It was a huge honor to be invited to the RewardStyle 2017 Conference. I joined RewardStyle in June 2016 and somehow was considered to be in the top tier of influencers and got the exclusive invite to the conference (thanks to all of you!!). It was a blast and super busy the whole time down there. Everyone I met was extremely nice and supportive….I can’t say enough good things about the crowd that attended and the team that hosted.
As you likely realize blogs highly engaged by their aesthetic and this entire post is filled with quick i-phone pics I snapped along the way. I was trying to absorb as much as I could, so the only camera pictures included in this post were sent to me by the RewardStyle photography team.
If you weren’t already aware RewardStyle in the company responsible for Liketoknow.it – which makes all my Instagram outfits easy to shop by simply downloading the Liketoknow.it app and then liking or screenshotting my pictures. My outfits are also shoppable on my shop page via other technology RewardStyle has developed and that shop page does not require an email sign up.
So for those who weren’t able to attend and want the take aways or to know what the event was like I am recapping the events of the Reward Style 2017 Conference (otherwise known as #RSthecon). I’m breaking the post up into 2 parts because there was so much content.
RewardStyle Conference 2017 Day 1 (Thursday):
– I flew into Dallas and arrived early to spend time with my brother who happens to live in downtown Dallas. I showered and got a much needed spray tan and grabbed a bite before heading to the Crescent Hotel around 1:30 pm. I never spray tan anymore so it was a huge treat because I felt like it worked miracles on my appearance.
– There was a champagne welcome reception on arrival and I got to meet my RewardStyle representative (Savanna) in person for the first time as well as many others blogger I’d previously only known through Instagram.
– The welcome reception ended at 3 pm and a few hours laters there was a pool party to kick off the conference (hosted by Sole Society). It was nice to mingle and have cocktails with all the RewardStyle boss babes.
With my babe Jordan Underwood.
I didn’t even airbrush Hollie‘s face and she looks THAT GOOD!??!?! And she’s SO nice.
I’m not afraid to be the the first one eating tacos at the cocktail party where everyone seemed to be above eating messy food.
After the pool party a large group of bloggers headed out to dinner at a local Italian Restaurant.
Award winning photography, I know. Sorry, I can’t help with your next wedding, I’m busy ;).
RewardStyle Conference 2017 Day 2 (Friday):
Friday started with big lecture sessions in the ballroom and then the afternoon was small classroom sessions. Here were my main takeaways from the big room meetings:
- Influencer Marketing As The Preferred Way to Shop with Alexis Caldwell (Director of Affiliate Marketing): Brands are increasing their investments in influencers and going after those with proven return on investment. 91% of the RewardStyle matched collaborations required a blog post – SO DO NOT FORSAKE YOUR BLOG. I know it’s easy to get caught up in LTK posts on Instagram…I’m guilty for sure, but I’m on a mission to get back at those blog posts that have more longevity (evergreen content, think outside an outfit post).
- The LTK Machine – Product Evolvement with Shirelle Noble (Director of Product Marketing): She really drove home that everything is becoming highly mobile right now. So pay attention to how mobile friendly your site is and be aware that social platforms are closing monetization for influencers.
- Retail Development and Brand Management with Lauren Carlson (Retail Development in NYC) and Heather Purcell (London): Make sure you’re telling your own story. It’s your blog, it’s about you, let people into your life. This is something I’m good at as an oversharer. Now if only I could make my pictures more aesthetically pleasing…
- Building a Cult Brand with the founders of Bumble: These girl bosses urged everyone to stay true to your brand. I remember months ago when I had probably 20,000 Instagram followers Dove chocolate was going to pay me $150 to post on Instagram hyping their product. In reality I wouldn’t eat Dove chocolate. My Dad has Parkinson’s Disease so at home I am pretty vigilant about eating organic. I have no issue with anyone else posting for this brand, but had I posted for Dove I would have felt like a sell-out. It was easy money, but wouldn’t be true to ME, and I am my brand. Bumble has done a great job of hustling to get their exposure and building a solid team. At the end of the day their main point was no one can steal your brand. So be yourself, and be authentic.
- Friends Today, Foes Tomorrow: Social Networks and Content Creators with Justin Hyde (Manager of Brand Development), Stephanie Sandbo (Enterprise Client Manager) and Lindsey Blakey (Manager of Strategic Influencer Development). This discussion was about companies adapting to change. One thing mentioned was when Pinterest re-allowed affiliate links to be used on their site (and how influencers who relied on Pinterest dropped their income by 90% when Pinterest had first banned affiliate links). They gave a reminder that social platforms own your followers. So make sure people are actually seeing value in your blog, because Instagram (or wherever you flourish) may switch things up on you when you least expect it.
- Founder Fireside with Baxter Box (CEO, Co-Founder with his wifey of RewardStyle): First of all, this couple is GENIUS. They are the creators of the technology and company that hosted this amazing event. He referred to RewardStyle’s technology as a “vehicle for financial independence for influencers”. He emphasized that LiketoKnow.It is the future and does a huge service to consumers across multiple social channels. Baxter, like most speakers, pointed out that blogs are not dying and need to be well cared for. He also pointed out how early it is in the game of influencer marketing, so be an infinite player because things are always changing but there is a ton of potential. Totally unrelated to this session I met Baxter at the finale party and he is super friendly and down to earth. For someone who is totally killin’ it, he came off as very humble and kind.Should I copyright this photo? It’s pretty good, right?
After the large classroom sessions we headed to a picnic lunch at Shake Shack, hosted by Banana Republic.
I did not feel so hot after eating this but it was tasty. I almost never eat fast food so I devoured it since I’d had a LITTLE (translation way too much) champagne the night before.
The afternoon was devoted to break-out, smaller, classroom session. You were able to give your top choices off a list of about 8 classes. The class size allowed you to ask questions very easily (because as you can tell from my amateur photography and web development, I need a lot of teaching).
Class 1: Time Hacks: Tools and Stategies for Scaling Your Content (with Lauren Lally)
If you know me in real life you won’t be surprised that I flopped the first portion of this class: e-mail organization. They said most people fall into one of two categories, zero unread messages or 15,000. I am, sadly, the latter. The first third of the class was devoted to organizing your inbox. Having been home for 4 days I have yet to start this daunting task. I only have, for the record, 103 unread emails in my blog inbox…but still….it’s CLUTTERED. She went into great depth as to how to organize it and set up “canned responses” which are pretty much a generic email response such as “thank you so much for the offer but I am TOO BUSY BEING AWESOME”. Ok, kidding, but you get what I mean. My poo does stink but I don’t want 80% off the offers that come my way. Tampons are useful, but I don’t want to market them 🙂
This session then moved on to APPS that can make workflow easier. I am not familiar with most of them but they included:
- Basecamp (I guess this allows you to create projects and to-do lists within a team)
- Co-schedule ($10/month) post to blog and social media
- Trello ($5/month) similar to co-schedule but doesn’t actually post
- Slack- messaging portal for larger teams
- LTK app – schedule posts ahead of time
- Evernote – digitalized notebook
- IFTTT – if this, then that
- Mosaico – schedule instagrams, layout of feed, reports on hashtags
- Snug – drag/drop photo tool
- Hoot Suite – schedule social media
- Sprout Social – schedule social media and track stats
They also discussed hiring a team but my friend nudged me that I got featured on LTK’s Instagram page during this portion of the talk so I was completely distracted 🙂
Class 2: SEO
THIS POST IS TO BE CONTINUED. I’ll be sharing my other two classes, brand meetings, and the networking lounge experience in my next post.
If you have questions feel free to leave them below or shoot me an email!