#SMWChicago Recaps: Social Intelligence, Evolving Media & More

Handling Comms During COVID-19? We've compiled our best resources.

Social Media Week 2015 concluded just as it started – with tons of great information and ideas. Throughout the week, speakers shared their unique thoughts on creativity, technology and innovation.

Attendees left the conference feeling inspired and looked forward to implementing their new-found knowledge in their own businesses. Cision was able to attend several inspiring sessions, and we’re eager to share what we’ve learned.

Here are a few summaries for some of the #SMWChicago sessions we attended:

Using Social Intelligence Across Your Entire Business

by Anna Marevska


“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” — Stephen R. Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”

This panel included three speakers who brought unique perspectives on how brands could use social intelligence. Each delved into how social intelligence can help you listen to conversations online to benefit your brand’s customer service, marketing, product development, sales and PR initiatives.


Pauline Chow, a data scientist at Clique Inc., discussed her company, which owns three social savvy and popular brands online: Who What Wear, a fashion website; Byrdie, a beauty website; and My Domaine, a lifestyle website.

 These three sites are geared toward women and have huge social media presences. Pauline attributed their continuously growing influence to the brand’s:

  • Strong editorial content
  • Use of high-quality images
  • Reputation as a destination for inspiration
  • Transparent and honest use of social media
  • Knowledge of its audience

Clique uses social intelligence to power their sites by measuring from interaction to purchase and delivering premium shop-able, curated content and products.

Extend your brand’s reach with the help of influencers! Learn how with Cision’s free white paper!

Track competitors

Dan Kocchi, senior advisor of competitive intelligence at CVS Health, explained how he used social intelligence to measure against competitors.

We monitor the volume of mentions and type of topics they discuss. We also monitor what they say not only in social but offline, in everyday conversations,” he said.

Dan encouraged brands to share the information about competitors with sales teams. Social intelligence can help you gain new clients.

Turn data into insights

The third and final speaker, Eric Schwamberger, partner, chief marketing & content officer at Tenthwave Digital, talked about the relationship between data and social.

When social listening combines with social insights, that’s how you get social intelligence. He stresses the importance of hearing and analyzing what was said, not merely listening.

With social intelligence, Dan says, you can take the information you gather from your audience’s social conversations and derive insights on trends, themes and other observations to inform your business.

Implications of Media Tech on Coverage of Political Campaigns

by Alex Szopinski

#SMWChicago - News Coverage

This panel discussed the challenge of navigating news in the social landscape, especially in the lead up to the elections.

With a quarter of registered voters getting their political news on their phone, the media needs to find new ways to deliver news to their audience. Jennifer Hoppenstedt from ABC 7 Chicago said their audience turns to newsfeeds to get news from the people they know, the people they trust.

Newsrooms on both the local and national level are still figuring out how to package and deliver news to different social platforms and how to become their target audience’s trusted source. Right now, social media is a playground where they are trying new things.

For example, Mikaela Lefrak from The New Republic says they try a new strategy every debate like sharing a longer analysis right after debate versus the next day. As they track the engagement with the content, they will better be able to provide news where, when and how their audience wants it.

What Mainstream America Still Doesn’t Get About Black Twitter

By Michelle Tisdale

Twitter - SMWChicago

Black Twitter, as described by the panelists, is a virtual community that allows blacks and those that identify with the black community to have a conversation, talk about things that matter and rally individuals when the situation calls.

We (yes, I identify with this group), have always been a community – a communication-based group sharing stories with one another. Now we have found a new medium through which to communicate.

I found it interesting that there were no real stories of brands that were able to successfully leverage Black Twitter to promote their brands. However, brands will be placed in check if they offend or don’t understand this audience in planning their campaigns.

The key for many will be how to authentically break in on this conversation in a relevant way. The first to do this, I believe, will be endeared to the Black Twitter community.

Real Talk: Multicultural Social Influencers

By Michelle Tisdale

Social Influencers - SMWChicago

Real talk indeed! Listening to Luvvie Ajayi and Patrice Grell Yursik was like eavesdropping on a conversation among girlfriends. Most in the audience could relate to how they came into social media and developed their audiences. 

Both opened up by sharing the challenges and successes that stem from being African-American women bloggers. They also discussed their impact on and responsibility to their community.

The key message from this dynamic duo?

Don’t underestimate the power of influence!


Luvvie and Patrice corrected the three biggest misconceptions about multicultural bloggers. There is size to their audience; they do have a financial force; and lastly, there is diversity to diversity. 

The Breakwater Crowdfunding Session

by Michael Loffredo

Lake Michigan

The idea behind constructing an island that would serve as a recreation space in Lake Michigan a mile offshore from Chicago has been a four-year project in the making. Before co-founders Beau D’Arcy and Ashvin Lad launched their Kickstarter campaign, they spent countless hours over seven months creating content and devising a rewards program.

The team decided it was best to hold onto information as a tool to drive the launch of the campaign. The Breakwater Team’s strategy included releasing information the day before to stir up conversation around their plans before it launched on Kickstarter. It worked.

The $30,000 target was exceeded in 36 hours. By the end of the month, they doubled their goal. As if that weren’t enough, the interest the Kickstarter campaign generated led to a $1 million private investment. They’re now initiating a much larger round to fund the construction of the vessel.

From a PR perspective, the Kickstarter campaign was the first real barometer of what people thought about the project. In hindsight, they were successful in laying the groundwork with social media first and then traditional followed: TV interviews, columns, blogs, etc.

The Breakwater Team still needs a permit from the city, but with numerous supporters across the country, the team is optimistic they are only a few years from making the idea of a floating public space in Lake Michigan a reality.


Images: Sean MacEnteeYoel Ben-AvrahamDiana RobinsonMike Meysner (Creative Commons)

Tags : social media

About Cision Staff

Cision's research staff makes over 20,000 media updates to Cision's Media Database each day! For more updates and other thought leadership in the industry, follow @Media_Moves.

Recent Posts

Cision Blogs

  • Communications Best Practices

    Get the latest updates on PR, communications and marketing best practices.

  • Cision Product News

    Keep up with everything Cision. Check here for the most current product news.

  • Executive Insights

    Thought leadership and communications strategy for the C-suite written by the C-suite.

  • Media Blog

    A blog for and about the media featuring trends, tips, tools, media moves and more.