9 SXSWi Sessions Not to Miss

In just a few weeks, an impressive line up of speakers and performers around the globe from countless industries will come together in Austin to both inspire and be inspired by one another. With interactive sessions exploring topics in Brands & Marketing, Social Impact, Tech Industry, and many more tracks, South by Southwest is one of Austin’s most anticipated events of the year. With hundreds of sessions to attend over the week, be sure to put these nine essential smart social panels for marketers at the top of your list—you don’t want to miss out.

Seconds Matter: Capturing Attention in the Mobile Feed

The topic: As video becomes one of the largest ways people are consuming content on mobile, every single second matters in order to capture and keep attention. Examining our physiological and neurological processes when we watch video on our mobile devices, this session will explore how and why to fine-tune each second to form meaningful and measurable connections with consumers.

Why we won’t miss it: Ann Mack, a seasoned SXSW session speaker and content manager for Facebook’s global consumer insights practice, will offer intelligent tips for making each second of video content count and provide insights as to why that matters.

Letting Go and the New Way to Tell Visual Stories

The topic: Because of its personal, bidirectional nature and widespread accessibility, social is hard to control. Should brands embrace a lack of control on their accounts—and even take it further by readily handing over complete access to well-known influencers? Learn how letting go may transform your brand image from a visual storytelling and social media perspective.

Why we won’t miss it: Rajiv Mody, Aaron Huey, and Patrick Witty from National Geographic will reveal how turning over the master key to their Instagram account to some of the best photographers in the world translated into securing a spot as one of the most influential and followed accounts on the platform.

Contemporary Curation: How Imagery Shapes a Brand

The topic: Consumers can sniff a brand’s inauthenticity from behind a odorless screen. This session will stress the importance of pathos and sincerity in a compelling brand story, and take it further as to discuss how imagery plays a major part in telling your story.

Why we won’t miss it: Exposing why certain images sometimes outshine other content and how to use effective imagery to build a brand story, this session features top-notch speakers with top-notch brand stories Oen Michael Hammonds from IBM Design, David Moon from Bazaarvoice, and Art Markman from UT Austin.

Nowhere to Hide: The Reality of Online Privacy

The topic: According to the session abstract, "There’s a direct relationship between growing privacy concerns and consumers’ demands for a personalized UX. As they share more personal information, speculation grows surrounding the safety and usefulness of that data. This panel will examine the personas of different online users and their views on privacy. Personal information has become currency for consumer experiences and access. But how big is the risk and what are we really giving up in exchange?"

Why we won't miss it: Spredfast's own Chris Kerns will speak on this panel, an increasingly salient topic given the fact that "Today in the United States, online hackers are feared by some 96% of internet users." There's risk and reward to sharing information with brands, and this session will let you hear both sides of the coin.

Facebook and Instagram: A Tale of Two Feeds

The topic: Most people declare a strong preference for their social media platform of choice. So how does a marketer choose between two of the most popular ones—Facebook and Instagram—when curating content? This session will uncover the distinct usage of each platform by different demographics so you can best tailor unique content to each one.

Why we won’t miss it: Jaideep Mukerji and Vicki Molina-Estolano from Facebook itself will provide insider strategies for customizing the content your brand creates and shares across these two equally powerful feeds.

Memories Matter: Leveraging the Experience Economy

The topic: With the billions of social users around the globe, it’s no secret that we love to share many, and sometimes every—moment of lives with one another. With that, we’ve seen that consumer needs are increasingly favoring these life experiences over physical possessions. This session will do a deep dive into this experience economy and how that translates into exceeding these new consumer wants and needs.

Why we won’t miss it: With speakers from Lyft, StubHub, and Mashable, companies that thrive in understanding and anticipating consumers for experiences, this panel will allow you to shift your focus to creating memories for consumers along with your products or services.

iMessage: The Next Marketing Gold Mine

The topic: One billion of the world’s population is currently operating on Apple’s iOS—and iMessage is the number one app used on the iPhone. In this session, gain insight into the projected trajectory of the launch of the new iMessage app store and why mobile messaging platform Snaps is certain that the launch will spark the next marketer’s gold rush.

Why we won’t miss it: This session delivered by Snaps and some of their first-in-class brand clients, Nike, Coach, and Marriott will inspire you to become an iMessage App Store early adopter from a brand with a first-hand understanding of mobile messaging.

Social is More than a Metric

The topic: The growing power and value of social is undeniable—but one social metric isn’t enough. In this session, you will discover how abundant and targeted data from social can help you solve some of your biggest challenges, as well as gain insight into how to stay ahead of the curve in regards to the evolution of social in the years to come.

Why we won’t miss it: This smart social session will be delivered by Spredfast CEO Rod Favaron, a social pro who has consistently proved the undoubtable value of social. Social is More than a Metric should be essential on your SXSW panel list.

Consider moving your SXSW schedule around to make these sessions a priority—you won’t regret it. And don’t forget to register for our 2017 Social Suite for a one-of-a-kind networking, learning, and eating experience.

Editor's note: Also be sure to catch Spredfast CMO Jim Rudden at When the Sharing Economy is Taken Away to hear more about what happens when innovation outpaces regulation.

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Caitlin Cavanaugh is the Brand Marketing Manager for Spredfast, where she spends her time building the world’s most #SmartSocial brand through the power of customer voice. When she’s not chasing a revolutionary success story, you can find her embarking on her next hunting or fishing expedition or baking up a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies.