Private economic initiative aims to help 100,000 European companies to expand across Europe

News Release

European business owners and managers build economy stimulation programme

Unique economic development programme from a private initiative – planning to create 2 Million jobs

Private economic initiative aims to help 100,000 European companies to expand across Europe

Continue reading “Private economic initiative aims to help 100,000 European companies to expand across Europe”

Share

Reputation of sales people continue to decline

Is this what your sales guy looks like?

Reputation of sales people has rapidly decliened over the past few year. 20 years ago the sales teams were celebrated heroes in almost all businesses in the western world. Highly skilled and well trained sales people brought a lot of business which was responsible to drive the growth of the respective company. In the 70’s and 80’s the sales teams learned a lot of new techniques such as reference selling, solution selling, they learned to be a facilitator between customer and the experts inside the company they work for. They were wining and dining their clients, and learned to please the customer no matter what. What a great situation and pleasure to buy. But that was going to change: Continue reading “Reputation of sales people continue to decline”

Share

Creating a Social Media Strategy Handbook

95% of the customers had a choice when they purchased the product or service in the first place, they had a reason for their selection. The single most successful way to use social media is empowering customers to share that reason and turn it into recommendations. The single biggest challenge: make it actually happen.

The Social Media Strategy Handbook

It became best practices to create a Social Media Strategy Handbook for each social media project documenting everything including the ultimate goal and purpose, initial market research, SWOT analysis, strategy, programs, actions, social presence, resources, budgets, reporting and the ROI.

We are sharing two examples of those strategy books that were created by attendees of the Social Media Strategist class. One was for Lindt Chocolate and one for a Hotel & Spa in the Caribbean. None of the information provided here is confidential – everything can be found in the public social web. Continue reading “Creating a Social Media Strategy Handbook”

Share

Thousands Of Social Media Agencies/Managers At Risk

I recently wrote a post “Over 70% of Social Media initiatives FAIL“. I received more personal responses on that one post than on all posts I wrote in the past 5 years together. It inspired my to write this response to the overarching question: “What shall we do“.

No project success – No Reference

The consequence of failing projects – beyond the fact that it failed: here goes a potential reference customer.
Agencies have to come to a bitter realization:

Taking a print brochure to the web was an important transition
Taking a webpage and share it with friends is meaningless

Tens of thousands of agencies and social media consultants struggle to run their business. The social web is just NOT what so many people think: “just yet another marketing channel”.

10 things successful agencies do differently

Successful teams think entirely different and help their business clients to think through the entire chain of implications of a social engagement rather than just selling followers, fans and a page. And this is no different whether it is a 25 people small business company or a 25,000 employee global enterprise. Continue reading “Thousands Of Social Media Agencies/Managers At Risk”

Share

Growing the mid market – improving the US economy

A healthy mid market is part of the secret sauce for a well oiled economy. In Germany, one of the most stable economies in the world, 99% of all businesses are mid market companies, mostly privately owned and employing 70% of all people. Also in the US the mid market is about 99% of all businesses but employs only 16% of all people. Growing that US mid market is probably the most significant improvement to the US economy.

A pan European social media initiative is created to strengthen the mid market even further with a clear objective: Continue reading “Growing the mid market – improving the US economy”

Share

How to get executives fully comprehend Social Media?

I guess you all rationalized that Social Media projects are typically difficult to close and painful to execute if executives are not well aware of the impact of Social Media to their business. The single biggest problem is that most executives do not speak your language.

Getting your or your client’s executives to understand Social Media has become for many the single biggest obstacle. Even if you have a good story, they may not trust you – but they may trust the Social Media Academy. SMACAD is trusted by executives from ADP, Dell, Salesforcce.com, SAP and many others. Based on our own experience dealing with world class executives, we created this brand new executive program: “Social Media Business Essentials” for executives and top executive consultants http://bit.ly/smacadsmbe $395 incl. certificate Continue reading “How to get executives fully comprehend Social Media?”

Share

Marketing Re-engineering and the new CMO

Social media spans the whole gamut from marketing, PR, support, product management and sales through the entire organization. Social Media became the new way for higher integration with the market. It offers marketing departments a whole new opportunity to interact with the entire organization.

CIO or CMO?

In many of the larger organizations the CIO (Chief Information Officer) is busy taking care of network infrastructure, computing power, security, ERP systems and much more. And so it is actually the CMO who is weaving the network for the market interaction model that has just expanded like the big bang over the universe of a business. In other words the new CMO will gain significantly more influence and watch the business as a whole – no longer just from a promotional perspective.

Continue reading “Marketing Re-engineering and the new CMO”

Share

Certification 2012 – Advanced classes

After three years educating applied social media for business we decided to make some important enhancements to our certifications and classes going forward. The adjustments are reflecting  attendee feedback, evolving market requirements and to homogenize graduation terminology.

While we were initially focusing on social media consultants who basically were able to participate full time in the 8 week highly intensive crash course class, we are now getting a significant amount of attendees from corporations who need to go through the program while working in their respective jobs. At the same time we want to prepare attendees for the growing demand in social media strategy work and needed to add more content and intensify group collaboration and project work.

As a result we restructured the program as following:

1) Social Media Basics – An all new class

After 8 years of social media it is obviously much harder to start and become successful than just 2 years ago. This class shall help people who need to learn all the basics and ramifications of social media for business. Attendees learn about the general purpose and objectives using social media for business, opportunities and risks, tools and networks, behavioral aspects, how it can help build a better customer experience, better customer support, better product management, improve marketing and reduce cost across all departments. Attendees learn to setup their own social presence and realize the differences between personal and business use.

* No entrance exam required.
* 4 weeks online lessons and workshops.
* English or German language classes available
* Classes are held 3 times a year or more
* Company specific classes available

 

2) Certified Social Media Manager – More Knowledge, more practice

This class combines the previous Social Media Manager and large parts of the Social Media Strategist class to reflect current market needs. Requirements to be a Social Media manager have grown significantly in the past year and the new class reflects that demand. The Certified Social Media Manager not only learns to execute a social media strategy but also to be part of the strategy development, be part of a social media audit and support the resource planning and budget process. In addition a Social Media Academy Certified Social Media Manager need to earn the certificate by being part of a complete social media project from strategy creation to program execution, budget planning and resource allocation. A certified social media manager is trained to take a social media strategy in a mid size or larger corporation and executes such a strategy in the most professional way. The new program provides additional know how on social media monitoring and social media crisis handling.

* Entrance exam is required.
* 8 weeks online lessons, collaborative project work and workshops.
* English or German language classes available
* Classes are help three times a year
* Company specific classes available

 

3) Social Media Strategist – More advanced, more project work

This class is an advanced class, requiring the knowledge and methodologies learned in the Social Media Manager Class and actually being able to create a enterprise level social media strategy. This class has the remaining components of the "old" strategist class including HR, Human Talent Development, creating a social media strategy practice within a consultant organization or an enterprise as well as more intensive workshops with real life projects to be worked on in a collaborative manner. The strategist class also includes advanced lessons on social media analytics, social media crisis management and social media strategy variations in B2B versus B2C. The Social Media Strategist class is now a 6 month education program.

* Social Media Manager certificate or an intensive entrance exam is required.
* 6 month online lessons, extensive project collaboration and workshops.
* English only
* Classes are help once a year

 

4) Social Media Team Associate – Training the executing work force

Also this is an all new class and addresses the need for businesses who have well educated social media manager or social media strategists and need to train team mates in Product Management, Sales, Support, Marketing or PR. Attendees of this class will be from companies with a defined social media strategy using the SMACAD strategy framework. Attendees learn to develop programs which are defined by the Strategy Hexagon and are based on the Four Quadrant Assessment model as well as the NCP model. Attendees will learn to create social selling initiatives, customer experience improvements, crowd sourcing programs, social marketing initiatives, social media augmented service and support programs to be used in a cross functional social media engagement. It is highly recommended that attendees with no social media background will take the social media basics class before joining the Social Media Team Associate class.

* Entrance exam is required.
* 4 weeks online lessons and workshops.
* English or German language classes available
* Classes are help twice a year
* Company specific classes available

 

5) Social Business Master – The new leadership program

This class is currently in preparation and will be available starting in Fall 2012. The SBM program will take 2 Years / 4 semester including all aspects of social media for business. The goal is to educate future business executives to lead an organization strategically into the social business era including more effective go to market strategies, more successful sales engagements, market integrated product planning and development, customer integrated support strategies, partner integrated social media engagements and more. The SBM will learn to apply methods, models and frameworks in strategy development as well as hands on exercises to know what it takes to create and execute the measures leading to a successful engagement.

* Entrance Exam is required
* 24 month online lessons, project work and workshops plus 4 class room days.
* English only
* Classes starting once a year in Fall

 

The most significant change in the market compared to 2008, when we started with the Social Media Academy is the level of engagement in the social web as well as the evolving behavior. The number of users has grown from roughly 200 Million to over 1 Billion. Twitter has grown from a few hundred thousand to over 200 Million. Tools like Quora, Foursquare, Google+ didn't exist or were barely known. Other tools made way to newer more innovative products. The demarcation between personal and business presences have become very blurry or resolved completely. Executives learned about the significance in cost reduction and increase in customer satisfaction and the "elite networking technique" became a commodity.

 

Share

We Do Need Social Media Experts

Yes you heard it right, and yes, it's me who said it: Social Media Experts. The bad word in social media. Why do I say so?

Joe doe Social Media Consultant hates the word. Why? Because he is not an expert but rather a situation driven self made social media consultant.

Social Media Has Grown Up

The argument "Social media is growing so fast no person can keep up with the speed" is approximately 5 years old. My first interaction on LinkedIn was in 2003 that is 8 years ago. And if we didn't learn anything in 8 years – heck we should just not discuss the topic in the first place.

It's true there are new and better tools coming in every week. But seriously if all there is are how to use tools, you talk to the wrong people. And if we, at least many of us, didn't become an expert in what we are doing, there are no experts at all. Social media, social interactions, social dynamics, behavior whatever cool term you pick from the word cloud isn't just trivial. But neuroscience, physics, brain research… isn't either.

No more social media rock stars

Here is one of the biggest obstacles for executive teams: While there are thousands and thousands of social media rock stars, social media hippies or whatever you want to call it, it is very hard to find social media expertise – hence no experts. And those who are – are terribly busy.

Putting up a fan page, sending out scheduled tweets from a robot pretending to be a brand pretending to be social is not social media but old style push marketing brute forced onto a new media hoping it works because so many say so. And indeed you don't need an expert to do that. Any average Joe social media consultant whether here in the US or one of the people in the Philippines who do that for $5 an hour can take over those jobs. Impact? None, ROI 'hehhh"? Benefits for the company and even the customer: zero.

Executives need experts not hippies

Consider this: You are a CEO of a company with 5,000 employees and your "social media strategist" is rambling about a fan page, more tweets, listen to your customers and all that old blah blah blah. What will you do? Nothing – and that is actually a wise decision. The next step: You ask your team to come up with some ideas. They will want to get some external expertise. Again rambling about fan pages, tweeting and adding value to the conversation is the same blah blah blah – just on the next lower level.

Social Media Experts need to be able to re-assess a market from a holistic point of view considering the conversations of the customers – but think of some Millions of customers spread all over the planet. They needs to consider business partner integration, those people who actually "own" the customer relationships. And of course the company's own teams from executive to clerk and back. Those experts will need to develop a true strategy – not a list of cool tactical measures but a strategic model with a strategic objective, a well balanced benefits model for both company and market, resource planning, financial planning, ROI and so forth that will be the base for any consecutive action programs. The social media tools are at best a secondary side effect. Strategic models methods and frameworks are the heart and the core of a social engagement that can be introduced to 5,000 employees who in turn collaborate with maybe 50,000 partners and say 1 Million or more customers. You need to be an expert in that field to be able to construct, plan and execute such a social media strategy that will be carefully interwoven into a multi Billion $ business plan.

More executives than you may think are ready to take the challenge from a rapidly evolving society and its inherent changes in the way to do business – most consultants are not.

I wonder – if you are a social media consultant – are you able to help a CEO like mentioned above to get their strategy developed and embraced in their organization?

Axel
http://XeeMe.com/AxelS
(my social presence)

Share