The inaugural TEC Summit has come and gone and we were blown away by the success. Between our fabulous speakers, the beautiful venue, the delicious food and the inspiring workshop leaders, the two days went by way too fast.
We kicked off the event with a speed networking session where everyone met 10 new contacts in 30 minutes.
Our first speaker was a fascinating keynote presentation by John Yembrick, the head of all social media at NASA. Did you know that NASA has 409 social media accounts on 12 platforms?? John also talked about how social media has completely `changed the news and storytelling industry. Gone are the days of scheduled press broadcasts. Today news happens 24/7 and we rely on social media to get our information in real-time.
Our first panel, “How Technology is Making Influence a Predictable and Scalable Business” included speakers Holly Hamann, Co-founder and CMO of TapInfluence, Walter Knapp, CEO of sovrn Holdings, Inc., Tina Weyand, GM Content at Ask.com and our moderator John Gable, Founder of AllSides. The discussion centered around how technology has affected content and the ways in which brands communicate with publishers and consumers. According to Holly Hamann of TapInfluence, social media is where content lives but consumers don’t call it content. Consumers are using social media for the experience and to find people similar to them. Brands need to keep this in mind in order to relate to the consumer. Technology has affected influence by providing additional platforms for shareability and scalability, but at the end of the day our panelists agreed it all boils down to trust between the consumer and the brand.
The next panel was, “Maintaining Editorial Authenticity While Meeting Revenue Targets” where we heard from Heidi Nazarudin, Co-founder of BloggerBabes.com, John Toskey, Director of Global eBay Partner Network, Jon Alain Guzik, Founder of PasioMedia, and our moderator John Rampton, CEO of Due.com. Our panelists talked about how they walk the line of driving revenue and building their brands. Heidi Nazarudin says she’s turned down paid opportunities before because they weren’t true to her brand and she urged other bloggers to do the same. Jon Alain Guzik of PasioMedia said he turned down a partner who was driving 33% of his revenue because they were promoting overstocked products every day and that wasn’t the type of content he wanted to provide for his readers. The moral of the panel: focus on building a loyal following and the revenue will follow.
After a delicious lunch, Alexy Khrabrov, Chief Scientist at Nitro and Principal of By the Bay shared best practices for Twitter and online influence in his session, “So You Aren’t Justin. But You Can Be Amanda.” His talk looked at how a Justin Bieber super fan turned into a twitter celebrity in her own right. He looked at the data of how that happened and how you can replicate that success. The key message was that timely authentic content and picking up on what trends are hot at the time to your audience are the most important strategies.
The next afternoon panel was, “Building and Leveraging the Influence of Online Communities” with expert speakers Steve Roy, VP of Marketing at Disqus, Geoff DeFrance, SVP Digital at TEN, Alan Fields, Co-founder at Windsor Peak, Kate Kendall, Founder of CloudPeeps and our moderator Tom Furukawa, CEO & Co-founder of Enstigo. The panel discussed the difference between social media and communities. While social media has affected communities, the panelists said social media should be seen as a distribution tool and not a platform for engagement. Communities should be formed to give the audience a voice, an identity and a presence and then companies should determine how they will bring that experience to the rest of their online brand.
The next panel discussed, “What does Mobile Bring to the Enthusiast/Influencer Marketing Party?” This panel was led by our moderator Barry Levine, Senior Writer at VentureBeat and included Bridget Silvi, Sr. Director of Business Development at WeHeartIt, Lawrence Jones, Founder of Unlaced, and Jesse Leimgruber, CEO of NeoReach. Barry asked all of the panelists what they would do if smartphones were outlawed tomorrow. Bridget Silvi of WeHeartIt summed up everyone’s response when she said that their business would be in big trouble. However, she also said that all businesses would be in trouble without smartphones, especially if they were trying to reach the younger generation. Mobile has continued to grow in popularity and has become a crucial tool in every brand’s toolkit. But what’s next in terms of reaching consumers? Lawrence Jones of Unlaced said he thinks TV will come back and play a larger role in user targeting while Jesse Leimgruber of NeoReach chose virtual reality.
Our last (but not least) panel of the day was, “How Enthusiasts Have Changed the Face of the Fashion Industry” led by our moderator Maghan McDowell, Style Reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle. The speakers featured Tyler Blake, Entrepreneur, Vlad Dusil, Co-founder and COO of PurseBlog, Nathan Johnson, COO and Co-founder of Artful Gentleman, and Robyn Hagan Cain, Editorial Manager at Joyus. The panelists talked about the use of social media in promoting fashion, for example, the objective of Instagram is to create desire and is not all about sales. When selecting influencers, brands need to decide if they want to drive long-term traction, or if they want to drive traction now, said Vlad Dusil of Purse Blog. In the fashion field, influencers can include bloggers, social media stars or celebrity athletes, but no matter what our experts said they are key to a fashion brand’s marketing strategy.
We closed down the day with Jeffri Chadiha, Sports Journalist at ESPN who talked about his experiences with journalists, sports personalities and how modern day media has been affected.
Thank you to all of our speakers, partners, sponsors and attendees, we couldn’t have put on this wonderful event without each and every one of you. A special thanks to our MC John Rampton.
For more details on all of the panels and sessions, please check out the videos on YouTube and additional photos from the two-day event on our Facebook page. Stay tuned for the 2016 event, we hope to see you all there!