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VOL. 125 | NO. 83 | Thursday, April 29, 2010

Businesses to Learn Social Media Voice at Approaching Conference

By Eric Smith

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“Powering the Conversation: How Social Media Gives Big Businesses a Big Voice,”

Social media discussion featuring guru Chris Brogan May 6 at The Peabody hotel from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

One could argue that the number of followers defines a successful Twitter account and that the number of friends defines a successful Facebook account.

But the true measure of success for any social media format – especially in the business world – is the quality, not the quantity, of relationships created.

In other words, if a company is able to foster an important networking opportunity through a 140-character message, or if a business’ timely message yields a new customer, then the medium has more than served its purpose.

Helping companies large and small use tools such as Twitter and Facebook for results like these is the goal of “Powering the Conversation: How Social Media Gives Big Businesses a Big Voice,” a social media discussion set for May 6 at The Peabody hotel from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

A trio of companies, including The Daily News, is bringing social media consultant Chris Brogan to Memphis with hopes of teaching local businesses how to find their own niche on the social media platforms that have revolutionized 21st century communication.

FedEx, Howell Marketing Strategies LLC, Crye-Leike Realtors Judy and Mickey McLellan, Pinnacle Airlines, Vanick Group, Memphis Social Media Club and The Peabody are sponsoring the event.

The idea came from Howell Marketing principal Amy Howell, who wanted Memphians to learn firsthand about the value of social media from Brogan, who has been using it along with Web and mobile technologies to build relationships for businesses, organizations and individuals for more than a decade.

The president of social media agency New Marketing Labs, Brogan also runs the Inbound Marketing Summit events

with CrossTech Media and is cofounder of the PodCamp new media conference series.

Brogan is co-author of The New York Times bestseller “Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation and Earn Trust” and “Social Media 101.”

His website, www.chrisbrogan.com, which features blogs and a variety of articles, is ranked in the top five blogs in Advertising Age’s Power150 and in the top 100 on Technorati.

And at last count, his Twitter account, @chrisbrogran, has more than 134,000 followers.

Brogan’s social media savvy is attracting business professionals, most notably “social chief marketing officers,” from across the continent to hear him discuss the latest ways for companies to use social media to their advantage.

Some of the attendees are part of a “Social CMO” group, a collection of social media chief marketing executives who also will participate in a roundtable following the conference.

They submitted comments for this article about the reasons they chose to travel to Memphis for the event.

Deborah Weinstein, president of Toronto-based Strategic Objectives, wrote in an e-mail that the May 6 conference “will be the first time most of us have met each other beyond the virtual borders of Twitter and e-mail, and I am excited and

enthused by the prospect of meeting and communing with so many like-minded, leading-edge communication industry leaders.

“The trip from Canada will certainly be well worth it from both a friendship and business-building point of view.”

Mark Schaefer, executive director of Knoxville-based Schaefer Marketing Solutions, wrote, “I’m driving from Knoxville to Indianapolis for a speaking engagement by way of Memphis just so I can see these folks.

“I’m not sure I would normally drive that far out of my way to see one of my own relatives, but the opportunity to meet this group – who I have come to adore through Twitter – was too irresistible.”

Jeremy Victor, founder of Philadelphia-based Make Good Media, wrote, “marketing has evolved, it’s time you do to. I’m heading to Memphis to meet my new friends (and business partners) to continue our story of TheSocialCMO case study.”

And Anne Deeter Gallaher, owner and CEO of Mechanicsburg, Pa.-based The Deeter Gallaher Group, wrote, “We have successfully taken our Twitter introductions and leveraged them into new business relationships, partnerships and now a social media conference.

“I look forward to Amy’s continued leadership in the global PR/marketing field and am happy to support and benefit from her energy and expertise.”

As for Brogan, he recently told The Daily News that social media can have a profound impact on the business world, empowering companies of all sizes to thrive in any marketplace and against any competitor.

“These tools are powerful and important for the listening aspects alone,” Brogan said. “Beyond that, social media tools allow for connecting and publishing. In connecting, businesses can grow their fan base, their community and, ultimately, their buying crowd. Publishing allows businesses to tell their own stories their own ways, without waiting for permission.”

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