I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the some of the best companies doing work in our industry, companies I am constantly impressed by. Obviously we excluded our own agency from this list for conflict-of-interest reasons, and equally obviously, this is just a small sample of the dozens of great companies out there working in social media marketing. I hope you'll add your own favorites in the comments section below. Here are 8 greats to start with, in no particular order: 1) Room 214 I love James Clark and company's approach to social media marketing - looking at the intersection of engineers, analysts, and creatives.
2) Converseon A past WOMMIE winner from the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, Converseon has impressed me ever since I saw founder Rob Key discuss company engagement on social networks from an anthropological perspective.
3) 360i This digital agency sports a fast-growing social media marketing practice and also sports the popular Social Marketing Playbook, great proof that they understand the "value first" proposition of social media.
4) StepChange Group I love the way this Portland group combines great strategy and design elements with technology to support social media marketing campaigns.
5) Altimeter Group Clearly more a consulting firm than a marketing agency, but with undeniable thought leadership from Charlene Li, Jermiah Owyang and others, Altimeter is an important group to look at.
6) Ink Foundry This west-coast word of mouth and social media marketing firm run by Carin Galetta has a great outlook on the promise of social media and a strong focus on ethical marketing.
7) New Marketing Labs Run by Chris Brogan, who is arguably the top thought leader in the space. I love the wholistic approach they take towards social media and its many business implications.
8 ) Dachis Group Jeffrey Dachis, David Armano and team coined the term "social business design", again defining social media beyond marketing to include many aspects of how businesses function.
Again, these are just 8 of many great firms. If you find yourself considering what agency to hire, or even talk to, I'd remind you to google them, or do a Facebook search or Twitter search on them, and find out just what people are saying, what their own blog, Twitter or Facebook presence looks like, and then take it from there. What would you add?