Kent State to Host Award-Winning YouToo Social Media Conference for Area Professionals, Students

Communications professionals will discuss the role of social media in public relations and marketing at the eighth annual YouToo Social Media Conference Friday, April 10, at Kent State University’s Franklin Hall.

The conference will take place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a networking reception to follow at the Kent State Hotel and Conference Center. Professionals in public relations, communication and marketing, along with students studying these disciplines, are encouraged to register, but anyone can attend. Conference registration ends April 6 or sooner if seats are sold out. The event is a fundraiser for the YouToo Social Media Scholarship.

The opening speaker is Mark W. Smith, the editor for mobile web at the Washington Post. Smith is an expert in social and digital media in journalism. He worked at USA TODAY as the senior manager for social media marketing and at the Detroit Free Press as the assistant editor for digital media. While in Detroit, Smith built the newspaper’s social platforms and wrote technology columns that appeared in most U.S. newspapers.

Smith says that “by studying user behavior — and what motivates people to share, comment and like — we can learn how to craft a social message that is designed to be shared.” He will talk about what the rise in mobile web use means for those who create social experiences and how communicators can create a social experience that is built to be shared.

Gini Dietrich, the founder and CEO of integrated marketing communications firm Arment Dietrich, will be the keynote speaker at the conference. Dietrich is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, lead blogger at Spin Sucks and founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

She will address topics like how to communicate honestly, responsibly, openly and authentically with all client stakeholders; working with customers who control your brand; and understanding how the digital world affects public relations.

“We live in a world where content farms, Internet spiders and fake accounts have the potential to ruin one’s experience online,” Dietrich says. “But, just like the Justice League, we prefer to fight evil with good. And that’s exactly what my book, Spin Sucks, teaches you.”

Professional conference attendees will receive a complimentary copy of Dietrich’s book, Spin Sucks: Communication and Reputation Management in the Digital Age with paid admission. Dietrich will sign books immediately following her discussion.

Students will also have the opportunity to connect with public relations professionals during the student breakout sessions and at the post-conference happy hour event at the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center. Students need to register by Wednesday, April 1, and arrive before 8:30 a.m. on the day of the conference to connect with their mentor.

The conference is hosted by the Akron Area Chapter of Public Relations Society of America and the Kent State University Chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America.

Sponsors of the conference include Kent State University’s College of Communication and Information, Robert J. Events and Catering, Star Printing, Kent State University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, AKHIA, True Digital Communications, Evolve, Northeast Ohio Medical University, Triad/Next Level, FedEx Custom Critical, Regional Marketing Alliance, ADM Board, McKay Bricker Framing/Black Squirrel Gallery and Gifts, Akron Children’s Hospital, The Buzz Maker! LLC, InfoCision, Marcus Thomas LLC and Kent State University’s School of Communication Studies.

Conference proceeds support the YouToo Scholarship Fund, the Kent State University PRSSA Chapter and the Akron Area PRSA Chapter.

For more information about registration, conference pricing and updates, visit Find YouToo on Facebook,Twitter or via email at 

POSTED: Friday, April 3, 2015 - 12:00am
UPDATED: Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - 11:34am