For the past two days, I have been deep down south in Tampa, Fla. for Social Fresh Tampa. And, as a newbie to the whole conference-attending scene, it’s safe to say that I’m both a believer and a fan.
For those who don’t know about it, Social Fresh Tampa is a social media conference designed for marketers put on by Social Fresh (and this year’s partner, Hubspot). Throughout the conference, us attendees had the opportunity to hear from varying social media experts including (but not limited to) Paula Berg (@PaulaBerg) of Linhart PR, Justin Levy (@JustinLevy) of Citrix and Schneider Mike (@SchneiderMike) of Allen & Garritsen. Social Fresh–a social media education company–works to improve marketing through social media by offering learning opportunities to marketers, business owners, etc. They offer a variety of opportunities to expand your knowledge on the ever-changing world of social media through events like Social Fresh, Super Panel and the Social Fresh Cruise (I will go on this at some point!).
Throughout the past two days, I’ve learned countless tips and tricks for utilizing social media for marketing (and how to maximize results). Although, like many others thought, the most valuable presentations came from Schneider Mike on Location-Based Services (LBS) and Paula Berg on the Social Media Poisons.
LBS is obviously outgrown its newbie phase and is well on the rise. However, as Schneider pointed out, it’s intriguing to see that companies aren’t doing what they should. They aren’t jumping on the LBS bandwagon and offering what their customers want — exclusive offers and services. By “checking in” at various locations, we (the consumers) are telling the world, “Hey, this is me and I like this brand,” but the next step, interaction, isn’t happening. Companies aren’t reaching out to their frequent visitors (who could be considered to be advertisements) to improve the relationships and they aren’t enticing the customers to return with non-existent rewards.
In effect, it’s time to get with the program folks. LBS isn’t just a fly on the wall of social media. LBS is here to stay.
Most surprisingly, the comment I found to be most memorable didn’t come from one of the chosen speakers, nor did it come from a seasoned professional lurking in the audience. It came from someone like me, a public relations student (@MeganGetter). In response to the slightly unfair consensus that the younger professionals don’t know squat about their new industries/companies (possibly true) AND they don’t know social media, Megan replied with the following to sum up the point of social media (and prove that some of us are in the know):
“You can put it all out there with social media, but if you aren’t listening then it means nothing” — Megan Getter, @MeganGetter
Social media is about relationship building and listening is key to that. Just as you can’t build a completely one-sided relation IRL (Twitter lingo: in real life), you can’t expect to people to continue listening–especially millenials–if you refuse to hear what they have to say about you and your product.
Marketing via social media is like networking for your product. It’s building relationships to help promote your [FILL IN THE BLANK].
So, all that being said, I was completely dumbfounded when a public relations professional (of 15 years) responded to my advice-seeking tweet with the following:
OG Tweet: ‘d like to move to #Chicago to pursue a career in public relations and social media. Any tips? #happo #u30pro #prstudchat #pr20chat
@LaurenGillaspey Network. Throwing that out there with every hashtag isn’t doing anything but saying u don’t want to look 4 work. #pr20chat
I think this is completely ludicrous. Social media is networking. Yes, you aren’t face to face, but you can’t always be face to face can you?
The truth is I do look for work. I look for work in every way that I know. I blog. I search job boards. I scan RSS feeds. I attend career meetings. I network in person. I attend conferences. But, sometimes networking in person isn’t good enough, because you can’t always be in person. Networking doesn’t have to be refined to the limits of your physical location with the help of social media. And, in my original tweet, I wasn’t asking for a job–I was asking for advice as I am unsure of so many things when it comes to job hunting, relocating and professional world in general.
After everything I experienced at Social Fresh, I’m glad I decided to go. Although I would very much love a real PR job, that wasn’t my point to attending the conference. My reasoning for attending it was to network and to expand upon my knowledge of social media. And that’s just what I did.