5th annual Social Media AZ (SMAZ) Conference

by Dave Murrow on November 23, 2011

Madcap Theater Tempe AZ

Many talented social media marketers, bloggers, digital strategists and Internet specialists were in Tempe, AZ on Friday for the 5th annual Social Media AZ (SMAZ) conference.

SMAZ is the premier business focused event to help companies understand and learn the latest techniques in digital marketing and social media. Presenters from top social media firms and agencies in Arizona (including Mint Social) offered up tips, tricks, insights and more into compelling presentations, sharing what really works and why in social media circles.

An opening keynote presentation from Kevin Bobowski of ExactTarget focused on real-world success stories like sporting-outdoor goods retailer REI, which uses over 130 social media channels, with some 320 employees running those channels.  Bobowski also highlighted social media success rates for soft drinks maker Coke and shoe company Crocs as well.

A three-pronged focus to ‘connect, build community and utilize commerce’ with social media can lead to a winning combination for brands, once you get corporate buy-in, offered Bobowski.

After the opening keynote, SMAZ attendees could choose among several different sessions to attend in various rooms. Here’s what we saw:

  • Scott McAndrew, VP of Strategy for Tempe, AZ-based digital marketing firm Terralever, spoke on connections between top retail clothing brands like Abercrombie & Fitch, and results they’re seeing through social media channels.
  • Sheila Kloefkorn, President of KEO Marketing, Phoenix-based online marketing company (and a FOM-Friend of Mint) presented trends and stats on where social media is headed in 2011, including nuggets like “74% of Internet users perform local searches” and “Apple and Android has changed the way people use devices – 65% of people watching TV are also on their devices, being social and mobile.”
  • Mint Social’s President Matt O’Brien and CTO Steve Heideman partnered up to share their expertise in GeoSoMo (leveraging geo-tagged content with social networks and mobile marketing for dominating local search engine results) in a presentation called “Listen Globally, Dominate Locally”. Brands can find and use local influencers, as well as using long-tail resources, to reach a magic middle for great local SEO. Click the link above for the Slideshare presentation.
  • SpyFu is a Scottsdale, AZ keyword search company that helps brands to “spy” on their competitors’ keywords using non-traditional methods. Founder Mike Roberts spoke casually and openly how a experimental banner ad bombing mission both activated SpyFu awareness and in some instances caused some headaches for the company.
  • Later in the afternoon to wrap up the conference was a panel session about Google + for brands. While one of the panelists spoke of Google + as “just another part of Google’s moat around the castle,” and another called Google + “a better bar where none of my friends are”, most in the audience confirmed they are experimenting both individually and for clients how Google + can become a useful part of a company’s overall marketing strategy.

For a homegrown local event now inits 5th year, Social Media AZ still holds up as a key networking and knowledge share among those working in digital marketing in the Phoenix area. Click here for more information and a list of SMAZ sponsors.

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