Twitter is already full of pre-Social Media Marketing World shenanigans in San Diego. Since I'm not flying down until tomorrow, in the midst of my FOMO, I have time to share a few thoughts, as a returning attendee, on how to make the most of this unique event.
- Join in on the pre-conference virtual networking. On Slack, there are channels for everything from technology marketers to craft beer lovers—join the ones that will connect you with like-minded folks! There's also Facebook page and a Linkedin group to explore.
- Download the event app. Search the app store of your choice for Bizzabo. This is a great way to build and manage your sessions schedule, and planning meetups with other attendees.
- Pack backup device batteries. It's not too late to get them sent via Amazon Prime to your hotel. You don't want to run out of phone juice just as you're snapping that perfect selfie on the U.S.S. Midway tomorrow night, do you?
- Bring your walking shoes. The Convention Center is steps away from the Gaslamp Quarter, a neighborhood full of cafes, restaurants and shops you'll want to explore. I highly recommend tapas and sangria at Cafe Sevilla.
- Eat tacos. Lots of tacos. Especially fish tacos. It's pretty much mandatory. When I was in college, we'd hit up Casa de Bandini in Old Town (it's since moved to Carlsbad), but more recently Huapangos has been a favorite place of mine for margaritas and Mexican food.
- Visit the Zoo. San Diego's Zoo is an amazing park, with some of the best-designed exhibits I've seen. It's well worth the time and entrance fee.
- Bring a water bottle. It's easy to get dehydrated between the socializing, sunny weather, and canned air in the session rooms. So keep that water bottle in hand and filled up. If you forgot to bring one, it's likely you'll be able to obtain one from a friendly conference sponsor.
- Prep your note-taking setup. I'm a big fan of Evernote and create a new notebook for each conference I attend. Within those notebooks, I create individual notes for each session I'm attending. I try to ID the speaker's twitter handle in advance and add it to the note to make sure I'm tagging any quotes I share appropriately. I like that it's easy to share my conference notebook with my team, to share the learnings and resources from the event.
- Talk to strangers. This conference has facilitation of networking down pat. I'm an introvert, and really appreciate how easy 9and painless) they make it for you to find people you're interested in connecting with.
I'm going to go get packed now. Hope to see you there!