I have been a public relations professional since 1991. Yes, I am dating myself, but I do so to point out how much has changed in the profession over the past 20 years. When I started there was no such thing as Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, or the myriad other social media platforms that have proliferated since then. In fact, desktop computers were still a recent addition to the workplace and the Internet revolution had not yet begun.
Today’s practitioners have seen the rules of public relations change in many ways. The environment is dynamic, constantly changing, and very confusing to us dinosaurs trying to keep up. I realized about five years ago that if I didn’t make an effort to learn and implement these new avenues for public relations, I was going to be left in the dust. But it’s difficult to learn about how to implement social media strategies in a constantly changing environment. There aren’t many college programs or formal training opportunities, so traditional methods for learning are hard to come by. There are lots of information sources on the Internet, but who do you listen to? What information is reliable? Authoritative?
It is for these reasons that I am attending this year’s Social Fresh EAST’s social media training conference. The conference is being held from April 18th to 19th in my home town of Tampa, Florida (a wonderful place to visit for those who would like to attend from out-of-town). This is the fourth year the conference is being held in Tampa and there is a terrific line-up of sessions and speakers. Billed as “the social media conference you’ve always hoped for,” this conference offers a simple and focused format. There is a single track that allows Social Fresh to focus on bringing in only the best speakers and takes the guess-work out of choosing sessions. There are no “filler” panel presentations and the sessions are short to encourage each speaker to present only their best information. Group learning is also emphasized with networking events each evening and online opportunities to interact with other attendees.
This year’s speakers include industry leaders such as Chris Brogan, author and CEO of Human Business Works, who will explain how to rise above the noise and make an impact with your social media strategy. Other speakers include Christopher Penn from Shift Communications who will provide insights on how to measure the bottom line, and Ryan Cohn from Ron Sachs Communications who will show us how to convert boardroom resistance into social media advocacy. Founder and CEO of Social Fresh, Jason Keath, will also present an overview of 50 social media campaigns. I’m looking forward to seeing how he will accomplish that amazing feat in only 30 minutes!
By attending this year’s Social Fresh EAST conference I am hoping to not only improve my social media skills, but meet face-to-face with other professionals who are navigating the ever-changing social media landscape. I’m looking forward to being able to meet, build relationships, and ask questions of some industry giants. Social media is an amazing new way to reach out and engage your audiences – building your business by creating relationships, which is the essence of public relations after all. If you don’t want to be left in the dust, perhaps you should go too!