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05/13/2009 Social Media Breakfast Speaker: Todd Defren


On June 1, I’m hosting a Social Media Breakfast in Burlington with Champlain College. We have a great line up of speakers, including C.C. Chapman, Todd Defren, and Mike Hayes of Magic Hat Brewing Company. Plus a good breakfast. After missing SXSW this year I wanted to see if we could bring a little bit of that magic to Vermont. The morning should be a good opportunity to listen to some of the top brains in the business, to learn something, and to connect with area marketers, both on the business and the agency sides.

We’ll also have a breakout session to help a Vermont non-profit break into social media. For registration info, visit http://smb.eventbrite.com.

Todddefren I’ve also asked C.C. and Todd some basic questions about their involvement in social media. First up is Todd Defren. Todd is principal at SHIFT Communications, one of the top 20 PR firms in the country. His PR Squared blog ranks 17th out of AdAge’s Power 150! I remember looking to Todd for direction when my old agency was trying to get a handle on the social media press release several years ago.


Q: When did you start getting involved in social media?

A: I started blogging before anything else related to Social Media - in fact I don't think the term had been invented yet. It was in June 2004.  I took up blogging begrudgingly, to satisfy my marketing guy's pleas to "look into this blogging thing."  I figured I'd have 5 posts, tops.  Took me almost 2 years to get a single comment on my blog, so I hated it for a long time!

Q: What's the most interesting or fun social media campaign you’ve either been involved in or watched?

A: We've had a lot of fun working with brands like Canadian Club and H&R Block - cases in which the brands your “grandparents” had grown up with were now vying for increased relevance and dialogue.  For as much as we hear about Big Brands that are shy to be active in the social networks, these "old fashioned" companies have really embraced the new world order.

Q: What social media trend is, for you, the most interesting to keep our eye on?

A: The disconnect between Social Media Marketing - in which everyone is important - and Customer Service, in which everyone is a number.  This will be an inexcusable gap in coming years.

Check out Todd’s recent post on Social Media and Customer Service.

Can’t wait to hear Todd speak on June 1.

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