On Saturday, February 22, 2014 the Center for Sustainable Journalism at Kennesaw State University held the 4th SoCon “unconference” – the longest running Social Media conference in the Southeast.
This is my recap of the event.
Who Attended SoCon14
I was surprised by the variety of people attending the conference.
- Social media entrepreneurs,
- Social media professionals employed by government agencies, corporations or non-profits,
- Business owners looking to expand their social media knowledge,
- Software developers,
- Sales managers looking for ways to convince their teams to leverage social media,
- University students.
What I Learned from SoCon14
Some conferences can be disappointing. Pitch fests thinly disguised as informational seminars or speakers who clearly have no hands-on experience implementing what they suggest.
Not the case with SoCon14. All of the content was valuable, but I will focus on one presentation. The first sentence Lisa Calhoun spoke immediately made me take notice. “Never check your intuition at the door,” she said, telling us to filter social media research through our expertise and common sense.
Her presentation on “Posting with a Purpose” covered how to build a sales pipeline through B2B social media. Her partner, Jean-Luc Vanhulst, discussed measuring the effectiveness of your social media activities.
- Successful B2B Marketers rate blogging as the most effective social media tool.
- Effective B2B Marketers spend close to 40% on content marketing.
- In order to be effective in social media, you must have a way to “quickly and powerfully generate ongoing streams of content.”
- #1 predictor of social media success is using enough tools in concert – 15 seems to be the magic number. (I applied my own filter here. Most SMB simply do not have the resources to stay actively involved in more than 1 or 2 social media channels. I always recommend people focus on the 1 or 2 places where your best clients “hang out” and use syndication tools to supply content to the rest.)
- “Routine sets you free,” Jean Luc said, emphasizing that setting up systems and tools is key to winning with social media.
- Follow up by making a personal connection.
- “It’s not about the number of followers – it’s about what you do.”
I also learned from other attendees. Since I teach ways Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be used to make Social Media more effective in less time, I was particularly interested in learning how people are using search and SEO. One of the things I learned is some buyers (especially younger ones) use Pinterest (not Google or Bing) as a search engine when they are looking for products – so if you sell products, make sure you are leveraging Pinterest.
Not Your Father’s Cafeteria
The last time I was in a cafeteria, it was a frightful place with “food” that had probably been around for 20 years and could last for 100 more.
Not so with the cafeteria at Kennesaw State University, where we had lunch. In addition to a wide variety of vegetables (raw, steamed, grilled), you could get coffee (cappuccino, macchiato) and braised lamb shanks. Yes, you read it correctly – braised lamb shanks!
This new world of food is amazing! How can I purchase a meal plan?
Suggestions for Improvement?
None come to mind, but there is one thing I would suggest to future attendees. Wear comfortable shoes. As I hobbled from the cafeteria to the conference, I bitterly regretted my decision to eschew comfort for fashion.
Was it worth it?
Absolutely! Most of the people I met had attended for several years and were planning on attending next year’s SoCon. If you are, save the date for SoCon15 – February 21, 2015. Tickets usually go on sale in November, and the conference will sell out (again).
About Jackie Kiadii
An SEO trainer, speaker and practitioner since 2002, Jackie Kiadii is the creator of the Direct Response SEO™ System, which helps businesses attract their ideal clients online and move them from Search to Client ASAP™. In one of her training programs, Social SEO, business owners learn how to leverage SEO to make their Social Media efforts effective in record time.