Next Year, You Should Go to Blogworld
In mid-October, Las Vegas was host to Blogworld Expo, a 4,000 attendee conference focusing on the broad category of social media. In its fourth year, the three day conference has grown well beyond its blog-focused beginnings and has expanded to cover a wide variety of social media-related topics and beyond.
Held at Mandalay Bay, a keynote was given by Mark Burnett and sessions covered everything from content creation to distribution to monetization to business development to podcasting to mobile to affiliate marketing to design to, yes, social media.
Ford is Social Media's Poster Boy
Ford had a heavy presence at the show with a section of the exhibit hall looking almost like a car show. But, this being a social media-focused conference, Ford had a collection of cars on hand for attendees to test drive over the course of the three day show.
During the conference, author and speaker Brian Solis sat down with Ford's social media guy, Scott Monty, to interview him about the recent introduction of the new Ford Explorer, a program that took the vehicle to the people versus the more traditional automotive journalist reveal approach.
The program, which included an eight-city vehicle tour and an integrated banner/Facebook campaign resulted in a 1.5 times increase (compared to in Build and Price, the process by which a person can build and price a customized vehicle online.
Also discussed was the introduction of the Ford Focus and the Focus Rally America, a program which gives six cars to six teams of two people and sets them off on an Amazing Race/Hulu co-sponsored race that will result in the winning team getting $100,000 and the ability to give away ten Ford Focus's to people who helped them along their journey.
Sessions ranged from cooking and social media to SEO to blogging to mobile to content to photography to creation to cause marketing.
In a session entitled The New R(evolution): Blueprints for Business, authors Amber Naslund and Jaey Baer shared their thoughts how how social media has changed the way brands and consumers interact. In the session, it was noted major cultural shift within corporation are (and need to) take place to adapt to the new method of communication that is now available.
Brands need to identify what they already have internally in terms of smart people who are naturally connect to the social media grid. While they may already have the skill to navigate the social media waters, they'll need guidance to help them appropriately represent the company to their followers.
SocialFresh Founder Jason Keath led a panel entitled How to Hire A Social Media Company. On the panel were Edelman's David Armano, Ignite Social Media's Jim Tobin and Digital Dads' C.C. Chapman. Out of the panel, emerged nine tips for brands (and even agencies) looking for social media expertise.
During a panel led by Powered Director of Strategy Valeria Maltoni, the three panelists, Proff Integrated Communications Managing DIrector Dallas Lawrence, Holtz Communication + Technology Founder Shel Holtz and Ford's head of social media Scott Monty shared their views on crisis management in social media. The panel offered up ten tips for managing crisis in social media.
And in a panel led by AdFreak's David Griner called Like it or Spike it, several traits emerged for successful social media campaigns:
1. Be authentic. In this medium, platitudes don't work.
2. Make it brainlessly easy for people to participate. Don't make people jump through too many hoops.
3. Make sure there is a clear and concise call to action. Too many brands are unclear in their explanation of how people should participate.
4. Avoid blatant self promotion within the campaign.
Just as important as the session and keynotes at a conference, the parties offer a chance for attendees to relax, mix, mingle and learn from their fellow industry mates. At Blogworld there wasn't, nor has there ever been, a lack of opportunity for attendees to leave their elevator speeches behind and get real.
From the the night before the conference began when Scott Stratten hosted a Tweetup to the events party organizer Joseph Morin held every night in his suite at the Luxor to Klout's KloutUp at one of the suites at the Palms to the ever popular and ever awesome TechSet party held at Aria's Liquid Pool Lounge to Blackberry's APPy Hour at Mandalay Bay's International House of Blues Foundation Room to Mashable's crazy MashBash at Haze Nightclub to the final closing Techkaraoke party at The Pearl, there was never a dull moment at night.
When we heard we'd be staying at the Tropicana for Blogworld, we didn't exactly jump for joy. After all, the place was built decades ago and had long faded into Vegas' background. It's had a long and glorious history but, over the years, was neglected.
Until now. It's been renovated.
It's new from the ground up. And it's beautiful. And the coolest thing? They pump tropical smelling air through the ventilation system so you feel like you're in the tropics. Nice touch. Seems the food was renovated too becasue our meal at Biscayne was delish.
If you care, you can take a look at a video we shot of the suite we stayed in. It's no cinematic masterpiece but it will give you a feel what what the place is like. You know. In case you ever want to stay there.