Success Pattern — Social Media Agencies

In the past 5 years we’ve seen agencies come and go, raise and fall. A pretty typical scenario for a rapidly growing emerging market. As we helped hundreds of people starting their own company or  re-structuring their existing business, I thought I share my observation. This is not so much about skills but how those companies are seen from the outside.

 

What Worked and what didn’t

1) Portfolio

Successful agencies are having a very clearly defined and for newcomer easy to understand service portfolio. It’s shared right on their website and often has at least ball park pricing. They have often times a clear focus in terms of their offering i.e. Social Media Monitoring, presence setup, or apps development.

Less successful agencies have a high level list of buzz words that you can find everywhere in the web with no way of differentiating them from others. Most of the less successful agencies simply offer “everything” which in today’s stage of social media is very hard to do and very had to trust.

2) Target Audience

Successful agencies defining their range of expertise like B2B or B2C, company size, departmental focus even. Making it easy for a prospect to see a match of needed skills.

Less successful agencies have a “scaleable” offering from helping individuals to global enterprises, support all business disciplines and all industries.

3) References

Successful agencies share some references or at least have some stories without mentioning names or brands and share their experience – typically in a blog with frequent updates. The larger agencies who are working for larger clients have hardly a chance to get an official go for references but the sample stories they supply give important indications.

Less successful agencies are often just blasting out content for their clients without long term success and as such having a hard time to talk about any kind of success.

4)  Experience

Successful agencies share their experience either on their blog or in webinars or other media. Listening and reading about the way they think, how they approach things and what their experience is, is a key to better understand what they would be able to do for clients.

Less successful agencies hardly communicate about what they are doing but typically sharing what others do and say, simply due to lack of experience. While sharing content from others is a great thing to do, there are times one has to open up and put a stake in the ground about their own thinking.

5) Doing Business

Successful agencies make it easy to do business with them by having their phone number and social presence easy to find on all pages and make it very clear what they have to offer, for what type of client and in what industry or market segment.

Less successful agencies have hardly their own social presence listed. Often not even a phone number and it remains unclear what they actually have to offer.

6) Social Presence

Successful agencies have a rather complete social presence and update frequently. Many of the rather successful agencies are also seen on other sites and actually “live” in the social web, but most of the time at customers sites and presences.

Less successful agencies have often times a very good looking presence but spotty updates. If they are busy with one project they have no time taking care of their own presence. Less successful agencies follow more people than following them or have rather equal follower / following, have not much original content on their sites.

 

I purposely didn’t talk about skills as this is a whole different discussion. This post may help those who wonder why it is so hard to get clients, to re-evaluate their representation in the market.

Axel
http://XeeMe.com/AxelS

 

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New programs, new training center

With the new structure and the new name, Societ3 Academy also made some significant enhancements to both, the training program and also the way we deliver the education.

Enhanced Education Program

New Classes

Certified Social Media Manager

Certified Social Presence Designer

Certified Social Media Partner Manager

See the complete program overview 2013

Enhanced Education Model / Delivery

While the biggest advantage of our Academy was always the hands on experience right inside the social web, collaborating online and acting in real cases, in the real environment, we did recognize the need for onsite training class room education.

Online Only Training

For the more advanced users we continue to offer online only classes. Meaning the entire program is delivered in a “hybrid model” of self paced online learning and instructor lead online workshops.

Class Room Training

Most of the new classes are a combination of two day intense training in our training center in San Francisco or Cannes (France) and then 3 to 6 weeks hands on experience. All project exercises are performed in teamwork and online collaboration and  participating in weekly instructor lead online workshops.

Business Relevant Education

Social media is neither complicated, nor technically challenging. You will find thousands of free webinars and lists of tips and tricks online. Some of the more challenging business aspects can easily be learned through any of our $49 online lessons including exercises. But at some point in time you want to get real world project experience, without using your customers as ginny pigs.  You will want to do things right at the first time. When it comes to social business strategies, social media marketing concepts, crowd sourcing initiatives, improving customer experience, service models, and many other business aspects, a solid   education becomes mandatory. S3 Social Media Academy programs assume that attendees have been through a first series of experiments and now want to get a professional and effective education.

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Anatomy of a buzz

The anatomy of a well designed social media buzz is interestingly
close to the anatomy of a virus – hence “viral marketing”.

CONTENT:  You take some important piece of content. That is what is carried around. Make sure it is well structured so it won;t be altered, misunderstood etc.

BASE: Your content need a connection to the base, your social presence, otherwise it floats around and may not even know what is going on.

HOST STICKINESS: You will need hosts for each information “virus”. The message and the campaign need to have some stickiness so it stays with a host for a while and can reproduce there.

FUEL
Make sure you have enough ‘fuel” so your campaign is starving down the road or exhaust to early. The best way is to point back to the base so that it can be refueled.

PRESENCE PROTECTION
Ensure a strong and well protected (managed) presence. Every refueling process needs support and energy. Fuel and refuel the hosts so the virus can continue to reproduce and spread further. Don’t worry to much about mutation –  it will happen anyway.

ATTRACTION
Package some attraction with your initiative. Rewards, recognition, attention, fun…. Support the presence of your hosts. You may have hundreds of hosts if not more :)

Put a buzz to work

Now let’s put this all into a workable social media action plan. You will see it life on Thursday at our Buzz & Awareness Creation event. We will post the details in one of the next posts too.

Creating a buzz isn’t the easiest thing in the world but it is definitely no magic. We will share some of the secrets.

Axel
http://XeeMe.com/AxelS

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Social Media Academy now Society3 Academy

When we started in 2008, we were the first Social Media Academy and did not expect so many others following us. Today we count roughly 25 different “Social Media Academies”. Since it is a generic term, we were not able to file a trademark and so we decided to give the institute a more distinguishable name: S3 Social Media Academy

 

Origin of the name

After the inception of our early form of a society back in ancient Egypt, humanity developed gradually and grew with only little evolutionary advancements. Preservation and transportation of knowledge was one of the most critical things in this early society to be able to advance. The first major and revolutionary advancement happened when Gutenberg invented the printing press and enabled an explosion of knowledge dissemination. Advancements of mankind grew rapidly. The second major enhancement happened during the industrial revolution. People formed closely collaborating groups producing goods on one place. And again knowledge distribution accelerated by order of magnitude. Any step in the production chain could be followed from start to finish, mistakes could be instantly corrected and products could be mass produced at a cost and in a time like never before. While the steam engine was a key technology – it was the organizational concept of collaborating in a company that sparked the second explosion of knowledge. Now the third major enhancement is enabled by Social Media. Today anybody can work with everybody in a virtual environmental with no time lack, no travel and no physical limitations. Any conceivable information is instantly and typically freely available and immediately accessible. And our collaboration space has expand to be the world, connected by the Internet and is no longer limited by a manufacturing building. This third evolutionary step of knowledge and influence dissemination in our Society is the origin of our company name.

 

S3 Social Media Academy

The institute evolved to become the most respected Social Media education provider world wide. In the first 4 years more than 5,000 attendees from 35 countries attended the various education and training offerings. What started with classes for Social Media consultants evolved to a global provider for corporate team education including training for indirect channel partners.

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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”

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Digital Sunrise Conference, Cannes Nov 22-23

The Social Media Academy is one of the official DSC12 sponsors.

Alternative Growth Strategies

The two day event is addressing alternatives to traditional and rather costly growth models. As we all know, the global economy influences health and wealth of even the smallest local businesses. “Globalization” is no longer an enterprise level topic but highly relevant for local manufacturer, farmer and producer of almost any good or service.

As a result executives, business owner, social media manager and other business people joined forces and developed alternative growth strategies leveraging Social Media as an inexpensive and more humanized way to expand into new markets.

The Conference Objectives

The Digital Sunrise Conference is about three major aspects of business growth:

  1. Get managers and business owner from all over Europe meet and network
  2. Learn about alternative growth concepts as a way to overcome economic slow downs
  3. Rationalize the potential of Social Media based business strategies (not marketing campaigns)

Details & Registration

It would be great if you can join the conference and also help spread the word.

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Over 70% of Social Media initiatives FAIL

Here is what happens:

Customer: We need to get our number of fans up, some more follower and some really hot buzz campaign. We need some agency who can really deliver.

Agency: We can do that for you. We have people who setup your presence, tweet for you and do some blogging. We upload a few photos and take care of feedback. We also do social media monitoring.

Customer: Great – here are $3,500 per month and I expect you double my followers, grow my fan base, steer up some noise and generate solid leads for me.

Agency: Done deal – we’ll start tomorrow morning. Continue reading “Over 70% of Social Media initiatives FAIL”

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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”

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Top 15 Social Media Rules for Business Leader

Rule #1 Connections

If you hate to read about people walking their dog, eating pizza or making you rich in 3 weeks:

You are connected with, or are following the wrong people.

What you read is who you connected with


Rule #2 Time Management

If you are not sure how much time you should spend in social networks? Don’t spend any time at all.

Invest time in your most relevant contacts. If they happen to be in the social web – be where they are.

Invest time in relevant people not platforms


Continue reading “Top 15 Social Media Rules for Business Leader”

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Comcast CEO about company culture change

While this is from 2009 it tells an interesting story about how a CEO pretends that Social Media changed the face of Comcast.

Sadly Comcast could never got to a point where the positive front end was igniting more change in the back end of the company. A pattern we see in many very early engaged companies who never actually introduced a comprehensive social media strategy and stood kind of still at the experimentation level.

In retrospect, it’s no surprise that Frank Eliason left the company. Still today Comcast is considered unethical and have unacceptable business practices by charging more than originally proposed, not terminating accounts as agreed and so forth. Social Media would be of no help to such a company at all – it only uncovers the issues in a broader public. But even that makes no difference in a monopoly. Consumers have no alternative.

I ordered a Comcast connection for the forth time since we terminated contracts for our yacht during the winter time.

Today May 29, 2012 it took over 60 Minutes to complete an order for a $29 Internet Connection including a person online processing this order manually. An unparalleled example of inefficiency and unacceptable business practices. Continue reading “Comcast CEO about company culture change”

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