Innovation and digital skills

I was asked by Heidi Obschil to contribute in a collaborative article, about innovation and digital skills, for The Business Value Exchange. Here’s the final result for the complete article, which includes various perspectives from other professionals around the globe.

How to fuel Digital Progress

innovation-and-digital-skills

innovation-and-digital-skills

innovation-and-digital-skills

innovation-and-digital-skills

innovation-and-digital-skills

innovation-and-digital-skills

Original article: The Business Value Exchange.

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Rutgers Online Mini-MBA: Social Media Marketing Program

The Rutgers Center for Management Development (CMD) will be offering an Online Mini-MBA: Social Media Marketing Program starting on February 28, 2011.  This unique Social Media Marketing course is the first online executive education program to be offered as one of the Rutgers Mini MBA programs.

centre for management development

“From Facebook to LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube – firms and individuals are embracing social media platforms at an ever-increasing pace. This unique online program addresses the many issues surrounding this new phenomenon and provides a roadmap to help individuals and firms navigate social media to gain a competitive edge,” says Eric Greenberg, the Faculty Chair of the Online Social Media Marketing Mini MBA Course.

“While some people have flown to New Jersey from as far away as Seoul, South Korea, to take our in-class social media marketing course, we are excited to be able to offer our online course to a global audience. We will continue to increase the in-class offerings to additional locations, including China, but the online format will allow people, regardless of their location, to take advantage of our unique faculty and programs,” he adds.

Participants gain the knowledge, experience, and practical skills to immediately apply their learning in the workplace.

Justin Leshynski, the Vice President of Davanti Digital Media, who attended the first in-class social media marketing course in December 2010, created a video afterwards that is entitled, “Social Media for All: How Social Media Changed Small Business Marketing.”  The video says:

  • 75% of U.S. households use social media.
  • In 2010, 68% of small businesses increased their social media marketing, which drove immediate results to their business.
  • 20% of tweets are about products or brands.
  • Companies that blog receive 55% more traffic to their website than those that don’t.
  • 85% of social media users believe companies should interact with their customers.

Program

This program addresses questions such as:

  • How much should a firm invest in social media?
  • What are the best social media strategies and tactics to employ?
  • How can a firm measure and track social media?
  • How can a firm integrate social media into the overall marketing plan?
  • How can individuals employ social media to further their careers?

Topics

Topics covered include:

  • Intro to Social Media Marketing Strategy
  • Video & YouTube
  • Blogging for Business
  • Social Media Applications
  • Microblogging
  • Images & Social Media Marketing
  • Social News Networks
  • Viral Marketing
  • Online Reputation Management
  • Measuring Social Media ROI

The 12-week online faculty led program includes videos, faculty evaluated exercises, section quizzes, plus a final project and exam.  Additionally, different faculty members will host live weekly “Virtual Office Hours” throughout the program to discuss the most current developments in the field and answer student questions.  The program also features an innovative online learning environment, supported by a highly qualified team of Rutgers faculty mentors.

This online course is designed for executives or teams of professionals working in marketing, advertising, branding, communications, or sales. It is also appropriate for individuals seeking to employ social media to further their business careers.

The cost of the Online Mini-MBA: Social Media Marketing Program is $3,500, which includes all instructional materials and fees.

For more information go online to the Rutgers Center for Management Development at http://www.cmd.rutgers.edu/contact.html.

Greg Jarboe, the President of SEO-PR, is one of the industry experts in Social Media who will be teaching some of the modules in the Rutgers Online Mini-MBA: Social Media Marketing Program.

Review By Greg Jarboe

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blur Group Case Study: Starting and Growing a Social Business

This is how blur Group has build a business only using the Social Web:

Businesses now see social media as an important channel but at blur Group it has been the only channel – for everything from staff recruitment to revenue generation. Showing the power of Social Media, Adictos Social Media, one of our first Crowd members, is now sharing this story at its event in Valencia.

When blur Group introduced the idea of Agency 3.0 it would have been easy to avoid practising what was being preached. Launch a Crowdsourced agency, demand social engagement, but promote and build using old media techniques. Many businesses have played safe and kept both lines well and truly open. Web 2.0 companies run by Web 1.0 people, using pre-Web selling.

The particular challenge that a Crowdsourced agency faces is that it has two audiences to entice. Any business needs customers and staff. Most early stage businesses recruit according to a fairly rigid model of planned growth, revenues, expectations, per capita returns. Customer acquisition determines the rate of the staff growth.

With blur Group the Crowd is the staff. It had to be built first. Without the Crowd, the model didn’t exist. Not just a skeleton startup team but, well, a Crowd. Step back a bit further. The Crowd had to have an office.

The office was a super-social managed platform. The intranet of a level of sophistication which a company could only dream about. Where the content is user generated, and the users are user generated, able to engage, discuss, share easily, gaining from each other’s expertise to strengthen their own crowd offering. A platform tailored to appeal to the type of Crowd member: subtly different options depending on the nature of the Crowd. The designers had to have a very visual platform, marketers want to show their specific skills through discussion groups. A truly social, if very virtual, office.

So how to recruit these Crowds? Blogs are the social media lynchpin. They start to tell the story that can then sail around the social networks.  They give some words to be used in word of mouth. At the early stages, as with most social media campaigns, it had to be about educating. Then engagement followed. Sometimes directly through 1:1 messages on networks like LinkedIn. More often as outreach with strong messages about what Crowd membership could deliver. As people started to ‘get’ Crowdsourcing, they wanted to be in the Crowd. A simple video explaining What is Crowdsourcing explained everything for the early community. Lesson: tell a story in as many ways as possible. Twitter, YouTube, WordPress are today’s fireside: the tale develops with each telling.

Part one of the mission accomplished: a large number of members of each of the Crowds. Or Crowdies as blur Group termed them.

To customers. blur Group needs them. The Crowd needs them. This is the point when many businesses would draw breath, mutter about social, but start a heavy duty marketing and sales effort to start to win business. Not blur Group. Holding to social principles we started to tell people what we were doing and created a simple method whereby they could use our services. The 1,2,3 of briefing and project delivery. Again, blogs to educate then engage potential clients. Encourage marketing directors, agencies, anyone with a need to run a campaign according to their rules, not those of a traditional agency, to come to blur Group and brief us. Promotion through Twitter and Facebook. Using good SEO techniques and small sums on AdWords. No resort to any other methods: if a potential client could see 8,000 people waiting to help them, then they couldn’t resist trying the process. Web only: no phone numbers are on the site. Submit a brief and then discover more.

Part two accomplished. The clients started submitting briefs; the Crowd could respond; blur Group and the Crowd started to win business and revenues. The additional managed Crowd approach that blur Group provided made it more valuable to clients and Crowd members than the free for all approach of the ‘designalogo’ sites. Today blur Group receives more than one new client brief a day, including from some of the worlds largest corporations.

Don’t think this wholly social approach was synonymous with a rapid startup. It took planning, took time and took effort. Three lessons there for those who believe that social is the cheap, fast alternative. It’s a different approach but needs the same disciplines as any other business growth plan. Belief being one of them. Flexibility is another: where do you need to plug more activity? What needs changing? When all the channels are social, it’s easier to adapt.

Now blur Group is moving to the next stage of growth and scaling faster. But it continues to adhere to its social standpoint. It may do more of it, the AdWords budget may increase, the Facebook pages may get a bit glossier and its PR beyond the digital domain and blogger community. We’ll even be attending some live events and organising some of our own to show our faces. But social will drive everything that blur Group does as it engages and grows both its Crowd Community and its Client Community. Community, Content and Collaboration are the Cs that make up most social marketing: blur Group adds Crowd to this mix and makes for a social business built and grown using social techniques.

What say you?

Attribution: blur Group

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