Friday, December 22, 2017

Social Media Certifications, In Person Workshops, Paid E-Learning

Did you study social media marketing? 

My career path is sort of a long story - when it comes up with new people, it takes a while to tell. Academically, I focused on literature at The University of York, UK. I followed the BA with a MA in English at Simmons College while working in the Communications Department. 

I wrote so many essays. Very few tweets.

Like many of my generation (call us the Old Millenials) born in the 80s, I got to experience the emergence of social media coming of age as I came of age. I had a myspace, I missed friendster. My Facebook account age matches when Facebook opened up to allow University of York students access. Before there were any aunts, grandparents, babies around in that college profile site. 

And my official training in online forums, online marketing, social media was... non existent. Those courses weren't courses when I was taking courses. 

My first job in technology was as a 'community manager'. Before they hired me, the company came up with the idea they should have one, then they created the title, then they hired me. They didn't look for social media certifications on my resume.

I've heard similar stories at networking events - we are early adopters - career-wise.

Today, I'm looking for useful, worthwhile social media and community training. I want to share useful courses and options with my team and I am also looking at what I might take myself. Part refresher - part, what did I never really learn? 

Here's my research on available courses so far:

Links of Social Media and Community Training Options:

Online Community:

Community Roundtable: Strategic Community Workshop: 
Community Strategy, ROI, and Business Case - $995 for one, $1492.50 for two

Community Roundtable: Community Program Essentials: $495
Advocacy Program

Social Media

Twitter Flight School – Free
Marketing Leadership – 60 minutes, online

Facebook Blueprint - Free
Facebook and Instagram
Courses include:
Campaign Optimization
Creative Best Practices
Purchasing Ads
Ad Targeting

Hootsuite University

Hootsuite Social Marketing Certification - $199 fee
60 question online exam, based on Hootsuite’s  free online Social Marketing Training course

Newhouse Hootsuite Advanced Social Media Strategy Certificate - $2200
15 modules, video lessons, text-based learning, supplemental readings, quiz, exam
40 hours of content

What workshops, courses, elearning, certifications have you invested time in? What did you think? 

Getting Back, Jack!

Wow, it's been a while.

This blog has become an every-other-year reminder from my domain provider, to renew and recall that I set this up way back when. I had a few different and shifting goals about what I wanted to share here. I've decided to start it up again and become a big more agnostic about what I share here. My goal is to share content and thoughts and questions on the following topics:

  • Business: Customer marketing, digital marking, social media marketing, online community management
  • Music Breaks: Great songs and videos, and my Follow the Band Name* game results, possibly some Too Much Cat** ditties
  • Creative Writing: Questions, Ideas, Frustration, Rants, and hopefully (hopefully) some prose.

*Great, great, great game - I'll tell you soon!
**May have to add the asterisks to the band name

I'm not confident I'll have readers here, but if you do stop by, feel free to shame my 5 year hiatus in the comments, or tell me how one blogs properly, or post some latke recipes (mine could be crispier)

Friday, August 31, 2012

You've Got Mail: Email Notifications from Enterprise Social Networks?

When I had America Online in the 90’s, I thought the “You’ve Got Mail” announcement was one of the most exciting sounds I had ever heard. Now a days, my overflowing inbox is more daunting than delightful.  It’s like an approaching tide – take your eyes off of it for too long and it’s lapping at your ankles, soon creeping back up to unmanageable, and maybe dangerous levels, leaving you grabbing your beach towels and legging it for the hills.

Nick Bilton of the New York Times wrote an amusing and relatable piece about it this July: Disruptions: Life’s Too Short for So MuchE-Mail.  He admits his inbox makes him sad and describes his never-ending struggle to "reach In-box Zero, the Zen-like state of a consistently empty in-box."

I have known many innovative, driven, hard working employees that will not want to let go of a certain amount of email. They are efficient, talented, and top performers and do not want to have to login to a enterprise social network or "Corporate Facebook" in order to see the essentials they need to do their job. 

Dependency on email as a primary means of communication is at one end of the spectrum and inability to get work done from email overload is at the end.  When one is thinking about designing and managing a social network for the enterprise - how do you reach the perfect balance?

I think that customizable email notifications are a great solution to this conundrum. For a community manager, this means clearly articulating the options and making sure your members are aware that they've been empowered - hear from us if you want. While managing my own community I work with email notifications from the Saba People Cloud application.  Like any other automated email system, they can be useful because you can see what’s new and what’s available without taking the time to sign in.  They can be annoying if you are receiving lots of notifications that you don’t care about. 

The Saba Online Community exists to connect the members, not shout at them. To hand them tools, not to bury them in resources they neither want nor care about. That’s the plan, anyways.

We set it up so our users can personalize your settings and decide which types of messages are important to them.  For example, they can get a notification for each new discussion thread from a product discussion group so they can read tips and offer advice from other customers, but turn off notifications for another group they want access to. They can see emails when their consultant shares a valuable file with them, while excluding piles of email that tells them that same social-savvy Consultant just started following 20 new people. 

And as always, we take advantage of a neat feature that means I can respond directly to my email notification to post in a thread. I know a number of my most active and helpful superusers haven't signed in to post a question, idea, resource, etc in months.  Yet they offer fast and expert responses to their peers daily.

What do you think about email notifications in terms of enterprise social networks?  What about RSS feeds as an option? Do you think we could reach a day of no email?  

Would you want to?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

R.E.S.P.E.C.T is the key to Customer References: Take Aways from the 1st ICRPC Conference

I just returned from an invigorating week at the 1st International Customer Reference Professionals Conference, ICRPC for short, in Cambridge, MA.

This event was the brainchild of Claudia Koenig, a Customer Reference heavyweight out of Heidelberg, Germany, who already hosts a bimonthly conference call for collaboration in this space. Attendees and speakers hailed from around the world, with dynamic representatives from Italy, Costa Rica, Germany, Sweden, the UK, Canada, US, and Australia. I considered the event  a roaring success.  After two and a half long days with this extremely engaged community, my head is  swimming with many new ideas to apply to my own work enabling and celebrating Saba's customers and community members.

Here are some of my quick thoughts from our collaborative week in the city on the hill:

Lessons and Laughs in International Business
We spent a lot of time talking about cultural differences, laughing over our worst faux pas from navigating work with international clients, and jotting down tips to prevent those terrible "foot-approaching-mouth" moments. Our companies and roles were all different of course, most reference professionals at the event sit in their marketing organizations, but there were a few who reported in through sales, sparking some great tips about how to engage the sales team for reference recruitment. Lastly, the scope of experience varied greatly, many people come from more than 10+ years experience working with customer references, but a fair number of us were new to the space, soaking up the ideas and offering a fresh perspective on the industry.

Social Tools
Across almost every presentation we saw a focus on new, social tools, and how best to take advantage of them while avoiding public blunders.  Rhett Livengood, Director of B2B Customer Engagement Programs at Intel, talked about empowering references to participate in LinkedIn communities, linking them with the conversations that matter. Nick Martin, Social Media Consultant at Projectline introduced a new way to highlight our videos and case studies, sourcing and packaging dynamic Customer Evidence so that prospective customers using Social and Search will find our best customer stories. 

Engaging the Big Names
Miriam Rack, CEO at MRM Reference Consulting, LLC said the best way to engage the big names in reference activities is by asking yourself - What can I give them? By looking into their marketing strategy, you can see what story they want to tell, and propose partnering on creating content that will benefit both organizations.

And Finding the Big Stories
I particularly loved listening to Cynthia Hester, Director of the Customer Reference Program at VMware. She shared the journey she's taken since joining VMWare and how she focuses her program around two important concepts: Empowerment and engagement. By communicating continuously with her key internal stakeholders, VMWare is aware of what's new with customers, where the gap areas are, and what the customers care about so she can find and highlight those big stories.

Those were just a few of my favorite moments from the event.  I'll leave off with a quote that Jill Shaul, Marketing Programs Manager form Cisco shared with us from a 2010 Gartner webinar on Customer Success Stories:

“Customer reference stories are amongst the most powerful tools in the sales arsenal and yet it is a discipline which is often neglected or left to chance. Well executed case studies are worth their weight in gold; Few things are coveted more within marketing circles than compelling customer case studies from recognized industry names.The reasons for this desire are clear. Customer case studies help sales people to sell.”

How do you leverage your best customer stories?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Exploring the Practical Side of Social: Notes from the Virtual Enterprise 2.0 Social Analytics Conference

The average social practitioner is not maneuvering with a lot of down time. But an event like the recent virtual Enterprise 2.0 meeting is one that hundred of us carved time out to attend. The infrastructure of this e-conference was quite impressive. The “Who’s Here” area was particularly gratifying, and showed which areas of the conference are drawing the most of the attendees.

Here’s a shot of that section in the half hour before the first session started – and I watched as more and more attendees joined the event, heading to the lounge to say hi in the chat room or filed into the auditorium to wait for the first keynote to begin.

I want to talk a little bit about the first two presentations so you can decide if it's worth it to register to view the recordings.

How Analytics and Big Data Are Driving Better Social Business

The opening keynote was presented by Dion Hinchcliffe, Executive Vice President of Strategy at Dachis Group. He talked about the current moment in enterprise social business, and how analytics can lead social business pioneers to success.

He pointed out that enterprise social space is 2 to 4 years behind the personal social space.

He took on the question: What is social data?

He talked about aggregation, analysis & mining of observable work – describing the different roles of analytics and search, and why each is essential to a social business.

His presentation provided a lot of valuable insights for social managers who are already implementing innovative projects, and perhaps even more so for marketing professionals who want to create a social focus and need to create the business case for their leadership – how do you use enterprise 2.0? Why is it worth it?

IBM Platinum Sponsor Feature Presentation: Maximizing Competitive Advantage with Social Analytics

In this presentation, Mark Heid, Program Director of Social Analytics at IBM, went into some fascinating details of IBM’s use of Social Analytics internally, and how they pull an impressive amount of information from their internal social posts through IBM connections, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc.

However, he also pointed out you have to address the privacy question – if we are looking at much of our employees communications – how do we keep from creating an Orwellian environment?

Heid shared some best practices on reasonable privacy within social analytics. IBM scrubs individual employee information, they only look at the aggregate, never reach out to the individual – so they are looking at trends, not at individual communiqués.

Heid went on to talk about social analytics as it applies to recruitment, within and without the enterprise.

What a fantastic, free event from Enterprise 2.0!

Click here to register to access the recording!