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Vann: Social media networking can enhance traditional tools of marketing

By Brian E. Clark
For WisBusiness.com

Marketing, public relations and advertising aren’t going away.

But Cd Vann, the Milwaukee-based publisher of Sohobiztube.com, says companies also need to get with social media networks as a way to reach and influence both customers and employees.

“Social media tools can enhance marketing, PR and advertising,” she says. “They will always be a staple of what we do in business. But social media networks and new media tools added to these three outlets will allow you to do a much better job of communicating.

“And while Milwaukee may be a little bit slow to embrace social media, it’s big in other places like Chicago, Madison and Minneapolis and it’s only going to get more important.”

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Vann will host “UnGeeked Elite: A Social Media & Marketing Forum” on May 13-15 at the University Club in downtown Milwaukee.

Vann says the event is aimed at anyone who engages audiences digitally, specifically entrepreneurs, marketers and other social media practitioners.

Speakers will include Oliver Blanchard of BrandBuilder Marketing and Red Chair Group, Jason Falls, a social media explorer; Dan Schawbel, author and Business Week columnist; Sally Hogshead, author of “Fascinate” and a marketing consultant; Chris Brogan, social media guru and author of “Trust Agents;” and  Scott Stratten, author of “Stop Marketing and Start Engaging.”

Vann says, not entirely tongue-in-cheek, that the event is not for software writers and others who live in the world of geekdom.

“I’m anything but a geek,” says Vann, who is in her 50s and does not own a pocket protector. “But I am a gadget freak. I have an iPhone and a Blackberry and I’m definitely going to go out and get an iPad.”

Though still in its youth at five or six years old, Vann says social networking already is having a huge impact on the business world, both in a positive and negative manner.

Which is why companies need to understand and use social media tools to their advantage, says Vann, an Army veteran who has worked for the Red Cross, Fiserv and had her own graphic design and website design firms.

“Digital and social media ... are on their way to becoming the primary channel of the information exchange, and we want to help people and professionals better understand and leverage their functionality and power.”

She defines “unGEEKING” as the widespread adoption of trends, strategies and tools “that allow us to enhance and embrace internal and external marketing campaigns, enhance customer service, strategize effective sales efforts, and develop better PR campaigns.”

She says her conference aims to “share a wealth of knowledge, tools and best practices in all those areas and more.”

Vann says participants will learn about managing inbound and outbound marketing efforts; facilitating online customer relationships; building strategic public relations campaigns; and monitoring social trends among clients and customers.

She says the format will be "Take the Mic,” in which attendees are encouraged to ask questions and openly engage in dialogue with expert presenters.

The cost for one day is $250 per person or Early Bird Registration of $550 for all three days. Registration includes breakfast, lunch, and two books: “FASCINATE” by Sally Hogshead and “Trust Agents” by Chris Brogan, as well as materials from Hubspot. More information and online registration is available at http://budurl.com/UnGeekedMay2010.

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