Can I tell you how close I came to titling this one “Social Slam 2012: Ladies versus Gentlemen.” Anyone who was at the conference last week will know why.

There has been an abundance of recaps over the past few days about Social Media Club Knoxville’s AMAZING conference, Social Slam, and it is well deserved. Without a doubt, it was THE best social media conference that I have been to, and I have been to quite a few. The SMC Knoxville team, along with Mark Schaefer, ran an almost perfect conference. From the VIP party on Thursday night to breakfast and registration Friday morning, incredible sessions and speakers, lunch hosted by Bush’s Beans (although Adrienne and I did get a juvenile giggle out of serving beans to a roomful of 600 attendees …) to the closing after party that I heard was THE place to be—it ran smoothly and professionally.

In a nutshell, they knocked it out of the park.

Now that I have that piece of it out of the way, I want to offer my recap on the conference in the only way I know how: a completely unique point of view.

So, in my best 1970’s DJ voice I say:

This one is dedicated to the ladies …

This past February, Gini Dietrich wrote a #FollowFriday on her blog, SpinSucks, about Tony Bennett (no, not THAT Tony Bennett). Tony has an incredible post entitled The Queen Is King of Social Media … So Where’s Her Spot On the Throne?  in which he observes that not only are there not enough women giving keynote speeches at conferences, but also, when they ARE giving them, they are vastly underpaid compared to their male counterparts. So, it’s only fitting that Gini opened up Social Fresh with the first keynote of the day “Waking Up to a World of Integrated Communications.” From the moment she took the stage, she commanded the audience with her message of tearing down silos and marketing in the round—making marketing the core of your business and working your way out from there. By the time she was finished, I felt my inner Ronald Reagan channeling thru my blood, and I wanted to stand up and shout “TEAR DOWN THE WALL!”  Luckily, I regained my  composure in time to not do that. Gini is a class act and a true thought leader in our community, and I loved learning from her during her keynote.

The next lady to take the stage was the always giving and energetic Stephanie Wonderlin. Stephanie was one of the five panelists that made up the first Social Slam “50 Huge Ideas in 50 Minutes.” Stephanie spoke to the group about video marketing—an area that she knows a lot about. If you’ve never seen her Tweetheart TV channel, you must add it to your list of YouTube channels. Stephanie understands that a lot of people are intimidated by the thought of video; they know they should do it but have no clue where to start. She gave everyone 10 simple ideas to make it less intimidating, such as get personal, be relevant, it’s not Hollywood (loved that one), be short—get in and out in less than 2 minutes, and most importantly: get ready to sell.  Here’s an added bonus for those of you who are local to NC … Stephanie will be the Keynote speaker at ConvergeSouth this October!

With a name like Peacock, I imagine you would have a lot of people (subliminally) expecting a very colorful presentation, and Marisa Peacock from The Strategic Peacock did just that. She jumped right to the task of schooling everyone in better Community Management. So many of us in the audience spend hours upon hours each day making sure our audiences are engaged and heard. Some do it really well, and others, it’s like a dead-end road of comments. Marisa stressed that being a community manager was a lifestyle, not just a 9-5 job. If you’re on the East coast and you have customers on the West coast, you have to extend your hours to make sure they’re engaged, too. And since we’re all human, you have to automate sometimes. It was interesting to hear the comments that came after that … some agreed, others did not. What Marisa did NOT mean is that you automate your entire dialogue. Other points that Marisa made is that sharing is caring (personalize their experience!) and if you don’t care, why should they? I had the honor of sitting next to Marisa for the duration of the day and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her and sharing stories and strategy. She  is definitely someone that I will keep in touch with.

SMC Knoxville’s very own Treasurer, Lynsay Caylor, was up at the podium next. In her spare time, Lynsay also manages ALL the digital marketing for Pilot Flying J/Pilot Travel Centers. Lynsay’s presentation, “10 Big Facebook Ideas,” gave the group some fantastic real life examples of managing a robust Facebook page. She offered tips on keeping it simple, REALLY listen to your “fans” (They can tell you a lot of things that you may not see sitting in your office.), inspire your employees to be part of the branding and to embrace Facebook’s ubiquity. I loved this part—everyone knows what Facebook is. Whether they use it or not, your executive team has at least HEARD of it. They may not have heard of Twitter, Pinterest, or the five gazillion other social media sites out there. But they know Facebook, so use it to your advantage and when they ask “Where’d you find this?” always answer “Facebook.”  Lynsay also encouraged the group to really embrace the new timeline. I agree; it’s fun, and some companies have seen a whopping 46% increase in comments and engagement since they started using it.

After lunch, there were three breakout sessions, and I believe I sat in the only one that had a lady presenter. Amy Kenly of Kalypso was part of a panel that spoke about how to use social media for crowdsourcing. I’ve personally had great success using Facebook and Twitter audiences for crowdsourcing, but Amy gave us real-life examples, such as Proctor & Gamble’s approach using a microsite to enlist the opinion of their customers and how Dominoes Pizza turned to crowd sourcing during its recent sauce overhaul.

The last lady to take the stage was Dr. Alice Ackerman from Carilion Clinic Children’s Hospital in Roanoke, VA. Dr. Ackerman sat on the second Social Slam panel which featured four “new” social media voices.  She spoke of the issue they had where  parents were resisting having their children receive childhood vaccinations.  As a parent myself, I know this debate all too well and give her major props for taking this topic on headfirst—with a blog. She went on to tell the stories of her patients and her success stories of the parents minds that she was able to change.

I’d also like to note the ladies behind the scenes who made up the team of Social Media Club Knoxville. My hat’s off to all of you for a job well done!

Don’t think that the men didn’t rock their presentations—they did. There wasn’t one speaker whom I didn’t enjoy and learn from. I just wanted to dedicate this one to the ladies!

Kristen Daukas