Social Media Speakers: 10 to Know

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Chris Brogan - photo credit Bobby James

*** Updated for 2011 ***

Looking for a social media speaker for your next event? With hundreds of options to choose from, and with new “experts” popping up every day, how do you know who is the best — and more specifically, the best for your event?

Knowing that social media is one of the most in-demand topics for meetings and conferences today, we have scouted books, articles and conferences for leading authorities who meet the following criteria:

  1. The individual must be established as a uniquely successful practitioner of social media and/or be frequently called on to share his or her expertise in the field — specifically as it relates to corporate and association social media practices.
  2. The individual must have a proven ability to discuss social media in a way that is easily understandable and relevant to each unique audience.
  3. The individual must be able to effectively engage the audience (every “expert” who writes an article is not necessarily someone you want on your platform as a speaker).

Based on those criteria, we’re assembling a powerful roster of social media speakers to help you address this highly relevant, in-demand subject at your next meeting or convention. Following are 10 such speakers from our roster to help you get started in your search (in alphabetical order):

Gwen Bell

Recently Named One of the 50 Most Influential Women in Social Media

Gwen Bell SpeakerGwen Bell believes that achieving success in the social web is “99% practice, 1% theory.” She approaches her work as she does her yoga practice: she keeps getting back on her yoga mat and falling out of poses until she masters them. Mistakes are part of the process and your ability to recover gracefully from failure is your greatest strength. Gwen can help you set yourself, your business and your presence online and off, on fire.

Chris Brogan

Co-Author of Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust

Chris Brogan SpeakerRyan Paddock of Digital Scientists says it best: “Chris Brogan, true to his reputation, is the authority when it comes to helping companies discover and implement social media into their business model. Chris… challenged the attendees to think differently about how to generate ROI in a strict corporate culture using social media and digital tools. His participation and prowess in the field undoubtedly added to the success of the event.”

Maggie Fox

Founder and CEO, Social Media Group

Maggie Fox SpeakerMaggie Fox is the founder and CEO of Social Media Group, one of the world’s largest independent agencies helping business navigate the new socially engaged Web. Widely acknowledged as industry-leading pioneers, SMG has created and executed social media strategies for the Canadian Government, SAP and Yamaha Motor. SMG has also been Ford Motor Company’s social media agency since 2007. Maggie is a communications and content expert who has never met a medium she didn’t like. Over the course of her career, she has led teams that have marketed, written and produced television and web content for some of the biggest and best-known brands in North America, including Sears, Deloitte and Disney.

Scott Klososky

Former CEO of Three Successful Startups; Specialist in Analyzing and Forecasting Technology Trends

Scott Klososky SpeakerScott Klososky has proven multiple times that by combining technology knowledge with information on social trends, a person can have a huge impact in growing a business. In his presentations, Scott can help audiences understand “Digital Plumbing” (how to make data more valuable by leveraging the business intelligence layer), Social Media (how target and proximity marketing are playing out in the advertising and marketing space), Technology and White Collar Lean (using technology to lower back office and operations costs) and Web 2.0 Tools (Blogs, RSS Feeds, social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook,Twitter, crowdsourcing, other “hot” tools, plus Scott’s 10 favorite websites of the month). After all, he says, “Technology is simply a tool. Without the people who utilize it, there is no value.” Read some of Scott’s insights in this recent Q&A.

David Kralik

Director of Internet Strategy for American Solutions; One of the “Top Ten Changing the World of Internet and Politics”

David Kralik Social Media SpeakerWhile qualified to discuss a broad range of issues related to social media, David’s specialty is discussing the benefits of bringing Silicon Valley culture to Washington, DC. (He recently spoke about this during a Policy Talks@Google session which you can watch here.) David asks: What if the government ran on 20% time? David can help governments from the municipal level to the federal level understand how social media can help them tell their stories online, build and engage a following, and communicate with their constituents.

Jennifer Leggio

ZDNet Blogger, Expert on Social Media Trends and Online Security

Jennifer Leggio Speaker PhotoJennifer Leggio has spent more than 15 years in the communications industry, nine of which have been focused on technology and network security. She has worn a variety of hats including journalist and editor, and has managed influencer relations programs for several network security and enterprise technology companies. Jennifer has led or supported interactive social networking efforts for security industry conferences including SOURCE Boston, RSA Conference (Security Bloggers Meet-Up 2008 and 2009) and Black Hat USA, and founded the Security Twits, a community for network security professionals on Twitter. Jennifer is the director of strategic communications for Fortinet, a leading network security appliance vendor.

Clayton Morris

Co-host of “FOX & Friends Weekend” and the Technology Show, “Gadgets and Games with Clayton Morris”

Clayton Morris Speaker PhotoClayton appeared on a panel with Rick Sanchez, Ann Curry, Brian Solis and others at the groundbreaking 140 Characters Conference and shared insights on how social media is changing the world of broadcast news. He is continuously uncovering best practices in social media by speaking with thought leaders such as Jeff Pulver, Robert Scoble and Gary Vaynerchuk, among others — see his chat with Jeff, Robert and Gary about the future of social media on the June 26 episode of Gadgets and Games.

Joe Rotella

Industry Expert on Usability, Web Design and Social Media

Joe Rotella Speaker PhotoPeople are hearing fantastic stories about successful social campaigns that cost little or nothing to implement, and perhaps you’re considering putting your organization’s toe into the social media marketing pool. But are you really ready? Joe’s expertise can help you get ready. Joe recently spoke about social media and usability at the Ohio Hospital Assocation’s Annual Meeting and Tiffany Himmelreich, Manager of Media & Public Relations at OHA, said, “Attendees were frantically scribbling down pearls of wisdom, which proved to be challenging as they were simultaneously laughing at Joe’s humorous and engaging delivery. We have never received so many compliments about a speaker.”

Peter Shankman

Authority on PR and Marketing; Creator of the 100k-member-strong Social Media Success: HARO

Peter Shankman Social Media Speaker PhotoPeter’s PR and Social Media clients have included the Snapple Beverage Group, NASA, The US Department of Defense, Walt Disney World, The Ad Council, American Express, Discovery Networks, Harrah’s Hotels, and many others. Peter is perhaps best known for founding Help A Reporter Out (HARO), which in under a year has become the de-facto standard for thousands of journalists looking for sources on deadline, offering them more than 100,000 sources around the world looking to be quoted in the media. HARO is currently the largest free source repository in the world, sending out over 1,200 queries from worldwide media each week and adding thousands of new members each week.

Aliza Sherman

Web Pioneer, Original Cybergrrl, Social Media Expert

Aliza Sherman Speaker PhotoAliza Sherman is the Original Cybergrrl – an Internet thought leader, highly sought-after online marketing expert and passionate evangelist for the Internet, particularly as a valuable and useful tool for our personal and professional lives. She is a motivational and inspirational speaker who has spoken around the world about the Internet, social media, virtual worlds entrepreneurship and women’s empowerment. She co-founded the veteran social media marketing agency, Conversify.

To find the perfect social media speaker(s) for your unique audience, meeting objectives and budget, contact us at The Speakers Group and we would be happy to offer some guidance and help you uncover opportunities to utilize social media in enhancing your business and your events.

And for additional help in your search for a social media speaker:

Be sure to read Peter Shankman’s “Is Your Social Media Expert Really An Expert?”

Not sure if a social media speaker is right for your meeting program? Read our blog post about the widespread interest in social media across numerous professions and industries.

Connect with The Speakers Group through Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter (company, founder).

Bookmark our Social Media Speakers page to stay up-to-date as we add more authorities on this topic to our roster.


  1. Katie Tolin says:

    If you want to be entertained while you are being educated, then Joe Rotella is the guy for you. Having previously heard him speak, I invited him to present and facilitate a discussion to an association that I belong to on the topic of personal versus corporate branding and the role that social media plays in those efforts. The session was well-received and everyone in attendance walked away with new ideas to implement and ponder. He led a thought-provoking session and his comical style was a great way to get people motivated early in the day. If you haven’t heard him speak, you should – he’s fabulous!

    • Hello,
      We are planning to have a social media event. I like our feed back about Joe Rotella. Could you please help me with his contact details? His email or phone. I would be ver grateful.


  2. Joe Rotella is one of the leading minds in the web/social media space. Practical, articulate, entertaining, and wickedly smart – he can guide you through a myriad of choices, while making the “complex” simple and easy to understand. I have chaired many multi-day conferences for major national organizations at which Joe has spoken, and Joe has always delivered, if not over-delivered. He leaves the audience wondering where the time flew. A real visionary.

  3. Susan Christophersen says:

    Joe Rotella could speak on any subject and both engage and entertain his audience! He’s passionate about social media and really knows his stuff. He tackles the elephant in the room (“Comments? You want us to allow comments?”) with humor and skillful wordplay. The audience will come away smiling *AND* thinking!

  4. If you want your audience to leave with information that will help them effectively use the various social media tools in their business, Joe Rotella is the speaker you want to hire. And, if you want them to enjoy the experience…he is also the speaker you want to hire. Hire him to do an overview of one tool or all, hire him to do a hands-on workshop where they can setup their “pages”, or hire him to do a combination. We’ve used him for both and he’s fantastic. It’s an important new era and Joe will help your audience embrace it!

  5. Joe has spoken at my annual event for the past 2 years. I’m going to let my attendees tell you how great he really is:

    “Absolutely fantastic. VERY informative and Joe Rotella was a terrific speaker. If I was only able to attend this session, the event would have been worth it for me.”

    “Wow – much better than I expected. Made me really think about the image I am projecting and how to optimize my site. In fact, I have a proposal on my desk where someone was going to optimize my site. This session alone probably saved me about $2,000 in consulting fees.”

    Congratulations to you, Joe, this is a well-deserved achievement!

  6. Jessica Levin says:

    I have heard Joe Rotella present at several different events and as a result, invited him to speak at two meetings that I produced.
    He understands that social media is not about technology, but about communication. His presentations are current, deliver value and are entertaining. He understands the challenges that the audience faces and offers solid, realistic solutions.

  7. Where’s Charlene Li?

  8. Not to knock Chris, et al – all great guys and interesting speakers… You missed a BUNCH of my fellow social media speakers, all of us women, all of us active on the speaking circuit locally, nationally and internationally, and all of us ACTIVE, KNOWLEDGEABLE, LONG TIME practitioners of good social media strategy. Some of my favorites: Beth Kanter, Shireen Mitchell, Laura Fitton, Leslie Bradshaw, and that’s only scratching the surface. /soapbox

  9. I have seen Joe Rotella present at numerous events and he never fails to deliver. He is a dynamic speaker who not only engages his audience with his inate ability to entertain, but also provides attendees with knowledge and tools that can be immediately implemented. He is, by far, one of my favorite speakers to date. Joe is enthusiastic and passionate and I would highly recommend him without hesitation.

  10. Granville Loar says:

    I have worked with Joe Rotella numerous times over the years. He is a consummate professional who always delivers! Joe presents his knowledge and experiences in a very personable way – adding his own dashes of fun and entertainment throughout. Always current to trends and evolutions in social media, Joe offers immediate take-aways for participants. I recommend Joe without even a hint of hesitation!

  11. Surprised that Dana Boyd did not make the list.

  12. Grateful to be on the list, and I know a few of those folks and think they’re awesome.

    Not one woman?

    Ah yes, the problem with lists. I’m not REALLY crapping on the list, but I agree with Leslie.

    Tara Hunt
    Dana Boyd
    Amber Naslund
    Valeria Maltonia
    Beth Kanter
    Beth Harte
    Liz Strauss
    KD Paine
    Rache Happe
    Tamar Weinberg
    Kathy Sierra

    Off the top of my head, those are a few.

  13. Thanks for all the comments!

    To address some of the criticism/concern I’ve seen regarding the fact that there are no women on this list: (1) We intentionally titled this post *OUR* top ten and not *THE* top ten so it would be clear that this is not the end-all, be-all, definitive top 10 list. The Speakers Group is a speakers bureau, and this blog is a channel for us to communicate information about speakers we represent, as well as helpful information about meeting planning, for our clients and prospective clients. The speakers here are speakers we stand behind as being outstanding for business and association audiences seeking social media speakers. (2) That said, we appreciate commenters here and elsewhere bringing to our attention the oversight of many women who are fantastic speakers and authorities in social media. We have come to realize that there is a real problem of women being overlooked in the world of technology/social media, and we unintentionally contributed to it. I assure you that we intended no harm and did not intentionally overlook any women for this list. We have some outstanding women “in queue” to be added to our roster at this moment, and we look forward to adding many more in the future. We welcome the continued suggestions of candidates in the comments here.

    Thanks again for stopping by and commenting.

  14. Shawn – Thanks for stepping up and responding, both here and on Twitter. I recommend that TSG reps attend SXSWi, BlogWorldExpo, Gnomedex and BlogHer/BlogHer Business (if you don’t already) and cast a wider net.

    Chris Brogan and others have given you an excellent starter list of women who are outstanding speakers, and I look forward to “Round Two” of this post in the near future. 🙂

    Of course yours is not the definitive list; no one’s really can be, but it’s so far off the mark that we called you on it. Thanks again for promising to take another look….

  15. This blog post was originally titled “Social Media Speakers: Our Top Ten.” Due to some confusion and concern about the exact meaning of “Our Top Ten,” we made a decision to re-title the post “Social Media Speakers: 10 to Know,” which would have actually been a better fit from the beginning. The introductory text has also been slightly revised to provide further clarification that these are 10 speakers from our roster – as are all of the speakers we write about on our blog. Again, this is a better fit than the original text. As always, hindsight is 20/20! The list of speakers remains the same, but we’ll be spotlighting some great women in social media very soon. We never intended to ignite (or fuel) such a firestorm with this blog entry, but we listen and we learn.

  16. This post is taking a lot of heat – the list is good (maybe a couple of sub’s) but you probably ought to hurridely put out a women’s list too – yikes!

  17. Thanks, Kristen. We noticed 🙂 and we’re working on it!

  18. I have to chime in on the lack of women as well. Doubtless, everyone of the list members deserves to be there, but I can add a number of ladies who do as well (on top of those already submitted):

    -Toby Bloomberg
    -Yvonne DiVita
    -BL Ochman
    -Ann Handley
    -Elisa Camahort

    And the list could go on.

  19. Joe Rotella’s presentation on social media was a highlight for hospital public relations professionals at our 2009 Annual Meeting. He combines a great knowledge of social nedua with an entertaining presentation style that keeps people learning and laughing – an outstanding combination!

  20. Hi,

    I am lecturing all over the world on Social Media, Marketing and New Trends in Communications.

    My two books – Secondary Instinct and 111 Rules on Facebook were absolute bestsellers, the third one – Generation-F will be published in a month also in English on

    Recently I was elected Chairman of the World Communications Forum in Davos, months before that The Association of Business Communications in India announced me as “Communicator of the Decade”

    More info:

    Best regards.

    Maxim Behar

    Maxim Behar
    CEO & Chairman of the Board

    M3 Communications Group, Inc.
    A Hill+Knowlton Strategies Affiliate

    60, Bulgaria Blvd.
    1680 Sofia, Bulgaria
    p: +359 2 818 70 10
    m: +359 888 50 31 13

    M3 Communications College

    Maxim says: Good work generates more work:)


  1. […] a quick overview of the debate. TSG (The Speakers Group Speakers Bureau) released “Their Top 10 Social Media Speakers To Know.” Blogger Geoff Livingston fired back with “Women Snubbed in Top Ten Speakers List, Industry […]

  2. […] been a couple of weeks since The Speakers Group (TSG) put out a Top Ten Speakers for Social Media list, now retitled “Social Media Speakers: 10 to […]

  3. […] last couple of weeks begot a bit of brouhaha when The Speakers Group posted a “top 10 list” of social media speakers that included only men. The Internet backlash was severe from a […]

  4. […] not going to hash and rehash the controversy around the TSG all-male list of speakers on social media, or the O’Reilly Web 2.0 Summit conflagration about the same issue not long before that, […]

  5. […] I must confess that I had never heard of either David or Scott before I vetted them. David was recommended by the brother of a colleague of mine that had heard him speak. When I saw the subject matter of David’s book, “Relationship Economics,” I knew he would be perfect for SM@RT 2010. I checked Scott out with several agents I was working with and all had high praise for him. Scott made this list of 10 top social media speakers. […]

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