(The folks putting together a SmallBiz Social Media Summit specially designed to help small businesses take advantage of the tools available through the social Web are moving their concept online transforming a face-to-face meeting originally scheduled for June 4 – 6, 2010 in Hutchinson, Kansas, into a virtual event anyone can attend spread over eight weeks beginning after Labor Day. BizSugar is a proud media sponsor of the event so we interviewed organizer Deb Brown about the changes.)
Shawn: Let’s talk about some of the changes that have occurred in the SmallBiz Social Media Summit. First of all I think the date has changed?
Deb: I want to be really clear – we have NOT canceled the Summit. We have actually listened to the small business owners and are using a format that works for them. We are going online – live. I believe we’ll start after labor day, and go for 8 Fridays. We are thinking we’ll have live speakers, some interactive things, recorded to playback at your convenience, free ebooks – maybe even some books! I’ll know more in the next couple of weeks.
Did I answer your question? We are looking at spreading out the Summit over 8 Fridays with a live event every Friday around noon.
Shawn: Can you tell us a bit more about what the new format for the event will involve? What will be the same? What will be different?
Deb: We are still listening to the small business owner. Our original speakers are still on board. And we are adding EIGHT more speakers! The digital team is busy planning some cool things for our attendees. It’s going to be like no other event you’ve seen. We really believe IT’S ALL ABOUT THE SMALL BUSINESS.
Shawn: I know you’re still in the early stages of restructuring the event, but can you give us any more details about what will be included?
Deb: Videos on demand, audio mp3, ebooks, books – kinda sounds like a college course for the small business, doesn’t it? hmmmm
Shawn: Can you tell us something about the genesis of the SmallBiz Social Media Summit, how it all got started, who’s involved and what goals you hope to achieve?
Deb: That’s a big question Shawn. We originally started SBSM Summit when we realized that the Midwest states get no love. We don’t count Chicago or Kansas City – those are really cities. I’m talking about the rural small businesses. Smart people live here in the middle of the United States. We’ve got this incredible work ethic, we believe in providing the best ever customer service and we want some respect too! Grant Griffiths and I were having a loud discussion on the fact that we get no love. Both of us realized – if it’s to be, it’s up to me. Why couldn’t we get small business owners who are out there every day in the field utilizing social media to forward their businesses to speak to the rest of us?
You could choose to go to some big city and hear some big name. You might leave with some kind of idea of what to do. Or you could come to our Summit and get a viable plan for your business. From other small business owners. That’s really what we hope to achieve – to show small rural businesses how to develop a plan to help increase their bottom lines.
Right now – visit the website and check out the presenters. As we confirm other speakers, we will put them up online. Bear with us – we are planning furiously, and still doing our day jobs.
Oh – we are still planning on having something for the businesses in Hutchinson KS – you see they are big supporters of ours too! We’re working on doing the original small business panel that was originally planned at the Cosmo – and it will be free to all who come. That will happen at the end of August sometime.
Shawn: I know that BizSugar is a media sponsor for the event. Can you tell us again what that means and how BizSugar members would be able to benefit?
Deb: A media sponsor is a business that steps up and believes in what we are doing. They are huge supporters of the rural small business and want to spread the word of what we are offering. Our media sponsors have a large reach, and gladly share our message. BizSugar is such a perfect fit. You ‘get it’. Your members, and I’m one of them, will be able to pick and choose the tools needed to help make their businesses social media savvy – and in the forefront in their communities. They’ll learn just what a small business can do to use social media to grow their businesses. It will be the best $200 they’ve ever spent.