Thank you for joining us in Des Moines for “Beyond the Keynote” with Brian Solis

Our event in Des Moines last week generated thousands of tweets, to the point that the #socialirl hashtag briefly hit Twitter’s worldwide trending topics.

We wanted to share some of the great insights captured in those Tweets, along with some of the blog posts from attendees recapping their key takeaways, and are pleased to include a selection of links below.

We also want to take another opportunity to thank our presenting sponsors CDS Global and Catchfire Media for making the event possible, and for the tremendous support they both gave.  We’d also like to thank local event partners Iowa Innovation Gateway, Central Iowa PRSA, Startup City Des Moines, and Downtown Des Moines, as well as the Science Center of Iowa for the great venue and incredible onsite support.

Thank you to each of our speakers, Geoff Wood, Liz Nead and Ken Miner, and of course a very special thank you to Brian Solis for the valuable insights and inspiration.

Finally, thank you to the 230 attendees who were part of the event, traveling to Des Moines from a five state region and representing more than 80 different businesses and 17 schools, colleges and universities.

Want to learn more from Brian Solis? Social: IRL will be heading to New York in October for Pivot – the exclusive two day conference Brian curates and hosts. An amazing opportunity to learn from an array of business leaders and innovators, and to connect with 500 attendees representing some of the very brightest minds in the industry.  Register using the exclusive discount code BeyondVIP and you’ll save 30%.

Meantime, save the date for August 30. Social: IRL is headed back to Des Moines with another very special event.  Join Social: IRL and Social Media Explorer’s Jason Falls for “All Business, No Hype, Social Media.” A special pre-sale is underway now, with discounted registration rates available until June 30. After June 30, regular registration rates will apply.

Storify Recap – A selection of attendee tweets from Brian’s keynote presentation

Brian Solis Event Motivates Silicon Prairie to Think Local, Act Dynamic – Recap by presenting sponsors CDS Global

One Word: Change – Recap from attendee Deb Brown

Connected Consumers – You Paying Attention? – Recap by attendee Michael Libbie

Top Takeaways from Brian Solis Keynote – Recap by attendee Seth Sparks

The above represent a selection of attendee recaps we’ve seen posted.  Please send us the link if you have a recap you’d like us to add to the list.

Thanks everyone who joined Social: IRL in Wichita and Kansas City – Event recaps and key takeaways

The last few weeks have been busy for Social: IRL, with events in Wichita and Kansas City. January 31, we headed to Wichita, KS, to host “No BS Social Media” with Social Media Explorer’s Jason Falls.  Then, on February 9, we were in Kansas City with “Conversation Agent” Valeria Maltoni for “Rethinking Business in the Age of the Social Consumer.”

We wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who participated in these two special events and to share recaps posted by several event attendees.

No BS Social Media:

Jason Falls with SocialVolt's Derrek Harter, Joe Cox, and Scott Oppliger

We were joined in Wichita by a great group of attendees – the individual business and organizations represented are listed in this earlier post.  Jason Falls delivered a powerful presentation focusing on three key areas of social media – planning strategically, driving business, and measuring success.

Thank you event sponsors Cox Communications, Andy McGinnis Public Relations, ColabDigital, Spredfast, SocialVolt, Expion, Spiral16, emfluence, and ManageFlitter.

And a special thank you to our hosts Junior League of Wichita, who not only provided a great event space but treated attendees to food from their new cookbook.

For a recap of the event and a special video interview with Jason Falls, check out this post “Answers to tough Social Media Questions,” by event sponsor Sprial16.

Rethinking Business in the Age of the Social Consumer:

A diverse group of local and regional business, and national brands and agencies, joined Social: IRL in Kansas City for “Rethinking Business in the Age of the Social Consumer.”  The full attendee list is included in this earlier post.

Spiral16 Interview with Valeria Maltoni

Valeria Maltoni started the day with the keynote “Rethinking Business” session, which challenged attendees to rethink, deconstruct, and reconstruct established business practices. Afternoon sessions included Garmin’s Jake Jacobson on adding personality to a brand, Armstrong Teasdale’s Jeff Schultz on legal issues surrounding ownership of online content and community, Appinions‘ Larry Levy on rethinking influencer marketing, Spredfast’s Austin Lytle who helped attendees answer the question “Do I Need a Social Media Command Center”, and Expion’s Kevin Magee on the opportunities for regional and national brands to “take social local.”  The day wrapped up with SocialVolt’s Joe Cox and Spiral16’s Eric Melin leading a discussion on key takeaways.

Thank you event sponsors Spredfast, SocialVoltExpionSpiral16Appinions, emfluenceManageFlitter, Garmin, and the Social Media Club of Kansas City.  Also a special thank you to our venue, the Crowne Plaza Kansas City and their representative Patrick Conroy who not only took great care of attendees but took additional steps to ensure we had a robust wifi network with plenty of additional bandwidth.

For recaps and key takeaways from the sessions, check out these posts from some of our attendees:

Spredfast – Rethinking Business in the Age of the Social Consumer: Social IRL Insights

Tony Faustino – 5 Takeaways from Valeria Maltoni: Rethinking Business in the Age of the Social Consumer

Katy Ryan Schamberger – Conversation Isn’t Merely An Art Form; It’s A Business Strategy

Sprial16 – How to Refocus Your Business in the Social Age (includes video interview with Valeria Maltoni)

Ashley Mahoney – Social: IRL Conference in a Nutshell

Peter Shankman “social customer” boot camp – A quick recap

Attendees settling in for their day with Peter Shankman. Peter Shankman recently joined Social: IRL in Lawrence, KS, for a boot camp focused on relationships with customers in the social media age.

Attendees ranged from national brands to locally owned businesses and included marketing, PR and communications pros, banks and credit unions, retail and entertainment, higher education, non profits, media organizations, financial services, real estate, trade organizations, health care, automotive, agriculture, and more. A truly diverse group with all 120 available seats being filled by people anxious to learn from one of the most respected names in social marketing and customer service.
In addition to Peter Shankman, attendees also heard from a panel made of up Jason Gertzen from Sprint, Justin Meyer from Kansas City International Airport, and Matt Hyde from 715 Restaurant.
Jason, Justin and Matt provided valuable insights from national, regional and local perspectives on how social media had impacted relationships with their customers.
Over 2,000 tweets were generated by attendees during the day – a truly engaged audience.
After the event, a number of attendees posted recaps of what they learned:

We appreciated the support from attendees and from our sponsors of the event: Miller MeiersmBLASTManageFlitterKloutThe Lawrence Chamber of CommerceSmall Town #140conf, and Kansas Credit Union Association.

We were also extremely grateful for the on-site tech support provided by Dave Greenbaum of DoctorDave™ Computer Repair. Wifi has always been a real concern to us and can easily become an issue when a large group connect to a venue’s network. It’s something we always talk to venues about very specifically to ensure they are prepared, and sometimes despite the very best preparation the network still proves unable to cope once everyone connects. We’re very grateful to Dave for all his on-site support and for keeping us up and running. We’re also grateful to Knology of Kansas for the extra bandwidth and to Lawrence Freenet for going out of their way to step up and provide an entire backup network.

An unexpected lesson was also learned – at future events we’ll be asking attendees not to create Mifi hotspots. We found that Mifi signals competed with the onsite wifi and actually blocked the signal to the laptop Peter was presenting from. First time we’ve experienced that issue, though apparently it’s becoming more of an issue, even affecting Steve Jobs during his presentation at the Worldwide Developers Conference.

Thanks again to everyone who attended and supported the event.  Next for Social: IRL:

Jason Falls, “No BS Social Media”, Kansas City, October 4, 2011

Peter Shankman, “Redefining Relationships in the Social Media Age”, Denver, October 11, 2011

The Jason Falls event in Kansas City is a very special opportunity – an evening event with a presentation, Q&A and networking all for just $35 if you act quickly. Attendees will even get a copy of Jason’s brand new book.

And for the Peter Shankman event in Denver, the first 50 to register get a special early bird $100 discount.

Explore and Engage: Links and resources

We’re pleased to share some of the content posted by attendees following our Explore and Engage event in Wichita KS:

Social: IRL Event Recap

Social: IRL Photo Gallery

Start Thinking Video – Attendee Interviews

WATC Photo Gallery

Sarah Scoular Blog – Engage

Sarah Scoular Blog Post – Explore

Jenn Bailey SMCKC Blog Post

Joe Cox Blog Post

Spiral16 notes on Brian Solis Presentation

Spiral16 notes on Jason Falls Presentation

Wichita Business Journal story on Brian Solis

Wichita Business Journal story on Jason Falls

“Social Media as a Continuum” blog by Lynn Wolf

Lynn Wolf YouTube Videos: Brian Solis  Jason Falls

Chirpstory compilation of #EEICT tweets (does not included any of the post event tweets)

Facebook Event

Gowalla Spot

Explore and Engage: A Quick recap

Thank you to the 120 attendees at Wednesday’s Explore and Engage with Jason Falls and  Brian Solis.

As with all Social: IRL events, the goal was for a hands-on event, lots of practical experience and learning, and for you to leave with new ideas and tools you could implement in a very real way. From reading your feedback on Twitter I feel confident we achieved that goal. Thank you for all the great comments. If you have any suggestions for future events I would welcome your feedback.

Thanks to each of the sponsors: Start-Thinking, Cox Communications, Klout, Spiral16, mBLAST, Wichita Area Technical College, Mashable, AAF Wichita and Wichita AMA.

A special thanks to Kris Schindler and the team from Start-Thinking who not only helped create and host Explore and Engage but put in a tremendous amount of behind the scenes work and helped everything run smoothly on the day. Also a special thanks to the team at Wichita Area Technical College. What a fantastic venue! I hope we’ll be back with another event.

It was great to see such a high level of engagement from those attending the event, even from those not present but following along on Twitter. The conversation had been pretty strong for some weeks, prompting this tweet from Jason Falls more than two weeks prior to the event.  But things really took off the day of the event and continued through the next day as attendees kept the conversation very much alive.

In just those two days alone we tracked some 1,446 tweets with the #EEICT event hashtag.

Thanks Brian and Jason. The ideas, thoughts and knowledge shared by the two of you was not just inspiring but was also presented in a very real context that gave great value to our attendees.  Looking forward to our next Explore and Engage event.

Next up is the Social: IRL Social Marketing Boot Camp with Sarah Evans. Join us for that event February 8 in Springfield MO.

In just a short while I’ll be posting links to Jason’s presentation and to blogs, videos, photo galleries, and other content shared by event attendees.  If you attended the event and have posted any content online, please send me the link and I’ll get it added.  I’ll also be posting my own photo gallery and some video highlights soon.

Thanks again for being part of Explore and Engage.

Social marketing boot camp with Sarah Evans: Another recap

Another great recap of the September 14 boot camp with Sarah Evans, this time from Dave Greenbaum of DoctorDave Computer Repair.

Thanks Dave for taking the time to write such a great post. The goal for all Social: IRL events is to go beyond the typical conference  – to focus on a more involved learning and networking experience with a very real and practical takeaway you can actually implement to help grow and enhance your business. “IRL” isn’t just part of our business name, but something we believe is key in each and every event we are part of.

You can read Dave’s recap in his blog at

Feel free to leave links to any other recaps or to share your own thoughts on the event in the comments section below.

Social marketing boot camp with Sarah Evans: Sarah’s presentation

As promised, here’s a copy of the PowerPoint presentation Sarah used during last week’s boot camp event. I know many of you were wanting copies of specific slides. I hope this helps as you implement what you learned:

I’m also taking the opportunity to share a recap of the event kindly submitted by Katy Ryan, one of the event’s attendees. Any additional thoughts or recaps? Feel free to leave a comment or share links.
Sarah Evans shares expertise, enthusiasm during social media bootcamp

Valerie Shoopman attended the Social:IRL social media bootcamp on behalf of Horizon Academy, a specialized school that seeks to achieve several goals using social media tools. After an intensive session with Sevans Strategy founder Sarah Evans, Valerie says she learned a valuable lesson.

Even though I really want to use social media for fundraising and soliciting, that’s not always the way to go,” she says.

Social media tips, tricks and best practices took center stage during the lively, informative six-hour session that covered everything from “The Big Three” (Facebook, Twitter and blogs) to generating content.

Sarah approached every topic head-on, dispensing information, suggestions and facts—did you know, for example, the average age of a social network user is 37? Sarah didn’t shy away from the sometimes stark reality of social media. When asked by several bootcamp participants about their concerns with social media time management, Sarah replied that sometimes social media isn’t for every company, especially if a business doesn’t have the personnel or resources to effectively initiate a social media strategy.

Another point that resonated with participants concerned using social media for fundraising or soliciting charitable donations.

“Keep in mind that people have a tolerance threshhold,” Sarah says. “Over-solicitation will actually drive people away. You need to focus on building relationships, then offer sporadic requests or offers.”

When in doubt? Use this formula. If you spend one month asking for donations or requests, spend the other 11 months of the year giving, whether you’re retweeting, providing resources or participating in conversations.

When presenting to what Sarah called “the largest classroom-type setting” she’s had yet to encounter, the best way to begin is by defining that elusive, many-headed creature called social media. This Wikipedia definition is commonly used, and in addition, Sarah shared a simple yet fitting analogy. Social media, like a telephone, is a tool. A telephone won’t do the work for you, but when used properly, can be invaluable in facilitating conversations and relationships. The same can be said of social media. Twitter, Facebook or Flickr won’t magically produce connections, but can be an effective part of a communications portfolio.

The bootcamp included a mix of new and advanced social media users, which created a varied range of questions that spanned from personal versus corporate branding to launching a new product. A particularly energized discussion occurred around location-based applications like Foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places, complete with privacy concerns and Sarah’s preferred app—for now, it’s Foursquare, but she sees Facebook Places as having bigger and better potential.

For those who haven’t yet launched a social media strategy, several action items were outlined during the bootcamp. The most important? Know what you want to accomplish before you begin. Maybe you want to build your business, be an expert or provide a high level of customer service. Regardless of your goal, outlining a simple mission statement will help you identify which social media tools will help you see results. And once you’ve defined your accomplishment, consider creating and implementing a social media strategy that can merge with an existing communications plan.

John Clinger works in the finance industry and says one of his major questions at the start of the bootcamp was “figuring out whether to get into Twitter.” At the end of the day, John says he was “really hit hard” with a broader realization.

I’m not sure I know how to market in social media,” he says. “I’ve got to go back to the basics, back to square one, and learn to market. Social media is just another tool.”

Perhaps one of the most important lessons from the Social:IRL bootcamp is to remember—and prioritize—the “social” part of social media. Whether you’re conversing or connecting, social media is largely about people and bridging the digital divide.

“Follow who you find value from and who finds value from you,” Sarah says. “You want to get people in the door and keep them coming back.”

And just when you think you can’t follow another social media tool, Sarah suggests three priorities: structure, focus and strategy, an approach that she says can help social media users “stay focused and grounded without being overwhelmed by too many tools.”

Social media is an active, two-way street, and the bootcamp agenda reflected that evolving sense of engagement. The presentation was peppered with Q&As and activities designed to encourage discussion and brainstorming, as well as a continual Twitter stream projected on a large screen that displayed a secondary—and rather entertaining—conversation. In addition to leaving with a wealth of social media knowledge, participants took away individual content and strategy ideas that could immediately be applied to their business. That’s what you call a return on investment—or, as Sarah prefers, a return on engagement.

“It’s about reaching people we wouldn’t have normally reached,” she says.

Katy Ryan is a freelance writer and social media addict living in Kansas City. She writes for several local publications and is assistant editor of Her first book, a local travel guide called Moon Kansas City, published earlier this year. Connect with Katy on Facebook , @katywrites and follow her Kansas City adventures here.

Social marketing boot camp with Sarah Evans: A quick recap

Thank you to the 127 attendees at Tuesday’s Social: IRL social marketing boot camp with Sarah Evans.

The goal was for a hands-on event, lots of practical experience and learning, and for you to leave with new ideas and tools you could implement in a very real way. Less theory, more action! I hope we achieved this and would welcome any feedback as we get ready to take the event to additional locations.

Thanks to each of the sponsors: Start-Thinking, Codero, The Lawrence Chamber of Commerce and Mashable.

A special thanks to the team from Start-Thinking for all their behind the scenes help and support. I’m pleased that future events will be very much in partnership with Start Thinking.

Also thanks to Dave Greenbaum of DoctorDave Computer Repair for helping with the wifi issues Maceli’s experienced Tuesday morning. It seems their network was just overwhelmed with far more devices connecting than there were people present.

It was great to see such a high level of engagement from those at the event, even from those not present but following along on Twitter. We tracked over 850 #socialirl tweets just on Tuesday.

Make sure you go through the attendee list and connect with others you met at the event. If you’re on the list and a link to your Twitter account isn’t included just let me know and I’ll get it added. Feel free to keep using the #socialirl hashtag to keep in contact with attendees, ask questions, share ideas and keep networking. Bringing people together and building new relationships is a key part of every event I am involved with.

Sarah’s presentation will be shared soon here at

We posted some photos from the event over on our Facebook page.  If you have any other photos or videos you’d be willing to share please send to

Thanks again for being part of this first Social: IRL event. Don’t forget to join our email list if you’d like advance notice and special discounts for future events.

Here’s a short video interview with Sarah giving her recap of the day.

Thanks Sarah, you were amazing! Looking forward to our next event together.