We’ve spoken at more social media conferences and events in the last three months than in the first three years of FreshNetworks’ existence. One of the benefits of all the talking has been the opportunity to listen to other social media speakers and experts.
As a social media agency we’re often asked to recommend a few social media speakers for events (particularly in London and the UK), so I thought it might be useful to note down some of the people who have recently impressed us and why.
Neville Hobson @jangles – sage advice with a strong PR-slant on social media. I thought Neville was at his best when it came to social media disaster scenarios and social media crisis management.
Gary Veynerchuck – Gary was the highlight of SXSW for me. He’s brimming with passion and energy and has some excellent hands-on social media experience. He spent 10 minutes talking and 45 minutes answering questions. You can easily get a taste of Gary online – just search YouTube. Or submit yourself to the full experience by listening to him read Crush It, his new book
Michelle Goodall @greenwellys – from Econsultancy. Michelle is a great social media trainer. Especially good at educating an audience to give them a common understanding of social media. I’ve heard Michelle speak about social media at a couple of events recently – Technology for Marketing and Advertising and FreshIdeas Events – and both times walked away feeling the learning points were super clear.
Joanne Jacobs @joannejacobs is a force of nature. Guaranteed to wake up any audience, she combines years of social media experience with a ferocious presenting style. I am certain there is no one more capable of keeping a post-lunch audience stimulated.
James Hart @ASOS_James is eCommerce Director at ASOS.com. James (and ASOS) have been among the early adopters in community building and social media marketing in the UK. He’s a wonderfully open and frank speaker (no social hype, just his practical experience). However, I am told he may have recently hung up his speaking boots.
Geoff Quinn, CEO TM Lewin – I was on stage with Geoff at a recent Retail Week e-commerce Conference. I think it’s hard to beat listening to a CEO talk about where they see social media fit in to their broader business goals. In addition to the fact that Geoff is really open and frank about the process, they have been giving real ROI numbers and developing detailed plans for the future. You can get a sense of his style from this recent Radio4 Bottom Line interview (disclaimer TM Lewin is a client).
Brad Little @bradleyjlittle – Brad runs Neilsen Buzzmetrics in Europe. As a result he’s great on social media monitoring content and thinking. He’s also full of energy and enthusiasm, and a great speaker.
Anna Rafferty @raffers from Penguin Books. Anna has a great case study on building a community on a budget that really engaged Penguin’s customers. An engaging speaker who provides good takeaways. Oh and Anna recently recommended Jon Davie from Zone as a great speaker.
Steve Dunn Steve is a very energetic performer. I spoke alongside him at a CIM event and he did a good job of covering off high-level social media basics. In particular he brought a PR perspective.
Chris Brogan – Chris is one of the handful of truly global social media gurus (although I am sure he’d hate the term). I really enjoyed his combination of a conversational and relaxed style with excellent story telling. Chris is particularly good on B2B and SME social media.
Steve Bridger @stevebridger has years of community management experience working with charities and membership organisations. Steve always brings solid, practical tips to his social media sessions.
Louise White @louisecwhite – I really enjoyed listening to Louise recently. She has a refreshingly honest and open style giving a no-holds barred account of life inside a publisher as digital and social are changing the world around them.
Paul Hopkins, Head of Customer Experience at easyJet – I was on a panel with Paul at the Call Centre and Customer Management Conference. As you’d expect, Paul is particularly knowledgeable speaker on customer service opportunities and issues arising from social media. He is heavily involved on a day-to-day basis with easyJet’s activity.
Martha Lane Fox – @marthalanefox – As Digital Inclusion Champion, Martha is clearly an expert on digital engagement issues. She’s also a captivating speaker, always good at pulling out key facts to get her point across.
Dom Sparkes @DomSparkes – Dom runs the moderation agency, Tempero. He’s especially strong on community management of children’s websites and the processes required to run them in a safe manner.
Thomas Power – I have not heard him speak myself, but heard a rave review from Neville Hobsbon on his podcast. Thomas set up Ecademy and is famous for being one of London’s great connectors. Whilst I don’t agree with all he says e.g. “the most important thing about your network is size, not quality” he’s clearly very enthusiastic and engaging.
Matt Rhodes – OK, so Matt works with me at FreshNetworks. I am biased. But time and again he gets rave reviews from his audiences whenever he’s asked to speak about social media. Matt is one of the foremost thinkers on social media in the UK (he’s the reason why this blog is consistently one of Europe’s Top 3 social marketing blogs). And despite being a Cambridge graduate, he generally has an insightful perspective on all social media topics.
Tim Hwang‘s SXSW talk was one of the most entertaining in Austin. Not because of his speaking style, but purely down to the content: What we learned watching kids with homemade flamethrowers. You can catch a great video here.
Two more speakers
These two don’t fit into the social media speaker bracket, but they are two of my favourite business speakers ever:
Dennis Turner – Dennis is Chief Economist at HSBC. He manages to make macroeconomics both enthrawling and easy to understand. A delight to watch.
BJ Cunningham – BJ tells a fantastic story about Death Cigarettes – a brand he founded 20 years ago. He’s a superb speaker.
Have you been struck by an excellent social media speaker? who was it and why were they good?