Making Connections at SheCon

We all know how amazing the internet is, how it allows us to connect to all sorts of people we otherwise would never have the opportunity to know in “real life”. Thanks to the power of social media, I was able to attend SheCon 2012 and make great new connections. I had heard about this conference when the inaugural SheCon was held here in Miami last year. Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to attend. But when I found out that SheCon 2012 was in Orlando at Disney’s Coronado Spring Resort during Memorial Day weekend, I figured I had nothing to lose and would find a way to make it happen. Thanks to my connections on Twitter, and the wonderful Aliza Sherman, I received attendance sponsorship from Wine Sisterhood.

The conference took place on Friday and Saturday, May 25th and 26th. Due to work commitments, I had to work a half-day and was unable to arrive until Friday afternoon. There are several sessions that I wish I could have attended, but I did get there just in time to help with and participate in Wine Sisterhood’s Sassy Suite on Friday evening. It was so fun! The suite included appetizers, hand massages, and lots of wine. Oh, and feathers…lots and lots of feathers!

The next day was packed with great sessions and activities. After breakfast was Aliza’s keynote session, “Pinning Our Lives: How the Way We Communicate Online Keeps Changing and How to Keep Up”. This served as Pinterest 101 for me, as at that point I hadn’t joined that community and wasn’t sure what it was all about. It really helped me understand not only how Pinterest works, but what a great tool it is to communicate online. The powerpoint from Aliza’s session can be found here.

Immediately following Aliza’s keynote was the session on Disney World Insider Tips with Robin and Ashley Reeve. They had me at “Disney”! This lovely couple moved from Connecticut to Orlando because of their passion for all things Disney. In the audience was Steve Barrett, author of Hidden Mickeys, and hubby, the boys and I had the opportunity to chat with him, Robin and Ashley for a while that evening in Downtown Disney. This was so exciting for me, the boys and I love finding hidden Mickeys when we’re in Disney parks or properties! But I’m getting ahead of myself…
My favorite take-away from this session was to search bloggers’ sites for recommendations on expenses and experiences to fit your budget. We all know how expensive Disney can be, but there are plenty of ways to stick to your budget while enjoying your Disney vacation.

Shortly after the Disney Insider session, I attended the “Time to Get Connected: The PR/Blogger Relationship” panel featuring Time To Play. This session provided very insightful information on how to nurture and maintain the relationship between bloggers and the PR community. My favorite takeaway: Don’t always go directly to the HUGE companies, smaller companies are there and ready to be worked with. This definitely resonated with me, a smaller company definitely has a better opportunity to have a more personable and enriching relationship with the bloggers it works with.

After lunch, I popped into Amanda Henson‘s “Driving Traffic Through Social Media” session. I had the pleasure of meeting Amanda (she’s got a great name, doesn’t she?) at the Sassy Suite. She’s so fun, and so knowledgeable on all the social media tools.
My favorite take-away from this session was “do a weekly roundup, link to things that interest you, and that are relevant to your brand”. This will allow you to not only share what interest you, but to have more in common within your social media community.

The always inspiring Miss Lori (yes, THAT Miss Lori!) was the closing Keynote of the conference. Her session, “The ‘ME’ in New MEdia” reminded attendees that it’s important, first and foremost, to love and embrace who you are. After that, you can create goals and objectives and further define your brand. There are a great deal more wonderful points, you can find her presentation here.

That evening at 7pm, a Hidden Mickey Scavenger Hunt took place throughout all four Disney parks. Blog attendees and their families participated throughout the parks. We were unable to visit a park that evening, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t join in on the fun. We were at Downtown Disney with Robin and Ashley, Steve Barrett as well as Martie Duncan and Emily Ellyn from Food Network Star. As the Reeve’s did their radio show and the scavenger hunt tweets started coming in, we chatted with Steve, Martie and Emily.

Added bonus to all the fun? I won two giveaways, a Justin Bieber Guitar from PaperJamz at the Real Mom Media gifting suite, and a Prize Pack from Toy State. I’ll have some giveaways coming up, so stay tuned!

Attending a conference always gives the opportunity to learn and make connections, and SheCon 2012 was no exception. I am so glad to have had the opportunity to see a few old social media friends, and make new connections, in person and online.

Disclosure: My SheCon12 conference pass was sponsored by Wine Sisterhood. Thank you!

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