Are social media conferences worth your time?

Are social media conferences worth your time?

By Beth Graddon-Hodgson, who is from Canada.  Which may make her opinions rather suspect, if not subversive. 

With constantly evolving demands in social media, it is interesting how there is such a high frequency of social media conferences when techniques almost can’t be taught.  Why do so many people feel the need to share their expertise on something when there are no real rules?

The question is on my mind because there are a number of social media conferences popping up around the Toronto Area. The 140 Characters Conference is on a North American tour and just happened here.  Blissdom Canada is another conference coming up this fall. Here are a few thoughts of mine about why these conferences are important and also some words of caution for those trying to learn from them. 

  1. There are no rules in social media or blogging, BUT – there are trends and guidelines and knowing what those are means that you can compete against others applying similar techniques.
  2. You get a feel for your competition – some of the most influential people speak at the events. Can you say “prime opportunity to keep your enemies closer”?
  3. Networking takes your brand offline – what we all need to be reminded of is that social networking is great but person-to-person connections are arguably more influential. Bringing online relationships offline can help network for the benefit of any brand. Imagine a real round-table rather than simply comments at the end of a blog for a discussion.
  4. You need to observe but not imitate – whether you’re writing for your business blog or blasting out tweets, a lack of authenticity or a unique voice will place you on the blacklist. Imitation may be a sincere form of flattery, but copying what you learn like following a blueprint will make people question what you have to offer. This can apply to your voice and extend to your business services.

Have you attended a social media conference? What has it helped you bring to the table for your business blog?

25 Comments
  • Rufus Dogg
    Posted at 09:03h, 21 September Reply

    I like the #140conf series simply because it is not about the social media tools but what people do with them. Most of the other conferences end up being groups of nerds all comparing the size of their influence or blog post comment stream and stuff like that. I think Jeff Pulver does a remarkable job “seeding” the 140conf with talented storytellers.

    I enjoyed the recent 140confONT albeit via Ustream

    Point #3 has GOT to be the most important, but one that gets missed almost entirely at social media conferences. Maybe because it is easier for many in social media to have a “conversation” online rather than offline? I dunno.

  • Small Business PR
    Posted at 11:40h, 21 September Reply

    I’m actually going to social media marketing seminar later today. I think they’re effective because most of the speakers are people who have run successful social media marketing campaigns. As you said, these are some the bigwigs in the field. Even if they don’t have all the answers – because you’re right, there are no rules – at least we can learn what worked for them. Learning from the experienced people in any profession always is enlightening.

  • ipad programming
    Posted at 00:36h, 22 September Reply

    Such seminars are useful from the point of sharing the experience and discussing the modern trends, as you rightly say there no rules. And yeah, they are fun)

  • Kevin Magee
    Posted at 20:15h, 21 September Reply

    There’s one aspect you overlooked; they’re a lot of fun.

    • bonnie
      Posted at 20:50h, 21 September Reply

      I agree with that!

  • Wedding Photographer Los Angeles
    Posted at 04:08h, 22 September Reply

    I think social media conferences are great, not just for learning new techniques, but also for meeting more people from the community.

  • Ralph
    Posted at 04:29h, 22 September Reply

    Thanks for the post, it seems like lately I’ve been invited to attend social media seminars at least once a week now through email. My company is so behind the times that I know they wouldn’t send me, but I liked your comment about taking the online offline and networking. I think that’s still the most valuable way to make connections and get some genuine business collaboration going.

    Keep up the great work!

    I totally agree, I think the days are long gone when you can hold the same type of job for 35 years and retire (well, unless you are an accountant). With the explosion of technology, and the new jobs that creates, we need to constantly update our skills. I’m learning Google Analytics and Google Adwords right now. It took me about 2 weeks of study on and off to feel ready to pass the Google Analytics Certification, but I did it, and now it’s one more tool I can use to market myself and find a better job.

    Keep up the great work!

    American Composer Ralph Kendrick

  • Ralph
    Posted at 04:30h, 22 September Reply

    Thanks for the post, it seems like lately I’m being invited to attend social media seminars at least once a week now through email. My company is so behind the times that I know they wouldn’t send me, but I liked your comment about taking the online offline and networking. I think that’s still the most valuable way to make connections and get some genuine business collaboration going.

    Keep up the great work!

    American Composer Ralph Kendrick

  • Website Strategy
    Posted at 04:55h, 22 September Reply

    Like every other form of marketing, however, social media marketing and branding has its cautions that need to be maintained. The most important of these is spam. With the tremendous ease of publicity, it is very easy for the brand to be overexposed. Once a business is branded as spam, it is terribly difficult to bounce back into good books.

  • Andy @ FirstFound
    Posted at 08:59h, 22 September Reply

    I’ve never attended a conference, but that’s mainly because there aren’t many large ones here in the UK.

    I’ve been really interested to hear people’s responses, just in case I ever get the chance to head over to the States to attend one.

  • Health Network
    Posted at 02:58h, 26 September Reply

    Really up-to-date article. Actually we prefer online conferences and suggest such service on our web site for health minded people.

  • Flygresor billigt
    Posted at 07:16h, 26 September Reply

    I have not attended a social media conference but I will try it soon because I have heard that it can be very good. Thanks for your post 🙂

  • Dean | Life Coach
    Posted at 08:43h, 26 September Reply

    It seems to me the main reason for going to a conference is for the networking aspect, isn’t it? I mean, a famous blogger is going to get so many tweets, emails, guest post requests, etc., throughout the day that they can’t keep them all straight. But the person who walks up and shakes their hand, that person will be remembered.

  • Raxe Advertising
    Posted at 19:56h, 28 September Reply

    I have attended couple of social media conferences and I must admit they were fun. Rather unique feeling which everybody should try to experience.

  • Drucker John
    Posted at 23:36h, 28 September Reply

    I agree with you………..

    London translation

  • Any Search
    Posted at 08:57h, 29 September Reply

    Hi, thanks for the article! I learn somethings good here….

  • Offshore corporation
    Posted at 03:56h, 03 October Reply

    Hi, great topic you started, yes social media has some bad effect and some good effect. Sometimes it has great impact on business promotion or gather people to protest on something positive cause then it is ok but most of the time people are just chatting and gossiping and image and video sharing just for fun and this tasks has no limitation,they spent their whole day in it then this social media is problem. Anyway thanks

  • nelson peltz
    Posted at 10:55h, 07 October Reply

    Great Post. yes social media conferences have worth and it has good impact on business.

  • Peter
    Posted at 07:53h, 10 October Reply

    I do not realy believe in social media conferences for people who never meet personaly (unknown ones) but I think that is a good help for people who already knows themself.

  • California Free mls
    Posted at 11:59h, 13 October Reply

    I believe it is beneficial to attend social media conferences because social media influence us somehow in many ways. Not everyone own a website but everyone uses the social media and from this we can understand the role of social media and events which involves it.

  • Husnain
    Posted at 12:03h, 28 October Reply

    Nice Share thanks for this post

  • George
    Posted at 08:05h, 23 November Reply

    Social Media has become a very important part of the every day life. We share nearly all information with our friends. Such a conference can be very interessting. I think there can be a lot of new information on the development of social media. And it is a great oppurtunity to share your minds with others. No matter if there are into marketing or not. I would attend at such a conference.

  • Web conferencing
    Posted at 01:14h, 29 February Reply

    This was exceptional tour – very valuable to all of us.

  • Edward Mullins
    Posted at 09:37h, 06 May Reply

    I believe any networking opportunity is beneficial especially for mareting your business. What better way to networ and learn fro professionals at the same time.

  • Translation Services UK
    Posted at 09:38h, 06 May Reply

    Great post, its also good to see how social media has evolved over the years.

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