Highlights from the ROAM social media conference

ROAM :: A Revolutionary Conference Experience


Have you ever attended a conference or event and come back with your head spinning full of new ideas and feeling excited and invigorated to implement all (or let’s face it, a fraction of) the things you learned?

That’s how I’m feeling this week after attending the first (annual I hope) ROAM Conference on business strategy and social media.

Before I dive into the highlights and ninja tips I gleaned from each of the speakers, I want to share what made this conference unique and contributed to its success.


ROAM - a revolutionary conference experience - interactive social media conference in Kelowna



1. Start with a unique concept

According to event organizer Jennifer Powell of 360Bliss, the ROAM conference was an idea that was years in the making. It came together beautifully on the streets of Kelowna, Canada as attendees moved through different venues to bring the event out of the typical conference environment and make it more of an interactive experience that stimulated mind + body (and tastebuds…more on that below).

Several presentations took place at local businesses such as a winery (Sandhill Winery), bakery cafe (Bliss Bakery’s downtown location) and restaurant (Raudz). There was also supposed to be an inspiration walk, but due to rain it was held at the host venue where we got to explore the premiere residences at the Delta Grand Hotel. It was a perfect way to support local enterprises because there was a lot of tweeting and posting happening at every stop along the tour.


2. Keep it small

I admit that at first I was hesitant to sign up for the conference because it was small. Since I’m in the social media space myself, I wasn’t sure it would be worth my time if the topics covered were already in my online marketing vocabulary.

Add in the fact that it was hosted in my hometown of Kelowna yet I’d never heard of it, well, I was skeptical.

{In fact, it was my dear friend Eden Rudin who lives in Nicaragua that told me about Roam, saying that her friend Gillian Duffy was planning to attend and I should connect with her on Facebook to arrange a meetup while she was in town because she thought we’d hit it off. Thanks Eden, we did 🙂 }

I stalked the website which was a little light on info, so I moved over to where the action was taking place on Facebook and Twitter. I  decided to attend, and even found a 20% coupon that one of the Roam Ambassadors was offering on Twitter. I messaged her, registered for the event, and Tiffany was my first networking connection (I’ll share more on getting value out of conferences in an upcoming blog post!).

There were 40+ participants, including speakers, making it an ideal opportunity to chat with pretty much all of the attendees (sorry if I missed anyone!).

Of course, the small number also made it possible to implement step #1 above.


3. Nobody is better than anyone else

I find it interesting when I’ve attended big conferences and the participants have a God-like worship of the “gurus” and “influencers” speaking at the event. Yes, they are worth listening to for their knowledge on a specific topic, but I don’t actually understand the hero-worship attitude where people fight to the front of a line to have a photo snapped of them with their fave speaker.

Oh wait, let’s call it “social proof” instead of name-dropping.

At Roam, it felt like everyone was learning not only from the speakers, but from each other, which of course, also included the attendees. There was no “I’m better than you because I’m standing at the front” attitude. We all sat amongst each other, switched places, sat beside new people, and generally networked in a way that was natural and organic.

It’s how I feel authentic connections can be made, and further collaborations and relationships can be built.


Facebook album collage of ROAM photos from presentations, Bliss, Raudz, OKspirits

A collage of photos from the #ROAMevent – speakers, networking, and lots of food + fun! Click the photo to view more.



Highlights and tips from the presentations

Shelagh Cummins Zone of Genius ROAM speakers photo quotes-01

The Profit Path (Shelagh Cummins)

  • What is your goal/intention of this conference?
  • Your zone of genius is where your passion meets your purpose = profit
  • Business is not all about money but if you are not making money you don’t get to stay in business
  • Show up where you are at right now and lead from your power
  • You don’t need to be better than your competition, just be different.


Download your copy of Shelagh’s FREE e-book and let her help you STOP the Profit Pickpockets who are stealing your cash and clients!
Get your free copy here: http://shelaghcummins.com/profitpickpockets



Julie Nowell and Jennifer Powell - ROAM speakers photo quotes-02Rules of Engagement: Relationships Between Business + Influence (Julie Nowell + Jennifer Powell)

  • Social CRM has completely changed the game – peer to peer relationships and customer service are extremely important
  • There is a paradigm shift from B2B to C2C – finding people to talk about how awesome your brand is.
  • Think of a brand audit as a blind date – make sure your brand is consistent across every social platform, even the ones you don’t think people will find
  • There are 3 important factors in building brand awareness:
    • Paid media – your business assets such as your website
    • Owned media – social media, blog posts
    • Earned media – PR, how people take your owned media and pass it along
  • Brand equity = authenticity. You are your business!
  • Readers want to know about your journey and how you overcame your challenges, not just unicorns and rainbows



How to Run a Twitter Chat for Brand Awareness (Jen Taylor)Jen Taylor - Twitter chats presentation at ROAM speakers photo quotes-03

  • Find people who are stimulators who generate conversation about your brand
  • Use Tweetdeck instead of Hootsuite – scheduled posts by the minute (not 5 minutes) look more authentic, and photos show as images not links
  • Preschedule your twitter chat questions in case your internet goes down during your Twitter party
  • Stat: Blissdom event got over 25000 views and was trending in Canada during their Twitter chat – you’d pay $25k for that kind of advertising!
  • Use Tweetreach to track your handles and hashtags
  • Use Manage Flitter to unfollow and make sure you have real followers not bots
  • If you want to get sponsored by a brand, join their Twitter party and comment. Try to become one of the top 20 influencers and get on their radar.



Creating an Emotional Experience for Your Brand with Pinterest (Paula Coop Mcroy)Paula Coop Mcroy on Pinterest at Raudz - ROAM speakers photo quotes-04

  • Stats: 78% of pinners are women (in US/Canada); 88% purchase a product they pin; 49% have bought 5 or more products (repeat customers!)
  • Pinterest is emotional
  • Master the art of observing
  • Specific. International. Endless.
  • Use maps and rich pins
  • Add the Pinit button/bookmarklet in your web browser to quickly pin from any website without opening Pinterest.


Paul has over 4 million Pinterest followers. Check out her welcome video on YouTube to learn more about here and her Pinterest and branding philosophy:




Turn Your Facebook Page Into Your Marketing + Networking Tool (Sherri-Lee WoycikSherri-Lee Woycik on Facebook Marketing at #RoamEvent in Kelowna at Bliss Bakery

  • Think of Facebook as market research – use it to learn what your ideal customer wants.
  • Change your Facebook cover every week – Facebook gives it more exposure.
  • Create a photo album on a broad topic and upload groups of at least 4 photos. The photos show in the newsfeed and the likes, comments and shares are cumulative.
  • Boost (promote with a Facebook ad) your album for 7 days once a month to grow your following and increase engagement on your Page.
  • You can use other people’s photos too – if you curate photos be sure to give credit.
  • When growing likes on your Page, ad costs are cheaper if you go globally rather than targeted locally.
  • Use caroussel ads – 5 photos and each image can go to a different website or landing page.
  • Have fun with photos and ask questions for increased engagement.
  • Run weekly contests.  ie. Photo of bacon on deli’s website: What would you serve this with? or Who would you invite to dinner to share this? And ask them to tag a friend who would enjoy this.
  • Run ads to your contests (Woobox or Contest Domination)


Get Sherri-Lee’s free report “10 Tips to Increase Your Engagement on Facebook” here:  http://www.socialmediaminder.com/10tips

Sherri-Lee also runs a free Facebook Engagement Challenge. You can find out more and join the challenge here: http://www.socialmediaminder.com/june2015fec


Inside YouTube: From Basics to Far Beyond (Laura BergLaura Berg on YouTube ROAM speakers photo quotes-05

  • How to properly set up your YouTube channel
  • Titles, Descriptions, Thumbnails are important
    • Use keywords in your title and most important words first (not your brand name)
    • First 3 lines “above the fold” most important in description. Use keywords and tags. Tags should go from narrow to broad.
    • Don’t just use the thumbnails YouTube suggest – create compelling branded images to use as thumbnails to entice people to click when they see your video in the sidebar.
  • Social proof is in the number of views – people will keep choosing to watch those videos with lots of views.
  • Use your YouTube analytic to gain valuable insights such as when people left your video. Good time to add an annotation.
  • Put annotations at the end especially if it’s a link to an external website – you don’t want people to click off your video and not come back.
  • Enable “monetization” to unlock more features… even if you don’t plan to use affiliate ads in your channel.
  • Start using “end cards”
  • Form collaborations – Pick someone with a slight larger audience (not a big influencer yet) and get on their radar first by commenting, liking and subscribing before you ask them to partner with you and promote your video.

Laura’s YouTube channel has over 31000 subscribers! Check out My Smart Hands on YouTube.


Inbox Zero: Urban Myth or Total Zen? (Aaron Levine) Aaron Levine on Inbox Zero - ROAM speakers photo quotes-06

  • Why inbox zero? Clear your mind, focus on things that matter, increase speed and efficiency.
  • The entry fee to play in the online space is always being busy. It is not a valid excuse!
  • Be honest with yourself. If you have 270 emails in your “action later” folder you are lying to yourself.
  • Reclaim your email, your attention, your life by achieving inbox zero
  • There is no magic button or tool. YOU are the one in control of your inbox and need to take the time to sort it out.
  • You only need 5 email folders, and you don’t need stars or flags or other folders (labels in Gmail). Folders are a security blanket!
    • Action
    • Action Later
    • Hold (someone else needs to take action)
    • Archive (been dealt with/completed)
  • Pomodorro process – set a time to do work, then take a break.
  • Stop trying to do the job of search. Search is a solved problem/completed task. Gmail’s search is robust because it is based on Google search functions. You can search by to, from, attachments, attachment name, and more.
  • Use Slack tool for project management and collaboration
  • Your send button can auto-archive.
  • Reroute all your emails to Gmail (not forwarded or all your emails will come from you).
  • Use the + feature and . because Gmail sees it all as the same email address.



Visual Storytelling (Michelle DaviesMichelle Davies Visual Storytelling - ROAM speakers photo quotes-07

  • Just make stuff. We are our own worst critics.
  • Essentials of good design:
    • simple and easy
    • consistent
    • tells a story
    • relatable
    • evokes emotion
    • relevant
    • unique personality – feels like YOU
  • When using visuals, put your product as part of an experience, not on it’s own.
  • Use tools and apps to quickly create beautiful branded images to share – Canva, PicMonkey, Over, Made with Studio, PicLab, Rhonna Designs
  • Types of powerful visual content:
    • data
    • quotes
    • tutorials
    • videos
    • infographics
    • tutorials
    • calls to action
  • Respect content creators when sharing images. Give attribution. Copyright is complicated.


Instagram Inspiration (Alexandra Grant)  Alexandra Grand ToVogueOrBust on Instagram - ROAM speakers photo quotes-08

  • Instagram is a visual dreamboard for your brand
  • Your Instagram feed is a window into your brand’s soul.
  • It’s the fastest way to create brand identity.
  • Rule of thumb: 2 swipes down/scrolls through your feed should be sufficient to tell who or what your brand is
  • Use keywords and symbols in your bio.
  • Change the link in your bio to landing pages, offers, your website – it’s a clickable link!
  • Apps for photo editing: Afterlight and Snapseed to edit, then VSCOcam for pro quality filters
  • Use geotags to get on Instagrams popular page. Add a call to action – the geotag link is clickable too.
  • Iconosquare for instagram analtyics.
  • Regram for re-sharing content.
  • Curated accounts/feature accounts can be curated on a specific topic.
  • Use hashtags.


Whew, that’s a lot of learning going on! I hope you got some value out of the tips too. Check out the speakers for more tips on their social networks.

Want to see photos of the event? I thought you’d never ask!

Here is a collection of photos of people, places, presentations… and of course all the fab food and drinks that made up the Roam conference.

You can view the pics in the #RoamEvent photo album on Facebook, or feel free watch the Roam conference highlights video with music below. Enjoy!


So that wraps up the highlights of what I learned and my thoughts on the Roam business strategy and social media conference.

What were your biggest a-ha moments? What tips + tricks did you learn? Share them in the comments below.

P.S. I’ve got good news – because I have SO much more to say about getting the most out of conferences and events, I’ve left that for another blog post. Stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3, coming soon!




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Bright Spark Media is located in Kelowna, BC. We help small businesses, entrepreneurs and service professionals in the Okanagan Valley and globally online. We offer social media training, customized social media set up, social media strategy and business coaching sessions, as well as commercial or event photography services and web design...everything to help you create an irresistible online presence!


Kelowna, BC, Canada
Phone: +1 250.575.5964
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