Day 2 has come and gone and I can now proudly say that I attended the 2014 Spark Sessions Fashion & Beauty Blogger Conference! You guys – it was so great. I’ll admit that waking up at 6am was not a high point for me, but once the day(s) got started and I was connecting with other bloggers and learning from the amazingly well-informed speakers I could forget about the fact I was only working on 4 hours of sleep.
As promised this is part two of my conference recap (you can read part one here) and I have lots of fun things to share with you, like the sessions on PR, media kits, Pinterest, and (my surprise favourite) Google+! Check under the cut for more! 🙂
|The event was held at the gorgeous District 28 facilities near Queen/Leslie|
The day started with It’s About Who You Know: Building Relationships with PR Professionals that spoke a lot about what a brand will be looking for. The speakers (from L’Oréal Luxe, Benefit Cosmetics and NATIONAL Public Relations) encouraged us to reach out to brands that appeal to us and made a good point in that if you approach brands you genuinely like and already use it will be a more natural fit and you’ll already have posts that you can share showing your admiration of their brand.
Some of the things they said their brands look for:
- A matching brand-blog aesthetic
- Blog and social media engagement
- Memorable “voice”
- Quality of posts (versus quantity, though be consistent with your posting)
One of the more interesting (in my opinion) discussions that came up throughout the day was the idea of how to appropriately blog about products you were dissatisfied with. The consensus was to pull out the few things you could that were positive (even if it’s just branding or the fact you can see how it might appeal to different people) and to not blatantly bash the product, since that will likely turn some brands off of you. One suggestion was to decide not to review it completely, but personally if I try something and feel it wasn’t up to my standards it’s your right as my readers to know about that. I’ll always work to remain professional and open about products I review but that doesn’t mean I can’t be honest.
|Paula C. and Megan M. speaking at the Social Media Untapped: The Importance of
Google+ and Pinterest panel
For the second panel of the day we could choose between Time for a Makeover: Important Steps for Rebranding Your Blog and Social Media Untapped: The Importance of Google+ and Pinterest. I decided to go to the social media one and honestly I think it was my favourite presentation of the entire conference! Here’s a bit of what I learned:
- A lot of people underestimate the usefulness of Google+, and since there aren’t as many people using it to it’s full ability it’s easier to get noticed and involved.
- Join communities (which I now know how to find!) and share your content – since Google is connected to almost everything online these days clicks to your content on G+ will tell Google your content is good and desirable.
- An ideal post looks like: a shortened link, a photo (upload your own rather than using the linked image), a 45/50 character description, a call to action (question, etc.), and a hashtag.
- Users like comparable pictures (you can upload more than one in a post) and quotes.
- The life of a pin is about 7 days.
- Users like instagram-style slice of life pictures more than staged pictures with a stagnant background.
- Keep your sharing quotas around 70% repins and 30% your own content.
- Take a few minutes every day to pin to some of your boards, but don’t overwhelm your followers with dumps of content.
- Popular times for the best returns on your pins are 3pm-6pm and 8pm-1am EST, and Friday-Sunday.
- Keep a maximum of 35-40 active boards.
|Closing Keynote by Cheryl Hickey (Host, Entertainment Tonight Canada)|
The other two panels I attended were The A to Z of Media Kits (which I definitely plan to put to use in the near future!) and Ad Networks: What You Need to Know BEFORE You Sign on the Dotted Line. Before I knew it the day had flown past and it was time for our closing keynote from Cheryl Hickey from Entertainment Tonight Canada. She was really inspiring and down-to-earth, and I think it was a lovely way to close off the conference.
Now, the next part of this post I debated about if I wanted to share or not – my gift bag. I don’t want to come off as boastful or tacky so I was hesitant to add pictures about this portion of the conference, but ultimately I decided if I was another blogger looking up recaps of the conference I would want to know about everything, including the gift bags. So here we go!
|The lovely bag from Globe Style that everything came in and the papers/coupons that were included|
|The overly generous products included in the Spark Sessions 2014 Conference gift bag|
The sponsors this year went above and beyond in their generosity for these gift bags, in my opinion. There were a ton of full-sized products that I’m excited to try out, and as mentioned yesterday there was a bottle from the new Nicole by OPI 2015 line – I ended up getting My Claim to Flame which is a bold red that leans just slightly orange (and you can see mini swatches of all the other colours in this post).
|Gifts from the sponsor fair on Day 1 including products from crowdsocial partners (Essie, Garnier),
Benefit Cosmetics and Nivea.
And while I was taking pictures I decided to snap one of the products I picked up during the sponsor fair on Day 1. That white thing on the Bench. notebook is actually a nail file! And the polishes are Essie Turquoise & Caicos and Essie Naughty Nautical.
I also met a ton of really great ladies that I’m hoping to stay in touch with and collected some super awesomely designed business cards. So even though networking isn’t normally my thing it was made tolerable (I’d almost say enjoyable!) by the welcoming professionalism of my fellow bloggers. So thanks, girls! 🙂
And that’s it for my coverage from this year’s Spark Sessions 2014 Conference! Do I plan to go again next year? Definitely. I’m also hoping to check out some of the smaller sessions that Spark Sessions runs throughout the year. Overall it was a really great experience, and I would highly recommend it for anyone unsure about participating in events in the future.
Thanks for visiting!!
[You can find out more about Spark Sessions by visiting their website, twitter, instagram or facebook.]