Geek Super Bowl is this week. South by Southwest Interactive in Austin, Texas, brings the technology, social media and marketing worlds together in a five-day fit of networking insanity that is hands down the biggest event in the business I’m in. And I’ll be there in full force as usual, but with a little different focus this year.

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Instead of spending all week on Geek Spring Break, staying out late drinking and what not (I quit drinking, remember), I’m going to SXSW with business on my mind and business on my agenda … but with my annual Austin party on the docket too. So here are three companies I want you to meet at South by Southwest and three events I hope you’ll plan on attending while you’re in Austin. For the companies, please find me so I can introduce you to their folks. They are clients, but I wouldn’t put them in front of you if it weren’t worth your time to know them. For the events, please plan on coming. I’ll be hosting/speaking, but others will be, too and you’ll get a lot out of them.

Three Companies You Should Meet In Austin

Expion

My friends at Expion have some new features and offerings to tell you about. They’re an enterprise, franchise and multiple-location social media management solution. Their tool allows large companies to manage Facebook and Twitter presences for both the corporate entity, but also for franchise locations, departments and other divisions of your organization (think colleges and universities with various departments as well as multiple location retail stores). They have outstanding content management and strategy tools and are about to unveil some features and functionality none of their competitors have yet. I can’t tell you about them here, but I can tell you about them in Austin. Better yet, I can introduce you to Peter Heffring, their CEO, or any number of the Expion team who will be in Austin.

Keepio

The pure-play social commerce platform created by my friends and fellow Louisvillians Dave Durand, Nick Huhn, Jesse Lucas and Jon Shaw, allows users to catalog their stuff to buy, sell, trade or borrow with their friends (primarily) and an open marketplace (secondarily). The service doesn’t charge a transaction fee for sales, so it’s pure social commerce … just a meeting place where you can browse and make offers on other people’s stuff, even if it’s just to say, “Dave … can I borrow the Disney DVDs for my kids this weekend?” Their new features roll out every couple of weeks and the network is growing. They also have some interesting ideas for companies, groups and organizations to use their cataloging platform as a white-label solution.

Exploring Social Media

My newest venture is a learning community based on the premise people need answers and don’t have time to sit and take linear lessons about social media and digital marketing. So instead of a lessons website sitting on top of a forum, we partnered with Bloomfire to give users a Q&A forum and access to digital marketing experts for answers, that sits on top of robust content for self-guided learning if you need it. I’d love to talk to you about what ESM can do for you or your clients and how we can approach group pricing or value for large employee bases or customer groups you’d like to serve with some social media educational offerings.

Three Events You Should Attend In Austin

The Ignite Social Media Party

This is the party I host each year and, as you know, my buddy Jim Tobin and his Ignite Social Media staff really wanted to throw the party with me this year, so we are. My man Tim Hayden and the folks at 44Doors and Blue Clover have helped us secure Molotov once again (the hip bar where last year’s siorre’ took place) and have expanded over to The Dogwood next door. So far, it’s sold out (1,500 tickets), but don’t let that discourage you. If the fire marshall says we can let you in, we will. Keepio will be there, as will a ton of my friends from the industry. So come hang and enjoy a party without all the noise.

My SXSW Panel

Sunday morning, I’ll be honored to sit on my first SXSW panel. I’ll join Viralheat CEO Raj Kadam, Twitter’s Kevin Weil and Mashable’s Christina Warren to discuss, “Measuring Social Media — Let’s Get Serious.” We’ll talk about ROI, how and why you would use social media and how you can measure the success of it. With the product lead for Twitter, one of the senior reporters from Mashable and the CEO of a monitoring company on the panel, I’ll probably just be the dumb guy in the room, but we’ll have a fun and lively discussion that will likely help you understand measurement a bit more.

Get Ready 2 Live 2

Tim Hayden blew everyone away last year with an off-site event (not affiliated with SXSW) catered toward forward thinkers, executives and brand managers called, “Get Ready To Live.” Chris Brogan, myself and a number of other folks talked and left the crowd energized and ready to take on the world after Austin. This year, the speaking roster is more robust with super stars and the price is significantly lower for folks to come. I can promise you this … you’ll get a ton out of this event and get to mix and mingle with attendees and speakers in a more intimate setting than the parties in town.

Other Stuff

Quite a few product teams and start-up entrepreneurs generally try to track me down in Austin. I’m looking forward to learning about what you’ve got cooking. Look for me around the Blogger Lounge on Friday and Saturday. I also have a tendency to mill about in the lobby area or across the street at Champions (in the Courtyard/Residence Inn building).

And if you’re really trying to find me, the best thing to do is watch my Twitter stream. I’ll let folks know where I am frequently. You can always DM me (make sure I’m following you before hand … just @ me a reminder) or shoot me an email and let me know you’d like to connect. I will do my very best to touch base with as many folks as I can while I’m there.

If you’d like more than a quick meet up, my schedule for meetings is pretty full, but shoot me and email and I’ll see what I can do. I’ll be in Austin Wednesday night through Monday afternoon, but am out of pocket all day Thursday, Friday night (for my party) and most of the day Sunday with the aforementioned and other plans.

See you there!

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is the founder and chief instigator for Social Media Explorer's blog and signature Explore events. He is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for CafePress, one of the world's largest online retailers. His opinions are his, not necessarily theirs. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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