Welcome and Awards — Live from Member Meeting 31

Coverage of this session by Laura Berrones of SocialMedia.org. Connect with her by following her on Twitter.

12:30 — SocialMedia.org's Kurt Vanderah and Andy Sernovitz kick off SocialMedia.org Member Meeting: How Big Brands Use Social Media.

12:31 — Kurt: We’ve got a great day on tap. We're all going to learn a bunch from some of the brightest minds in corporate social media. And you’re going to meet the most fascinating people in corporate social media.

They’re people just like you, with jobs like yours, and problems like yours, at companies like yours.

There's a new format for today's event, so we want to take some time to let you know what's going on, to welcome everyone, to share some big ideas, and lots of good news.

12:32 — Kurt: Good news:

  1. We're going to cover everything you need to know now, over lunch — instead of the usual food-less introduction session.
  2. We invited everyone to lunch, so we get all this out of the way and more people get good food.
  3. There will be plenty of time to talk and meet people after these remarks before the first case study
  4. They're setting up dessert as we speak, and who doesn't love dessert?

Welcome to SocialMedia.org Member Meeting 31!

Kurt: We have 290 registrants from more than 175 big brands here today, which is just amazing. When we say “big brands,” we mean companies with a billion dollars in revenue and 4k or more employees. So when we say, “people like you,” we really mean it.

12:33 — Kurt: I hope you noticed that today, there aren't any sponsors here. Not only that, there are no agencies, no vendors, no consultants, or no small businesses in the audience either.

No tabletops as you walk in, nobody asking you to sign up for a giveaway, no reason to have to hide your name tag from a salesperson.

This is a 100% Brands-Only safe space.

Look around, because you've never been in a room with so many great brands and so many great people like you.

And that's what it's always like at SocialMedia.org. 31 Member Meetings in a row, and every day on our calls and our discussions.

Everyone in this room gets what you're dealing with and speaks your language. And everyone is ready to learn and share with each another.

12:34 — Kurt introduces SocialMedia.org CEO Andy Sernovitz.

Andy: Why are we here? We are here:

  • Because you have a weird job
  • Because only someone who has your exact same weird job can help you with certain things
  • Because you need a community of people like you who’ve got your back

That is a wonderful thing to do and a fantastic career — It's also hard as hell:

  • Rules change every day. Boss' daughter's friend reads an article in Mashable, Facebook moves pages around…
  • You're always on call. Any disgruntled goofball tweets or comments and you gotta drop everything… because they own your day
  • The people who can help you also want to sell you something. Agencies, tech companies, consultants — they're GREAT, and smart — but in the end their advice is tied to what they want you to buy.
  • It’s sort of lonely… you're the only one who does what you do. All these internal challenges, and you're the one who has to figure it out with lots of internal pressure, and not a lot of internal allies

12:35 — Andy: Because, worst of all — all eyes are on you. The company, the critics, the analysts, and the public are all watching. (You can't exactly practice tweeting, or Facebook, or Pinterest in private until you're great at it.)

So here's the big question: Who is looking out for you? Who helps you run an amazing program? Who helps you grow as a leader, and deal with the challenges of an ever-changing game?

We do — the 339 member companies, the 2000 people in SocialMedia.org.

The members of this organization are the most kind, and generous, (and gorgeous) group of folks I've ever had the privilege of working with.
They are here to help you win, and you're gonna help them win, in a spirit of fellowship that we just don't see elsewhere in the business world.

12:36 — Andy: Because the members of SocialMedia.org have been there, done that — and we get you. Whatever you need, you just ask and someone sends you the answer. Whatever crazy situation you're facing, someone in the group has solved it. And they help you immediately, without sending you a bill, because everyone in this group knows that you'll be there for them next time.

Thee's nothing quite like the confidence and credibility you get when someone challenges you and you can say, “I was just talking with 19 other Fortune 1000 brands, and they all agree that what I'm recommending is the best practice.” Or “I'm glad your consultant thinks that's right, but Hershey, Hilton, and Hewlett-Packard, and Home Depot do it my way.”

12:37 — Andy: And most of all, you're getting support from peers: People like you — who’ve got your back, people to talk to, people who get you (and what you’re going through), people who want you to succeed.

12:38 — Andy passes it back to Kurt: Today is just a warm-up. Don't mistake all the great content you see this afternoon for the real experience. Tomorrow the members will be in our private member meeting. No vendors, no agencies, just off the record deep conversation about Social Media Metrics and measuring ROI. In the afternoon, it's just us, having great conversations and helping each other on the topics picked by people in the room.

And we'll wrap up tomorrow with a private conversation with Gary Vaynerchuk.

Kurt: Today:

  • Brands Only
  • It's all shareable — so blog and tweet! #blogwell
  • We'll film and share all the sessions
  • We'll even have a live blog of the day at socialmedia.org/blog


  • Is also brands only, but this is private because for members-only
  • 100% off the record, which is where the great conversations REALLY happen
  • 100% confidential. What happens in the Council stays in the Council

12:39 — Kurt: So let's focus on today. All of our presenters you'll see today happen to be members of SocialMedia.org. These case studies offer up an astonishing amount of content

Big thanks to Johnson & Johnson, General Electric, Paychex, TD Ameritrade, Novartis, Michelin, Thomson Reuters, and Life Time Fitness. A powerhouse day

And they'll all talk with you by 5 o'clock. We better move fast.

12:40 — Kurt: Our first case studies are Johnson & Johnson talking about how they're using data to drive their social strategy. That'll be in this room, while General Electric will be down the hall talking about how BtoB can thrive using social media. They've had some big wins in unexpected places, and Rich will share those stories with us.

Paychex talks about how they promoted an external event by having employees rally around social media. That's in this room, while TD Ameritrade is leveraging social media to connect with fans.

Then it's our networking break in the hallway outside this room — 30 minutes to talk with one another, meet the speakers, nosh on great snacks

We'll all meet back here for the all-important Ethics and Disclosure lesson

Then, four more case studies. Novartis takes us behind the curtain, as Melissa talks about social innovation in an environment that doesn't always make that easy, while Michelin dives into its ambassador program, and the key role social media played to get people talking.

12:41 — Kurt: Then Thomson Reuters has an excellent case study on leveraging all their great brains, getting internal thought leaders to create content; while Life Time Fitness shares how they got all their team members in clubs across the country to fire up the company's overall social engagement.

We'll end at 4:59, on time as always.

Members – meet downstairs at 5:15 to head to our private member dinner. We've rented out a banquet hall in Chinatown, and we're going to have a blast. We'll have a bus that leaves at 5:15 sharp, and a couple of us will make the mile-long walk if you'd like to stretch your legs before our feast.

12:42 — Kurt hands it back over to Andy: So you know the logistics, but there's a bigger reason we're here.

We all know that social media is something more than marketing, something more than a business tool. Something that changes companies, and changes how those companies treat us. Something that makes companies more open, and honest, and transparent, and kind.

12:43 — Andy: As the person in charge of social media at a big company, you control a powerful voice that can do a world of good at a time when we need a lot of good in the world.

The megaphone is in your hands … and you can say “as the social executive in this company, I will stand for something greater. I will make a commitment to use what I have to do something meaningful.

Andy: There are three things I can do:

1. I will listen to our customers and I will advocate for them. I will respect what they have to say. And I will take what they want and need back to my company and find a way to make my company hear them.

2. I will support my company by helping them learn to use this powerful tool the right way and the fair way.

3. I will be a steward of this medium and keep it healthy and clean and fair, and I will not dilute it or pollute it, because it is not our marketing tool and it is not our advertising tool — and it-is-not ours.

12:44 — Andy: It is the home of a far greater and more important conversation and it is a privilege and an honor for us to get to play here. And we will respect it and protect it — and we will use it to make meaning and make a contribution.

You are a new kind of professional, a new community, a special group of Social Executives. Some of us work for enlightened companies who get it and support it and want to do it right, and some of us work for denser or dumber or more frustrating institutions.

But our role and our obligation are clear. To stand for something and teach something and do something right with this tool that we've been given the privilege to work with.

You are the one who's going to make it happen at your company, and there are so many of you ready to take this journey with us.

12:45 — Andy: We want to Welcome all our members to the Purple Council, our fifth and final Council. This is the official kickoff for them, and we're thrilled to have them. If you're here, please stand up and wave:

Freescale Semiconductor, Capital One, Career Education, Fairview Health Services, Gordon Food Service, Harman International, Hyatt Corporation, Meijer, Owens-Illinois, New Balance Athletic Shoe, Steelcase, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Public Service Enterprise Group, Rite Aid, PepsiCo, Motorola Mobility, Union Bank, P.F. Chang’s, Pearson Education, Eli Lilly, Rackspace Hosting, and Weight Watchers.

12:46 — Kurt: And that doesn't even count all the new members who have joined this year.

LexisNexis, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, Catamaran, Express Employment Professionals, Unum Group, CEMEX (SEM-mex), Adidas, Manulife Financial, Family Dollar Stores, Trend Micro, Monsanto, Nissan North America, WellPoint, RBS Citizens Financial Group, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, and Brown Shoe Company have all joined this year.

12:47 — Andy: Companies on their 2nd anniversary:
Ace Hardware, Best Buy, Bloomin' Brands, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Chesapeake Energy, Chubb Group, Farmers Insurance, Fiserv, Fortune Brands Home & Security, Hallmark, John Deere, Jostens, NBTY, Neiman Marcus, Reebok, Southern Company, Visa, Wells Fargo (Orange Council), Wendy's

12:48 — Kurt: 3rd anniversary companies include:
Corning, Enterprise Holdings, Express Scripts, Hospira, Iron Mountain, McGraw Hill Financial, Premier Farnell, Royal Bank Of Canada, Sonic Drive-In, U.S. Cellular, United Airlines, and Vanguard

12:49 — Andy: These companies have renewed four times now:
Cargill, Coldwell Banker Real Estate, DeVry University, Discovery Communications, EMC Corporation, Fidelity Investments, Hilton, Kellogg Company, Kraft Foods, Monster Worldwide, NVIDIA, REI, Rogers Communications, Sanofi (SAN-uh-fee) US, Scripps Networks, Solo Cup, T. Rowe Price, TD Bank Group, Texas Instruments, Thomson Reuters, W.L. Gore & Associates, Whirlpool Corporation, and Xerox

12:50 — Kurt: We even have companies celebrating their 5th anniversary:
Abbott Laboratories, Allstate, Amway, General Mills, Johnson & Johnson, Pitney Bowes, State Farm Insurance, and Tyson Foods

12:51 — Andy: And some of our founders are celebrating their 6th anniversary — that's right, they're starting their 7th year in SocialMedia.org:
Procter & Gamble, Cisco Systems, The Coca-Cola Company, Kaiser Permanente, Suncor Energy, Analog Devices, and Wells Fargo

12:52 — Kurt: With so many brands and such support, you can see why we're so excited. For today, and for our next reunions:

We'll be in Chicago for a Member Meeting July 15 & 16, with a focus on integrating social media into the enterprise.

12:53 — Kurt: And then, our best and biggest meeting of the year:

The Brands-Only Summit, at Walt Disney World from OCTOBER 27th through the 29th.

A bunch of you were in Orlando when we did this in December, and It. Was. Awesome. More than 300 people from 160 big brands, enjoying 16 peer discussions, 12 how-to classes, 12 case studies, 4 authors, 1 supermodel… and zero vendors. Like today, it was an event by us, for us.

12:54 — Andy: You've never been in a room like this with so many people who get you and want to support you. 339 of the greatest brands on earth, 2000 great people in your new family.

12:55 — Andy: We’re thrilled you’re a member! And if you’re not one yet, we hope you join us, because we love each other and we know you need that love, too.
We're going to have a great day! Dessert is set up where we picked up lunch, so feel free to grab a bite, and meet more people on your way. We'll give you a heads up at 1:15 when we'll get everyone ready for the first sessions. Thanks for coming, and welcome to SocialMedia.org Member Meeting 31!