Social Media Camp co-founder Chris Burdge holds today’s primary messaging device.

Social Media Camp co-founder Chris Burdge holds today’s primary messaging device.

Social media experts, newbies flock to Victoria

Attendees of three-day ‘camp’ learn best ways to get messages out there

Businesses need to be social-media savvy in order to avoid becoming obsolete.

That’s the advice from organizer Chris Burdge to the hundreds expected to attend the fourth annual Social Media Camp, starting Monday (May 6) at the Victoria Conference Centre.

The three-day event attracts online gurus, and curious business owners from across Canada who hope to learn just what makes online platforms so powerful.

“When we first put on the event we really didn’t know what to expect,” said Burdge, camp co-founder and owner of social media consulting firm bWest Interactive.

It turned out the local appetite to learn more was strong, as more than 450 people showed up for the initial conference.

Burdge expects at least 600 attendees this year. They’ll hear the likes of keynote speaker Mari Smith, who recently ranked fourth on Forbes Magazine’s top 50 social media power influencers, and marketing pro and author C.C. Chapman.

“Social Media Camp appeals to a pretty broad audience,” Burdge said. “We created sessions that appeal to different levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced. And this year we’ve got sessions directly targeted to human resources professionals to look at recruiting, hiring and the legal aspects of using social media in the workplace.”

The camp also features social media streams for government, small business, non-profit organizations and general marketing.

A highlight of the event is the 2013 Social Media Awards, hosted by TV tech geek Steve Dotto on Tuesday night. Among the award categories are excellence in engagement, excellence in customer service and best personal blog.

For more information or to buy tickets, visit socialmediacamp.ca.

dpalmer@vicnews.com