Don’t just takeaway, give back

I attend digital marketing and social media workshops, conferences and seminars to learn in order to improve my skill set or expand my knowledge, and my expected takeaway is that I learned in order to achieve my goals.
I just returned from a Facebook marketing workshop hosted by Blitzmetrics. Led by founder and Chief Technology Officer Dennis Yu, the entire program is based on process and checklists. This methodology doesn’t stop with the program. It is also how Dennis trains his team ensuring accountability and results for both the business and clients.
Leading up to the workshop, each attendee has a project list in Basecamp. It is probably the most prep work I have to complete before attending an event. What initially seemed like a daunting check list, I made my way through each task and got all but one complete before arriving in Phoenix.
What is usually a week-long event, we accomplish in three intensive days. And it is impossible to explain the amount of information that we cover. I’m sure I’ll need a couple of days to decompress, and really grasp what I learned. Dennis and his team demonstrate their program works by showing us real time examples, and sharing step by step the how and why.
Dennis Yu kicking things off for the Blitzmetrics workshop.

What was your key takeaway?

 
As we drove to our the start of our final day this morning, the question was asked, “What is the key takeaway you got from attending this event?” Everyone had a different response. One said it meant validation of what they were already doing. Another said she had renewed motivation for her company.
My key takeaway was a little different. I’ve known Dennis for several years. I have sought Dennis’ counsel and the expertise of the Blitzmetrics team for social media campaign amplification and research and data for marketing presentations. Dennis has been suggesting for a few months that I should consider launching my personal brand. While I have never said “No” to Dennis, I also haven’t jumped into action either.

The kick in the butt I needed

For me the event is the kick in the butt I need to get myself moving forward. When it is all said and done, I believe I’m on the right path to achieve my goal. That goal is to help companies and brands in the automotive aftermarket build their own strong and successful social media program.
The third and final day was the most relevant to me. Isaac Irvine of GoDaddy spoke to us about the making of his “Why” video that we had viewed the day before. The end product was the result of several takes, editing, trimming, voice over and splicing. He talks about recording on the fly when he’s inspired with an idea for great content. As he spoke, I realize that his fears about making videos were the same as mine and others who were in the audience.

Be Willing to Teach

What I really connected with was Dennis Yu’s explanation of the Nine Triangles Framework. This put together everything we had been learning and implementing.
The most noteworthy triangle to me was Learn, Do, Teach (LDT). It isn’t enough to learn how to be a better social media marketer or knowledgeable about personal branding. So often we selfishly keep what we know to ourselves thinking that it is our “advantage.” Instead, it is our responsibility to pass on our knowledge on to others so that they may benefit and will teach others as well.
I was surrounded by amazing people with the same objectives, to learn more.
Beyond the wealth of information that I learned. I found myself surrounded by some of the most amazing people. All of us came from different industries, yet we have the commonality of wanting to know more. And that more was given to us by Dennis and his team. By the way, if Dennis believes in you, he never takes “No” for answer.

Are Marketing Conferences Really Valuable?

Name tags from past conferences.

Marketing conferences come in all shapes and sizes, and take place in great locations like San Diego, Las Vegas and Chicago. All of them offer you the same benefits more or less. You can network with other digitally like minded people. Rub elbows with “influencers”. Hear success stories from brands you’d either like to work for or model your brand after.

Don’t go to a marketing conference thinking that you can stick to any resemblance of a diet. If you’re not sitting and listening, you’re eating and drinking. The last conference I attended I actually packed some workout clothes. I ended up doing 30 minute tabata programs in my room each morning. My sad attempt to maintain some sort of balance.

One of the best conferences

One of my favorite conferences was Social Fresh East in Tampa, FL. Each attendee was assigned a group on the name tag when they arrived. This was the group that would collectively work on a social media marketing project for a local non-profit. The exercise was a great opportunity for networking and hands on collaboration with an end goal. After submitting pitches on deadline, the non-profit selected a winner.

Is Bigger Really Better?

One of the largest marketing conferences I have ever attended is the Adobe Summit. You can’t really go wrong having an event in Vegas at the end of March. Adobe boasted it was the largest Summit with 10,000 attendees from all over the globe.

Like all conferences, there are good and not-so-good presenters. All of the presenters at the Summit are Adobe clients which makes sense, because who better to champion the vast suite that you offer? The whole event is a high tech produced opportunity to introduce new Adobe products. While the key note speakers had star quality (Abby Womback and George Clooney), neither addressed how digital or social was important (or not) in their careers.

My colleague told me before I registered that I wouldn’t learn anything new at the conference from a digital marketing perspective. But if I wanted to experience a good party with networking opportunities it was the place to be. He wasn’t wrong. But the planning and execution of feeding 10,000 in a Vegas parking lot was truly impressive.

Set your own standards

I’m not saying that marketing conferences aren’t worthwhile, because they are. I believe that five and a half years in, the way I gain value from them has changed.

I select the sessions I attend (if that is an option) because I’m hoping to gain insight into a topic based on the title of the session. Then I attempt to answer these two questions in each one.

  • What are the top three takeaways from each session?
  • Can I relate those points to my work or my brand?

Do you go marketing conferences or any industry event to expand your network or absorb all you can? Is there a happy medium between both?

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Networking

Why does networking matter? Have you ever thought why you build your professional network? When you meet someone at an industry event or conference, what do you do with the card you exchanged? Do you add it to the stack in your desk drawer, or do you immediately invite them to connect on LinkedIn and follow them on Twitter?

Networking helps build new relationships and maintain established ones.

Regardless of how you met, the practice of active networking offers you a valuable opportunity to forge new relationships and maintain established ones.

Networking isn’t for everyone

I acknowledge that networking doesn’t come easily or naturally to every one. Some struggle with random introductions and are more comfortable as observers, while others seem to maneuver a room with ease. No need to conquer the world in one swoop. Start with the people you work with, or the companies you deal with on a regular basis.

Why do you need connections?

Why are connections important? These are contacts that you may need in the future for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you are looking for an introduction at another company. Maybe you would like an opinion about a project, or you are seeking a vendor recommendation. Your professional network doesn’t expect you to friend you on Facebook, but they do want to be considered if there’s a way they can earn your business.

You can maintain your relationship with your contacts in a variety of ways. It might be a simple gesture like commenting or sharing a person’s post on social media. I believe that when possible, it’s important to have “face time” with people in your network. I make a conscious effort to attend a couple industry events a year to re-connect with people. This might be an industry specific event or a social media/digital marketing conference.

This summer I attended an automotive aftermarket industry event in Austin. While there, I was asked to say a few words to members of the SEMA Young Executives Network.

I shared with them that networking is one of the most important career skills I’ve learned. Industry contacts are important, but so are out of market contacts. Don’t discount local chamber of commerce and other local, regional or online networking groups.

Online networking

Image result for linkedin vs facebook
Apparently some people can’t differentiate between personal and professional content.

My primary platform for maintaining those networking connections is LinkedIn, I also have a profile on brandedme.com. There has been some debate about where the line is drawn between what could be seen as personal posts vs. professional on LinkedIn. I suppose that’s why I’m a bit selective about who I accept to connect to. I’ve even unconnected with people I did not want to be associated with professionally.

We live in an age where tenure at one employer is less common. People change jobs and industries for a variety of reasons, so regardless of what industry you are in now, don’t underestimate the importance of networking. You never know when you might need that connection down the road.

Does Advertising on Social Media Work?

Social media advertising was an unknown frontier when platforms first started to sell space. Where were consumers most likely to take action? Are ads more effective in a column, or tucked in a news feed? Needless to say, the news feed ads won. Social advertising has expanded beyond text and static images. Ads now contain short videos and GIFs, taking advantage of the few short moments to get a user’s attention.

Social advertising got me to buy

I have made at least two purchases based on social media advertising. These are both brands I had never heard of until a post caught my eye.

My Cuyana classic leather tote.
My Cuyana classic leather tote.

Based on my internet activity and searches, Cuyana figured out that I like purses. They got my attention with beautiful imagery that shows their products are simple and classic in style. When you visit their website, you find that their handbags are reasonably priced. I think their clothing is a little pricey, but I tend to pay more for a purse that I’ll use multiple times compared to an item I might wear a few times.

 

Everyone wants healthy teeth

I love everything about Quip. For one thing, I can’t think of many people who aren’t concerned about their dental health.

Quip is appealing because it’s a simple design that is accented with some cool colors, but at the same time encourages you keep brushing for the full two minutes and provides a cover for when you are traveling with your Quip or a stand for you to keep your toothbrush from falling in the sink or on the bathroom floor.

quip
Quip electric toothbrush and cover/holder, regular and travel size toothpaste.

Even more important to me about Quip is convenience. When you buy a package you can opt in to automatically be sent new heads every three months for a lot less than it would take to drive to the store and buy replacements.

Quip’s website is easy to navigate and they have other active social platforms and a blog. From my experience they are pretty quick to acknowledge an email sent via their website or a tweet they are tagged in.

My only gripe about sponsored ads on Instagram, is that even though I like a sponsored ad, it doesn’t show up in my “Liked” posts feed. So if I don’t take action right away, how am I supposed to go back and find it later?

“Victim” or willing buyer, I am proof positive that social media advertising works, and I’m sure it won’t be the last time!