One business resolution worth keeping is making a commitment to attend more in-person networking and education events. For entrepreneurs in and around the tech industry, conferences are an excellent way to get up to speed on the latest developments, find great new services, and get a read on potential clients and customers — plus, you never know who else you’ll meet.
The Next Web, for one, started out as a conference and now hold annual events in Europe, United States, and Latin America.
However, we know travel and tickets can be costly, both in terms of actual dollars and time spent. Aside from TNW, which conferences are worth it?
To find out, I asked a panel of entrepreneurs from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC):
What tech conference are you most excited about attending in 2014?
Their top 10 answers are below.
1. Velocity Web Performance and Operations
Every year I go to Velocity, and I trade notes with some of the smartest operations guys around on the latest Web performance and operations, which results in huge savings and performance increases for my company.
– Phil Chen, Givit
2. Lean Startup Conference
If you are going to follow the advice of one tech luminary, I believe Eric Ries is your winner. He runs the Lean Startup Conference. As a startup, focusing on the themes of the conference, iterating and learning, is the most powerful thing you can do. This is by far my favorite conference to attend each year.
– Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches
3. Fast Company’s Innovation Uncensored
Fast Company delivers extremely high-quality content at Innovation Uncensored. A lot of tech conferences focus on networking and forget about content. Innovation Uncensored consistently impresses me with the new tech info it brings to the conference. It always has the newest, hottest brands there.
– John Hall, Influence & Co.
Techweek is in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and Detroit this year. One of my investments went to New York, Los Angeles and Chicago and had nothing but good things to say about the quality of speakers and the fun they had.
– Brent Beshore, adventur.es
InfusionCon is one of my favorite conferences every year. It delivers top-notch information in the marketing automation sector. It features an “ultimate marketer” competition, which presents stories about true small businesses that are crushing it with very small staff numbers, but have huge growth and sales.
6. Society of Digital Agencies Global Member Meeting
The Society of Digital Agencies is the premier group in the digital space. Every year it has an invite-only event for members to come and share best practices and experiences and to just talk about the state of digital. South By Southwest Interactive used to be a great place for information.
Unfortunately, it’s more of a popularity contest and spring break for ad agencies than a good place for info now. If South By Southwest Interactive organizers could better cultivate the sessions and topics and not make it just about popular vote, then they’d have a great conference again.
– Andrew Howlett, Rain
7. Digital Life Design conference
The Digital Life Design conference in Munich is always on the top of my calendar, but especially this year. With it being the 10th anniversary of the conference series, I expect it to be better than ever before!
– Christopher Pruijsen, Sterio.me
FailCon is the best event for entrepreneurs, hands down. Most people only see others’ successes and never their failures, but this event gives it all. FailCon is a one-day conference for technology entrepreneurs, investors, developers and designers to study their own and others’ failures, so they can prepare for success.
Like most, I learn by watching other entrepreneurs I admire and either follow somewhat in their footsteps or know when to pivot if necessary. There are many amazing events out there, but one day I aspire to be speaking about all my failures at FailCon.
– Andrew Vest, Preferling
9. South By Southwest Interactive
I am really looking forward to South By Southwest Interactive. We made some really good connections there last year and saw some awesome stuff coming up. I am excited to see what is showcased this year.
– Ioannis Verdelis, Fleksy
10. Small Business Web Summit
Consumers and businesses alike have something to learn from just about all of your social media interactions. How many people did your post reach? What sort of links do your followers like best? Does anything you do online even matter?
Fortunately, the rise of social media has been accompanied by the creation of tools to that analyze the impact of most of your social media activities. For anyone serious about building their online presence (say “personal brand” one more time) or help grow their businesses’ reach online, social media analytics tools are essential.
As part of VentureBeat’s new research initiative, we’re building a top 10 list of the best social media analytics tools on the Web. Here is a list of our initial choices, in alphabetical order. But just as we did with our recent call for the top online health services, we’re also calling for your participation.
Fill out this survey to tell us if you agree with our choices or if you think we should consider other companies.
We also welcome your feedback if you’re familiar with any of these tools. The goal is to create a comprehensive list of social media analytics tools that actually deliver on their promises. Everyone who participates in creating the research by filling out the surveys will get a copy of the final results, and we’ll continue to update our rankings of these companies over time.
This is just the beginning.
What if you could combine social media analytics with your marketing efforts?
33Across’s SocialDNA Targeting technology does just that — it helps brands get a more complete picture of their online audience by analyzing how they interact with the brand’s social media interactions. That’s good for both companies and their customers: 33Across helps companies figure out the best places to focus their marketing efforts, which leads to more relevant ads for consumers.
All that data also tells 33Across that most of our social media sharing is largely driven by ego.
If you’ve used 33Across, share your thoughts.
Like most other analytics suites, Brandwatch monitors all of the conversations across various social networks. The company claims that its algorithm cuts through social spam to help find the conversations that really matter. (It’s known for having some of the best data gathering and parsing tools — social media management company Hootsuite partners with Brandwatch to enable its customer to benefit from Brandwatch’s 70-million-plus data data sources.)
What do you think of Brandwatch’s tools?
While it’s far from sexy, it is free.
Google Analytics has become a great resource for social media analytics on your website. Last year Google added social reports to analytics, which you can use to determine the conversion value of visitors from social sites as well as see how visitors from different social sites behave on your site. It also has an “Activity Stream” that shows in real time how people are talking about your site on social networks.
One of the most popular social media analytics tools — and for good reason — Hootsuite offers a single online dashboard to manage your social media accounts. This includes Twitter, Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn, and more.
But in addition to helping you schedule posts and manage your social media content, Hootsuite also digs into what your social media activity means with its own set of analytics tools. The company also recently partnered up with Brandwatch to extend the reach of its analytics, bringing it more in line with what enterprise customers would expect.
(Have you used Hootsuite? Let us know whether you liked it, loved it, or hated it.)
Buffer started out as, well, a buffer. For those who tweet or share a lot, Buffer helped them space out their social media posts, and also optimize the time of their publishing to maximize engagement and response.
Now, the company offers plans for agencies, business, and enterprise, with detailed analytics about what is working and what isn’t, so you’ll have actual data to back up your sneaking suspicion that that posting to Twitter at midnight in the geography you’re targeting is a bad idea. Or that sharing to Facebook when everyone’s at work isn’t as effective as you might like. Buffer offers analytics on all the standard social media channels — plus App.net, the renegade we’re-not-Facebook social network.
Another helpful play for marketers, LocalResponse lets companies read the intent in social chatter with the goal of delivering highly targeted ads.
The company also recently launched a dashboard for brands to keep track of the data its technology collects. Unlike other solutions, LocalResponse is able to extract meaning from natural language posts, which gives brands another way to target their marketing without relying on manual check-ins.
(Have you used LocalResponse? Share your thoughts here.)
Formerly SEOMoz, Moz Analytics gives you a single dashboard to view your social stats alongside other marketing efforts. As a bonus, the company can also show you how your social media standing affects your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.
Moz’s technology visualizes the data it collects, offers insights into how you measure up to the competition, and gives you recommendations to improve your overall marketing efforts.
In just a few years, and through some strategic acquisitions, Salesforce has lined up one of the most compelling social media analytics solutions with its Marketing Cloud.
Salesforce relies on Radian6’s technology for listening to social media chatter, Buddy Media’s tech for broadcasting your posts across the web, and Social.com’s solution for advertising wisely on social media. It’ll likely cost you more than most of the others on this list, but few services feature the thoroughness of Salesforce’s offering.
We want to know what you think about Salesforce’s marketing cloud.
Like Hootsuite, SproutSocial manages all of your social media accounts from its dashboard, enabling you to easily schedule tweets and Facebook posts to keep your social pulse alive.
The company’s social analytics offers a variety of reports, which makes it appealing to people all across your entire business, not just the marketing department. SproutSocial also packs in some additional features like customer relationship management (CRM) and helpdesk functionality (which can be a good way to organize any complaints from social media followers). Both of those are usually add-ons in any other social media analytics solution.
Want a look at the wider social web? With its real-time search, Topsy has cemented itself as a go-to solution for figuring out what’s happening right now across a wide swath of social media sites. Topsy also offers social analytics for just about any term (it’s not a bad way to figure out your competitors’ reach, for example).
Best of all, Topsy is perhaps the best way to figure out what was happening on Twitter at a particular moment. As a certified Twitter partner, Topsy has access to all of the tweets tweeted since Twitter’s founding in 2006. It’s the closest thing we have yet to a historical archive for Twitter.
Share and share alike
Have you used any of these tools or their competitors? We’re hoping to collect your individual thoughts in our social media survey, and then deliver all the collective wisdom right back to you. Thanks for participating in the survey!
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“My Social Book” captures your timeline’s memories and events (birthdays, weddings, concerts, pets) in a physical book.
If you ever worry about forgetting or losing all of the information on your Facebook timeline, this service is for you. All of the things you’ve shared with family and friends — including pictures, comments, and status updates — will be assembled into a book you can keep on your coffee table.
On average a Facebook user creates a 100 pages of a book each year. You can choose which dates you’d like to see in print or create a book from an entire year’s worth of posts.
The books can be between 25 and 500 pages in length and come in soft or hard cover. Depending on how much content you choose to archive, the cost runs from $12 to $137.
What do you think? A great idea? A nice gift? Overkill?
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
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