The fourth keynote session at SMMW14 was a panel led by Jay Baer that included Jeff Rohrs, Nichole Kelly, and Ted Rubin. These four social media power houses, if anything, proved that not everybody who is successful in social media agrees.

Each panelist bought a unique perspective to the conversation that took place. Some points were even found to be contradictory between panelists and the discussion became quite lively.

This is part of the SMMW14 series. You can catch up on the rest of the posts in this series by clicking here.

Jay began by talking about the valuations put on social networks:

Social Network Market Caps (as of 04/20/14)

  • Facebook: $150.3 Billion
  • Twitter: $25.3 Billion
  • LinkedIn: $21.14 Billion
  • Google: $361.6 Billion

These social networks are public companies who are businesses.

I remember a time when social media was more about connections than commerce.

Question for the panel: Have we lost the “social” in social media?


“Don’t think of social media as advertising, think of it as communication and relationship building with your audience.” -Ted Rubin

It’s all based on the way you communicate. You can answer or follow up. Don’t just respond, but follow up as well; keep the conversation going.

“I don’t look at my feed, I reach out to people I want to connect with.” – Ted Rubin

“Giving a sh*t does scale. It’s not just about the people who are commenting or you’re commenting on– it’s about the people reading those commetns.” – Ted Rubin


When talking about social media, you have to be clear about which part of social media you’re talking about.

  • Message
  • Medium (channel)
  • Audience


People have been running away from advertising. Social has been easy to measure, we just haven’t been measuring.

Question: Blog comments– which would you prefer, comments on the blog or comments as a tweet?


I measure the success of our blog by the number of comments. If your blog isn’t generating (sparking) comments then your post wasn’t provoking enough. Stop writing crap.


But today those shares are turning into conversations on the social share. And there are apps that bring those social conversations into the blog comments.

(On advertising) People share things about brands because it’s an expression of themselves.


People actually love when brands interact with them in a human way.

You have to listen and understand what people want. I will never put a question at the end of a blog post because it’s like begging for people to comment.


If you’re measuring success it’s about what conversions are brought about by social. Measureing your following doesn’t matter.

Question for the panel: Does share of voice matter?

  • Ted – yes
  • Jay – no
  • Nichole – no
  • Jeff – it’s a C-suite metric. A chest beating metric.


Share of voice matters because you can measure it– “If our share of voice grows [this much], our conversions grow [this much].”


I take issue with what [Ted] said eariler– do people like when brands communicate with them? Hell no. We did some research a few years ago…

We can’t see users as some moolithic group. There are channels for soem people that are right and channels for some that are wrong.


We think about brands being in social as “the brand” and we forget that our employees are on social themselves. We should be empowering them to be a voice fo the brand.


Certain brands can do certain things in social media. There’s no right or wrongs– you have to decide which business decisions are best for your business.


“Social media policies will never cure stupid.” -Nichole Kelly

[That was probably one of the best tweetable moments of the entire conference.]


The behaviors of social media is being driven by mobile. It’s easy to post from a mobile device, it’s not as easy to consume content via moble.


People are adapting, they’re getting better at engaging on mobile.


There are certain times I will withold replies until I’m on a laptop if it’s a more thoughtful reply.


I think mobile is really interesting because I think it’s bringing the social back into social media. It’s one to one communication.

Sometimes I think we write emails just so people think we’re doing something.

[At this point they opened it up for Q&A from the audience.]

My Commentary

I really loved seeing the conversation unfold. There were some great points made by all and I especially resonated with a lot of what Jeff Rohrs was saying. I’ll definitely be buying his book, Audience: Marketing in the Age of Subscribers, Fans and Followers, as soon as possible!

This summary really doesn’t do the conversation justsice since I couldn’t possibly record everything that was said. But hopefully you can take some of the highlights to push your social savvy just a little bit further.

What stood out to you most about the discussion? You can leave a comment by clicking here


  1. says

    Thanks so much for the detailed play by play. That was one of my favorite sessions I’ve ever done. And while the dialogue between many of us may have appeared to be a bit of a battle, it was really a thoughtful debate by a group of people who respect each other immensely. Ted and I have great things in store that were inspired by this session and I’m so excited to see them come to fruition. Everyone on the panel is truly first class and it was an honor to be included.

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