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social networking

The Social Media Mountain Not Coming to You? Go to the Mountains!

So after attending a good deal of quality events over the last 18 months, regionally and nationally, few outside of SOBCon focus on delivering ongoing value after the conference.  Most conferences are “over and out”, except for the recap posts.   Ultimately you end up with a bunch of business cards, new twitter adds and some swag which probably doesn’t even make the plane.  So Mountain Social is a concept I’ve been working with friends on for about a year, exactly a year in June when I first spoke to some of the planned speakers and the real event planner, Emily.   The event became real after others were willing to share the risk and do the work, so with risk mitigated, commitment in place and folks signed up to help this is now a reality.  Mountain Social 2009 kicks off in the Mountains this fall.  A place which allow communing with nature, wireless, newly made friends and even family.

Many thanks to the folks which are making it happen and basically doing the work – John, Leti and Em.

So What is Mountain Social Focusing On?

The main focus is connecting people, enjoying the environment and providing an place for open discussion.  Each session, panel or workshop will provide real-world use cases of things that worked, didn’t work and those which the results aren’t in on.  With the increasing scrutiny on marketing budgets the group at Mountain Social will explore participant situations and collaboratively work scenarios as a group to help drive meaningful takeaways for the participants.  Below is the not-so-elevator pitch from the site:

The 2009 Mountain Social Media Summit focuses on the 4 P’s of Social Media: Personas, Problems, Projects and Profits.

Personas: Who leverages social media, what are the opportunities and why is social media important in a personal, professional and commercial context.

Problems: What challenges exist for social marketers? What problems does media address? What problems exist for social media.  Understand the opportunities, obstacles and value social media can bring to your business or your personal growth.

Projects: Understanding use cases and case studies which highlight key lessons and themes which are important.

Profits: Where is the market opportunity, revenue channels and process improvements.  Can social media increase customer acquisition, drive cost reduction and improve customer/market awareness?

Why a conference in the Mountains?

Why not?  Because the site works – scenic, wired and more to do than just geek out and drink, of course most will geek out and drink, but there are options and your headache is you own fault.  The facility rocks and so does the community, at least this time of year.

Nestled about 95 miles outside Hartfield Airport and equally drivable from TN, NC and SC, Helen is about one of the most scenic place in the whole state – Alpine Splendor and the Appalachian Trail.  The city of Helen also kicks off it’s biggest event of the year, Oktoberfest which is very similar to Alpenfest which was the local festival in the place I grew up, Gaylord, MI.

Rationalization: Helen’s Oktoberfest is like 3X the size of Alpenfest due to it’s closeness to other population centers and in a much more scenic landscape.  Unicoi also offers options for every budget (rooms on resort, cabins, and camping), level of comfort and general interest in things like mountain biking or hiking the water falls which may be of interest of others you know, who otherwise might not consider traveling with you on one of these events.  It is after all about relationship and building a sustaining community of folks to call on, get insights from and work with in the future.

Reality: Emily and I basically dig the mountains and sharing experiences and developing relationships is critical to succeeding in the marketplace.ustry over a weekend and carrying forward the relationships.

The first Mountain Social should be a great time, hope to see you there.

The Facts

What: Social Media Conference

Topic : Social Execution and Branding.

Type: Panel

Date: 9/11/09-9/13/09 – I think I’m just taking the 10th-14th to relax in the mtns.

Price: $495 through 6/20, after $545 to $595

Would be cool to catch up with y’all.  Cheers!

It’s a small and hectic social world

Back on this whole blogging thing after a whole bunch of slacking caused by just a little too much travel. This week’s travel is just the beginning of my Spring Tour which will take me to Chicago this weekend, Boston, Dallas, Calgary, New Orleans, Scottsdale, and Detroit. Trust me this will change and grow, but that’s only the parts I know of between now and June 11, I have a couple of 2 or 3 day holes to fill in still and they WILL. I can only hope that these future trips bring as much rewarding feedback and opportunity as the last 2 trips have to Austin.

Austin has been a whirlwind set of activities over the past two weeks, caught up with folks I haven’t seen in a while and was able to meet a person that I was hoping to meet a long time ago, Michael Wilson, CEO of Small World Labs. I spent some time last night getting the opportunity to better understand where they from a product perspective and was clearly impressed with thier strategic take on Social Networking. Social network technologies are what they are, but the easy to identify differentiation of SML is their understanding of how to effectively plan and implement thriving communities via their expertise and customer engagement processes leveraged for every implementation.

The team’s passion and understanding isn’t contained to Michael, but everyone I’ve had the opportunity to interact with at Small World. Even the newest guy I’ve met, Sam Eder, is emblematic of the folks at SML -he is this high energy creative believer of the good things the team can do for organizations to improve customer relations, drive loyalty and increase companies revenues.

There is good reason for the energy and optimism they have a stable of easily recognizable customer logos and a fairly recently announced funding round to drive out their strategy.

Based on the organization I’ve worked with, it is clear that the success of a community is less about implementing a technology platform but a more a partnership with a vendor which develops a strategy for enablement and community engagement. Unequivocally these guys are positioned to continue to lead the market for social networking platforms, so if you are looking for a social media platform to develop an engaging community you have to put them on the shortlist.

That’s more or less all I got to say about that – on to SOBCon and Chicago where I will finally meet this Brogan cat…. I think.