Social Media Project

Social Media Project

Social Media Group Project

Due Dates (tentative):
A. Choose your industry and companies – no duplication between groups         ______________
B. First draft due                                 ______________
C. Final individual reports due to project manager no later than             ______________
D. Group presentation (bring a handout for me (print out slides – 3 per page format)    ______________
*  Final editor’s draft due (both hardcopy and soft copy) on day of presentation.

Preliminary Steps:

?    Review the assignment guidelines here carefully and, based on group members’ input and preferences, select a common industry to analyze companies within
?    Connect with your group members and begin collaborating both online and in person  (Options for collaborating online include using Canvas group collaboration features &/or GoogleDocs)
** Later on, you will be evaluating each of your group members’ team efforts (including your own) through an anonymous survey which could affect individuals’ participation grades.

Project Situation:

You are all employees at LLD Marketing, Inc., which is a consulting company that evaluates the
marketing effectiveness of clients’ social media activities/websites.  Over the last several years, more companies have begun to use social media as part of their overall communication and marketing strategies, and we have been asked to investigate how successful these companies have been, what the current trends are, how companies have changed the way they do business, and what the future looks like in the context of social media use.

Objectives of research:

1.    Investigate how businesses and organizations are using social media to enhance communications and business interactions within companies (employee communications) and externally with partners, vendors, customers, and the community. Social media includes Web 2.0 technologies such as blogging, messaging tools such as Twitter, IM, texting, podcasts, and other interactive communication technologies such as wikis, Linked-In, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, etc.  Social media also includes mobile applications for smartphones and tablets.

2.    Investigate several companies within an industry:
* How are these companies using social media technologies? Find specific examples & details.
* How are they being implemented? Is there a strategy?
* What are their objectives?  (You may have to figure this out yourselves.)
* Are they successful?  (based on your opinion, various industry/professional articles, Alexa)
* What results have they seen that can specifically be tied to social media?  Increased revenue?
Reduced expense? Increased customer satisfaction &/or appeal?
* What improvements could they make?

Sources of information:  company websites, social media sites; online articles, and Alexa (free
analytics on website traffic, rankings, etc.):  http://www.alexa.com/

Task:  Working in groups of five, you will pick a global industry and evaluate four competitive global companies in that industry (e.g., Food/Health Industry — Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, and Fresh & Easy).  The deliverable will be an 11 – 12 page analytical report, addressed to the CEO of LLD
Marketing, Inc.  All group members will receive the same grade, which is based on the final report and presentation.

Group roles:

•    Project Manager (Editor): One team member will act as the team leader (editor) and be responsible for writing the cover memo which will be the first part of the group report, in addition to making sure the final report flows smoothly as one document.

•    Company Evaluators:  Remaining members of the team will each be responsible for a written evaluation of one particular company using the set of criteria established by the team.

Report Components:

•    A cover memo (written by the project manager) giving an executive overview of the report:  This will describe the purpose of the report, a brief discussion about social media technologies in general and how they are being used, what industry and companies were evaluated,  a description of the functions evaluated, how they were evaluated, and the criteria used – this is basically an overall executive summary of the findings.  The summary will identify which companies best met the criteria in each function and what your overall impression was for that company.  The cover memo will be written in a narrative form and will also include two summary graphics. This memo will be written by the project manager with input and review from the other group members.  The cover memo will range from 750 – 800 words. Be concise!

•    Individual company reports:  Each remaining group member will write the evaluation for one of the chosen companies, ranging from 750 – 800 words.  Each evaluation will include the following:

o    Brief background of the company (very brief!)

o    Evaluation of at least three functions  (global presence/cultural accommodation is required as one of the three functions) such as:
?    Global presence and cultural accommodation (required for all reports)
?    Marketing/Sales
?    Customer Service and Support
?    Public Relations
?    Careers/Recruitment
?    Product Communities
?    Community and Outreach Services
?    Other – may be specific to the industry, such as non-profit organizations
o    For each of the 3 functions, describe how social media are being used, what technologies are being utilized, how the business processes work, and how effective they are.  Give detailed examples to support your opinion. Each group will need to determine a set of criteria to “grade” each function on.  This will require group meetings to look at  each  company online and determine which company is best in each function, and how the other companies rank in comparison.

o    Overall impressions; recommendations for improvement

o    Rating and ranking of each company by function (see general scale below), and overall rating – Writers will need to give a “grade” to each function and determine the overall grade for their company. They will also need to give their reasons for the grades, what was done well, what needed improvement.

Ranking Scale of 1 to 5 (all groups should use this as a general guide):
5=excellent    4=good         3=adequate        2=needs improvement       1=not present or very weak

Producing the Group Report:

?    Timing:  First drafts of the individual reports need to be given to the project manager as soon as possible, so that the he/she has the information to write the cover memo.  Also, the entire team needs to get together to review ALL of the companies to compare how the companies rank in terms of effective use of social media.  The group needs to rank the companies to determine which company has the highest score overall.  This information will be included in the cover memo.

?    Formatting & Cohesion: The report will be in business report format, single-spaced, Times New Roman font, 12 pt., with appropriate headings, following APA format only for in-text citations and reference list.  All individual reports must be formatted the same, following these guidelines.   The goal is to have the individual reports sound and look as if they were written by one person.  This will require extensive editing by the entire group of the entire document.  The project manager (editor) will put all the various files together into one file, but each group member is responsible for editing his or her report and for reviewing the reports of others.  Make sure that all of your criteria in the rating of functions are aligned as well.

?    Use of “we”:  Although an individual contributor would be composing only his/her section of the report, please use “we/us” language instead of “I/me,” e.g. We think that this company has utilized social media the most effectively because …

?    Graphics:  Each individual company report should have two graphic charts which will give a pictorial view of the evaluation conclusions.  These charts should be consistent through each of the company reports.

?    Final Submission:  Project managers are responsible for uploading the final draft of the report to Canvas, which will automatically go through turnitin.com, before the day of the presentation. Any accidentally plagiarized material detected should be revised before the final report is due, and the revised version should be resubmitted to Canvas.

?    A hard copy of the final report is due to the instructor, and all members will receive the same report grade.

?    Group responsibilities:  All members are accountable for the success of this project and the quality of the report.  You will each have your own tasks, but you must work collaboratively, giving input and accepting feedback.  There will be some time allotted in class to work on this project, but you should expect several hours of work outside of class time.

Group Presentation:

Each group will present a 20-minute PowerPoint presentation regarding their evaluations.  Each team member will be required to talk about his/her particular company, and the project manager/editor will give the introduction and conclusions of the overall report.

Sample “A-” paper is available on Canvas

extra point:  After choosing your industry and group, you may get in touch with the companies’ marketing teams and inform them of your status (SJSU students) and the project you are working on. Inquire about any promotional items they might be able to give you (pens, mugs, T-shirts with logos, etc). These items are to be given away in class after the Q&A the group has for the class. To gain extra credit, all group members must participate in this.

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