The South East Digital Picnic took place at Wells House and Gardens and drew people in from all across Ireland with some special guest speakers from overseas, all to unlock their digital potential through talks and workshops on social media and digital marketing.
Organised by Sarah-Jane Vincent of Miss Content Creative, which is based at the Hatch Lab in Gorey, it was a sell-out event which saw a larger than life-sized robot roaming around the grounds in Ballyedmond.
'For the first year doing the digital picnic, it has been a stand out event. We were trending all week on Twitter in the run up and the feedback has been that the attendees got lots of value. Both the speakers and guests were enjoying everything, and there was a chilled atmosphere as it was very interactive,' said Sarah-Jane.
Altogether there were nine speakers, providing interactive talks on building a digital marketing strategy, data metrics, search engine optimisation (SEO), business content, building relationships with influencers, LinkedIn and Twitter.
The two workshops were how to make online video content on mobile with Amanda Webb, and Instagram for business with Suzan Aktug.
'The highlight for me was seeing everyone looking up on stage being really engaged with the speakers, there were no dull moments,' said Sarah-Jane.
'These were top class speakers, it was great that I could utilise my network and bring them here to Wexford. The people enjoyed the whole picnic vibe and the green open space. Rather than soggy sandwiches, attendees enjoyed detox juices, rainbow fruit platters and had a barbecue, it was something a bit different,' she said.
Sarah-Jane explained that from her experience, other digital marketing conferences can be generic, and aimed at the wrong audience.
'It was important for me to pull together all the finer detail and get this right for the correct audience. A lot of the conferences in Dublin are aimed at marketers, but they're not the ones that need the help. It's the SMEs and the start-ups that need the help, but they may not have the budget so I think this conference has made them aware of what they can and can't do with their budget,' she said.
'I took a gamble with going high end with the content for the conference, more intermediate and advanced. I felt there was no need for me to put on a conference with beginners, there's other services out there for that,' she said.
The Amber Springs hotel hosted an after-party for the event and speakers also met beforehand to gel together, which Sarah-Jane said was a great help.
Chief Executive Officer of The Hatch Lab John O'Connor explained that the most important aspect of the event was peer-learning.
'These were social media people, who are already in the field and have their digital marketing or social media business. They were engaging in peer to peer learning on how they can improve on their approach, and it's on another level,' he said.
'It's lovely to see something as big as that on the up in rural Ireland as normally these events at this level are Dublin based, I'm quite proud, it's another success story from the Hatch Lab in Sarah-Jane. It was hugely important for us to support this event as we are trying to encourage businesses like this to grow and develop. People that are travelling up and down to Dublin, they're going to realise that they don't need to do that, once they see this stuff happening in the area,' he said.
'People can have a fear that they won't get similar types of jobs in Wexford, but they are here and the talent is here. Some people don't seem to realise that they are one of many driving to Dublin, they're not alone. This event shows that,' he said.
Sarah-Jane said that with the great support she has had from sponsors coming on board, that there are already plans looking ahead to next year.
'LEO Wexford have been absolutely phenomenal in their help with this as have Wexford County Council and Invest Wexford to name but a few. Failte Ireland have already been in touch, they absolutely love the idea and are interested in turning it in to a two day festival next year so it has just been a huge success,' she said.