Nichole Kelly Named CEO At Social Media Explorer
The Difference In Me and SME
The Difference In Me and SME

Social Media Explorer is a growing enterprise. No, not in the, “We’ve got 10,000 employees,” sense of the word, but this blog-turned-business is doing quite well, I’m thankful to report.

I’ve had several conversations recently which insinuated that I am Social Media Explorer and, conversely, SME is me. If that were the case, it would have gone out of business a long time ago. I’m clever, but not that good. Heh.

You know we have a dozen or so contributing authors. You know Nichole Kelly runs SME Digital — our agency arm. My primary role as the company’s founder and CEO is to provide overall direction for the company and thought leadership for you through this blog and our Explore events. Occasionally, I counsel clients on specific areas, but because our team is so good, that happens less often. So I blog, run our events and write our market research reports. All of that is a very small piece of SME.

Social Media Explorer is actually a company with two distinct divisions and purposes, a handful of employees (with a few more coming on board soon) and a growing client and customer list. Since some changes are coming (more in a moment), I thought I’d take a moment to explain a little more about what makes us tick.

Social Media Explorer is a digital marketing agency. It serves medium to large brands and companies with digital marketing strategy. While we certainly have an emphasis on social media marketing, we offer and perform a broad scope within the digital marketing sphere. Web development, marketing automation, email marketing, mobile marketing and the like fall into our skill sets as well. And we do all that with a strong focal point of measurement to identify return on investment. Social Media Explorer also also produces information products which serve broad industries (The Conversation Report) and marketing decision-makers of all walks (Explore events). These are both value-adds we provide to those we serve, but certainly nice lead generators as well.

This blog is a conversation point for the industry. It’s where we push the thinking for and with you, foster what we hope are thought-provoking conversations and adhere to our style of pulling no punches, but always being fair.

We have a team that includes Nichole Kelly, our agency president; Jay Kelly, our agency operations VP; Tom Heseltine, our senior vice-president of sales; Jason Spooner, our strategic account manager, and a number of contract folks we use for everything from community management and content creation, to web development and graphic design, to mobile deployment and gamification. Our public relations team from Geben Communication (Heather Whaling and Megumi Robinson) provide support in a number of areas, including event management and influencer outreach, too.

Kat French has run operations for the products side of the business and helps me build those to best serve our clients and customers there. As you can see, my personal role in SME is quite different than many think. Part of that is by design and part of it is by evolution.

And today, that evolution continues.

Nichole Kelly is now our CEO. The day-to-day operations of all aspects of the business are going to fall under her supervision, including behind the scenes stuff for our Explore events and The Conversation Report. She’s the right person to lead more than just the client-side of the company. She’s smart, aggressive and has our clients and customers as her number one priority. She once told me the only thing that keeps her up at night is making sure we’re making our clients 100% happy, all the time. That’s awesome incarnate. She should be in charge.

I’m not going anywhere, at least no where that will seem different. I’ll still provide (what I hope is) awesomeness here on the blog, giving you my ideas on this evolving world. And I’ll also host our Explore events. When you come, you’ll get what you’ve come to expect and maybe even some surprises on what you didn’t. And if you want to see what Explore attendees have seen, check out some Tweets I’ve favorited from them.

Kat French and I won’t be involved in the behind the scenes, day-to-day stuff anymore. Again, we’ll still be blogging, still be at Explore events … you won’t miss us because we’re not disappearing. But we’ll be busy during the day with a new challenge.

We’re joining the team at CafePress, I as Vice-President of Digital Strategy; Kat as Digital Operations Manager. We’re looking forward to tackling the challenge of helping one of the top 100 online retailers marry the worlds of e-commerce and social marketing to become an even greater conversion point for people with passions — which they can turn into custom apparel, accessories and other products. And yes, we’ll be sharing our experiments, activations and findings with you here from time-to-time. Good learnings ahead.

For you, our fair readers, nothing changes, only now we’ll have an awesome brand to work intimately with, to experiment and learn from, so we can then turn and share that knowledge with you. And since CafePress is a publicly-traded, multi-million dollar company, our exposure will include everything from social network-to-sales conversions to internal collaboration and communication ideas.

From a practical perspective, nothing much changes. Nichole has run the agency all along. Now she’s got the initials to go along with the responsibility. But I’m still here. Founder. Chief Instigator. Smartass-in-Residence. Still churning out prose that will hopefully continue to be useful for you. Still hosting and speaking at our events, which rock.

Only my day job will change. But that’ll eventually help us all get smarter, too.

So we’ll keep kickin’ ass. And so will you.

About the Author

Jason Falls
Jason Falls is the founder of Social Media Explorer and one of the most notable and outspoken voices in the social media marketing industry. He is a noted marketing keynote speaker, author of two books and unapologetic bourbon aficionado. He can also be found at
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  • Congrats Jason, Nichole and Kat. Looking forward to even more great things from all of you and SME in 2013. Cheers!

  • I am excited to hear this news, Jason. Congratulations on a great move. 
    Congratulations to Kat and Nichole too. This is very exciting.

  • Good luck Jason. So happy for your progress buddy.

  • Huge congratulations @JasonFalls:twitter . Sounds like a perfect fit to me. Psyched to see you continuing to grow your business reach. Amazing stuff.

  • Kjell Kallman

    Here’s to your outrageous success, Jason and Kat. Working with Nichole and Jay is always a pleasure and an awesome learning experience! See you all at the next Explore event!

  • Wishing you the best, pal! You’ve been an inspiration to a lot of people in the space, and I’m glad you’ll continue to do that.  

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  • Congrats Jason, Kat and Nichole, an amazing opportunity for each of you!  

  • Congrats Jason and all, a great team! :)

  • Congrats Jason! Happy for you.


  • jessicamalnik

    Congrats Jason! 

  •  Congrats Jason

  • Congratulations Jason! Love Cafepress, they need a lot of help there to enter the early 2000’s, let alone 2012/2013. Have fun!

    • I had no idea they were in Louisville. I only remember the SV office. Nice that you get to stick home now.

  • Congratulations to Jason, Nichole, Kat, and everyone doing great stuff behind the scenes. Woot!

    • Thanks so much Heather! We are super excited that you are part of the journey with us!

  • Congrats Jason, Nichole, and team!

  • Kim Troy

    Congratulations Jason…great news for everyone involved!

  • Looking forward to seeing the insight you bring to the table with your new gig! Congrats and good luck in this next chapter of your journey!

  • Congrats, my friend. Looking forward to this next chapter, and delighted for Nichole and the team. 

    • Thanks Jay! I’m so glad you are part of the journey as well! I’m excited to see Jason’s progress and some of the fun stuff that is planned for the site and for our events. It’s going to be an all around great year to be in the social space! Watch out… ;-)

  • Very cool Jason. Congrats and looking forward to seeing your work with CafePress. Cheers! 

  • Congratulations! Sounds like an great opportunity. 

  • Congrats to each of you! This is all great news. 

    • Rock on brother! BTW-Over is awesome…everyone I show it to downloads it immediately. It’s become my go to photo app. And will be used for some images here as well.  ;-)

  • Congrats, Jason — and here’s to the road ahead :)

  • Congratulations, Jason.  Best of luck.

  • Can’t wait to have a ring-side seat as you share your new Cafepress adventures with us all – congratulations on this next exciting step in the SME journey!

  • Oh no! This sounds like a real job! :) Congrats to you and the team.

    • Ha! Real indeed. ;-) I’m sure Jason will tackle it with grace and ease and throw in a little grease along the way. LOL. 

  • Exciting changes all around. Very happy for you, SME, and Cafepress!


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