While people were camping out on the streets of America to scoop up the new iPhone, I was soaking up knowledge at this year’s Social Fresh Conference in Tampa Bay. I was so So SO lucky to attend on behalf of my company.
Social Fresh is an annual conference started in 2008 by Jason Keath, a social media speaker and analyst, in an effort to inspire and educate professionals and provide networking opportunities.
The sessions are invaluable tools for anyone working—or even interested—in social media, marketing, community management, strategy, brand ambassadorship, analytics and more.
Our two days were jam packed with speaker sessions, networking, lots of great discussions, interviews, podcasts, and of course some delicious lunches. And I was so thankful that Claire was there to hang out with me. She’s a social media guru and was just as pumped to soak up all things social media :)))
THURSDAY: Claire and I were the first ones to get to the conference in the morning. NERD ALERT. We got coffee, picked out our seats, chatted, did a little work…and waited. And of course we picked up all the swag they were giving out. We were also split into teams to help us network and chat business (<–I feel so fancy).
The rest of the day was filled with amazing speakers:
Carolyn Kopprasch, Buffer
Justin Kistner, Mixpo
Scott Monty, Scotty Monty Strategies
Chris Moody, Oracle Marketing Cloud
Daina Middleton, Twitter
Paula Berg, HP
Laurie Mueller, Facebook
Jamie Simoni, American Eagle
Chris Brogan, Owner Media
Favorite speaker: It’s hard to pick a favorite speaker because they all talked about so many different things, but I loved Carolyn’s talk about transparency. Did you know Buffer makes almost all of their information public, including employee salaries? They share their data with people so other start-up companies can have a look at hard numbers instead of general tips, and they can learn and succeed, too.
Honorable mention: Scott Monty was the head of social media for Ford and the Global Digital and Multimedia Communications Manager. He’s a very entertaining speaker and really took the room.
Then we wrapped up the evening with a bar hop in Ybor City. It was an exhausting day, but I loved every second…and third…and fourth cup of coffee ;)
FRIDAY: My buddy and I met up again in the morning and got ourself together with coffee and small talk with our tablemates before the first talks began.
Here were the second day’s speakers:
Sarah Evans, Sevans Strategy
Shannon Paul, Fifth Third Bank
Adrian Parker, Patron
Karianne Stinson, Priceline
Anthony Quintano, The Today Show
Brandon Andersen, Cision
Jim Tobin, Ignite Social Media
Jay Baer, Convince & Convert
Adrian Parker from Patron. <–BEST speaker of the day.
Claire was ‘gramming the carrot juice. I had her back.
Favorite speaker: Hands down, Adrian Parker from Patron was my favorite. He was engaging, relatable, and talked about how consumers are really the owners of the brand and it’s important to see how they interpret it. We have to get involved in the conversations they’re having about a product, especially when they don’t tag/mention your brand.
BONUS: They had a tweeting competition during the prez and I ended up winning! I took home a biiiiiggg bottle of Patron, which is pretty sweet :)
Honorable mention: Jay Baer’s presentation was actually a tie with Adrian’s. Jay is really a force. His talk was about “Hugging your haters.” He schooled us on how to deal with negativity and complaints from consumers, and how to grow from them. He’s coming out with a book soon, and I’m definitely putting that on my Christmas list.
I’m sad it’s over—and that Claire is back up in Baltimore without meeeeeeee—but they just announced that next year’s conference is in Orlando…and I MUST attend because it’s going to be bigger and better than ever.
SOCIAL MEDIA FOREVER :) <3
Edited to add: One of my friends requested a follow-up post with my top learnings from the conference, and I will absolutely do that! Keep a look out for that post coming soon :)