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. To continue this series, we chatted with T. Rowe Price Vice President of Corporate Marketing and Communications Meara Ranadive — who (with 11 meetings in the books) is tied for the sixth-highest meeting count — about what Member Meetings mean to her and her role leading social at a brand in a highly regulated industry.
How would you describe your first SocialMedia.org Member Meeting?
Nerve-racking, for multiple reasons. First, I did not know what to expect and was suffering from imposter syndrome, because we did not yet have a live social media program. But it turns out my nervousness was unfounded as everyone at these events is incredibly open and welcoming. This includes fellow attendees and the fantastic SocialMedia.org staff.
The other reason why I was stressed was timing. I attended my first Member Meeting in 2012, the week before we launched all of T. Rowe Price’s social media channels! While the timing was not great for getting pre-launch things sorted, coming to the meeting turned out to be a great and timely thing as we learned a lot from others about what to expect during and after launch.
What are some of the biggest insights or “aha” moments you've taken away from Member Meetings and applied to your program?
There are so many! Back when Facebook Live was a relevant tactic, we used our long list of meeting learnings from other brands to execute several Facebook Lives. This was noteworthy for us since we are a conservative company in a highly regulated industry.
I've also learned a lot about crisis management and now feel better prepared for when our brand faces a major situation. But really, the aha moments come frequently at meetings at I chat with members facing the same challenges faced by our team. It's so nice to intelligently converse with others who are trying to accomplish similar things in this challenging space. Andy Sernovitz always talks about how we have “weird” jobs. [Editor's note: Andy is the CEO of SocialMedia.org.] And it is true. It's incredible to talk to people who can relate and want to help one another.
What are some of your favorite activities or memories from past Member Meetings?
Hitting the rides at Disney with my team before several Brand Summits was a fave. Team bonding while riding Space Mountain will be hard to top! The Member Dinners at the various parks were always really memorable as well. I always loved the fireworks dessert reception at Epcot.
Why do you make attending Member Meetings a priority?
I make Member Meetings a priority for myself and my team because there is no other place to get the level of insights and information we get from SocialMedia.org events. It's incredibly difficult to keep up in the social media space and dedicating time to learning from others is super important.
Being a financial services company, we are often not the first to try new things, but that does not mean we don't. Learning from other brands who forge the way helps us try new tactics, enter new platforms, and improve our processes. And, it's so refreshing to not be harassed by vendors at a conference!
What advice would you give to someone going to their first Member Meeting?
Be open-minded, introduce yourself to a stranger, take lots of notes or else you might forget all of the awesome things you hear, and definitely come hungry (both literally and figuratively).
Meet members like Meara 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 Meara who not only bring incredible experience and insight to the conversations we have there, but warmth, generosity, 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/