As a social media manager, I’ve wanted to attend a summit on social media for a while now. Luckily, Marquette was gracious enough to host such an event and I have great bosses that paid for my ticket.

The PR & Social Media Summit contained prominent leaders in the social media industry including speakers from McDonalds, GM, GE, Prudential, CISCO, and Aurora. Each speaker offered great insight and perspectives into the social media world. My favorite speeches came from an Olympian, a comedian, and a CEO.

The day began with Olympian Nick Symmonds discussing how he sold his body for a tattoo. The 800-meter sprinter noticed the lack of sponsorship opportunities in the running world and decided to auction off his shoulder on E-bay to a sponsor. The winner was allowed to temporarily tattoo their Twitter handle on it. The price started at $14.99, the cost of the tattoo, and ended up with a winning bid of $11,100! Unfortunately, the Olympics wouldn’t let Symmonds race with the tattoo showing and Symmonds turned to Twitter and Facebook to change that. Today, Symmonds has over 27,000 Twitter followers and 11,000 Facebook Likes as he continues to campaign for the elimination of the Olympic mandate (Rule 40) that doesn’t allow runners to have other sponsors, and increased sponsorship of runners. It was a very engaging and interesting way to start the day.

In a forty minute speech on comedy in social media and PR, Tim Washer had everyone in the room laughing the entire time. Washer is a comedian who has worked with the likes of Amy Poehler, The Onion, and Comedy Central. Currently, he works at CISCO where he focuses on comedy and showcasing customers in marketing duties. Washer explained that comedy can be used effectively for branding and marketing (watch this video). It can put the consumer at ease, make them smile, and relate to them. He believes companies shouldn’t be afraid to use comedy in its marketing because of what it can offer.

Washer’s second marketing point was talking about clients, rather than what you and your business can offer. Washer showed the importance of making videos for clients in which they describe what they do, rather than having videos about what you do. This model shows modesty and an emphasis on the client. Washer argued that people are more interested in your work and results than you. To view some of his work you can visit his website at

Brian Moran gave the most informative speech of the day. A former director of sales at the Wall Street Journal, and current CEO of his self-titled company, Moran is a businessman who understands both the business and marketing sides of social media.

Perhaps the most eye opening opinion by Moran was that small businesses don’t have to use all social media platforms, in fact he discourages it. He pushes for businesses to only use the social media platforms where their customers are. He was a big proponent for Twitter and LinkedIn, because they focus on colleagues and peers, while Facebook is predominantly friends and family, which isn’t necessarily the best route for business.

Moran also pointed out that social media is essential to stay competitive in all businesses. He made the very valid point that social media is a free marketing tool and you get back what you put in. He called it ROTI (Return on Time Invested) rather than ROI (Return on Investment). Small businesses need to use this free tool, get there before competitors, and maximize its potential to stay valid for the future.

Overall the day had great speakers, great food (maybe my favorite part), great topics, and a great environment of young and eager professionals wanting to learn about the social media landscape. I thoroughly enjoyed the summit and I would encourage all social media professionals to attend future events.

To view power points from the PR & Social Media Summit, click here.

Written by Dave Beyer


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