The History of How We Became Rocks Digital

Rocks Digital Got Its Start from the Local Social and DFW Rocks Social Media Day

In 2010 Mashable declared June 30th Social Media Day! Shortly thereafter, the city of Victoria, Canada officially also declared their Social Media Day as June 30th! Cities and even countries across the globe have joined in the celebration by having educational events, meetups and tweetups!

Now is the time for you to JOIN us, so come CELEBRATE with us and LEARN!

For background …

The Rocks Digital Marketing Conference was created when the organizers of two separate conferences – The Local Social and The DFW Rocks Social Media Day – decided to bring them together into one amazing event.

Lissa Duty and Bernadette Coleman, at DFW Rocks Social Media 2014Lissa Duty has coached countless business owners and digital marketers in private sessions and in group trainings, how to leverage social networking platforms for branding. Ever since she discovered her natural talent for understanding and using social media in 2009, she has spent almost every waking hour talking, teaching, coaching and designing and implementing successful social media campaigns! She spends many of her days as the Director of Strategic Initiatives for a technology company and her nights being super mom to her daughter, Madison. In her spare time, you can find her “geeking” out on her latest new gadget or watching Star Trek reruns on Netflix.

Bernadette Coleman, CEO of Advice Interactive Group, is the #QueenofLocalSEO and she spends every waking hour running her 3x award-winning Inc 500 company, researching, writing and educating others on digital marketing, so that business owners, digital marketers and enterprise corporations can stay on the forefront of the industry. Bernadette is passionate about giving and after her son, Michael, was in a car wreck and suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), she founded TryMunity, an online social community for survivors and supporters of TBI to share stories, ideas, suggestions, and words of encouragement.
So begins the history …

DFW Rocks Social Media Day 2012

DFW Rocks Social Media 2012In 2012, Lissa Duty started DFW Rocks Social Media Day after she noticed that Social Media Day was not being given the honor it deserves in Dallas, TX (DFW)! So, she organized the 1st annual DFW Rocks Social Media Day Conference. There were 100+ attendees and 9 speakers who all shared over 7 hours of important social media knowledge and information. Her instincts were confirmed at the conference that this type of learning environment was not only important and needed, but valued by everyone in attendance.
It was a pleasure to not only have social media newbies, experienced social media professionals and marketing managers in the audience, but also the small business owners, which in their own rights were authorities in their niches. This collaborative environment was inspiring. Every person in the room, not just the speakers, but the attendees as well, added important value and information which they shared with each other during the breaks, lunches and conversations that took place throughout the day.

Lissa is my go-to girl for all things in the Twitter-sphere! She and her colleagues who are part of the DFW Rocks Social Media Day are always a great source for keeping up-to-date on an ever-changing business. I will be there again to see what’s new! ~Carolyn Clark, Rising Point Solutions

Lissa packed the house with experts, great speakers and enthusiastic learners. I can’t wait for the next one, and I’m so thrilled that Renee Groskreutz of Fun City Social Media has been invited for 2013. I got to meet some incredible people like Tonie Boaman, Patty Farmer, and hear from J.R. Atkins, Fred Campos and Andrea Vahl. Is it time yet?? ~ Andi Reis, Fun City Social Media

While we didn’t have live bloggers in 2012, we do have a DFW Rocks Social Media Day Conference wrap-up for you and a few photo highlights available.

2nd Annual DFW Rocks Social Media Day Conference 2013

Again, in 2013, Lissa brought together so many speakers in the industry generously volunteered their time and expertise to make for a DFW Rocks Social Media Day conference that would be remembered throughout the year. The experts included: J.R. Atkins, Lori Barber, Jeff Brady, Kate Buck Jr., David Leonnig, Lissa Duty, Elysa Ellis, Chris Forbes, Patty Farmer, Renee Groskreutz, Nico Martini, Elizabeth McCormick, Rani Monson, Debbie Mrazek, John J. Nosal, Eddie Reeves, Cynthia Sanchez, Johnny Tan, Doug Vermeeren and A.J. Wood.

On the 1st day of the DFW Rocks Social Media Conference, Saturday, June 29, 2013, with 120+ attendees on this day the enthusiasm for learning was high. Each attendee arrived early and claimed their seat in the 9:00 am sessions. This day featured 10 Break-Out Sessions for the attendees to choose from. We had a special bonus speaker, Doug Vermeeren, Maximum Results, travel all the way from Canada to present a special 50 minute session for those that opted to take a 1 hour lunch. The after-event Book Signing with the Author Speakers / Happy Hour finished out the day.


Again, in 2013, Lissa brought together an amazing array of speakers who generously volunteered their time and expertise to make for a DFW Rocks Social Media Day conference that would be remembered throughout the year. The experts in 2013 included: J.R. Atkins, Lori Barber, Jeff Brady, Kate Buck Jr., David Leonnig, Lissa Duty, Elysa Ellis, Chris Forbes, Patty Farmer, Renee Groskreutz, Nico Martini, Elizabeth McCormick, Rani Monson, Debbie Mrazek, John J. Nosal, Eddie Reeves, Cynthia Sanchez, Johnny Tan, Doug Vermeeren and A.J. Wood.

The learning, networking, relationships and mingling that took place at this two-day social media conference was inspirational, motivational and quite valuable for the conference attendees.

Just like the 2012 conference, the 2013 conference left the attendees hungering for more. Lissa’s mission to continue the great learning for the 2012 and 2013 attendees continued through the year with the DFW Rocks Social Media Workshop Series, which featured three workshops that went in-depth on Crafting a Social Media Plan and Implementation Strategy, Sales Mastery Workshop, and Intro Blogging for Business and Why it Matters, with the trainers being Lissa Duty, Debbie Mrazek and Renee Groskreutz.

#DFWSMDay2012 was so educational and fun! The friendships & tips continue to grow from this single event — I can say our business has grown by OVER 15% from this WONDERFUL Event. I attended #DFWRocks2013 too and Lissa pulled off another awesome Social Media Day celebration. Make sure you set aside June 30th every year for DFW Rocks Social Media Day as I have! ~ Tonie Boaman, DashNotary

I attended the DFW Rocks Social Media 2012 and 2013. All the speakers were very informative and I walked away with very valuable information and tips on different social media plattforms. This is one day you need to mark on your calendars. Whether you are new or seasoned in social media, you will walk away with helpful tips from individuals who are the best in their fields of social media. ~ Nikki Bassham, Graphic Artist

Read the 2013 blog highlights. View the photo highlights.

3rd Annual DFW Rocks Social Media Day Conference 2014

The 3rd annual conference was designed in a format to give the important and essential information to help digital marketers, brand managers, business owners and social media marketers with everything they needed to succeed both online and offline throughout the following year.

DFW Rocks Social Media Day Conference 2014

In 2014, Some of the speakers were: Amy Howell, Shelly Kramerand Neal SchafferOther expert speakers included Lori Barber, Tony Cecala, Bernadette Coleman, Melissa Cowser, Patrick Dougher, Lissa Duty, Elysa Ellis, Patty Farmer, Tim Gillette, Susan Hamilton, Stephanie Inge, David Kirkpatrick, Jeff Klein, Steve Kuntz, Gary Leland, Dean Lindsay, Rani Monson, Robin Moss, John Nosal, Ana Lucia Novak, Mason Pelt, Sandra Dee Robinson, Jessica Rector, Aida Rojas, Brian Sullivan, Terry Sullivan, Eric Tung, A.J. Wood, Joe Youngblood, and Mark Zamora.

As with the 2013 and 2014 conference, we had LIVE bloggers and LIVE tweeters sharing blow by blow action of what was happening. The hashtag actually streamed on Twitter and others from around the world who couldn’t attend in person, participated via the blogs and tweets.

At the end of the second day of the conference, June 30, 2014 – Social Media Day, Lissa Duty and the conference were host to Mashable’s Social Media Tweetup again this year. The Tweetup resumed (there was a startup event at the beginning of the day) right after the conference ended at The Social House in Addison, just a few blocks away.

As the 2014 conference was closing, Lissa and Bernadette Coleman made the announcement that beginning in 2015 the DFW Rocks Social Media Day Conference and the Local Social would be merged into one amazing event and the Rocks Digital Marketing Conference!

Whew! What a weekend at Lissa Duty’s DFW Rocks Social Media! Lots of great information on how I can get the word out about the work I love to do! It’s the only time it’s ok to be on smart phones, tablets or laptops while someone is talking~ Tifany Henderson, Yoga Instructor and Bookkeeper

WOW! What an information packed, head spinning, hand cramping overwhelming awe of all the great information that was shared and learned. I hope eveyrone will implement just one of the hundreds of tips, tricks, shortcuts given at DFW Rocks Social Media Day! I have already implemented two! Thank you so much Lissa and John and everyone involved with offering this conference. It truly was outstanding! ~ Kris O’Connor, A1 Affordable Garage Door Services

A conference well worth traveling for from California and I’m looking forward to it being bigger, better and more international next year too. I definitely got a pile of great tips for my social media marketing, videos, blogging, SEO and so much more that I put my team to work on some of it as soon as I got home! The speakers all delivered great content, not just a bunch of fluff and I’m looking forward to being one of the speakers myself soon too! ~ Katrina Sawa, Jumpstart Your Marketing

Read the 2014 blog highlights. View the photo highlights.

The Local Social 2013

In 2013, Bernadette Colman wanted to make a bigger difference for TBI survivors and thought what better way to do it than by using her experience, knowledge and connections to plan a digital marketing event that would bring together the local community and raise money for the charity at the same time. The Local Social was born.


The 2013 Local Social was a grassroots networking collaboration of local marketing organizations, well-known thought-leaders and industry leaders brought together to discuss search, content and social tactics. It was also an open forum for sharing questions and ideas that could help businesses. Attendees gathered at TPC in Craig Ranch for an afternoon of learning, education, and lunch.

The Local Social 2014

The second annual Local Social event returned in 2014 with a panel of national and local speakers to share their professional social and search expertise. Moderated by Lissa Duty and Rob Garner. Bernadette Coleman, CEO of Advice Interactive Group, was host to the annual event. Four keynote addresses included a TBI survivor sharing his personal story, Mike Grehan adding his brand of humor on digital marketing, Daniel Wu and his team from Baidu/Gridsum flew in from China to share about the digital marketing landscape, and Larry Kim shared important items related directly to Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC).

Bernadette-Coleman-Lissa-Duty-Local-Social-2014Just as they had done at the closing of the DFW Rocks Social Media Conference, Bernadette invited Lissa to the stage to announce the merging of their two national conferences to the Local Social attendees. These two women are dedicated to the digital marketing industry and plan to continue to form many alliances in order to evangelize their passion.

Bernadette and Lissa closed out their announcement at the Local Social by saying “We ROCK Content, Search, Social and Local. And together the Rocks Digital Marketing Conference will be bigger and better than ever.”

I thoroughly enjoyed The Local Social one day event.  To be honest I was unsure going into it how much I would get out of it. Well, it ended up being the most rewarding one day technology event that I can remember – and I didn’t even win any prizes! I enjoyed the candid discussions, insights and experiences of the local and national panels and then, last but not least, enjoyed the afternoon keynote by Larry Kim. The event covered all of the major technology areas that I deal with while being entertaining at the same time.  Thanks to everyone who made it possible – and for the good lunch as well.  Looking forward to your next event. ~ Ken Butler, Butler Information Technologies, Inc.

Good day yesterday in Dallas speaking at the Local Social about Digital Marketing and convergence of SEO, social, media buying and content. Thanks Bernadette Coleman, Jerod Morris, Larry Kim, Pamela Parker, and Mike Grehan. ~Loren Baker, founder of Search Engine Journal

Read the 2014 blog highlights. View the photo highlights.

The 2015 Rocks Digital Marketing Conference

Martin Shervington, Keynote SpeakerThe 2015 Rocks Digital Marketing Conference was the first year to combine both the DFW Rocks Social Media Conference and the Local Social. This 4th Annual Social Media Day celebration included a series of pre-conference workshops on the first day. The incredibly positive feedback let us know that attendees wanted this format to continue. The second day was the Social Media Day conference and included local, national and international speakers.

The breakout sessions were divided into tracks by topic and they focused on Local SEO and Search, Social Media, Mobile & Web, Branding & Marketing and Business Development. Two of the tracks hosted the Geek Chat (a techy session with a panel of experts) and the Women Leading in Local Panel which was hosted by BIA Kelsey.

Other sessions included:

  • A Special Welcome: Creating a Cohesive Digital Marketing Strategy by Eric T. Tung
  • Opening Keynote: Loren Baker, Founder of Search Engine Journal
  • Rock Talks – 5 High-Energy Big Impact Presentations with experts Candy Barone, Bernadette Coleman, Lissa Duty, Jerod Morris and Joe Youngblood
  • Reputation Management with Special Guest Speaker, Chris Silver Smith
  • The Rocks Digital Marketing Q & A Panel
  • Closing Keynote speaker Martin Shervington, Founder of Plus Your Business

As is the tradition with the annual Social Media Day celebration, the 2015 conference was immediately followed by a special After-Event: Mashable’s Social Media Day Tweetup which included a Speaker-Author book signing.

Rocks Digital continues to be one of the most well-executed, energizing conferences I have attended. Wonderful networking matched by great speakers and panelists and the keynotes delivered practical knowledge that I can implement in my everyday work life. Rocks Digital is a ‘must-attend’ event for any entrepreneur, business owner or digital marketer. ~ Harrison Blum, Z Interactive

Read the 2015 blog highlights. View the photo highlights.

The Local, Search and Social Summit 2015

Bernadete Coleman, Local Search and Social Summit 2015The Local, Search and Social Summit held on October 1, 2015 brought in a packed house with over 130 registered. The daylong conference was uniquely focused on SMBs and their digital marketing strategies.

Session topics included:

  • How to Dominate Local Search Online
  • Get Your Business Online: Google My Business Workshop Sponsored by Google
  • Social Media Planning Session
  • Website Best Practices & Content Planning Presentation
  • Why Our Biggest Opportunity is The Smallest Moments

Attendees also had the opportunity to sign up for free on-site online visibility appointments and these were a huge hit among the attendees!

The Local, Search and Summit was a success and we look forward to bringing it and more events like it to SMBs around the United States.

Read the 2015 blog highlights. View the photo highlights.

The 2016 Rocks Digital Marketing Conference

Glimpse into the 2016 Rocks Digital Marketing ConferenceThe annual Rocks Digital Marketing Conference continued its tradition of helpful workshops, great speakers, and Social Media Day fun in 2016! After a first day filled with workshops, the second day included the conference’s 5th Annual Social Media Day celebration. The speakers brought info on how to be found by an audience in a number of ways, plus got everyone up-to-date on the latest in technology and algorithms. This year the conference added a full day dedicated to local search, with sessions all geared toward how to get a business found.

The breakout sessions were once again divided into tracks by topic and focused on Social Media, Mobile & Web, Branding and Business Development, and Local Search and SEO. The Geek Chat made a return due to popular demand, and there was a panel centered around the hot topic of Podcasting.

Other sessions included:

  • Social Media Day’s Opening Keynote was Barry Schwartz, CEO of RustyBrick and Founder of Search Engine Roundtable
  • Rock Talks – This year included experts Lance Bachmann, Patty Farmer, Elayna Fernandez, Eve Mayer, and Mark Traphagen
  • The Rocks Digital Marketing Q & A Panel returned with moderator Lissa Duty
  • Closing Keynote speaker for Social Media Day was Eric Enge, CEO of Stone Temple Consulting
  • The first Local Search Day opened with Keynote speaker Greg Sterling, V.P. of Local Search Association
  • We had two Local Search Day panels, one that focused on SMBs and the other on brand strategies. Both were moderated by Bernadette Coleman, the #QueenofLocalSEO
  • A special local search presentation was given by Bill Leake of Apogee Results
  • Local Search Day was rounded out with a closing Keynote by Andrew Shotland discussing his results from “Reverse Engineering Google’s Algorithm”

One of the best-run conferences that just gets better every year. I’ve been attending Rocks Digital for several years now, and have made it one of my top priorities to attend. Year over year, the quality of speakers/sessions has been consistently high, but still managed to improve each time. From the people you meet and connections you form, to the things you learn and the new ideas sparked from it, RocksDigital has been a consistently high-value experience.

Whether you run a business that might be able to benefit or you are yourself a professional in the SEO/social/digital media space, you owe it to yourself and your organization to be there  ~ Kent Pilkington, ThinkByDesign, Inc.

Sir Earl Toon performs at Rocks Digital Marketing ConferenceAs is the tradition with the annual Social Media Day celebration, the 2016 conference was immediately followed by a special After-Event: Mashable’s Social Media Day Tweetup on June 30, and a first this year, a concert featuring Sir Earl Toon of Kool & the Gang. He ROCKED the crowd into the evening.

Read the 2016 LIVE blog highlights.

The 2017 Rocks Digital Marketing Conference

Why would someone travel all the way from The Netherlands and Pakistan to Dallas, Texas? For the Rocks Digital Marketing Conference of course! We ROCKED (literally) with Sir Earl Toon after a full day of rollin’ with speakers on June 29 (Local Search Day), breakout sessions and attendee networking!

Rocks Digital Marketing Conference Attendees

This special annual Local Search and Social Media Day conference was packed with information on digital marketing tips and tricks – and the success stories that got everyone excited to get started and put everything they learned to good use in their own digital marketing efforts.

We took a different approach on June 30 (Social Media Day) and had 1-hour workshops throughout the day for attendees to choose from. Each speaker was tasked with providing hands-on education. Attendees walked away with strategies, handouts and next steps.

Read all about what happened at the 2017 Rocks Digital Marketing Conference in this summary – access the live blogs, tour the photo highlights, meet all the speakers.

The 2018 Rocks Digital Marketing Conference

This year’s Rocks Digital Marketing Conference was like getting two conferences in one! It started off with a celebration of Local Search Day on Friday, June 29. Speakers and presentations focused on Local Search tips and education designed to help local businesses attract more customers and ultimately, attract more revenue to their businesses.

Rocks Digital 2018

This full day ended with… a trip to Vegas! Well, it looked like Vegas. Sponsor 1SEO Digital Agency helped make our fun casino night possible. The Las Vegas themed after-party included popular attractions like Blackjack, Texas Hold ’Em, Roulette, dancing and more!

Rocks Digital 2018

On Saturday June 30, we all participated in the annual Social Media Day celebration with even more speakers and presentations designed to give attendees the knowledge and tools to ramp up their social media marketing efforts.

With 35+ speakers and sessions that spanned the two days, to simply describe it as “action-packed” doesn’t quite do it justice. Find out for yourself – access the live blogs and meet all the speakers. Don’t forget to stop by and tour the photo highlights too.

The 2019 Rocks Digital Marketing Conference

We mixed it up this year and celebrated Local Search Day and Social Media Day on June 30. With all the attendees gathered together, you can bet the creativity and stimuli just flowed.

Rocks Digital 2019 started the day off with a keynote panel of 3 speakers debating all things Facebook: Heather Nichols, Nicole Wright and Cameron Gawley. WIth Giovanni Gallucci as moderator, you can trust us when we say the panelists didn’t get off easy! He posed some challenging questions and guaranteed nothing was left unsaid. But the learning didn’t stop there – Rachel Chang absolutely brought it with her talk on how to create LinkedIn video. From there, we went right into Rocks Talks where Abhi Vyas, Justin Liles and Joe Youngblood tackled voice search, bad data and local search success.

After lunch, attendees dived right into how to leverage their email list to get more customers with the always spectacular Patty Farmer. And the ever-popular Local Search day panel moderated by none other than the #QueenofLocalSEO, Bernadette Coleman, included Jerry Campbell (7-Eleven), David Hunter (dba Platform) and Chris Silver Smith. The panelists explored epic local strategies for businesses and brands, including Google My Business and reputation management.

In the afternoon Ryan Jones explored 10 Blue Links All Above the Fold, and Jason Hennessey shared action-packed insights on going from 0 to 50,000 in organic traffic. Naturally, we can’t have a conference without a closing keynote and Marty Weintraub, founder of Aimclear, did not disappoint. And just like every year, the day ended with everyone ROCKing out at the after-party sponsored by the always generous Advice Local.

Access all the live blogs and tour the photo highlights to take in for yourself what transpired at Rocks Digital 2019.

The 2020 Rocks Digital Marketing Conference

Wow! 2020 was quite a year – but we didn’t let social distancing get in the way of celebrating Social Media Day. Instead of gathering in person, the 2020 Rocks Digital Marketing Conference elected to support an online event hosted by Social Media Pro. After all, what better way to celebrate Social Media Day! Conference founder Lissa Duty shared with Kate Buck Jr. how it all started, and presented on Local and Social. While we don’t have photos or live bloggers this year, you can watch the replay of Lissa’s presentation.

Through the resources available online through multiple social media platforms, many conferences, meetings and other daily and annual events were able to continue on during the global pandemic. 2020 made everyone – not just social media companies – realize the power of social media and the positive impact it can have in our daily lives and our world. Not only could we stay in touch with our Rocks Digital attendees, we could all stay connected to business contacts as well as our loved ones. 2020 changed the way many of us work and live, and Social Media Day was a chance to celebrate the positives during a challenging time.

The 2021 Rocks Digital Marketing Conference

2021 found the world, including small businesses and marketing professionals, trying to get back to “normal” after 2020, which led the Rocks Digital Marketing Conference organizers to make some changes to their annual conference.

First, the conference registration fee was waived in lieu of a donation to a non-profit of the attendee’s choosing, and we ended up helping over 130 different charitable organizations including St. Jude’s, Alzheimer’s Association, cancer research, animal rescue organizations and many more!

Second, the conference was all online through Zoom, with 17 speakers giving 15 minutes Rocks Talks (think TEDx format) which included 3–5 action items attendees could start using in their marketing strategy immediately. There was a lot of great information, and attendees were able to ask each speaker questions through the chat feature after each presentation.

In the end, we were able to give marketers and small businesses the tools and information they need to improve their digital marketing efforts, learn from some excellent speakers, and help charities along the way. We plan to return to an in-person conference in 2022 as we celebrate our 10-year anniversary. We enjoyed the opportunity to do something different for 2021, and connect with attendees who just wouldn’t have been able to attend otherwise.

If you weren’t able to attend, be sure to check out the live blogs from the conference and explore some of the digital marketing tips, tools and tricks that were shared. You can access the complete 2021 Rocks Digital Marketing Conference highlights here – including viewing the names of the non-profit organizations we were able to vicariously support through our generous attendees.

Mark Your Calendars for Rocks Digital on June 30, 2022

It’s official – the 2022 Rocks Digital Marketing Conference will take place on June 30th in Addison, Texas. This is our 10-year anniversary so we are celebrating in a big way! Learn more now.

We’re back this year rocking digital in person while we also celebrate Social Media and Local Search Day. Join us in Addison at Venue Forty|50 where the conference is being held.

So make those travel plans, put the date on the office calendar and prepare your out-of-office message now. We’ll spend the day learning new tips, tricks and information from digital marketing and local search experts while networking and meeting new friends. And that’s not all – at night we have our popular after-party featuring music and fun.

Who should you invite to the conference? That would be anyone wanting to learn how to improve their digital marketing strategies – and today, that means anyone with a business. We look forward to seeing you there! Register now.



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