By Annabel Fidler, graduate student


A few days before spring break, I attended Social Media Week Austin, held by Best Practice Media. In its second year, the groundbreaking media industry conference included innovative professionals/leaders in digital marketing and social media promotions. Not only were there speakers from prominent companies such as Dell, Texas Monthly, and Bumble, the conference also offered mentorship sessions to help get that one-on-one discussion with these professionals.

One of the panels, “Create a Client Attraction Machine with Facebook Live and Messenger Bots” with Molly Mahoney, explained the advantages of using Facebook Live and bots to reach massive online audiences. She brought great enthusiasm and tips for utilizing the social media platform Facebook to reach audiences and using the various marketing settings that Facebook has to offer, for example, bots!

Mahoney mentioned that when marketers are trying to use social media, it can be challenging to respond to every person that messages them, so her solution was showcasing how bots can be used to respond to every person that connects and also to lead consumers in the desired direction of the marketer’s product or service. She also was able to give a shout out to the Texas State University Fundamentals of Digital and Online Media class about Facebook.

This conference had speakers such as Brandy Pham, who brought insight to using Instagram strategies and using all of the features as advantages in reaching the desired target audience. She mentioned at the beginning of her panel “I had a baby….and built PLANOLY out of my personal need.” Her journey to being a serial entrepreneur who has several businesses in multiple industries, an established personal jewelry company and her company Planoly, which is planning software for brands and influencers on Instagram, simply started from a personal life decision that she was able to create using social media.

Brandy explained how the various aspects of Instagram allow someone to reach many people for brand recognition and consumer outreach. For example, she mentions 300MM use Instagram stories, more influencers are using Instagram as their platform, 60% of users find new products on Instagram and about 75% of Instagram users take action from promotions. For digital marketers looking for strategies to reach their target audience, Brandy gave a great presentation on utilizing Instagram as one of the tools to reach consumers.


It was a crucial and eye-opening experience that has only helped me in my growth in the digital industry and career progress.


This conference had many great people to hear and connect with the Texas community. As a Texas State University graduate student, I was able to network with other digital professionals who spoke and attended the conference. It was a crucial and eye-opening experience that has only helped me in my growth in the digital industry and career progress. It was not only a great conference to get me ready for the SXSW but a chance for me to sit and talk with professionals that otherwise, I would not get the chance to meet. I hope to attend the conference again to meet more digital innovators and encourage other Texas State University students to explore and attend conferences that further career paths.

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