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Welcome Presentation: State of the Social Media Industry 2013 — Live from the Brands-Only Summit

Coverage of this session by Bridgette Cude of Connect with her by following her on Twitter.

8:50 —’s Kurt Vanderah introduces’s CEO, Andy Sernovitz.

8:51 — Andy: every hero has an origin story: You get bitten by a bug or whatever, our origin story isn’t that exciting. Our origin story starts in 2007, at a conference about “buzz.” But we realized that not everyone really understood what it was like to be responsible for social media at a big company. We needed a safe place.

8:52 — That was literally the moment when our organization was born. And for some of you social media leaders, you either asked for your job and fought for it, or it was something that landed in your lap with a “kerplunk.” But what we’ve realized is this is something special, we have the opportunity to do something great.

8:53 — But we need a safe place. We need a place for “people like you.” Those three words have been the focus of our community: People like you at jobs like yours, at companies like yours. People who run social media are doing something that has never been done before.

8:54 — And you have tons of agencies and consultants telling you how to do a campaign. But who helps you figure our the internal stuff? Who helps you learn to be an extraordinary social media leader? That’s what our community does. The people around you are here to help.

8:55 — We knew this would be a successful business group, but we didn’t realize it would become a family. The members of this group are the most unbelievably kind, generous, and giving group. Partly because that’s the only people we allow to join, and partly because that’s the nature of people who take this job.

8:56 — We’ve been there, we’ve done that, and we get you. You ask and someone already knows the answer. When your boss or your agencies tell you you’re crazy, you can tell your boss that hundreds of your friends say you’re right.

8:57 — You have a weird job. Everyone has an opinion about how you should do social, your day doesn’t belong to you, your lawyers are freaking out, and everyone is telling you social media is free, and above all that it’s just a lonely job. Lots and lots of external opinions, but very few internal allies.

8:58 — On top of that, you’re getting pulled in every direction. Your supposed to represent your customers and your brand. You have to have meaningful conversations while hitting corporate talking points.

8:59 — Here’s the hardest part of all: Everybody is watching everything you do. You can’t practice tweeting in private. There’s not place to learn and experiment outside of the public eye. But as they say, “Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not watching you.”

9:01 — This is why at our Member Meeting in Minneapolis, Alex from Starbucks jumped up from her chair and said “I’m not crazy!” Many of you have said stuff like, “It’s like nobody hears me until they pay a consultant to tell them exactly what I already said.” We didn’t expect this to be therapy. But our members help one another in ways no one else can, because they get it, they’ve been there.

9:02 — However you got this job, you were given great power. It’s about teaching businesses to be nicer, to treat people better. We’re working to make that happen because we know it’s worth it. In this role, you have the power to make positive change. You have a powerful voice that can do a world of good. But of course, this great power can also be a source of great temptation.

9:03 — In social media and elsewhere, you’re supposed to be the steward of your brand’s reputation. It’s not your agencies’ jobs to teach you when a short term win or questionable tactics will actually damage your reputation.

9:04 — Say it with me, “With great power comes great responsibility.” If you keep it clean everyone will follow. It’s time to say we know what the right thing is and we know what the wrong thing is. We won’t pay people to deceive.

As one of the world’s greatest brands, we shouldn’t hide our brand in some mom’s blog posts. Because hiding your brand and marketing your brand are the exact opposite. That’s why we won’t run Craigslist ads, we don’t tape signs to telephone pole. And it’s why we won’t resort to the sneaky tactics in social. Say something when something is wrong — call it out.

9:05 — Make this your pledge: I will listen and advocate, I will support my company, and protect the medium. Social media is not an advertising tool — it is a privilege and an honor to work in this space. We will make sure that with social media we are making meaning.

9:06 — You’re the ones who are taking great risks. We honor the heroic bizarre role that you’re in with this conference for superheroes. Social media is much more than a marketing technique. So teach your team, hold a seminar, insist on the highest level of ethics. It is so worth it for ourselves and our businesses, but also our families and communities.

9:08 — You are a new kind of professional. Some of us work for enlightened companies that get it, and some of us work for slower, more frustrating institutions. You have an opportunity to make a high amount of difference. So here’s to you, the crazy ones, you’re the ones who are going to make business better, who are going to make business kind. And we’re there for you. we’re going to be here fighting the good fight with you.

9:09 — This is your tribe, this community has been going on for 7 years, and we’re finally all here together. 2,000 people from 300 brands all together.

9:10 — There has never been a group of people like you who are so open generous and kind. Have a great conference. We love you, we’re proud of you, and we’re so glad you’re here.

December 10, 2013 0 comments

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