Archive for “June, 2011”

Social Media Group is Hiring: Client Engagement Directors!

Yes, it’s true – in this case we’re hiring for our B2B group. And I know I’m supposed to say this, but I think we’ve created a pretty awesome place to work: SMG offers unlimited paid time off, stock option plan, performance and new business bonuses, quarterly staff events and weekly staff lunches, plus whatever other fun stuff we can squeeze in between. In exchange, all we ask is for total awesomeness.

Here’s the job description. If you are rock star awesome, we look forward to hearing from you. You can apply here.

Social Media Group: B2B Client Engagement Director: Summary of Duties

  • Leads the day-to-day relationship, delivery and development of Social Media Group (SMG) accounts – with specific emphasis on the optimization of applied social media for organizations.
  • Develops B2B client strategies and determines client objectives and defines programs and campaigns for social media marketing, digital communications, technology, measurement, monitoring and research.
  • Creates client programs, and ensures quality control and effectiveness of programs from strategy through tactical execution and results reporting.
  • Creates and fosters conditions for client and SMG success. Manages relationships with peers, colleagues, clients, vendors and partners. Supervises work of the account teams and ensures SMG process compliance as it relates to assigned accounts.
  • Is a leader within SMG. Supports new business. Operates with minimal supervision, with latitude for independent judgment within the mandate defined. Meets internal milestones and client deadlines and ensures the delivery of quality work.
  • Uses a deep understanding of social media that comes from active participation in online communities, blogs, presence applications, etc. combined with continuous exploration and learning about new developments to define and contribute to the development of innovative social media strategies and tactics for SMG clients.

Major Duties

  • Leads the day-to-day relationship, delivery and development of Social Media Group B2B accounts.
  • Leads client strategic planning projects within the defined SMG strategy process and structure.
  • Prepares plans, campaign and concept materials for clients and prospects.
  • Prepares budgets, and ensures project plans are set.
  • Supervises and supports the tactical execution of account programs.
  • Prepares and keeps current information about SMG clients and the evolving opportunities in applied social media.
  • Represents the company at public functions and charitable events in a manner that reflects positively on SMG and SMG clients.
  • Writes and edits client communications materials – presents materials to clients and works to build client understanding, buy-off and deepen relationships.
  • Leads client communications as it relates to projects, builds client relationships and trust through consistent delivery of quality work.

Performs duties to support Social Media Group:

  • Supports the ongoing development of Social Media Group as a leader in the social space
  • Prepares reports for management including managing escalations and proactively identifying areas for team improvement
  • Coordinates internal and external events and campaigns for Social Media Group
  • Writes articles for the company blog
  • Stays current on trends and development relevant to the Social Media Group practice groups and presents opportunities to management


Bachelor’s degree and/or College Diploma in business, marketing, or communications.


Requires a minimum of seven to ten years of experience in communications and client relations in the broad area(s) of:

  • Public Relations/Communications
  • Marketing/Advertising
  • Business Consulting

Requires previous client service work in social media marketing or equivalent applied expertise in social media for B2B clients, companies or organizations.


  • Solid communications skills, both written and verbal
  • Social personality and genuine love of relationship-building
  • Excellent critical thinking skills
  • Ability to work in diversified teams
  • Self-starter with the ability to work with minimal supervision
  • Ability to motivate a team
  • Consensus building
  • Client counsel and relationship-building
  • A passionate interest in social media
  • Relentless curiosity
  • Comfort in a fast-paced environment
  • PC/Mac and various software applications

Publicly Traded Companies + Empire Avenue = Very. Bad. Idea.

You may or may not have heard about Empire Avenue, a social game modeled on the stock market. Basically, you set up a profile, connect it to your social channels, and the more you engage on the social web, the more “eaves” (currency) you earn. There’s a little more to it than that, but that’s the jist. It has also been described as a real-time way to measure digital influence (which is pretty interesting).

Of course loads of individuals jumped on board (myself included) to check it out. As one might expect, folks with significant social profiles (lots of channels, lots of followers, lots of content) quickly saw their share price rise and hey, buying shares in someone was a nice social gesture – a vote of confidence, if you will.

Monday I checked in after several weeks of not really engaging on the platform in quite a while. I started to notice something. Quite a number of brands had jumped on EA, some of them publicly traded companies – with actual, real stock prices. You know, the kind set by the real world – the kind that actually matter to people. In essence, those real-world valuations (the ones on which a penny or two loss on can translate into a decline of hundreds of millions of dollars in market capitalization) were tied to pretend stock prices being set by a bunch of social media geeks playing a game.

So that made me uncomfortable. I had a conversation with an industry colleague about it, and he said “Well, it’s hardly a very significant platform!” And this is true – no more than a few hundred people seem to be online at any given time. Not exactly facebook. But of course that begs the question, WHY ARE YOU THERE IF IT DOESN’T MATTER?

But I digress. Looking into my inbox, I came across something that turned discomfort into disbelief. I had a communication from one of the brands on Empire Avenue, explaining that while there had been a run on their stock price, they were firmly committed to turning thing around and delivering shareholder value!

I swear, I just about fell off my chair. “Who on Earth,” I wondered, “Would expose a publicly traded company to the risk of having a real share price compared to a fake one? Putting them in the position of having to message shareholders on why everything was ok – with their pretend share price?” (Nevermind the inevitable prayer, “Please-don’t-do-a-news-story-about-how-our-fake-share-price-plummeted-last-week!!”)

To me this is a governance and a commonsense (which we know is not all that common) issue. Just because it’s social doesn’t mean you get to ignore your responsibility to your real shareholders, exposing them to unnecessary risk. Deciding where, when and how your brand engages online is a strategic decision that should not be taken lightly.

Let me know if you think I’m making a mountain out of a molehill.

If you don't think diversity is important, you are an idiot.

This debate, often (in my world) framed by anger and shock over the under-representation of women in technology, keeps popping up, like some sort of endless game of whack-a-mole.

A few years ago the pot was stirred by a speakers’ group who didn’t include a single woman on their roster of social media/tech thought leaders.

Last week, it was a startup incubator in Montreal that had 85 male members and not one woman listed as participants at launch.

I continue to be amazed at the “blissful ignorance” out there (that’s often how the resulting apologies are worded – the excuse that’s often given is that “women are hard to find” – here’s a helpful link for that one.) but honestly, I’m sick to death of the discussion. In fact, I think the discussion is all wrong, and if we want to get through the glass ceiling (or whatever you want to call this stubborn mindblock), I think it’s time to re-frame it.

The issue here is not boys vs. girls – it’s diversity. Study after study after study (and book after book, whitepaper after whitepaper) has shown that more diverse environments (that is, environments where there are not only really smart people, but really smart people with diverse backgrounds and viewpoints) are more innovative. Diverse environments get better results.

Logic would indicate that if you don’t think about all forms of diversity when you’re assembling your team/club/incubator/roster/advisory board, you are at a significant competitive disadvantage, especially in a space moving as fast as this one.

In other words: if you don’t think diversity is important, you are, frankly, an idiot.

Social Gaming is the New Black

Gamification and social gaming are two trends that are taking social network communities to an entirely new level.  Although very different animals, the growing popularity and fast-moving industry is catching the eyes of both investors and the technology-savvy public.  As recently as this week, RIM acquired Scoreloop and is pushing to get into the mobile social gaming network.  Why?  The possibility to be a part of another successful IPO (like the recent LinkedIn offering) in the games industry makes the possibly substantial return on investment alluring. Even the most financially-shy investor is watching to see what happens (See Up Next for Tech IPO’s: Social Gaming).

Social Gaming, What’s the Big Deal?

Why are investors ready to jump into the already heavily-crowded gaming industry? Social gaming is about the user experience and competition. Take Farmville for example. You must have a Facebook account in order to be able to play, and can request, compete and socialize with friends to grow your status.  Social gaming is also heavily app-driven, with most social based games available on your smartphone.  Consider how often you may find yourself commuting to work, or waiting for someone, and automatically log onto your phone and start playing a game.  The user investment in a game is generally a minimal cost, of any (typically ranging form $.99 to $2.99 on average) or close to the cost of a good quality coffee.  Keeping in that in mind, it’s still a billion dollar annual business.  Given that gaming is becoming a second nature reaction, start-ups are hoping to catch the interest of investors and get a cut of the pie.  With the prospect of Zynga Preparing to File for IPO [REPORT], the gaming industry is about to take a new step with investors salivating to get a piece of the action.

What About Console Games? Where’s their future?

Console games as a whole are starting to flatline.  Even Call of Duty: Black Ops, which hit record sales upon release, has slowed significantly with interest turning more and more towards online, social and incentive-based game experiences. Strong game titles and potentially repetitive story lines are starting to lose the interest of the gaming community.  However, some companies such as EA games are jumping on the social gaming platform as opposed to fighting against it. With the wildly popular The Sims now coming to Facebook,  players will be able to socialize and fraternize to their hearts content all through their smartphones.

Change in Demographic

The beauty of social gaming is that the demographic is no longer narrow or typical of the gaming community. Both women and men, in multiple age groups are participating by downloading and engaging in game play. The average age for participation is also widening, with children in the United States as young as two playing (see Kids Online Game Moshi Monsters Hits 50 Million Registered Users). This coupled with mobile access is looking to be one of the largest trends in social media for 2011.

Subscribers to our mailing list should keep an eye out for SMG’s mid-year 2011 Trend Report – we’re working hard to compile a social media state of the nation and our point of view on the evolution of the big trends.

Why Are Women Afraid of Foursquare?

Recently, I made the decision to join Foursquare a location-based social network for mobile devices. The service came to market in 2009 and has steadily been growing in popularity with users internationally. However, despite the healthy growth of the service there has been a noticeable gap in the demographics, specifically women.

This raised the natural question, why? I used myself as a template for an introspective look at Foursquare. Why did I join it? Why did it take me so long to join the community? And did I have any apprehensions about using it? I joined out of curiosity. I was late at adopting it as I wasn’t sure I would be active on it, and speaking to the apprehension – I was initially wary but have since embraced the technology.

When you examine why women are hesitating to use the social network, there appears to be one singular issue. The issue is safety. How comfortable am I broadcasting to the world where I am at any given time when I check in somewhere? From an outside standpoint, I can agree with the hesitation to use the software due to that reason. This was the primary reason it took me quite a while to digest the concept before signing up. But here is the caveat to that thinking. You have control over who your friends are. If you are the one driving then you can make the decision to share this information with as many or as few individuals you want. In essence this cancels out the issue of safety and makes it more of preconceived notion vs. an actual issue.

But what if you ‘friend’ someone on good terms and it turns sour? How many people actually heavily monitor their social media profiles? I don’t monitor who is following me, does that make me irresponsible? I don’t think so, as at the end of the day, you control the situation. If you make the conscious choice to not manage your profile and it leads to an issue, technically it can be rooted back to the end user. The issue of safety with Foursquare is no different than using similar network software called  Facebook Places.  I frequently see updates from friends on their locations via this network. Doing that is really no different than the Foursquare concept.

For me, my Foursquare account is linked to my Twitter feed by choice. Whenever I log in, Twitter will broadcast it. I personally am not worried about my safety. When I do check-in somewhere, it’s always a public place and usually well populated. I am also in control of where I want to check in. For example, I never check in to my home address. Really, who honestly cares that I am at home?

If you strip away all the safety concerns, then what value does Foursquare bring to me? If I am the only one in my immediate social group on it, would I not be better off just calling my friends? I use the network because I actually like the functionality behind Foursquare, and for me it’s simply a novelty.  I am all about the social game aspect of the network. When I become the mayor of a coffee shop I frequent or a spin studio I may attend I do have the momentary “that’s awesome” feeling inside, I admit it. For example, in my office there is an ongoing competition to see who can maintain  the mayor status. Everyday, my co-workers and I all log in with the hope of ousting the current mayor and taking over.   In my previous role, I was frequently on the road attending and covering events and it made sense to be on Foursquare so bloggers following me could either pipe up with questions on the event I was at or join me. But, how does this tie in to the lack of women wanting to be a part of the service?

I think it’s a combination of privacy and control. I think that most women, despite the reality that they do completely control the content, feel some level of hesitation. They are worried that they will encourage unsuspecting admirers to randomly show up or they simply don’t feel comfortable with the knowledge that anyone can know where they are at any given time. At the end of the day, the preconceptions about it are really quite nonsensical. You are the driver, you make the decisions.

For more discussion on the topic check out Why do women avoid check in services? from the Globe and Mail.