What I learned at Social Fresh Charlotte – an exhibitor, speaker and attendee perspective

Social Fresh Charlotte was the third @SoFresh branded event that I’ve had the honor of attending. The third time was the second as a speaker and the first as an exhibitor (stay with me), and gave me a new perspective of the event.

Exhibiting with Phonebooth

We had two goals going into Social Fresh as an exhibitor / sponsor – 1. build awareness – 2. help people. It is nice when you can use your product in a manner that isn’t directly trying to drive leads (although we all know that increasing sales is what keeps us all employed). Our idea was to pull together an incredible group of experts and allow anyone at the conference to step into the Phonebooth and ask anything they want. This was definitely a proof of concept and something that we can improve as we continue to build on the idea.

There were some really great questions asked and some even better answers given. We didn’t pay for this. We didn’t force this. We were just the means to facilitate the talking. Social media is cool like that because it allowed us to reach out to some amazing people and they were able to showcase how awesome and helpful they are.

It is a little more difficult to network while exhibiting, but there were definitely other times for me to do that and I still met some really great folks. My time was cut a little short on Monday night due to some of the packing and prepping we had to do, but again… it was worth it. We only had a few hiccups in our execution and know of ways to make it better for experts and attendees and will work on that too. 🙂

Please help me in thanking the following people for their help (follow these people with this convenient list):

Brad McCormick [@darbtx], Chris Barger [@cbarger], Chris Treadaway [@ctreada], David Neff [@daveiam], DJ Waldow [@djwaldow], Jason Falls [@jasonfalls], Jennifer Beese [@freeandflawed], Mark Hopkins [@rizzn], Marshall Kirkpatrick [@marshallk], Michelle Greer [@michellegreer], Paul May [@paulmay], Richard White [@rrwhite], Robert Scoble [@scobleizer], Scott Stratten [@unmarketing], Thom Singer [@thomsinger], Tim Hayden [@thetimhayden], Todd Defren [@tdefren].

Check out a quick video of me talking about our goal at SoFresh.

Speaking on an awesome panel

For those of you who didn’t know, now you see why David B. Thomas [@davidbthomas], Lisa Hoffmann [@lisahoffmann], Brian Dresher [@bdresher] and Jen Ecclestone [@jeneccleston] are successful in what they do. It was an extremely fun panel to be a part of and I think that it offered some nice insight as to how each of us are handling dealing with limited resources and ways to overcome that.

Every panel that I’ve been on has taught me something new. It’s great having a moderator that is organized, prepared and able to think quickly on his/her feet (with humor). It was a great time and allowed us all to have several discussions about what is working, what isn’t and ultimately, it helps me to learn more about what I can be doing.

Managing Social Media with Limited Resources is a great topic and props to Jason Keath [@jakrose] for adding the panel to an awesome lineup of speakers.

Attending my third Social Fresh

Charlotte isn’t quite my back yard, but it is at least my home turf. I saw plenty of friendly NC faces and tons of folks I’ve met on the road (many were the great speakers that we all listened to). This was the first time attending SoFresh where I missed one or more sessions of content… and honestly, I was a little bummed. We had things to do at the booth and I was able to talk to other exhibitors, but I always learn something new in each session… so I missed that.

Some takeaways:

Amber Naslund [@ambercadabra] delivered another killer keynote and Jay Baer (@jaybaer) put family first, which makes me like him even more.

Justin Kistner [@justinkistner] is really funny, smart and blogs about beer – which means I now have two uber-successful beer blogger friends (see @schneidermike and @belchingmonkey as well).

All of the Blue Sky Factory [@blueskyfactory] folks are super smart.

Argyle Social [@argylesocial] will be successful despite me not logging in as frequently as I should.

Many of the attendees are every bit as smart as the speakers and have great stories and case studies to share… talk to them!

Wayne Sutton [@waynesutton] has a really good memory (thanks for the limited edition @SoFresh stress ball buddy).

Wei Yang [@wei_yang] has my favorite Twitter list – “Not an alien” – People I have met in real life and verified are not aliens.

North Carolina (not just Raleigh-Durham) has an incredible social media scene.

These are just a few of the key takeaways for me, from multiple perspectives. As you’ll see, they aren’t all content focused because honestly… for me… the best part of the event is always connecting with the people. Yes, there is great content, but meet cool folks too.

Now I just have to see if I can make it to SoFresh Atlanta… about that…