On a beautiful Friday in late April, I was fortunate enough to travel to Knoxville with the Howell Marketing team and attend Social Media Club of Knoxville’s Social Slam, also known as SoSlam. It was my second year to attend and it was totally worth the 6-hour drive across the state.
There have already been some great blogs written to recap the event; Chris Craft’s Social Slam versus your favorite social media conference is one you may want to read. I won’t attempt to top this.
I will share with you a few of my takeaways from the event. First off: Relationships. It’s all about the relationships. 12 hours in a car and sharing a hotel room will tell you a lot about a person. The time I spent with Howell team members Jessica Grammer and Kiersten Bagley was invaluable. I feel fortunate to work with these two bright young ladies and you should take the time to get to know them as well.
I can’t possibly list all the people I saw at SoSlam, but a few relationships stand out. Getting to finally met Deb Dobson in person was a highlight of the day. As was rekindling a friendship with Jayme Soulati. She was sweet enough to include me in her man on the street videos from the day. You can view it here.
My thoughts on SoSlam relationships would not be complete without mentioning my friend Amy Howell. Without her I would never have heard of SoSlam nor would I have met its driving force, Mark Schaefer. Big thanks to Mark for being the man behind the event.
Second, Data. We can’t escape it. We must learn how to use it and not misuse it. Tom Webster’s Keynote, Drowning in Data: How to Save Yourself taught us such things as:
- Social media doesn’t give you answers, just better questions.
- Always check the methodology of any study you read (hello, infographics?)
- How do you solve the problem of your social media reluctant CEO? Show him the numbers. Track everything.
- And, Florence Nightingale created the pie chart. (not really, but she was the first to use it for persuasion.)
Third, content. Lots of it. Marcus Sheridan was the perfect mid-afternoon speaker as he woke us all up with his high-energy presentation. He is a huge advocate of content marketing following almost going bankrupt after the recession. His use of inbound marketing not only saved his pool installation company but made their website the most visited swimming pool website in the world.
By answering every question a client has ever asked on his website, he created enough content to keep a visitor on his site long enough to educate them so well that by the time their sales team meet with a potential client, they closed them more often than not. As he said, “If you hang around the barbershop long enough, eventually you’re gonna get a haircut.”
But remember, data and content can’t and will never replace relationships. Which is why I have next year’s SoSlam already down on my calendar. It’s April 5, 2013. See you there!