In this podcast I introduce the how, what, and why of the first social media event which I am organizing to serve the social media industry: The Social Tools Summit in Boston on May 12, 2015. The goal of this new event is to provide specific information about the plethora of social media tools that exist and how to leverage them to the marketers, executives, and agencies who need it. This will allow companies and organizations to reassess the social tools they’re currently using, discover new ones, and learn about those tools in depth via panels, speakers, and networking opportunities.
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In This Episode:
- When I first launched my social media strategy consulting company in January 2010, I realized back then as now that companies need help with their social both from a strategic and educational perspective. Since then my work has been a combination of strategy – my consulting work – and education – my speaking engagements
- I went into sales and marketing to meet people, and I love being stimulated by conversations
- Speaking has always been one of the favorite parts of my job; It allows me to engage with lots of people and help lots of people at one time
- I used to do a lot of networking events with my old brand, Windmill Networking, creating online relationships and then bringing those relationships into real world
- I have spoken at almost all of the major social media events, so I have seen what works at events and what content is already out there
- When in Boston speaking at the Marketing Profs B2B summit, I met up with my old colleague, Brian Mahony, who was VP of Marketing at Espial; Mahoney has been putting on similar executive events recently
- I have always been interested in putting on an event, and Brian is someone who has the experience and the infrastructure, who’s in a similar field, and who completely understands marketing
- I can create the content, curate the speakers, engage with the sponsors, and create a small, very unique, specific event
- People always ask, “What are your favorite tools?” Once you have your social media strategy in place and you know what you need to do organically, then ask, “Can I find a tool that’s going to help me do what I’m doing more efficiently, authentically, and without losing any emotional bond with the final user?”
- It’s hard to figure out what tools to use unless you do a thirty day trial, participate in a webinar, or have lengthy calls with a salesperson
- The goal of the Social Tools Summit is to share user experiences, case studies, and best practices for various tools
- This is why on May 12, in Boston, we’re having the first Social Tools Summit
- Opportunities for companies to build relationships with tools vendors, which can lead to access to betas, to information that, in these days of virtual interaction like webinars and Skype calls, can be hard to actually get ahold of
- Events are about networking AND education – panels and presentations are going to be incredible, and everyone that’s going there is just going to be focused on tools – it’s going to be eye-opening and valuable to keep your finger on the pulse of what is possible with tools in social media
- An invitation to listeners: If you want to be a part of it, if you want to get involved as a sponsor, speaker, volunteer, promoter, reach out!
- Visit socialtoolssummit.com for more details
Resources & Links:
- Follow Social Tools Summit on Twitter for realtime updates on the event! The event hashtag is #SocialTools15
- Speaking of tools:
- Social media functions that SEO tools can help with
Hey, everybody, this is Neal Schaffer. Welcome to another episode of Maximize Your Social. I know I broke a promise to you. I went to New York City this week, met some fantastic people, and was having so much fun that I was – just couldn’t make the time for the podcast interview.
I do want to tell you though that I had a chance to – in addition to teaching my class at Rutgers, had a great day, met Augie Ray. I don’t know if you follow him, but he was at Forrester. After that, he’s worked at several companies, Prudential Financial, USAA. He currently works at American Express, one of these great social media thought leaders that you should be following. Also Dino Dogan of Triberr and some other really, really great folks out there in the New York City social media scene. I’ll throw out Susan Borst as another name. There were many others I was hoping to meet. It was really, really a great – well, I was only there for 36 hours, but really, really great time. And obviously, those experiences that I have and what I learn, I roll out into everything I do, including these podcasts. So don’t feel like you’re getting the short end of a bargain.
Now if you listen to all these podcasts, my voice is just a little bit hoarse. Ended up – as usual, I’m very energetic and pushed the limits of my body, and I sort of caught a little cold, but I’m getting over it, and I feel really good. And I’m back here in my home office. It’s actually – kids are in bed. It’s a little bit later in the night, and I thought I’d take the chance to share with you some really, really big news. Well, I think it’s big news.
It’s the announcement of a new project, which hopefully by the time you’ll listen to this podcast, it’s already been published. When I launched my company in January of 2010, and those of you that have seen me speak probably have already seen this slide that I do, but I talk about that I realized the need – what do you want to do when you grow up? How can I help companies with social media? What do I want to do? What am I passionate about?
And it’s really a combination of two things: strategy and education. And the strategy obviously is the consulting work I do, the book Maximize Your Social, and that consulting – strategy consulting experience is really what gets rolled into everything else I do. The education comes in a lot of different forms.
When I started my career, I went into sales and marketing because I wanted to have the chance to meet people. I’m a very – I believe I’m a pretty outward going person, but I just enjoy meeting new people, meeting other people, creating relationships with people, learning from them, being stimulated by conversations, especially among different cultures, which is why I began my career in Asia, and I speak Japanese and Chinese.
But that is the reason why I really enjoy speaking a lot. I mean I enjoy everything that I do, but speaking is one of my favorite things because I have the ability to really interact with a lot of people over a little bit of time and know that I’m helping people on scale, right, which with a one-to-one coaching session is just a different feel, although that’s a very rewarding and a gratifying experience as well.
But one thing that I’ve always looked into doing are events. Now those of you that have followed me from my humble beginnings here in Orange County know that I used to do a lot of networking events. In fact, before Maximize Your Social and before Maximize Social Business, my brand was called Windmill Networking, and it was all about virtually meeting people online, but bringing those virtual relationships into the physical realm and getting people together face to face and learning from each other and seeing how we can help each other out.
So I actually created a LinkedIn group here, Windmill Networking in Southern California called SoCal Sushi. I also had a LinkedIn group in Japan which was called the Izakaya Club, for some who remember, but it was based on the same concept of hey, let’s get together regularly whenever I’m in Japan on a business trip or monthly. Let’s get together over lunch and have some sushi and meet each other and see how we can help each other out.
So I’ve always really enjoyed events naturally, and there are a lot of social media events which I have been honored to be a part of as well. Whenever I have a chance to speak at social media events, and I think I’ve spoken once at almost every major social media event now, from some that are as famous as they used to be or they haven’t been around in a while, but from Gravity Summit, A Blog World New Media Expo, Online Marketing Summit, Social Media Marketing World. I’ll be speaking for the first time at Social Media Strategy Summit in Las Vegas in February. I’ve spoken at iStrategy. I mean I can go on and on. Marketing Profs, recently spoke to in Boston at their B2B conference.
But one thing that has always been intriguing to me is to run my own event. Now it’s something that’s sort of been in the back of my head, nothing that I really planned to do. I’ve been – all these other event organizers that I’ve been able to get to know, I’ve actually given them all my ideas that I have, if I was gonna run an event, this is how I would do it. And I’ve spoken and attended so many that I think I have a lot of ideas.
So it all happened when I was in Boston at the recent Marketing Profs B2B Summit where I spoke with Jason Miller of LinkedIn, and this is just two months ago. And I met up with someone that I knew before social media, someone that I used to work together with at a company called Espial. He was our former VP of Marketing Brian Mahony. So we’ve known each other for 15 years, and he said, “Neal, I’ve been really successful putting on events.” He also does consulting like I do, and he’s a marketing genius in his own right, but we both came from the high tech world. He’s been putting on these executive-focused high tech events. And he’s built sort of an infrastructure to do that, and he’s already done a few of them.
And the thought came to my mind that said, wow, it’s really hard for me to do all this, but here’s someone that already has done it in a similar industry. We know each other professionally, and he’s a marketer and gets social, right? So the combination of someone that can handle that side and then myself where I can actually create the content, curate the speakers, engage with the sponsors and create a one-of-a-kind, albeit it on a very, very small scale, a very different, but one-of-a-kind, extremely valuable event for the community of businesses that want to take their social media to the next level.
And what we came out with, and this was really driven by my belief that I believe the market needs it. Now there’s a lot of other social media events out there, and the people that I know and a lot of the companies I know, they’re not relying on one event per year, right? They’re going to multiple events per year because they’re gonna meet different people there. There’s gonna be different speakers, learn different things. So first of all, I do not think this is going to replace any other event, and I look forward to partnering with other events, speaking at them and continuing to provide any opinions or ideas that they would like to ask of me.
But this event is gonna be very, very specific, and it’s funny because one of the questions I always get asked is, “Neal, what is your favorite tool?” And I think marketers in general – this is gonna seem weird, but I think marketers in general concentrate too much on the tools. The tools, once you have the strategy in place, and you know what you need to do organically, right, and you’re doing it organically, then it’s time to look at the tools to say, “Okay, I already know what I’m doing. Can I find a tool that’s going to help me do it more efficiently, more potentially authentically, any automation that I could add without losing any emotional bond with the final user?” and what have you, right? Because as we know, social media requires an investment. It’s either going to be people or tools or, in more and more cases, advertising.
So the tools is an important part, and even though I think that sometimes some marketers just rely purely on the tools without realizing that you need to have the strategy, the education and the experience of working these platforms organically to fully understand the value of the tools, the tools are still important.
I use a variety of tools. I’ve shared some of these on Maximize Social Business, but my thought is that there are a lot of different types of speakers at events, but whenever – and I have lots of relationships with lots of companies that provide social media tools. And whenever I talk to them, and I used to work for Tool Vendor, although a different industry, they have helped lots of companies in a lot of different ways. And sometimes, the marketing message on their website does not speak to the value of what their tools provide.
And if you are a company, you’re trying to figure out what tools should I use for any given function, it’s really hard to figure out what to do unless you do a 30-day trial, you go to a webinar that they host, maybe you do a call with their salesperson, but it’s really hard to get a feel as to what is the potential, what are the best use case scenarios for this tool? It’s really hard to get that information in a central place.
And that’s really the information that I want to provide. That’s the event that I want to provide to senior marketers, executives, agencies that they can either reassess the tools that they’re currently using or really understand these are the tools that they should be using by getting introductions to them through panels, case studies, not vendors pitching tools, but in a unique way in which this is where I want to bring my own value of really sharing the user case scenarios, the case studies, the best practices in not only using their tools, but using tools in the industry as well.
And this is the reason why on May 12th in Boston, Massachusetts, we are going to have the first Social Tool Summit. It’s going to be Brian and myself, have a staff, and we are looking forward to putting on a truly very, very small scale, but yet hopefully an extremely valuable event that will continue on after we do that event.
Obviously, Brian is a consultant, and I’m a consultant, so if companies need consulting after they attend the event and want to understand how to best utilize those tools with everything they also do in marketing or with a social media strategy, they can also get that help, but more importantly, they can build relationships with a lot of these tool vendors. And I think from those relationships come access to betas, access to special things, access to information that in these days of virtual webinars and virtual Skype calls, it’s very, very hard to get hold of unless you actually go there.
And because the subject matter is going to be of tools, whenever I go to social media events or any event, it’s about education and networking, right? So you know the people that you want to network with are going to be there, but the education is gonna be incredible in two different ways. From the panels and the presentations themselves, I’m gonna put my stamp of guarantee that they’re gonna be incredible, but on the other hand, everybody that’s going there, and it’ll be a one-day event, right, but everyone that’s going there is just gonna be focused on tools, so that’s gonna be the natural topic of conversation. And I think it’s just gonna be really eye-opening and extremely valuable for a relatively small investment to really keep your finger on the pulse of what is possible with utilizing tools in the enterprise for social media.
And that’s it. I love podcasts because it’s very, very hard to blog this. I could blog it, but you don’t hear the personal story behind it. Even though I could try to share it in words, it’s just a lot easier for me to do it over the podcast. You can hear the emotion in my tone. Even though it’s sort of late at night here and my voice is hoarse, I’m obviously really, really excited about it.
And hey, as always, I always introduce it first or I always introduce things deepest in my podcast, but I also want to send out an invite to you all. If you want to become part of it, and well, this is gonna be the first time. It’s gonna be in Boston. I’m flying out to Boston. No one’s gonna be paying for my airfare to fly out to Boston for the event or for my hotel room, but so if you live in Boston or live in the area and you wanna get involved, you wanna get involved as a sponsor, a speaker, you want to volunteer for a chance to attend the event, you wanna help tweet about it or help promote it or in any way, hey, reach out to me. I’d love to have your help, and it would be appreciated. And I think those that know me know that I don’t forget those that have helped me in my career, in my life and with my own social media.
So that’s it. This is a little bit of a different podcast in that I’m sort of announcing this Social Tools Summit, and you’re gonna be hearing more about the Social Tools Summit as we rev up towards that May 12th deadline. But if you go to socialtoolssummit.com, you should be able to see the details. We’re still obviously trying to finalize a lot of the speaker positions and a lot of the sponsors. That page will be updated pretty frequently over the next few weeks. But there you have it, socialtoolssummit.com. I hope to see you there, May 12th, Boston, Massachusetts, and that’s it.
We’ll be back with our “normal” format on Maximize Your Social next week. As always, I appreciate all the comments. If this is your first time listening to Maximize Your Social, this is like the 90th episode, so you have a lot of listening to play catchup on, so make sure that you download all my previous episodes. Give them a listen. If I can ever be of any help, if there’s something you want to me to cover or you have any question, you know that I’m always here for you. Please reach out to me, please, please, please. And all those ratings on iTunes and comments and comments and reposts on SoundCloud, thank you so much. It’s really gratifying that you are doing that, and it means that there is truth in what I say and that people are listening. And that’s my ROI, right, when I know that people are listening and my content is resonating with them.
So that’s it. I hope next week that my voice sounds a lot better; it should. But until then, until next week, hey, we’re at the end of the year, so let’s end on a strong note. Let’s start thinking about what we might want to be doing differently in social media next year. At the end of the year, beginning of the year, we’re gonna – let’s walk through an audit on how to sort of reformulate our strategy for the New Year. So be on the lookout for our next few episodes, which will concentrate on that.
And until then, I’m gonna end here. I have a time limit, and that time limit I’m already over, so hey, wherever you are in the world, make it a great social day. We’ll speak to you again soon. Bye bye, everybody.
Transcript provided courtesy of GMR Transcription Services, Inc.