Meet our newest client, Cuvee Coffee!
They’re bold, full of flavor (and hopefully after working with us) RICH!
Check Them Out!
In February, the Speak Social team took part in the first-ever, citywide Work From Home Day and it was a HUGE success! Not only did the Governor’s Office, City of Austin, County departments, Dell, and many other fantastic Austin groups participate, but we also flooded the news with support for our initiative.
Now here comes SXSW, and Social Good Summit Austin is working together with The World Food Program and the UN Foundation to present a Day of Good. Different speakers will present throughout the day on what their teams are working on to get our world back on the right track!
Our President, Brad Bogus will be presenting on belhalf of Social Good Summit Austin, along with Christine Cox of Andris Media and Jessica Tunon of Beyond2Narture … two of our favorite SGS Austin partners.
GoodxGlobal is a first-ever day of events dedicated to the local and global power of social good, technology and entrepreneurship.
On March 10th, Social Good Summit Austin, World Food Program USA and the United Nations Foundation will host a day of tightly programmed discussions, talks, breakouts, and mentoring at the City of Austin’s beautiful, LEED Gold certified City Hall, just five blocks from the Austin Convention Center.
GoodxGlobal is presented in collaboration with Social Good Summit Austin (www.socialgoodsummitaustin.org) a group of volunteers in the Austin tech scene who came together to do something good for the community, environment and world.
With growing attendance from both local and international nonprofits, social entrepreneurs and startups, GxG will convene these communities in Austin with a day of relevant programming, while also supporting expanded representation from Africa and other developing regions at this seminal conference.
From work to solve global challenges like access to food, health, education and clean water, to local Austin organizations creating global impact, GoodxGlobal will showcase tech-driven approaches to aid effectiveness, mobile innovation, women’s empowerment, global North-South digital campaigning, social entrepreneurship in action, impact funding for good and more.
GxG will create an opportunity to organically engage, learn and connect together in Austin and the day’s events will also be live-streamed to a global audience online.
As native Austinites, we’re always happy when SXSW rolls to town and we get the chance to catch up once again with our friends from across the country … and the world! We’ll be wheelin’ and dealin’ across town for the next 10 days, but here are a couple of things coming up this weekend that are particular favorites!
SXSW Startup Crawl Presented by Rackspace
Ignite Social Media Party
Opening of the Gaming Expo
The Tech Career Expo
SXSW Food Crawl
Opening of the Chevy Tweet House
Tech Cocktail’s Startup Celebration
We met writer Camille Dodero at an event we co-organized called Abstract Austin. It was an art show and auction to benefit The Progeria Foundation in the name of Adalia Rose. If you don’t know the story of Adalia, it’s heartfelt, gripping, sad, happy and all of the emotions in between.
Adalia Rose is an inspiring young girl that became the target of online trolls because of the fear and misinformation surrounding her and her disease. It was a Social campaign that we happily took on for the good of helping protect an innocent child from online bullying.
Camille’s article, The Princess and the Trolls: The Heartrending Legend of Adalia Rose, the Most Reviled Six-Year-Old Girl on the Internet, hit the front page of Gawker.com today and it finally tells the full and true story of Adalia Rose.
This is what he had to say …
— Speak Social (@SpeakSocial) February 8, 2013
Secretly everyone has had the dream at least once where the government calls with a special mission, and you are the one they need. It’s a dream that rarely comes true, and in our case almost got overlooked, when an email came to our Vice President, Adam Price with the subject: URGENT: US Department of State Meeting Request: Activism through Social Media, Pakistan.
Like many would, Price said at first he thought it was a spam email. However, after a few phone calls with Pamela-Jean Mohamed, Associate Executive Director for International Programs with GlobalAustin, he confirmed that this was a legitimate request from the State Department in Washington for representatives from Speak Social to meet with delegates from both the U.S. and Pakistan to discuss the topic, Activism through Social Media. Speak Social’s portion of the meeting will take place this afternoon in Austin; however, the delegation will continue meeting on different topics both today and tomorrow, February 9.
According to Mohamed, the delegation from Pakistan is coming to the US through the US Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program, which fosters citizen-to-citizen diplomacy for emerging leaders.
Each year GlobalAustin coordinates meetings and opportunities for cross-cultural sharing for over 400 international dignitaries from over 90 countries. The topics range from agriculture to zoning and bring in emerging leaders from government, non-profits, academia, journalism and the private sector. The program has been in existence since after WWII and famous alumni of this State Department program include Gordon Brown, Queen ‘Mamohato Seeiso, Tony Blair, Anwar Sadat, Margaret Thatcher, Nicolas Sarkozy, Hamid Karzai, Indira Gandhi, Felipe Calderón and Mikheil Saakashvili just to name a few.
Mohamed said that Washington personally asked her to request an opportunity for the delegation to meet with Speak Social to learn more about the company and how we use Social Media to promote awareness.
“We want to discuss best practices for engaging an audience to advance your message, the value of collecting analysis of web traffic and usage, and deciding on the best new media platforms to fit our objectives,” Mohamed said.
In addition, the delegation would like to hear more about the Social Good Summit, Work-From-Home Program that we have vigorously worked with other volunteers to coordinate.
“I am honored to represent the US and work with the business leaders from Pakistan to discuss Social Media, and the positive impact it can have on business practices and the world,” Price said. “Working together, in these worldwide exchanges are a large part of why we started Speak Social.”
In addition to Adam, Speak Social President Brad Bogus will also be speaking with the delegation to offer his expertise and opinions.
“By helping other cultures learn from each other, the State Department is doing a great thing,” Bogus said. “We’re excited to show the Pakistani Delegation what we’ve done with our clients and causes, but we’re more looking forward to learning what has worked for them.”
The Department of State has outlined the following specific objectives for the project:
- To highlight innovations and ways in which social media have been used successfully in the U.S. by the public and private sector, as well as NGOs and grassroots activists.
- To increase understanding of policies and strategies for developing effective communication platforms, and how to initiate and design far-reaching social media campaigns that further human rights and democratic ideals.
- To improve technical skills needed to develop and use social media, such as content development, video production, and interfacing with existing social media platforms.
- To learn about techniques and strategies to reach rural and/or low penetration areas, such as texting/SMS.
- To increase outreach and global linkages with international organizations and institutions.
Austin Specific Themes
Human Rights Activism through Social Media
Politics and Campaigns
Bloggers: Creating Online Virtual Communities
Facebook Graph Search is here, and it’s AWESOME! The ability to search for absolutely anything (including every photo you ever liked of your friends who like to party) will revolutionize the way we store and use the massive amounts of data gathered online.
Although we like to think ourselves an elite group of Social superheroes, we did not pull any special strings to get the chance to play with Facebook Graph Search early. You can have the power (and day-waster) just like the rest of us!
Want to learn more first, read what our VP Adam has to say about it HERE!
Our President, Brad Bogus, and I recently spoke to a group of delegates from Pakistan about U.S. Social Media practices. During the Q & A session, some of the delegates asked what makes a good Social Media company. Pakistan is an incredibly tech-savvy country from what we could tell, but the Social Media game is still developing, so their question was really “how do we know what to look for when determining how to choose an agency?”
This got me thinking about what separates the chumps from the professional Social Media agencies. Although some of our secret sauce is within this article, I would honestly rather be copied (and have to prove my worth) than have to defend what I do against the other guys.
— Speak Social (@SpeakSocial) February 11, 2013
It takes very little work to be able to talk-the-good-talk about Social Media. Writers have taken on the theory countless times in addition to the workshops, boot camps, webinars and everything else under the sun. I have spoken with some “Thought Leaders” (yes I put that in quotes) who can paint a picture of Social Media marketing that will make you think all of your marketing problems are over.
They will tell you they believe in your voice, and they understand communities. They will tell you they wrote an e-book, and their Klout score is off the charts. They are great preachers of Social Media, but are they great practitioners? It’s actually pretty simple to tell.
If an agency really practices what it preaches, you will understand exactly what they are going to do for you, and exactly why it is important. Let me tell you from experience, it takes extreme intelligence to make something complicated sound simple and relatable. Preachers throw data at you; practitioners tell you how they have done it before in a way that you can understand. If they can’t, it is because they haven’t really done it before, or they aren’t smart enough to get past the jargon. Talk is cheap people, even in Social Media.
Most Social Media companies offer packages. They love packages! I’m not going to lie, we were victims to this mindset early on as well. You give me XXX dollars per month, and I will tweet for you XX number of times. It’s money for labor, clean and simple. It sounds great, but it doesn’t work that way. Every brand is different, with its own set of goals, and – more importantly – its own expectations. How could a one-size-fits-all approach ever be realistic for a dynamic agency?
That very question is why we start every new client with our proprietary Brand Profile, which is an in-depth look into the past, present and future of a business or brand. This process generally requires a 4-hour interview between key staff and our Community Manager and Head Writer. With that content, we create a document – usually between 30 – 40 pages – that gives a full picture of the brand’s current presence, areas of opportunity, voice & messaging, goals, as well as multiple other criteria including a competitive analysis. This document allows us to define a proper strategy that actually serves a purpose.
Once we have strategy in place, we work with the client (as partners) to create the most effective and efficient campaigns that position the client towards achieving goals. Maybe this work takes a monthly retainer, or maybe we work on a project-by-project basis, whatever fits the client … not whatever fits us.
This sounds obvious, but it’s important to note my question wasn’t, do they want your money? When we started two and a half years ago, we needed clients. Our main criteria at the time was do they have a checkbook. That strategy got us clients, but what we soon realized was those clients were not always the right fit. We brought them value for their money, but we did not bring them a voice online.
In the beginning, Social was a mathematical formula. I give you this much money, you sell this much product. We tried to make it work, but in the end, we always either divorced the client or the client divorced us. Now we carefully select who we want to work with, and we pursue specific relationships. We choose based on criteria like: heart, voice, independence, vision, goals and culture. When we want to work with you, we want to work with you, and we will do anything to be your partner. We don’t have a call center pounding the phones looking for any business that we can convince to sign a 6-month contract.
In the end Social Media is both an art and a science … in mixes that are never consistent. It’s a witch’s brew that cannot easily be duplicated from client-to-client. Business owners cannot ignore Social Media, but they don’t have to jump into it either. Take time to vet your Social Media agency, and you will save yourself frustration down the road.
If you have any questions email or message me. Don’t let the fear of the unknown prevent you from action.
And watch out for the “Thought Leaders.”