Although there are Tri-State residents tweeting and Facebooking on a regular basis, Jenny Holmes thought a little more exposure to social media might encourage more use.
Holmes decided to bring enlightenment about social media to the area; she's the coordinator of BAM!, a social media conference scheduled for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 31 at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena conference center in Huntington.
Her goal was to gather experts in social media marketing to discuss networking, building relationships, creating a community, mobile marketing, media collaborations and social media management, with an eye toward aiding entrepreneurs, businesses, marketing and public relations professionals who will instruct participants about getting the most out of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Ustream, Mailchimp and a variety of social networking and mobile marketing tools.
Holmes is experienced with social media. As marketing director for the Paramount Arts Center, she uses it daily in her job. She also has presented social media workshops throughout the country, including San Francisco, Chattanooga and New York. She said she doesn't know of a social media conference having been presented in the Tri-State.
"Traveling to one of these conferences is often expensive when you tally up airfare, hotel and the conference fee," she said. "By bringing in some great speakers, we can get a big bang for our buck."
She said use of social media is "probably typical" for an area with little training about its use and that most users are likely businesses learning to use the resources.
"It is an ever-changing industry and keeping up is tough," she said, noting Facebook's near-weekly addition of new features and the rapid growth of Pinterest, which went from less than 2 million users to about 17 million users in about seven months. "Bringing a conference here with great speakers is just a way to help our area keep on the cutting edge. "
Holmes said social media is a productive way to target a niche group and gain feedback.
"I heard a comment from a business owner a few months ago who said. 'I don't see the importance of having a Facebook page where people can make negative comments freely if they have a bad experience,' but the truth is, people are going to be on Facebook talking about your business, good or bad, so it would be beneficial to be on there and 'manage' the place where they communicate, gather feedback and connect on a personal level," she said.
Speakers at BAM! were expected to be confirmed today. So far, they include:
--Reed Smith of Austin, Texas, who will teach workshops in the health-care track. He serves on the advisory board for Mayo Clinic Center for social media and he created a social media guide for hospitals, assembling best practices and case studies from organizations across the country. The manual is offered by many state hospital associations.
--Ric Dragon of New York, who is on a national speaking tour with one of his books. His new book, "Social Marketology," will be available in June, but his publisher, McGraw Hill, will make some advance copies available at BAM!
--Erik Decker, a keynote speaker, who is author of two books and co-owner and vice president of creative services for Professional Blog Service in Indianapolis. He will teach the workshops titled "Who Should Do Social Media?" and "Crisis Communication."
--David Horne, a keynote speaker, who is a marketing professional and speaker with more than 10 years of experience helping people and organizations rethink their marketing, branding and communications. He is co-founder of West Hall Media and also serves as an adjunct professor of marketing for Greensboro College, where he teaches digital marketing and social media.
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