Archive for June, 2008


Recruiter Bares All: How to Hire a Social Media Marketing Executive

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It seems odd, but yes, there’s a unique need for marketing executives that must know traditional marketing strategy, but also the social media space. Perhaps not in the Fortune 5000 ranks, but for the many social media companies that are appearing (only a handful are thriving) this specialized skill set is critical.

Good friend Jennifer Jones interviews Matt Raggio, an executive recruiter who finds Marketing Executives for Social Media companies. I met Matt recently (I was the analyst he mentioned) and captured my findings. Earlier this week, I learned from another recruiter focused on this same market, who shared some of the challenges he’s had.

If you haven’t done so already, subscribe to Marketing Voices, a podcast focused on Marketing+Social Media. The content is tight, succinct, and high value and hosted by former colleague, Jennifer Jones, who teaches me something new about VCs, PR, and Marketing every time I chat on the phone with her.

Happy 2nd Blog Anniversary: Web Strategy Blog

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I can’t believe how fast time flies, I’m now at my second year for this domain. While I’ve been blogging longer than two years (blogspot, 360, etc), the purchase of this domain web-strategist.com has been a milestone, let’s recap.

By the numbers: A Benchmark
What was the path? When I started this new blog, according to Technorati, it was ranked in the millions of blogs, last year was 1,708 and today it’s ranked at 540 (the lower the better), and has over 10,000 incoming links. According to Feedburner there are now over 12,000 subscriptions. According to Google Analytics, there are 86,725 Visits, 132,198 Pageviews, in the last 30 days. WordPress indicates there are there are currently 1,914 posts and 17,017 comments (over the two years).

Two year Impacts

Despite all this, most of these numbers are meaningless. For each of these metrics, I question the validity of measurement and measurements only make sense if you benchmark against the previous year, which of course, I did: see last year’s stats. What really matters is the impact that blogging has over the industry that I cover, and the jobs it’s helped me to get.

My Blog Strategy: How I did it
So enough stat-porn, I’ll tell you exactly how I did it, giving you all that I learned so you can improve too. Here’s how I did it:

Created focused content
I focused on the topic of making decisions for corporate websites, primarily around social media. It’s important to find something interesting and unique to discuss, avoid echoing techmeme. When I first started, I tried to be on Techmeme, I just became a small link when someone else would break a larger story. For some time now, I’ve avoided being on techmeme, as I’d rather be original and small rather than larger but just echo. I also avoid ‘blog fights’, I’d rather deliver ‘how to’ posts an be a resource.

Publish frequently
I published nearly every day, in fact multiple times a day. How’d I find time to do that I slowly work on drafts (I’ve over 100 of them sitting in wordpress) and I’d budget my time in the morning to pay myself first. (It’s 430 AM when I write this).

Think of readers first
Make it easy to read. Sure there’s a lot of text, but I organize it in an easy to scan (yes scan) way by indenting, use horizontal rule (lines) bolding and using indent points. I approached this as more of a resource to busy professionals rather than my personal journal (although I occasionally share personal info in the context of posts). Forrester conducted a survey, if you want to see who reads this blog and why, the results are public.

Interact
Join the conversation. Such shallow words that are thrown around now, but it’s true. I link to whatever else readers would want to learn about (knowing the more I helped them, the more they’d come back) answer comments on my own blog, and occasionally leave comments on other blogs (I could work on that more). I self reference to older posts, and that helps to tie everything together as the body of work builds on top of itself.

“Productized” content
Developed some unique posts that were mainstay type of posts: my digest, the many index lists, and the on the move series. These help me to manage the industry I cover, have an online archive, make it easy for info-hungry folks, and reduce my time to come up with constant new ideas.

Have Passion
I’m so lucky that I get paid to do what I love, I think this is one of the most important things to do in life, sadly, it’s hard to tell when work starts and stops. Many people thought it was really strange when is started this blog, many said it was a fad, and really didn’t look down the line.

So what’s the future to hold? Well for one, I’m starting to ask people to follow me on Friendfeed. Regarding this blog, I’ve no intentions to stop this pace sharing and learning, thanks for being part of this, it’s a fun adventure and I learn many new things from being part of the conversation, (from your comments and links) every day.

Forrester Research is hiring — Become an Analyst or Researcher

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I just got back from Forrester’s Finance forum, according to one of our long term attendees Steve blogged it was a success. This is one of the perks of the job, being able to meet interesting folks and hearing how you’ve helped them be better at making decisions.

For those that have been reading for a while, or following me on Twitter, you’ve noticed I’ve been very busy helping clients, conducting research, and sharing what I’ve found with the press and media. After 8 months as an analyst the questions from the market have just increased, between helping clients and managing this blog, I’m operating at an efficient speed where things go very well. Having successfully launched their book Groundswell fly even more than I do, delivering the POST methodology to individuals that want to learn how to approach social computing and social media.

I’ve received news from Cliff Condon (my boss boss) that based upon client needs, we’re expanding the team. We’re going to be adding some additional roles in the Analyst and Researcher position (each job performs a different function) in order to meet our clients needs. The job descriptions are available for the Analyst and Researcher position, and if you’re qualified, please submit your resume to the website, and reference that you saw this from my blog.

I can’t speak for the researcher role, but being an analyst was the logical step for me in my career, while a very challenging job, you’ll have the opportunity to touch all parts of the industry, make sense of chaos, and define a path for companies to ventures towards. You’ll have access to Forrester’s immense survey data, work with smart people, help clients, travel, and grow your career a few steps up, I often tell folks being an analyst is like a “Living MBA program”. Not only do you study business, you get to help clients apply your knowledge.

Josh provides a bit more information about the jobs, do read his posting.

I’ll update this post when we fill the position, so you’ll know when it’s filled.

I hope you apply!

Giveaway: Tickets to the Internet Strategy Forum Summit

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I’m rewarding two readers with a complimentary VIP pass to the Internet Strategy Forum Summit conference on July 17th at the Governor Hotel in downtown Portland.

If you’re passionate about making your corporate website the best it can be, and want to connect with others who are leading the charge at their companies, then you’ve already marked a place on your Calendar for the Internet Strategy Forum Summit in July 17th in Portland.

Speakers include

• Geoffrey Ramsey, Co-founder & CEO, eMarketer
• Charlene Li, VP & Principal Analyst, Forrester Research (I can’t wait to meet her someday!)
• Chris Shimojima, VP, Global Digital Commerce, Nike
• David Placier, VP, Consumer Insights, Disney Online
• Nancy Bhagat, VP of Sales and Marketing Group, Intel
• Daniel Stickel, new CEO, WebTrends (formerly with Google)
• Shane O’Neill, Chief Technology Officer, Fandango
• Mike Moran, Distinguished Engineer, IBM, author (highest-rated speaker at 2007 Summit)

I attended last year, and was impressed to see all the corporate web leaders (web strategists) attending. Steve Gehlen for the Internet Strategy Forum, who founded ISF, has done a great service to our industry, in fact, he and I worked together to form the Silicon Valley chapter a few years ago.

We both realize that many of the readers of this Web Strategy Blog would love to attend the ISF conference, so we’re giving away two free tickets.

Last time, I gave away tickets for Graphing Social Patterns (John Bell, a winner rated it 4/5 stars) by running a contest, it worked pretty well, and I’d like to do this again./ The winners will be announced in new blog post and this post will be updated (so bookmark it).

I will be selected two winners who answer the following question:

1) Question: What is the future of Corporate Websites in 5 years?
I’ll be looking for out-of-the-box thinking, plausibility, and ability to logically connect the dots why and how your 5 year prediction will happen.

2) Write it clearly and succinctly, points assigned for brevity.
Effective strategists are excellent communicators.

3) What percentage will you attend the conference?
I want to give these tickets to someone who’ll really use it, I encourage you to answer this even if you don’t plan to attend, have fun with it!

Thanks for reading, I’m grateful to get enough traction now to reward readers with conference tickets, books, and the ability to network. Have fun with this, and strut your stuff strategists!

Update June 28: I’d like to thank Christopher Smith and Kristie Conner for their excellent responses (scroll down) to their vision of the future of the corporate website. While everyone provided excellent answers, I enjoyed hearing the focus on people from Chris (sites become social) and Kristie’s notion on ‘fluity’ of the future of the corporate website –it’ll spread both off domain and aggregate social content. Thanks all for playing.

Did I offend the Baby Boomers?

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Damn, I may have put my foot in my mouth again…

Wow, I should have saw this coming, in a recent comment by Margie (BTW, I read every comment, regardless of what post it’s put on) is offended, well downright mad at my post on the impacts of Gen Y and Boomers.

Here’s Margy’s comment in its entirety, she raises some valid points, and they deserved to be brought up, here’s the comment she just left:

“Your blog entry is days old, so you probably won’t see my post here, but it’s taken me days to calm down from your post to sputter anything back. (Jerimiah, you made me mad!) I’m a Boomer but in no way ready (or financially able) to exit any stage. When did Boomer (hate that term, btw) become a pseudonym for old fogey anyway? Here’s how Boomers described ourselves to each other in an iconic (for the time) book-cum-manifesto, “The Apartment Book,” dated 1979. Sounds a little bit like the optimistic twenty-something rhetoric of 2008. “Through most of the seventies [we] struggled to invent and interpret a way of life that did not follow the old patterns. For the first time, because of the radical changes of the sixties, young people were not automatically following their parents’ paths to marriage, children and a house in the suburbs. Rather, they were searching, alone or in paris or in groups for a place to live that would express their own values. The community of young people who were, by God, going to live their own brand of life — even if they weren’t so sure what it was yet. Because we come from various persuasions and backgrounds, we approach our subject matter with new eyes. The only discipline is a shared commitment to making real ideas happen, without …hype or the tyranny of status names.”

I still believe that. And I bet if you went back further and checked on contemporaneous advertising and magazines targeting young college graduates of the early 1950’s post-war generation just entering the workplace, you’d again find that same open-eyed wonder at the opportunities before them.

The ready-for-anything attitude you describe can’t be pigeonholed into tired marketing classifications like Gen X or Gen Y. It doesn’t come and go like actors on a stage or styles in fashion. It’s something that, if we’re lucky, attacks us early and stays with us throughout our lives.”

First of all, I’m sorry for offending you, I sincerely mean that, that was never my intent.

Secondly, the post is based off data, and my duties in my day job, as it’s an accurate observation of what is, and what will happen. In fact, I’m working on a Forrester report looking at how boomers use social media (coming in the next few weeks) so this is top of mind.

As an analyst, it’s my job to categorize, segment, and describe trends, and for what it’s worth we didn’t create the “boomers” classification.

Regardless, Forrester classifies the Boomer generations in two segments, Younger Boomers (42-51) Older Boomers (52-62). My previous post was obviously referring to the older boomers, and I’ll suspect that you Margy are of the younger group.

These aren’t pigeon holes, and nor are they intended to de-personalize the individual. They are useful for those who make decisions to see the big picture, make sense of it, and do the right thing.

The fact of the matter is that some older boomers have already started to retire (congrats!) I’ve former colleagues who retired as early as 60.

So to clear up any misconceptions, in my original post, I should have indicated I was mainly focusing on older boomers, those that are getting nearer to retirement within just a few years.

This post is intended to be an explanation and an apology, I’m concerned it could potentially infuriate others further. I’ll forgo that risk and make a public apology.

Humbly, Margie, (and anyone else) I seek your forgiveness and understanding as I continue to explore these generational issues as it ties to web strategy.

Weekly Digest of the Social Networking Space: June 25, 2008

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I’m respecting your limited time by publishing this weekly digest on the Social Networking space, which I cover as an Industry Analyst.

I’ve created a new category called Digest (view archives). Start with the Web Strategy Summary, then quickly scan the succinct and categorized headlines, read text for my analysis, and click link to dive in for more.

You can subscribe to this digest tag only, which filters only these posts tagged digest.

Web Strategy Summary
This week’s focus delivers more on data and web usage, primarily after the launch of Google’s “Trends” tool, which offers a way to track activity on all websites. More reports on the growth of social networks, it’s funny how bloggers twist it each month, just a few weeks ago people were talking about the decline or lull of social network activity.


Nokia acquires Plazes
Although Nokia has been experimenting with mobile software such as maps, and other social applicaitons (I recently was briefed by one of their teams) they’ve acquired mobile based Plazes, a social network.

Web Usage: Friendster shows Growth
I see conflicting data all the time, so it’s very hard for me to determine who the actual leader is, or sometimes to be more accurate, the intrepretations of data are often different. Great pieces by Eric at VentureBeat who does analysis to show how Friendster has growth in Asia.

Web Usage: Facebook and MySpace
Although I see many different graphs and patterns about the ‘top’ website, Andrew Chen breaks down that Facebook is growing faster via vistiors in Australia over MySpace, and has more growth internationally, on the other hand, he demonstrates that most ad revenues are in the US, an interesting way of thinking about where the ROI could lay.

Web Usage: 25% Use Social Networks
The Consumer Internet Barometer, a sample size of 1000 in North America found that a quarter of North Americans use social networks. For North American adults, this is very similar to what Forrester’s own data says, glad to see correlation.

Upgrade: NYT adds social features to site
Much in the theme of the future of the web is that the web will become connected to your personal networks, in this case the NYT (who has been innovating) is developing new ways for the content of their site to become social with Times People Beta.

Intranet: Microsoft leans on Townsquare
Although only a prototype, Microsoft office labs are working on a new intranet product that has social features, called TownSquare.

Vertical: Intel launches site for family caretakers
This community site which is for those that are managing ill or elderly family members provides a connection for others, who may need a support group that may not have been able to connect prior.

Revenues: Facebook Developers Get Paid
The company social media, essentially an advertising network for widget developers has paid out $8million to developers who are involved in their network over the last year, there are 5000 apps, for about 100 developers, although there’s apparently a curve, some cashed in and some did not.

eCommerce: How shopping is a social activity
eWeek picks up a story (I’ve a quote in it) that outlines how Pluck’s module based white label social network can embed social interactions into an eCommerce experience –a certain future trend.

Education: Social networks spur learning
This summary of a study indicating that students from a variety of backgrounds were able to learn from social networks, improving social and technology skills, more details from this article. From colleague Jennifer Doctor

Web Usage: Facebook king of the globe
Comscore reports that Facebook’s Global Traffic the king, I see different takes at data from different companies, so I can never quite be sure of who’s interpretations –or data set to rely on. Therefore, I watch trends, not specifics.

China: Facebook, Tencent launch against Xiaonei
Chinese versions of Facebook and Tencent are now launched in China, to reach to one of the world’s largest online populations. The dominating player, Xiaonei has 22 million users, still a long way off from Facebook –but watch growth.

Valuation: How to value social networks
Techcrunch does an interesting analysis quantifying social network value —by looking at several values based around user size and valuation.

Leave a comment if I’ve missed anything specific.