Social Media Week visited Chicago for the second time this past week and FLIRT was in attendance! Hosted by Zocalo Group and the Chicago Tribune, Social Media Week allowed Chicagoans to attend countless, free sessions surrounding the broad topic of social media. As social media lovers and avid learners, FLIRT team members attended a few sessions to see what it was all about. Here are some brief summaries from our favorite sessions:

Integrating contests within an event or even in the office is a great way to increase engagement and participation with attendees/employees. Since we are always looking for new ideas we loved the Pinning & Winning: Activating Social Contests session all about how to host contests on Pinterest! Some of the key take-aways we thought were worth noting were that photos provide visual inspiration, contest participants should be engaged beyond the contest and simply commenting on pins outside of the contest shows participants that you truly care. Finally, “think like a pinner” and remember that pinners’ three motives to using Pinterest are to “discover, share, and remember.” Help them achieve those things and you’ll be successful!

Year Ahead in Social Technologies —  Rafi JacobyRazorfish
What is social turning into? Well, for one, major barriers to adoption are gone. Everyone’s on board with the latest trends: Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Google+, Viddy and Socialcam. What should you be focusing on? Sharing ideas! Create compelling “story-telling” content that is worth publishing. What should we be looking forward to? Geolocation, HTML5 taking over the world and changing Twitter integration.

Social Media Activation & The World at Large: Why the F*** Should We Care? — Richard Goldsmith, R/GA Chicago
There’s a massive disconnect between what people actually think of your brand in social spaces. Why should people care about your program? Because you combine involvement, interaction, intimacy and influence into the content you curate. Remember that all social media is earned media; tell stories that influence consumers, employees and your brand. Inject yourself in the right way, don’t interrupt.

Entrepreneurship in the Digital Age —  Bridgette Sexton, Google
This session specifically looked at how entrepreneurship has changed and evolved due to the digital landscape. These niche environments are allowing people to find others much more quickly. Know your global market competition, make your products faster, let data empower you, and create a wider community. The pace of innovation has never been faster!

NOW Revolution: How to Make Your Business Smarter, Faster, More Social — Jay Bayer, Convince & Convert
Social media fundamentally changes the relationship between corporation and customer from Master to Servant to peer to peer. Make sure to “hire for passion, train for skills” – a key point to take note of!  Become smarter by making all the information work for you, listen to conversation and remove the fear of what’s ok and what’s not. Be social! Do something noteworthy every day, go to meetings and find awesome material, and don’t tell us about your products–tell us about your people.

The Power of Social Media in B2B Business Generation 
Figure out how to tie lead generation to results to encourage investment. Give one piece of advice, focus on the blog and embrace the blog. Generate leads and generate revenue. How do you balance lead generation with real social? Don’t make your content feel “spammy.”

Social Media Week is a “worldwide event exploring the social, cultural and economic impact of social media. Our mission is to help people and organizations connect through collaboration, learning and sharing of ideas and information.” While Social Media Week was taking place in Chicago from September 24-28, it was simultaneously being hosted all over the world: Barcelona, Berlin, Bogota, Glasgow, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Torino and Vancouver. How neat to be part of a global event! To learn more about Social Media Week, visit them at @socialmediaweek or @SMWChicago.

Did you attend any Social Media Week sessions? What was your favorite and why?