For anyone who believes the best social media ideas come of out of New York, Chicago or other major cities, you better think again. Originally famous for the 1982 World’s Fair, the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, and Bush’s Baked Beans, Knoxville is now burgeoning with social influence as the home to SOCIAL SLAM.
I first learned about Social Slam through being socially connected to Knoxville resident and social media guru, Mark Schaefer, on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and GROW, his award-winning blog. Everything he authors, blogs, tweets and posts is thought-provoking and unique (check out his recent post: Why Google+ Needs to be Jay Z). While the chance of getting great value from most conferences is like shooting the ball from half court, I knew that anything Mark was involved in would be a slam dunk. Here are my Social Slam highlights:
Marketing Rounds Break Silos and Put Customers First:
Gini Dietrich, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Arment Dietrich Inc., spoke about getting all specialty areas under one marketing umbrella by proactively creating a “Marketing Round.” This circle of passionate people with entrepreneurial spirits is all about breaking down silos, putting customers first and moving business objectives forward through integrated marketing.
Micro-niching is Trending in the Blogosphere
Stanford Smith, the VP of Marketing at Fluency Media, took 10 minutes to deliver 10 insightful blog tips. While blogging is big, the trend is to take blogs small. The idea of Micro-niching, or narrowing a blog’s purpose / topic, has caught fire as people crave specific and relevant information.
Sure, You’re on LinkedIn, But are You Really “In”?
LinkedIn is near and dear to my heart – I just love this tool and Jon Moss of Moss Media Labs does too. Jon recommends really getting “in” to LinkedIn but don’t “cross the streams” (i.e., don’t have your Twitter feed connected to your LinkedIn activity). Using LinkedIn “Answers” is a great way to both get and give valuable business advice and even possibly earn a gold star in the process.
Searching for Answers about Social Search
The break-out session, “Understanding the New World of Social Search,” left me feeling like I have a lot to understand. The knowledge, insight and predictions of our panelists – Sam Fiorella of Sensei Marketing, Eric Pratum of Grizzard Communications Group and Sean McGinnis of DotCo Law Marketing– left my head spinning.
Get active on Google+ even if you are finding it a bit of a ghost town. The platform will be driving future search results. Likes, +1s, and retweets are just a few of the social indicators that will soon trump offsite SEO / link building strategies. While it’s a bit hard to imagine now, “author trust” will be more relevant than page rank. Sam, Eric and Sean will definitely be hearing from the Marketri team – we need to know more!
Marketing Purgatory is a Good Place to Be!
Mitch Joel, President of Twist Image, had a Steve Jobs-like presence as he discussed marketing hell versus purgatory. According to Joel, “We are in a weird moment of immense opportunity. Embrace the uncertainty!” Joel claims that there will never be a period like this again in the marketing industry and rewards will come to those who seize the “glass is half-full” mentality. Some other takeaways from his brilliant presentation:
- Direct Relationships: There’s nothing standing between you and your customer.
- Sex with Data: Use data to personalize the customer experience.
- Utility or Death: Provide businesses and people with utility. For a great example, check out the App, “SitorSquat,” to improve your public bathroom experience!
The Content King – Marcus Sheridan Roars Off-Stage!
Holy –WOW! If you are a blogging / user-generated content doubter, just sit through a 20-minute presentation by Marcus Sheridan, a pool installation business owner turned social media inspirational speaker. He will have you convinced that you can double and triple your business simply by developing online content that answers your products’ or services’ most “Frequently Asked Questions.”
Do You Have Klout and Does It Matter?
I’ve wanted to see Mark Schaefer speak for a long time and he did not disappoint! Giving a sneak preview of his new book, “Return on Influence,” Mark shared stories of how a shy, unsuspecting professional became a valuable brand ambassador, and how an unemployed, fed-up young woman brought down a powerful bank all through their words and nimble use of social media. While there is a natural resistance to being labeled and numbered, Mark has me convinced that for better or worse, social KLOUT is here to stay.
Did I mention that SOCIAL SLAM was $89?!? You see, these are true social media thought leaders who simply want to share and learn from each other. I loved every minute of SOCIAL SLAM; in addition to the vast knowledge that I gained, I finally got to meet my marketing idol, Mark Schaefer! My fellow marketing professionals – SOCIAL SLAM is SO a SLAM DUNK!