Building a Social Media program is about more than presence, community management and engagement. And in spite of what some “experts” may have told you, it certainly is about more than having a Facebook page, a twitter account and some videos on YouTube.

The reality of the thing is that it takes more than that to plug social media into your business. Much more. That intern managing your tweets right now doesn’t have the experience or the skills yet. That PR superstar you just hired out of LA or New York or Boston can do some good, but no matter how hard they try, they take your social media program so far. Just like your customer service manager and your CMO and your Director of Digital Media. No matter how smart they are, they only have some of the pieces of that puzzle… and so much time to try and figure out the rest. (Not exactly a master plan, is it.)

Truly plugging Social Media into an organization – into the enterprise, even – is a complex endeavor. It isn’t purely a marketing function, nor is it purely a customer service function or a community management function or a business intelligence function. There are lots of moving parts to this, some strategic, others operational. Some analytical, others tactical: HR and Legal need to be brought up to speed on several levels (especially now that the FTC has released its guidelines for blogging and social media use), the C-suite needs to clearly understand both the opportunities and the risks associated with Social Media in order to make appropriate decisions regarding the future of their companies. Vice Presidents, directors and managers need to understand how applying certain Social Media strategies and tactics to their existing activities could yield solid results in the quarters to come. And on and on and on.

Frankly, if you haven’t worked in the enterprise space, if you haven’t spent years closely working with sales managers, marketing managers, customer service managers, product managers, engineering managers, HR managers, if you haven’t spent years reporting directly to a CEO or at least a Senior VP – in other words, if you haven’t had real experience building programs within enterprise space companies and managing brands hands-on, working across silos, even with all the blogging and tweeting experience in the world, I don’t see how you can hope to know how to build, integrate, manage and measure a 360 social media program for a company. And certainly not in the enterprise space.

It takes a very unique background and skill-set to be able to deliver this kind of thing, and very few people can actually blend 1. a deep understanding of the social media space, 2. real enterprise-class program development and management experience, and 3. 360 brand management experience, from product ideation and development all the way to end-of-life-cycle marketing communications.

People who know how to do this in the US, I can count on the fingers of one hand. There aren’t many of us yet. And given the need for companies to understand how to properly plug social media into their business (and start enjoying positive results fast), that’s a big problem.

If my “fingers of one hand” remark seems like an exaggeration, go back in time just a few months and ask every social media “consultant” or “expert” in your address book to briefly shed some light on a few random (and simple) components of a Social Media program… like how to tie R.O.I. measurement into Social Media activities, or how to structure an enterprise-wide Twitter presence. Until those few of us who know how to do this came along and spelled it out for them, it seems that the vast majority of these “experts” didn’t have a clue. Scary, considering these types of things are among the most simple components of any social media program’s structure.

To address that problem, I am partnering with a pretty solid group of experienced marketing and PR directors, Director-level social media practitioners, management consultants, business managers and other experts to bring businesses exactly this kind of knowledge in 2010, not just in a consulting format but in a training format as well. The training specifically is what I want to bring up here today because it’s the most accessible of the two – both from cost -effectiveness and timeframe perspectives. This video should help explain what we’ve been working on:

As the video explains, we’ll soon have a website, a full schedule of cities (and countries) where our full-day trainings will take place throughout 2010, along with a ton of valuable information you’ll want to check out.

Perhaps the most important component of the training program will be the content of the program itself: Essentially a social media program development, integration, management and measurement playbook. As attendees, whether you decide to take copious notes (which I suggest you do) or simply watch the presentation decks over and over again, you will essentially walk away with everything you need to build a social media program for your organizations (or your clients’ organizations for that matter).

Pretty solid, right?

As mentioned in my previous post, the plan is to launch Red Chair trainings ahead of schedule in London on December 4th instead of waiting for 2010 as originally planned. It’s a little short notice for a lot of businesses in the London area (not a whole lot of time for decision-makers to a) find out about it and b) make plans to attend), so we’ll play the schedule by ear. If we can fill up the training by then, great. If not, we’ll go back to the original schedule to give the London business community time to fit it into their calendar. No big deal. One thing I should mention about the December 4th event, however: The group discounts are insanely good. Take advantage of them now if you can. (I doubt the group discounts will be as good in 2010.)

If you want the December 4th event to happen, make sure you sign up asap. Beg your boss, call a friend, invite a client or two, whatever works. Definitely take advantage of the 1+1, 1+2 and other discounts. Click here to sign up now, or click on the image below.

Update: After receiving numerous requests for Red Chair London to be held in early 2010 instead of December 2009, we  have decided to move the event to a date that will accommodate everyone. Thanks a lot for your feedback. You guys rock. I look forward to an even bigger Red Chair event in London just in a few months.