Archive for the ‘general’ Category

State of Social Media Marketing 2012We are excited to share our annual report on the State of Social Media Marketing – Top Areas For Social Marketing Investment and Biggest Social Marketing Challenges in 2012. The team at Awareness connected with 320 marketers from a cross-section of industries, company sizes and levels of social marketing experience.  Our annual State of Social Media Marketing report comes with insights from those leading the efforts at the C-level and those who manage the social marketing function within their organizations, as well as a number of business leaders who are helping to bridge the social gap within their enterprises.

Here are some interesting findings and insights that are contained in this report from our CEO, Brian Zanghi.

2012: The Year of Growing Social Marketing Maturity

Social marketing is entering a stage of maturity and with it, savvy, socially-oriented businesses are starting to embrace social as part of their companies’ DNA.  This transition comes with an understanding that siloed approaches to social marketing are not effective, and a realization that scale with social marketing comes with the adoption of new organizational structures, processes and technology infrastructure that can help the enterprise scale and optimize in a continuous fashion. Expect that in 2012 focus will shift to active social media management for increased lead generation and sales.

C-level Involvement with Social Marketing

We were excited with the response levels from C-level executives (39% of respondents) and the information they shared.  Top-of-mind for executives and senior managers is ROI, integration of social with lead generation and sales, and expansion of social presence and reach. It is clear that the C-level wants more proof before they allocate additional organizational resources to social marketing.  This is why only 8% of our respondents reported 2011 budgets of over $50,000 per year, with 12% of the organizations reporting teams of 5+ social marketers.  At the same time, executives need to realize that to give their social marketing initiatives a chance, they need to invest accordingly in the effort.  Our prediction is that to resolve the cost-benefit conundrum in 2012, executives will start to adopt new processes and technologies that will not only help them scale the effort, but get the data that clearly links to ROI.

The Right Social Marketing Infrastructure

Social marketing maturity will increasingly be defined next year as the practice of adopting new processes and technologies that will help the enterprise scale their initiatives.  2012 will see savvy social businesses moving beyond the “let’s allocate a few people resources to social” mentality to incorporating robust social media management platforms. These platform will provide the ability to monitor and analyze social conversations, while creating effective response and content mechanisms to increase customer engagement and ultimately sales. Our industry is reaching this maturity tipping point – 78% of marketers reported monitoring social media channels for mentions of their brand at least a few times a week, while 62% reported monitoring industry conversations with the same frequency. Although 19% of surveyed marketers reported using a social media management platform, these are the leaders who will be reaping the most benefit from their efforts.

Expanded Use of New Social Marketing Platforms

Experienced social marketers report that they plan increased usage of social marketing platforms beyond the Big Three (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) to include: Blogs (91%) YouTube (86%), foursquare (59%), SlideShare (43%), Flickr (50%), and Tumblr (30%). Driven by increasingly fragmented user consumption habits, companies clearly see the need to expanded social presence that will allow them to follow and engage their prospects and customers on multiple channels and networks.  This proliferation of channels and the corresponding need to successfully engage in all of them will make the job of social marketers increasingly more complex. This, in turn, will necessitate the adoption of robust tools to manage presence, monitor and report on activity, and tie efforts to the organizational bottom line.

The State of Social Media Marketing report contains additional insights on top social marketing investment areas, top challenges for 2012, top social media platforms used today, the role of LinkedIn in reaching the C-suite, along with a fun section on the top news and analysis resources marketers use to stay on top of the latest and greatest in our industry. For full, free access to the State of Social Media Marketing report, click here. If you would like to be included in the survey for next year’s report, click here. You can also access the 2012 Social Marketing and New Media Predictions, to hear from marketing strategists David Meerman Scott, Brian Solis, Erik Qualman, Paul Gillin, CC Chapman, and Steve Rubel what 2012 has in store for us.

We welcome your thoughts, reactions and feedback.  Let us know how the insights and findings presented in the State of Social Media Marketing report will help shape your thinking in 2012.  Don’t hesitate to ask us the tough questions – as we embark on 2012, we promise to continue to provide deeper dives into best practices, successes, and notable trends to help you, social marketers, do more and do better.

Optimized with InboundWriter

Social Media MarketingAs we embark on 2012, the team at Awareness, Inc. consulted with the best and the brightest in marketing, strategy, technology, business and social media marketing to help us identify the top news, analysis and trends resources for social marketing and social technology.  Our industry is among the most dynamic, with many voices reporting, analyzing and advising on social technology, social media developments, successes, and best practices. To help you navigate the active social news space, we compiled this Ultimate Guide to the Top Marketing, Technology and Social Media Resources.  This guide aggregates resources quoted by leading strategists such as David Meerman Scott, Brian Solis, Erik Qualman, Jason Falls, and Jay Bear, top analysts and influencers Jeremiah Owyang, Debi Kleiman, Laura Fitton, David Berkowitz, brand leaders such as Ekaterina Walter, Michael Pace, and Pam Johnston, and agency visionaries Steve Rubel, Mike Troiano, and Jonas Klit Nielsen in our free report on 2012 Social Marketing and New Media Predictions, to name just a few.  The Ultimate News Resource Guide also contains the collective input from over 300 marketers from a cross-section of industries, company sizes and levels of social marketing experience (we recently polled these marketers for our upcoming annual report on the State of Social Media Marketing to be published in mid January) and asked them about their top information resources and their sources of inspiration.

Here it is – the 55 Top Marketing, Technology and Social Media Marketing News, Analysis and Trends Resources in alphabetical order:

1.   AdAge @adage

2.   AgencySpy @agencyspy

3.   All Things Digital @allthingsd 

4.   Altimeter Group @altimetergroup

5.   Around the Net in Online Media

6.   Around the Net @aroundthedotnet

7.   Awareness, Inc. @awarenessinc

8.   Big Think @bigthink

9.   BoingBoing @BoingBoing

10.  Brian Solis’ Blog @briansolis

11.  Bull Dog Daily Reporter @BulldogReporter

12.  Business Insider @SAI

13.  Chris Brogan’s Blog @chrisbrogan

14.  Convince & Convert @jaybaer

15.  Customer Collective @yourcustomers

16.  Darwin Awareness Engine Blog @darwineco

17.  Direct Marketing Association @DMASocialMedia

18.  Editors and Publishers @EditorPublisher

19.  eMarketer @eMarketer

20.  Exploring Social Media @JasonFalls

21.  FastCompany @FastCompany

22.  Forrester @Forrester

23.  Gartner @Gartner_inc

24.  Harvard Business Review @HarvardBiz

25.  Jeremiah Oywang  @jowyang

26.  Lifehacker @lifehacker

27.  Mari Smith @MariSmith

28.  MarketingProfs @MarketingProfs

29.  MarketingSherpa @MarketingSherpa

30.  Mashable  @mashsocialmedia

31.  Media Post @MediaPost

32.  MediaGazer @mediagazer

33.  Newsmap @Newsmap

34.  Pulse @pulsepad

35.  ReadWriteWeb @RWW 

36.  Robert Scroble @Scobleizer

37.  SmartBlog on Social Media @SBoSM

38.  SmartBrief on Social Media @SmartBrief

39.  Social Commerce Today @marsattacks

40.  Social Media & Marketing Daily

41.  Social Media Examiner @smexaminer

42.  Social Media Times @socialtimes

43.  Social Media Today @socialmedia2day

44.  SocialMediaMakerting.com @socialROI

45.  Socialnomics @equalman

46.  Summify @summify

47.  TechCrunch.com @techcrunch

48.  Techmeme @Techmeme

49.  The Next Web @TheNextWeb

50.  Trendsmap @Trendsmap

51.  Venture Beat @VentureBeat

52.  WSJ Media Marketing @WSJMedia

53.  WSJ Tech @WSJTech

54.  Wired @wired

55.  Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) @womma

Besides these top resources, today’s marketers heavily rely on their Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook feeds to get to the top news and developments in our industry.  You can follow these Twitter lists to easily get the latest from some of the top experts, and from our top resources, listed here. If you are looking for the top CMOs using Twitter, then look no further than this list of Top CMOs on Twitter.  You can also read about how CMOs are engaging with Twitter. And one final Twitter tip – if you want to know when your top journalists are tweeting about your brand or relevant industry terms, use this new handy tool from Muck Rack.

And as David Meerman Scott reminds us, some marketers also get their insights from their peers – they make it a conscious effort to attend industry events and conferences where they get first -hands insights from their colleagues on what works and what’s in store next.

Don’t be shy – let us know if we missed some of your favorite resources. Experts and marketing leaders you follow not on this list? You have our word – we will update this top list based on your feedback. You can also download our free report 2012 Social Marketing and New Media Predictions, containing insights and predictions from 34 business strategy and marketing experts. Connect with us on Twitter #AwarenessSMM on Facebook at Social Media Marketing Best Practices and Social Media Marketing Mavens Pages or LinkedIn at the Social Media Marketing Mavens Group.

Photo Credit: webtreats  154 Blue Chrome Rain Social Media Icons Used Under a Creative Commons License

Optimized with InboundWriter

I originally published this post on ReadWriteWeb on August 2, 2011

on Brands have evolved from asking “Should we be on social media?” to “How can we improve our social media activities?” At the same, they want to understand “what is the value of social media?“  That simple question of value transcends company size, industry and focus.

Three months ago, Awareness set out to answer the question of uncovering the value in social marketing by conducting research and meeting with social media practitioners and experts alike. During the interview process, we asked the group to tell us what advice they would provide Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) as they set out to design, manage and measure their social marketing strategy.  Here are their insights:

    1. Have a plan!Jason Falls, principal of Social Media Explorer:
      “Go into social with a plan. Social channels are like other marketing channels – treat them with the same diligence. Don’t just test the waters – commit to social. It is the way of the future.  Test and iterate. Integrate social with your marketing and business initiatives – social marketing cannot exist in a vacuum.”
    2. Passion is contagious – David Berkowitz, senior director of Emerging Media and Innovation for 360i
      “Don’t think of social only as a way to drive leads and sales.  Social is about passion – Oreo has over 22 million fans because the brand has given voice to the passion of its consumers.”
    3. Focus, test and learnPaul Gillin, author ofSocial Marketing to the Business Customer
      “Focus on a limited number of tools initially and build your portfolio where you see tangible traction.  Develop a center of social marketing expertise to avoid repeating the same mistakes other brands have made.  Consider hiring social marketing experts to help you develop that expertise.”
    4. Think like a publisherDavid Meerman Scott, marketing strategist and author of “The New Rules of Marketing and PR
      “In the world of social, companies need to think like publishers. The first thing that companies need to do is understand where they rank in search engine results. Smart companies know what their prospective customers are searching on. They then create social content – blogposts, YouTube videos, webinars, etc. that leverages key words to improve search engine rankings.”
    5. Integrate social into your businessNathaniel Perez, head of social experience at SapientNitro
      “If your level of maturity with social marketing is low, rely on agencies and consultants to help you succeed. You will need carefully integrated content, processes, and governance in order to succeed. Social is not media-centric, it is customer-centric. Once you have gained experience, work towards integrating social deeper within your business. Plan your resources around the following key functional areas: research and insight, engagement and community building, media planning and integration, and data and analytics.”
    6. Understand your goals and tie into existing business processes – Andrew Patterson, manager of new media at MLB Advanced Media
      “Start with understanding your goals with social. Where and how you want to participate is a business decision. Look at your industry and beyond for best practices.  Choose a social media publishing and monitoring platform that serves your specific needs. Social requires full integration with your current analytics systems – make sure you partner with your vendors for success.”
    7. Budget and prioritizeJeremiah Owyang, industry analyst with Altimeter Group
      “Allocate your social marketing budget based on your level of social marketing maturity. In our February 2011: How Corporations Should Prioritize Social Business Budgets, Altimeter reported that the average social media annual budget in 2010 was $833,000, but that figure fluctuated based on annual revenue and social marketing program maturity. Use industry benchmarks to allocate your budget.”
    8. Commit to social long termJonas Nielsen, co-founder and managing partner of Mindjumpers
      “Go in for the long haul, and don’t put social in the hands of junior brand managers.  Social is one of the one important channels of the future – your own media that will position you to spend less resources over time – for marketing, customer service, and product development.”
    9. Start by focusing on existing customersErik Qualman, author of “Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Businesså
      “The best companies understand social touches every aspect of their business. Start with answering why you want to run social programs and what success looks like.  Remember: only a portion of your social efforts can be tracked directly down to sales.  Most of social is relationship-based – it is a longer-term investment in your brand. Focus with your existing customers – they will spread the word for you. Welcome to the world of mouth.”

What do you think?  Do you agree with the experts?  What would you add to their list?

The complete results of the study are available in the recently released eBook: “The Social Marketing Funnel: Driving Business Value with Social Marketing” and attend the Social Marketing Funnel Webinar on August 18th @ 2PM ET

I’m just going to come right out and state the obvious: I love vacations.  I know, that’s a bit of a shocker, right?  Seriously, one of my passions in life is travel and like most people, I enjoy planning trips.

The planning process itself is fun for me because it builds up my expectations for the trip and gets me excited about where I am going. I’m in the process of planning a summer vacation with my wife and it got me thinking that it wasn’t long ago that the type of planning we do today just wasn’t possible.  We were at the mercy of a travel agent to plan a dream vacation or next business trip. The web has completely revolutionized the way we research, plan and book travel. With the influx of travel sites available, finding and choosing what fits our needs and budget is only a click away.

Social media has taken travel planning to the next level by providing recommendations on destinations as well as feedback on hotels, airlines, rental cars, price, etc from trusted advisors, travel experts and friends in a way that was not previously possible.

This new power in the hands of the consumer gives us the ability to seek exactly what we want and literally “name your own price” for hotel, airfare, and car rental.  This has left the travel & leisure industry struggling to keep pace. When you consider that most travel decisions are based primarily on reading peer reviews it comes as no surprise that travel & leisure organizations are looking for new ways to engage and promote discussions from their most loyal and enthusiastic customers across the social web.

From the point of view of the brands involved, keeping customers engaged and happy is paramount if they’re going to increase sales and market share. This is exactly why brands such as Fairmont, Marriott, AirMiles, American Airlines and JetBlue are leading the charge.  Each have active followings on multiple social channels (primarily Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr as well as their own branded communities) and are highly engaged with their market. These communities provide a forum for the brands to build new online relationships, engage customers, provide unique personalized promotions, provide customer service and increase sales while reducing costs across the board.

According to a Google study, 33 percent of travel website readers changed their travel plans based on a negative or not so favorable online peer reviews. This is exactly the reason why major hotels  and airlines have shifted their marketing strategy to one that keeps loyal customers engaged online.

A March 2009 study by Knowledge Networks,  found that between 10% and 24% of US social media users turned to social networks when making purchase decisions about various categories of products and services. (eMarketer, October 2009) Also, it was found that online social network users were three times more likely to trust their peers’ opinions over advertising when making purchase decisions. (“Social Networking Sites: Defining Advertising Opportunities in a Competitive Landscape,” JupiterResearch, March 2007)

Further, if a hotel or airline has a good base of members registered following them on the social web, it will maintain and increase sales. In fact, studies show the rate of staying at a hotel or flying on an airline instead of at a rival establishment is 50 percent higher for active members (elliott.org, 2004).

Ultimately, having an active community across the social web and a valuable destination drives an enhanced experience for loyal customers at a lower cost for the organization.  The challenge faced by many organizations is how to manage multiple social channels, ensure security and control and ensure a positive customer experience.

When a travel and leisure brand decides to engage with its consumers online it needs to be sure to offer a platform that will assist its members as best it can. This, on top of offering superior experiences, facilitating true conversations with members, and offering an easy-to-navigate framework of resources for its members.

Bottom line is loyalty and interactions go both ways. As long as travel and leisure brands recognize that community members are valuable marketing resources, strategic decisions as to continued engagement can be made.

Finally, when you empower your customer base to communicate their desires, likes and dislikes openly, you are allowing them the power to connect with your business and others. This power is valuable to them and gives you a key competitive differentiator in your industry – one that allows you to compete more effectively and drive loyalty, and increased sales.

Photo Credit: mon of the loin (via flickr) Used under a creative commons license

For the last 14 months Awareness has hosted a series of free webinars focused on educating the market on the benefits of social media marketing.  Last week’s session featured author Lon Safko discussing the “5 Steps to Social Media Implementation“.  The session itself started off with some technical difficulties that we were able to work out after about 10-15 minutes.  Even though we started a bit late, the session went very well  and, for the most part, those who attended were satisfied with the content of the session.

There is always (and I do mean, always) someone who leaves the session unhappy.  We do our best to feature top notch speakers and content as well as strive to consistently manage the sessions in a professional manner.  That said, every once in a while we run into a hiccup that causes a delay or, in one instance, a cancellation.  What continues to surprise me is the response we get when these issues arise.  Take for example the voicemail below that we received from a woman who had some issues accessing the session (she will remain nameless).

Angry Voicemail from Webinar Participant

I completely understand that a delay or broken link is frustrating.  This is especially frustrating when you have set aside time to attend one of our sessions.  I have been on the other side and it really is annoying.  That said, this voice mail is just funny.  Not so much for what she says but because of her reaction.  Really, I would expect this from my 2 year old, not from a business professional looking to gain more knowledge.

For those wondering, we did respond with a kind apology and helped her fix the broken link which was part of an issue with her email.  We also refunded her admission fee for the session. :-)

I tweeted about this earlier but thought it would make an interesting post. As you probably know, for the most part contextual advertising can be a valuable part of online marketing programs.  But today on Boston.com I found one that #FAILED.  I visited site because I heard through Twitter that the Red Sox had *officially* announced their pitching rotation to start the season.  (For those interested, it’s going to be Beckett, Lester, Lackey, Wakefield, Beckett, Buchholz.  Full story here).    I was surprised to be served a contextual ad on the Boston.com homepage telling me to “Gear up for the Tigers 2010 season”.  Maybe it’s a subtle attempt on the part of the Tigers to gain more fans but it sure seems like a wasted space to me.

This is an article I wrote for PointZero Magazine.  If you have a moment check it out here.  It’s a new magazine that offers a wealth of knowledge on the social media space.

In the last 18 months, Social Media Marketing has generated a lot of attention and buzz in most enterprises. From the innovative uses of social media during the US Presidential campaign of Barack Obama, to individuals creating a personal brand on blogs and microblogs, everyone seems interested in getting in on the social media hype. Mainstream media continues to point to unprecedented adoption rates of social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn among others, leaving enterprises to move beyond the question of whether or not to adopt social media as part of the marketing mix, and into how they should adopt it.

Most enterprises have made attempts at dipping their toe in social media mostly by establishing a presence on what we will call the “free social web” – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.  While these social outposts are extremely important for branding and driving traffic to an enterprise’s web site or online community, they are difficult to measure and track and, most importantly, it’s difficult for the brand to own the conversations happening within the broader social web.  These sites own the explicit data (profile information, demographics data, etc) and implicit data (comments on other posts, details on connections, responses to polls, allegiance to fan pages, etc) making the information difficult or impossible to review, interpret and act on.

Leveraging and Launching Social Media
Enterprises that are at the point of expanding their social media initiatives by launching their own market facing community benefit by learning from the successes and failures of other brands. Three common mistakes Enterprises make are:

•    The “build-it-and-they-will-come” fallacy—This happens when a company focuses too single-mindedly on the tools and forgets to consider the marketing programs that are driving membership and participation in their community.  Too many brands believe once the community is launched it will result with hundreds of thousands of members out of the gate.  The truth is the launch of a community should go hand-in-hand with a well though marketing program and activities to drive membership and participation.
•    The “let’s-keep-it-small-so-it-does-not-move-the needle” phenomenon— Some enterprises seem to get into a permanent state of pilot when it comes to social media marketing programs. At some point you either need to move on and scale, or decide that social media marketing is not for you and shut it down.
•    The “not-invented-here” syndrome—This can happen when a very strong community already exists, and the company tries to create a new one and lure members to their own platform. In some cases it makes more sense for that company to engage where the community already hangs out and affiliate with them instead of trying to compete with them.

Measuring ROI – It’s both important, and possible
Earlier this year Chris Brogan (President of New Marketing Labs) and I conducted research on Corporate Trends in Social Media Marketing.  We learned that most enterprises that dipped their toes into social media were planning larger, more comprehensive strategies in the second half of 2009 that involved deploying their own customer or market facing online communities.  The primary motivation of the enterprises planning these initiatives were addressing standard marketing goals including promoting brand, increasing customer engagement and driving demand generation activities.  On the flip side, the biggest concerns of the same enterprises were around ensuring their brand image is not tarnished within a community and that they can generate high levels of participation among community members. An additional concern identified in the survey was the perceived inability to track an RIO with social programs.

Measuring ROI in social media is something everyone involved in the space is trying to capture. While there are many different opinions on the subject no one has established an industry standard. One of the primary reasons behind the lack of a standard ROI definition for social media is because, as we learned in the survey, there are many different objectives for social media programs. For example, while page views may be a compelling metric for a UCG campaign, it may indicate poor performance in a peer support community.

Without standard metrics, organizations need to know whether or not social media programs are making an impact. As companies adopt and enhance social programs they need to be sure that the vendors they select to support the technology component of the social program understand the differences in business objectives companies have and have the appropriate metrics in place to track an ROI. With the right platform and tools in place, measuring ROI is easily possible.

In 2009 Awareness hosted 19 webinars featuring a wide range of marketing topics presented by a host of social media thought leaders.  These sessions grew in popularity over the course of the year, attracting thousands of viewers and featuring entertaining and thought provoking conversations.  There was a ton of value in every session and here is my list of the Top 5 Sessions of 2009 (along with some honorable mentions):

  1. End the Hype!!” A Live Panel from IMS with Jason Falls, Paul Gillin, C.C. Chapman, Chris Brogan, and Brian Solis
    Picture by Derek Wilmot

    Photo by Derek Wilmot

    What could top a rock-star panel streamed live from the floor of the Inbound Marketing Summit at Gillette Stadium? This session was particularly exciting for me for a couple of reasons.  First, it was live streamed, which adds a completely new dimension (as well as a new level of stress) to a traditional webinar.  Not only does it mean people tuning in are watching you instead of a set of PowerPoint slides, but it also means there are a ton of technological hurdles you need to consider.  Luckily, Matthew Mamet and the video gurus at Visible Gains stepped up and handled the technology component.  Second, it featured an all-star panel of individuals that I have a lot of respect for in the social media space: Jason Falls, Paul Gillin, C.C. Chapman, Chris Brogan, and Brian Solis.  As the host, it put a ton of pressure on me to ask good questions, facilitate good conversations and to make sure I give each presenter enough air time.  In the end, we had a great conversation, shared some interesting case studies and had a deep discussion on metrics and social media ROI.

    A link to the live session is here

  2. Scott Monty, Ford’s Social Media Strategy, From Zero to 60
    monty_fordI learned more from Scott Monty in 45 minutes than some people I talk to for hours.  It’s rare for a company the size of Ford to provide such a detailed look inside their social media strategy.  Paraphrasing Woody Allen, where he said ”90% of life is just showing up,” Scott Monty, Head of Social Media at Ford Motor Company shared with us how Ford subscribes to the Woody Allen philosophy of social media which is “90% of social media is just showing up.” Its about being where people expect you to be.  Showing up is easy, its the other part that is hard and is often where the majority of corporations fail. Well Ford is certainly doing more than just showing up. With Scott to guide them, the corporation that has experienced its share of challenges,  is now seeing significant success in their social media efforts through their many campaigns. Proof of this success could possibly be attributed to the company’s recently posted profits of nearly $1 billion in its third quarter.Here is a link to the slides and recording (written by Christine Major)
  3. Larry Weber, “Marketing on the Social Web”
    weber224-thumbI have probably seen Larry Weber speak 5 or 6 times and I have read all his books (”The Provocateur”, “Marketing to the Social Web‘ and most recently, “Sticks & Stones“).  I continue to be amazed at how much I learn from him and I continue to be a fan of how he thinks.  This session set a couple of records for Awareness sessions.  First is was the session with the highest pre-registration – over 3000 people signed up to tune in.  Second, it’s our most downloaded set of slides on slideshare (currently has 11,500 views, 118 favorites and 42 embeds).  Finally, this was one of our most active conversations on Twitter.  We received hundreds of comments and questions throughout the session leaving me scrambling to keep up.  I said this on the call and I’ll say it again, if you haven’t read “Marketing to the Social Web” pick it up, its a great read from a guy with a ton of insight on the space.

    View the slides from Larry’s Session here

  4. Mitch Joel, “Six Pixels of Separation
    MitchJoelI had the chance to read Mitch’s book, “Six Pixels of Separation“, the weekend prior to the webinar and had tons of my own questions I wanted to ask.  My only disappointment was that because we received so many questions from listeners on Twitter I never had the chance to get to any of my questions.  Mitch spent time discussing how the world of new media and how to market with a brand-new perspective that is driven by compelling results. The smarter entrepreneurs and top executives are leveraging digital channels to get their voice “out there”-connecting with others, becoming better community citizens, and, ultimately, making strategic business moves that are increasing revenue, Awareness, and overall success in the marketplace-without the support of traditional mass media.

    Click here to view the recording of the session

  5. (Tie) Jason Falls, “My Agency Doesn’t Get Social Media… Who Does?” & C.C. Chapman, “Passion is Contagious”falls_chapman
    Both of these sessions we great because, first, the content rocked.  They weren’t the typical sessions talking about dialog, transparency, and general social media B.S. , they both talked about actually things you can use in your business and gave great advice.  Second, neither session needed a deck, etc.  We could have had a discussion for 45 minutes without relying on decks.  Both C.C. and Jason are expert presenters who have great experiences and backgrounds, but more important is they are great guys who are very easy to talk with.Jason led a discussion called “My Agency Doesn’t Get Social Media… who does???“  and focused on the successes and failures of social media within marketing agencies. He talked about the right questions to ask agencies as you engage them to define and manage your social media strategy and, most importantly, what to look for as you select an agency.

    I have known C.C. Chapman for a couple of years.   We first met when we were both speakers at the New Marketing Summit (now the Inbound Marketing Summit).  Actually, I think our first “in person” meeting was just before I  interviewed him for New Marketing T.V. What’s really interesting is that while we both graduated from Bentley University (granted it was at different times – C.C. is WAY older than me ;-) ) and shared several friends (shout out to @bostonsarah), we first connected through social media. It’s true, social media actually works!  The  first time we actually “spoke” was months before we met in person when we began chatting on Twitter and Facebook.  Since our first meeting at NMS I have seen him speak 5 or 6 times and I always learn something new from him.  This session was no exception.

    (Photo Credit: Jason Falls)

Honorable Mentions:

  1. Chris Brogan, “Trust Agents
    This will go down as the webinar that almost wasn’t.   Our original session was going to be a traditional webinar delivered by Chris focusing on his new book, “Trust Agents“.  Unfortunately, there were some technical issues and we were forced to cancel the session (want the detailed story, click here).  The good news is we were able to coordinate a live session with Chris few weeks later.   The session streamed live from the Visible Gains offices in Waltham.  It’s always great chatting with Chris and this session was no exception. He has some great case studies and really interesting insights on how to use social media as part of your marketing mix and how to grow vibrant communities.  Check out the session here.
  2. Brian Solis, Socializing your Corporate Brand
    Brian’s session focused on “Socializing your Corporate Brand”. I had not had the chance to meet Brian prior to the session but had read his book “Putting the Public back in Public Relations” and have seen him speak on a couple of occasions. What I like most about this discussion was his use of actual, real-life, tactical examples that marketers can use today to start communicating in the social web. The session didn’t focus on theory and spent time addressing the tactical questions of the audience which made for an excellent session.  Check out the session here.
  3. Adam Broitman, Innovative Marketing
    Adam Broitman is founder and ringleader at Circ.us. I met Adam for the first time at New Marketing Summit (now the Inbound Marketing Summit) when we sat down for an interview on the state of new marketing (click here to view it). Adam has great insight into the agency world (spending some time at Digitas, Morpheus and Crayon) and has a very unique (some may say “innovative”) way of thinking about marketing and social media. He’s also a lot of fun to chat with and, as you we see in the recording, he’s both an entertaining and thought provoking speaker.
  4. Rachel Happe, “The Community Maturity Model
    Rachel Happe and Jim Storer of The Community Roundtable along with Adam Zawel, XPC Community Facilitator at Palladium Group presented “The Community Maturity Model.”  During the webinar, Rachel brought us through the different phases of The Community Maturity Model while Adam shared his first-hand experiences building and managing Palladium Group’s community.  According to Rachel, community is about the relationships between the people in your community and not just a content-rich website (the “audience” Brogan referred to). It is these relationships that drive engagement, passion and long term relationships. Reminds me of Ford Motor Company and their success in using social media to drive that passion for its vehicles.

We have some great speakers already lined up for 2010!  Check out the latest and greatest schedule at our website.  Got ideas for a speaker or topic?  DM me @bostonmike or email me mike.lewis(at)awarenessnetworks.com

This was a very exciting week at Awareness. To kick off the week we welcomed two new members to the sales team – Jocie Jandovitz and Phil Barry.  Both come to Awareness with deep experience in the software space and a passion for how social media can help companies improve marketing effectiveness.  They are great fits for the team and I am looking forward to working with them throughout 2010.

The changes don’t stop there.  Today we officially move to our new digs in Burlington, MA (which happens to be my hometown).  This is particularly exciting for me because not only is this where I grew up but it’s also where I currently live.  It’s a big win for me personally because my commute will go from about 45 minutes each way to 5 minutes.  My friend and co-worker Steve Tremblay (who also lives in Burlington) said it best: “Everyday I’ll get an hour and a half of my life back“.   The Burlington location is ideal for us because it’s larger, centrally located and is less than an hour from downtown Boston.  The space itself is also terrific – tons of room for new employees, beautiful conference rooms, an unconventional floor plan, very cool cubes, a view of the Boston skyline and space for the marketing team to host live streaming video sessions (stay tuned, details on this will follow shortly).

While we leave behind some great memories in the Waltham office we are looking forward to creating new memories in Burlington.

These are exciting times for Awareness!!!  Stayed tuned for more exciting announcements coming very, very soon!

Filed under: general,Uncategorized · 1 Comment

Who knew that talking to a crowd of Yankees fans could be so much fun?  Last week I led a discussion at Web 2.0 in New York titled “The Elephant in the Room: Social Media ROI”.  After catching some flak from the locals on being a die hard Red Sox fan we got down to business and discussed ROI.  During the talk I walked through a case for ROI and presented some case studies from companies I have worked with in the past.  The conversation sparked some interesting questions, some debates and a lot of interesting dialog.  I’m hoping to have a recording up in a few days (stay tuned)… The slides from the presentation are below, hope you enjoy!

View more presentations from Mike Lewis.