Twitter for total idiots… and executives

I began tweeting being an executive of my former company – I remember what it was like when I started ;)

If you google “how to use twitter” you’ll receive over 10 Million results.  Brilliant tips and tricks how to set it up, how to follow etc. but how should I actually make use out of Twitter was not really to find – obviously I did not have the time to grind through 13 Million results.

I searched for “why should I use Twitter” and the results were still 85,000 – but most were an epic explanation what Twitter is.

Michael Campbell writes: “Twitter is a way to get your message out”, uhh really? Blogul says “It is a cross between blogging, texting or SMS” hmm, if I’m not doing either am I off? Wayne Moran posted: “Twitter is all about the relationship and the socializing.” true,  but is that helping those who don’t know?

So why should I use Twitter?

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Do you really think that your Social Media Strategy can work in your business without a cross functional engagement??


If you answered yes, think twice…

It is all about connecting from many to many, not from one to a few… but collaborating, communicating, expanding.

Yes it is the users, consumers and fans that will define your products and your strategy ultimately. Consumerization is a reality and you will need to engage internally to accommodate.

Or do you prefer to ignore 1.3 billion (and growing) users of social networks? Don’t you think they are consumers lively connecting with your brand and their influencers? how fast can your brand reputation be ruined after exhaustive efforts to position it ahead? in the other hand , how nice to penetrate in this new territory with an effective network engagement through the power of your communities?

That is why you need  a plan, a strategy that can drive this new force and position you ahead in this revolution. This is where you engage full force. Like a World famous Technology maker says : “The power of we, is much better than me…”this is true, and you can only win if you have a cross functional engagement from inside out and connected to external users, communities partners and so on.

Social Media can help you , Social Media can finish you.

But this is just my opinion, what do you think?




Internet World Exhibition with Social Media Boost

Tooting the horn for an event is a resource intensive and expensive way of getting the word out. With the help of friends, fans, speaker or exhibitor it is becoming much easier.

The Internet World Exhibition collaborates with Social Media Academy

The Social Media Academy team in collaboration with XeeMe built a platform and contest for Internet World Expo in Munich to help spread the word by integrating exhibitors into a wide spread social media initiative. Obviously exhibitors have a vested interest to grow the number of visitors and a huge incentive to contribute to the engagement. This is a first and everybody is excited so far: Here is how it works:

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Pinterest – a Flickr killer? A definite YES

Pinterest is popping up all over the place. Is it just noise of some early adopter freaks? No it is not.


Pinterest is a super fast growing content sharing platform that competes with Flickr, Picasa and the likes. Now recently Pinterest is coming very close to the traffic rank level of Flickr and as Pinterest was growing Flickr's traffic is declining. 

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Twitter, Klout, Counter Intuitive Brand Reputation Strategies

Only people who care stand up and argue, defend, fight or otherwise make their position very clear. Interesting enough – the more disappointing a situation gets, the louder the conversation and the bigger the impact for a brand. An age old saying goes: "The worst thing to be talked about – is not to be talked about". A few companies are actually learning from the show business how this all works.

Scandals and disappointments – strategic tools

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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.



More social networks are coming any soon

Microsoft is working on an internal research project exploring a new social network: SOCL.

It appears that the software giant is game to reinvent itself and create a social media solution. While Microsoft still has the money – the question is whether or not they can change their culture from a self centric technology super shop to a community thinking global network. If Socl will ever be launched is still a question. But the billion dollar investment in technology such as Azure needs to find a consumer – and if it is just Microsoft. The 8 Billion acquisition of Skype still needs some justification. But consider a merger of 600 Million Skype users with a Socl type social network and a billion dollar hosting farm – it actually has at least a theoretic chance.

(Image by Sueddeutsche Zeitung)

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LinkedIn – not really a social network anymore

Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, lately Google Plus have rapidly evolved over the past few years. Online interaction took center stage and having a profile is only a commodity. LinkedIn developed into a different direction. groups degraded to cheap classified add boards, question and answers were basically replaced by the likes of Quora and Focus and the actual "conversation" circles all around spam.

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Do you record every call, every meeting, every conversation?

Most likely you don't record every phone call you make. You probably also don;t put up a recorder on every meeting you participate in. And I guess you don't record every conversation you are having with colleagues, friends or customers.

That was my thought too when I thought about the enormous amount of time people wasting with their email inbox. And it was a very helpful aspect when I thought about getting off of email.

In summer 2010 I decided to terminate my personal em,ail account by December 2010. Today it is only an auto-responder telling any sender that I no longer use email and look forward to any conversation in Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or other media including phone or a nice chat at a local cafe. My next goal is to reduce business email to an insignificant amount.

Getting Off Of Business Email

This is a much harder part – I thought. But actually I'm surprised that it is not. Today, early July 2011, I check my email inbox once a day and there is actually no need to do more than that. What did I do to get there?

Here are a few very simple steps:

1) If I receive an email, I usually respond on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn

2) If the sender is a complete stranger, I may not have the connection but most likely no need to respond anyway

3) The conversation is quickly "relocated" to any of the networks where communication is in a bizarre way richer and leaner at the same time. Much less formalities and straight to the point on one side but enriched with other conversations and shared content where applicable.

4) Sharing content and referring to other people, making introductions or sharing profiles is so much faster than email.

5) The real *KEY* however is the ability to share a conversation with many others at the same time. That means more people know what I'm up to, what challenges I have or what excites me right now.  That makes conversations more interesting and I get much more feedback than through a single email.

6) The diversity in the social web is superior over other media. I can make a personal connection via direct message, I can chat with somebody in a closed group and have others participate if they like and in a controlled way or I can go completely public.

7) Collaboration in groups with a quick way to upload photos, videos, screenshots and more is so much easier and richer than the monotone and close communication path of email.

I will continue to check my inbox on a daily base because I want to provide our customers the choice to communicate with us in any way THEY prefer. But after sic month I can say the email correspondence has imploded and the conversation on the social web exploded. I believe that it will take no more than two years to be completely off of email – very much like I am off of FAX, and off of TELEX and I just learn that the postal service finally stopped serving TELEGRAM communication.

And with the increased volume and speed – there is no way we can record every conversation or dialog – whether it is on the phone, in person or in any kind of text message. It will sit somewhere but no need to spend time to focus on archive, ordering the messages and whatever else people do with their emails today.