In 2009 Awareness hosted 19 webinars featuring a wide range of marketing topics presented by a host of social media thought leaders. These sessions grew in popularity over the course of the year, attracting thousands of viewers and featuring entertaining and thought provoking conversations. There was a ton of value in every session and here is my list of the Top 5 Sessions of 2009 (along with some honorable mentions):
- “End the Hype!!” A Live Panel from IMS with Jason Falls, Paul Gillin, C.C. Chapman, Chris Brogan, and Brian Solis
What could top a rock-star panel streamed live from the floor of the Inbound Marketing Summit at Gillette Stadium? This session was particularly exciting for me for a couple of reasons. First, it was live streamed, which adds a completely new dimension (as well as a new level of stress) to a traditional webinar. Not only does it mean people tuning in are watching you instead of a set of PowerPoint slides, but it also means there are a ton of technological hurdles you need to consider. Luckily, Matthew Mamet and the video gurus at Visible Gains stepped up and handled the technology component. Second, it featured an all-star panel of individuals that I have a lot of respect for in the social media space: Jason Falls, Paul Gillin, C.C. Chapman, Chris Brogan, and Brian Solis. As the host, it put a ton of pressure on me to ask good questions, facilitate good conversations and to make sure I give each presenter enough air time. In the end, we had a great conversation, shared some interesting case studies and had a deep discussion on metrics and social media ROI.
- Scott Monty, Ford’s Social Media Strategy, From Zero to 60
I learned more from Scott Monty in 45 minutes than some people I talk to for hours. It’s rare for a company the size of Ford to provide such a detailed look inside their social media strategy. Paraphrasing Woody Allen, where he said ”90% of life is just showing up,” Scott Monty, Head of Social Media at Ford Motor Company shared with us how Ford subscribes to the Woody Allen philosophy of social media which is “90% of social media is just showing up.” Its about being where people expect you to be. Showing up is easy, its the other part that is hard and is often where the majority of corporations fail. Well Ford is certainly doing more than just showing up. With Scott to guide them, the corporation that has experienced its share of challenges, is now seeing significant success in their social media efforts through their many campaigns. Proof of this success could possibly be attributed to the company’s recently posted profits of nearly $1 billion in its third quarter.Here is a link to the slides and recording (written by Christine Major)
- Larry Weber, “Marketing on the Social Web”
I have probably seen Larry Weber speak 5 or 6 times and I have read all his books (”The Provocateur”, “Marketing to the Social Web‘ and most recently, “Sticks & Stones“). I continue to be amazed at how much I learn from him and I continue to be a fan of how he thinks. This session set a couple of records for Awareness sessions. First is was the session with the highest pre-registration – over 3000 people signed up to tune in. Second, it’s our most downloaded set of slides on slideshare (currently has 11,500 views, 118 favorites and 42 embeds). Finally, this was one of our most active conversations on Twitter. We received hundreds of comments and questions throughout the session leaving me scrambling to keep up. I said this on the call and I’ll say it again, if you haven’t read “Marketing to the Social Web” pick it up, its a great read from a guy with a ton of insight on the space.
- Mitch Joel, “Six Pixels of Separation”
I had the chance to read Mitch’s book, “Six Pixels of Separation“, the weekend prior to the webinar and had tons of my own questions I wanted to ask. My only disappointment was that because we received so many questions from listeners on Twitter I never had the chance to get to any of my questions. Mitch spent time discussing how the world of new media and how to market with a brand-new perspective that is driven by compelling results. The smarter entrepreneurs and top executives are leveraging digital channels to get their voice “out there”-connecting with others, becoming better community citizens, and, ultimately, making strategic business moves that are increasing revenue, Awareness, and overall success in the marketplace-without the support of traditional mass media.
- (Tie) Jason Falls, “My Agency Doesn’t Get Social Media… Who Does?” & C.C. Chapman, “Passion is Contagious”
Both of these sessions we great because, first, the content rocked. They weren’t the typical sessions talking about dialog, transparency, and general social media B.S. , they both talked about actually things you can use in your business and gave great advice. Second, neither session needed a deck, etc. We could have had a discussion for 45 minutes without relying on decks. Both C.C. and Jason are expert presenters who have great experiences and backgrounds, but more important is they are great guys who are very easy to talk with.Jason led a discussion called “My Agency Doesn’t Get Social Media… who does???“ and focused on the successes and failures of social media within marketing agencies. He talked about the right questions to ask agencies as you engage them to define and manage your social media strategy and, most importantly, what to look for as you select an agency.
I have known C.C. Chapman for a couple of years. We first met when we were both speakers at the New Marketing Summit (now the Inbound Marketing Summit). Actually, I think our first “in person” meeting was just before I interviewed him for New Marketing T.V. What’s really interesting is that while we both graduated from Bentley University (granted it was at different times – C.C. is WAY older than me ) and shared several friends (shout out to @bostonsarah), we first connected through social media. It’s true, social media actually works! The first time we actually “spoke” was months before we met in person when we began chatting on Twitter and Facebook. Since our first meeting at NMS I have seen him speak 5 or 6 times and I always learn something new from him. This session was no exception.
(Photo Credit: Jason Falls)
- Chris Brogan, “Trust Agents“
This will go down as the webinar that almost wasn’t. Our original session was going to be a traditional webinar delivered by Chris focusing on his new book, “Trust Agents“. Unfortunately, there were some technical issues and we were forced to cancel the session (want the detailed story, click here). The good news is we were able to coordinate a live session with Chris few weeks later. The session streamed live from the Visible Gains offices in Waltham. It’s always great chatting with Chris and this session was no exception. He has some great case studies and really interesting insights on how to use social media as part of your marketing mix and how to grow vibrant communities. Check out the session here.
- Brian Solis, Socializing your Corporate Brand
Brian’s session focused on “Socializing your Corporate Brand”. I had not had the chance to meet Brian prior to the session but had read his book “Putting the Public back in Public Relations” and have seen him speak on a couple of occasions. What I like most about this discussion was his use of actual, real-life, tactical examples that marketers can use today to start communicating in the social web. The session didn’t focus on theory and spent time addressing the tactical questions of the audience which made for an excellent session. Check out the session here.
- Adam Broitman, Innovative Marketing
Adam Broitman is founder and ringleader at Circ.us. I met Adam for the first time at New Marketing Summit (now the Inbound Marketing Summit) when we sat down for an interview on the state of new marketing (click here to view it). Adam has great insight into the agency world (spending some time at Digitas, Morpheus and Crayon) and has a very unique (some may say “innovative”) way of thinking about marketing and social media. He’s also a lot of fun to chat with and, as you we see in the recording, he’s both an entertaining and thought provoking speaker.
- Rachel Happe, “The Community Maturity Model”
Rachel Happe and Jim Storer of The Community Roundtable along with Adam Zawel, XPC Community Facilitator at Palladium Group presented “The Community Maturity Model.” During the webinar, Rachel brought us through the different phases of The Community Maturity Model while Adam shared his first-hand experiences building and managing Palladium Group’s community. According to Rachel, community is about the relationships between the people in your community and not just a content-rich website (the “audience” Brogan referred to). It is these relationships that drive engagement, passion and long term relationships. Reminds me of Ford Motor Company and their success in using social media to drive that passion for its vehicles.
We have some great speakers already lined up for 2010! Check out the latest and greatest schedule at our website. Got ideas for a speaker or topic? DM me @bostonmike or email me mike.lewis(at)awarenessnetworks.com