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.




Social Presence Management

When you start your social media engagement you probably start on LinkedIn or Facebook. You explore Twitter and maybe have already an account on YoutTube or Flickr. As you get connected with people you hear about Foursquare, Yelp and Google+, maybe SlideShare and Quora. Others introduce you to LinkedIn Groups or Facebook groups, maybe Focus and Plancast, Tumblr and WordPress. Over time you play with social bookmark tools such as Digg, Delicious or StumbleUpon. Then you get introduced to Klout, Posterous, PeerIndex and approximately 100 or more other tools.

Before you even started to make notes about all your profiles and accounts you have a bigger presence than you think. And now it's getting messy.

Continue reading “Social Presence Management”


Social Media Guidelines – encouraging and fun

I researched many Social Media policy documents in the last 2 years and what’s interesting is the different ways companies address and define social media guidelines. I have read policies where every paragraph started with "Thou Shalt Not….; and other polices looked like more like mystery books.

Great to see many enterprises guiding their team and their social engagements in a fun and encouraging way.

EMC released a brief training video for their team, which is designed to communicate the key points of proper social engagement while not losing sight of the 'fun' side of Social Media.

The Evolution of Communication: Social Media Engagement @ EMC


Meltwater Employee Social Media Guidelines



Social Media Guidelines Help UPS Employees Protect Their Reps



For me social media guidelines are telling a lot about company culture – not only as a workspace but also for the customers.

More Social Media Guidelines in our resource center and more video clips also on our YouTube Channel



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



Managers over 40 with highly attractive social media assets

Social media is great for 20 somethings, social media is a marketing responsibility and earth is a disk.

OK the older generation with managers above 40, have quite a challenge to get their arms around social media. But the business starters, college kids are not so much better off just because they are young, learn faster and are more agile. After reviewing the two years of Social Media education engagement I noticed that successful social media managers and successful social media consultants are between 35 and 50. I also noticed that none of the social media rock stars is less than 30. More so I noticed that high impact social media engagements – outside the fancy campaigns – but the ones who seriously improved customer experience, drove consumer engagement, helped to reduce cost or increase revenue were almost all driven, managed and executed by senior people.

This is NOT the end of your career – but you need to turn your assets into a new advantage!

Social media has an interesting surprise in store for the more established generation.

Continue reading “Managers over 40 with highly attractive social media assets”


Help Jackie get a scholarship

Help Jackie get a scholarship

Do it the fun way: Play Empire Avenue and find 500 "investors" buying min 100 shares for SMACAD by May 16

Obviously it is a game and no real money is involved

Social Media Academy decided to give one scholarship for the Social Media Strategist Class in every trimester for one person who is highly engaged in the social web and we feel deserves a scholarship for a variety of reasons.

For this upcoming class Jackie Coughlan was nominated for a scholarship.

Now – the social web being the most competitive place for attention, recognition, engagement, connectivity and actually fun is a perfect place to connect a scholarship with a bit of all of the above.

Here is the fun part:
Help Jackie find 500 "investors" in Social Media Academy Shares on the latest game:
"Empire Avenue" and buy 100 shares here:
Obviously it is a game and no real money is involved.

You can watch it grow on "Leaders | Share Price"

OK – Now – please help Jackie get her scholarship.


Short link to this page:


Recap Online Management Briefing Social Media ROI

April 28 – Online Management Briefing – recap

High Impact Enterprise Social Media Strategies with ROI above 100%

Presentation PDF also available via SlideshareSlideshare Online Management Briefing ROI Social Media Academy

It's no longer the question whether or not there is a financial ROI on social media, but how high it can be.
Social Media Academy is introducing some "High Impact Strategies" to get ROI above 100% within a year.

– Enterprise level social media engagement models
– Social Media in the support department with ROI of 142%
– Social Media in the product management group creating an ROI of 167%
– Social Media in the sales organization creating an ROI of 337%
– Social Media in the marketing department creating an ROI of 525%
– Methods, models and frameworks to create high impact strategies
– Organization models that allow high impact ROI in enterprises
– Where to start – who to hire.

Audience: Business managers / Business consultants
Duration: 45 minutes plus Q+A
Takeaway: Get the big picture for high impact ROI on social media





Webinar recap 04/19

Exploring how the Social Media Academy can enhance your business & your career – Intro Webinar

Summer class 2011  – Certified Social Media Strategist, Business Managers – Training & Certification

Thanks to all participants in our webinar yesterday. In case you could not attend or want to share the presentation with colleagues or just want to refresh your memory, we've made the presentation available her: Continue reading “Webinar recap 04/19”


How Facebook widens the distance to LinkedIn

I recently chatted with one of the LinkedIn co-founders about the evolution of LinkedIn. He asked my why I seem to use more and more Facebook's platform even on the business side. Last week my friend Mike Dubrall shared with me that he has completely changed his usage pattern from 90% LinkedIn and 10% all others together, to less than 10% LinkedIn, more than 50% Facebook and then the rest.

In accordance to a "ZimmPoll" Facebook seems to be the dominate leader of the social networks when it comes to usage. Facebook Twitter and YouTube owning over 80% of the "Mind Share".

Image source AgWired

Microsoft, Google, Facebook have one thing in common:

Continue reading “How Facebook widens the distance to LinkedIn”