Our initiation period for Project Massive Network at Network Communications, Inc. ended at the beginning of this month. I thought it would be fun to share some of our progress.

As regular reapicture-124ders will remember, in mid-April we launched an initiative to get everyone in our company active on social media. We engaged Domus Consulting to run a month-long series of Social Media 101 webinars and I invited every person in the company to connect with me.

My challenge to the company was to create more than 100,000 connections among all of us by the first of June.

We did it!

As of June 1, about 1/2 of the 1000 people associated with NCI had connected with me on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. The total reach of their combined networks is more than 250,000 people!

The initiative grew rapidly over the 45 days, from a total of about 25,000 connections after a week and breaking through 200,000 in late May.

The rapid adoption of social media inside the company has been rewarded with heightened engagement with our local market partners.

picture-141A foundation premise of our social media initiative was that the unique nature of NCI — a confederation of independent local market teams organized around powerful national brands — would translate effectively into social media engagement.

Our local market teams quickly began to set up fan pages, build profiles and grow their connections among their professional contacts. In the Apartment Finder team alone, we have nearly 10,000 fans to our local fan pages on Facebook. We have thousands more across our other brands as well.

The second stage of our project was to develop a marketing approach to our customers and prospects that could leverage social media. A good demonstration of it is in our Apartment Finder brand, where we have set up a The Apartment Finder Blog, which publishes content that is then distributed out to the more than 80 local Facebook presences that we maintain. These Facebook pages have become micro-blogs, taking advantage of the simple-to-use technology Facebook provides.

We are now turning to the next phase of our project to leverage social media. The first step was to train ourselves, the second was to develop a clear process for effective marketing and the third will be to connect consumers more easily with our customer’s content while they use the social web.

I’ll give you more updates about that in the next few days. In the meantime, I feel relieved. When we set off on Project Massive Network, I didn’t know what to expect. Today, I’m infused with enthusiasm and excitement for the energy that it has sparked across different pockets of our company.