This past weekend, we sent Nicole, the Step2 Internet Marketing Specialist, to her first conference, BlissDom, to see how Step2 could enhance the Test Drive Blogger Program and learn about the advancements in social commerce. This is third year that Step2 has been represented at BlissDom, known as “the premier conference for women who find and express their bliss by publishing online.”
Words cannot describe the amazing time I had in Dallas, Texas at BlissDom. I was blown away by the speakers and people I met during my time there. Even though I traveled to BlissDom alone, I never felt alone because of the kindness of each person I met and sat with throughout the workshops.
Arriving at the conference, I was not sure what to expect from the speakers. I was astounded by the information that I learned from each speaker. Sara Hawkins, lawyer and blogger, spoke about the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) revised online advertising disclosure guidelines. Since 2000, online advertisements must disclose any affiliation and necessary information to a visible claim. Recent changes have been made to make the disclosures more apparent. At Step2, we work very closely with bloggers. We want to make sure that we are up to date on online advertising procedures for their awareness and ours. Some of the biggest takeaways from this session were:
- Online disclosures need to be clear and conspicuous
- The disclosure must be as close to the advertising claim as possible
- The use of hyperlinks to ensure disclosures are not hidden behind hyperlinks
- Online disclosures must also be found on social media posts. For example, the words “AD” must be found within a sponsored post. Using a shortening link to direct people to the information is not acceptable
- Advertisers may not send out a disclaimer following a sponsored post, it must be sent out as one complete post
Before this session, I was aware that the FTC had changed advertising disclosure guidelines but I had no idea how much it affected Step2 and our relationships with bloggers that review our products. I am grateful that I attended this session to better help Step2 understand the new guidelines that we must abide by.
At Step2, I get to experience firsthand how much consumer service and our direct sales representatives care about our customers. Another insightful lesson I learned from BlissDom pertained to brands focusing on trust. John Morgan, author of Brand Against the Machine claimed that brands need to be branded on caring. If customers understand how much we care than they will trust us more. At Step2, we always strive to make our customers happy and allow their experience with us to be nothing but positive. This session reaffirmed the importance of this.
Besides learning about the importance of trust, I learned that everyone can be a photographer. I have never thought of myself as a photographer because I do not have a fancy camera or catch the perfect image at the right moment. However, David Molnar, celebrity, music & advertising photographer, proved me wrong. He said that there is only art that I can create. After hearing him speak about how he fell in love with photography and how many of his photos were taken with his smart phone, I was inspired to go take some pictures (with my phone, of course).
Check out the pictures I took of the breathtaking Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention center, where BlissDom was held. What do you think? David also said to take a lot of pictures, practice makes perfect and I could not agree more!
After tapping into my amateur photography skills, I learned about work ethic and learning to have a work life balance. Another session featured, Michelle Sarabia, the Marketing and Membership Director for a Private Golf Course in Gallatin, TN. She talked about her decision to transition from a business woman to a stay at home mom and then back to business woman. Even though I do not have children, I could relate to having life transitions. My life has changed a lot in the past year from ending college to starting my career. It was a transition that I had to get used to and realize that naps were no longer a part of the daily routine. It was refreshing to be able to relate to the speakers and other attendees that I met. Although my life may be different than theirs, we can all agree that life throws curve balls at you and it is all about how to decide to handle them which makes life interesting.
Also while I was at BlissDom, I was inspired by one of the sponsors – . They showed us a touching video about ending child hunger. After watching the video, it made me realize how important it is to inform others that nearly 17 million children face hunger in the U.S. Step2 strongly supports charitable efforts that focus on the health of children. By tweeting #childhunger at @ChildHungerEnds on Twitter, ConAgra Foods will donate two meals to Feeding America.
It was an honor to represent Step2 and gain knowledge about topics that I can utilize in my career. The perfect quote to sum up my experience is by American author and poet, Maya Angelou. “Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the sooner we will be able to treat life as art.” BlissDom was a blissful experience that made me realize my life and the lives of others are pieces of art and we are the only ones that can tell our story. So why not share it with the world!