Disclosure: I received a free entrance to the Social Fresh Social Media Conference in return for this post.
After spending almost two days away from the market, my brain is just bursting with ideas. Listening how big name brands like Jet Blue, Campbell Soup and ESPN do their marketing has made me fall in love with our market all over again. :) Obviously, as a small business we do not have the same advertising budgets as some of these giants, but the point is still the same: listen to your customers!
Spike Jones’ presentation “Word of Mouth – Your Ultimate Distribution channel” resonated with me because that’s what Parkesdale Market is all about. One of my favorite things to do when I’m at the market is ask customers how they heard about us. Sometimes they are locals, but a lot of times they are not. So many people at our market tell me they’ve heard of us through a friend, a neighbor, or a coworker. These “new” customers are so excited to be here. It’s like they’ve gain access to the secret clubhouse. Thankfully, they are willing to share us!
Through my time at the market, I’ve heard so many stories about how Grandpa Parke would wear his Parkesdale Farms hat everywhere he went. And people all over the world would recognize him and say hello. That’s how you create a community. He created a “community” of fans and followers before there was Facebook and Twitter.
Ted Rubin’s presentation “Content Creation is the Ultimate Fan Advocacy” also touched on the same topic of making connections, telling stories and building relationships. Long after Grandpa Parke “retired”, he still loved coming to the market and shaking hands with customers, sorta reliving the past meanwhile building relationships. Funny that my takeaway message from a social media conference, would be to follow Grandpa Parke’s footsteps.
As part of the Social Fresh conference, we were to participate in a group exercise to create a campaign. Unfortunately, I was unable to participate because I left early to finish some things at the market. Other friends of mine who participated really enjoyed the networking opportunity the exercise provided. However, I was still able to make some great connections during break times and through Twitter.
Overall, I was very happy to participate in Social Fresh. The caliber of the speakers and attendees was exactly what I expected, highly qualified motivators and engagers. My feeling is that after attending a conference, one should feel renovated and motivated to improve. Otherwise, the time and money spent was a waste. Social Fresh was definitively a very engaging and motivational conference for me. I’m already using some of the ideas from the conference and can’t wait to see how Parkesdale Farms’ social media increases throughout 2013.