Let me start by saying I am a shameless newbie to the Social Media Week, Washington, DC (SMWWDC) scene. It was all too easy to get caught up in the excitement and buzz of a four-day free-for-all.

I began my adventure with SMW as little Charlie did in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. I eagerly signed up, logged in and cherry picked each of the sessions to attend, all while researching (some might say stalking) each of the panel speakers and sponsors.

Imagine my delight, as I “shopped” online for SMW sessions:

“Agile Advocacy” – moderated by Facebook? Sure I’ll take one of those!

“Social Media Analytics” – hosted by American Public University? Add to cart!

“Leveraging Digital for #PublicDiplomacy” – with speakers (and potential clients) from the State Department? I’m all over it!

Did I mention the closing party hosted by Twitter?! Oh. M. G.

To say I was a kid in the social media “candy store” would be an understatement.

As the Creative and Digital Marketing Strategist at The Webster Group, this was an opportunity to flex my “digital muscles” and bring a treasure trove of technical knowledge back to home base.

Little did I know what was in store.

As I sat in the back row of my very first SMW session, I felt like a first grader in a college freshman computer science class who forgot to bring a pencil!

Analytics, SEO, ROI Facebook Insights…umm excuse me? Come again?

As you can imagine I found myself flustered, unprepared and thinking “BUT HOW DOES THIS APPLY TO EVENTS??!!”

Enter stage left: Dan Soschin, Vice President Interactive Marketing of American Public University System.

First slide: “Mind your own business.

“Well that’s rude,” I think to myself.

But between the endless entrepreneurs and the numerous nonprofit managers asking about strategy and techniques, it finally hit home “mind your own business.”

How does this new phenomenon apply to what our industry is doing?

More importantly, how does technology, social media and digital strategy even begin to fit into the complicated moving parts of event planning, fundraising and nonprofit management?

As with any industry, the answer to that question can lead down many roads.

However, wherever that intersection is, that is where we need to be.

When discussing technology and the events industry, Dan Berger, Founder and CEO of Social Tables, put it perfectly, “It [technology] is happening…go with it!”

With that, I give you three simple steps to survive Social Media Week:

  • Sign up early – Competition for seats is fierce!
  • Mind your own business
  • Ask questions!
  • *Bonus: Bring as many Apple products you can find (you’ll fit in better)

By: Brittanie Clement, Creative and Digital Marketing Strategist

Follow her on Twitter (If she let’s you) @brittclem

Are you following us yet? You should be! @TheWebsterGroup