Tuesday, 25 June 2013

BritMums Live 2013

Madagascar, Britmums Live, Madagascar Penguins

Last weekend I had a blast at BritMums Live! in London! I'm normally the self conscious type who's afraid to do anything silly in front of others, especially cameras. But I actually went and did some daring stuff (to my standard anyway) including a combat spell from Harry Potter movies, acting for Visit Orlando, and posing in Acer's fun photo booth! I must say I have come a long way and I might just be doing proper vlogging soon!

A quick recap of my weekend. Took the train on Friday and yay for booking way in advance for train tickets! I was given one of the best seats in 1st class - single seat! Had to  kick someone off my reserved seat  asked someone politely to leave my reserved seat (she wasn't pleased hehe) though! Even the return train in standard class was almost empty and I had both seats to myself hee hee! Power socket for the win! (Insert cough)

I then met up with my lovely blogging buddy and real life friend Karen from Missing Sleep at Euston. We made a really good team getting ourselves to Thistle City Barbican Hotel and checked in. We were all hot and flustered and it took us much longer than expected to get there (busy underground and longer than expected walk). The instructions I got from the Internet was certainly not helping us to find our way to The Brewery (where BritMums Live was held) and we had to be rescued by a few ever so helpful London citizens before we managed to reach there a whole hour late (shameful face).

No matter, we still had a fantastic time and chatted with loads of people! I took plenty of pictures with the most fantastic animals Scooby Doo (Paul from I'm Well Confused, if you are reading this, you have ruined the pic for me. All I can think of is you and Scooby Doo on Saturday!), Madagascar Penguins (cheeky ones kept patting my head but I was happy to share my gorgeous Dates Trifle with them!) and Alex, and dare I say the biggest star in the event - Hedwig from Harry Potter movies! He had a super star attitute (zoom into his eyes and you'll know what I mean!), making me feel so tiny and I only dared to squad quite far away from him (the real hedwig and his 2 doubles are all male because they are whiter than females!), just close enough to be in the corner of the picture!

vlogging tutorial, Video Marketing, Smartphone video

(Contains seminar materials for people who find it useful, feel free to skip to the next image if it's not for you)

We've also attended a few seminars. It was really difficult to leave the great chats for a while cos I had such a good time chatting about, but I was glad I did attend a few as we have learned loads! Nigel from Devil Boy Productions has given us great advice on how to improve our video quality and filming with just our smartphones! I'll be grabbing some of his low budget yet great effects gadgets from his blog soon! He was ever so nice and even gave me and Karen a signed copy of his book the Video Effect (also his blog's name), which contains a lot of useful information to improve our blogs, thank you Nigel!

Thanks to Karen, we went to listen to a few bloggers (Twitter handles @thepottydiaries, @ADadCalledSpen, @dadbloguk and @Melaina25)  telling us their success stories. Initially I wasn't going to go, as I think that their stories doesn't necessary apply to me. But I have picked up the following useful advice:

If you have done what you wanted to achieve with your blog, no matter how big or small your blog is or how many followers you have, you have succeeded already.

If you are going away, it's worth asking someone to guest post or look after your blog for a while, and this person doesn't even have to be a blogger!

If you want to be seen, SEO and Social Media will really help

I was also very glad that during this session, Melaina from Transatlantic Blonde spoke to us about Facebook. That was totally unexpected, to learn something important of Social Media in this session, and it was FAB! I've learned about:

Edgerank (grrrrr)

Promote Post (Facebook outreach is all about the money now *sigh*)

Consider picture size for Smartphone (not tablet) users as they are and will be the major users, and they might not want to open or zoom in a picture of a table corner to see the gorgeous ornament that's sitting on it

Do not talk about Twitter. Do not even type the word Twitter. Facebook hates Twitter!!!!!

Schedule Facebook Posts through Facebook's function (must find that setting somewhere)

Look at Facebook Insights for statistics to help you schedule your posts (time of the day, pictures or videos?)

Use Facebook #Hashtags

Do use Instagram (even if I hate it to bits?)

Don't bother with tabs as Facebook app doesn't show tabs on Smartphones

By sharing someone's post, it increase that person's Edgerank but not yours. (This is awesome! Thumbs up to Facebook for encouragement!)

After that, we went to the Social Media Crash Course by Paul Armstrong from Orange Digital Marketing. We missed the first 5 minutes as the chatting and the cakes were soo good! Although I have Paul's PowerPoint with me, missing those 5 minutes really means missing it. I think his seminar is more about marketing in general than just the social media side of things. It was still very useful and I've picked up the following:

Being thick face and, quote Paul "#WhoreItOut" is good. Now you know why sales are always like that!

Moo.com for business cards (and my advice, add the free QR Code!!), and give 2 out to the person so he/ she have a spare one to give away as well (it's all about hard selling isn't it)

If you have met the person face to face, it's 3 times less chance for them to slack you off (hilarious point but logical too!)

Check out Google Adwords to see what people are searching for lately

Pinterest links are always nofollow

Claim your Google Authorship! It's complicated but worth doing

Facebook is too big to ignore

Use your connection to sell and share, let it be friends and family, neighbours, collegues, etc (like me please! Don't worry I only ask once, and it's already done!)

Lots of interesting advice and ideas, but as I always say, only do things that suits you. There is no point stressing yourself out with all the technical details when you just want to get on with the blogging! For me, I'll leave G+ page (mine is a profile) and Google authorship to the last (because it's just so complicated!). And I wouldn't even bother with Instagram, even if it means that I'll be less influential!

The Brewery event, The Brewery food, The Brewery Catering

During such a big event, there has to be food and drinks of course. BritMums, The Brewery and the food sponsors Philips (Friday) and Camilia (Saturday) has looked after us really well. Food and drinks kept being replenished, and we never went hungry nor thirsty. The mini tartlets and cakes looked and tasted amazing, the pre awards cocktails, champagne and canapes were to die for (but what happened to the half naked men that were there last year?!), the Saturday morning's breakfast had the freshest, melt in your mouth croissants I've ever ever had, and the lunch was just fabulous! Even the penguins enjoyed my pudding that had no fish in it!

We also had an unlimited flow of biscuits (from Fox's Biscuits), Cupcakes (from Parragon Books and Bath Cake Company), and then there was Panasonic (demo cookies, cakes and canapes), Vitamix (healthy and naughty savoury and sweet blended smoothies and soups), Sodastream (fizzy drinks and cocktails), Saucy Fish Co's canapes, British Egg's quiches, Coca Cola (more as a souvenir to bring home though), Butlins (chocolates!) and Argos (sweets!).. The list is even more impressive than I remembered!

Coca Cola Limited Marc Jacob Edition, Marc Jacob Coca Cola Bottles, Marc Jacob Limited Edition

BritMums Live Goodie bag, goodie bag
Not shown on the pic:
Acers PB 10" tablet Leather Bag and Panasonic Professional Apron 

Overall we had a really fruitful 2 days at BritMums Live - the chats and connections, the new knowledge, the food and the goodies. Will I recommend it? Yes! Even if it's just for 1 or 2 of the things I've written above, you should certainly go! Will I go again? Well, I already bought next year's ticket, what do you think?

hotter shoes, hotter shoes accessories, hotter shoes bags

Last but not least, a big thank you again to Ask Her Friends for sponsoring me to go to BritMums Live!, and Hotter Shoes for sponsoring my bag. Thank you!!

Panasonic Dino, Dinosaur cuddly toy, Panasonic Merchandise