Things are hotting up! There are so many people who are willing and have offered to help, I feel like I should list them all! But I’d be here all day I think. But here’s where we have got too. Based on the general consensus of opinion, a few things are quite clear, so I wanted to get your views on them.

The conference will be held in September, in the Celtic Manor, as this will be part of the sponsorship Real Radio can deliver. Mark Schaefer will be the keynote speaker. The conference will be simple and pretty linear – we’ll have a Sponsors dinner the night before, a coffee reception the morning of, and straight into it. We’ll have the normal format of a speaker for the morning (TBC) and Panel, then a lunch, at which time, every attendee will get a copy of Marks new book, and the opportunity to get that signed by Mark directly.

Then in the afternoon, maybe one more speaker (TBC) and the Keynote, wrapping up by late afternoon. We’ll finish with an after show party!

The venue is a small part of the sprawling estate,up near the golf courses, and pretty self-contained, so it will be a hot-house of networking and sharing of ideas, as there will be coffee breaks and the chance to hang out immediately after the event too. I am looking at securing a delegate rate for rooms for the more adventurous. I am hoping the cost will be around £50 (again TBC)

The content! This is where I need more input, I’ve got the practical stuff sorted I think, I want input on this bit please.

So far, we are looking at providing a discussion about building followers for your social media campaigns. This isn’t going to be about buying Facebook accounts or programming spam bots to drive your ‘klout’ score! This is about building an engaged and targeted audience that will tundertake a metaphorical journey with you from unengaged through engaged, thorough trial and adoption and into advocacy for your brands.

I am being asked for a focus on content creation. This is the element that will ignite your social media strategy! So this will be the panel part of the day. We’ll have authors, bloggers, video bloggers and all sorts taking part and sharing best practice and ideas to kick you off, or re invigorate you, depending on where you are in your business.

And the final theme is about ROI – return on investment for sure, but return on influence too. This is Marks specialist area. The guy has published two best-selling books, has two advanced degrees (in business and behavioural science) and has got 30 years experience in global marketing. He includes as his customers the British government, and spends a lot of his time as a university lecturer.

I think we have that covered!

So, in summary: How do we do it, and how do we know its working! What can I learn, and what do I look out for? Where can I improve, and where am I already winning?

All sounds great to me (Really great actually!) But what do you think? Give me feedback on this part especially – I am trying to capture what everyone is telling me, but I want to make sure everyone has a voice too.

As regards the help that’s been offered, we are naturally and by default evolving into groups already. I have a brand / naming group set up ( @Joel_Hughes, @brandnatter, @thisisbencook, @mrsmoti etc) who will be helping us create a position for the event and turn that into an identity and then take that online.

We have a logistics group headed up by @Nick_Miles and @waveriderswidow that are responsible for the AV, staging etc. I have A few others involved with me directly on content curation. I have volunteers to sell sponsorships. We wont need much else? We need to market it like mad when its ready to go, but what else? Am I missing anything? And do YOU have anything to offer the groups that are already forming?

If you are able to contribute and I’ve not spoken to you, PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT here or email me direcly. It’s a struggle keeping it all connectd and doing the day job, I am doing my best to get to everyone, but no one minds a bit of a prod now and again!

This is our event people, we are talking social media back from the sharks, the shysters and SEO con men and the people who only want to sell their products to us. We’ll be creating an event with learning and sharing at its heart. An event thats sole purpose is to help you. Just like social media itself really!

[email protected] or @radiojaja

  1. Aimee Bateman
    Aimee Bateman says:

    Most of it seems to be focused on how to gain revenue through social media – and rightly so! However, many companies increase their profits by having the best workforce. Maybe some time could be put aside to teach people how to use social media to attract and source talent? Just a thought

    • Tony Dowling
      Tony Dowling says:

      The Brands social profile is at the heart of what we will be talking about, and you’re right to point out thats not just about revenue! Its about engagement, engagement from the clients / customers / employees / suppliers etc.

      Thanks Aimee, and I’ll take you up on your offer of sourcing someone in this category! Also, I’ll need to speak to you about our content panel!

  2. Aimee Bateman
    Aimee Bateman says:

    Great – I have 2 people who have taught me so much about social medi as a recuitment tool who are based in London and may well come down for a night at the Celtic Manor. They are very passionate about what they do, so think they would be up for it. The panel sounds exciting – let’s catch up to discuss (over a club sandwich and chips)

  3. Andrew Miller Photography
    Andrew Miller Photography says:

    As well as social media also look at the more ‘traditional’ methods such as good website design and SEO techniques, off page and on page etc.

    It’s all really part of the same Online Presence strategy business should have. If you use SM to drive people to your brand / business yet your site is unfriendly or unusable they won’t buy.

    Basically SM is a small part a companies online brand and overall marketing strategy.

    On a more personal note I’d be happy to take any publicity shots etc before during and after the event.

    • Tony Dowling
      Tony Dowling says:

      Thanks Andrew, in answer to your question, theres a couple of points
      1) I think SMM is so closely related to ‘traditional’ on line marketing these days, its difficult to make the distinction! Especially when it comes to inbound or content marketing. It is much more than a small part of the mix.
      2) In my experience, the more focussed something is, the better it is understood and then the better the response. So I want to keep this very focussed on the Social Media Side of things rather than stray elsewhere!
      3) There appears to be a general distrust of the sort of events that you describe, given the rise of what Mark Schaefer himself has described as ‘the new snake oil salesmen’ , self proclaimed SEO experts and the like – and to be fair, self proclaimed social media experts too!

      You’re offer to take the pictures is very kind! I’ll take you up on that!

      Thanks for the comments, welcome to the blog!

      • Andrew Miller Photography
        Andrew Miller Photography says:

        I totally agree the self proclaimed SOE / SMM stuff Tony.

        My point was for business to think about SMM as part of a marketing strategy that aso includes many other areas. I have been to loads of seminars etc and all they basically say is that SMM will save your business so go out and do it. No stuff around production / marketing / sales strategy tie-in to allow the business to fully gain the benefits. No stuff around SEO etc. Result is lots of people doing stuff that is wasteful on time and money with little or no return – any wonder SEO / SMM gets the snake oil treatment?!


        • Tony Dowling
          Tony Dowling says:

          Its a fair point, and I hope we’ll be much more focussed on what to get and how to get it. We’ll have a large element of content creation, I hope a section about building a target audience (client base) and much of Mark Schaefers talk will be around online influence and how to measure and utilise it.
          The broader marketing strategy element will be a step to far, but there is also lots of talk at present about extending this idea as its proved so popular
          The extensions would certainly get into the areas you suggest, marketing audits, strategy and control techniques for instance
          Thanks again Andrew, valuable insight

  4. Claire Davies
    Claire Davies says:

    Hi all – let me introduce myself first of all. I work for the University of Glamorgan on a project called DEHOV, whereby we are offering businesses in the valleys area IT training (free of charge, subject to state aid status) relevant to their business and giving them university credits into the bargain. As you can imagine, social media is a huge area for us – we’ve specifically developed a module for this as a result of demand from local business and have huge interest in it. What we’ve found from talking to business is they know they should do it – they’ve set up various accounts and dabbled a little, but aren’t really clear what to do and how to use it effectively for their particular business – and as we know, every business is different. It’s important, more than anything else, to clear the mist and help people understand the tools that are best for them and their target market, what’s out there, how to use them (the nuts and bolts) and the do’s and don’ts of using them.

    I’m referring to Aimee’s comment on teaching people to use it – we have a number of tutors delivering this module for us. We may be able to get one of them to do a workshop as part of your event.

    • Tony Dowling
      Tony Dowling says:

      Thanks Clare that sounds brilliant! How would you like to do a guest post for the blog explaining exactly what you guys do? It fits nicely with the ethos of CFSA! Perhaps we can also talk about the conference too at some point?

  5. Dickie Armour (@DickieArmour)
    Dickie Armour (@DickieArmour) says:

    I’m a follower of Mark’s and heard about your conference via his blog.

    Well done on getting Mark over for it. It should be awesome!

    Be good to know who the target audience is for your conference Tony.

    Complete novices
    Those using social media but who still need to learn
    Advanced users
    Individuals and/or businesses
    Small business
    Big brands

    I think it’s always tempting to be everything to everyone but the conferences that focus on a specific audience and/or subject are the ones that do the best, get more bums on seats and get a bigger buzz going around them.

    A “Social Media Conference” covers a huge range of possible subjects and experience. It’s key to make sure people know exactly what it is they’ll be coming to.

    I hope this helps.

    I’m in Bristol and will spread the word for you. Do you have a website for the event? Happy to provide free web hosting for you if you need it.

    • Tony Dowling
      Tony Dowling says:

      Wow! Thanks Dickie! we are working towards getting a website up with all the information on it, I’ll let you know when we do.
      Its amazing Mark is coming over, he is a very kind bloke I think!
      Market is as you say, probably those that have some idea of what they are doing. We won’t be teaching people how to use twitter for instance, but we will be talking about content creation and the power of the social web
      look forward to meeting you at the event