TRACK 3: Social Media Strategies for PR & Marketing

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.

Let consumers lead the way: Creating audience-tailored content across platforms

Beyond grappling with how to create content that stands out against a sea of messages online, how do you choose which social media platforms on which you spend your budget—and time? At Intel, decisions are based on consumer personas—which informs what kind of content should be created and where it should be shared online. No longer do you have to guess what might be effective—consumers and data can guide you. Sarah Vedas, content marketing manager for employer brands at Intel, will show you how to create a digital mix and hone your social media and content efforts into effective, measurable campaigns.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Create consumer personas and use them to guide content decisions
  • Select social media platforms based on type of content and audience
  • Tailor what you create and increase its reach
  • Measure content’s performance—and create actionable insights
  • Better target consumers and boost your organization’s bottom line
Content marketing manager
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11:15 a.m.–Noon

In the eye of the storm: Turning crises into opportunities online

In today’s quickly moving news cycle driven by social media platforms and a trove of content, crises can happen in an instant—but preparing for natural disasters and other situations can help you mobilize your communications team and take advantage of ways to interact with audiences online. Josh Wilson, director of public relations for Nemours Children’s Health System, will detail the key decision the health organization made before Hurricane Irma, which allowed the team to use social media to effectively communicate with associates and patients’ families during the storm—and how you can use online strategies and tactics to turn crises into opportunities to introduce important services and set your organization as an industry leader.

You’ll learn:

  • How to prepare ahead of time for sticky situations and get your organization’s leaders on board
  • The effect that social media can have on your PR efforts—and organization’s bottom line
  • Tips to deploy your messages across social media platforms
  • How you can improve response time online and get ready for reputational disasters
Director of public relations
Nemours Children's Health System
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Noon–1 p.m.

Networking lunch

(provided onsite)

1–1:45 p.m.

Take your credit: How social media helps PR pros build relationships and generate revenue

As a communicator, a huge part of your job revolves around building, managing and strengthening relationships. Are you using social media to build relationships that will generate revenue? Today’s reality is that everyone is in sales (including PR pros) and building those bonds through online platforms is no longer optional: It’s a must. The relationships you develop on social media can create awareness that marketing teams can leverage to create interest, which sales teams can convert into revenue. Samantha Lake, vice president of marketing for Grow Socially for PRSA will show you how to communicate and report on your contributions, so others don’t take credit for your achievements.
You’ll learn:
  • Your role in helping sales and marketing
  • How to create personas for social media listening
  • Strategies to build strong relationships online
  • How to prioritize relationships based on social sentiment
  • Reporting tips to demonstrate your efforts and value
Vice president of marketing
PRSA, Grow Socially
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2–2:45 p.m.

From executive to industry influencer: Turn your leaders into social media rock stars

IBM had a problem: Though it employed some of the world’s most brilliant technologists, few in the broader marketplace knew who those people were. Competitors’ executives and technical leaders won recognition and accolades while IBM’s best and brightest were passed over. That changed in 2015 when IBM launched the Eminence Program, which built executives’ digital footprints and marketplace influence through organic social engagement, high-value content and facilitated networking with industry influencers. In this session, Kevin Allen, content lead for IBM’s Eminence Program, will outline steps his team took to turn brilliant, but unknown, technologists into online influencers—and how you can do the same.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Develop a program that harnesses the power of offline and online communities to extend your executives’ visibility and credibility
  • Convince executives and your organization’s leaders of an executive eminence program’s benefits
  • Implement, scale and change your program with social media trends and developments
  • Determine what executives should share online—and how they should engage on social platforms
  • Measure your program’s performance and prove ROI
Content lead for the Eminence Program
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2:45–3:15 p.m.

Networking break

3:15–4 p.m.

The influence revival: Get business results with social media influencer programs

Social media influencers can significantly affect your organization’s reach and reputation. Forrester Research reports that 13 percent of U.S. adults account for 80 percent of influential content online. Cory Edwards, director of social media and brand publishing at Adobe, will share how Adobe built and sustained ongoing influencer programs that help organizations succeed—and how you can, too.

You’ll learn:  

  • Strategies for working with B2B and B2C influencers in ongoing programmatic ways
  • Best practices and specific tactics to implement as you build your program
  • How to simplify your approach to identifying influencers
  • How to build sustainable relationships with social media heavyweights to keep them moving along a defined path from awareness to brand advocate
Director of social media and brand publishing
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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.

Boost media relations efforts and build relationships through social media

As newsrooms shrink, PR pros have greater opportunities to help reporters gather stories and information, but they also have to cut through the massive amount of pitches and online clutter to grab attention and help their stories see the light of day. Telling stories and networking through social media can make all the difference, along with improved pitching techniques to better connect with bloggers and journalists online. Natan Edelsburg, chief operating officer of Muck Rack and the Shorty Awards, will show you how social media best practices can improve your media relations prowess—and how you can become a storytelling machine.

You’ll learn:

  • Tips for quickly responding to media queries and pitch reporters without offending them
  • How journalists are using social media and how you can use these trends to your advantage
  • How you can monitor news and current trends—along with your PR impact
  • How to uncover stories and spread them online
10–10:45 a.m.

Complex organizations can be sexy on social media, too

If your organization isn’t a splashy consumer brand, you might think your chances of creating a sizzling social media presence are slim to none. There’s hope, though, for such large entities as government agencies, charities and other bureaucratic, hierarchical organizations. You have to better engage with all stakeholders, focus on creative messages and storytelling, and strengthen digital outreach. Andreas Sandre, press and public affairs officer at the Embassy of Italy, will show you how virality in the social media age is achievable—even with regulations, limited resources and shrinking budgets.

You’ll learn to: 

  • Find the sexiness and compelling stories within your organization
  • Use popular culture as a pull for your messaging and content
  • Identify best practices that can easily adjust to your budget and goals
  • Understand how partnerships can increase virality and efficacy online
  • Look at social media metrics beyond the numbers and statistics
Press and public affairs officer
Embassy of Italy
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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