Friday, October 26, 2012

Shes Connected Conference #SCCTO: The Panels and Speakers

This past weekend I attended the She's Connected Conference at the Metro Toronto Convention Center.

Up early on Friday morning in order to catch the 5:45am Greyhound bus to Toronto, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Greyhound has updated their services since last year.  The bus had wifi and each seat had a plugin for your phone/laptop/electronic device!

I arrived! After registering, I sat down at a random table, to discover that I actually knew a couple of the people from talking with them on Twitter.  Before going to the conference, I had prepped a list of the people I wanted to meet that I have talked with online.  I was able to meet most, but they were all very brief introductions because the conference was so busy!

She's Connected Conference Badge #SCCTO
I went to the conference to learn, therefore I attended a lot of sessions. Content Curation and Content Management, Content Mix, Visual Elements, and the panel were the ones that I personally enjoyed and learned the most from.

I thoroughly enjoyed the keynote session by McDonalds Canada, particularly hearing from the director of Ronald McDonald Houses across Canada.  I was able to talk with her directly afterwards, and told of our experience being on the waiting list for RMHC last year, and a suggestion based on our experience of needing a place to stay before our baby was born.  They needed me to be in Toronto in case of labour beginning since the baby needed to go to Sick Kids within minutes of being born.  At the moment, social workers cannot apply for space at RMHC until the day the child is born.  She was genuinely pleased to hear from me, and thought the suggestion was excellent feedback that she wrote down to take back to the company. 

Here are my top 5 things I learned:

1) Make a Content Calendar. When performing a social media job on behalf of a company, write up a calendar of upcoming tweets and posts to be vetted by management.  Arrange ahead of time whether you can respond to people without comments being vetted first.  Social media is new, and companies are not used to it yet. With experience the company can trust you to represent them.  Even if you aren't representing a company, a content calendar can be really handy for yourself personally as well!

This has already come in handy, as I started a contract this week facilitating a group with the YWCA where social media will form a large part. We have arranged to have any planned posts/tweets sent ahead of time to management to approve, but I am able to respond directly to anyone who contacts me online.

2) Pictures, pictures, pictures.  Pictures are extremely important in blogging. Yes, I knew this already, but I hate finding pictures to use through creative commons licensing.  It takes forever to go through to find one I want to use.  I'll have to try to remember to take more pictures. With a smartphone in my hands, this should be easy enough.

3) Keep writing.  Be yourself and keep writing.  Having good content on your site/blog is the best way to get readers and visitors.  No matter what your topic is, be yourself and keep writing!  I struggle with this because I've previously wondered what to write about.  The answer is to write about whatever your interests are!  That could be writing about a niche topic, or writing a variety of everything.

4) Learn from others.  Ask people what personal experiences or people have influenced their lives.  You will meet fabulous people, and hear stories that you will not have anticipated.

5) Community is amazing.  It was unfortunate that more people did not attend the panel.  It broached the topic of community, and how online communities in the face of adversity or difficulties can be life changing for people.  Although cancer is not part of my personal story, I was able to share about how being online was an amazing, humbling experience while looking for an organ donor for our infant son last year.

My next post will be about meeting the amazing brands and companies that I was able to meet at the conference!

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