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Social Media Relearned: SoCon14

This past weekend, GreenMellen Media attended SoCon14 — the Southeast’s longest running social media event. SoCon has thrived as a must-attend professional conference offering an extensive list of digital marketing topics directed towards everyone from business owners, marketing professionals, and digital strategists, to CEOs, journalists, and non-profiteers.

Here’s a walkthrough of what we learned.

Keynote Speakers

socon14 keynote speakers

The speakers for the event represented just about every Social Media attendee at the conference — from big businesses to personal coaches and agencies and non-profits. The speakers took an approach that was informal and approachable. The panel of speakers collaborated with the audience by answering questions from the SoCon’s MC for the event, Jake Dudley, while also answering audience questions from Twitter and in person. Instead of one person giving a presentation, the speakers weighed in on questions and each offered input as they felt they could contribute.  What was particularly useful about this style was that it exposed the audience to the approach of big businesses like IHG and Arby’s but also the issues facing small businesses and agencies.

socon14 keynote speakers

The “walk away” message from the Keynote session was “Know your customer and understand who the ‘key influencers’ are for them.”

Breakout Session 1:

Eff-Yeah, Content Marketing!

Blair Brady, Partner & VP Client Services at WITH/Sims

We know, you’ve got the best social media strategy in the biz…you know the latest platforms, when to publish, when NOT to publish, and all the latest trends. But WHAT are you putting out there? Social strategy without content is like an Oreo without the filling, a Lamborghini without the motor…neither are worth opening up.

You’re already telling your clients how awesome you are at making the funniest gifs and memes…but WHAT of? That’s what we’re going to talk about – the WHAT, the MEAT…the CONTENT (the good stuff). In social media and content marketing, it all goes back to the fundamental task of understanding WHAT you want to say and HOW you should say it so those who need to HEAR it, do. Once you craft the story, tighten the message and build the content, THEN figure out where to post, tweet, pin, gram, or tumbl it. Sharing is the easy part – figuring out what you’re putting out there is what separates the great from the ‘meh’. Its ok, we’re all in this together. hashtagreadysetgo

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Led by Blair Brady, this was the only session to have a specific hashtag (#effyeahcontentmarketing) for the breakout.

Our take away? The ultimate question: “Would my target audience share this?” Feel free to take a look at our Eff-Yeah, Content Marketing break out notes here. 

Breakout Session 2:

Social Chaos: Moving from Panic to Plan

Tiffany Deluccia, PR Account Executive at JDPR

Seth Godin recently wrote, “Social media is a marathon, a gradual process in which you build a reputation. The best time to start was a while ago. The second best time to start is today.” Whether you have been putting off starting a social media plan for your business until there was proof it would stick around, or whether you are starting from scratch on a new project or volunteer role and want a good look at current practices, this session will cover ways to structure a program that will advance your overall business goals. Intentionally building your brand reputation takes time, and doing it through social media is no different. Social media isn’t a strategy in and of itself – these tools are valuable options for your overall communication strategy. Listen, research and know where to start, and you’ll be much more likely to succeed in measurable ways!

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Led by Tiffany Deluccia, we discussed everything from creating marketing calendars to creating a crisis plan.

Our take away? It is IMPORTANT to know what the target is; is it to move the brand into awareness (SEO) or is it to create more networking / media awareness? Feel free to take a look at our Social Chaos: Moving from Panic to Plan break out notes here. Tiffany was nice enough to share her slides with us.  Download slides for Tiffany’s presentation here.

Breakout 3:

How to Build Your Brand with Visual Social Media

Lauren Thomas, Sr. Social Engagement Manager at Engauge

The rise of social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr have ushered in visual marketing as a key trend for 2014 and beyond. This presentation will explore a (brief) history of the visual web and provide attendees with case studies and best practices for leveraging visual content to share stories and engage fans.

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Lead by Lauren Thomas, this breakout was so popular we had to change to a larger room. With the rise of mobile communications, our opportunity to grab audience attention has gotten progressively smaller. The old adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words” has never been more true.  Marketers have <8 seconds to grab a reader’s attention.  

Our take away?  Develop a Visual Content Strategy — think of our brand story as a magazine.  Take a look at our How to Build Your Brand with Visual Social Media notes here.  

Will we see you at SoCon15?  Leave us a comment and let us know what you think.

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Mickey Mellen

Co-Founder and Technical Director

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