Ahead of our 50th Member Meeting, we're going to be spotlighting our top 10 Member Meeting All Stars — members who've attended the most Member Meetings during their time in the community.
Next up in the series is Wells Fargo Vice President of Social Content and Platform Strategy Julie Clement Cochran, who has attended nine meetings in seven years of membership (at two different companies!). We chatted with her about her first-ever SocialMedia.org Member Meeting in Los Angeles, why she continues to make meetings a priority, and some of her key learnings over the years.
How would you describe your first SocialMedia.org Member Meeting?
My first meeting was in L.A., a long way from Memphis, TN. So I was a little intimidated right off the bat. I remember feeling I might not be experienced enough to actually engage with the other members.
However, when I got there my feelings totally changed. Everyone was very welcoming, and there were so many members and companies that were in the same place as we were as a brand. Everyone wanted to help and troubleshoot issues for other members. It was a great feeling of inclusion and certainly group therapy. I left feeling excited and energized about the opportunities ahead for us as a brand.
What are some of the biggest insights or “aha” moments you've taken away from Member Meetings and applied to your program?
Where to begin!? We have learned so much from other brands. It's interesting too because most of the brands that we have gained ideas from came from other industries, with a totally different customer base, and they were facing really different challenges.
At my previous company (where we were members of SocialMedia.org), we were able to benchmark with several members about advocacy, social listening centers, crisis planning, formal governance structures, organic tactics that actually work, and the list goes on and on.
I really hope that I have given back as much as I have taken from SocialMedia.org. Social changes every single day, and we all have so much to learn — no matter how long we have been doing this.
What are some of your favorite activities or memories from past Member Meetings?
Definitely my favorite was seeing TOMS Founder Blake Mycoskie speak. I had no idea he was the guest speaker. It was a pretty small room which made for an initiate conversation. I happened to be wearing my favorite pair of TOMS wedges, and it was a pretty big moment for me. His story was so personal, yet it was clear how it transferred to his company's brand and how they engaged with their communities and customers. Another favorite memory was desserts in Epcot and watching the Illuminations show!
Why do you make attending Member Meetings a priority?
It's easy for us to get heads down in our own work and meetings/priorities. I think it's important to step away from the day to day and learn from other brands how they are doing social and how they are tackling challenges. It might spark creativity or new ideas and help you overcome a challenge you are facing. Even if you think it's only you or your brand experiencing a challenge or issues, I can guarantee there is another brand that has been there before and can help!
My SocialMedia.org network that I have developed over the years has been instrumental in helping overcome challenges — even outside of our meetings. We lean on each other and learn from each other. I have created lifelong friends. In fact, my new job at a new brand (new brand for me that is) happened because of the connections I had made through SocialMedia.org. I am forever grateful!
What advice would you give to someone going to their first Member Meeting?
Have fun, make new contacts, and don't get overwhelmed because there is always the next meeting.
Meet members like Julie at Member Meeting 50 in Chicago, October 8-9!
SocialMedia.org's Member Meeting 50 is coming up October 8-9 in Chicago, and it's going to be one of our best meetings yet — in large part to amazing social media leaders like Julie who not only bring incredible experience and insight to the conversations we have there, but kindness, integrity, and a healthy dose of fun.
We're so grateful for our All Stars and all our members who continue to make every meeting so special and unbelievably valuable. They're the reason this community has been thriving for over a decade, and we can't wait for what's next.
Learn more about Member Meeting 50 here: https://socialmedia.org/community/meetings/mm50/
Julie Clement Cochran has been a member of SocialMedia.org of two different companies, starting in 2012. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.