Social Capital Conference

It's been a very good year...

This year has been an exciting year of growth for us as a business. Our third year of being in business together has brought Lara and I so many good things:

  • More really interesting and fun clients to work with,
  • We launched a new program to help you launch or refresh your email newsletter,
  • We said goodbye to Social Capital Conference (a bittersweet decision, for sure), 
  • Our website got a nice refresh,
  • Lara and I have evolved to a more strategic approach with planning - and we get together regularly to keep things fresh and moving forward,
  • We started doing webinars! The latest that we had on planning had a great turnout and lots of interaction which made it very successful,
  • Lara has turned into a video-making machine, which means we have great content on our YouTube channel for you,
  • One of the very best things we did this year was hire Tracy Noble, who has become our business manager. She has her own business and we are not her only clients, but she has become integral to our success. (In other words, she makes us look good and keeps us on track!)

We're looking forward to even more great things happening in 2015. Next week, we'll give you a little preview of how that's going to look and what you have to look forward to...I'm having a hard time not spilling the beans now!

From Lara, Tracy, and myself, we hope you are having a lovely holiday season!

Social Capital Conference: Four years of fabulous

Saying goodbye with a smile.As some of you may know, Lara and I announced a couple weeks ago that this year would be our last organizing the Social Capital Conference. As two of the founders - and since Lara had the idea in the first place - I’m sure you can imagine that it was a difficult decision. It’s something we’ve been talking about for two years, in fact. We could see that long ago that we’d have to do something that far back. 

The conference was born out of a need for an opportunity to learn more about social media without having to travel far and wide to do it. We wanted to focus on learning and partnered with uOttawa and then Algonquin to support that focus. It worked. Year after year, we’ve had such amazing feedback on the sessions and the vibe of the conference. We’ve even had people fly in from both ends of the country to attend! It has been wonderful to be in the position of helping people learn more, inspiring people to progress to new levels, and bring them together to make connections. (If you’re not meeting people in person that you connect with online, you’re really missing out - I promise.)

This year, we’ve been seeing a lot of growth in our business and it was as clear as it could be that it was time to step away from Social Capital. We made the decision and we have no regrets or second thoughts. Our final conference was a success that we’re very proud of - we’re leaving this chapter of our work on a definite high note. 

I must admit that I was nervous going into this year’s conference. The growth we’ve experienced in our business made it harder to give the conference the attention it deserves and needs. It has been a fabulous problem to have, but it was still a problem. It was also the catalyst for finally letting go. We managed to pull off the day successfully and I hope that our divided focus wasn’t too painfully obvious. 

The speakers I got to see (Ariadni Athanassiadis, Mel Coulson, and Jenna Jacobson) were all really good. I learned more about Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation and other intellectual property concerns in social media from Ariadni - and had a chance to whine a wee bit about how frustrating it all is. Mel was so funny and engaging and gave amazing examples of great content and advice for creating great content. (Also, because she’s a professional writer, I was just wee bit nervous that she sat in on my writer’s block session! But I learned after it was over that she’s a very good live tweeter.) Jenna Jacobson, our closing kenote (sadly, logistics caused me to miss Trefor Munn-Venn’s in the morning…sigh) gave such a fun and informative overview of what “social capital” really is. I was excited about her presentation and she did a great job. I also think I want to get a PhD in information just like her. Because the things she’s studying sound incredibly fascinating (and also very cool)!

The networking is always my favourite part of the conference. Unfortunately, I get pulled in roughly a million different directions, so I miss out on a lot of the time for networking throughout the day. Maybe next year - if someone else takes it over - I’ll get to spend more time talking with all the amazing people who come.

To everyone who has supported us these last four years in any way - thank you, thank you, thank you. It’s been such an amazing experience for me and I’ve learned so much from the various speakers we’ve had as well as all the attendees who’ve come each year to learn with us.

Social Capital Conference - Why you should be there

Social media is an opportunity to build relationships online, but getting together with people who work with social media on a daily basis is an opportunity to learn and make connections that will pump up your efforts in a significant way.

Social Capital is the conference we’ve been running for three years. It brings people together from all industries and levels of experience to share and learn from each other. Here are five reasons we think that you, as small business owners, should be there.

1) The sessions

We have great sessions this year (including Karen and I!) that will help you learn how to improve your social media efforts. We are going to be covering topics such as:

- Email newsletters

- Bringing the life back into your blog

- Not being selfish with your communications

- Case studies from small businesses

- Creating great content

- Canada Anti-Spam Legistlation and copyright

- Social media strategy

2) The chance to ask experts questions in small groups

Our roundtable sessions are always a highlight of the day. You get to take part in small groups with experts on topics you’re interested in and because the groups are so small you get the chance to ask the questions that apply specifically to you, and get advice and input from people in the know, as well as your peers.

3) The amazing keynotes

This year’s keynote speakers are delving into the psychology of social media. Understanding who you’re talking to is key and this year we’ll go a step further into figuring out why we’re doing what we’re doing and how to communicate effecitvely with our audiences.

4) The speakers

They come from all different industries and they really know what they’re talking about. Because of the size of the conference you get the oppotunity to meet them, ask them questions and then connect with them offline later and stay in touch. It’s what I plan to do. :)

5) Meet and hang out with awesome people

Seriously. One of the best parts of every conference for us as organizers is watching everyone at the conference come together, have fun and really connect. It’s amazing to watch and hear the stories of lasting business relationships and friendships that have come from the conference.

So there you have it, five reasons I think you should be at Social Capital this year. And here’s a bonus one: WWC20 will get you 20% off at checkout when you buy your ticket.  

I hope you’ll be there - and make sure to come and find us and say hi when you do!

Social Capital Conference: lessons learned

This past weekend was a pretty busy one around here. On Friday and Saturday, people from all over gathered for Social Capital Conference, an incredible social media learn-a-thon. For those lucky enough to attend, you probably left with your head spinning, trying to process all the valuable information that was imparted over the two days of workshops, conferences and round-tables. For those of you who couldn’t make it, here are a few takeaways that pretty much sum up the weekend:

Video Rocks

Admittedly, video scares the crap out of most people. At Social Capital Conference, Anthony Wong taught us that not only is video easy to do, it’s also fun and really, really effective at getting your point across. Not only can you can shoot, edit and publish video all from your iPhone or iPad but there are apps out there that take the guess work out of creating fun, effective messages that everyone will love.

Lara took the iPhone video workshop - here’s the video she created entirely on her iPhone during the workshop.

There’s No Such Thing As An Overnight Success

Many start to use social media because they think it’s free and easy and you can get 10,000 in a week. In her amazing and inspiring Keynote address, Gini Dietrich shared the ups and downs of how to use content and interaction to build a community and that nothing really comes easy (although it can be pretty fun along the way).

Don’t Forget The Secret Sauce

Remember when you were 5 and getting a sticker for good work was the bomb? People haven’t changed. They still like to be acknowledged and made to feel special. By responding, engaging, interacting, rewarding and basically stroking people’s ego’s you will keep your audience coming back again and again.

Be Human

The message of the weekend was definitely to Be Human. People are online to feel like they are a part of something. Call it engagement, call it interaction but basically, the way to grow your audience is to be yourself.  When you talk to people online, use their names, respond to comments and reply to questions. By using all the common sense, offline business world strategies in your online world, you will, with time and effort, grow your online community and create something that you can be proud of.

Now go forth and be social and hope to see you at Social Capital 2014!  If you were there, share your best takeaway in the comments!

5 reasons you should be at the Social Capital Conference

We started Social Capital because we wanted somewhere close to home where we could bring the incredible social media community in Ottawa together.  In two years it has grown farther and bigger than I ever could have imagined.

Social Capital is primarily about connecting and learning but I will now summarize 5 reasons you shouldn’t miss this year’s conference!

1) Amazing experts

The folks who join us each year for Social Capital are always amazing.  This year we have so many names that are the experts Karen and I follow to keep up to date on all that is happening in the world of social media. Names like Gini Dietrich, Danny Brown, Susan Murphy, Bob LeDrew, Mark Blevis, Martin Waxman and so many more.

These experts know SO MUCH and we get to spend some time in person with them. 

2) Learn

I’ve been to some great conferences but the one thing I felt like I often was missing were things to come home and action.  We’ve asked all of our speakers to outline the actionables they’ll be sharing during their sessions and we really think you’ll leave the conference with new things to DO when you get back to the office or home.

3) Produce

The workshops are an opportunity to learn and produce.  In 3-hour blocks, experts will be working with groups of 20 people or less on specific topics and actually creating and doing what is being taught.  Topics like podcasting, mobile video, Wordpress, research, storytelling, webinars, and creative social campaigns! I can’t wait to get into some of these topics and the hardest part will be choosing which ones to go to because so many are applicable to me!

4) Ask your questions

The roundtables are one of my favourite parts of the conference because small groups get to chat about the topics that really interest them.  In groups of 5-15 you get to ask all the questions you have about a specific topic, and we’ll have 20 topics you can choose from!

5) Be social

Social Capital was started because of the amazing social media community that exists in Ottawa.  Social media is about being social online, but we actively encourage in-person interactions as well!  The conference is an opportunity to get together with people and build on the relationships started online or build new relationships you maintain online when you get back to your computer.  Social media is about relationship building and doing that in person is one of my favourite parts.

I really hope to see you at the conference.  We’ve got some great ticket promos going on, including a contest and a buy 3 get one free ticket option.  I truly believe almost anyone working with social media can get something from this conference and I hope to see you there!