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  • Food and Wine Conference, Orlando FL

    This past weekend I had the pleasure to join #SundaySupper host Isabel Laesing at the first ever Food and Wine Conference in Orlando Florida.  I first met Isabel at a Tampa Bay bloggers event at our market.  When she mentioned she was planning a conference, I was intrigued.  We kept in touch and decided to be an event sponsor.  After many requests for our strawberry cookies on Twitter, how could I not share the strawberry goodness? ;)  Loaded with our strawberry cookies, I headed to Orlando on Saturday.

    Parkesdale strawberry cookies

    Not sure what to expect, I arrived at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort Hotel.  The grounds surrounding the hotel were gorgeous.  I can only imagine what the rooms must have looked like.  I must say, I was surprised by the swag bag.  So many nationally recognized brands such as Idaho Potatoes, Dixie Crystals, Duda Farm Fresh Foods and Stonyfield Yogurt.  But my heart was happy when I saw so many local brands: Datz, Wish Farms and Mario Foods!  


    Food and Wine conference sponsors


    Some of the topics discussed at the Food and Wine Conference included SEO Best practices by Dan Cristo creator of Triberr and Nicole Cook from the Daily Dish Recipes.  I had heard of Triberr, but did not realize how powerful it can be for any blogger.  By joining, you can find other bloggers like yourself and share each other's content.  Another great panel was Writing that Gets Noticed by "The Media" with Janet Keeler (Tampa Bay Times), Jeff Houck (Tampa Tribune), Pam Settle (Good Living Magazine) and Gayle Guyardo (News Channel 8).

    Sara Moulton Food and Wine Conference

    I was lucky enough to meet Sara Moulton from Good Morning America.  She previously hosted "Sara's Secrets" on the Food Network.  She was part of the panel on The Process of Writing a Cookbook.  Unfortunately, I was unable to return on Sunday for her cooking demonstration.  :(  I sure look forward to next year's Food and Wine conference.  Isabel did an amazing job at selecting the location and the panelist topics.  As a brand blogger, this is one conference to come back to!

    Main take aways from the Food and Wine Conference for bloggers:

    1.  Find your passion and be authentic.  
    2.  Quality content trumps quantity content.  Be consistant, offer fresh content.
    3.  Join Triberr!

    Have you heard of Triberr? Are you on it?

    What other blogger conferences are you planning on attending this year?

  • Feeling Fresh...Social Fresh

    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!

    social media conference

    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.

    social media conference

    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.

    social media conference

    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.

  • Looking for a Social Media Conference?

    2012 was the year I became a "marketer" for the Market.  I had already created Facebook and Twitter accounts for the market, but neither of my college degrees prepared me for Social Media.  As a result, I attended three social media conferences in 2012, one of which inspired me to start this blog.  Two conferences had the feel of a social training event.  The vibe and atmosphere of the events encouraged networking and sharing of ideas between participants.  The other conference was geared more towards retailers and the social media training was nonexistent.  Ironic to me  because "social" was part of their tittle.

    And now for the FTC disclosure: you should know, I have been invited to attend Social Fresh in exchange for my honest opinion.

    Having had such good and not so good experiences at these social media conferences I had to find out more about Social Fresh 2013.  Social Fresh is a social media conference coming to Tampa on April 18-19, 2013.  This social media event will take place at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel located at 4500 W Cypress Street, Tampa.  Hotel rates for the event are $139/night with special promotion code SOC.

    What makes Social Fresh 2013 the Social Media Conference to attend?

    With over 49k followers on Twitter and 23k fans on Facebook, my interest was peaked.  What do these people know about social media training?  First, let's look at the history of Social Fresh.  Social Fresh was founded by Jason Keath in 2009 as a social media training company.  Their website offers free and paid materials all related to social media training.   The Social Media Blog was just listed as the #1 Social Media Blog by the Social Media Examiner.  Their flagship event is the Social Fresh one day social media conference.  Social Media Today listed Social Fresh 2013 as one of the best 12 social media conference to attend in 2013.  As a hopeful "soon to be" small business owner, I was glad to see that 14% of their past attendees were business owners/partners and 11% were small business owners.  So far so good.

    Secondly, we all like choices.  Choices are nice when you are trying to decide what to eat a restaurant.  However, when you are attending a conference, making choices between speakers is a completely different thing.  I always get that feeling in my gut that no matter what I've chosen, I've picked the wrong one.  Luckily for people like me, Social Fresh is a one-track social media conference.  No more worrying whether you picked the wrong speaker or not.  Win win.

    Lastly, the caliber of speakers and the presentation topics surely have great promise.  I'm looking forward to hopefully meeting Ted Rubin from Collective Bias (previously with e.l.f. cosmetics and OpenSky).  Ted Rubin is the most followed Chief Marketing Officer on Twitter.  Clearly, he is doing something right.  Other great speakers I'm looking forward to are Adam Kmiec (Campbells), Morgan Johnston (JetBlue) and Kevin Vine (DunkinDonuts).

    In addition to having world known speakers, what makes a great conference is the networking opportunities.  Social Fresh has scheduled networking receptions both nights of the conference.

    For more information check out Social Media:

    Website: www.socialfreshconference.com

    Facebook: www.facebook.com/socialfresh 

    Twitter: www.twitter.com/socialfresh




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