SME2: Social Media Excellence x Social Media Expertise


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Understanding the required skill levels across areas of expertise and business functions becomes a critical factor for driving effective social media programs that are efficient and deliver business value across an enterprise or within an agency. SME2 is the first-of-its-kind consultancy helping social media teams optimize skills, tools, processes and relationships to drive better business results.

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SME2: Social Media Excellence x Social Media Expertise

  1. 1. SME2 is a first-of-its-kind consultancy helping social media teams optimize skills, tools, processes and relationships to drive better business results. Executive Summary The need for a high functioning social media team within a business, agency or through a business-agency partnership – or within functional departments -- is increasingly important as social media use grows. In addition to needing a high functioning team, effective social media programs also require a broad range of skills and expertise related to technology, branding, creative and production skills, Web metrics and analytics, customer and technical support, as well as strong project management skills across various business units and functions. This broad range of increasingly integrated skills often resides in multiple business functions such as marketing, communications, customer support and IT. The various skill sets may also may be housed in different agencies such as digital or advertising agencies, public relations or a video production firms or other content-production agencies. Understanding the required skill levels across areas of expertise and business functions becomes a critical factor for driving effective social media programs that are efficient and deliver business value across an enterprise or within an agency. In addition, agency-company partnerships can be improved when the skill levels are matched in ways that align with organizational strategies, business plans and initiatives, and optimize productivity. Finally, understanding skills and talent levels across a social media department or agency can further define specific training or recruiting needs that will enable a fully functioning social media function. SME2 is a consultancy focused on defining social media competencies, assessing talent, enhancing capabilities, leveraging current staff levels and recommending changes that can improve work flow. The consultancy can identify gaps in the social program expectations and delivery mechanisms, and ensure the in-house/partner partnership is effectively maximized to achieve more. SME2 uses a series of auditing and competency assessment tools. It begins with defining social media competencies and articulating progression through them, then assessing current staff
  2. 2. ©2013 SME2 Briefing Paper Page 2 against those competencies. This first-of-its-kind delineation of competencies forms the foundation of talent assessment, laying the groundwork for future enhanced capabilities for planning and executing social and digital media efforts. Next, SME2 interviews social media team leaders to understand the breadth and depth of the social media strategy for a business, or to understand an Agency’s ideal mix of skills to meet market demands. The auditing and assessment also includes an SME2 review of work flow, processes across business functions, current tools and service uses across a business and specifically within a social media team or center of excellence. SME2 provides the company or agency with a customized skill- and talent-level matrix related to key social media functions and areas of program responsibility. The skill- and talent-matrix is then customized into a unique inventory of skill and talent requirements specific to a business’ or agency’s strategies, processes and tools that support its social media program efforts. The SME2 skill and talent level matrix begins with 33 skill sets encompassing four important categories for any effective social media process or program. These foundational skills, combined with specific and customized business needs provide the basis for a talent assessment across organizational groups and functions. The four general categories include:  content production;  project management skills particular to social media;  social-specific skills; and  social media center of excellence leadership skills. The assessment tools deliver data and analytics that are the basis for assessing current strengths and identifying gaps for social media implementation. The data and analytics facilitate a discussion about priority programs and their delivery. They also guide a business in staffing, training or outsourcing options required to deliver an effective and strategic program or process. In addition, the review of strategies, workflows and staff capabilities enables SME2 to recommend possible changes to workflow or partnerships to further enhance and leverage current headcounts and talents.
  3. 3. ©2013 SME2 Briefing Paper Page 3 Background The need for a high functioning social media team within a business, agency or through a business- agency partnership is increasingly important as the use of social media by business grows and integration of social media into business processes becomes more common.  79% of companies use, or are imminently planning to use, social media. Nearly half of the companies who were rated as 'effective' in social media said it was integral to their firms' strategy. -- Harvard Business Review Analytics Services.  52% of executives say that social business is important to their companies today. 86% says it will be vital in three years. 28% of CEOs say social business is vital to their organizations, about twice the rate of CFOs and CIOs. -- MIT Sloan Management Review 2012 Social Business Global Executive Study. SME2 assesses talent, work flow, staffing levels and in-house/partner efficiencies. We deliver insights on current staff strengths and development opportunities that help social media professionals -- and other staff with social/digital media responsibilities -- keep pace with rapid change; and recommend investment for training and development in ways that tie people and skills to strategic priorities for social media activities. While many organizations have basic social media training efforts in place for employees, there is limited discipline around skill sets and competencies to deliver robust, operational and strategic social media efforts across a business and/or its agency partners.  During the next 5 years CEOs expect social media to rise to the second most important way businesses connect with customers (with traditional 1-on -1 meetings retaining the number #1 spot). Source: IBM 2012 CEO study, suite/ceostudy2012/  Many executives also cite overall organization shortcomings, including: new approach to managing talent by applying flexible team structures, engaging outside collaborations…and building and acquiring the skills necessary to carry out a digital business agenda….companies need to be resourceful in developing homegrown skills. Source: McKinsey 2012, Digital and Executive challenges  Altimeter interview with social strategists for companies with more than 1,000 employees indicated they have “fairly developed” social strategies with the exception of metrics and training.
  4. 4. ©2013 SME2 Briefing Paper Page 4 SME2 Services SME2 delivers a combined audit of social media strategies and programs with a comprehensive talent assessment against some 33 social media competencies. Its services include an assessment of social media skills that ensures a business has a solid rationale and realistic expectations for the likelihood of program success. In delivering these services, SME2 identifies any talent and operational gaps, especially as many companies look more to do more with their own employees, namely driving social media efforts and online connections with stakeholders.  “Nike’s decision to take management of its social media marketing in-house and away from its digital advertising agencies is part of social media’s natural maturation cycle. Social was once an experimental channel that could be shunted off to agencies. Now, it’s seen as critical to a brand’s success — and that means it’s moving in-house. Nike is not alone. Top brands like Ford and Campbell Soup have moved from relying solely on agencies for their day-to-day social media to owning it themselves” Source:  46% of companies globally planned to increase their investment in social media this year. However, only 22% of middle managers felt prepared to properly incorporate social media into their work. Source: IBM 2012 Social Business Study. SME2 employs a series of auditing and competency assessment tools across 33 skill sets encompassing four important categories for an effective social media program:  content production;  project management skills particular to social media;  social-specific skills; and  the social media center of excellence leadership skills required. SME2’s analytics highlight priority competencies, illustrate the distribution of talent across the range of competencies (including proficiency levels), and define priority areas for training, development and process improvement. For illustrative purposes, we offer four sample competencies (one from each category):
  5. 5. ©2013 SME2 Briefing Paper Page 5 A Competency Sample from the Content Production Category Blogging: A discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete entries ("posts") typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first) and with links to other blogs and sources. A blog consists primarily of text-based commentary and personal opinions – but may also feature video, graphics, and other digital media -- resulting in comments and interaction that distinguish blogs from other static web sites. Minimal/Foundational Exposure Demonstrates ability to post relevant and timely content and consistently delivers well-written, length-appropriate copy with an authentic personal voice with editing. Shows ability to connect content consistently to the business/brand. Posts routinely deliver value to readers/audience beyond a company news release and link to credible third parties. Blog posts often generate comments from readers and/or are shared on the Web or other channels through links back to the blog posts. Responds to comments in a timely manner and in a way that extends the “conversation.” Capable/mid-level Strategically drives content in ways that position the blog/blogger as a knowledgeable source and industry leader with little to no editing or direction. Uses social media tools to further refine and define timely content that drives increasingly stronger readerships and increasingly higher levels of engagement/comments and responses. Advanced/Mastery Successfully coaches others to blog with increasingly stronger levels of success. Extends blog reach and credibility using third parties/guest bloggers. Strengthens blog readership and presence through integrating other tools (video or podcasting) and utilizing other social channels. Routinely brings emerging best practices in blogging to company/brand blogging efforts, while creatively exploring new/organic practices that drive blog success.
  6. 6. ©2013 SME2 Briefing Paper Page 6 A Competency Example from the Project Management Category Social Visual Communication: Understanding the shift from text to the use of visuals as a primary communication tool and how to make business use of visual social platforms, such as Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and Vine, to drive a business result. Minimal/Foundational Exposure Consistently identifies appropriate social sites with little to no direction and matches to company visual assets in order to garner attention and traffic, reshares/likes/favorites/repins etc. Capable/mid-level With no direction, proactively tells the business story in a strategic way on the Web using visual communications, integrating on- and off-domain, as well as with text and other tools. Deploys solid measurement capabilities across all platforms and collects and analyzes data in timely ways to drive actionable decisions. Advanced/Mastery Demonstrates capacity to integrate Visual formats across all on-domain social platforms and build an effective proactive visual story telling strategy. Deploys that strategy across various social visual sites. Provides strategic counsel to business segments and products seeking constant guidance on best visuals and sites to maximize connection with customers.
  7. 7. ©2013 SME2 Briefing Paper Page 7 A Competency Sample from the Social-Specific Skills Internal Social Media: Collaboration, innovation and productivity are the key benefits of using social media internally. Deploying these platforms behind the firewall, organizations not only must help employees understand what the tools are; they must deploy change management discipline to ensure employee behaviors and attitudes support the adoption of these tools. Minimal/Foundational Exposure Understands tactical use of social media tools for internal applications (wikis, blogs, IM platforms, etc.) and is active in that space; can deploy tactical use of platforms like Yammer, Sharepoint, and Bright Idea to drive awareness and understanding of organization/brand priorities and uses them to drive dialogue, feedback and engagement. Capable/mid-level Uses social media platforms strategically to drive short and longer-term business priorities, and enable collaboration on most critical of business growth drivers. Drives not only the deployment of social media platforms, but change management strategies to ensure that employees adopt new behaviors that drive use of social media platforms and tools. Defines and uses metrics and analytics that drive actionable decision-making for the business and for social media platforms and tools. Innovates to drive new uses of social media platforms, and effectively partners with Legal, HR, IT and business/brand priorities and social media policy development for internal stakeholders. Links internal to external social media strategies, and actively seeks solutions for the mobile employee. Advanced/Mastery Actively seeks and deploys cutting-edge social media capabilities and drives internal social media competency development in others. Drives clear, compelling social media strategies, and influences internal brand and global reputation priorities. Drives policy decisions to optimize social media.
  8. 8. ©2013 SME2 Briefing Paper Page 8 A Competency Sample from the Center of Excellence Category Digital/Social Project Planning: Effective social media efforts don’t happen by accident. They come from identifying strategic courses of action in the digital and social field (programs of actions, social platforms and digital assets to be deployed, timing, plans for engagement with key audiences). They demand a thoughtful allocation of business resources (budget and people) to achieve a specific business result – which can, and should, be measured. Minimal/Foundational Exposure Consistently demonstrates tactical planning expertise that delivers measureable outcomes with social media efforts, such as increased traffic, brand awareness or affinity, or product sales. Demonstrates consistently effective use of planning tools, and with some direction, can produce a plan that shows clear strategic concepts, a well articulated goal, achievable milestones and reporting capabilities. Capable/mid-level With little to no direction, integrates social project plans with more comprehensive business programs to drive business results. Can drive multiple social media efforts using integrated planning, platforms and effectively sells-in plans to P&L owners. Consistently demonstrates capacity for not only designing plans, but flawlessly implementing them. Effectively anticipates roadblocks and works proactively to mitigate/remove them without having to compromise on expected deliverables from the plan. Advanced/Mastery Coaches and develops business project managers on how to include social business planning as part of their projects. Drives increasingly stronger planning capabilities (including new/evolving tools and processes) that deliver on expected results for the business and from the team. Provides counsel on actions, social platforms, digital assets to be deployed, timing, plans for engagement with key audiences and engages senior executives in their roles or as supporters of the plan, and drives that capability in others. The SME2 customized talent review and alignment to the unique business requirements is further supplemented by a review of the social media strategy, processes, tools and governance with business leaders. This brings together a complete assessment for social media/marketing and communications leaders to understand the strengths of the current program, people and processes. It also facilitates an understanding of the operational gaps and requirements to further mature their social efforts and meet the growing business expectations for results.
  9. 9. ©2013 SME2 Briefing Paper Page 9 SME2 data and analytics underpin recommendations to optimize workflow, enhance capabilities, leverage current headcount and/or recommended new staffing competencies and levels. In addition, it identifies training and development opportunities to close any talent gaps. The reports and analytics related to social media competencies, combined with the interviews related to program expectations and processes, also provide grounds for a business or agency to assess how it allocates various roles and responsibilities among staff, as well as identifies the opportunities to align agency and business activities to maximize social media success.  Fully 65 percent of social media staffers juggle other responsibilities, while only 27 percent focus exclusively on the emerging platform. Source: Ragan: a_45892.aspx# Among possible changes are advanced social media training and development opportunities focused on specific skill sets required to succeed. Given the analytics of the SME2 , customized training modules for teams or individuals can be structured to expedite and ramp competencies where most needed.
  10. 10. ©2013 SME2 Briefing Paper Page 10 The SME2 Team The SME2 team is composed of three principals who deliver deep social media expertise and related experience for scaling social programs across business divisions to evolve and succeed in building social business efforts. The team came together as they recognized a need for more substantial and measureable social media talent and skill assessments that would support effective and expanding social media efforts to meet the growing business expectations for social business activity that deliver results. As they looked at the need for talent assessment and the implications for specific training needs and professional development opportunities, they further developed the SME2 service to map in ways that actually gets to programmatic delivery from a variety of perspectives. In addition to significant social media expertise, the team has broad-ranging experience in communications instruction and coaching background, marketing and communications competency assessment expertise, agency management experience, as well as program measurement. Mark Dollins, North Star Communications Consulting: Mark’s communications consultancy core capabilities are in marketing and communications talent development. North Star’s mission is to guide its clients to talent development strategies that help them reach their destinations. From identification of marketing and communications competencies to deploying assessment tools, change management and coaching for individuals and teams, North Star drives successful talent management capabilities. Prior to North Star Communications Consulting, Mark spent 17 years at PepsiCo, serving as SVP and Chief Communications Officer for Pepsi Beverages. He also led the corporation’s global internal communications function for PepsiCo’s 300,000 associates in more than 200 countries and has developed social media literacy training for several global organizations. Shel Holtz, Holtz Communication + Technology: Shel is an ABC (Accredited Business Communicator) and brings to the team nearly 35 years of organizational communications experience in both corporate and consulting environments. Shel has applied online technology to his communication efforts on behalf of companies and clients since the mid-1980s. Since 1996 his focus has been helping organizations communicate effectively in the emerging online space using intranets to reach employees and various dimensions of the Internet to communicate with other stakeholder audiences. He provides a full range of services for large organizations, from speaking and training to communication audits and strategic plan development. He is experienced in employee communications, corporate public relations, crisis communications, media relations, financial communications, investor relations, marketing communications and compensation and benefits communications. In addition to integrating technology into communications strategies, his expertise includes strategic communications planning, change management, organizational culture, business initiatives and communications research.
  11. 11. ©2013 SME2 Briefing Paper Page 11 Richard Binhammer, Binhammer Social Business & Communications: Richard was one of the first corporate representatives, back in 2006, to go out into social media and begin responding to bloggers on behalf of Dell. That was before there was software and searches were accomplished by refreshing a browser. From 2006 to 2012, he was a beta tester for Dell of social software and various social networks and continued to play a role in evolving Dell’s social media efforts. As Director of Social Media and Community, he had responsibilities that included the strategic direction of the company’s social media and business efforts, training and scaling programs, executive training, as well as meeting often with Dell enterprise customers and others to share best practices and strategic directions. Richard also has more than 20 years’ experience in corporate positioning and messaging, media relations, executive thought leadership, issues and campaign management and more. Social Media Expertise  Extensive communications instruction and coaching  Extensive communications competency ID and assessment  Fortune 100 consulting and corporate communications experience  Agency management expertise How to Reach Us Email: Web: Phone: 415-295-6102