All posts in “SMG”

Introducing the Social Media RFP v2.0 / RFP "Bill of Rights"

In January 2010 Social Media Group released the original Social Media Request for Proposal (SMRFP) template to help organizations select providers of social media professional services. This template was covered extensively in the media and widely adopted: in early January, 2010, searches for “social media RFP” generated fewer than two pages of results, whereas in December 2010 this search returned over 300,000 links.

Many of our peers and colleagues have encountered the template, and their feedback has been fairly consistent: while valuable, the Social Media RFP template is too long, has too many questions, and many clients and purchasing departments are simply cutting and pasting the content with little or no thought about their actual needs. In other words, the Social Media RFP has in some ways become more of a hindrance than a help (SMG has also experienced this firsthand).

So, it’s time for a revision (available for free download here). We’ve also added an RFP “Bill of Rights” which is intended to encourage fairness, acknowledge the investment on the part of respondents and foster the mutual respect that should be observed in all business relationships. We’d love to hear what you think about v2.0!

RFP Bill of Rights
I will not issue an RFP “Cattle Call”. Issuing an RFP to more than six or seven agencies is overkill. Instead, identify agencies you would like to work with and be selective in whom you invite to respond. Fifteen or 20 responses are too many to be able to truly judge relative merit, and it’s wrong to ask agencies who are not a good fit to waste valuable resources on an RFP they are unlikely to win.

I will be thoughtful. This and other RFP templates are intended to provide guidance, but don’t simply cut and paste the contents. Think about what you actually need and edit accordingly. Information overload will only winnow out quality agencies that are too busy to wade through all the unnecessary details.

I will do my own homework. Asking agencies to identify their own competition is only going to get you two things: a list of second-tier competitors that is of dubious value and respondents annoyed that you essentially asked them to undermine their own competitive advantage. A thorough briefing on your needs at some point during the process is also essential for success (ever heard the phrase “garbage in, garbage out”?). Spend the time.

I will be flexible. Yes, we know you have a timeline. We also know (even though you might not) that it is going to slip. Don’t ask vendors to meet your timelines or else. There are significant cost savings in being able to book flights in advance (and you want an agency that keeps an eye on the pennies, right?). Give respondents at least a week’s notice and be flexible in your dates.

I will keep you updated. Nothing is worse than the “black hole”. A response is prepared at great effort, submitted and… crickets. Let respondents know that their RFP has been received, and what the next steps are. When the dates slip, let them know that, too. They put a lot into their submission – show them the respect that this effort deserves.

I will give you feedback. You can’t win ‘em all – any agency team who responds to RFPs knows this well. What they don’t know (magic crystal balls being in short supply) is why they didn’t make it to the next round or win the brass ring. Acknowledging vendors’ efforts and letting them know why their response didn’t meet your needs helps them improve, and is more than a fair trade for the cost and effort invested on their part. It also ensures good feelings – you never know what your needs might be next; maintaining good vendor relationships is good business.

We’d love YOUR feedback on this latest round (please leave us a comment), and big thanks to everyone who provided us with their thoughts on the first version, especially Jake McKee of Ant’s Eye View!

Social Media Roundup for December 10, 2010

Welcome to your all-kids themed weekly roundup.

Starting Kids Off Right

Boing Boing posted this picture of a homemade baby quilt designed to look like the iPhone. You can’t ever start them too early! If this is the child’s first blanket, will his first toy be an iPad?

Kids Watch the Darndest Things

Continuing on the kiddie theme, check out the great video we stumbled on this week. From The Fine Bros., the guys who brought you 100 Movie Spoilers in Five Minutes, comes this video in which children are shown some of the most popular recent viral videos (including Double Rainbow) and asked for their reactions, some of which are amazing.

If You Can’t Play Nice, I’ll Take My Caps Lock Key and Go Home

This last one isn’t about actual kids, but rather Google treating its customers like ones. Google announced this week that all their new notebooks made for Chrome will come without a caps lock key. Google’s stated goal is to improve the quality of online conversation, by taking away the choice to use all caps in online conversation. While I can appreciate the effort, people will obviously find a new way to indicate raised voices and outraged tone. Also, this move really makes me want to type in all caps, which I never do, JUST TO REBEL.

Now Hiring: Social Media Group Intern

How would you like the chance to start your career with Social Media Group?

We’re looking for a student or recent grad who can join our growing team and hit the ground running. This is an entry-level opportunity for a three-month contract. You’re the right fit if you’re detail oriented and driven to produce results. You need to be seriously passionate about marketing, digital, interactive, communications and all things social media.

If you’re interested in this position, please check out the details on our Internship page. The deadline for submissions is 11:59 p.m. November 26, 2010.

(image via Our Hero)

Social Media Group's Vacation Policy on CBC's The National

We were surprised and overwhelmed at the response to our recent blog post detailing our unlimited vacation policy. We were inundated by calls from media – radio, national print and television. This story obviously hit a chord with folks. The CBC did a piece on the policy that ran across the country, and we’d like to share the link with you. However, the story really focused on how “unlimited” doesn’t really mean “unlimited” (which I guess is true – the policy isn’t about letting people be on vacation five days a week – that wouldn’t be a job, that would be a very generous unemployment benefit).

I think our staff did a great job of conveying the accountability that makes this policy work – we have a fantastic, hardworking team, and that really shone through (nice work, guys!). I also want to stress that this is about rewarding that hard work. I’m going to do something that feels kind of weird and quote myself,

Sometimes your work blends into your life (working late or on weekends, doing what you need to do to deliver quality results). Why shouldn’t your life blend into your work (taking an afternoon off to spend with your kids)? …No more worrying if you have enough vacation time saved to keep yourself healthy. Take time when you and your family need it; you have earned it.

We know that to be the best in a business that is disrupting the worlds of advertising, PR and increasingly business consulting, we need fantastic people that will go the extra mile to deliver awesome. The policy that we introduced in September is about attracting and retaining that awesome, and we think it’s going to work very well from us. One of our main proof points? Netflix has been doing this for a decade.

Social Media Roundup for July 16, 2010

The Man your Man Could Smell Like

Unless you’ve been living under a rock this week, you’ve probably heard of (and maybe even developed a slight crush on) The Old Spice Guy. Old Spice released its first ad with the attractive fellow named Isaiah Mustafa in February at the Superbowl. A few weeks ago he was back with a new ad, and this week he was on the scene making personalized videos for random people and famous folks alike.

The campaign is being touted as one of the most successful viral campaigns in recent history. The 180+ custom videos made this week have garnered 5.9 million views and 22,500 comments.

More people using social media at work

Social media use at work is on the rise (from 19% to 24%) but it’s still not clear if its being used to advance business objectives or if employees are just wasting company time and money. The study conducted by Trend Micro looked at the Internet habits of 1,600 workers and concluded that employees working at larger companies were less likely to use social networks at the office than those working at a smaller company.

iPhone 4 troubles? Apple wants to give you a free case

Apple held a much anticipated news conference today to address concerns about the iPhone 4 antenna issue. Apple assured customers that providing quality products is a priority and they’re working to fix the current issues. Here’s what they said they’re going to do:

  • Release a software update that will fix the error in the signal calculation algorithm
  • Free bumper or refund for existing bumpers
  • If customers still aren’t satisfied, Apple will provide iPhone 4 owners with a full refund

Interestingly enough, Apple also mentioned that the return rate on the iPhone 3GS at AT&T stores was 6% whereas the return rate of the iPhone 4 was only 1.7%.

Social Media Roundup for June 18, 2010

Twitter Places

There is a huge amount of information that streams through, but depending on the topic, it is not always relevant to your particular geographical location. To help solve this problem, Twitter is launching their Places functionality. Users can tag locations to tweets, or browse tweets in a location of their choosing. If you find yourself at a sporting event, you can log into the stadium Twitter Place and see what everyone else is saying at the stadium. Places will be fully integrated with Foursquare and Gowolla, and API enhancements will be created to ensure all developers can use the full potential. Twitter Places will be implemented for 65 countries around the world in the coming weeks, so everyone keep your eyes peeled for the add location option below the tweet box!

How The World is Spending Time Online

It feels to many of us that Social Media has been gaining steam for years, and it looks like the momentum has just begun. Nielsen has released a study that found users are on blogs/social networks for 22% of their online time, an increase of 66% since last year. Blogs and social networks are also visited by three quarters of all global consumers, which is up 24%. These numbers are incredible, and clearly shows that social media is here for the long haul! So where do you spend your online time?

Principals of Measurement

KD Paine has a great live writeup about the recent International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) event in Barcelona. Delegates from 33 countries voted, and passed the seven proposed key principals. It is great to see that standards are being agreed upon for measuring PR and social media, and even more so that there is a focus on measuring the business results rather then just the media results.

USA vs England

World Cup fever is in the air! This week brings us another viral video that illustrates a USA vs England game with stop motion photography – using Lego! Who will win? You’ll have to watch it to find out!

Social Media Roundup for June 11, 2010

Bing Adds Facebook & Twitter Updates

Bing lovers can rejoice! On Wednesday Microsoft launched their social implementation of Bing, which indexes data from Twitter, Facebook fan pages, and Facebook updates that are shared to “everyone.” There is also the functionality to play/pause the feed which will refresh the content or keep it static. The social view of Bing can be found @ bing.com/social.

Google Announces Caffeine

This week Google announced the details regarding their new and improved indexing system Caffeine. The new system will provide more content, and 50% fresher more relevant results from web searches. This is a fantastic update for those looking for the most recent article, stories, blogs posts, or forum threads. Google states that content on the web is blossoming, and to ensure scalability, Caffeine will add hundreds of thousands of gigabytes per day to their web index!  Wowza!

Twitter Announces in House URL Shortener

My momma always said that clicking on shortened links is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get! Twitter has announced their plans to improve how shortened links are viewed in tweets, by implementing their own service. The new feature will shorten links using the t.co URL, but the actual link or variation of the link will be visible within the tweet, which wont count towards the max character count. Twitter hopes this will remove remove the obscurity from shortened links and let users know where they will end up. The new shortener will be rolled out during the summer, and be tested by twitter and developers.

Test Your Focus

The New York Times has released an online assessment that will put your focus and task juggling skills to the test! Living in the digital world of today, our brains are hit hard with multiple stimuli at the same time. Managing the information can be difficult, as Kord Campbell found out when he missed an email that could have cost him $1.3 million. The key is knowing your strengths and weaknesses, as it will help you create more efficient personal workflows. Research has shown that heavy multitaskers have trouble focusing and shutting out irrelevant data, and in turn experience more stress.

Adidas racks up the cameos in Star Wars Cantina 2010

Just in time for the FIFA World Cup™, Adidas has released a new Star Wars themed video for their Adidas Originals collection. It has quickly reached over 2.7 million views!

See if you can spot David Beckham, Daft Punk, Snoop Dogg, Franz Beckenbauer, Noel Gallagher, Ian Brown, Ciara, Jay Baruchel, and DJ Neil Armstrong.

Social Media Roundup for June 4, 2010

AP Stylebook Adds Social Media Guidelines

The Associated Press has recognized that social media is being used more and more by professional journalists. To help facilitate the evolution they have released the 2010 Edition of the AP Stylebook which includes a new section dedicated to social media information and policies for platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. The stylebook has gained a serious online following of nearly 46,000 followers.

The style book is easily ordered, and the updates specifically illustrate how journalists can utilize social media for their work, and ways to verify the sources found through these platforms.  Additional information is documented that relates to terms such as blog, app, friend, unfriend, RSS, search engine optimization (SEO), trending, widgets, and wiki.

Mark Zuckerberg has a Nixon Moment

Kara Swisher recently grilled Mark regarding privacy and policy changes that have caused online civil unrest and widespread criticism. Mark created a “great moment in internet history” when he took off his company issued hoodie for the first time on camera, while sweat visibly dripped from expressionless face.  In a shot of irony, the CEO of a company who wants everyone to share was reluctant to divulge his personal thoughts, or specific details regarding their revenue model and the rationale behind privacy decisions. On the upside, Facebook has launched a fan page for privacy which will help keep people informed and encourages feedback from users.

Microsoft Live Essentials Wave 4

After describing future updates to Hotmail and Messenger, Microsoft is at it again for their Essentials.  The main improvements revolve around making it easier for users to do three main tasks; creating and sharing polished photos or movies, organizing your email accounts in one place and adding productivity tools, as well as syncing files across the computers and workplaces enabling instant access from anywhere.  Products included in the Essentials toolkit are Messenger, Mail, Writer, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Family Safety, Sync, and the Bing Bar.

Coke & Mentos Powered Rocket Car

Many of us already know what happens when Coke and Mentos are mixed (see explosion), but Stephen Voltz and Fritz Grobe have taken it one step further! The white coat duo built a custom car chassis, mounted 108 2L Coke Zero bottles and then added 648 Mentos mints. The Results…? See below!

Social Media Roundup for May 21, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mukhtar!

A Copenhagen bus driver named Mukhtar got a big birthday surprise this year – a flash mob of almost 100 people celebrating his special day. Mukhtar was planning to take the day off for his 41st birthday but was asked to take an extra shift for a friend. A candid camera shows how his day ended with almost 100 people assembling to wish him a happy birthday.

The flash mob was part of a five week campaign undertaken by Copenhagen bus companies Movia and Arriva to promote public transportation and driver contribution.

Google TV is here

Yesterday Google, along with Sony Corp., Intel Corp. and Logitech International, announced plans to launch Google TV in the fall. Touted as “smart TV”, the TV will have many customization options to personalize content, with the main goal being to turn televisions into giant monitors for web surfing and increase ad revenue. The televisions will be sold exclusively at Best Buy, but no word yet on what the price tag will be.

Stay in touch with Facebook page rankings

If you’re looking for any sort of Facebook page ranking information, Fan Page List can connect you with the info you need. The realtime site ranks Facebook fan pages and shows how many users are being added each day. You can check out stats for a variety of categories, including products, actors, politicians and TV shows.

I checked out the brand page to get the scoop on the most popular pages as of today:

  1. Facebook
  2. Starbucks
  3. Coca Cola
  4. YouTube
  5. Disney

SMG Connects with the Web Community at mesh 2010

mesh conference, Canada’s web conference was this week in Toronto. We sponsored a pretty cool party on Tuesday, and our fearless leader Maggie Fox spoke to a packed room Wednesday afternoon about The Art & Science of Scaling Social Media. As with the best content at mesh, it certainly got people talking and was covered in posts by Matt Hartley at The Financial Post and David Brown at Marketing.

Pacman’s back!

Social Media Roundup for May 21, 2010 - Social Media Group Helps Business Navigate the Social Web._1274460750769

Pacman has resurfaced just in time for his 30th birthday and Google is celebrating in typical logo fashion. Cruise on over to the Google homepage to see the logo turn into a playable game of Pacman. Happy weekend!

Social Media Roundup for May 14, 2010

What else can we get Betty White to do…

Betty White sure is one popular lady. The former Golden Girls star started making headlines after a Facebook page campaigning to have her host Saturday Night Live (SNL) attracted more than half a million fans. The effort paid off and White hosted SNL this past week, bringing SNL its highest ratings in 18 months. With her successful hosting gig behind her, Betty White fans have turned to loftier ambitions now pushing to have the comedian host the Emmys and the Oscars.

Twitter followers gone wild

Last week Facebook experienced a privacy glitch that allowed users to see and accept or decline other users’ friend requests. This week it was Twitter’s turn to let users take control of follower lists. A bug on the site allowed users to type “[tweet] accept [username]” and force any user to follow them. Twitter jumped on the case quickly and patched up the bug, but for a short period of time, famous Twitter users like Conan O’Brien (who notoriously follows only one user) started to follow a much larger number of people.

Gmail continues to add drag and drop features

A few weeks ago, Google added drag and drop file attachment functionality to Gmail. Now, Google has wowed us again by allowing users to drag and drop images into email messages and resize files on the spot. Only Chrome users can take advantage of this slick feature for now, but Google promises they will soon be rolling out all of the drag and drop goodness to other browsers.

Fix your Facebook privacy settings in 2 minutes

If you’re still not feeling confident about navigating Facebook’s new privacy settings, Huffington Post has put together this video tutorial on how to fix up your settings in 2 minutes. This week, the New York Times reported that Facebook users now have 50 settings with more than 170 options to wade through to fully set up their privacy.