Snow + Social = Snowcial
I just got back from what I think may just be the coolest conference on the planet. It combines the beauty of Tahoe, some of the greatest social marketing minds, and plenty of skiing/snowboarding time on the slopes of Heavenly. The founders intended it to be a good balance between social/tech sessions and learnings, bonding (not just networking) and a shared passion for snow. Having grown up on the slopes of Tahoe, the concept fascinated me.
In it’s fourth year, Snowcial brought an impressive lineup of keynote speakers to this years conference: Klout’s CEO Joe Fernandez, Foursquare’s Jonathan Crowley, Webtrends’ CMO Hope Frank and Justin Kistner (Zeno clients), Vail’s CEO Robert Katz and Porter Gale, former VP marketing of Virgin America.
"Snowcialites" hitting the slopes.
What really differentiates Snowcial is the depth of connection between the audience and the speakers. Did you know that Joe Fernandez grew up on the slopes of Heavenly? His dad worked for Caesar’s, so he spent a lot of his childhood living in South Lake Tahoe (we even saw one of his early Heavenly ski passes). “Skiing is about going fast and trying crazy, kind of like being an entrepreneur,” said Fernandez.
Jonathan Crowley is a hard-core tree skier, and posts tips throughout Foursquare on his favorite tree runs at various resorts. And Hope Frank is an avid surfer and kite surfer, living on the Columbia River Gorge to be near her passion.
Beyond the sports connection, there were some great nuggets of wisdom that I took away from Snowcial this year:
Do you have Klout? (via @joefernandez)
- The average Klout score is 20. (the average at Snowcial was approx. 50)
- Adding a new network to your profile will never negatively impact your score
- Today, Klout has 15 data sources. In a few years, it will be 500+
- The megatrend: more people creating more data that is more accessible
Webtrends on Facebook Marketing (via @hopefrank and @justinkistner)
- Social ROI is moving to advertising language. No more “reach” and “sentiment,” brands should be moving the conversation to impressions, conversions, CPA
- CMOs need to focus on the 4 Rs in social marketing: Real-time relevance and Remarkable ROI
- Ads should be targeted at existing fans. The click through rate (CTR) with existing fans is 7X greater than when targeting strangers
- Do not drive your fans away from Facebook – they are twice as likely to close the window and go back to Facebook
- Creativity is key – the average lifespan of creative on Facebook is 3 days. If you do a 30 day campaign, you need to refresh 10 times
The Future of Foursquare (via @jonathancrowley)
- Foursquare now has 15 million users, 1.5 billion check-ins and 600K merchants
- The company’s goal is to personalize local, and make the world easier to explore
- Tips are the lifeblood of Foursquare. Tens of millions of user tips are invaluable
- Foursquare can have a big effect on local businesses. Companies are rewarding loyalty through smarter means
Lots will continue to happen, on and off the slopes, at Snowcial in the next few days. In past years, new friends have decided to go into business together, magazines have been resurrected (Heckler), late night deals have been made and summit-scaling teams have been formed. I definitely plan to be back here next year.