New Media Strategies
|Industry||Social media, marketing, public relations|
|Headquarters||Arlington, Virginia, USA|
|Key people||Pete Snyder, Founder|
New Media Strategies (NMS) is a social media agency headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. The company was founded in 1999 by Pete Snyder, and as of 2011 has 120 employees. NMS is known as one of the first companies to strictly focus on social media as a form of marketing communications, and is "the largest social media agency in the world" according to The Washington Post. It is a subsidiary of Meredith Corporation, a Fortune 500 media company which acquired NMS in 2007.
Pete Snyder founded New Media Strategies in 1999 with $150,000 from his own savings, credit cards, and the investments of friends and family. The company initially operated from Snyder's Capitol Hill apartment before opening office space in Washington, D.C, and later moving its headquarters to Arlington, Virginia. Drawing upon earlier experience in political polling and market research, Snyder recognized that companies at the time lacked an understanding of how to interpret and respond to what was being said about them online—prompting him to establish the first Internet firm to offer online conversation analysis and real-time communications consultation to clients. The business model was based on treating the Internet as "the world's largest focus group" and the company found its earliest business with film studios, soon counting The Walt Disney Company, ABC and Burger King among its initial clients. In 2005, Washingtonian magazine listed it as one of the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area's "50 Great Places to Work". Though it was created during the tech boom of the late 1990s, NMS expanded in the years following this time period, being recorded by Inc. Magazine' as one of the "500 fastest growing private companies" in the United States in 2004, 2005 and 2006.
In January 2007, New Media Strategies was acquired by Meredith Corporation, a Fortune 500 firm traditionally known for its publishing and broadcasting holdings. Snyder remained as CEO until December 2011. At the time of the acquisition, a portion of the proceeds were set aside in an employee stock pool, which appreciated to $2.5 million and in 2010 was paid out to employees who had remained at the company for three years. The New York Post described this profit-sharing arrangement as atypical in the advertising industry, as acquisitions of this nature do not traditionally involve compensation of non-executive employees.
Areas of business
Structured as an agency, NMS primarily operates as a consultant which "helps firms develop marketing strategies for social media", according to The Wall Street Journal. The company specialized early on in measuring and participating in online discussion surrounding Hollywood films, and an entertainment division of the organization has since coordinated online public relations campaigns for NBC and other broadcast television networks. A public affairs division has included political and news media clients such as the Fred Thompson presidential campaign and C-SPAN, and a corporate practice represents restaurant chains, retailers and companies within the consumer packaged goods industry.
NMS advised the National Football League Players Association during the 2011 NFL lockout, producing a video advertisement and an online petition entitled "Let Us Play", which addressed the threat of an expiring collective bargaining agreement between the league and its players. A broadcast television network refused to air the ad, prompting news media to draw attention to the video on YouTube. NFL players began to use the hashtag "#letusplay" when discussing the campaign on Twitter, and it became the subject of media coverage for its use of online media instead of traditional media as a means of advocacy. The company also engages in organizational training. It hosted a "social media day" at the New York Stock Exchange on November 3, 2011, which was held to teach members of corporations traded on the exchange how to be more effective in using social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for public communication.
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