Social Media Week is possible due to the great support of our global and local sponsors. This year, that group includes some major players in the social and digital space, all of them taking a a very active role in shaping Social Media Week New York. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be introducing you to these individuals and companies- helping you get to know them and how you can take part in what they’re planning for SMW12.
To kick this series off, we’re starting with Buddy Media, an analytics and connections-based digital organization. Co-Founder Jeff Ragovin shares more on the importance of cupcakes on birthdays, having a focus, and choosing the right partners.
Jeff, can you tell us a bit about your role at Buddy Media, and how Buddy Media got involved with SMW?
As Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Buddy Media, I’ve been with the company since the very start and have seen us grow from three people in one office to more than 200 in offices around the world. In my role, I work with our largest clients, advising them on how our social marketing software suite can help them grow their business. I also drive revenue generation strategy and adoption of our software suite by global brands and agencies.
With 60,000 attendees across 21 cities, including the four cities where Buddy Media has offices– New York, San Francisco, London & Singapore– Social Media Week is one of the biggest events of the year for Buddy Media. While Buddy Media is a global company, our headquarters is in New York, so we’ve known Toby and Ben, the organizers of Social Media Week, for years, and continue to be big supporters of the event. We’re doing more this year than ever before, with events in cities around the world. There is a lot of noise in the social marketing space, so we are laser focused on research, case studies and best practice guides for our customers and for the industry at large. The more we can help make things less confusing, the better.
How does Buddy Media support this year’s global theme, “Empowering Change through Collaboration”?
What makes social media so powerful is that it has turned everything on its head. No longer is marketing or communications about shouting your advertising messages to people. Social media has made all communications a two-way dialogue. This is something that marketers have to come around to, because they realize the potential is beyond anything the world has ever seen before.
We’re supporting this year’s theme by collaborating with our partners, and the greater community on our content. Just one example is our “Power Your Connections™ Illustrator Contest,” which asks artists to submit their illustrative interpretation of the art of connections in a social world. All of our new Buddy Media advertising creative is artwork, because art gets people talking. It is unique and exciting. So we’re super excited to open this up to everyone to submit their ideas. Not only are we interested in seeing how the community mashes up their own creative ideas with our existing work, but we’re giving away $5,000 to the best interpretation.
Buddy Media is known for its excellence in analytics and connection-based softwares- something that wasn’t needed 10 years ago. How do you see the increased use of social and digital media changing the way business is done?
One of our clients, Ford Motor Company, recently said that social media is bigger to them than advertising. It’s very straightforward: companies that power connections and build their community and content to create deep, meaningful connections will create shareholder value. Those that don’t, will not.
How does Buddy Media stay on top of the quickly changing nature of social and digital media and technology?
We developed strong partnerships with the major social networks early on. Buddy Media is the only company to be a charter member of the developer partner programs for Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. We work closely with all of our partners, whether it be the social networks, our agency partners, or integration partners like comScore.
At the end of the day, you have to be genuinely interested in social media and how it is changing global marketing and communications. At Buddy Media, we’re never satisfied with the amount of white papers, research and best practice guides that we release. We always want to do more.
Culture is important to Buddy Media. How do you maintain an innovative, passionate and compassionate culture?
We’re very invested in the culture at Buddy Media. We eat cupcakes on everyone’s birthdays. We buy all of our employees athletic sneakers once a year so that they can work out and stay fit. We have a food program to cater meals for our offices. We have quarterly events like our kickball game and scavenger hunt. We dress up on Halloween. Literally, everyone in the company dressed up on Halloween.
We give custom bobble-head dolls to employees at their one-year anniversary at Buddy Media. That is something no one ever forgets. Our CEO Michael Lazerow likes to say that work doesn’t have to suck, and I couldn’t agree more. We pride ourselves when our employees write on Facebook or Twitter about how much they love working at Buddy Media. There’s even been a bit of a trend with a Twitter hashtag called #ProudToBeABuddy.
What can New Yorkers expect to see from Buddy Media this SMW?
Our CEO Michael Lazerow has a keynote speaking session in New York, which we’re very excited about. We’re also hosting events in London, San Francisco and Singapore. As usual, expect to see us delivering valuable insights and data. We take our relationship with the community very seriously and always make sure that we’re delivering valuable content. It’s going to be an exciting week!