Five favorite things about social marketing from Social South

Social South GroupI am an in-#soso-mniac. Meaning I have just been too amped up by the great sharing that happened at Social South to sleep much the last few nights. So I’m sharing these things with you so you, too, can be an insomniac (but hopefully an inspired one). I should note that there were three or so sessions happening at any one time, so these are just nuggets from the ones I chose to attend. There were many more great sessions even than these, and content will be shared at Also I’m not sure what the final count was at the conference, but should note that this photo was taken at the very end of the conference, and there were 2-3 times this many people participating. Thanks to @jbagby25 for sharing the photo.

The first thing that has to be understood about this conference is the powerful and moving videoconference keynote from Esra’a al Shafei of (@mideast youth). Is your social strategy “Expose Injustice”? No. But theirs is. They have successfully changed discriminatory government policies, largely through use of social media channels. Check out their incredible videos here. I also recommend Jason Falls’ great post about this session.

Beth Harte, from MarketingProfs and The Harte of Marketing blog (see blogroll) brought a healthy dose of how to write and measure a strategic plan to the conference which I must say was quite refreshing. I find Beth to be quite the kindred spirit for anyone who wants to approach social marketing and media from a more strategic direction. You can check out Beth’s slides here. And follow her on Twitter, @BethHarte.

Mack Collier, from the Viral Garden blog (see blogroll) gave a well-crafted presentation on What Rockstars Can Teach You About Kicking Ass At Social Media. Not only does it contain strategies for fueling fans, but it is also a great example of how to tell a cohesive presentation story with powerful ideas, simple slides and great examples. I strongly recommend you check out the slides here and find a way to see Mack deliver it sometime.

@richardatdell and @lionelatdell, first of all, are two of the nicest guys you will ever meet in your life. Four lessons from their experience that I noted were: 1) Listen and learn. 2) Join other conversations and participate. 3) It’s a big world out there; go where the conversations are happening. and 4) Online and offline interact together (this last one was an important recurring theme that will warrant a post). For me, it was validating somehow to know that even Dell started with the basic blocking and tackling. This quote from Lionel: “Plan. But go where the conversation takes you.” and this one from Richard: “Strategy is one thing, but there is no substitute for action.” say so much in so few words.

Tom Martin presented How One Man, an iPhone, and Twitter Changed Consumer Perception of MardiGras. Tom is a true innovator and his case study, which he also wrote up in an Ad Age article, is one of the first to actually quantify the power of Twitter to change how a brand is perceived. In the name of full disclosure I suppose I should mention that Tom has been a friend for the past, oh, 18 years or so. And I didn’t see his entire session because there was a higher ed session that I needed to attend at the same time. That said, this is an awesome example of someone actually measuring what they accomplished in social media and how, specifically, it impacted a brand. If you find more of those, please share them, because I am not seeing them.

I feel so fortunate to have been a part of Social South, an inspiring, exciting community of crazy-nice, brilliant people. Any questions, or thoughts you’d like to add? If you engage with any of this stuff, I’d appreciate your feedback in the comments.

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  • Ike

    MORE full disclosure…

    The picture above was taken well after the end of the last session — there were easily three times as many people in attendance.

  • Sue Spaight

    Great point Ike, glad you added it. I did mean to say something about that and will add to post. Thanks.

  • David H.

    Great post and nice wrap-up. It was great to meet you. I was to your right during the last presentation and am in the blue shirt near all the yellow shirts at the top of this photo. I have a few thoughts over on my blog as well ( and hope to have some sort of wrap-up by the end of the week. The lunch on Saturday was too moving to not mention it!

  • Sherry Kerr

    Sue, this is a great list of favorites. I’ll add one more from my list: inspiration. The creativity and sense of community in the room were contagious, and I found myself getting ideas even when the speakers were talking about something else entirely. And it was great meeting you there, too!

  • Sue Spaight


    Thanks, it was great to meet you, too and I will make a point to check out your post. And you are right about that lunch – DANG that was good.


  • Sue Spaight


    Agreed. Very inspiring and I’m glad you felt that, too.

    Funny, today I was half thinking about changing the title of this post to “Social South: social media without all the holier-than-thou BS”. Then I read Marc Meyer’s post and he said it better than I ever could. You might enjoy it, find it at:

    Great meeting you and getting a chance to talk and benefit from your experience. I definitely look forward to more conversation and checking out your blog, please make sure to @ or DM me a link next time you post. Thanks.