The Sawyer Business School will present a one-day conference, Social Media: Bridging the Gap, on Friday, Feb. 18, 2011, that will bring together business leaders, marketers and academic experts to explore how social media is dramatically changing business and marketing strategies.

Social media is creating fundamental shifts in the way business is conducted, with rapidly evolving business models. It is changing the speed and the manner in which companies and their customers communicate. New business practices are emerging, and social media campaigns are often likened to experiments as businesses try to take advantage of each new communication vehicle that comes along.

Social Media: Bridging the Gap will explore best practices in today’s business climate, including how social media practices are merging with and in many cases complementing traditional marketing efforts. Speakers from the worlds of business and academia will discuss issues ranging from how to teach social media practices to employing them in an overall marketing strategy.

The Sawyer Business School day-long event will be held in Sargent Hall, 120 Tremont St., Boston.

Three MBA students from Suffolk University’s Sawyer Business School conceived of the conference after completing a Business of Social Media course this past fall. The course was taught by Meera Venkatraman, associate professor of Marketing, who has served as faculty adviser for the conference.

Twitter feed

The organizers are calling the conference “a mashup of academic frameworks and business applications.” They devised a social marketing campaign to promote the conference, which quickly sold out. There will be a live Twitter feed at Hashtag #btg11.

The keynote speakers are:
• Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics and global vice president of digital marketing at EF Education
• Mike Volpe, vice president of marketing at Hubspot

A coterie of more than a dozen panelists and presenters from business and academia will address:
• Emerging Facebook strategies and tactics
• How to introduce search engine optimization in your marketing lesson plan
• The role of blogging in business
• Return on investment of social media
• Challenges of Twitter in business

The day will conclude with a networking party.