Communications · Social Media

A Recap of iMEDIA Social Media Conference 2018

Having attended the iMEDIA conference the past two years, I was excited at the thought of returning on March 9-10, 2018 for a third consecutive year with my colleague. But when the date drew closer I started thinking I wouldn’t go. Truth be told, I haven’t been feeling too good lately but my colleague convinced me to go, and I’m glad I went.

iMEDIA is a day and a half conference pertaining to all things social media and is held annually in Edmonton. It begins on a Friday evening with a keynote speaker and a networking event and runs all day Saturday with another keynote and an assortment of breakout sessions to choose from. This year there were a few “Masterclasses” to choose from and experience all day on Friday. I’m kicking myself for not signing up for one of them and hope they continue with this idea next year too!

The breakout sessions are conducted by industry professionals, usually from across Alberta, and can range from beginner to advanced. The topics range depending on the speaker’s interests and/or talents. And let me tell you, there are usually so many awesome speakers that it becomes hard to choose which breakout sessions to attend. This is a welcomed “problem.”

When my colleague and I arrived at Grant MacEwan University where the conference was held, we ran into a woman named Ainsley, which we met two years ago. It was super cool to meet up with someone we made a connection with many moons ago, and even better that we got to enjoy this year’s conference together.

We checked in and received our name tags before proceeding to listen to Tyler Lessard (VP Marketing, Vidyard) speak about why communicators/marketers are actually salespeople in today’s attention-deficit world. Tyler used his humour to connect with the audience. His presentation deck was on point and he even incorporated some magic into the evening, which was welcomed by everyone there. I’m pretty sure there was a moment when we all wished our name was “Diane.” (If you were there this makes sense. If not, simply move along.)

There was a short break before Linda Hoang and Tyler Butler took the stage to record a live podcast for their program, Don’t Call Me a Guru. They spoke with Tyler Lessard and Saturday’s keynote speaker, Yang Han (Co-founder and CTO, Stackadapt) about the future of marketing, bias in the tech industry and building IKEA furniture. It was pretty cool to watch a conversation unfold that others in attendance would get to hear. I wonder who has tuned in since it was put online. Technology can be so cool. 

Attendees then proceeded to munch on thoughtfully selected appetizers and refreshments. Many kudos to the organizing crew for making this networking portion fun and yummy.

Saturday morning arrived and I was eager to get the day started. We joined the rest of conference goers for breakfast before listening to Yang Han speak about artificial intelligence. I don’t know if it was because I was tired but I must admit, much of his presentation went over my head. Thankfully I was not alone in this. What can I say? Brains aren’t all wired the same! I jotted down a few notes, but I think I’ll need to watch the video on this one to understand it better. Soon enough it was time for breakout sessions. Instead of breaking down the sessions I attended, here are my top highlights from this year:

Instagram Stories with Linda Hoang, Suzy Kenny, and Avery Johnson
These women absolutely rocked this panel session based on how companies or individuals can best utilize the Stories function on Instagram. I loved when they spoke about consistency in branding. An example of this is, say you are a beauty blogger and do Instagram Stories on beauty, and then on Friday night, you add a story inside a dark bar. It’s very confusing and off-putting for your followers to see such juxtaposed videos.

Content for the People By the People: UGC and Micro-Influence in 2018 with Digital Strategists Brittany Dakins and Chris Mulkin of DDB Edmonton
These two worked well together to deliver a fun and informative session on user-generated content (UGC). In case you didn’t know, Chris has a yo-yo company and is a master at tricks and did a few during the presentation. Mad props to him on his yo-yo skills! 

How to Win Followers and Influence People (on Instagram) with Avery Johnson and Kady Hobbins of Kaden Ave. Communications
This pair delivered a rockin’ session on Instagram and gave attendees a list of do’s and don’t, They spoke about micro and macro influencers, how they differ, and how both have an important influence over people on Instagram.

More highlights:

  • Saw and chatted with Beverley TheresaSocial Media Strategist & Consultant
  • Saw and chatted with BJ Tumanut, Sales & Marketing Manager at JoieFarm Winery
  • Caught up with Kayla Baretta 🙂
  • Hanging out with Haleigh Packer, Ainsley Ross, and Jenny Albers
  • I also won a copy of Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk. That was super cool and exciting to win, and even cooler to know that I genuinely wanted a copy of that book, so winning one was amazing!

Thank you to all the event organizers, speakers, and of course, the many many volunteers. An event like this takes a lot of people to run smoothly and I commend the event team for a job well done! 🙂 

OH! And big thanks to Linda Hoang and Jack Butler for MCing the event. You both did a super job!

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