People are Our Number One Resource

sme2People are our number one resource.   Heard it before?  It is now time to act on this premise for excellence in social media.

To realize success as social communicators, social marketers or as a business undertaking initiatives and programs to become a social business, it was clear to me again last week this means understanding your own organizations’ social media skill or competency base in order to make informed decisions about social strategy and how to implement it effectively.

If you don’t have the people with the skills and talents, then you can dream up the best social strategy in the world and fall short of delivery and results.  SME² offers you the tools and support to actually look at your talent, afterall people matter, and social is about connecting your business/people with the outside world.

I am not talking here about general social media employee training.  I am referencing when you move forward to implement social efforts across a business, you now have individuals and groups of people across your business responsible for various social efforts.  SME² has identified more that 30 of those specific job skills.  Are those skills being delivered in your organization at a base, intermediate or strategic level?  What do you need them to be at?  How are you going to get there?

Last week, I had the privilege and pleasure to attend the #3MThinkTank to open our minds and thoughts to the possibilities of the social media adventure and journey…to innovate along the way.  You can learn more about some of the great commentary and talks over at Greg Gerrik’s blog.   He was THE awesome host with a fierce program and resulting tweet stream that covered the gambit.

Throughout the day, in several of the presentations the question was posed about people – whether we have the talent in our organizations (or not) and how to identify, support and enable people within the organization to make a difference.

Susan Emerick noted that among any businesses most influential influencers are your own employees – the real subject matter experts inside your business.  She also noted enabling them in social is a new approach to marketing. She provided an answer to the business value question too: “conversion rate: Traditional marketing = 14% vrs. Digitally Engaged Experts = 33%.”

There was also this last week:

“Crisis of Confidence in Marketing Proficiency and Effectiveness:  Based on a broad survey of marketers, the findings by Adobe revealed a striking lack of confidence in digital ability. Less than half (48%) of professionals who consider themselves primarily digital marketers feel highly proficient in digital marketing. A majority of digital marketers haven’t received any formal training in digital marketing: 82% report learning on the job…they’re feeling underequipped to meet the challenges of digital, and they’re having a tough time keeping up with the pace of change in the industry.”


Nothing wrong with learning on the job.  Certainly, my experience is that is great way to go and I still have some scars to prove it :-).   But, surely as we grow in this space we ought to offer coaching or training within the business organization to keep our people growing and ahead of the curve in an emerging field.  Wouldn’t you want to help your teams grow their skills?

Then there was this too:

McKinsey in its Bullish on Digital Study” states, in the “Looking Ahead” section: “Prioritize talent. Not surprisingly, survey respondents indicate concerns about finding the talent their companies need to realize their digital goals. Technical, functional, and business skills are all critical for digital programs. We have seen some companies begin emulating the high-tech practice of “acqui-hiring” (that is, acquiring small companies largely for their employees rather than their products). But finding and hiring talent is only part of the solution; no matter where the talent comes from, development and retention are equally important in a sellers’ market.”

You can find more data points right here too or download the background briefing paper at SME².  The conclusion is clear.  Everywhere we look: achieving social media excellence comes with understanding the levels of social media expertise across a broad swath of functions, people and competencies – in both your agency and your business.  It is the building block that is critical to successfully scaling social initiatives for effective business.

A Special Kind of Get Together: Mark Dollins, Shel Holtz and I are going to have a small one-day working session(s) for senior business leaders on social media talent and expertise, the competencies within your organization, as they relate to excellence in social media efforts for business.  You will be able to explore in a confidential setting with just a few other peers the importance and value of competencies in social media as it relates to tactical delivery and program success.  If you are interested in being among the “invited” guests for the small workshop (likely to be held in Austin in a friendly, easy going, comfortable, conversational atmosphere) you can leave a comment here or connect with me, Mark or Shel around the Web

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