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?