Today in the Globe & Mail: Alex on the business of social media

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Today's Globe & Mail included a special supplement about MBA programs, with a feature story on why and how schools are incorporating social media into the curriculum. "Within minutes or even seconds, online chatter can span continents, conveying positive spin or the kiss of death for a product or company," reporter Diana McLaren writes. "Business schools are adapting to the rapidly shifting relationship between companies and consumers."

Diana spoke to me about Social Signal's experience integrating social media into today's businesses. (And the Globe ran my favourite, uncredited headshot -- by the remarkable Kris Krug.)

Here's what Diana included in today's story:

Social media consultant Alexandra Samuel, co-founder of Social Signal in Vancouver, says that social media is "not just a marketing technique. It also allows a business or organization a way of monitoring for customer care.

"Social media can't just be out there isolated in some little marketing department. You need someone to monitor and respond to what people are saying."

The challenge for MBA schools, she says, is to "get people to think about a dramatic shift in organizations needed for social media marketing. They need less hierarchy and more communication across teams. Generally speaking, one of the first concerns for business is risk management. The reality of social media is far greater than risk. It's about throwing a party and no one comes, there's no response."

...

As someone who consults with organizations on social network marketing, but also a business owner herself who hires staff, Ms. Samuel agrees about the need for more MBA graduates to offer a combination of traditional skills, such as financial management and business strategy, with an understanding of social media that makes them "billable" to clients.

"My dream hire is for an MBA with social media expertise," she says. "Someone who comes with the whole package."

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