It all started with a Google Hangout…and you never know where a Google hangout will lead to. Well, in my case it led to my first Social Slam2013 in Knoxville, TN on April 5th!
I was attending my last Social Media class at SNHU and thanks to my professor Dr. Jessica Rogers (@DrJRogers) I had the opportunity to meet Mark Schaefer (@markwschaefer) at a Google Hangout, where I heard about SoSlam.
I thought that SoSlam represented an ideal graduation gift for my MBA in Social Media Marketing: I had to take the chance to meet and greet IRL Social Media Stars, Professionals and Fans I met daily on my Twitter feed. Even the long distance from Maine to Tennessee did not hold me back to attend this event.
— Mark Schaefer (@markwschaefer) February 24, 2013
Finally April 4th arrived, and after a long travel started at 7 am, I arrived just in time to the VIP pre-party held in the Sunsphere. The weather was not what I expected to be, but at least it has stopped raining by the time I landed.
The next morning I had the chance to connect with the other attendees and to get my Amy Howell‘s, Anne Deeter Gallaher’s, John Jantsch’s and Mark Schaefer’s books signed (thank you so much!). The conference started promptly at 9 am with Amy Howell’s welcome speech and then we, the SoSlammers, participated at keynotes, chats and panels that were rich in content, stories, and emotions.
In less than 24 hours I have learned a lot and got a so many takeaways that will hardly fit in one post, but I would like to start my list with my two main takeaways from Social Slam 2013.
Kim Garst (@kimgarst) during one of the breakout sessions about Personal Online Branding said:
1. “The power of Social Media is to meet people who you would have never met in an ordinary way.”
As a matter of fact SoSlam gave us the opportunity to meet great people IRL (in real life) I only “knew” on Twitter: real people and all passionate about Social Media. I am pretty sure that these new connections and friendships are all here to stay! (I will talk about them in my next blog post).
2. Social media is also about community and support!
Gabrielle Laine-Peters‘ (@GabrielleNYC) keynote “Social Media, Hope and the will to survive” was breath-taking and emotional. I stopped taking notes and tweeting, as many of us did, because we were drawn by her story about how she survived 9/11. Gabrielle’s experience showed us how the community and the support of people she hardly knew, helped her to overcome this difficult experience.
And now off to my next takeaways (in no particular order).
Jeff Bullas (@jeffbullas) introduced himself as an “accidental blogger” and recommended:
3. Blog post headlines and structure are important. Copyblogger.com is a great resource.
4. Negative headlines (e.g. “8 things you shouldn’t share on social media”) have proven to generate great traffic results.
5. “Write about what you’re passionate about and create value; start, don’t wait to be perfect, but be consistent!
During the “Personal Online Branding” session with Kim Garst, Jeff Bullas and Mark Schaefer I learned:
6. You can’t build a personal brand by just Tweeting and Facebook, you need rich content (video, blog, images).
7. Find your inner voice and your passion. Try to write 20-30 headlines for potential blog posts as an exercise.
8. Social proof is important. When building a new blog and a community ask co-workers and friends for support and word of mouth to increase subscriptions and followers.
I loved the “50 huge new ideas in 50 minutes” session, started with Kim Garst and her 10 ideas for Pinterest:
9. Include your blog post title in a pinnable image, it is great for SEO!
10. Board names have SEO value, use keywords!
11. Don’t focus on self promotion only, but share great content. Be the “To-go” source for relevant information in your industry.
John Jantsch (@ducttape) conquered the stage with his Converse sneakers and a great presentation.
13. John introduced the concept of channel confluence, and how the different social media channels merge and support each other. Channels have to be redefined not more in terms of tools, but in terms of clarity, culture, method, content, presence and touchpoints.
The tweet-up, the pre-party and after-party were a great addition to the event, offering a great opportunity to connect and exchange business cards (yes, they are still popular in the digital age, it is like exchanging your Twitter profile info in a paper format).
It was tough to wake up the next day at 4am to catch the first flight back to Boston, but at least I saw the beautiful sunrise over the Smoky Mountains. Thank you SoSlam, I had a great time!
— Mark Schaefer (@markwschaefer) April 6, 2013
Are you planning to attend SoSlam 2014? What were your main takeaways this year? Did you write a blog post about SoSlam? Please, feel free to share your link in the comment section!