5 Must-See SXSW Sessions for #CMGRs

SXSW Interactive 2015 is upon us. For SXSW newbies and weathered veterans, it can be overwhelming to decide which SXSW sessions to attend and which to skip. (Some might even say attempting to create a schedule and actually stick to it is foolish.) 

Luckily, if you’re interested in community management, I’ve done some of the heavy lifting for you. I scoured the panels, read up on the speakers and narrowed down the list to five can’t-miss SXSW sessions. In-between eating BBQ at Lambert’s, sneaking into a music show and scoring all the free swag you can carry at the Austin Convention Center, here are the five sessions I think you should consider attending as a community manager.

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Staying Relevant as a Community Manager

When: 3/14 – 9:30-10:30 am[br]
Where: JW Marriott, Room 407, 110 E. 2nd St.[br]
Hashtags: #sxswcmgr[br]
Why: From “Forum Moderator” to “Expert Generalist,” the role of a community manager has changed quite a bit over the past decade. Today, a CMGR is expected to be a content creator, strategist, analytics wiz, optimization specialist and industry expert (to name a few). Ros Hodgekiss, #CMGR for Campaign Monitor, discusses what it takes to stay relevant in the ever-changing social landscape.

Advocates vs. Agitators: The Social Experience

When: 3/15 – 9:30-10:30 am[br]
Where: JW Marriott, Salon 8, 110 E. 2nd St.[br]
Hashtags: #sxsw, #influencer[br]
Why: All #CMGRs have been there. That weird Twilight Zone where a consumer teeters between becoming a siren of hate or an invaluable brand advocate. Consumers immediate and effortless access to brands demands instantaneous customer service and problem resolution. The way a community manager handles these expectations can mean a lot for a brand’s online reputation. Social media experts from Chevrolet, Oracle, Digiday and Southwest Airlines explore why consumers lose loyalty in a brand and the reasons they choose to share experiences (both positive and negative) on social media.[br]


Adapt or Die: Building a Brand in 2015 and Beyond

When: 3/15 – 11:00-11:15 am[br]
Where: Austin Convention Center, Ballroom B[br]
Hashtag: #sxsw, #AdaptOrDie[br]
Why: It’s this simple: if your brand isn’t evolving, it’s not surviving. A long history can no longer shield big brands from the up-and-coming start-ups who look at every aspect of business in a new light: advocacy, social media, giving back and constant optimization. Consumers’ loyalty and love is now earned in totally new ways and if your brand isn’t flexible to these changes, the future may not be so bright. Joanna Lord, VP of Marketing at Porch, explores why brands must adapt in order to compete in today’s digital world.[br]


Hamburger Helper Is My Bae: Weird Brand Twitter

When: 3/16 – 5:00-6:00 pm[br]
Where: Austin Convention Center, Next Stage[br]
Hashtags: #sxsw, #NextStage[br]
Why: Brands are no strangers to real-time marketing (#ThanksOreo). The latest iteration of this involves brands throwing grammar rules to the wind, adopting teenage slang and being just plain weird. Katie Notopoulos, Sr. Editor at Buzzfeed, and Chapin Clark, Managing Director at R/GA, explore the good and bad of “Weird Brand Twitter” and the societal implications for how consumers view brands.[br]


Beyond Marketing: How Curation Will Work For You

When: 3/14 – 5:45-6:00 pm[br]
Where: Austin Convention Center, Ballroom B[br]
Hashtags: #sxsw, #ExpCurate[br]
Why:  Building a successful content mix has evolved past solely producing your own branded content to now include curation of quality images, videos and posts from within your community and across the web. However, curation is more than just a collection of content, as many tend to generalize it. Joel Zaslofsky, CEO and Founder of Value of Simple, explores this concept while giving specific tips and guidelines for leveraging a world of information through curation.


Whether your type-A personality demands a detailed itinerary or your free-spirited mindset prefers to go with the flow, keep these five sessions in mind while you’re at SXSW this weekend.

Any sessions catching your eye not included? Let us know in the comments!

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1 Comment
  • Ros Hodgekiss
    Posted at 18:22h, 13 March

    Thank you so much for the mention! If you can’t make “Staying Relevant as a Community Manager” on Saturday at 9:30am, you can sign up for the notes here: http://bit.ly/sxswcmgr

    Hope to see many of you soon!

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