Social Fresh East Had Me at Hello

Social Fresh East wasn’t just a two-day conference held in Tampa starting on February 7th and ending on the 8th at Doubletree by Hilton. For me the engagement, learning, and benefits started way before the conference, at online registration, and continue daily online.

The event promised “2 days of advanced social media training from companies like Ford, RadioShack, Nordstrom and more.” I would say, that the “and more” is where I am getting the most out of the conference.

Shortly after registering online, all registered attendees were invited by Jason Keath, CEO, of Social Fresh to enjoy a free tin of cookies from the Doubletree; and to join the closed Facebook group to engage with other attendees, speakers, sponsors and partners. Closer to the event, we were all invited to join the “freshmakers” at a pre-event Super Bowl Party, and opening and closing receptions.

It’s not just in the conference content where one has the opportunity to learn, it is in the engagement and hospitality of our hosts, speakers, conference partners, sponsors, and our fellow attendees. If you attended; take note of not just the content; but the conference focus; website; and the communication before, during, and after. I have been taking note of these areas with Social Fresh.

The people that benefited the most from the conference came early and stayed late, were open to new ideas, and got involved in on-site and online networking. If you don’t ask a question, you won’t get the answer. Those answers came from social conversations and during presentations. Social Fresh as a company and this conference’s amazing speakers are still answering and posing questions. They are still “being human” and providing social media content that “has value.”

The ideas of being human and providing social media that has value were brought up by Scott Monty, of Ford Motor Company during his keynote. He also introduced a concept that I wrote down and need to keep in mind. His goal of integrating the “earned”, “owned”, and “paid” social media for his campaigns. “Earned” is the most exciting of the three, as it involves being re-tweeted, quoted, and a part of traditional news sources. It also would pertain to YouTube sensations whose videos have earned them viral status. Being human and providing value help with the earned.

What impressed me about all of the speakers is that they talked all of the social media platforms as tools, not a strategy. They discussed social media as a part of a larger marketing strategy and kept the idea of engagement, not numbers, at the forefront. Even the question of “what is your twitter strategy?” was dismissed.

The theme of targeting current fans of the product or company also was evident in talks by Scott Monty, Jay Baer of Convince & Convert, Christopher Penn of WhatCounts, and other speakers. Mr. Monty stated a brilliantly simple thing that “people like what they like.” That’s probably not an exact quote, but he built on this to say, you probably won’t “like” or “follow” Ford in social media if you didn’t already have a positive experience with them. When working on my own social media, and with the clients I assist, I plan to reach out to current customers more than people who have never heard of these companies and brands.

Also evident and important was blogging often, including guest blogging. I have been following some great blogs by Social Fresh, HubSpot, Argyle Social, WhatCounts, Convince & Convert, and other companies who were represented by very personable, funny, and knowledgeable speakers. I list the companies, but could just as well say Jay Baer, Christopher Penn, Eric Boggs, etc. because, they write blogs that are human and have value when representing their company.

I literally could, and may (but won’t), write an e-book just about what I learned from Social Fresh. If you had the benefit of attending or wish you did, you can still visit the Social Fresh East website and it’s speaker page. Explore and connect with these speakers in social media, on their websites, and subscribe to their blogs. You will absorb immense knowledge by reading and by observing their writing style, timing, and integration of resources. They re-purpose these great articles in e-mail announcements, Facebook pages, and on Twitter with headline variations at different times of the day. Exceptional lessons by studying their examples.

Thank you Antony Francis and Amber Osborne (Miss Destructo) of Head of Lettuce Media for selecting me as one of your distinguished attendees, Jason Keath and Corey Creed of Social Fresh for your hospitality and continued dialog on Facebook and Twitter, Shauna Causey of Nordstrom for the inspiration and friendship on Pinterest and Clipboard, and Chris Penn of WhatCounts for your LinkedIn connection. Chris, what you know about Google Analytics and analyzing ROI for campaigns, e-mail, and social media is truly something that I appreciate and aspire to develop in my continued studies.

In closing, Social Fresh has some amazing, FREE trainings on their website for Facebook, Twitter, and Corporate Blogging. These include the best blog resources out there, for these three topics, as curated by Social Fresh.

Social Fresh rocks! Props to Corey Creed for giving us a great tip on Social Fresh Academy. You can pay for a month, and download all the videos, transcripts, and bonuses; and can drop if that’s what you decide to do. The full membership does have ongoing fresh content, so Cory (and I) encourage you to stick around.

You can find me on Twitter @JasonLongo and at the next Social Fresh East of course.

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