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,, 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 $395 incl. certificate Continue reading “How to get executives fully comprehend Social Media?”


No.1 reason why social media strategies fail

If you are listening to 1,000 social media practitioner you get 1,000 different ways and ideas how to deal with social media. Typically just tactical ideas, most of them start with how you can use certain tools and a variety of other inputs.

Once you get in touch with more experienced consultants they will tell you stop the experimentation and think strategically. Most will tell you to start with a well defined goal or objective. Continue reading “No.1 reason why social media strategies fail”


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.



Hiring A $180,000 Social Media Director

This is no easy task. Once you look under the hood what you need – you will have a hard time to find one. There is currently one capable social media strategist for approximately 1,000 open positions.


The Social Media Director should be able to do the following:

1) Making a thorough assessment

Hopefully using some proven audit or assessment methods

Coming back with a well structured report

Being able to make a good social media swot analysis from the findings

2) Creating a social media strategy

Having the ability and comprehension to go cross departmental with it

Knowing about the impact of social media on the sales team and how to leverage social engagement techniques to generate better customer relationships

Understanding the impact of social media on product management and how to leverage it for product requirements gathering, alleviating product design risk before it goes to production and leveraging the helping hand of early adopters in the product launch phase

Realizing the enormous impact on the support team and how service can leverage social media to improve service quality, customer experience level and advocacy

Haven a similar understanding of how social media improves HR, logistics, procurement and obviously marketing.

3) Strategy Alignment

Responsibility to bring the social media strategy in perfect alignment with the overall corporate strategy and possibly coach the executive team to make necessary alignments in the corporate strategy.

4) Overseeing the social engagement plans from the various departments

As such the Social Media Director has to be able to easily connect across department levels and support all department in their respective engagement which all has to serve the overall social media and business strategy.

Each of the departments will want and need to do their own programs to improve customer advocacy and drive public engagement. The social media director will be very busy to support all the departments with a cohesive engagement plan development.

5) Strategy Execution

Managing the executing of the social media strategy and ensuring that a clearly defined goal will be achieved at the decided point in time.

Now – there are some cute job descriptions out there where the social media director is also the one who does the "tweeting, blogging and commenting" all in one person. And the rest of the team does business as usual? That will obviously be a big failure.

What are you 'gonna do' – if you can't get the people?

Don't make a compromise and hire some mediocre social media people who may do their best – but that is still not the best for your company. Take your own team through a thorough education. They may take a bit longer to understand all the social media permutations and effects – but they know your business, your customers, your company culture and so much more that a social media super star has to learn if they join your organization. 

You may want to join our online business briefing Thursday this week



Social Media Certification – The world has changed

In the early days, in 2003 when LinkedIn was founded and I was one of the first 8,000 users, or 2004, when Facebook was founded, all the way to 2008, there was no education on social media and we all learned by experimenting and trial and error. It took a year or so to get our arms around it, but back then that was OK.

Education was always the best shortcut to results.

Today – 2011 – we have over 600 Million in the social web and trial and error is a daunting and time consuming task. And more so the complexity of social media has exploded. The number of tools has grown to a staggering 10,000 with an additional 100,000 of little gadgets that float all over the social web. For business leaders the strategic options are overwhelming.

What a social media director needs – what a social media certification needs to include:

Continue reading “Social Media Certification – The world has changed”


Student Again with Social Media Academy

“Education costs money, but then so does ignorance.”  Sir Claus Moser

Having done a lot of study, of different subjects and in different learning environments, I have to admit there have been times I’ve thought I’d done enough studying and learning.

But if ever there was an era when continuing education was not a luxury but an imperative, this 21st century surely wins the prize.

And I know from experience that, in this fast-moving world, with such a daily tsunami of information, opinions and general noise about social media as about many other topics, I can benefit professionally and personally by participating in a structured, disciplined learning process.

Certified Social Media Strategist badgeAll of which is by way of saying I’ve just become a student once more, this time with the Social Media Academy, where I have enrolled for the Certified Social Media Strategist program.

I’m doing the Australian version, which started yesterday and I am under the gun to get on with the challenging program of lessons.

The Certified Social Media Strategist class is described by the Academy as follows:

The Strategist Class is the “Core Education Program” of the Social Media Academy, a comprehensive 6 weeks online education program with online workshops covering social media from a holistic point of view. Class includes methods, models and frameworks for social media assessments, strategies and execution plans for all industries.

We’ve already had our introductory webinar and I am excited about the way the course has been structured and the support being provided, not least the custom-built e-learning platform.

Do I need the Certificate?

I really don’t know. I am pretty sure it won’t hurt for clients and prospective clients to know that I have been through a process like this, have had to submit assignments for assessment and have some external validation.

But what attracted me more than the prospect of having another certificate were

  • the comprehensiveness of the course
  • the strategic conceptual framework (I like good tactics, but I like to know where they fit in the big picture)
  • the knowledge, experience and seriousness of purpose of the people running the Social Media Academy
  • the quality of graduates whom I know
  • the focus on providing guidance on how to help business from small to large corporate
  • the inclusion of course material on practice-building

Social Media Academy bannerIt’s a big time-commitment over a couple of months. I figured out I have to spend a minimum of twelve hours a week and in practice probably a bit more, just to keep up. But I believe it is worth it.

I’m hoping to share here on the blog some insights and realizations as I go along. Some of those may well be somewhat embarrassing.  I am quite prepared to find – and actually hope I will find – that there are a number of things I do in social media which I could do a lot better, and things I’m not doing that I should be doing, and so on.

And while I mightn’t need the certificate, I quite like the idea of having it!

If you are interested in knowing more about the Social Media Academy’s courses, they offer a free orientation session, with varying times to accommodate people around the globe in different time zones.

Social Media Academy acknowledged as a top-tier social media school

Social Media Academy acknowledged as a top-tier social media school

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ,  Palo Alto, Jan 31, 2011 – The California-based Social Media Academy is, if nothing else, a training institution to watch.  In just two short years the organization has managed to create an enviable reputation in the United States, Europe and Australia for providing effective 6 – 12 week management programs covering corporate social media best practices.   A unique set of methods, models and frameworks are used to help managers create a thorough social media assessment, social media strategy, social media plans, using social media monitoring tools and implement a social media organization model across all market facing departments.  The result is a social media organizational model that unites customer-facing departments and provides tangible benefits to customers.

Continue reading “Social Media Academy acknowledged as a top-tier social media school”


Social Media Academy Empowering 75% Of Global Business


Indirect Distribution Channels Go Social Media With Help From the Social Media Academy

Jan 25, 2011 – While many large corporations struggle with using social media to get closer to their customers, companies with indirect distribution partners like resellers, agents, brokers, dealers, distributors might seem to have it easier.  Rather than dealing with their own communication, compliance and privacy issues, indirect companies can simply delegate social media engagement problems down the distribution chain for their resellers to address  Unfortunately, it’s not as easy or effective as it sounds.

Continue reading “Social Media Academy Empowering 75% Of Global Business”


Social Media Education – Is it necessary?

To many people, being social is a natural behavior and using social media just an extension. Yet others feel they need to know more than just polishing their network profiles and using the new media to blast out information. In recent month social media education even became a prerequisite to get engaged in consulting projects or being hired – simply because there are too many wonnabe “experts” and too less people with a sound understanding how to leverage social media in business.

In order to develop a successful social media strategy, try and error is not enough. Experimenting with the new media is nice but the risk to make mistakes and burn connections is high. Playing with one or the other idea is interesting but the contribution to the overall corporate strategy most likely insignificant.

How can social media education help company teams to improve their business ? Continue reading “Social Media Education – Is it necessary?”