Like you, I get hundreds of invitations to join LinkedIn Groups. As a B2B marketer interested in industry services marketing and the implications of social media on an integrated marketing mix, I find very few of these groups to include true peers. Instead, these groups appear full of consultants wanting to make connections and peddle their services to larger organizations. It’s hard to find true affinity in LinkedIn groups and more rare to find one that functions as a true community.
The exception I have found is the Silicon Valley Executive Social Media Council (SVESMC).
Ted Sapountzis, VP of Social Media Audience Marketing at SAP, introduced me to this group after we met for lunch in December of last year. Ted and I met previously when we spoke on a Global Social CRM panel moderated by Esteban Kolsky in September at Cisco’s TelePresence Suites in Santa Clara. Social networking maven and meet-up extraordinaire, Tanya Kanzaveli, found me and extended the invitation. (I agreed to speak on the panel to experience Telepresence first-hand, if truth be told.)
I am very glad Ted introduced me to SVESMC. This group works for me is because it starts with personal connections and then leads to the online world, not the other way around. As an example of another personal connection, Gurmeet Dhaliwal, VP of Internet Marketing at CA, who also spoke on that same panel is a member of SVESMC as well. (Do you start to see how this networking thing works….?)
SVESMC’s mission is to help members create the most effective, extraordinary social media programs possible. It is a private community for social media leaders at predominantly high-tech, large companies. Through the Council, members share insights, ideas, and best practices in a peer-to-peer environment. Members hold conversations under strict confidentiality, allowing for open and candid discussions. There are no vendors, no sales pitches, and no outside “experts” — just honest advice and dialogue. I like that.
Last week, SAP hosted the first summit for this council. Natascha Thomson wrote a great blog post summarizing the event. For me, the highlight was Ted’s talk about how SAP developed a marketing “dashboard” for measuring the impact of social activity around developer/user events in a business-meaningful manner (note: nothing confidential exposed here). If you’d like to know more, apply to Natascha to join the group (firstname.lastname@example.org). The group is closed — so you have to hunt for it on LinkedIn — and it takes the confidentiality promise very seriously.
If you join, I hope to see you at an upcoming dinner, summit, or meet-up sometime soon. Or to connect virtually through the group site on LinkedIn. Virtual or in-person, if you are responsible for social media strategy or execution at your firm – and want to connect with others who share the same enthusiasm and concerns around this new communication medium – this group is for you.