I was invited to a blog and social media conference, and I came home with a serious bag of swag.
My last amazing bag of swag was from Live in the Vineyard back in April, and boy there is nothing quite like the joy I feel when receiving free stuff.
About a week-and-a-half ago, iFabbo, an international organizer for bloggers and fashion and beauty brands, reached out to me with a free ticket to the iFabbo Social Media Conference taking place in San Francisco on Saturday. It just so happens that the BODYATTACK group fitness class I teach was canceled for the day, so I knew it was meant to be that I attend on a rare free weekend morning.
Who attends the iFabbo conference?
The event was held at Merchant’s Exchange building in the Financial District. I don’t know exactly how many people were there, but I’d guess around 250 or 300 — 98 percent of who were women, naturally. The audience included panelists, who are experts in technology, social media and public relations; fashion, beauty and lifestyle bloggers; people representing beauty and fashion brands; and companies that provide blogging and social media services.
All of the panel discussions were held in one ridiculously freezing room, and other than a few breaks (including a cute cupcake and lemonade break sponsored by Luvocracy), much of the time was spent listening to the panel discussions. (I’ll provide a more detailed overview on what I learned in each panel in a future post.)
As any good conference organizer would, the hostess of the day encouraged attendees to visit the sponsor area during the breaks, where about 10 companies were offering free products and consultations.
The best interactive and engaging sponsor booth of the day was by BooHoo, a UK clothing company, which had a rack of clothing hanging by its table. Next to the rack was an A-frame poster with simple rules to follow: Choose your favorite item. Take a picture with it. Post it to Instagram, and tag BooHoo. Done and done. What did you get if you did it? That favorite item of clothing in your size. I chose a black leather peplum top, and I can’t wait to wear it. The company offers some fashionable duds, and they are just entering the U.S. market. Definitely worth checking out the website.
What do you learn at the conference?
Being that I stem from a communications and public relations background, I have a pretty good understanding of how to create engaging content on social media and increase your reach as a blogger, which is what made up a good portion of the discussion. But I learned new information about many services available to help bloggers (affiliate link providers, paid video subscription services, etc.) and how to optimize your use of things like Facebook Fan Pages and Google + Communities to grow your following.
An interesting interaction occurred during the social media panel, when a Facebook and a Google rep sat side-by-side, and you could feel the tension. They each took turns answering questions from the moderator and audience, doing their best to promote their company’s social media channels and tools as the number one. I loved that part.
There was a lot of discussion of Instagram and YouTube. Because people are so visual, a big part of what fashion and beauty bloggers do is create and share pictures and video. Whether it’s using Instagram to share outfit or make-up looks, or filming “how-to” videos for YouTube, there are plenty of ways to create authentic content on a blog that people can enjoy without doing a lot of reading. (YouTube was actually referenced much more than you would expect. It may not be the newest channel out there, but it’s still the second most popular search engine and should not be neglected for its potential.)
That’s the top line description of what we discussed. For now, let’s get to my thoughts on the crowd.
And what about the fashion?
Everyone was really well-dressed. Nearly everyone had great makeup and hair, and waves and messy bed-head ruled the day. I saw a ton of dark red lips and dark red nails too. I also saw a lot of dark tights with dresses. I chose black leather pants, a striped top and a bright jacket. I had toiled and toiled over whether to wear heels or shiny flats to the event. Originally I had planned to walk there, which would have required me to be in flats. But at the last minute, I put on some high-heel booties and had Dave drop me off. Great decision! San Francisco is usually very laid back and dressed down, but that was not the case at the iFabbo conference.
What does this mean for this blog?
As a reader, you know A Lady Goes West is not exactly a blog sitting in the fashion and beauty space. In fact, I’m considered more of a lifestyle blogger. But that doesn’t really matter when it comes down to the principles of good blogging. Even though the conference wasn’t tailored to my specific interests, I still appreciated and learned from the panelists, whose expertise applies to a blogger in any field.
You may see some new things on my blog based on what I learned today.
I tend to write on longer-form posts, which detail my discovery of life in San Francisco, including the food, the style, the way of life, as well as my endless group fitness obsession. I’ll continue to do that, and maybe from time to time, I’ll add write more about the specific products, clothes or services I’m enjoying, and I’ll ask some questions from you. Why not?
I’m so grateful to iFabbo for inviting me. And I’m grateful to all the sponsors, who filled the day with helpful information and filled the amazing swag bag full of more than $400 worth of goodies.
A totally different way to spend a Saturday in the City, and one that inspired me to do more with my blog.