#USGUYS IRL at #SMBS12
There are social media conferences, and then there are social media conferences. When I wrote this, I was sitting on an airplane flying back from one of the latter type. I was writing this long hand, in a legal pad because I couldn’t wait to get it all down.
I first heard about #SMBS12 from one of my Twitter buddies on #USGUYS, Sam Fiorella. He tweeted about being one of the presenters at the Buffalo NY event. A quick check of the website and I saw that four of my other Twitter “friends” would be speaking as well; Deb Weinstein, Sean McGinnis, Ramon Deleon and Josepf Haslam.
That did it for me, I was in. And I can’t tell you how happy I am to have gone!
Simply put, it was the best Social Marketing Conference I’ve ever been to.
Why? Well, besides the awesome speaker line up (see the link above for the complete list), this conference also had what I will forever call the “RM Factor”, as in Renee Martinez. Renee organized this conference with such attention to detail that not one second of the day was overlooked or ignored. There was even an afternoon small group session where attendees got mega face time with the expert speakers.
If that wasn’t enough. when those wanting to attend exceeded the available seats by more than 100, Renee arranged for video streaming of the entire conference so that nobody would be left out.
The night before the conference Renee held a pre-conference VIP Party that consisted of a Tony Walker Shops crawl including high tech stuff, clothing, a fashion show and then ended with gourmet pizza, cheese cake and vodka at Giancarlos.
But let me back up and get back to #USGUYS IRL. Prior to the party, in the hotel lobby, I recognized Renee from Twitter and quickly noticed that she was encircled by conference speakers Josepf, Deb, Ramon and two other #USGUYS tribe members I was dying to meet in real life, Mila Araujo and Peter McGregor.
Hugs all around and I was on my way to the party with them. Just like that.
I couldn’t help but notice how everyone seemed the same as they are on Twitter (except that Sean is a lot taller in real life) – by that I mean, their true personalities come through their Twitter streams so effortlessly that who they really are and who they Tweet to be are one in the same. What made me like them so much on Twitter (wisdom, clarity, skill, wit and warmth) made me like them even more in person.
The following day, the only thing more fabulous than recognizing more of my Twitter friends, was being recognized myself. It was so heart warming to hear that I’m funny IRL like I am (try to be anyway) on Twitter.
But let’s not forget the speaking sessions! For openers, there was Ramon and I now want to start off every day with a Chicago Dominoes #RamonWOW message. In fact, I want a #RamonWOW alarm clock and a #RamonWOW GPS. Ramon gave one example after another of giving away free pizzas and gaining long term customer/advocates for life. It’s not just his passion for pizza, it’s his passion for creating true joy in the heart of another human being.
Then there’s the brilliant Deb Weinstein who turned a toilet paper into the leading bathroom tissue by creating the Cashmere brand through a “Fashion with Compassion” campaign to fight breast cancer. You must check out the pictures and video here. That and other brilliant projects won Deb’s company a spot on the PRNews 2012 Top Ten CSR A-List.
The person seated next to me commented that Deb had an energy around her that you couldn’t take your eyes or mind off. There was nodding in agreement all around.
On to Sam Fiorella and his honest statement that a few years ago, even he was preaching that with Social, you can’t measure ROI. Now he says “Bullshit! Profit matters!”. But the key he says, is that all departments must have the same goal and with Social Media, there must be ‘buy in’ throughout the organization, not just one or two social media people with the responsibility of developing, implementing and measuring an entire Social presence.
Sam always has great ideas and even greater insight – and besides, its cool watching him yell “Bullshit!” in a crowded room.
Josepf Haslam put the whole concept of Google search relevancy into prospective by a fascinating demonstration of how search results will reflect our social connections and interactions. Log into Google, and search results contain recommendations from G+ friends or references to our own previous searches. Log out, and our Google friends no longer matter. It’s now the infamous PageRank coupled with ‘Social Voting” that decide which search results are relevant to us. Check out Josepf’s entire presentation both on Slideshare and on video here.
During the group session, each speaker sat at a table with a handful of attendees and answered questions, shared insight and opinions. At my table, Peter McGregor shared his story of first meeting Deb Weinstein on Twitter and then ending up working for her at her company, Strategic Objectives. For those who were still very new to the whole online social world, Peter’s story was a powerful and concrete example of how the online world and the ‘real’ world have overlapped to the point of being indistinguishable. It is no longer considered odd or a rarity to find a dream job (or dream date) online – it is almost the norm nowadays.
Sean finished up with a fantastic presentation on content and how if you can’t create your own, then be a content curator. He shared great guidelines for sharing content and closed his session with a video that brought goose pimples to more than a few attendees. It’s entitled “People are Awesome” and you can view it here.
I learned so much from this trip and not just from the presenters. Mila and Josepf turned me on to Meet MeMe Social Trading Cards and I’m ordering mine as soon as I publish this. Mila also showed me a personal app she created “Mila on the Go” that allows her customers to connect to her and her online content by just clicking the app icon.
I’m making one of those too – so my readers can connect to me easily as well – all two of you.
Mila and Deb also clued me in to the #140ConfMTRL coming in May to Montreal.
I’m definitely going! I may even end up being a speaker. Stay tuned!