Making sure your social media team has what it takes to succeed


Operationalizing social media and proceeding on the journey to be a social business requires great people.  After all, social media is fundamentally about connecting the people of your business with other people inside and outside your business.  SME² is a first-of-its-kind consultancy helping social media teams optimize skills, tools, processes and relationships to drive better business results.

I am excited and thrilled to join forces with Mark Dollins and Shel Holtz to bring this new offering to market.  I believe people skills are crucial to moving forward across the business with successful and strategic social programs and my partners on this are awesome!

Mark Dollins and Shel Holtz: Catch up with them at IABC this week in New York!

mark dollinsshel holtz




As CEO’s increasingly see social media as an important way to further customer relationships and as businesses continue to adopt social strategies, the effectiveness of social business strategies and social media programs depends on a high functioning social media team within a business, agency or through a business-agency partnership – or within functional departments across a business.  In fact, while 65% of companies have risk mitigation/crisis management policies for social, only 27% say that employees are properly trained (Source: Altimeter Group. Social Business Survey, Q4 2012).

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 do and achieve more.

During the last 6 months we have worked together to identify and classify skills and talent-levels (basic, intermediate and strategic) for more than 30 criteria 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:

  1. content production;
  2. project management skills particular to social media;
  3. social-specific skills; and
  4. social media center of excellence leadership skills.

SME² uses a series of auditing and competency assessment tools.  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. More details are available with the background paper you can download here (no you don’t have to leave your email address :-))

On a personal note, I have to say I have had a wonderful 6 months working with two pros, Mark Dollins and Shel Holtz, to get this product/service offering ready to bring to market.  I personally believe this is the next stage for really operationalizing social media within and across organizations because fundamentally, social is about people and the strategic skills to keep evolving with this field.  We will only realize the true effectiveness of social for business by ensuring we are growing and matching people, while also strengthening people at the same time.

If you are going to IABC World in NYC next week, drop by Mark’s booth and grab a brochure or track down Shel and talk to him about it.   I’ll miss you!  But I encourage you to reach out to Mark or Shel at IABC World.

More on my two colleagues for this new offering, available to businesses or agencies who need to look at their effectiveness for mounting a social strategy for better business:

Mark Dollins (North Star Communications Consulting) offers core capabilities in marketing and communications talent development. He has worked with global Fortune 500 companies as well as local and regional enterprises to develop stronger marketing and communications teams. Before founding North Star Communications Consulting, Mark spent 17 years at PepsiCo, serving as SVP and Chief Communications Officer for Pepsi Beverages.

Shel Holtz (Holtz Communication + Technology) brings more than 35 years of experience to consulting, speaking and training engagements with Fortune 1000 companies from around the world. The author of six communications-themed books, he is a pioneer podcaster, launching the PR-focused “For immediate Release” in January 2005. He is a prolific blogger on communication issues and a regular on the conference speaking circuit. His consulting practice focuses on social and digital communication, along with employee communications and crisis communications.

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