On Sunday I arrived home from SNAP Conference with a to-do list a mile long. Not from things I had forgotten to do before I left, but a list full of ideas and adjustments I wanted to make to my blog, social media, and business as a result of presentations and networking done at SNAP. How could I best communicate my experience at SNAP to you here on my bloggity blog? With a bunch of paragraphs? How do I tell you what I learned in sessions as well as what I learned about myself as a blogger, business owner, and a person? A series of posts all week long?
Let's keep it simple: How about a list?!
So here we go:
100 Things I Learned at SNAP the Conference
(and some tidbits about attending conferences in general)
1. I'm not alone in being confused about the name – is it SNAP, SNAP the Conference, or SNAP Conference? Who cares. You know what I am talking about!
2. You can't meet everyone. There were 525 or so bloggers in attendance. I made it my mission to network as much as possible and came home with about 200 business cards. I met 8 bloggers I had not ever met before, but who had been at SNAP, at the SLC airport on the way home after the event – can you imagine that?!
3. Bring more business cards than you think you need. And then bring another 100. I brought a 4″ tall stack of cards (I think that is 300??) and I ran out of cards on the last day.
4. Participate in the swaps, secret sister, and door decorating contests. If you don't, you might feel left out.
5. Eat with people you don't know. You'll meet more people that way and get into really cool in-depth conversations.
6. Practice taking selfies before you get there. I suck at selfies and there were contests and giveaways where we had to take selfies. I had a #SelfieFail more than once until I got this shot.:
And then this happened:
7. Go to all of the events, even if you are super tired at the end of the day. Everyone is tired. The networking that happens at the parties is usually what gets me the most exciting connections.
8. Dress up for the events – if you are supposed to have a costume, do it! My pajamas were my real, boring pajamas but I wore them anyways. And the 80's party was nuts!
9. Don't be afraid to approach people you want to meet.
10. Be understanding – people are tired, have travel fatigue and might have a hard time being “on” for 4-5 days straight at a conference. Don't take things personal unless they are just really, truly an outright turdface. Most of the time, people are just overwhelmed. Give them the benefit of the doubt.
11. Practice an elevator pitch – you'll do so much better when approaching brands, especially when you get tired, if you have a pitch you can easily recite to anyone who asks “what do you do?”.
12. If a brand has a contest or asks you to Instagram or tweet something with a hashtag, do it right away. I took a few pics the first day and stashed the contest info papers in my bag – I was so tired at the end of the day that I forgot to share those pics on social media and then I didn't have a chance to win the contest. You also want them to see how responsive and involved you are with your social media.
13. Be open to working with brands you never imagined you might work with.
14. Be honest with yourself about not working with certain brands or products that don't fit with your blog or business.
15. Don't waste time talking to a brand you have no interest in working with. I had a conflict of interest with one brand so I knew I could not work with them and I did not talk to them (other than saying “hello” and being cordial) because I thought it would be disrespectful to waste their time and uncomfortable if I brought up my relationship with their competitor.
16. Bring cash, usually about $50 per day, for food and incidentals. You never know when you might have an opportunity to go out to eat or get a drink with a brand or blogger or when the food might be something you can't eat and you need to eat elsewhere.
17. Don't depend on the conference to provide your food, especially if you have dietary restrictions. I eat paleo and I tried to get the gluten-free options but was hungry because I was only able to eat about half of the meal. If you have a special diet, it is your responsibility to make sure you have food. I should have planned my food better.
18. The hotel rooms have refrigerators at SNAP!
19. Get a roommate you don't know. I met my roommate on the internet a week ago. She turned out to be amazing and now I have a new friend! It might sound scary but it was a great way to get to know someone better and save money on a room. I think I got more out of this roommate experience than if I had roomed with a friend because again, it was the networking and learning about someone new that would not have happened if Ihad no roommate or roomed with someone I knew.
20. Connect with people on the Facebook Group before the event. I should have been more active on there so I would have more context when I met people at the event.
21. Set up a list in Twitter for all of your conference contacts. This way you can always know how you met them!
22. Search the event hashtag a couple days before the event to connect with people before you get there.
23. Search the event hashtag while you're at the event to see what cool things everyone is doing (that you might be missing out on and want to join), meet new people, and find new people to follow. I connected with a few people at SNAP solely because we found each other on Instagram or twitter using the event hashtag.
24. Wear things you made with the products from the brands at the conference – this is a great conversation starter!
25. Bring a binder ring + hole punch + business card sized dividers to make a business card holder. SNAP gave us the supplies to make these upon check-in and I thought it was genius! Helped me stay so organized!!!
26. Bring a Sharpie or other marker or pen that dries instantly so you can write notes on business cards. Most are glossy and if you write notes with a regular pen, the ink can smear.
27. Post 4-5 pics a day on Instagram and make sure you use hashtags.
28. I learned how to set goals and track conversions in Google Analytics!
29. Ask questions. Of presenters, fellow bloggers, sponsors, etc. Most people are more than willing to share info with you.
30. Research the brands before you go to the conference (or at the conference on your phone) so you have a jumping off point for your conversation.
31. Bring samples of your work if you can, to share.
32. Don't pass out bulky business cards or irregular shaped cards. There was a business card contest and people wanted to get creative with it. But I could not put those bulky and creative cards (with pencils, covered in fabric, in a bag with all kinds of other stuff, made out of wood, with candy attached, etc) onto my ring of cards so they ended up floating in the bottom of my bag. All that extra STUFF was just annoying after a while. Cute. Cool. But in the way and not really necessary.
33. Make sure your business card is up to date and tells what you do. Mine says “papercrafts & classes by Jennifer Priest”. Um, I do way more than that now!
34. Put your social media info on your cards. DUH, Jennifer! I don't have any on mine.
35. Your address is good for cards you'll pass out to brands so they can send you stuff and know what region you live in! Again, no address on my cards.
36. There are alot of ad networks and agencies to work with – ask other bloggers about their experiences to help you figure out which ones to invest your time into.
37. The average blogger in attendance has 200,000 pageviews per month on their blog.
38. Don't assume someone you are talking to is “above” or “below” you. I was talked down to and I was looked up to and at the end of the day, I just want to be treated like an equal. I think most people I met there would agree.
39. Bring a BIG empty suitcase. Or two. For all the swag!
40. The hotel has a scale at the bell desk. Weigh your luggage there rather than at the ticketing gate at the airport.
41. Put your goodies and stuff in smaller bags you can easily rearrange if your bag is too heavy. Tie the handles of tote bags in a knot to hod stuff inside.
42. Bring gallon zip lock bags in case you get swag like paint that might spill in your luggage.
43. Participate and be engaged. You never know when you might win a prize…or a rose. I got this rose from Erica Domesek for being the only person in the room to know who Casey Neistat was.
44. Bring your own water so you can stay hydrated and healthy.
45. Dress in layers – some rooms are hot, some are cold.
46. Alot of these bloggers have big followings because they pin all the time and share over social media and through linky parties.
47. Don't compare yourself to other bloggers – we all have a different journey and purpose. Connect with them and learn what you can, give what you can, and keep going on your path.
48. Don't be afraid to ask questions. I heard everyone talk about a conference called “Haven” – now I might be able to go it and I never even knew about it before this week!
49. Learn how to use Google Webmaster Tools if you aren't already using them.
50. If you work with ad networks, agencies, or affiliate networks, communicate with them. Their success is dependent on your success. I never knew they woudl be that helpful until I talked to both CJ by Conversant and Collective Bias representatives at SNAP.
51. When promoting a brand on your blog, your post has to sound organic. It has to make sense to your readers that you are posting about that brand or product. Like if I posted about baby formula right now, that would be out of place but if I posted about a new thread I was using in my sewing machine, that might be a stretch but it makes sense – from the CJ by Conversant seminar
52. Be loyal to brands when you work with them. Don't post about CVS this week and Walgreen's next week – from the CJ by Conversant seminar
53. Know your own brand before you start working with brands – from the CJ by Conversant seminar
54. Learn about other affiliate networks and which brands are on them so you can maximize your revenue from posts – – from the CJ by Conversant seminar
55. Add affiliate links to all of the supplies in your supply list, not just to one supply – from the CJ by Conversant seminar
56. Use competing affiliate links (if allowed). Don't link everything just to Amazon – have the links to different retailers in one post – from the CJ by Conversant seminar
57. Think about how you can speak to your followers and evoke emotion – from the P.S. I Made This keynote speech
58. Use color, compostion, typography, recognition, and nostalgia to evoke emotion in readers – from the P.S. I Made This keynote speech
59. All of our content is evergreen – from the P.S. I Made This keynote speech
60. Erica Domesek's brand is “comfort with a twist”. Figure out your brand's message and by writing down 3-5 things you are passionate about and are bigger than you that you can talk about – from the P.S. I Made This keynote speech
61. There is a difference between a lifestyle and a business. A business makes you money when you sleep – from the P.S. I Made This keynote speech
62. Working alone is really difficult – find a partner or friend you can bounce your ideas off of – from the P.S. I Made This keynote speech
63. “Your network is your net worth” – – from the P.S. I Made This keynote speech
64. Bring lotion – your hands will get dry and everyone will love you for letting them borrow it.
65. WordPress is SEO ready – you don't need plugins for SEO – from the “Get a Handle on WordPress” class
66. If you are using CPM ad networks (like Google Adsense) your site is going to load slow. Just accept that – all of your competition is using those ads and loading slow too – from the “Get a Handle on WordPress” class
67. Post titles should have a keyword and be “human-friendly”. That is 85% of SEO – from the “Get a Handle on WordPress” class
68. People need to like what you do = shares, comments, and better SEO – from the “Get a Handle on WordPress” class
69. Most bloggers have too many plugins on their site. If it doesn't help you make more money or isn't ESSENTIAL to your business, don't have that plugin – from the “Get a Handle on WordPress” class
70. Back up your website – from the WordPress class
71. When you hire a programmer or developer to work on your blog/website, understand the relationship between the complexity of what you want them to do and the cost – from the “Get a Handle on WordPress” class
72. Create detailed project brief when working with a web developer so everyone know what you want and what it is supposed to look like and what it does – from the WordPress class
73. Make sure you fill out your bio on Instagram – it needs to tell your story and make the brand relatable – from the Freshly Picked Instagram class
74. Write down your goals – your NUMBERS! They have to be measurable and you need to keep track of them regularly (daily, weekly, etc) – from the Freshly Picked Instagram class
75. Work hard and be nice – from the Freshly Picked Instagram class
76. “There's no place on the internet for snark”. I kind of disagree because I think snark can be funny but the point was that it can come across in a bad way more often than not and gives a bad impression of the brand and you as a person. So when in doubt, don't do it! – from the Freshly Picked Instagram class
77. Giveaways on Instagram are considered an illegal lottery. Check with your lawyer or A lawyer before doing giveaways – from the Freshly Picked “Instahance Your Online Presence on Instagram” class
78. Engage with people on Instagram to get more followers – that means comment, search hashtags, reply to questions quickly – from the Freshly Picked “Instahance Your Online Presence on Instagram” class
79. After 170 comments on an Instagram post, the comments are no longer visible – from the Freshly Picked “Instahance Your Online Presence on Instagram” class
80. “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can” – Susan Peterson of Freshly Picked and a bonus quote, when asked how she balances everything, life, kids, business, Susan replied, “Balance is Bullshit”. Love it!
81. Tell stories when you share – it is more entertaining, makes you relatable – from the Storytelling class
82. There's only one you (I've heard this at alot of conferences…) so don't worry about if there is already a blog about something or someone already posted a similar project. Just be you – from the Storytelling class
83. Stop judging yourself based on what's happening to everyone around you – from the Storytelling class
84. “Be a racehorse” – put on blinders and focus on your goal, not everything around you – in the “Increase Your Pageviews with Storytelling” class
85. Be an open book, even if you are only “open” a crack – in the “Increase Your Pageviews with Storytelling” class
86. Put out the real you and be authentic – that's sustainable. Being fake is not something you can do in the long run – Vivienne Wagner in the “Increase Your Pageviews with Storytelling” class
87. Aim an arrow at the heart of your audience when telling a story – from Karianne of Thistlewood Farms in the “Increase Your Pageviews with Storytelling” class
88. If you allow people to subscribe to your blog via RSS feed, truncate your posts – from Mitchell Wright's Google Analytics class
89. Be prepared to talk real numbers and money with people. Not everyone is forthcoming but some people will be very real with you. Respect their confidentiality in sharing this info with you, even if it was shared in a classroom setting.
90. Be patient with event staff – it makes you look bad if you get upset in front of everyone and you end up having a worse experience.
91. It's okay to step out of a party to a quieter place to network or continue a conversation.
92. Don't forget to take photos! I forgot to take photos with alot of people I met and knew. It's easy to take it for granted that all this event stuff is around you…
93. Consider arriving a day or two early or staying a day or two late so you can visit with the locals, go shopping, etc.
94. If you have constructive criticism of the event, email your thoughts to the event coordinator after the event. They probably don't have the time, energy, or other resources to make changes on the fly during the event.
95. Bring a gift for your roommate. It can be something you made or bought – it's thoughtful.
96. There is no secret list of “must-have” plugins – from the “Get a Handle on WordPress” class
97. Tell the presenters how much you liked their presentation and specifics about what you liked after the session. They are usually nervous and this postivie feedback is good for them to know. They are usually wondering if anyone got anything out of their talk, no matter how confident they may seem.
98. Not all sponsors care about numbers. Many of them value an engaged audience and great content over just a big number of “visits”.
99. Don't skip out on keynotes or sessions – you never know when you might miss a juicy tidbit of info or have your name drawn to win a giveaway.
100. Say “thank you”. In person, on social media, with a tip when appropriate. Thank to staff, the sponsors, the presenters, hotel staff, your fellow attendees, roommate, etc. It will leave a lasting impression and everyone loves to have their hardwork and contribution recognized and acknowledged.
In a couple of days I will be sharing my TOP 10 coolest things I saw at SNAP so come on back!
What's the best thing you've ever learned at a conference?