All posts in “Ford”

Social Media Roundup for December 4, 2009

The Social Media Roundup: It’s like a gang of ninjas attacking you with awesomeness.  Be sure to get a good seat, and keep your eyes peeled.

Our Shuriken are Shaped Like Maple Leaves
An article in the Vancouver Sun citing a recent Forrester Research analysis claims that Canadians are the social networking ninjas of the world. While I appreciate the sentiment, if they were able to measure us then we’re clearly the worst ninjas ever.  Forrester merely claims Canadians are the most active social networkers in any of their surveyed markets, which is still pretty cool.

Extreme Makeover: Friendster Edition
In the ‘Whatever happened to…” category, we have news from Friendster this week that there’s a makeover being rolled out.  In a video where they call out Facebook and MySpace as being plain and boring, they trot out a new interface that looks like a direct mashup of the two juggernauts. So boring + plain = awesome?  Seems that somebody thinks so, as the site is rumoured to be sold by month’s end.

Top Ten List of Top Ten Lists of the Year
It’s December, the time of eggnog, yule logs, and year-in-review features.  So what was the buzz this year?  What were we all talking about? Well, according to the top 3 search engines, it seems some guy died, a movie about emo vampires was released, and it all happened in 140 characters or less.

Es Una Gran Fiesta!
Ford’s groundbreaking Fiesta Movement went out with a bang this week, clocking the Guinness World Record for largest tweetup at the conclusion of the Movement and the unveil of the 2011 Fiesta.   Can’t wait to see what’s coming next with Fiesta Movement Chapter 2.  [Disclosure: Yes, Ford’s a client, but the Movement’s not our baby.]

Would You Like Some Cheese With That?
A new study has apparently proven the Greater Internet F***wad Theory [language NSFW], concluding that otherwise pleasant people can be whiny jerks online.  Up next, proof that trolls don’t just reside under bridges.

Welcome to the new SMG website!

Welcome to the new SMG website. You’ll notice it’s bigger, featuring expanded content and a lot more emphasis on our products and services, clients, work experience and amazing case studies. SMG marked our three year anniversary just a few weeks ago, and this website is intended to both showcase the cutting-edge work our team has been executing for our clients since 2006 and how we’ve grown from a little shop to one of the world’s biggest independent social media agencies. Happy birthday to us!

The social media landscape has changed dramatically over the last three years; when SMG was first established, I can remember being able to read and keep up with everything that happened in social media in a week – and (this is the kicker) have time to post about it all! Those days are over, of course – and there is a lot going on in this space. Luckily, we seem to be able to continuously cut through it; in the last 12 months the SMG team has received significant acknowledgment from our peers, including being named one of the Top 100 Marketers by Marketing Magazine, 20 Leading Women in Social Media and Top 15 Global Social Media Firms. It is an honor to be included on all of those listings; we are truly in humbling company, and among the best of the best in the industry!

Of course, even more exciting for us is seeing our clients get widespread recognition for their great strides in social media. Particularly outstanding is long-time partner Ford Motor Company. When we began work as their social media agency in 2007, Ford had a shadow YouTube channel with a few videos. As of this writing, just over two years later, they have been named to numerous respected “Top 10 Brands in Social Media” lists. That makes us feel very proud, indeed!

(Of course none of these things would be possible without incredible teamwork. As far as I’m concerned, SMG has the greatest concentration of social media brilliance on the planet. If that sounds like something you’d like to be a part of, we’re actively recruiting for a number of roles – please drop us a line and tell us more about yourself!)

So, where to next for SMG? 2009 was a big year, both for us professionally and for the industry. There are more players than ever on the scene, and we’re starting to see amalgamation and concentration of expertise. This is good – it means that the market for social media as a communications, marketing and collaboration tool is maturing. As for us, our plans are simple. We have built a great company that does incredibly innovative and creative work (I’m not going to be shy about that, the SMG team is amazing. We know this because our clients tell us so, over and over again!) , we have a unique consulting/full-service model that is an important differentiator, a hard-earned reputation for excellence in all we do, and loyal client partners whose success is priority one.

What’s next for SMG? We’re going to keep on keeping on. Please have a look around and let us know how you like the new site!

TVO launches Social Media Press Releases with Digital Snippets

TVO Digital Snippets

TVO Digital Snippets

We are excited to announce that TVO has just launched a series of four social media press releases (SMPRs) on the Digital Snippets platform. While we can’t claim to have been the first to develop SMPRs, we believe that the Digital Snippets platform takes a different approach by supporting a continuous narrative with influencers along a theme rather than a static media release with multimedia assets attached.

TVO has begun with four releases on the topics of Digital Innovation at TVO, Education Resources for Parents, Helping Kids Become Better Learners, and Using Media for Citizen Engagement. Each of these four topics will feature ongoing feeds of content from TVO.

Digital Snippets are modular press release platforms that allow companies to tell evolving stories – not static ones that are over the minute they hit the web. Our client Ford has been using the Digital Snippets platform for their SMPRs for almost two years now and have acheived great success with their SMPR content used by digital influencers in over 5000 posts (for more information on Ford and Digital Snippets see the presentation from Web 2.0).

Congratulations, TVO!

The Web 2.0 Testimonial

Just as 81% of online consumers do online research before making a purchase, organizations looking for partners should do the same (I know that we do – and we also Google all prospective employees, and here’s a tip: if we can’t find a trace of you with Google, we’re not going to hire you).

In the past, firms would have solicited and printed testimonial letters from their customers in order to prove their abilities and worthiness to prospective clients. But writing testimonials takes time, and while we’ve gathered a number of them, I always feel bad about bugging my busy clients to take time out of their day to write something pithy so we can get more clients. There’s also always the spectre of the client asking you to write the testimonial letter yourself, which I have always found awkward (it’s also very unsatisfying).

Instead, what I’d rather see is the spontaneous expression of happiness with our work from a trusted partner.

This tweet was from Scott Monty, Ford’s head of Social Media, and he sent it while we were on a conference call yesterday morning, delivering some very interesting insights to him and the Ford Digital Marketing team.

Thanks, Scott – it’s the testimonial 2.0 – and Google likes it, too!

Watching the publishing revolution at NAIAS

For the early part of this week, I’m at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit accompanying a group of bloggers we’ve invited to attend as guests of one of our clients, Ford.

We did the same last year, but this time around we had more time to plan and a better sense of the opportunities available. We also had a bigger budget to invite more online content producers – most of whom have been spending their days at demos, walking the show floor and posting content in the special blogger lounge Ford had set up (free wifi!). Their nights have been largely spent sitting at dinner tables with access to very high-ranking executives (Bill Ford Jr., Mark Fields, Jim Farley, etc.) alongside traditional media. It’s a great program, and it clearly demonstrates the Ford commitment to evolving their communications model to align with the new reality of distributed influence.

(I’d also like to brag about another innovation we brought to the table this year. At NAIAS in 2008 we launched SMPRs across a wide range of product lines. This year we upped the ante with what we’re calling the “Dynamic Press Kit” – an application loaded onto a USB key that requires only an Internet connection to bring the latest Ford news right to your desktop, along with image and video assets that are licensed under Creative Commons. Die, press kit, die!)

But I digress. The point I’m trying to get around to making is that I have found it fascinating to have a front-row seat to the future of digital publishing for most mainstream outlets. The place they need to get to if they’re going to be able to continue to compete. It looks like this:

1. Tape/shoot pictures at live event
2. Connect to Internet
3. Upload files
4. Write brief explanation/edit content as required
5. Repeat

All of the above often taking place within five minutes, and rather than one big story, in many cases it’s multiple installments. One of our bloggers recounted a brief exchange with a reporter from a well-known mainstream media website. The reporter watched her tape a brief segment on a flipcamera, load it onto her laptop, edit it and upload it to YouTube. Elapsed time: about four minutes. Slack-jawed, the reporter, fully kitted out with all kinds of digital gear, expressed amazement at the speed of it all.

Welcome to the new world order, friends. Publish first or perish. The opportunity for organizations is to make it as easy as possible to publish the right content and the right information (something your influencers will take you up on if you do your homework and get to know them, what they need and how they need it). Content is not a product to be hoarded; you will do well to set it as free as possible in order to keep up with the new pace of publication (Ford’s head of social media, Scott Monty and I will speak about this paradigm shift at length in our session at Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco this spring).

I’ll leave you with one final example: our friends at Jalopnik uploaded this story about Ford’s electrification efforts (complete with correct, detailed graphics) within minutes of the announcement being made, thanks in no small part to the digital assets made freely available on the Ford SMPRs and the new Dynamic Press Kit. Would you rather they had to scramble for their own assets, or do you think the better business model is to provide everything anyone would need digitally, without restrictions so they can tell the richest, best-informed story possible?