SMTulsa – Candace’s Take

I’m freshly back from a conference showdown in Tulsa and Dallas. This is a recap from SMTulsa…which was the one in Tulsa. ūüėČ These SMTulsa people tout being “fun” and are all said to be experts in things like SEO and social media.

Spoiler alert: They are all these things and more. Fun? Check. Experts? Check. I learned so much and am now ready to apply these tweaks both great and small. But more than that, I wanted to share them with you also!

This conference utilized the Whoa App, which I first thought was going to be a hassle but it was so great! You could plan out your agenda so you always knew which session you had next and where you needed to be. It was also a great way for conference goers to communicate with each other before and during the conference. Love it!

Session 1:

Social Search: The Impacts of Social Media on Search Engine Optimization
@RoxanneRoark from Heroic Search

Roxanne Roark SEO

SEO and social media was a natural area of interest to me for sure. And it’s safe to say Roxanne had me at the phrase “link juice.” She is known as the “Siren of Social” and holy cannoli is that title accurate for this powerhouse of a woman in this industry. I learned more than I ever thought I could about SEO in one hour – social signals, on-page optimization, link acquiring, exchanges and roundups. Her session is even what¬†inspired this post. Helloooooooo, original content. She has a way of explaining things to people who are very novice at SEO (*cough* me *cough*). From helpful hints on how to tweak your SEO, to what it is and what it means to social media – ummmmm, she also showed case studies and if you ask my class how I feel about case studies, they will tell you that is the way to my social media-loving heart. To Roxanne I say, thank you. You have created a forever fan of you, Heroic Search and SEO in social media.

Key takeaways: Produce content that will maximize your brand. The more eyes you can get on your content the higher your SEO. This works in a cycle: good content = more shares = more eyes on content = possible shares to websites and/or links to your website = higher SEO. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Session 2:

How to use the Power of Social Connection and Shared Experience to Drive your Business
Mandy Vavrinak, Owner, Crossroads Communications, LLC.

Mandy Vavrinak Social Media

Though I haven’t shared this with Mandy yet, we are social media soul sisters (we also both have terrible allergies. Thanks, Oklahoma. At one point she was sniffling and made a joke that it sounded like she was crying and “Disengaged audiences make her cry.” Me too.). I could have spent the entire session amen-ing all of her slides straight-up Pennsatucky style:

Pennsatucky OITNB

We have an eerily similar philosophy in how we execute plans on social media. Her can’t-stop-won’t-stop positive attitude kept me engaged throughout her entire presentation.

Key Takeaways: If you want to do something – do it. It’s that simple. No excuses. Make it happen.


Session 3:

The Confidence Factor for Women in Marketing
Carol Sanker, Founder, Confidence for Women in Leadership

Carol Sankar Confident Women

This session could be described in emoji form as:¬†?????¬†– SO MUCH WOMAN POWER! It was empowering and refreshing and so much real talk I could hardly keep it together. Seriously, every working woman should hear this talk. You should always be marketing yourself – from your hair to your clothes to your car to your office, etc. You get the idea. She also discussed the types of currency women are leaving the table: marketing (are you comfortable promoting and marketing yourself?), communication (are you using social media to its full potential to market yourself?), prospecting (are you looking for new customers on social media?), referrals (are you looking for referrals everywhere you could be – social media, email, voicemail, etc.), valuation and price – the big kahuna –

Services you offer should be based on their value – not based on their price. What is your value?

Key Takeaways: Don’t sell your intellectual capital short. And if/when people call you a witch with a b try to take it as a “temporary compliment.”




My favorite session amiright? We feasted on a Baja Jacks Taco Bar. Much delicious.


Session 4:

Last Night a DJ Rocked Your Brand: Social Media Lessons From the Booth
Curtis Midkiff, Sr. Advisor, Social Business Strategies, Southwest Airlines

Curtis Midkiff

Curtis tried to get all the tables to dance at the beginning of his presentation. Despite this, I did enjoy all the things he had to say. ūüėČ (Terrible dancer speaking here.) As the senior adviser for social business strategy at Southwest, we got an awesome inside look at how this organization with almost 2 million Twitter followers engages with its¬†audience and integrates its¬†content marketing.

We learned four lessons to consider as the DJ of your own brand (for example, I’m DJ InstaSLAM, or as Tom would say – Instalame.):

  • Lesson #1: Listen, Listen, Listen, Listen
    • Social listening can cultivate content and development, help you monitor your audience, help you market to your audience in a better way and help you provide better customer service.
  • Lesson #2: Have a plan but be flexible
    • Real-time relevance is important. When Kim and Kanye were having babies #1 and #2, Southwest took this as an opportunity to capitalize on (in a good way) and related to their following:


Kimye-West twitter-post-kanye-tweet-2

By doing this they not only appeared more “real” and approachable but they also caught the attention of the Mommy Bloggers and garnered some good publicity that way as well – just like Roxanne talked about in my first session! I love it when everything comes full circle like that, don’t you?

  • Lesson #3: Adapt and Evolve
    • Social media is constantly changing. You have to adapt and modify your content to fit your audience on a regular basis….or you die final destination style. Jk….you just don’t reach as many people.
  • Lesson #4: Shoutouts and Dedications
    • Just like DJs take requests and that one radio station in OKC still does that gaud-awful slow jams dedication thing Sunday nights, you, as your brand’s DJ should give the people what they want, if it’s reasonable of course. They want more campus pics? Done. More sports ball posts? Maybe. More student activities on campus? You got it.

Key Takeaways: It’s a lot to stay on top of all this all the time but it’s part of the job. Don’t be Instalame. Be InstaSLAM!


Session #5:

Engaging with A-Holes
Ryan Daly, Consumer Affairs

Ryan Daly


Well this is something I can relate to for sure! Did you know that while only 42 percent of people would share a positive experience on social media a whopping 75 percent of people would share a negative experience? I did know that. Maybe not exactly but I can for sure recognize that the balance is tipped in favor of the unfavorable. In this session we learned how to deal with a-holes, how some brands have badly dealt with trolls and what can be learned from it and what this bad word of mouth can do to your brand, whether resolved or unresolved.

When people love your brand, it becomes part of their identity.¬†When a brand betrays someone, they feel betrayed embarrassed and abandoned. This motivates them to complain online. As a brand, you should do a¬†quick audit of your online reputation and keep track of that just as you do your brand’s social media analytics, trends, etc.

Ryan’s three keys for¬†responding successfully:

  1. Do it quickly and make it easy on your customers. They shouldn’t have to follow up with you to get this taken care of. You should give them all the info they need in your response.
  2. Apologize, publicly. This not only appeases the scorned but shows other customers that you are open and proactive. It also creates a record of your commitment to your customers where consumers are researching your brand.
  3. Follow up privately. This makes sure they know you care and are doing all you can to make it right and repair the relationship.

Key Takeaways:¬†Your brand’s reputation is 25 percent of its market value. Take care of it! One fourth is huge and some would argue your reputation accounts for more than that percentage.


Session 6:

Making the Most of Free Data
Meagan Ewton, Public Relations Coordinator, Rogers State University

Meagan Ewton

Data. There’s so much of it and yet it can be so hard to find sometimes. In this session Meagan gave us the data hound basics and some great Excel tips. Major platforms have built-in insights that can be really good (and are some of my favorite options) but some other useful options include Simply Measured (free and paid options), Iconosquare (for Instagram) and Google Analytics.

Key Takeaways: You data is telling you things about your followers, engagement, demographics, content – use that info to make your content better! It can also show you long-term progress, give you topics and help you set goals. Data does a lot!


Session 7:

Crisis Management on Social Media
Candace Timmons, Social Media Marketing Manager, The University of Oklahoma



It’s me! In this session I discussed our procedures during crises and emergencies at OU. We also discussed how we proactively work to keep our students and campus safe. And finally, we talked about taking care of yourself as a social media marketing manager.
Key Takeaways: You’d have to ask someone in my session. ūüėČ


Amy Poehler

I think what our good friend Amy Poehler says is so true. SMTulsa proved to immediately be this group of people for me and I’m excited to use the skills I learned to expand OU’s brand.

Spirit sprinkles,

One thought on “SMTulsa – Candace’s Take

  1. What a great recap, Candace. Your session was amazing. Thank you so much for your kind words. Hope to see you again.

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