TRACK 2: Social Media Strategies For Internal Communications

Thursday, Mar. 15

8:45–9 a.m.

Welcome remarks with Mark Ragan, CEO, Ragan Communications

Ragan Communications
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9–10 a.m.
Opening keynote

Why data is a social media pro’s secret advantage—and how to use it

With today’s cacophony of PR and marketing messages online—and endless voices competing for consumers’ attention—communicators are turning to more creative ways to stand out from the crowd.

Brandi Boatner, IBM’s social and influencer communications lead for Global Markets, will help you pivot from requests to “go viral” to crafting content and using social media strategies that will boost your ROI using readily available analytics and metrics. Learn how to read and understand what the numbers are saying so you can create social media posts your audience wants to read. See how researching trends and social listening can boost online engagement and help you better target consumers. Learn successful and sustainable alternatives to calls for more brand attention online.

Arm yourself with powerful online measurement tools that can increase your organization’s buzz—and your value.


Social and influencer communications lead for Global Markets
IBM Corporate Communications
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10:15–11 a.m.

Empower employees to boost customer satisfaction—and your brand—online

Social media is no longer just a function of marketing—and when done correctly, it can transform your organization into a social powerhouse. With over 1500 employees completing social media certification and 500 active members of their “140” employee advocacy program, software analytics company SAS is scaling social media across its global organization to drive increased customer satisfaction, brand awareness and revenue. Kirsten Hamstra, SAS’ global social media manager, leads her team to help make customers, partners and employees feel more confident and comfortable using social media to meet their goals. In this session, she’ll share how you can move past “just doing social media” and instead build a successful program around the power of your organization’s employee base. Doing so can capitalize on your brand’s brightest and best talent to reach customers where they live online.

You’ll learn:

  • What data can drive decisions for business growth on social media channels
  • How to identify and empower employees to support your brand
  • Tips for building a social training program on a shoestring budget
  • Strategies to measure the influence of your employee brand advocates
Global social media manager
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11:15 a.m.–Noon

How to connect with audiences and show the human side of your organization

Not every communicator can work with a fun consumer brand producing zany messages, but boosting online engagement and connecting social media to PR efforts remains paramount no matter your organization. Joelle Parra, communications and social media manager for Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, uses Facebook and Twitter to highlight events, donors, brand ambassadors and the scientists that are researching treatments to an illness that affects roughly 30.3 million Americans. She’ll show you how you can make any topic—even medical research—more relatable and human through online strategies and how you can create content that showcases your organization’s experts.

You’ll learn: 

  • How to help your organization’s experts connect with your audiences on a personal level
  • Ideas for making complicated and non-sexy efforts more relatable via social media
  • How to select your brand advocates internally—and then boost their visibility online
  • Content creation and engagement tips for Facebook and online newsrooms
  • How to identify stories within your organization—and better circulate them—with limited resources (or a team of one)
Communications and social media manager
Diabetes Research Institute Foundation
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Noon–1 p.m.

Networking lunch

(provided onsite)

1–1:45 p.m.

Spreading internal stories: Using social media to show off your organization’s culture

As an internal communicator, you play a crucial role in helping your people connect with the organization’s culture. Your stories individualize and celebrate employees, humanize leaders and help everyone work together to achieve a higher purpose. It would be a shame to keep all those great messages within your own walls. In this session, Spencer Sutherland of CHG Healthcare will show you how to use internal stories to create external social media messages that build brand recognition and create personal connections with your customers and potential hires.

You’ll learn: 

  • The anatomy of a good external story
  • How to make your employees the stars of your social media strategy
  • Tips for making super, simple videos on a shoestring budget
  • Ways to encourage your people to engage with your messages and share them with their social networks
Public relations and social media manager
CHG Healthcare
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2–2:45 p.m.

Why engaged employees are the ultimate storytellers

Your employees are on mobile and social media, and they’re telling your story. However, it’s the engaged employee who tells it the right way. In a reality where everyone with a Twitter account is a spokesperson, social media success starts with authentic internal communication. Robyn Hannah of Dynamic Signal will share insights on how to build a foundation of trust and alignment—so you can empower employees with a framework to become creative, confident and powerful storytellers for your brand.

You’ll learn:

  • Why an authentic employee voice matters to your organization—and why success starts with you
  • How relinquishing control can create champions and breed creativity
  • How to align employees with your organization’s goals and values while providing the right training for social media success
  • Why internal and external communications must work together to build trust and drive results
Senior director of global communications
Dynamic Signal
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2:45–3:15 p.m.

Networking break

3:15–4 p.m.

Considering an employee app? Follow these guidelines from start to finish

The struggle is real: Organizations have difficulty reaching non-desk workers. We often have to rely on hard-copy distribution for managers to communicate with employees, but those methods are difficult to measure (and hard to change). At Asbury Communities, this was a constant struggle. The solution: It created an app that allowed employees to communicate with one another with their smartphones.

You’ll learn:

  • How to package your employee app pitch for leadership
  • What to ask as you go through vendor selection and who at your organization needs to be involved
  • Content selection for the app—it can’t be your intranet in miniature
  • Roll-out tactics
  • How to gather feedback and act on the metrics you see
Director of communications
Asbury Communities
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Manager, stakeholder engagement communications
Asbury Communities
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4:15–5:15 p.m.
Special Keynote

Create social media “magic” through storytelling

In a world where content is king, storytelling also reigns supreme—and communicators who take advantage of the strategy stand to gain online audiences’ attention and hearts. Thomas Smith, editorial content director at Disney Parks and founder of the award-winning Disney Parks Blog, will share a series of real world examples showing how purposeful storytelling generates remarkable results. Smith will lead a virtual behind-the-scenes tour of the successful Disney Parks editorial content program and show how different content experiences are consistently leveraged to entertain, educate and inform audiences across the globe.

You’ll learn:

  • The Disney Parks approach to planning and distributing editorial content
  • How emotional storytelling cuts through clutter to reach audiences
  • The power of consistent, purposeful content experiences
  • Secrets to move a newsroom-based content program into the future
  • Why trying new things can drive your content growth strategy
Editorial content director
Disney Parks
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6–8 p.m.

Networking cocktail party, courtesy of Disney Parks

Join your peers and conference speakers on the beach for a networking party, sprinkled with Disney magic. Enjoy great conversations and superb food and drink. Bring your camera for photo ops with special guests.

Friday, Mar. 16

9–9:45 a.m.

How to rock your corporate brand online—even with a small team

Social media platforms are full of opportunities for organizations to interact with customers, promote marketing messages and raise brand awareness. What happens when it’s not a customer-facing account, but a corporate handle? The Estée Lauder Companies has figured it out. Present in 150 countries and territories, Estée Lauder Companies owns over 25 brands such as Estée Lauder, Clinique, MAC and Bobbi Brown—but global communications isn’t tasked with dishing the latest and greatest of any single brand. Instead, the small-but-mighty corporate digital team oversees social media efforts supporting the corporate brand—and ensuring that everything posted online is aligned across the enterprise. We’ll show you how we do it—so you can, too.

You’ll learn:

  • Tips to stay on top current news and rising trends
  • Tools to get the most out of limited resources and a small team
  • How to coordinate and measure your social media efforts for maximum engagement
  • Guidelines for ensuring your brand voice is on target
Executive director of global corporate digital communications
Estée Lauder
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Assistant manager of global corporate digital communications
Estée Lauder
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10–10:45 a.m.

Are you a talent warrior? Ignite employer branding with Instagram

Did you know that engaging your employees externally on social media can reinforce your organizational culture internally? Social media doesn’t exist in a silo—and neither do your employees. Chrissy Thornhill, social media and content strategist at Salesforce, will reveal how the organization successfully used Instagram to bring its longstanding Hawaiian culture to life. The unexpected benefit was more engaged employees around the globe.

You’ll learn:

  • Why Instagram is the best place to start—and why HR will love it
  • How to build a content strategy that reflects your culture
  • How to engage employees on Instagram
  • Tricks and tips to recruit talent through the platform
  • How to gain the rightfollowers, not just any follower
Social media and content strategist
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11 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
Closing Keynote

Pixie dust and hashtags: Navigate the digital landscape and flex your social media superpowers

For communicators, the question is no longer if you should embrace social media, but how you can embrace it effectively.

How can you take advantage of current and upcoming digital trends—and which ones can help you better connect with your audiences, create meaningful interactions, foster trust and brand loyalty, and boost your bottom line? In this keynote, Kristin Graham taps into her decade in high tech, her corporate career climb and her beginnings as a journalist to show how embracing trends and creating social media strategies can help you grab a seat at the table.

In this growing and ever-changing digital landscape, you have to take stock of the skills, attitudes and insights necessary to quickly adapt to your audience’s needs, create snack-size content that gets attention and move past clever (but fleeting) tweets. Focus on strategies that can help you better understand stakeholders, prepare for crises, break down silos and flex your creative muscles. It’s time to carve out your spot in the social media space. Learn from the pioneers, thinkers and doers.

Head of employee communications
Amazon Web Services
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For event information, contact Customer Service 800.878.5331, or