This week, I attended the Inbound Marketing Summit, held at Fort Mason in San Francisco. Fort Mason is a glorious venue on a sunny day. And, luckily for us, the second day was wonderfully sunny. The Inbound Marketing Summit was glorious rain or shine. I admit, I have never been to an entire conference devoted to social media. Sure, most of the other conferences I’ve attended lately had a session or two on social media (I mean, where can you go nowadays without one?). But, this summit was all about it. It was really refreshing.

The speakers were terrific. Bryan Srabian, the Director of Social Media for the San Francisco Giants, gave the keynote. You might be thinking, “Yawn,” afterall, we are talking about a baseball team and what can they possibly know about social media? And if you are thinking that, well you are completely wrong.

I am dumbfounded at all of the creative ways Bryan and the Giants have found to reach out and touch their fans using Twitter, YouTube, and more. Everything from promoting YouTube sensation Keenan Cahill’s video extravaganzas, to live tweeting during games and Twitter scavenger hunts at the ballpark, the Giants are taking full advantage of the many ways they can interact with the fans.

Bryan spoke a lot about taking social media and making it your own. During the conference, there was a bit of social media “make it your own” going on in the audience. On the afternoon of day 1, Jackie Shelley started a Twitter game to fill the front row of the conference with “beautiful women.” And from then on, there was a lively additional conversation that ensued for the rest of the conference. THAT is making social media your own, in the moment, for the people around you. I truly enjoyed it.

There were so many other people who spoke and provided so much interesting information. It simply won’t be possible for me to summarize all of it in this post. But, I do want to give you a list of my main takeaways from everyone who spoke:

  • Make social media your own.
  • The best form of marketing is when your customers are your champions. They do it for you.
  • Social media without follow-up is nothing.
  • Social media allows us to make each customer experience unique and interactive.
  • Social media does not have to be expensive. But, you do have to commit to the time it takes.
  • You need to have a strategy for your social media activities. Oh, and you need to have a strategy for your content, too.
  • There are a huge number of really nice, really helpful, and really fun people in the social media world. I think I’d like to hang out with them more often.
  • When the Director for Social Media for the World Champion SF Giants shows up, he brings the World Series trophy and you get to have your picture taken with it!


Val Swisher