It is easy to mistake conferences for excuses to party these days. It seems for every Twitter message or blog post that references learnings gathered in sessions or insights shared by speakers there are a dozen referencing some affiliated social gathering in the evenings. Certainly, I’ve contributed to that imbalance at fun reunions of friends like South by Southwest or Blog World & New Media Expo, my two favorite conferences.

While much of the value I get out of these events is found in the networking done during informal times, when smart people speak, I like to sneak in the back, observe, take notes and learn. I’ve picked up valuable nuggets over the years from a variety of people, some I consider peers, others zen masters of the communications or social media craft. I’ve even picked up great insights from people I don’t know. Still, the “name” presenters always seem to be the ones who consistently deliver value.

This is why I am excited to tell you about an opportunity for you to learn from a handful of the smartest people in the social media space, all without leaving your office. Michael Stelzner, whose fantastic blog on writing white papers I’ve been reading for years, has put together an all-star roster of social media thinkers to participate in a large, online summit held over four weeks to help marketers and small business owners master social media marketing. The event is called the Social Media Success Summit. It’s website goes live today and the event runs May 27 through most of June.

Social Media Success Summit 2009

The presenters are superstars in the world of social media marketing and include: the incomparable Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library TV; one of my favorite people on the planet, Darren Rowse from Problogger; Facebook guru and relationship marketing specialist Mari Smith; Jason Alba, who wrote an outstanding book on leveraging LinkedIn; Marketing Profs mastermind and sharp tack Ann Handley; Brian Clark of Copyblogger fame; Chris Garrett, a blogging and new media expert if I’ve ever seen one, and Denise Wakeman from BlogSquad. If any of these folks were presenting at a conference I was attending, I’d sneak in to hear them speak. There are 11 sessions scheduled for the summit and each presenter has developed NEW material for the event.

As a measure of disclosure, Stelzner offered me an affiliate partnership with this event which is why you see an advertisement for it on the sidebar of Social Media Explorer. For each person who signs up after clicking through from my website, I get a finder’s fee. But please know I would not encourage you to spend your money on an event that wouldn’t be worth it.

Talk to your boss about this one. Tell them the cost is a better investment since you don’t have to travel. You just need to take a few hours out of your schedule each week for about a month and you’ll wind up with a better set of knowledge than if you had gone to one of the big conferences.

Probably because you won’t be out living it up with all the other attendees at night. Heh.

The Social Media Success Summit is designed to put you in position to leverage tools like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more to attract what Stelzner calls, “High caliber customers and (to) grow your business during the economic slump.” It’s probably appropriate to add on the Ronco-esque, “Individual results may vary,” tag line, but with people like Handley and Clark leading the way, you don’t have to worry much with disclaimers. These cats are solid.

The cost of the event is $497 (or just $45 per session) but if you sign up before May 14, you’ll get a 40 percent discount. (Yep – Save $200!) If you click through from Social Media Explorer, you’ll get to download a free white paper as a gift (valued at $39) and I’ll get a finder’s fee. If that doesn’t set well with you, you are welcome to go straight to the site at http://www.socialmediasummit09.com. (I promise to use the money I make to improve SME with a redesign I’ve got cooking.)

Don’t miss this event. It’s the best knowledge from the people who normally provide it at conferences you have to shell out hundreds, even thousands of dollars to attend thanks to the costs of travel, hotels and meals. Only now, they come to you, at your desk, in 11 sessions sure to put social media marketing to work for you and your organization.

ACT NOW to receive your 40 percent discount and free gift. I’m confident you’ll think the Social Media Success Summit is well worth the price of admission.

Thank you for the indulgence.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls 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 Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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