Archive for “April, 2013”

Are You Ready for The Shake-Up?

Prepare yourself. From September 15th to 17th, 2013, Social Media Today and Blogworld will be hosting The Social Shake Up an amazing gathering of social and digital practitioners in Atlanta. This is the “real deal” – we’ll be joined by leading thinkers (and, importantly, doers) from big brands like AFLAC, Citigroup, Dell, GetSatisfaction and PwC, who will be sharing their insights, experiences and unique perspectives on what it means to be a social business, now and into the future.

It’s been my great pleasure to help curate this event. We’ve created tracks that we feel both reflect the questions you’re asking today, and the ones your boss will be asking tomorrow: Community and Customers, Big Data, Content, The Social Business, The Mobile Business, and Strategy and the C-Suite (that last section geared specifically to senior leaders and the 30,000-foot view they need to take when considering what it truly means to be a social business). I’m really excited about the content and the top-notch industry leaders we’ve asked to participate. This isn’t a theoretical event – this is the best of the best, sharing their practical insights, a window into applied innovation from those who have done it.

I’m also extremely fortunate to be hosting the event live, and I hope you’ll be able to join us. For a very short time, we’re going to be offering early registration pricing. You can sign up to attend here, and I recommend you do so quickly. This is the only event of its kind, and if you’re (like so many others) tired of the sizzle and ready for the steak, this is the conference for you.

Hope to see you there.

Social Media Group: Many Cool Things

For the past few months we’ve had weekly team lunches in which we share our “many cool things” – neat stuff that we’ve found on the Internet. Here’s this weeks list for your enjoyment!

See where God was mentioned on Twitter – amazing contextual data visualization, imagine doing this for a brand? http://www.god-was-here.com/

Do you know who Vannevar Bush was? You should!

Twitter’s new music app, launched at Coachella – not quite up and running yet.

Google uses big data to do big good by fighting human trafficking.

http://sportballsreplacedwithcats.tumblr.com < exactly what it sounds like. Cats! The Internet!

We were not sure if this was for real, but we loved it anyway: the golftcart hovercraft.

Perrier Secret Place – an interactive experience, starts at a  secret party in Paris, where users can choose one of 60 different characters, and then search through the interactive video experience to find a secret treasure, to unlock a chance to win a trip to the Carnival in Rio, Ibiza in Spain, St. Tropez in France, Art Basel in Miami or New Year’s Eve in Sydney.

What many cool things did you come across this week?

Where We Came From, Where We're Going

When I founded Social Media Group almost seven years ago, I had a feeling I was on to something. There were a number of technology companies that we’re selling (at the time) blogging software, but clients had no idea how to actually engage online. The deal was sealed when, in a client meeting in 2006, a very senior agency person said he was really interested in how “companies were using blogs to talk to their customers”. I’d been blogging since 2004 and knew that I could help firms figure that out.

We started small – for the first year or so of being in business, I could literally read, and write about, every single thing that happened in social media. And I did – I posted daily on the SMG blog, commenting on many others. There was a small group of us working in the space then – all of whom I still count as friends, and many of whom have gone on to amazing careers as some of the most recognizable names in social and digital strategy and execution. One of the things I love best is when I get the chance to hang out with this group of “Social Media Old-Timers” at conferences like South by Southwest.

Social Media Group grew along with interest in social media – in 2007 we were hired by Ford Motor Company to increase their capabilities in social. By 2010, they were winning awards from their peers for their work in the space. We were engaged by companies like 3M to help craft strategic plans, and I take pride in the fact that digital policies and guidelines we wrote for them have been adopted across their global organization. We helped retail and consumer companies, too – in our work with Sleep Number we were able to help them draw the line between a Facebook “like” and direct return on investment - a case study Facebook’s legal department told them they couldn’t use because it was so exceptional. We pioneered – being among the first to use platforms like Outbrain and promoted tweets, and we lead – as in the early days, thought leadership and speaking was an enormous part of our marketing (and was always what I loved best).

Of course there were plenty of mistakes, missteps and misunderstandings along the way, but I learned from each and every one of them (and hopefully repeated very few!). As with all agencies, we ebbed and flowed with the work – but have, in recent years, gotten to an absolutely incredible place in terms of team. I have NEVER worked with such an amazing group of people. I understand that our folks are a regular target for headhunters, and it pleases me to hear that (and also to know that the headhunters never get very far).

And so, with all that in mind, it’s time to talk about where we’re going next. The part of our work that I have always enjoyed the most is the thought leadership and analysis – both external (what does this mean?) and also internal (what we have learned from our work?). Writing, speaking and sharing that industry-leading knowledge and insight has always been what we’re best at, which is why this will be our new area of focus moving forward. SMG will be backing away from the business of agency and creative execution and instead focus on delivering executive counsel, thought leadership and strategic insights based on our years of experience working with some of the biggest social businesses in the world. It’s a big change, and with it come big changes for our fantastic team. Although challenging, I’m very much looking forward to the next chapter.

Take a Nap on Your Instagram Photos

Karly Gaffney is a Manager on the Content and Community team at Social Media Group.

We’ve all seen the numerous products and services that pull your images or feed from Instragram to create something tangible. Things like Casteagram and Instacube, but Stitchtagram is offering something a little softer to the touch.

Stitchtagram is a service that brings your Instagram photos into the real world, to be enjoyed at home, at the office or on the go. I think this is a great idea and a great start. Why not table cloths with all your food photos (don’t act like you haven’t taken at least 30 yourself), a pet bed with all your animal photos, a passport holder or tote bag with your travel photos? The opportunities are endless!

Even if you don’t love the idea, it could make for a great custom gifting item. Mom would love a pillow with all your pretty pictures on it and I’m sure your pets wouldn’t mind another pretty cushion to slobber on, cuddle with or mangle.

As they state on the Stitchtagram website, these are going to last longer than your smart phone, and the pillows are much more comfortable to take a nap on. I’m considering taking numerous pictures of my boyfriend’s beard and requesting a handkerchief be made. Thoughts?