Social media focus of Humber Refresh conference

Apr 4, 2013 | News

By Shannon O’Reilly

Humber’s business school is looking to expand students’ social media knowledge at Refresh: A Social Media Conference on April 9 at the Assembly Hall in Etobicoke.

Students in the postgraduate events management program are in charge of planning the conference.  The purpose of Refresh is to allow students to learn from experts in the best ways to use social media in the business sphere.

“The conference is about giving postgraduate students and future graduates of the business school the chance to network and learn how to use social media in their careers,” said Leviana Coccia, an events management student who’s part of the committee in charge of the event.

Events management program coordinator Susan Roberton said students will learn invaluable first-hand experience on how to host a corporate event.

“Each type of event is slightly different in the approach, organization and execution and this gives them a first hand opportunity to learn and deal with facilities, marketing, promotion, catering, sourcing speakers,” said Roberton.

In the inaugural year of the event management program, students put on the conference as part of their course work. Many leading industry professionals will be attending the event as keynote speakers, including Ron Nurwisah from the Huffington Post, Erin Richards from CBC and James Saull from TSN.

“This will help postgraduate student make connections for internships and careers,” continued Coccia. “It’s a great way to connect and there will be a cocktail reception afterwards for people to speak and ask questions to the industry experts.”

“When you put on an event, you want it to be successful,” said Roberton. “But in student led events the most successful outcome is the process and if they learned something then it’s a success.”

Roberton added that just form the line up of speakers, and the response from people planing on attending, the event is already a hit.

All postgrad students at Humber’s business school are required to attend the conference.

Tony Gifford, program coordinator and professor for global business management, international marketing and marketing management, gave three reasons why students are attending the conference.

“It covers an enormous range in what’s going on in social media in business, marketing and selling,” said Gifford. “It’s brought together some of the worlds best leaders in the field, which is rapidly changing, so our students need to be on top of it.”

Gifford added that it is also a great opportunity for networking.

“It builds student networks with who is important in the field of social media and helps in terms of finding internships and jobs.”

Gifford said it’s incredbily important for students to meet recent graduates who now working in the field.

“They’re meeting recent grads and alumni who have done very well using social media with their organizations and that gives them successful role models,” said Gifford.

Coccia said she has been using social media to promote the event through Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

“It’s been through the power of network that we’ve been able to secure some of our speakers,” said Coccia. “I control Twitter and I tweeted Erin Richards and it was great because she replied and is really interactive with us.”

Gifford explained that social media is at a transition point where it is being used by businesses to make money. He called it business media or commercial media.

“Marketers and sellers are now selling and marketing more of their products through social media,” said Gifford. “Social media is producing big data through which sales and marketing people can sell and market better and faster to a broader number of customers.”

“It’s more powerful than website and direct mail. It’s the thing to know and understand,” said Gifford.

The event starts at 1 p.m. and lasts until 7 p.m., followed by a cocktail reception.  The conference is open to the public and those interested in attending can register online for no fee.