All posts in “social media group”

Webinar Today – How Content Marketing is Changing Everything

Today is the day! Don’t miss out on our free webinar with Maggie Fox on “How Content Marketing is Changing Everything,” at 12 pm EST / 9am PST brought to you by Social Media Group and Social Media Today. She will be joined by C.C. Chapman, co-author of “Content Rules” to explore how you can (and should) think about content creation and how to effectively use great content to earn attention and shift marketing from push to pull in a billion-channel universe.

Register now, click HERE!

 

How Content Marketing is Changing Everything – Upcoming Webinar

Join Maggie Fox, next Tuesday January 31st at 12pm EST / 9am PST, as she hosts an exclusive, live webinar from Social Media Today and Social Media Group on How Content Marketing is Changing Everything.

Forget about “interrupt and repeat”! The promise of Content Marketing is the ability to deliver the right thing, in the right place, at the right time, in order to earn your customers’ attention. But it’s not only about the tools and platforms – it’s also about making the right stuff – an enormous challenge for many marketers. In this webinar, Maggie and C.C. Chapman co-author of Content Rules, will explore how you can (and should) think about content creation and how to effectively use great content to earn attention and shift marketing from push to pull in a billion-channel universe.

You won’t want to miss this one! Register now, click HERE!

 

The Agile Agency: creating the best conditions for awesome

This infographic from the good folks at Gist resonated with me. It summarizes the notion of the Agile Business succinctly and lays it all out simply. It is very much worth a look. You see, we run an agile-inspired workflow here at SMG. It takes collaboration, communication and a great team. It also takes work.  I believe it is worth the effort because it creates the best conditions for success. Being an Agile Agency introduces some unique challenges and opportunities. Before I get to those, lets take a look at the infographic which gives a quick overview of what Agile is all about: (Click for the easier-to-read full-res version).

 

The Agile Business

 

I was first challenged to think about agile and how it applies to marketing and communications when I worked on the client-side at an internet services company. I witnessed the development team (and large chunks of the business related to the delivery of web services) transition from waterfall development to agile. It was a significant transition, but entirely worthwhile (and needed for the business).  Since the business was moving to agile, I was given the mandate to come up with an agile approach to running our communication and marketing team.

I struggled initially. The agile development work teams tackled one project or problem at a time in a scrum methodology. Our marketing communications team was a service to the business and typically ran over a dozen projects concurrently. Another challenge — we didn’t necessarily have control or influence over the prioritization of our work. For example, quarterly financial reporting had to happen at set times during the year. Product updates rolled out to meet the needs of the customers. Rarely did this happen on a schedule (or in a manner) that set optimal conditions for our team.

But my (incredible) team and I cracked it. We created a wiki-driven central nervous system where we actively documented, tracked and managed all “Active” projects; kept a prioritized “Next” queue of defined projects waiting to be resourced and kicked off; maintained a prioritized (and frequently changing) “Backlog” of projects and a dream list of “Someday Maybe” projects. I came to adore the flexibility, collaboration, communication, knowledge management, improved workflow, increased productivity, transparency, accountability and improved morale that accompanied our successful agile-influenced marketing and communication team.

When I joined SMG in 2009, I knew I wanted to be part of an Agile Agency. With Maggie’s support and collaboration, I became obsessed with creating workflow and defining the processes and supports needed to allow us to see the benefits that come from being an Agile Agency:

  • Accelerated time to market for our client campaigns, and quick starts for our programs (frequently large-scale campaigns and transformation initiatives)
  • Enhanced ability to manage changing priorities helped us roll with the fluidity of social media service delivery — the unpredictable nature of pilot programs and the discoveries that come when we co-innovate with clients
  • Increased productivity is crucial for the morale of our team of A-players. No-one likes to spin their wheels and waste time. In a services business this has a direct impact on quality of work for clients and the bottom line.
  • Enhanced quality is essential. The ability to bring the discipline of fast iterations, frequent and disciplined communications and collaboration to our work has had a demonstrable impact on the quality of work product and results generated for our clients.
  • Increased visibility into projects immediately reduces risk. There is nowhere to hide inside our Agile Agency. We are accountable to ourselves and our clients. Our team knows that a snag or a new discovery is not a crisis, but the opportunity to iterate for improvement. We embrace these moments and support and lead our clients through, frequently gleaning new insights along the way.

I could go on and on. I’m a total geek for this stuff. I’ll own that.

At the start of the post, I mentioned some challenges and opportunities. It really boils down to what is a true clash of cultures between how SMG is (agile) and how the majority of our clients are (not terribly agile). So yes, this brings challenges. But it also brings incredible opportunity for us to lead and support our clients. SMG’s Agile Agency model is about being proactive, nimble and responsive and excellent collaborators and communicators. We strive to inspire our clients with our workstyle and our ability to turn-on-a-dime while producing great results.

I truly hope the agile business movement continues to gain traction and catch on. We are certainly spreading the word by bringing elements of agile business to our client engagements.  After all, in many ways, successful and sustained operations in social media requires an agile approach. The internet is anything but static.

 

(infographic: h/t Global Nerdy )

Social Media as News, SMG in the news

The new media paradigm:

The fastest way to get a news story out is on twitter.

Every journalist is using social to communicate and look for a scoop.

Social media is a big story behind elections, social movements and the occasional publicity crisis.

It’s symbolic of the fact that each and everyday we’re witnessing the convergence between social media and mainstream news sources.

Further proof of this convergence is the fact that every two weeks, you’ll find Social Media Group in the newspaper of all places (digital editions too!)  Bi-weekly, we’ll be contributing social media data and analysis to the folks at Postmedia relating to current events, both lighter fare and important issues.  We aim to be the Angus Reid of social media research!

To see what we’re up to, just click on our contribution to the viral global spread of the Occupy movement on Twitter, or last week’s gem,  Beaver versus Polar Bear as the Canadian national animal (infographic below).

Like the work we do for our clients, our goal is to inform, provide insight and occaisionally offer some entertainment!  Enjoy!

 

A quick look at Social Media in China

Working at SMG has given me the opportunity to learn from some of the best people in the western social media industry. Luckily, my Chinese background also allows me to experience and observe the difference between western social networks and their Chinese counterparts. And now,  I feel like it is time to share my unique experience.

I put together a simple deck hoping to give you a quick overview of the Chinese social media landscape, as well as the two biggest social platforms in ChinaRenren.com (the Facebook of China) and Sina Weibo (a microblog).

Some highlights:

  • China is the biggest Internet nation in the world with nearly 5-billion netizens.
  • Social media is now the fastest growing and hottest topic in China’s IT and business worlds. As some of the major western social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube are blocked behind the Great Firewall of China, local IT giants battle for the ever expanding social space in China.
  • As China rapidly becomes the most important global market, more and more foreign businesses are starting to explore marketing opportunities online.
  • Chinese social networks provide many innovative features for marketers and advertisers. For example, Sina Weibo, the biggest microblog in China, offers corporate account to companies with more customizable features on their profile page and advertising opportunities. The NBA has an official Sina Weibo account with over 5-million followers (about 3-million more than its followers on Twitter);  A-list celebrity  Tom Cruise‘s Weibo account has almost 3-million followers; Even Bill Gates is on it!

Please view the complete PPT deck for more interesting insights, I hope it will give you some inspiration 🙂

4 Reasons Internship at SMG is Awesome

Don’t miss out on an internship like no other. Social Media Group’s deadline to apply for spring/summer internships is March 31, 2011.

4 Reasons Internship at SMG is Awesome

  1. Make a valuable contribution to the business and our clients right out of the gate.
  2. Work at the leading edge of social media marketing and digital communications.
  3. Use your passion for digital media to get a great start in your career.
  4. Become a member of our incredible team and learn from some of the best in the business.

Interested? Read on.

About SMG Internship. Start Your Career with a Market Leader.


Why I Joined SMG

As the old saying goes, a rolling stone gathers no moss.   As a proud, newly minted member of Social Media Group, I am confident that there’ll be no lichens sprouting on my sides any time soon, because this company is on the move.

Why Social Media Group?  There are many reasons, but my primary motivator was the fact that SMG was clearly interested in engaging clients at a much deeper, strategic level than most of the firms I spoke with as part of my search.  SMG’s consultative approach to helping global organizations align themselves to meet the challenges and opportunities afforded by social technologies was an irresistible opportunity because it means helping clients with business issues that extend beyond communications.

SMG also offered me the potential to build upon the invaluable experience I gained establishing Social Currency™ at Northstar Research Partners.  I originally joined Northstar because, in my view, the manner in which social media “listening” was being conducted lacked true rigor and heft.  Too often, anecdotes were being passed off as insights and I thought that partnering with an organization that specialized in consumer research made for a valuable and compelling value proposition.  In the end I believe I was right as the listening market has now split between social media monitoring and research.

Looking beyond Northstar, what I really wanted to do was pair my solid research foundation to develop innovative, smart, and compelling social strategies and campaigns for top tier clients.  And after working here for just three days, I can already see the potential.  In a pitch meeting on my very first day the prospective client asked:  “So are you guys an agency or a consulting firm?”  Maggie’s answer : “We’ll resist being put into a box because we offer the best of both worlds –  the research based practice of business consulting with applied, market tested social media campaign experience.”

My heart swelled, and I knew I’d made the right decision.


Cross posted from PatrickGladney.com

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!

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.