Acquiring Guidance Through The Leadership Class

I attended the Social Media Academy’s leadership class in May/June and want to share my experience with some people who might still be on the fence. My advice: Take it.

Aside from the network of all the great people I met through SMA, the specifics that I learned in class, what I value most is the grounding this course gives you in all things social media.

I have been following social media somewhat closely over the last few years. I knew about Jet Blue’s success on Twitter, the Scobelizer, about Dell’s, about companies relinquishing (or loosing) control; anecdotes as in the good, the bad and the ugly. So, while I was learning more and more about social media, I also felt more and more overwhelmed by its many facets. After having completed the leadership class, I feel much better about my ability to quickly understand the essence and importance of what is going on, asses the hype from the truly new and innovative, and use that knowledge in my daily job. I can’t think of any other way for me to gain a similar education in such short time. I only wish there were a refresher class 12 months from now for past attendees. After all, this space moves incredibly fast. If Web2.0 changes short-time business campaigns into ongoing conversations, maybe academy’s have to change from offering one-time classes into building regular updates into their curriculum.

Matthias Beckmann Matthias Beckmann MyXeeSM


Todays Intro Webinar – Social Media – A new customer Experience Model

Thank you for attending our recent intro webinar, “Social Media – A new Customer Experience Model”.

It was great to have so many of you join us at the event. We hope you gained an insight into the steps you need to consider when developing your business social media strategy.

Axel addressed also the questions we got during the webinar in his post. If we missed an answer to your questions – please let us know.

We love to hear your feedback about the today’s webinar, the good and the bad. Please share your point of view and comments on this blog.

Thanks a lot


Webinar Q+A “Customer Experience Development”

Thanks again for the great participation in today’s webinar “Social Media – A new Customer Experience Model”.
Here are the answers to the questions from all participants:

Q: It’s important to be able to respond quickly, honestly and openly in SM environments. Is this affected by the SM team acting as a service entity? Does this slow down the process and make you appear less transparent?
A: It may slow down the process by only a few minutes. The processes you institute are similar to support escalation processes. The ST will escalate findings to the respective people. The advantage for the customer is to get to the right person right away. But don’t think too much in complicated service escalation. The trick is to create a social escalation process.

Q: Do you offer special classes for sales teams or marketing teams, or only leadership classes?
A: We plan functional specific classes in fall – but recommend those only for businesses that have already a strategy.

Q: What are the social media maturity levels in the various geographies around the world?
A: There are several studies in the Internet. The net of it is that developed countries are almost equal in maturity. There is no big difference between the US, Brazil, UK, Germany, Australia, Argentina, Spain, Poland… The much bigger concern is the cultural differences that lead to different behaviors and even different use of tools. India for instance uses Orkut much more than facebook, Germany still uses nick names more than real names, Sweden is way more adoptive than the US…

Q: Are you planning an East Coast location for the Academy?
All classes are Online. But we are going local for various reasons. We started in Australia and currently run the first leadership class there. We start in the UK in September and plan other countries. But all classes remain to be online.

Q: How many students are typically in a class?
A: The first classes grew from 7 to 15 and we accept 25 as max. There is a lot of interaction and collaboration so we have to cap it.

Q: The Consulting services you offer, who are the consultants?
A: The Academy Certified Consultants are the ones we involve and recommend. The number is growing every quarter. Very large projects I lead myself and work with the graduates or other members of the faculty.

Q: Do you have a case study where the business is very confidential – like medical doctors?
A: Let me say this: We should not get slaves of an attractive development and try to squeeze every business into the social web. Think about it this way: If there are people out there discussing a certain product, service or technology, you should be part of that conversation. If not – than just don’t. Computers are in every household but we still cook great dinner without it ;-)

Q: Should SMM strategy be different for Small Office or Home Office than what you presented today – which is more adapted for biggest companies – having their brand known on the market ?
A: Social Media strategies are no different for smaller than for bigger companies. Our focus on bigger companies is because they are typically leading a market and the smaller companies are followers. But there is ZERO difference. The scope is different but everything we teach, from assessment through strategy to execution can be applied to a 5 people startup and to a multi billion $ global enterprise. Why? Because the customer may be the same person in either case.

Q: Very interesting, do you offer a class specifically to customer experience management?
A: I believe a successful customer experience strategy can only work in concert with an over all strategy. So the Leadership Class at the end does that.

Q: Can we hire you to work with our management team?
A: Yes, but not before 2010

Q: Do you plan to do off line / classroom classes?
A: There are no plans to do that. Social media is all about online engagement and we practice that from the second session on. Our curriculum is build in a way that it wouldn’t even work off line because of all the information to digest and exercises to perform.

Q: Do you offer company discounts?
A: Yes we will for more than 5 attendees

Q: Is there any deadline for registration?
A: Not really. But we have over 500 prospects and only 25 seats each class. So the morning class will be booked pretty soon. The next class will start January 2010.

Q: Do you provide some guidance what to check when hiring a consultant?
A: We have an open wiki where both, consultants and customers helped building a catalog of questions:
This Link

Q: Can I become a trainer at the SMA?
A: Generally speaking yes. We offer all graduates to teach either their own or part of the core classes. Laureen Earnest and John Todor will offer their own classes in fall this year.

Q: Can we switch between evening and morning classes?
A: We ask you not to. We are doing a lot of group exercises and that would not work if you switch. Only if you have to miss a session, then you can.

Q: Do you offer company specific classes?
A: Yes we do.

Q: Do you hire?
A: No we don’t. All instructors and faculty are active practitioners of the social web with their own business and every day experience in the real world.

Q: Not sure I trust any certification. What do you certify?
A: I fully understand the concern. Here is what we certify and why we believe it is important: This Link

Q: Do you provide your consultants with leads and business opportunities?
A: Don’t put this into considerations. View the education as a foundation for your business and don’t rely on others, neither the Academy nor anybody else promising you business. I suggest you chat with former students about that.

Q: (Summarized) several questions about registration, entrance exam requirements…
A: Please visit the website for more details:
Leadership Class details: This Link
Requirements and entrance exam: This Link
Class registration: This Link
European classes: This Link

Q: Can we get the presentation?
A: Yes. you will find it here on the blog.



If one surveys the landscape of social media training programs out there and then compares the subject material against one another, you will find that the Social Media Academy stands apart from the rest by providing you – a consultant or internal advocate, with the methodologies, thought leadership, and processes needed to grow your organizaation or practice. Other programs may skim over process and methodology and then focus on Tools like Twitter and linkedIn, but at SoMA you will learn and practise your skills. You will eventually even learn how to measure the effectiveness of your social programs.

The Academy has done a great job in recruiting quality guest lecturers. Be prepared for an intensive 8 weeks.

R. Mark Moore MyXeeSM


As an Alumni …

one hopes you learned all that you enrolled for — but in this case the Social Media Academy far exceeded my expectations. Yes I have plenty of business experience and felt this would be a key update to my portfolio. I have a history of staying on the cutting edge and helping others make effective strides with their business practices by providing practical and sound, yet innovative advice. Little did I know how pronounced the information would be or how the SOMA experience would shape my own corporate objectives for the future. .

The Social Media Academy Leadership Class took my well greased tenure and opened it up to a whole new world and taught me the new corporate dynamics currently in play. I honed in a completely new skill set and was challenged each week as my “old school” thought processes had to be overcome through the excercises and home work assignments. It brought me completely up to date on how to win in the early 21st century and a new school of thought to get there. I had no idea I was so antiquated with my approach — yet quickly grasped the methodologies and strategies defined so well by the staff and cirriculum.

Most important of all are the results I’m now manifesting in the real world after graduating and my ability to truely help others understand the new framework and how to apply this to their business. If you want true creditability this Academy is your answer.

Laureen Earnest – My XeeSM


Social Media Leadership Course gets down to business

In the Leadership Course I really appreciate the business approach, the methodology that knows how large organisations behave and work, the cross functional and multi-disciplinary approach, the X-factors. The X-functional teams, the X-tended organisation, and the X-tension into the customers to engage with them to be part of the building of the social media strategies.

This is so much more than the “agency” and “campaign” approach and places those efforts in context, and also demonstrates why the approaches of the Social Media Academy operate at a much higher level.

Consultants come out fully-armed to help corporations plan their effective use of social media, and companies and their teams come out with the perspective and understandings to enable them to deliver themselves, or to intelligently engage consultants who have a mature business perspective.

Walter Adamson @g2m


SOMA Leadership Class – Definitely Worth The Investment!

I recently attended the Social Media Academy Leadership Class and wanted to share my experience. This is a rigorous, fast-paced course on the Social Media phenomenon and application of practical business methods and models that, when applied, will help individual consultants, managers, teams and companies to have a targeted, positive impact in the social web. I highly recommend reading the 2009 Mindshare Report, an enterprise social media status report published by the Social Media Academy. The full 220 page report is available at: This Link This report shares new ways to create a better customer experience and to compete for mind and market share, as well as making the case for why companies who are not present in the social web are unable to compete in today’s market – Well worth the read! If you don’t think you have the time to read the full report, start with the Executive Summary to see the value of this groundbreaking research on Social Media.

In the Social Media Leadership Class we learned that corporate presence in the social web needs to be managed in a direct way, integrating corporate objectives, teams, brands and products, using the NCP model (Networks – Contribution – Participation). Companies need to be where their customers are, including the various networks, groups, tools and initiatives – places like LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, SlideShare, YouTube, Flickr… Before attending the Social Media Academy, I was a huge opponent of MySpace and couldn’t even consider a practical use for it; however, what I learned is that there are a lot of customers on My Space. MySpace reported $1 Billion in additional revenue for 2008, as part of the $23 Billion overall advertising shift to online media last year. The eight-week intensive training began with an overview of the socio economic changes our society is experiencing and the social media impact on corporations.

We learned about social media assessments and vulnerability analysis. We reviewed various tools, places and spaces and discussed what makes sense for business. Then came the really exciting part: creating and crafting a Social Media strategy. I really enjoyed the team interaction in the class and the group presentations were excellent. We operated very efficiently in team-based implementation scenarios, where we put everything we were learning to practical use. The class was very hands-on and we learned so much about topics like the changing face of marketing and public relations in the Social Media age, the shifting of ‘human resources’ to ‘human talent management’, and how Social Media affects departments like logistics and procurement. We worked with major analytics tools, such as Techrigy, Sysomos, ScoutLabs… We broke down budgets, resources, planning, and ROI considerations, and learned how to create a profitable social media consulting practice, as well as apply our learning from a social media departmental management perspective.

There were several great speakers during the course of the class, including Axel Schultze, our main instructor, who brought an amazing wealth of industry knowledge and value to every class. Axel kept the class exciting with his dry sense of humor, practical examples and positive insight – a world-class leader; John I. Todor, Ph.D. did a superb job of explaining how Social Media fits into an overall business strategy, and methods for turning challenges into opportunities through applied use of Social Media; and finally, Adrienne Corn did an excellent job of explaining the process of leveraging human talent in the ‘new’ human resource department.

My overall experience with the Social Media Academy was outstanding. In my opinion, the Social Media Academy offers the broadest educational experience available on industry-accepted models and methods focused on reaping the greatest benefit from the social web. The Social Media Leadership Class was excellent and definitely worth the investment! Marita Roebkes did an outstanding job of keeping our class organized and was always available to answer any questions we had during the course of the class. I highly recommend the SOMA Leadership Class, as well as its instructors, speakers, founders, and graduating students, who are all extraordinary leaders in their own right.

Your Picture Barbara Daniels MyXeeSM


Leadership Course – My Experience.

I decided to sign up for the first Leadership class of 2009 as I wanted to get the best possible grounding in social media and how it applies to business, and in particular a new venture in which I am a stakeholder. Looking back, I am delighted to report that the course exceeded my expectations. What made the course really stand out were the sessions covering methodology, structure and planning. These elements transform education into executable plans for the real world.

Your Picture Kevin Mannion My XeeSM