Social media conference is grand Slam

Marketers and social media experts - don

Social Slam 2011 (WVLT/Sara Shookman)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- For the third year in a row, marketers, bloggers, and hundreds of others who want to connect with the online audiences crowded into the Knoxville Convention Center on Friday. They were there for the Socal Media Club of Knoxville's Social Slam.

A packed ballroom listened as some of the most influential minds in the industry talked about everything from producing great stories and videos to how brands should talk to their users. And, what a collection it was! As the lead-off keynote speaker, Jeff Bullas, who just happened to be driing by Knoxville when he was invited to speak, point out, a typical conference with this caliber of speaker would likely cost at least five times as much. But, thanks to the dedication and hard work of organizers, and a host of hard-working volunteers, most attendees a the day-long event were able to attend for less than a C-Note.

Mark Schaefer, who helps organize the conference every year, said the Social Media Club works hard to keep prices low, adding that he's "proud of the inclusiveness."

In all, they were able to corral speakers from 25 states across the country and five countries and from fields as varied as Edison Research, a leading exit polling firm; Cafe Press; and McDonald's.

"It' put us on the map," said Schaefer. "We've created a destination for some of the top marketing minds in world."

He called it great for the city and the economy, with everyone who's come giving the city great reviews.

Rick Wion, one of the men who helped develop the fast food giant's digital strategy, and Xan Pearson, VP of Marketing with the Chicago Bulls and White Sox discussed the challenges of making sure your brand is relatable and in touch with its audience. they both talked about how you can take a very angry customer and turn them into a very loyal one, just by reaching out and trying to help them.

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