessions I really enjoyed was Sally Hogshead talking about How To Fascinate, a personality assessment based on how others view you (not how you view yourself). I took the test, and found out I am a catalyst (motivated by passion and rebellion, appealing to others with emotion and creativity). It’s a great test – I think you should do it!

kersten anderson nicole bullockFrom a social perspective, a social media conference is a great place to make new friends. I met people in the hotel lobby, hotel bar, hotel pool, and throughout the conference areas. Conference attendees were, on the whole, friendly, attentive, and fun to be around.

One of the key friends that I made was Kersten from Speakeasy Market Strategies in Tulsa. She gave me a lot of inspiration, we collaborated some ideas, and she gave me some confidence in the things I’m doing right in social media marketing. But we also became fast friends – we were swimsuit shopping within an hour of meeting each other Saturday, and the fun didn’t stop until we arrived at the airport Wednesday. Kersten and I did a trolley tour of San Diego on Sunday before the craziness of the conference began, hung out at the parties, and roomed together the last night.

The opening night party was at the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park. We loaded up tour buses at the Marriott, and drove about 10 minutes to the museum. There was a fun game to find people to fill out a “Twitter bingo card” that got people networking (for the chance to win fabulous prizes!). The party atmosphere continued back on the bus to the Marriott, and into the bar. Whether or not you were drinking, people were having fun. I like to be around happy people. I met people from all over the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Philippines, and many other countries.

friends at smmw13 collageMonday night, there was a harbor cruise on a yacht. Before the boat set sail, I went to dinner with a big group at Dick’s Last Resort, and it set the mood for a great time on the boat. I’ve never gone on a cruise before, so it was pretty impressive (to me) to be on a boat with over 1000 people. The bottom floor had dancing and a live band, the middle floor had karaoke, and the top floor was the boat deck with a gorgeous view of the bay. I spent most of my time on the top deck, but did get up on the karaoke stage to sing my go-to karaoke song: “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips. If it’s not exhilarating to have a group of your peers cheering and singing along with you, I don’t know what is.

I made so many new friends, and I feel sad I didn’t get a picture of all of them. In this photo are some of the people I met at this conference: Amanda (@myofficebooks) from Australia, Kristin (@kristin_bush) from Orange County, Kris (@helloitsbutters) from Iowa, and EJ (@EJSchiller) from Chicago.

I can’t wait until registration for Social Media Marketing World 2014 opens up, because I’m going to be there!

 

Why I Love Type-A Conference

type-a parent conferenceOne of my favorite things about being a blogger is connecting with other bloggers. While social media indeed gives opportunities for connection beyond blogging, the real connections happen in person. I’ve been attending blog conferences since 2009, and the conference where I feel most at home is Type-A Conference.

Beyond BlogHer, which is definitely the most attended blog conference for women, most conferences have a large following regionally. I had never heard of Type-A Conference until early 2011 when my friend Gregory Ng announced on Twitter that he was speaking about videoblogging. For a while, I had a food review blog and I connected with Greg through his frozen food review site FreezerBurns. Not only was I intrigued to find out more tips about vlogging from one of the best, I was also looking for another conference to attend that summer. Earlybird tickets were still available, and I signed up to attend the 2011 Type-A Conference in Asheville, NC.

type-a frelleI loved the tagline for Type-A Conference: Engage, educate, empower, evolve. I knew is was more relevant for me than conference that were for people that are just starting out with blogging (since I started blogging in 2002, I don’t need the basics), and the conference topics were right up my alley. I made plans to room with Kelly (aka @childhood)  who I knew from other conferences, and Jenna (aka @frelle) who became a new friend.

The first year was a little awkward because I knew so few people. I recognized a lot of faces from BlogHer and Bloggy Boot Camps, but I had to go out of my shell to get to know people. And you know what? The people I met at Type-A were SO nice! Greg, who tipped me off the Type-A, was just as wonderful in person as he is in all of his videos (and I learned a ton about videoblogging in his session). I met Kesha, who had a vibrant smile and personality I couldn’t resist (she ended up being my roommate for BlogHer last year. I met Robyn, who I had followed online for years, and we became fast friends. Robyn and I roomed with each other at Type-A in 2012 (and I will room with again this year), but we’ve found a world of things in common and she’s become one of my favorite people in the world (seriously!). I met Nicole, who not only has an awesome name, but she forever has influenced the way I say niche (“It’s niche like quiche, not nitch like b*tch!”)

type-a friendsType-A was held in Charlotte in 2012, and not only did I get to explore another city, I made a GAGGLE of new friends (I love the word gaggle – it makes me giggle).

It’s one thing to say “I have a zillion friends on the interwebz!” but, you know they’re your friends when they’ll help you out on a second’s notice. I could namedrop until kingdom come with the wonderful ladies and gents I met in Charlotte, but the people who have really become very dear friends are Andrea, Jacqueline, and Anne. Whenever I need a favor online, these ladies are always eager to help, and I’m eager to do the same for them.

blogger-town-hall-partners2013 will be an exciting year for the Type-A Conference franchise. Not only will the main Type-A Parent Conference be held in a new city (Atlanta), there are two advanced sessions as well. I’m attending the profit-focused session in Philadelphia in April, and I’ll be speaking about SEO on an expert panel session. In October, Type-A Advanced will be held in New Orleans, and the conference will be focused on visual images.

You will likely hear me talking a lot about Type-A Conference this year because I have been selected as an Official Type-A Parent Conference Partner. I believe in Kelby and the amazing things she has been able to create through Type-A Parent, and I would love others to benefit from the experiences available through Type-A. The conference has a well-established reputation for outstanding learning with actionable takeaways. It features power networking with the best and brightest parents who blog, plus the major brands and firms who want to engage them. Type-A is where influential digital parents grow their business and connect.

If you’re interested in attending, I have a special discount code available for 25% off registration for Type-A Atlanta (for a limited time).

A lot of ladies in Utah have been sad that the EVO conference was discontinued, and I can assure you that Type-A is as high-caliber an event at Type-A – there’s a different feel, but the education and network is just as amazing.

And keep your eyes peeled…I will be doing a giveaway for a full conference ticket to Type-A in April!
type-a collage

 

TMI Friday: Don’t Mess With My Peeps, Yo!

Don't Mess With My Peeps, YoI’m Nicole, and I’m a Mormon.

But I don’t always feel comfortable talking about religion on my blog. As I’m sure most people do in their life, I have had questions about my faith. I have heard unsavory stories of things that have happened through the history of my church. I have lived half of my life outside of Utah, and have conclusively decided it’s more difficult to live my faith in Utah.

“Mormon Culture” is sometimes hard for me to stomach. I will joke about funeral potatoes and green jello as much as the next girl, but I notice people get so caught up in the “culture” of our faith, that they really don’t focus on the content of the faith. I try to live the Word of Wisdom, but I drink Coke. I have a friend known  as Jesus in SLC, who calls me the “coolest Mormon ever.” I have no qualms about joking about the quirks of our religion’s peculiar culture. Part of the Utah Mormon Culture is a conservative political leaning, despite the church’s ever-present stance of political neutrality.

A few years ago, I became acquainted with my friend Gabrielle, aka @funkyvalentine on Twitter. She and I bonded, even though we had very differing opinions on many topics. Through the years, her blogging and faith have been through some significant metamorphosis. She converted to the LDS church, but struggled with some questions with her faith. Eventually she made the decision to leave the Mormon church, and she publicly made statements about this on her blog.

A few days ago, I found out about a podcast on LDS Liberty where the podcast hosts ripped her beliefs to shreds, both spiritual and political. Gabs admittedly has some beliefs that don’t fly with mainstream lifelong conservative Mormons, but the hosts of LDS Liberty made a very public, very blatant attack. I posted the following comment:



Since yesterday, this podcast started being discussed at length on Twitter. I won’t go into the details of our discussions, but it made me sad to see how mean people can be to each other. Especially when it comes to something personal and sacred like religious beliefs. This podcast was a personal attack, a case of cyberbullying, and it’s not okay. I don’t think the podcast discussion was helpful – it was self-righteous and accusatory. Feelings have been hurt, and I personally felt like I needed to talk about it on my blog.

Do you think LDS Liberty took it too far? I’m not interested in discussing the particulars of Gabrielle’s beliefs versus LDS Liberty’s beliefs…but rather the situation in general. Feel free to comment, but please be kind. Hurtful and abusive comments will not be published.

Can’t we all just get along?