12 Must-See Industry Leaders Speaking at #SMWNYC

Social Media Week New York brings some of the world’s most innovative, educational, and inspiring executives to the official stage. From major social media platforms and global agencies, to the technology startups and publishing powerhouses we read about everyday.

Here’s a sample of notable industry leaders speaking at #SMWNYC this year:

By the way, only 275 passes left. Make sure to get yours here!

  1. Brit Morin (Founder & CEO, Brit + Co)
  2. Sebastian Tomich (SVP, Advertising & Innovation, The New York Times)
  3. Neha Gandhi (SVP of Content Strategy & Innovation, Refinery29)
  4. Ross Clark (VP & GM, Sweet – Snapchat Discover Channel)
  5. Michelle Klein (Marketing Director, North America, Facebook)
  6. Bob Cohn (President, The Atlantic)
  7. Sarah Frank (Editor, NowThis News)
  8. Adam Leibsohn (Chief Operating Officer, Giphy)
  9. Megan Summers (Global Head of Production, Facebook)
  10. Sam Dolnick (Associate Editor, The New York Times)
  11. Nazanin Rafsanjani (Creative Director, Gimlet Creative)
  12. Yannis Kotziagkiaouridis (Global Chief Analytics Officer, Wunderman)

You can view more official speakers here, and the initial schedule of #SMWNYC events here. If you are planning to attend, we only have 275 HQ passes remaining and will sell out soon. Take advantage of the 10%-off sale to lock in your spot before it’s too late!

The Cost Effective, Scalable, Repeatable Way to Reach New Customers

“Content is the easiest and most scalable way for someone to exchange value for time.”

Eddie Kim, the Cofounder and CEO of SimpleReach, helps publishers, agencies and brands understand what content is resonating with customers and how to distribute it most effectively. In his company’s analytics, he has seen countless times that the best way to bring clients to a potential customer is using content.

Forbes utilizes an “always-on” model that allows marketers to publish unlimited content as they see fit. This approach, referred to as native advertising and content marketing, creates an audience by building a body of work online. The arena is growing, with an estimated $60 billion to be spent on native advertising in 2016, according to Forbes VP of Ad Products and Strategy Ann Marinovich.

The strategy differs from traditional advertising, and the industry has seen a growing need for measurement and transparency on how native programs are performing. Conversations are increasingly focused on understanding what exactly a product is delivering, and data and analytics is key to that story.

Traackr is an influencer management system that helps brands and agencies curate relationships in online media and has recently partnered with Forbes. Pierre-Loïc Assayag, Traackr’s CEO, has observed a clear change in the content of the message itself.

“Brands have shifted from pushing a specific product on customers, to having a conversation about brand purpose,” he explained.

Read the full session recap at SMW News

Secure your spot in February of 2017 to join 2,000+ leaders in media, entertainment, and technology for a week of inspiring and educational events learning.

29% of Time Spent on All Screens in 2015 Was Spent on Vertical Content

There’s a challenge for advertisers to promote and portray brands in shows, especially as brand exposure is often not aligned with humor. Brands bring a filter to content, and limit the association of the media with only positive ideas about the brand.

The problem is that content creation on mobile and for mobile is intentionally and inherently unshackled by traditional advertising and media culture-it’s the realness of content creators and social media celebrities that grows viewership towards the holy grail of virality. Ian Schafer, founder and CEO of Deep Focus, brought this to light along with his two honored guests: Ricky van Veen, founder of CollegeHumor; and Lisa Weinstein, CEO of Engine Media Group.

The driving force behind this growing concern is that 51% of digital device time is spent on mobile devices, and yet content creation for the vertical screen is only at 29% of all creation efforts. The gap will naturally close, and the catalyst is social media-media that is viewed primarily over mobile.

So what happens to ad agencies? The company that knows the brand best is the creative/production agency, and the recognized detriment of distance between ad agencies and the actual point of content creation is growing as the environment for media distribution rapidly evolves.

Read the full session recap at SMW News

Secure your spot in February of 2017 to join 2,000+ leaders in media, entertainment, and technology for a week of inspiring and educational events learning.

What Tinder Can Teach Brands, Storytelling With Vine, And The Future Of Mobile: Top Events On The #SMWNYC Explore Stage

Explore Stage: Events to Check Out

By Social Media Week.


With a focus on providing attendees with practical takeaways, you’ll leave these following events (taking place on the Explore Stage) having expanded your digital know-how.

  • Exploring the Future of Mobile Connectivity

    By Social Media Week.

    In this event, Social Media Week’s own Toby Daniels and Steven Van Wel, Co-Founder and CEO of Karma, will be discussing evolving mobile technologies, and the implications of WiFi advancements.

  • Storytelling with Vine

    By Social Media Week.

    In this masterclass, Jeff Petriello, Mashable’s Producer/Creative will be sharing techniques for creating compelling, short form videos via Vine.

  • Building Products & Companies with Betaworks

    By Social Media Week.

    Learn Betaworks’ processes for team and product building and how uniting a talented group of developers (Hackers) ended in the launch of Giphy, Blend, Dots, and Poncho.

  • Swipe Right: What Tinder Can Teach Brands

    By Social Media Week.

    In this interactive event, Sam Yagan, CEO and Co-Founder of Match.com and OkCupid will be revealing what marketers can learn from the patterns of online dating service users.

  • Time Out’s Print to Digital Evolution

    By Social Media Week.

    With a global community of over 39 million people, Time Out’s Roman Tagoe and Terri White will be conducting a masterclass on the shift in editorial strategy from print to digital.

  • Privacy & the Impacts of Connectivity

    By Social Media Week.

    In the face of total digital connectivity via social media, what are some of the major privacy concerns that arise as a result? Hear what leading artists and technologists make of this emerging issue.

  • Custom Content

    By Social Media Week.

    This discussion will be centered on how publishers can collaborate with Instagrammers to adopt a “social first” approach to their marketing campaigns, from the ideation to the activation.

Maximizing Your Snapchat For Storytelling

Have you followed the social media breadcrumbs to Snapchat? If you haven’t heard, Snapchat is a text message-like app that shares pictures, drawings, and video with users for a few seconds before disappearing. It’s fun, quick, and a smart way to engage with a younger audience. Share news, updates, behind the scenes moments, or just say hi to make a lasting connection in 10 seconds or less.

A recent study shows that 77% of college students use Snapchat daily. Mashable.com reports, “Almost half of college-age Snapchat users said they would open a Snap from a brand they’d never heard of, and 73% said they would open one from a brand they did know. Close to 70% of students said they’d even add a brand as a friend if they also followed them on a separate social network like Facebook or Twitter.” That’s great news for brands both large and small.

On Wednesday February 25, join ICED Media’s Greg Littley to learn the essentials on maximizing your Snapchat and how to bring storytelling to the most popular in-the-moment social sharing platform among millennials.

With over 100 million monthly active users and over a billion Snapchat Stories viewed per day, ICED Media will help you leverage your presence on the mobile app.

ICED Media is an award-winning full service digital marketing agency & received the 2013 Shorty Award for Best Brand on Snapchat.


Check out the latest lineup of speakers and events here, then get excited to join us for a week you won’t forget. Grab your pass to get full access to SMWNYC!

Swipe Right: What Tinder Can Teach Brands

Online dating has redefined romance for the 21st century. One of the most popular entrants to the category is Tinder, a dating app based very much on “looks” and proximity. Tinder’s growth has been meteoric, amassing nearly 50 million users in just two years with no signs of slowing down. In short, Tinder is on fire.  But what’s even more intriguing are the parallels between why Tinder is so successful and how brands could benefit from what Tinder has taught us.

On  Tuesday February 24, join us for an interview between MEC Social Practice Lead, Noah Mallin and Match.com’s CEO, Sam Yagan, where we’ll attempt to peer through the window into the microcosm of human behavior that exists behind the walls of online and mobile dating services and ultimately reveal how marketers can connect with their audiences in a more meaningful way.

We hope the audience will discover that although people share intimate details about their inner most desires on dating services every day, the most intriguing information is that which they offer without ever being asked. Every action they take leaves a trail, which if followed, reveals much more about their true identities than they would guess.

In an effort to keep this session interactive, as people walk in, we will ask them to list a few physical characteristics they look for in a mate. At the end, we will invite them to start swiping on Tinder in the hopes to make a match and compare who they matched to the requisites they offered earlier. Hopefully our session will also help a few people find love at #SMW15!


Check out the latest lineup of speakers and events here, then get excited to join us for a week you won’t forget. Grab your pass to get full access to SMWNYC!


Custom Content: How Publishers And Instagrammers Are Leading Campaigns for Brands

Publishers are no longer creating branded campaigns solely on their own and having it live only on their platform. It needs to live across all of the publishers social channels, the brands channels, and a new development: making the first outlet be the channel of the creators.

Working with notable Instagrammers, publishers are now retooling native ads and enabling brand storytelling to start on social. This enables new paths to authentically capture people’s attention via the broader media ecosystem, often before the campaign appears in print or online.

On Tuesday February 24, join Melanie Altarescu, head of strategic initiatives at WIRED, to lead this “social first” content discussion and unpack the ideation, pitching, and activations for these campaigns. Joining Melanie will be several instagram “agents” including Patrick Janelle, @aguynamedpatrick.

To learn more about this masterclass-style event and to get your pass, go here.

What is Social Media? Why Do We Care?

Social Media. Hate it or love it, everyone talks about it. And has an opinion about it.

While everyone is exposed to it daily, how many people really know what it is?

You, being a self-selecting audience, would likely be able to provide an informed response. Others, however, might simply blurt, “Facebook!” as if that alone explained all.

For my first blog post, I wanted to consider the basics of what we’re discussing. Together, the words “social” and “media” form fabricated jargon which appeared sometime after the advent of Web 2.0, as explained on Wikipedia:

“…web applications that facilitate participatory information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design and collaboration on the World Wide Web. A Web 2.0 site allows users to interact and collaborate with each other in a social media dialogue as creators (prosumers) of user-generated content in a virtual community, in contrast to websites where users (consumers) are limited to the passive viewing of content that was created for them. Examples of Web 2.0 include social networking sites, blogs, wikis, video sharing sites, hosted services, web applications, mashups and folksonomies.”

Social media became inextricably tied to the internet sometime after 2004. Nonetheless, I argue that social media has existed as long as mass media has reacted to reader submissions and/or called readers to action. Media being a tool for information delivery; social defined as any form of interaction between two entities, corporations or individuals. Reprinted letters to the Editor? Social media. Paper flyers for organizing protests? Social media.

Communication + Collaboration = Social Media.

Social media as we know it today, rooted within a virtual context, crept into common households through online journals and college kids on Facebook. In 2004, I told someone I planned to do my independent study on blogging. He asked, “You want to study websites about people’s cats?”

Since the days of feline photos and emotionally fueled teenager musings, the growth of social media has grown exponentially. Can we visit any of the top 50 most popular sites on the Internet without coming across one-click options to Tweet / Facebook / + 1 / Share / email?

The number of social media users and social companies continues to rise globally, and the barrier to entry is relatively low.

Why does this matter?

The internet has made communications almost instantaneous and far reaching. Political groups can now rally more efficiently. Companies can spread their branding with ease. The possibility for danger and/or profit has been multiplied. Witness the revolutionaries who used Twitter to spread their message and organize troops faster and wider than any paper campaign could have achieved. Witness firms that pour money and time into data mining Facebook.

On a personal level, social media has simultaneously extended our networks while closing distances between degrees of separation. It transcends time and geography. It archives our lives online and allows some semblance of control over our public persona.

Social media is a powerful force we still don’t fully comprehend. It can be dangerous. It recognizes almost no boundaries, and it’s still growing.

And that’s why we care about this double-edged sword.

Lisa Chau has been involved with Web 2.0 since graduate school at Dartmouth College, where she completed an independent study on blogging. She was subsequently highlighted as a woman blogger in Wellesley Magazine, published by her alma mater. Since 2009, Lisa has worked as an Assistant Director at the Tuck School of Business. In 2012, she launched GothamGreen212 to pursue social media strategy projects. View her online portfolio at http://about.me/GothamGreen212. Follow her on Twitter via https://twitter.com/GothamGreen212. (In case you’re wondering, she greatly enjoys social media, admittedly spending far too much time on it.)

Social Media [Should] Take Flight in Customer Service

I have come to the understanding that some brands are hesitant about social media use for one of two reasons:

1. Fear. They are afraid it will somehow reflect poorly on their brand.

2. Priority. They claim they do not have the capital to contribute to a social media effort.

Today, few brands can afford to neglect this space, even if they are placing minimal effort into social media. Consumers will discuss whether a brand has occupied the social media landscape. It is important to seize this opportunity, before falling too far behind.

One industry that I think has neglected to address the social media opportunities as much they could is the airline industry. With American Airlines declaring bankruptcy, and others not far behind, social media is a key opportunity to create brand differentiation. The airline industry is a customer service industry, and as airlines stray from that business platform, they stray from the innate components that keep them afloat. This past week, I witnessed a missed-opportunity first hand.

My Flight Experience:
I recently traveled on a flight with Continental/United Airlines (recently partnered) where I was forced to de-board two separate planes because of malfunctioning equipment (thankfully, the third plane was in working order). During this twelve hour debacle, I decided to experiment with the @continental (which is no longer maintained) and @united accounts to see what type of response I would get. I had the time on my hands, so why not put social media efforts to the test? After sending numerous tweets to both accounts from my personal account (@mikeeev), I heard nothing. Not one response and still none to date.

Then, having recently listened to former Jet Blue CEO David Neeleman speak about customer service, I decided to tweet @JetBlue. I read on their account that they did not respond to any formal complaints, but I figured I would tweet at them to see if I received a response. It was a Tuesday evening and I told them I was stranded at the airport with two faulty planes and was very annoyed with my current airline.

Within minutes I received two tweets, the first asking what they could help with and the second providing me with a phone number to the company. In those tweets, a combined less than 280 characters, I was won over.

The Conclusion:
If United had responded to my tweet, I would have felt more valued as a customer. End of story. And in order to survive a cut-throat industry like the airline industry, brands cannot afford to lose customer value. Jet Blue re-affirmed that a competitor can be there for me. So all else the same, why would I choose a non-responsive brand over one that responds to me? I wouldn’t.

Social Media is now not only a bonus space for big brands, but a requirement. Consumers are beginning to expect direct outreach via social platforms, and those who fail to see this might have more than two faulty planes to deal with.

Michael Varallo is a digital marketer with expertise in social media, mobile, branding, and email marketing. He is also a research fellow at Fordham University’s Center for Positive Marketing. Reach him on twitter @mikeeev or find his contact information on MichaelVarallo.com. More can be read on positive marketing and brand influence at The Center for Positive Marketing at Fordham University.