This past weekend I drove to Dallas to attend SoFabU On The Road. You’re probably thinking what the heck is that? Let me explain.
Social Fabric (SoFab) is part of the Collective Bias community. Their goal is to build relationships between influencers and brands, not just by doing product reviews, but by telling stories of how the brands and their products fit into bloggers lives. The community has over 4,000 members and continues to grow. You have to apply and be accepted into the community though. I’ve been a member a little over a year. I belong to a few places that will match bloggers and brands, but this is the only true community. The bloggers here are helpful, supportive, and always around to answer questions.
Part of what SoFab does is offer courses, hence the SoFabU. You actually have to take a course, and pass, to start applying for shops, but it’s an easy course, promise! It just goes over how the entire process works. From then on, you are free to take as many or as little courses as you like. There are still loads I haven’t taken, but I have taken all the photography classes, as well as a few others. This year, SoFab decided to go on the road and bring the education to us. They are hitting 11 cities across the country this year and when Dallas came around, I had to go. Turns out, they offer grants for each city. I applied and got one! I couldn’t believe it!
So, back to this past weekend….
The conference was at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine. I didn’t stay there, but we are going back. I already told the husband. That place is awesome! Anyways, we started with breakfast, sponsored by Muller. Have you tried their yogurt? I’m not a big yogurt eater, but theirs was like ice cream. I would have licked the container if I hadn’t been in a room full of people I didn’t know. After breakfast, we got started with a little overview of Collective Bias by CEO Bill Sussman. A few ladies from Collective Bias did a panel discussion on how to excel at sponsored posts. It’s not as easy as one would think. Rebecca Parsons did a lesson with us on storytelling. I’m not always the best with my words, so this was good.
My favorite speaker of the day, Randi from Dukes & Duchesses. She went over every aspect of social media. We covered the top 5 platforms and how to effectively use them to drive traffic to your blog. A ton of information, but I took a lot of notes and I’m going to try my best to keep up with it all. She hit on a lot of the analytics of social media. I check my blog numbers, but I rarely check my social media numbers. I need to so I can figure out what works best for me. We talked social media for 2 hours straight and I’m sure we could have spent another 2 hours on it. Josh Hicks from Mitsubishi (a sponsor of the day) went over how to improve your videos. I never do videos, so this was eye opening for me. There is a lot of equipment involved in making good videos. I guess just whipping out the tripod isn’t going to cut it!
During the afternoon, we had an educational adventure through the Gaylord. We were given a tour of three of the resort’s restaurants, with demonstrations and how-to’s from their chefs. And yes, we got to try everything! This was also a chance to take lots of pictures, especially of the food! We visited the Riverwalk Cantina to try a variety of tacos, learned how to make a traditional rub for BBQ brisket, and how to make a fun cocktail. Happy hour was provided once the learning part of the day was over. We mingled with other bloggers and the sponsors. It’s always fun to meet new bloggers, only because it’s so fun to talk about it. A lot of people don’t understand what we do, so when you have a room full of people who do, you talk it up!
I’m so glad I went. I’m actually kind mad at myself for not going to the SoFabU in Los Angeles. It was in January (when we still lived in California!), but it was right before we moved. I’m sure I could have fit it in if I knew how great it was going to be! Each location has different speakers, so you could attend all 11 and not be bored. You can still make NYC, Chicago, Minneapolis, Atlanta, and Bentonville, AR. I met a lot of people, but there was even more I didn’t meet. I went in not knowing anyone, but there was one local blogger that I was Facebook friends with. We met up and spent most of the tour talking. It’s always fun to turn your online friends into real friends!
Sponsors (you know you love the sponsors because they give you all the fun swag, which I would show you, but a lot of it was food and it is long gone):
Johnny Rockets @JohnnyRockets
Mitsubishi Motors @MitsuCars
Legoland Discovery Center/Grapevine Sealife Aquarium @LDCDFW @SEALIFEgrpevine
GoGo Squeeze @gogosqueeze
This grant was provided to me by Collective Bias, Inc. All opinions are mine alone. #SoFabUOTR #CollectiveBias