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Friday, June 25, 2010

Social Media For Business & Entrepreneurship - CBSAC/NY Panel Discussion

Social Media for Business and Entrepreneurship - CBSAC/NY Panel Discussion
The Columbia Business School Alumni Club of NYC [CBSAC/NY] launched its Social Media for Business series on June 16, 2010 with its inaugural panel discussion event aptly titled "Social Media for Business and Entrepreneurship. It's Here to Stay—Now What?"

Here's the description:

"Please join us for a very informative panel about social media, for the corporate marketer, the small business owner, and the “newbie” social media user. This will be the first of a seven–part educational series of social media events which will cover the full spectrum of issues regarding social media (e.g., how to utilize it to promote business and build a brand/franchise, personal branding for your career, measuring ROI , etc.). At the end of the event, volunteers will be stationed at the Samsung computers for hands-on show-and-tell."

It took place at The Samsung Experience at 10 Columbus Circle in New York City, the ultimate in digital experience and presentation spaces - and perfect for hands-on and 1:1 consulting sessions.

We started out with the perfect introduction to a session on social media for business, Erik Qualman's Social Media Revolution 2 (Refresh):

[also see my post Social Media: Fad or Revolution?]

From there, the panel discussion.

The CBS AC/NY event featured four seasoned and successful entrepreneurs - Dorian Benkoil, Marshall Sponder, Jeremy Merrin and Lawrence Sherman - who actively use social media in their businesses. They  described how they have applied the tools of social media to support their business goals .

They share with us here recommendations on how to best use social media for business and entrepreneurship.

Dorian Benkoil, our moderator, has an impressive background in the media business creating strategies and leading teams to develop multiple new content and revenue streams across platforms, attract and retain millions of users and generate explosive growth in industry blogs, memberships, email newsletters, video and paid content, resulting in millions of dollars in revenue. Think,, Fairchild Publications,

He's also an award-winning journalist [i.e., a reporter, editor and foreign correspondent for ABC News, Newsweek, and The Associated Press], an expert commentator on media and a regular contributor to the Poynter Institute’s e-media Tidbits. He blogs at, writes for Bob Garfield’s The Chaos Scenario blog, and has written for Jack Myers Media Business Report, the Economist Intelligence Unit, and been quoted widely in leading publications around the world.

Dorian's company, Teeming Media, is a New York based strategic digital media business and editorial consultancy focused on helping companies manage their digital media and events toward specific business objectives. 

Here are Dorian's words of social media for business wisdom:

1. Align your marketing communications/outreach strategy with your social media. SM are big tools in the arsenal.
2. Assign someone with enough “heft” to properly execute number one. (Don’t leave your social media to the youngest person in the office, just because they’re young and use Facebook.)
3. Listen. Remember to take very seriously what folks are saying.
4. Respond. See # 3.
5. Just do it. Then measure, and adjust.

Twitter: @dbenk

Marshall Sponder is a Social Media and Analytics Consultant and Founder of – a blog renowned in the industry for its insights into analytics and social media. Marshall understands data having worked at Insights Group at MONSTER Worldwide, Inc. and His clients range from award-winning agencies such as Porter Novelli and Converseon to businesses such as Havana Central. He also co-leads the Meetup Group: NY Data Stories. Definitely read his blog if you want to better understand social media monitoring and tracking, and how to make business sense out of analytics.

Marshall's recommendations focus on his area of expertise: monitoring, tracking, aligning goals to tactics and measuring to ensure that your social media campaign delivers business results:

1. Before starting a social media campaign (or social media monitoring of the campaign) determine what your business goals are and write them down.

2. Create campaigns and marketing tactics that align with your stated business goals (i.e., be able to explain how and why they align) while still in conceptual stage (don't implement yet - just consider the campaigns)

3. Assess paid/free tools for analytics and monitoring; I suggest auditing the business goals, campaigns and tactics against the willingness and ability to monitor and track. For example, what do we need to change in order to be able to track a business goal that becomes a campaign that employs tactics.
   - Determine if there is enablement budget to put those "hooks" in place to monitor.
   - Choose the set of tools that work the best for your organizational needs (i.e., do you need daily reporting, historical database, geo local targeting - etc.).

4. Assess what additional training might be required by staff to act on the information collected by the tools - budget for training and enablement work here.

5. Put campaigns into place, ideally, once you're able to track them with analytics and listening systems which will then give you an ROI type of number you can work with.

6. Report weekly or monthly, depending on your organization's cadence and tune your campaigns and tactics as needed.

Twitter: @webmetricsguru

[Pictured here: Cecilia Pineda Feret and Jeremy Merrin]

Jeremy Merrin, EMBA ’00, is Founder and CEO of Havana Central, a New York City based restaurant and bar with three locations. Havana Central captures the essence of "classic Cuban food with the energy of old Havana" and has embraced the tools of social media to build a loyal customer base.  He works with Marshall Sponder for social media analytics and monitoring. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur he was Executive VP of Business Development at

Jeremy recommends the following:

1. Do as much testing and experimentation as possible

2. Start recording and keeping statistics on each part of your program

3. Begin to analyze the statistics as early as possible

4. As a company owner, I need to remember that this is a very new field that is rapidly changing. Nevertheless, I stay focused on learning how to monetize our efforts spent in this area.

5. Bite off only as much as you can chew. Only add on additional platforms when you have the bandwidth to handle them.

Twitter: @jmhavana

Lawrence Sherman, FACME, CCMEP, brings an unusual perspective to the discussion of social media for business:  that of medical educator.  He is a medical educational professional known worldwide for using new and unique approaches such as social media in medical education. He works for Prova Education, an evidence-based continuing medical education organization for physicians and healthcare professionals, as senior vice president of educational strategy. You can get a taste for Lawrence's take on social media and medicine via this 29 min video clip.

Lawrence's advice consists of the following:

1.  Know your audience(s) and their needs and preferences.  Sometimes you have to ask them!

2.  Think about where in your business model social media can fit - in medical education we can assess educational needs, promote educational programs, and create private environments for assessment of impact.

3.  Many times the users don't know what they don't know or what they can do, so you often have to point things out to them.  Social media fits many communications needs but may not be obvious to them.

4.  You can't treasure it if you can't measure it, so design social media strategies and uses that have measurable objectives.

Twitter:  @meducate
Join the LinkedIn CME Group

Additional Social Media For Business & Entrepreneurship Resources:

CB Whittemore talking social mediaIf you attended the Social Media For Business & Entrepreneurship Event, you received a reference sheet listing contact information and additional sources for social medial information. I list them here.

From Cecilia Pineda Feret, the event Co-chair:

From the event Hands-On Volunteers:
Benjamin Bloom, Digital Strategist at Wunderman, social business strategy, mobile platforms, digital innovation
Twitter: @bsbnyc

He suggests that you follow: @bpglobalpr, @fredwilson, @pkedrosky, @twelpforce

Brad Jobling, Social Media Manager, Columbia University Department of Surgery, Office of External Affairs
Twitter: @bradjobling
His blog Curiously Social

Mo Krochmal, Assistant Professor of Journalism, Media Studies and Public Relations, Hofstra University
Twitter: @krochmal

Mo suggests checking out: "Open Leadership" by Charlene Li and "Get Seen" by Steve Garfield

Visit these URLs: [his Facebook social media page], Hyperlocal Community News: and

Follow on Twitter: @amyvernon @lizstrauss

Amy Vernon, Freelance writer, editor and digital strategist. And Bacon Queen.
Her site:

Carmina Perez, Writer/speaker/Internet marketing consultant - "Social Media Strategies for Small Businesses"
Her website:
Her blog: Mogulette in the Making
Twitter: @mogulette

Christine B. Whittemore [aka CB -- yes, me, and that's also me deep in conversation during the 1:1 hands-on session], Chief Simplifier, Simple Marketing Now LLC
Twitter:  @cbwhittemore
Facebook: SimpleMarketingNow

A few resources I've put together on Getting Started with Social Media:
+ How Do I? Series
+Simplifying Social Media. For Research, Connection & Differentiation  which includes links to my Twitter and social media series and other resources.

From the event itself:
Flickr slideshow of the Social Media For Business and Entrepreneurship event.

Twitter list for those involved in CBSAC/NY and social media. [Thank you, Mo!]

I've created a Twitter transcript of the #cbsacnysm tweets.


Many thanks to the CBSAC/NY Social Media Committee, Sobel Media Events, a digital media connections company, and Samsung with special thanks to Cecilia Pineda Feret ’92 and Bill Sobel [Twitter: @bsobel226] for making this event happen.

The CBSAC/NY social media committee includes:
Co-chairs: Laurie C. Moses, Ashish Sharma and Cecilia Pineda Feret and Members: Mary Reilly, Alison Rooney, Christine B. Whittemore
Twitter: @cbsacny
Facebook: Columbia Business School Alumni Club of New York
LinkedIn Group for the Columbia Business School Alumni Club of New York

Special thanks, too, to Dorian Benkoil, Marshall Sponder, Jeremy Merrin and Lawrence Sherman for so graciously sharing their wisdom in this post. I really enjoyed meeting Brad Jobling, Ben Bloom, Mo Krochmal, Amy Vernon and Carmina Perez.


If you attended, what  were your takeaways? What ideas and questions do our panelists' recommendations trigger?

I hope you'll join us for the next event.


  1. What a wonderful wrapup C.B.! Now we have to plan the actual series to follow!

  2. Cecilia, you brought some wonderful business experts together for this event! Great job! Best, CB


Reminder: Please, no self-promotional or SPAM comments. Don't bother if you're simply trying to build inauthentic link juice. Finally, don't be anonymous: it's too hard to have a conversation. Thanks, CB

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