Social Media Week Chicago ended last Friday in celebration as participants gathered for a final closing party at Sound-Bar in downtown Chicago. The week featured a lineup of 95 events, spread across 40 venues, with more than 250 speakers and more than 16,000 registrations, doubling the number of registrants from 2011's event.
Social Media Week Chicago hosts Zocalo Group and the Chicago Tribune, with support from city sponsor Brickfish, helped put Chicago securely on the global map as a pioneer in the social and digital space.
Chicago helped lead the online conversation among the 12 other cities hosting Social Media Week, including Barcelona, Berlin, Bogota, Glasgow, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Torino and Vancouver. Chicago followed Los Angeles and London with the third highest number of attendees at Social Media Week.
This year's global conversation focused on the theme Empowering Change through Collaboration. Keynote speakers like Eric Qualman, founder/author of Socialnomics; Bridgette Sexton, global entrepreneurship manager for Google Ventures; and staff of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office were among those helping to uncover how social media is encouraging change.
"The overwhelming success of Social Media Week demonstrated once again that Chicago is a city where innovation is born, entrepreneurs excel and conversations lead to real change," Mayor Emanuel said. "I'm proud that my administration took a lead role organizing Social Media Week programs and offered Chicagoans unprecedented access to leaders from my technology team, the CTA, the Chicago Public Library, the Chicago Public Schools, City Colleges and City departments."
A few of the social media tips, trends and best practices that came out of the Social Media Week Chicago conversation include:
Evolve your voice: Know what tone is appropriate, and match your messaging and style to the channel.
Keep content short and sweet, and convey emotion through images.
Find "experts" in social media communities to create efficient lines of communication.
Look at where your leads are coming from, and use the search features of social networks.
Don't be afraid to make mistakes in social media, but be transparent and learn from them.
Remember three key steps to achieving social media success: Post. Analyze. Optimize.
Stay connected, and use social media to work together to solve real problems.
With 3 billion new people expected to connect to each other via mobile devices and the social web over the next 10 years, Social Media Week creates a unique opportunity to explore the impact and trends of this evolving space. Since its inception in 2009, Social Media Week has grown from attracting 3,000 people across 40 events in New York City to 12 countries and more than 27,000 participants with over 980 events worldwide during this September's event.
When expanding into new markets, Social Media Week focuses on regions globally recognized for media and communication, with strong, growing and vibrant start-up communities. This year, Chicago proved that it is such a city. Thousands of individuals and organizations worked together to host panels, workshops and industry networking events. A few of this year's special events included the opening night party at Rockit Bar & Grill, the Chicago to Berlin: Silent House Party event at Pioneer Court, a Twitter and Instagram historical tour through Grant Park and the Eat St Food Truck Challengetaking place across Chicago, London, LA and Vancouver.
Social Media Week Chicago will return September 2013 with event submissions opening in the summer. If you're interested in becoming a sponsor, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.
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