#SoCon14: Social Media Conference

Luckily, I live in Atlanta. We may not know how to drive in snow (I know you were thinking it) but we are one of the most digitally connected cities in country. So, it is the perfect place for the #SoCon14 convention. This is a yearly digital 1-day conference on all things digital and social media. If you couldn’t attend, I’m going to provide a recap of all the terrific information shared by the panel and speakers and relate it to the blogging world.

While much of the content does relate to businesses, there’s still a lot of good information that we, as bloggers, can take and use to our own benefit. In fact, there was an entire session on building yourself as the brand, which I am a huge advocate of. And, isn’t your blog a business anyway?

The day begins with a panel of experts in who discuss various social media questions. Then there are three Breakout Sessions during the day of which it is nearly impossible to choose which one to attend without some feeling of attendee remorse.

No matter the session or discussion there were some generalizations that were consistent throughout the day:

  • If you don’t have time to do every SM platform pick a couple and do them right. But understand the context of them and be sure to pick ones where you audience is.
  • Keep the “Social” in Social Media – Make sure to have a human element to your posts, not just robotic posts.
  • Visual is key. People have short attention spans and don’t want to read. Make sure visual is a key component in your Social media.

Social Media Strategy in 3 Words (Phil Bowdle @PhilBowdle)

3 Words: Promote Engage and Encourage
Promote: While many businesses may be guilty of self promotion, so can bloggers. If you only tweet YOUR pictures, YOUR posts, you become a bullhorn. Promote others too and they will reciprocate.

Engage: Build a community around your blog / brand. Not only promote others, but build relationships by replying to tweets and give shout outs to your followers. Ask questions, post fill in the blank questions and even tweet trivia to engage fans.

Encourage: Add value to you audience’s life. Think about what time of day you are posting. In the morning post something inspirational. A review of a seafood restaurant may not be what encourages your fans early in the day, but maybe knowing about a lunch special might.

Building Yourself as the Brand (Tara Williams)

Create profiles on Linked In, Pinterest, Google+, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.
Make sure they are 100 percent done with a good picture of yourself. Post 5 times a day to really help you rank in the search engines. Plus, it can’t hurt to have your mug in front of people quite often.
Make sure you own your own domain name with an email address @yourdomain.com, none of this foodlover.wordpress.com.
Linked In is especially important for building your brand so be sure to put your area of expertise (writing, photography, recipe development) in your headline. Make use of connections and network with them. Engage with groups that you can work with.

Lunch Break
Yes, I’m going to talk about our lunch break. For one thing they gave us nearly two hours for it. And two, the cafeteria at Kennesaw State is simply phenomenal. Some choices were: Lamb Shank, Gnocchi with Truffle Butter and Poached Eggs on top of Pork Belly. Are these really options for college kids now? If they had all of these choices when attended I would have probably gained the freshmen 1-5-0.

Social Sauce (Josh Martin @JMart730) Social Media Manager, Arby’s

Maybe you’re not thinking Arby’s, but there’s no doubt that the brand did an incredible job with their social media. Did you know that they have raving fans that tweet about their sauce as if being without it is the equivalent of a zombie apocalypse?It’s so true that Arby’s decided to sell jars of their Arby’s sauce and used a fun social media campaign to generate interest.


We may not all have a huge social media team behind our efforts but that doesn’t mean one person can’t make a different. During the Grammy’s, Josh had his twitter stream open and when singer, Pharrell came out wearing a gigantic cowboy hat, he cleverly tweeted “Hey @Pharell, can we have our hat back. “It gardnered 64,000+ retweets and a response by Pharell that said “You tryin’ to start a Roast Beef?”
Just thinking about the creative team behind the campaign does make a bit giddy. Yes, I’m a total social media nerd. High five to Josh as a badass social media ninja and fellow Kennesaw State University alumni. Go Owls!

How to Build Your Brand with Visual Social Media (Lauren Thomas, @HelloLT)

You could tell that this was easily the most anticipated session of the day, as it was standing room only before we were moved to a bigger classroom. As Lauren engaged and made us laugh with her one-liners, there was still plenty of insightful information to be shared as well.

Meme image courtesy Lauren Thomas

Here are some quotes from Lauren from the session:

  • We are all publishers. We are all broadcasters. So the question is, What’s your story? The purpose is more important than platforms.
  • Use visual shorthand to produce shareable content and foster social engagers.
  • If your website and your social aren’t consistent in look and tone, then you might have social media schizophrenia.
  • Each one of us has a production studio in the palms of our hands and everything in our lives is content.

People have a short attention span. Using visual is important because it lets you use these as an introduction to your longer content. So, a picture or short video makes a user more engaged with you and want to click through to your blog.

Keep in mind with everything you do, you are building your brand, try to think in terms of your tone that you want to convey. This should come through in your visual posts and be consistent throughout all of your social media channels.

Some ideas for visual posts:

  • Before and after pictures
  • How To
  • Pop Culture References
  • Holidays / Seasons
  • Inspiration Boards

Lastly, SoCon really is short for So Connected. While this does center around social media, it is important not to forget human interaction. Take it offline once in a while and actually interact with and meet people face to face. At a tweetup? Put the phone down and engage with the people in front of you.

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