Thursday, March 25, 2010

OptSum: Getting out of the Social Media Bubble

For the last three days I've been in Dallas attending and presenting at the Social Media Optimization Summit. The event was organized by Tami Siewruk and her team, and in many ways, I was an outsider. Which was a good thing.

The event was aimed primarily at the apartment industry and property managers. While Tami put together a very solid lineup of social media speakers, such as Jason Falls, Chris Penn, Geno Church, Charity Hisle, myself and others, many of us had little visibility in Tami's 'space'. This was great, because it meant that the audience, for the most part, had no pre-conceived notions about us, and our ideas and teachings had to stand on their own merits.

What I loved about the audience was that every thought we put forward was refocused through the lense of 'how does this work for my industry?' Normally when I speak at a marketing/social media event, the audience isn't this laser-focused on one particular sector or industry. But the people I met at #optsum were passionate about learning more about social media, and how it can work with and be incorporated into their current marketing efforts.

But I have to admit, as the event unfolded and I sat in on several workshops, I began to get a bit worried about my workshop. My Think Like a Rockstar workshop was focused on how rockstars create fans for their music, and how companies can replicate this via social media to create excitement for their own efforets. It was definitely the black sheep of the agenda, but somewhat to my surprise, there wasn't a chair left when the workshop started. I think that's because these people are passionate about their tenants and WANT to connect with them and were excited about the potential of using social media as a way to create and nurture relationships with their customers. It was very inspiring to see!

And speaking of inspiring, I loved how all the attendees were so passionate about Tami and her events. This is the first time when I have had attendees refer to a series of conferences as being 'life-changing events', but I heard that description more than once. Tami is planning on having a similar event (only bigger) back in Dallas in September, and if you are in the apartment industry (or even if you aren't), I highly recommend you attend!

BTW if you couldn't make it to Dallas, here's the slidedeck from my Think Like a Rockstar workshop:


Ryan VanDenabeele said...

Mack, I heard your class was great. I was at optsum but choose to attend a different class which was fantastic as well and I learned plenty. It was a coin flip situation.

Thanks for providing the slides from the Rock Star presentation.


Mack Collier said...

Hey Ryan! I think that's actually a key to having a great conference; Forcing attendees into making a tough choice at every time slot. Cause if there are 2 'must attend' sessions on at the same time, I will attend one, and then ASK OTHERS about the other one.

And that definitely beats only having one good session a day, right? Hope to see you in Sept!

Mike Whaling said...

Thanks for being a part of #OptSum, Mack -- it was great to see a packed house for your session. Tami's events are top notch, and this one was no different.

I love your point about the lack of preconceived notions about the speakers. I'd add that the event also challenged the speakers to think differently, to focus their efforts on an industry that they might not be too familiar with. Chris Penn did a fantastic job with this in his session, and your stories & ideas certainly challenged the audience to think about community-building differently.

Great to finally meet you, and I hope to see you again in September!

Mack Collier said...

Mike you're right about Chris, he did a great job of customizing his deck to the apartment industry, I was actually thinking about mentioning that in another post.

Good to finally meet you as well, Mike, hope to see you again in Sept!

Geno Church said...

Mack I would love to chime in. It truly was an engaging event… much respect to Tami and the OptSum staff.

Also I want to amplify how much I enjoyed engaging with the attendees… what a passionate bunch.

Also in a weird way the dynamic of the conference allowed me to chill out and be an attendee. It was great to sit and watch Mack,Chris,and Jason work it.

Mack Collier said...

Geno I really didn't realize it until I read your comment but it WAS an engaging event! Even though almost all the attendees were from the apartment industry and we weren't that well-known, they all went out of their way to connect with us. That's very impressive and a testament to them and Tami for connecting us all!

Unknown said...

Mack, thanks so much for such a thoughtful post! I’m glad that so many people enjoyed the event as much as we enjoyed putting it together! I do want to add one footnote, though… this particular event attracted largely from the multifamily community because that’s the industry I’m coming from and this was our first production of this kind; but we designed the event to meet the needs of anyone, from any industry, who’s interested making better use of social media. I’m confident we’ll see broader participation at future Optimization Summits, starting with the next one in September!

Scott Hepburn said...

Glad to hear your perspectives as an "outsider" at a conference, Mack. So often those of us in the PR/marketing/SM fields talk to each other...I love when I have a chance to speak with groups that aren't as immersed in this stuff as we are.

As bloggers, we tend to focus so much on the solutions. Whether we talk about strategy, tactics, technologies, objectives, it seems we tend to focus on the answer side of the equation.

Talking to groups like the one you spoke to is a good reminder that there's always someone out there whose life is consumed by the challenge/problem side of the equation.

Shashi Bellamkonda said...

Hi Mack,

it was great to meet again and spend some time. I heard fantastic things about your session.

Tami deserves kudos for putting on a great conference. Looking forward to our paths crossing again.