Archive for March, 2010

The Social Media Self Assessment Checklist-22 questions

For the last few weeks I’ve started to compile a social media abilities list. Namely the skills and strengths that you would need in any high level position within an organization to carry out the social media duties and responsibilities required to be successful. Consider this the reverse RFP for social media consultants and companies. I know there are more questions that could be added, so feel free to add to it. If you can answer in the affirmative to the majority of these questions, then you are well on your way and uniquely positioned to help a lot of organizations.

1. Do you understand how social media fits into the overall marketing plans and goals of any organization regardless of industry?

2. Could you build a sound business strategy for a client around social media?

3. Will you be accountable for the quality of all social media plans/strategies/services delivered to clients as well as their overall client satisfaction?

4. Could you establish social media programs that actually drive revenue?

5. Can you drive social media work for clients? Including strategy development, tactical expertise and execution, and measurement of all their social programs?

6. Can you develop a methodology that includes resources, team structure, core processes, and best practices that can be  scalable across the board with media and marketing teams?

7. Could you identify and define social media opportunities for clients as they align with their overall digital marketing goals and strategies?

8. Could you collaborate  across all departments and disciplines to identify and implement social training needs?

9. Could you identify and act on opportunities to attract, market, and recruit top social media talent?

10. Can you manage the recruitment, hiring, retention, and professional development of a social media team? Do you know what to look for?

11. Can you determine the correct roles, responsibilities, and expertise needed on your team to scale and grow a social media practice?

12. Do you know how to monitor trends in any industry and collaborate with upper management to ensure preparation for potential changes within a market segment? and then position the company or division for success as an industry leader?

13. Could you work with global practice leads and other social media managers to develop, document, and share social media strategies and successes?

14. Can you facilitate collaboration, knowledge sharing, and encourage participation for social media across teams and offices?

15. Can you act or be the central resource for information related to social media? Would you want to be?

16. Could you be a credible spokesperson of social media at industry events?

17. Could you increase and raise the awareness of your organization’s credentials on social media both internally and externally?

18. Could you advise client teams and other internal executives on the execution of social media programs and new business opportunities?

19. Can you determine the right solutions for technology and measurement of social media?  Including evaluation of current resources as well as social media vendors and develop partnerships with those vendors?

20. Can you collaborate closely across all departments and teams within an organization to provide complete solutions for clients?

21. Can you contribute to new business development by representing social media strategies and services? Could you sell social media to a client?

22.  Do you have the ability to build relationships with senior executives within key client accounts? Is schmoozing part of your DNA?

As I said before, this list is by no means the end all be all, and is definitely a work in progress. It at least gives those within an organization looking for talent some talking points, or talent on the outside looking in, a starting point in which to evaluate themselves in regards to the social media big picture.

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8 mistakes you can avoid making in social media

I must admit that I was inspired to write this post based on the Social Media club of Orlando. They had tweeted me an invite to an event titled, “Mistakes and Lessons Learned in Social Media. It’s a great topic and thus I was inspired. I was going to title this post, “The biggest mistake I made in social media” but that would mean that it’s in the past tense, and at this point I got it down cold. No no no… That is certainly not the case. On the contrary, I still make mistakes. I learn from them and grow from them, but I still make new ones every week because the landscape keeps changing every week.

But what about you? You might be either just getting started in social media as a consultant, as a marketer for your company, or perhaps, you are a more seasoned individual. Either way, the assumption is that you are immersed in the culture and dynamics of social media integration in some way, shape, or form.  And lets assume you’re going to make some mistakes. With that said, let’s look at what some of those mistakes might be and how you can avoid them.

Note* I have made all  or some variance of these mistakes at some point in the past.

1) You assume Never assume you understand the consumer of your client.  You know what they say? Never assume because it makes an ass out of u and me… Before you submit or create a social media proposal you really should try and get a full understanding of the clients customers, their online and offline consumption patterns, their behaviors and their preferences.

2) You Don’t Define Your KPI’s . KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator and it’s a key part of  your measurable objectives with the client. They can be made up of  benchmarks, targets, and time frames.  Look, if you were a coach and you had a team, you would set goals right? They might be win x amount of games, make the playoffs, win the conference etc. etc. On a business level with social media in mind, they take on a different tone and level, but the outcomes are still measured in the same way. Coaches and teams don’t fly blind, and neither should you and your clients. Define your targets, benchmarks and outcomes that can be measured to determine performance and success. Define them and you’ll spare yourself some grief down the line.

3) You Didn’t Do Your Homework. Make sure you understand completely a) what the client is selling b) what their messaging is c) how they get their clients and…d) where those clients typically are i.e. where they hang out. Not all networks are the same and as social networks mature, new networks are cropping up daily that are more niche specific.  In simple terms, this means that selling brooms on MySpace might not work.

4) No Value. What you produce for the client digitally, or what the client produces digitally, needs to have value. There is an assumption that if one just creates content that that is enough to drive traffic to the client. No, it doesn’t work like that. There has to be a level of quality that tells consumers that your social presence is worth tracking. Quality and value take on many forms, depending on the company and the client, but the bottom line is never short you, the client or the customer on either. They’ll leave before they even get there. And you know what? You know the difference, don’t kid yourself.

5) You Ignore The Rest of the Company. We talk about enterprise wide integration of social media but that takes on different forms. This means that HR is going to use social media in a completely different way than IT and or your PR department. We sometimes stick to what we know best and oftentimes say that integration of social media should occur in marketing; but that’s a short sighted attack. Every channel in an organization can benefit from social media, it’s up to you to make it happen.

6) You Made it Complicated. If you can’t understand it, or you can’t articulate it properly to your clients, peers, or bosses, then don’t talk about it yet, and definitely don’t go trying to implement it. Do you think the people you’re talking to are going to get what you don’t understand?  It being the many different aspects of social media integration.  You need to understand nuance which is something that doesn’t happen overnight with social media. With that being said, never assume you know everything, and sometimes you just can’t know everything, but don’t pretend you do. Keep it simple for yourself and for others. Think about it from the user’s perspective.

7) Set Them Free. Don’t let clients bamboozle you into doing all of the heavy lifting for them. One of the important aspects of social media is that we’re asking people, clients and companies to be more transparent and authentic. It’s their chance to connect with their customers and prospects in ways that they never thought of. If you’re doing all the social media work for them, then you might as well call yourself a PR company instead. It’s not authentic. You need to help them integrate social media into their company, you then need to teach them how to use the tools of social media, and then you need to hand it off to them. Take the training wheels off. You can still monitor from afar-it’s what consultants are for.

8. Understand the Digital Big Picture. This last one is more of a philosophical mistake to avoid.. As a company, consultant, marketer or whatever, it’s important for you to understand that things will be changing. Rapidly. Don’t ever assume that the space that you operate in, is static. It’s not. Yesterday does not look like tomorrow. Always keep one eye on the prize and another on what’s on the horizon. Like? Mobile, Mobile social, Mobile search, and social search…

Why Twitter Still Matters

Recently I read somewhere that the demise of Twitter is imminent and all anyone wants to talk about anymore is Foursquare and Gowalla, 2 shiny new LBS based companies that are reeling in new users by the bushel.

Sure I’ll talk about and use Gowalla and Foursquare, but that doesn’t mean that Twitter is no longer relevant though. In fact what this  simply means is that those 2 aforementioned companies have merely carved out a niche for themselves in a space that Twitter doesn’t necessarily play in, though they have added an LBS type feature as of late.

But let me cut to the chase. let me tell you why Twitter still matters. It occurred yesterday and I’ll break it down for you. Watch this quick clip and we’ll talk about it after the jump.

First of all, this is  NOT the first time this has happened where Moore has stepped up and “helped” someone via Twitter, but it’s magnified because it was Demi Moore and Nia Vardalos (another actress), but it could have been anyone who stepped up.

The point is, a life was saved because someone sensed that someone needed help and they took action, and they used Twitter to do it.

In today’s society a lot of us have become spectators to everything; and we prefer to keep it that way. Rubber necking our way through life and content not to get involved. Couple this with a general sense of apathy and what we have become is… a nation of desensitized onlookers.

So why does Twitter still matter?  because without it, this person might have ended their life if not for 2 people that cared to listen, got involved, and called the authorities. Oh and by the way, they just so happened to be celebrities. Twitter still matters because of it’s reach, it’d depth, it’s breadth and the potential of hitting it’s designated audience.

So what other ways is Twitter making an impact on people’s lives?

Oklahoma City uses Twitter to notify people of impending Tornadoes

The Red Cross uses its Twitter page for disaster and preparedness updates

The American Cancer Society tweets about cancer research, specific types of cancer news, and information.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society provides information about blood cancer, research and events that readers can get involved in.

Share Our Strength is a national organization that works hard to make sure no kid in America grows up hungry.

Without Twitter, these causes continue to struggle for visibility. But now, because of social networks, in this case Twitter, they’re able to have an impact and make a difference on the lives of thousands of people. I know this is just a handful of examples, but I wanted to point out to those that think that Twitter might not be relevant anymore, you may want to think again.

5 simple ways SMB’s can readily adopt social media and get rolling in one day

I recently spoke at a little breakfast meeting of a 100 people or so and I knew that the economy was  still being unkind to small business owners. I knew they were still trying to wrestle with the alternative options that social media might provide. But coupled with wrestling whether to make the leap or not,  was the notion that commitment to social media is labor intensive. They already wear a lot of hats and now they have to somehow integrate social media?

So I thought it might be prudent to provide 5 simple suggestions on what an SMB can do right now to become part of that conversation. Yes, there will always be a learning curve, but we have to start somewhere and then build from that.

1)  Get a Twitter account. Beyond just having a Twitter account that’s not doing much, learn how to use it to your advantage. Why? because you want to be able to monitor and listen to conversations about you, your product, your company, your industry, your customers and your competition.  You can listen for opportunity and you can use Twitter as an ad hoc arm of customer service and reputation management.

How do you do all that- You use a 3rd party application like Tweetdeck which allows you set up individual columns for each of the above mentioned. The good news? In theory if you don’t want to have conversations, that will not prevent you from mining valuable data. The other good news? You don’t have to sit there and wait for it to unfold. You can peel back the tweets to your hearts content! This might take less than an hour to set up. Even less if you already an account.

2) Create a Facebook page. I know, you’re probably thinking, “you’ve got to be kidding me”? Well you know what? I bet you already have a Facebook page anyway right? So what makes this any different? What…? That it’s for work?  Given that businesses can now create vanity URL’s on Facebook you have a great opportunity to grow your business using basic Facebook  features for as little as an hour a day. Most of you have a customer base and there is a good chance that some of them are loyal. Facebook allows for you to connect with your customers. At the least it allows you to promote offers, ask questions and engage your customers. Setup is minimal. About an hour.

3) Create a Linkedin profile. Again, you should have one of these anyway but there are some cool little features buried in Linkedin that can help you network with like minded professionals, look for new resources and partners, connect with current and past work colleagues and if need be, look for a new job. Pay particular attention though, to the Question/Answer section of Linkedin.  There is some gold in that thar section. Set up time 2 hours but once it’s done, you’re done.

4) Now link your Twitter account to Facebook and link you Twitter updates to LinkedIn so that all of your twitter updates, if you do them, will flow across all of your networks. If you ever feel so compelled to contribute, converse, share or become part of the conversation, you’ll only have to do it once and everyone in those 3 networks that are part of “your network” will see it. This might seem a but complicated, but it’s not, you just need to check out those links. Time it takes? An hour

5) Now go to your website and put these 3 links or icons to these social sites on your website. Make sure that they are prominent so that people that may be looking for you and what you may offer can find them. The point is we want to make sure that we are providing as many ways as we can for customers and prospects to talk to us. They are your lifeblood and THEY are using social networks with or without you. Get in the game. It may take you an hour.

Now here’s the last thing. Even if you are not an “A” personality and you’re somewhat passive. You still have relationships with your close friends and relatives, right? What do those conversations and relationships consist of? Are they about what you had for breakfast? Perhaps, but there is so much more to them. And the reason they are your friend in the first place, is because you are interesting and you have something in common with that person. You both are exchanging and sharing value. Guess what? the same holds true in social networks. Value begets value. Even if your not a content machine like a Chris Brogan, you can still carve out a niche for you and your company.

Now go get ’em.

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18 reasons a social media snake oil salesman might want out

Last week I wrote a post that got a tremendous amount of love from the folks over at social media today and rightly so, it was all the reasons why I love social media.

But what if you were sick of it? What if you were a snake oil salesman trying to cash in on the social media phenomenon and you were starting to realize that this social media stuff sucked? What might be your reasons for getting out and jumping into real estate short sales or something?

Your excuses, er reasons might look something like this:

1) You didn’t realize how much work it took

2) You realized that people aren’t into your “get 200 Twitter followers” for $19 a month program

3) Your social media certification classes didn’t really take off like you thought

4) Stealing other peoples content was hard work

5) Spamming hashtags wasn’t driving any business

6) No one is calling you or responding to your sign up landing page with exclusive offers and social media tips

7) People were not sharing your viral videos that you stole created

8. Strategy? What strategy?

9) The trusting client is pissed because the Twitter account you created for them with the 30 tweets, 30 followers, and the 5000 people you’re following, hasn’t really amounted to anything

10) There was too much to learn

11) You’re tired of RT’ing others on your 6 month old Twitter account

12) You never figured out what that Facebook vanity URL thing was

13) Case studies? On what?

14) Social media is dead anyways

15) You hate creating content and no one was coming to the blog

16) Social Media ROI isn’t important

17) It doesn’t work

18) When someone asked you about Gowalla and Foursquare you looked at them like this…

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10 more social media sites, links and posts you might have missed this week

Ok so the dust settles on some crazy posts that were rattling in my head this week and then poof, you have to wake up and keep going.  Yesterday consisted of a killer pitch for a very large SEO project in which the client said afterward that they had never received such a detailed proposal before, and yet… that’s the way all of my proposals are. I was taught well.

That’s all good, but  I have more important things for you at the moment, and that’s a list of valuable social media links, posts and sites that will help you do what you do, better. So let’s get to it.

1) I don’t know who turned me onto this but I love the simplicity of Plancast

2) I’ve been talking about Yourversion for awhile now, it’s essentially your version of the news, posts and stories that interest you. I know, not that big a deal right? Well just check out how the information is presented to you.

3) I came across this post of 35 Great Social Media Infographics and I like it for 2 reasons. 1 is that the visuals are great but 2, the posts behind the visual representation are just as good.

4) You will absolutely dig this. Make a thank you movie

5) If you have not seen or heard about this yet, it’s pretty cool. It’s essentially a social media policy tool. You can build an internal social media policy in 12 easy questions. It’s a good start.

6) Jeremiah Owyang, from the Altimeter Group put out a nice report on 18 Use Cases for Social CRM that’s worth a read for those of you playing in the social CRM space. If you don’t play in the space, you need to read this anyway, because it impacts the way you’re going to deal with your prospects and clients, especially the enterprise ones on the whys and what fors of Social CRM.

7) Amplicate collects similar opinions in one place; making them more likely to be found by people and companies. Kinda fun.

8. When I tweeted about this my tweet essentially said that my faith in the coolness and greatness of UGC has been restored. Watch this one year walk/beard grow time lapse and smile when it’s done.

9) This little site/tool certainly has potential. Convert PSD’s to WordPress with Divine, though I have yet to play around with it. Let me know if you do.

10) There are so many great sound bites in this article in the New York Times about branding and the “me” economy. Just an absolute great read.

Anger, Denial, Acceptance in a Digital Agency

I’m so thematic. The flow of my blog posts have gone from one extreme to another. But for good reason… Anger at clients for parting ways with me. Denial of the fact that clients are not paying me and now acceptance. Acceptance that though I indeed love what I do and know how to do it well, it may be time to do it for someone else. Though having your own digital agency is cool and fun and certainly sexy, it also presents its own set of unique challenges.

In fact, there have been instances over the past 2 1/2 months or so where I have gone through every stage on this graphic.

It goes something like this:

  • Shock stage: Initial paralysis at hearing that one of my best clients is tightening it’s belt and will no longer be utilizing my skills.
  • Denial stage: Trying to avoid the inevitable, I angle to salvage the deal by offering an alternative service/skill and the client agrees but at a rate that is substantially less than what I was charging.
  • Anger stage: Frustrated outpouring of bottled-up emotion. I’m now pissed that it has come to this and want to take it out on something, so what do I do? I write a blog post about it.
  • Bargaining stage: Seeking in vain for a way out, I work doubly hard with my other clients to make sure that they are happy and look for new business. I realize that times are tough and everyone thinks they can do what we do.
  • Depression stage:  My other large client has now missed 2 invoicing periods and now I have turned into a collection agency and have stopped work on their account. The final realization of the inevitable is starting to sink in. It might be the realization that maybe having a digital agency in Southwest Florida wasn’t such a good idea in such crappy economic times.. So to combat this bout of depression, I wrote a post about the situation. It seems to help some but offers little solace.
  • Testing stage:  I call this the looking for answers or seeking solutions stage. I have decided to use my network to see what else is out there, determined to make the best of a bad situation. I know the timing is not exactly the best right?  But sanity is important right now.
  • Acceptance stage: I’m realizing that it’s not only tough to run your own agency, but it’s also tough to do the majority of the work, job the rest out, manage it, find more clients, look for talented people, stay current, do proposals, write posts etc. etc., Knowing this and coming to grips with the situation  has allowed me to finally find the way forward, and realize that yes, I still love social media so much that I blogged about it. 🙂 but I can have more of an impact on a larger scale in another capacity. So though I will continue to consult in some capacity as I go forward, it’s time to see what else is out there as well.

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The Deets

Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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