Social Slam 2012: Teaching the hows of social media

I had the distinct pleasure to make it out to Knoxville, Tennessee last Friday to learn some great social media strategy from the space’s brightest minds during the second-ever Social Slam hosted by Social Media Club Knoxville.

For me, it all started at 2 a.m. conference day when I got on the road to knock out six hours of driving to make it for the 9 a.m. start. And surprisingly, I made it through the entire conference with nary a head bob. I guess I am getting accustomed to a lack of sleep with a one year old at home.

When it all got going, I quickly realized that there was going to be so much great information and takeaways provided by the likes of Gini Dietrich, Mitch Joel, Tom Webster, Marcus Sheridan, Mark Schaefer, and more, that my brain would be full by noon. Good thing notes are a beautiful thing.

As marketing and public relations professionals there are many things we have to be doing to help make our businesses successful, especially in this growing digital world. The presenters at Social Slam laid out the ‘hows’ quite nicely.

  • Gini Dietrich: The co-author of Marketing in the Round and CEO of Arment Dietrich, says to break down the silos in your organization from top to bottom. An integrated business will operate more efficiently than one that is not working together. Can you imagine the cylinders of your engine firing independently of one another? I might not have made it Knoxville if that were the case.
  • Tom Webster: We may have gotten into PR or marketing because math and statistics are our mortal enemies. But those excuses won’t fly if we are going to get the resources we need to do our jobs. Data and measurement are important. And Tom is a super smart guy that knows this and how to leverage it. His talk on how to use data and analytics properly was out-of-this-world smart.
  • Mitch Joel: There are reasons people are pegged as thought leaders. Mitch Joel is on another plane than most of us when it comes to social media marketing. He’s inspiring, exudes confidence and thinks creatively outside of the box. His “What The Five?” recommendations for social media marketing provide an interesting perspective about how to make a successful relationship with people and provide the results that management want to know.
  • Mark Schaefer: Mark’s overview of his new book Return of Influence really resonated with me. Working in government, like I do, a service is provided not a product. And that service is provided without an extra charge to customers. And return on investment is not something I can use in the traditional and purest sense. But influence is something I can definitely see a connection to. I’m eager to get into the book and see how I can increase the return on influence of my agency.

Even after all the great takeaways from the keynote speakers, there was still more. Quick-hitting tips to improve blogging, video, community engagement, Linked In and Facebook, first-person accounts of success with social media, and breakouts that got into the nitty-gritty of social media.

I was interested in the social search break out option, but once I sat down I knew I was in over my head. I get that Google dominates the Internet and Google+ can be a useful tool in helping business get their content to people but I left feeling my brain swirling around like a Tilt-o-Whirl after that deluge of information. Perhaps a beginner tutorial is in my future then I can go back and see the importance/power of social search.

Social Slam has taken the social media conference to the next level. It gives you the how of a social media strategy instead of recycling the why. And with all the experts who took the stage it’s a value that I’m glad I didn’t pass up.

Let me know, what was your take away from this year’s Social Slam?

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