Hispanic PR & Social Media Conference Becomes Catalyst For Industry Trends and Change

BY MANNY RUIZ
Co-Publisher, Hispanic PR Blog

At one point during last week’s Hispanic PR & Social Media Conference in Dallas, someone or something mysteriously triggered a fire alarm, forcing a temporary evacuation.  Maybe the conference topics and speakers were too hot but if you were there or monitored the historic conference through Twitter,  you’ll understand why this event proved a catalyst for several industry trends like few Hispanic marketing conferences before it.   Here’s a sampling of what I observed:

Public relations is indeed poised, positioned and ready to lead the Hispanic social media marketing revolution.  At session after session (and there were 12 focused just on this very topic) everyone acknowledged that PR will play a prominent, if not lead, role in defining Hispanic social media.  This mirrors the results of the four month long Hispanic PR Census which shows that at least from the point of view of most PR professionals there is an overwhelming belief that PR is generally best suited to lead social media marketing.  (See the last week’s story here). (Tomorrow I will give you a preview to a story I wrote for the 2010 U.S. Hispanic Social Media that describes precisely why Hispanic social media is the single most important development to ever happen to Hispanic PR).  

Next week’s launch of the official 2010 U.S. Hispanic Social Media Guide will propel the conference’s PR industry momentum further.  This comprehensive guide is being published in partnership with the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), HPRA and the Hispanic PR Blog.  It’s being launched to coincide with WOMMA’s national School of WOM conference in Chicago next week, May 24-26.

The growing influence of the Hispanic Public Relations Association is real. In large part as a result of this conference and also in part due to the growing importance of social media, HPRA came away from the conference with dozens of new members and at least four new city chapters, including Dallas and Miami. Personally I was most impressed with HPRA’s bold focus on turning the organization into one that is primarily comprised of communicators from corporate, government and non profit organizations. This is a bold move by HPRA and one that instantly won kudos from participants at the conference.

- PRSA-HPRA alliance serves the best interests of both.  Not everyone may be aware that this national conference symbolized the first major national collaboration ever by the Public Relations Society of America with HPRA but it did.  The unity that our PR industry is seeing right now is unprecedented and very encouraging because in many ways PRSA and HPRA are best working together than apart.  PRSA is passionate about advancing diversity and HPRA represents that diversity.  HPRA could use the organizational mentoring that PRSA offers.  This is a win-win.  Big kudos are merited by PRSA’s executive board and specifically CEO-elect Rosanna Fiske who’s mere presence at the opening reception of the conference to keynote it was huge for both PRSA and HPRA.  

Hispanic bloggers are muy caliente right now.  Hispanic bloggers took center stage at the conference with two major sessions devoted to “Blogueras” and “Blogueros,” respectively.  The 15 or so bloggers who came got a bonanza of terrific corporate contacts.  General Mills’ Rudy Rodriguez, director of multicultural marketing, was one of numerous major brand speakers who made it clear that Hispanic brands like General Mills will be collaborating very closely with Hispanic bloggers that have something special to offer.  Even I launched a unique blog called PapiBlogger, the first “Papi blog” and a bilingual site that even more importantly is devoted to gathering creative parenting tricks.  (PapiBlogger was the co-title sponsor of the conference).   

Fittingly, social media was ablaze with conference chatter.  Conference co-title sponsor Fleishman Hillard counted more than 1,500 tweets DURING the conference alone and those staggering numbers continue to rise.  The buzz was off the charts positive especially as it applied to discussions about session topics, the quality of the presentations and the presenters.  The Hispanic PR Blog took the social media momentum further by officially launching its Facebook page.

Yes, there will definitely be a 2011 Hispanic PR & Social Media Conference!  In most every single way, the conference far exceeded our wildest expectations especially as it related to producing terrific professional development sessions, powerful networking opportunities, strong corporate attendance and great entertainment.  At least half of our sponsors have already told us to sign them up for next year so the question turns to where will it be?  In voting conducted by conference digital agency partner Sensis, entertainment capitals Miami and Los Angeles far outranked Chicago and Orlando as prospective sites for next year’s convention.  God willing, next year’s conference will be packed with even more punch than this year’s. 

OTHER ITEMS OF NOTE

- Conference photographs are now available on the Hispanic PR Blog Facebook page and will soon be uploaded to Flickr.  We want your photos and we’ll give you ours so be sure to check the blog and our Facebook page for more details about conference photo sharing.

- Almost all of the sessions were video taped or audio recorded.  A couple of these top notch sessions will be released EXCLUSIVELY to people who register for the upcoming 2010 U.S. Hispanic Social Media Guide.

- Evaluation forms for all conference sessions and speakers will go out later this week so be on the lookout for throw and get ready for next yeaar’s event!

If you were at the conference, please feel free to share your thoughts and insights with us.  We’d love to hear them here or on our Facebook page.