2014 Conference Sessions

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2014 Conference Sessions 2017-01-03T23:18:03+00:00

@Midwest sessions are designed for the small- to mid-sized business professionals seeking to establish a presence in social media and for those looking to refine their practices. Sessions focus on topics concerning better social networking management, developing/maintaining a strategy, introducing new business models, improving profitability, and employing effective social media.


  • Forging the Relationships that Matter — Joe Benarroch, Corporate Communications, International, Facebook
    To grow your business you need to connect with all of the people that matter. This will require you to become part of the moments that matter and even create moments of your own. In his keynote presentation, Joe Benarroch will deconstruct the idea of the mobile individual and the importance of creating meaningful relationships that are ultimately beneficial to business managers and customers alike.
  • The New Rules of Customer Engagement — Daniel Newman, President of Broadsuite, Contributor to Forbes, Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, Social Media Today, IBM, SAP and More…
    Imagine a world where you never had to sell anything. Every day the ideal number of clients with needs aligned perfectly to what you have to offer would walk through the door and shout:“I’ll take it!”What if I told you this is already happening? Albeit selling isn’t quite that simple. And the customers aren’t really just arriving sight unseen, ready to buy. But in a very subtle way, brands are driving buying decisions long before the sales department ever becomes involved. This leaves us all to ask, how?In an informed economy, there is a new way of doing business. And these are the new rules of customer engagement. This is more than just a trend. These new rules are already impacting everything transactional – not only how we as consumers buy things personally, but how businesses consume as well. B2B,B2C, P2P… it doesn’t matter. We are all consumers looking to buy in a new economy.This is a scary and exciting time – and the perfect opportunity for nimble business to embrace these new rules – and prosper through deliberate engagement.Are you ready for what comes next? In this Keynote on “The New Rules of Customer Engagement” you will:
    • Gain clarity on how the information age is a driving force for businesses to embrace social, mobile and content marketing
    • Learn the importance of P2P over traditional B2B and B2C – and specifically how our perspective is driven from all our experiences as consumers
    • Better understand how to leverage consumer knowledge to drive innovation within the customer environment
    • Learn how to build an engaged business network that leads to customer advocacy and huge business growth through word-of-mouth referrals and online testimonials
    • Be motivated to consider the importance of building a customer-centric business from top to bottom that yields goodwill and dramatically improved business outcomes


  • LinkedIn: Maximizing your Personal and Business Profile — Brian Huonker

    Whether you’re creating a new LinkedIn Company Page or revamping an existing one, our guide to creating the perfect Company Page has got you covered.

    From crafting a killer company description to choosing an eye-catching banner image, we’ll walk you through the entire process and will reveal some “pro tips” courtesy of LinkedIn.

    Here’s what the session will cover:

    • Review Best Practices – See examples of the most successful LinkedIn Company Pages, plus insider tips from the folks at LinkedIn.
    • Develop a step-by-step checklist to create an exceptional Company Page.
    • Create the optimal LinkedIn images utilizing image templates in PPT and PSD format with the proper dimensions to create your logo, cover image, and more.
  • A Lot Can Change in 365 Days — Bernia Wheaton
    It’s been more than a year since we gathered @Midwest 2013. In this session, we’ll review the major changes that have been instituted on your favorite networks. Facebook and Twitter have added new features. Instagram and LinkedIn pages are growing in popularity. What new networks are emerging, and are they appropriate for business? We’ll learn about these changes and trends, and talk about how to optimize new features so that you can stay ahead of your competition.
  • Digital Advertising: Ad Mobs, Facebook, Twitter — Brian Huonker
    We’ve all heard this term “digital marketing,” and we may understand parts of it, but many marketers may be asking the question, “How do I get started?” You’ve got an email program and a company Facebook page, but how do you go from there? Or perhaps you have neither of these, and you’re just going with digital marketing. I’ll go over some of the basics of getting started with a digital marketing program, and how it all revolves around email. In this work session, we will:

    • Define the target audience
      • Who are you looking to sell to?
      • Where do they “hang out” online?
      • Which social platforms are they using?
      • How do they search for products and services online?
    • Choose the best platform to reach your audience,
      • Between the various social media, search engines, display advertising and direct email marketing options, there are many ways effectively reach your market online.
    • Measure and adapt
      • Review the best methods for measuring the effectiveness of your campaign
      • Discover the value of adapting and changing.
  • Getting into Social Media  Bernia Wheaton
    There’s an urgency to getting onto social media, but are you really PREPARED to make the leap? Taking the time to develop a social media strategy will provide you and your staff with a clear roadmap to social media success. In this session, we’ll talk about the various aspects of an effective strategy that includes setting goals, defining your audience, selecting the appropriate networks, creating a style sheet, identifying your budget, determining staff skills, and defining the message you’ll use online. Even if you’ve already created a social media account, it’s not too late to develop a meaningful strategy to guide your organization. Everyone is doing social media in 2014. Now is the time to stand out and separate your message from the masses.
  • PR & Reputation Management  Steve Raquel
    As the saying goes, the first impression is everything. In today’s “fingerswipe” generation, how are you or the companies you work for fairing in the online reputation game? In this class, we’ll be taking a hands-on approach to helping you evaluate your online presence, then digging into how to improve it and find ways to make your online presence even stronger. If you want to enhance your online reputation, this class is a must!
  • Tactical Twitter  Sarah Wilson
    Do you approach Twitter with the equivalent of a few hand tools and no clear plan? You’re not alone. This hands-on workshop delivers Twitter “power tools” and a good set of blueprints so you can tackle Twitter in 10 minutes a day. In this 90-minute session we cover:

    • Twitter basics
    • Defining targeted topics which support your brand
    • Establishing thought leadership in your niche
    • Locating and creating content quickly
    • Building your followers efficiently
    • Building your power players
    • Interacting effectively

    The goal: For you to be confident with the tools and tactics to support your goals and grow your reputation in the time you have.

  • Tying it Together–Social and Email  Steve Robinson 
    This session is for the beginner with social media. It talks about the basics such as:

    • Why Social Media?
    • 5 Main Social Networks
    • What to Say?
    • Tips to get started
    • What to do next

    For the small business, association, or organization looking to get started, this is a must attend session.

  • Hootsuite: Maintaining multiple social media accounts – Brian Huonker
    When it comes to brands on social media, one of the most common mistakes made is not listening to their social following. Many brands choose to promote content and chat via these channels, without having a strong understanding of what their audience’s preferences and interests actually are.

    In short, social listening is a way brands can monitor conversations being held on social channels, in order to identify opportunities to develop, promote, and participate in the discussions through engagement. 

    To enable this form of customer engagement, brands must be able to identify specific keywords and phrases relevant to their business. For example, with Pepsi, keywords would consist of “soda, fizzy drink, soft drink etc. Likewise, if you were a service offering company, you may want to monitor conversations surrounding the area your service is in; consequently allowing you to provide your expert input and reach out to the individuals in need of help or advice.

    In order to develop a social media listening program, this workshop will utilize Hootsuite and show you how to: 

    1. Set up your account
    2. Create your listening streams
    3. Familiarize yourself with analytics
    4. Communicate monitoring goals through conversations
    5. Monitor while on the go
    6. Keep your accounts secure

Friday sessions

  • All the pretty colors and pictures: An evolution in social branding and imaging — Will Koch & Katie Eades
    How is your brand represented on social media? Do you have a consistent look and feel with the rest of your web properties? How is your tone of voice compared to other ways you interact with your customers? Have you developed standards for logo placement, color use, font requirements?Will Koch and Katie Eades are Digital Marketers at COUNTRY Financial®, and oversee all of the company’s social media efforts, including the 1,300+ individual pages and profiles for COUNTRY’s agency force. They’ll walk you through COUNTRY’s brand and imaging evolution on social media over the years. You’re sure to pull some ideas you can borrow as you develop your standards for your business social media presence.
  • All Things Disc Golf: Building a Social Business from a Passion — Zach Parcell
    When someone says they run a website about disc golf, you likely think they are crazy. Would you think I’m crazy if I told you we’ve reached more than 150,000 people worldwide in just 18 months ? What about if you heard traffic in the first half of year two was already higher than all of year one? Does the fact that we make money on this intrigue you? We thought so. How did we do this? 95% of our marketing was through social media. More specifically, it was done through social media and the connections we made to help utilize other social media audiences. In early January 2013, All Things Disc Golf broke the 1,000 fan mark on Facebook. In January 2014, we hit 5,000, and by the time you’re reading this, we’re well past 7,500. By finding my target audience, making some friends, and being true to the message we were trying to deliver, social media helped build a brand from a hobby to a profitable business. Regardless of the size of your business, you have an audience you’re trying to reach. By knowing your audience you can easily determine your best social media strategy. Do you have to do video? Heck no—but, it could work for your brand. Do you have to have a Pinterest account? Heck no—but, it could work for your brand. Just because there are the tools to do something, doesn’t mean you have to use it. Learn how to best make these decisions in order to help your business and social media strategy succeed.
  • The Changing Face of So-Called Social Media “Law” (How Do I Run a Contest Without Getting in Trouble?) — Dillion White
    It’s simple, right? Just post about giving away a free T-shirt or a discounted oil change and call it a day, yeah? You’ve gotten some attention, pulled a few likes (maybe even a share, retweet, or, gasp, a pin!), and driven some customers through your door. Unfortunately, much like the real world, the digital one has consequences (and rules); and if you don’t follow these ever-changing policies, you could soon find your page shut down and your business involved in some not-so-free controversy. Obviously, these platforms cannot create law, but they do create hyper-specific regulations, and because a serious issue could potentially drown a small company, this seminar will serve as an overview of social media directives and how to stay within each platform’s boundaries when running a contest.
  • Communication…Innovation…Collaboration…The Intersection of Social Media and Emergency Response — Katy Killian and Eric Hodges
    Social media and emergency response go hand in hand. Whether you are a social media beginner, managing a small business, or charged with creating a social media communication plan for a large organization this session will leave you with practical, actionable ideas to implement when you return home.

    • Do you have an interest in social media and emergency response and want to learn more?
    • Do you want to learn more about integrating social media and emergency response within your current organizational structure?
    • Do you need to become familiar with social media crisis communication best practices?

    If you have answered yes to any of the above mentioned questions, this session is for you. Attend and learn more about the value of social media in emergency response and why communication, innovation, and collaboration are integral the success of your communication and response plan.

  • Content Creation — Kaleigh Moore
    Most organizations have an established social media presence at this point. But always having fresh ideas on how to create content that’s both interesting and engaging can be exhausting. When ideas run out, we fall into a social media slump–posting the same thing over and over. The content becomes boring, and it’s not working effectively any more. How can we rejuvenate an existing online presence to make it more compelling and innovative? This session will outline the answer to that question while touching on how to leverage storytelling opportunities through relevant social media outlets, how to generate and repackage content, as well as the importance of partnering with other social media voices to grab new audiences for expanded reach. Toward the end of the session there will be an opportunity to ask questions, troubleshoot, and share ideas on what works and what doesn’t.Workshop learning objectives:

    • Learn strategies for new content that engages the audience.
    • Find ways to repackage existing content to make it more interesting and relevant
    • Discover how partnerships can leverage storytelling opportunities.Note: This session is probably best suited for moderate to veteran social media users.
  • Crowdfunding Tips and Best Practices — Brian Gawor
    Crowdfunding has exploded onto the commercial scene and changed how projects are funded and how “buzz” is built before the prototype even leaves the shop. Charities have joined the trend and started to offer donors a chance to engage in social giving through this powerful tool. As expected with any new technology, there have been some bumps in the road for both companies and charities. We’ll discuss some of the best practices and success stories. We’ll also talk about how charitable crowdfunding solutions, like RuffaloCODY’s Scalefunder and Crowdrise are helping unlock the 21st century donor
  • Digital Bang for your Buck: The fundamentals of digital marketing — Will Koch & Katie Eades
    Overwhelmed by the complexity of how to market your business on social, the web, through search? Need ideas on how to enable a sales force to stay on message, on brand and in lock-step with your business? How about tips to balance the business needs of your bosses with the engagement-driven needs of your fans, followers and connections?Join Digital Marketers Will Koch &KatieEades from COUNTRY Financial® who will share the lessons they’ve learned about:

    • How to leverage social into larger marketing campaigns.
    • Tips to make your social content more engaging
    • Easy and effective ways to train employees or a sales force to spread the word about your business
    • How to target new business online
    • Getting the most value out of social advertising

    Expect a fun, casual atmosphere with plenty of opportunities for Q & A and idea discussion.

  • Campaigns That Drive Action – Newsletters & Announcements – Featuring Email & Social Engagements  —  Steve Robinson
    At the heart of small business marketing are the campaigns that drive action – collections of marketing activities that help a small business or organization to achieve its goals and objectives. Newsletters and Announcements have become a core component of those campaign choices. Email is more important than ever – to the communication efforts of businesses and nonprofits everywhere; and to the customer, donor, client or supporter of those organizations. This session will reveal some simple but effective best practices and considerations for the small business or nonprofit seeking to make their email newsletters more effective. Attendees of this presentation will learn:

    • The different types of newsletters
    • What to write about in your newsletter or announcement and how to consider using images
    • Subject line best practices, and when to send your newsletter
    • The importance of understanding how connected email and social media are…they have to be done together.
    • What types of additional tools might be usefulJoin us and learn some great new strategies to help your email and social media efforts be more effective components of one of the core campaign types, newsletters and announcements.
  • Everything Pop Culture Taught Me about Social Media: A Millennial’s Perspective on Transmedia Storytelling — Fetesha Downs
    I will show why storytelling across platforms can be a great way to engage an audience and organically create brand advocates using specific fandom examples. As a millennial, I’ve grown up in the center of pop culture moments like the Harry Potter generation, South Korea’s hallyu wave, and Japan’s visual kei scene. My generation lives through storytelling. Marketing campaigns across industries are shifting to this focus. This free skill doesn’t take much work, but can completely relaunch a brand. I want people to understand that online engagement can be quite intuitive and fulfilling. It’s the art of natural conversation in a new environment. If you can tell a story, you can apply it to each platform in a way that breathes life into your business.
  • Icing on the Cake: Building your Business Socially — Pete Moore
    Sugar Mama Bakery used social media to build a tasty brand and become profitable in year one. Sugar Mama Bakery had a first year of business that many start-ups would be enviable of: they sold more than 100,000 cupcakes, grew their social media community by almost 2000%, hired more than 20 staff, and expanded into a second location—all without the use of a traditional marketing budget. Pete Moore, Sugar Mama Bakery’s social media “sugar daddy,”willdiscussthestrategybehindthesuccessofthisfully-baked business and how other businesses can use these lessons to make something sweet. Through this case study, attendees will learn:

    • The opportunity costs of implementing a social media marketing strategy
    • Four characteristics of truly viral content
    • How to build charity into your brand
    • How to help others tell your story
    • Successes and failures of taking risks with social media
  • Panoramic PR: The Top Secret Social Media Super Power Ingredient that Your Competition Doesn’t Know About 
    Without PR
    [Personality + Reputation], social media is blah, blah, blah. Extremely popular with PR pros, this is a powerful session for social media practitioners who are looking for effective ways to attract attention and drive traffic to their sites with digital PR. Includes a PR primer, tips on where to find and how to reach top influencers, and ways to align PR performance with social media KPIs.
  • Social Data Mining — Matt Christensen
    Everyone is talking about big data these days, and for good reason. Imagine the possibilities. This session will discuss how you can leverage mining social media to better know your fans/audience and use that information to expand. Through the use of social API’s provided by Facebook, Twitter, etc. you can gain insights into people’s habits and trends that can help you target your audience. On a high level I will discuss how to leverage those API’s and start mining your “big data” into useful, actionable pieces of information.
  • Social Media Monitoring at Illinois State University — Steve Hunt & Nathan Carpenter. 
    Illinois State’s School of Communication recently completed construction on a new Social Media Analytics and Command Center (SMACC). The SMACC is a specialized computer lab whose primary goal is to analyze public conversations from social media outlets, popular discussion forums, and major blogs. SMACC researchers use customized software that identifies social media conversations and displays them as dynamic charts, graphs, word clouds, and other visualizations. These visualizations help researchers analyze social media trends, sentiment, share of voice, and geo-location. This session will provide an overview of the center and highlight strategies for the integration of social media analytics in several contexts.
  • Why You Must Build Your Personal Brand, and How Digital Tools Can Help — Brent Kelly
    In today’s world, every business owner, sales professional, or entrepreneur must develop and leverage their personal brand. People want to buy from those they know, like, and trust. By using digital tools, you can build credibility, provide value, and become known as a trusted adviser. In this session, Brent will debunk 10 myths that often keep individuals from developing their personal brand and provide tangible ideas that you can use immediately for your business. Building a personal brand is about positioning yourself more so you compete less.
  • Using Social Media for Inbound Marketing — Steve Haase, HubSpot
    Inbound Marketing attracts people with experiences they love, rather than annoying them with advertisements or other interruptions. Social media, when done correctly, can be the ultimate inbound marketing tool, helping you reach your ideal customers directly and build the relationship long before they ever speak with a sales person. In this session you will discover how to create an endless stream of social media content that your ideal customers will love, and how to use that content to drive real results for your business.