Valorie Luther of Creative Concepts at 2009 Business Smart Tools Conference

It’s barely been a day since the 2009 Business Smart Tools conference wrapped, but the event was a tremendous success!  Thanks to everyone who attended, as well as all of our speakers AND the tireless team at Creative Concepts, who organized and managed the entire event.  We covered a lot of ground at this year’s event — from “when your company is READY for social media” to “how you adapt to negative feedback,” and everything in-between.

Some key points from our speakers:

John C. Havens highlighted the ways some companies have benefited from social media engagement — as well as the ways people who have negative experiences with your brand can potentially damage your company’s reputation.  But instead of fearing that possibility, companies should embrace it as an opportunity to address concerns and improve flaws.

Cindi Bigelow discussed the ups and downs associated with her handling of the Don Imus issue a few years ago, and how her interaction with supporters and detractors on all sides of the issue — including CNN — helped shape her appreciation of transparency in social media.

Tom Guarriello, David Vinjamuri and Albert Maruggi suggested that the real issue companies should be addressing isn’t whether social media is right for their company — it’s whether or not the company’s mindset is ready for social media.

* Greg Kirk of Pitney Bowes explained that social media can change the public’s perception of a company, even without that company’s name or logo being front and center. (As Gregg says, “that’s kind of the point.”)

*  Both Pepsi and Ford now consider themselves “media companies.”  (Which, in other words, means EVERYONE is a media company — so think like one.)

*  Ford’s Scott Monty debunked the corporate fear that a company’s own employees might “misuse” social media to damage their brand: “If you don’t trust your employees, why did you hire them in the first place?”

We videotaped most of the day’s sessions, and we’ll be uploading excerpts from those talks throughout the coming weeks.  Plus, we’ll still be addressing any ongoing questions, concerns and opportunities surrounding social media + business.  This year’s conference may be over, but the conversation is just beginning!

(If you missed the event, search our Twitter hashtag — #busconf — or see all the fabulous photos on Flickr!  And if you’re not already following us on Twitter, join in!)


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