Tag Archives: Social media

A Review of Sheryl Sandberg’s "Lean In: Women, Work & the Will to Lead"

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead is the much-discussed book by Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of the social network Facebook.

She steps beyond her role at Facebook to make a brave and educated contribution to the gender equality movement. Continue reading A Review of Sheryl Sandberg’s "Lean In: Women, Work & the Will to Lead"

How to use Social Media for #Recruiting

Does Social Media Recruiting Work?

If you have been trying to hire employees, chances are that you have at least considered using social media to find the right candidates.

There is ample proof that social media can help fill jobs; but it depends on what kind of job you are trying to hire for. Continue reading How to use Social Media for #Recruiting

Foursquare Part I – The Basics on Points, Badges & Mayorships

This article focuses on learning the basics of Foursquare, how to get set up, use it, and why.

I finally decided to get serious about Foursquare. Before I can understand how to use it for B2B marketing, step 1 is to play with the app and test it for personal use. Once I understand how it works, I will apply my learnings to B2B usage. This will be covered in a future blog.

First, sign up for an account,  I had already done this but needed to retrieve my password and update my profile. This happens under your picture/name in a little drop down under “Settings” on  the Foursquare web page. Of course, you can do all of this through the app, but personally, I don’t like setting myself up on a tiny little screen. Your choice.

YOUR PROFILE (Update under Settings)

Simply upload a picture, write a description about yourself and decide how much other information you want to provide.


Make sure to go through the notification settings and privacy settings so that they can meet your needs and comfort level. I don’t need to get notifications every time somebody likes my check-ins, but I’d like to know when I get mentioned by somebody else, for example.


From my friends, I have seen them share their locations on Twitter and Facebook via Foursquare. The question here is, why are you using Foursquare? Probably you want your network to see where you are; maybe so you can connect or simply to share your preferences (e.g. Starbucks vs. Peet’s). In my case, I simply want to test the app, nothing else. I decided to check the option of sharing selective information on Facebook, but not on Twitter, as I mainly use Twitter for business.


There seem to be a ton of apps that add additional features to Foursquare, like Sonar: Informs you of your connections to interesting people nearby (note: I installed Sonar via iTunes & it then showed up in my “Connected Apps” tab on Foursquare).  More details on the latest connected apps here. I will review individual apps in a future blog post in more depth. This is my general recommendation for clients: to avoid getting overwhelmed, start small, gain a comfort level and then build on top of that know-how.


Obviously, Foursquare is useless if you don’t install the app on your mobile device so that you can check in at the different locations you visit: there is an official app for the iPhone, Droid and Blackberry, plus some other unofficial apps. You can get the official app here or simply install it through iTunes or other app stores.


To check-in, launch the phone app and click on “check-in”. Using your GPS, the app suggests locations around you to pick from. You can also add comments for your friends, maybe a note if you thought the place was good or where to park.  I picked a coffee store close to my location to check-in and was rewarded with a pop up: “You unlocked your first badge. Newbie”. I can now see who of my friends have checked in at the coffee store in the past. There is also some verbiage that sounds like advertising from the coffee shop disguised as “Popular Tip”.

When I click on explore on the app, I see a map of my town with a list of pins that show stores that Foursquare has decided to recommend to me. It’s called “Top Picks”. It includes a shopping mall, restaurant, movie theater etc. I see my favorite Peet’s store and “save” it, then there is an option to add it to “My-to-do-list”. I assume this is for restaurants or places I want to remember to check out in the future. Under “Top Picks”, I can choose from eight different categories to explore. Next to “Top Picks”, I can click on my current location, which takes me to a map. There I can click on the current location and do a search for a different location, e.g. San Francisco. My “Top Picks” are then displayed for San Francisco.

Under Natascha, I see widgets with my friends, stats, photos (empty), tips, badges and lists. I have one badge, 34 friends and one item (Peet’s) on the list. Under stats, I see my points, and a comparison to two of my friends who have points sightly above and below me. I also see where I checked in and which categories I have so far explored most = coffee shops.


As I can see it, the main purpose of Foursquare for personal use is to stay connected with friends by letting them know where you are at a particular moment, to leave recommendations for friends, and to use Foursquare to locate restaurants and places. There is a list function that shows recommendations from other users.

If you are the competitive type, you’ll enjoy getting points, badges and mayorships for your check-in. It’s like playing a game with your friends. You earn at least one point for every check-in. The person who checked in the most at a place via the past 60 days becomes the mayor. To be eligible for mayorship, be sure to upload a picture. Badges are for a bit of extra fun in particular categories. Then you can compare your “accomplishments” with your friends’.

Finally, and here is the part that I find most appealing: some businesses provide rewards for frequent check-ins, e.g. a 10% discount for a coffee. Ask at your favorite places what you can earn for being a loyal customer.


If you are an avid Foursquare user, I’d love to hear about your experience, tips, does and don’ts.


Leveraging Social Media for Work and Play

I just returned from a three-month sabbatical that was entirely work free. Or was it?

Drawing the line between life and work has become increasingly difficult in this age of social media. Can we still do it? Do we want to?

My husband had decided ahead of our sabbatical that once we’d set foot on Hawaii, he would cut the cord to Facebook and Linkedin completely, and check his private email only sporadically.

I had no such intentions. I wanted to take a break from work but as a social media professional, I felt that I needed to at least stay on top of the latest social media developments. Particularly, as I was in the middle of co-authoring a social media book.  And I certainly could not survive 11 weeks away without being in close contact with my friends.

What worked in my favor is that I am very clear about the target audience for each of my social media channels. This way, I knew that Facebook would be my channel of choice to stay in touch with friends, while Twitter would mostly be my window into my social media network.

  • Facebook: friends
  • Twitter: people interested in social media marketing (business & friends)
  • LinkedIn: mainly business
  • Slideshare: social media network (biz & friends)

I decided to send one Tweet a day and started to schedule some of them, as I spent limited time online. To my surprise, my Klout score went up after about a month. While #IN still worked to post to my Linkedin status, I used it in my Tweets. When Twitter disabled this option, I switched to posting articles via LinkedIn, checking the Twitter box. I also reviewed the occasional Slideshare deck when I got email notifications. Was I working?


Social Media: Your Home Away From Home

So how did my husband fair? He broke down during the first week, with his main social media activity becoming posting and reading on Facebook. He also checked his private email but ignored Linkedin until we got back.

It is unexpectedly hard to be away from your friends for an extended period of time. We missed them, wanted to know what was happening in their lives, but also not be forgotten.

For me, sharing our trip – mostly via pictures on Facebook – made it better. Quite a number of people thanked me for sharing our adventures while they had to labor on. At the same time, I knew what was happening in my friends’ everyday lives.


Facebook Insights

We learned a lot about Facebook. If you post more than one picture at a time, people are less likely to comment (as you have to click on one of the pictures to comment). On Fridays, after lunch, there are usually less and less comments. Some people are more active on the weekend, others completely drop off. For communications deemed personal, many people will send FB messages vs. post on the wall.

My husband and I both unfriended a bunch of people. We observed that some folks never post or comment on anything. If you are not active on Facebook, let’s just be friends in the real world. Apart from some very close friends, lurkers got terminated. Also, as we used Facebook for recreation, we got tired of the people who use Facebook to only talk about work. It is ok to do that and won’t affect my off-line relationship with you, but on FB, I only want to hear about work-related issues that affect you emotionally, e.g. make you happy, sad, have a huge impact on your life – I don’t want to hear corporate bla bla and marketing lingo.

It seems that most people I talk to have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. It was great to stay in touch and I would not have wanted to miss it, but there is also the expectation to read all comments and respond which creates a certain pressure. And how often are you supposed to check? You can’t have a rewarding network without engagement. How much do you want to engage online vs. off-line? A question you have to answer for yourself.


Leveraging Social Media for Work & Play: The Panel

As I write about using social media for work in 99% of my blog posts, this post is limited to “play”.  If you like the discussion on “Leveraging Social Media for Work and Play” consider attending a FountainBlue panel discussion on the topic at Adobe in San Jose this coming Friday, July 13th, from 11:30 am – 1:30 PM. I’ll be sharing the stage with Cherie Del Carlo from Gather Your Crowd, Deepika Bajaj of Capcom, and Brenda Rogers of Roku. And of course, all of this is put on by the fabulous Linda Holroyd. Sign up here.
As we are in the middle of vacation season, how are you planning to tackle the work and play balance during your time off?

(Time Tested) Tools to Measure Social Media Success

A while back, I promised my friend @tridipchakra  to write a blog about  tools to measure social media success.

Now that I am at the onset of a 3 months sabbatical and (somewhat) of a social media hiatus, I am honoring my promise. Here a list of some, mostly free, key tools, that I have found useful over the years:

  • Google your own name or set up Google Alerts to get a picture of what information is out there about you. Some people might have to do some clean up while others might find that they are a fairly unknown quantity on social media. Or, hopefully, you’ll like what you see.
  • Search for your name on Socialmention.com. In addition to a list of search results similar to Google, you’ll get stats on sentiment, top keywords, top users and hashtags.
  • This is one of my favorites: put any  Twitter handle into TweetReach.com and get metrics on reach/impressions, retweets, mentions, top followers etc. TweetReach just upped their report function and now provides even nicer looking and more comprehensive reports than in the past. The tool is free for up to 50 Tweets.  The paid version seems worthwhile for a business account.
  • Klout provides your influencer score. Take this with a grain of salt as it’s not a perfect science. It covers Twitter, FB, LinkedIn and G+. I don’t like that Klout puts so much weight on continuity. If you go on vacation for a week, you’ll see your score drop; hopefully influence outlasts a vacation. I do like that they now show a person’s area of expertise, e.g. social media.
  • Other similar tools are Twitalyzer and Peerindex, just based on different philosophies of measuring influence. Tweetstats provides you with a hashtag cloud, count of retweets, replies, and a detailed breakdown on when you tweet(ed). Pinpuff measures your Pinterest influencer score. And if you Googled it, you’d find so many more tools; new ones pop up every day.
  • Mr. Unfollowr tells you who has recently unfollowed you on Twitter. I like this as it gives you an insight on how successful you are in reaching your target audience. There are many businesses that will follow you in the hope that you will follow them back (and buy something) and if you don’t, they’ll unfollow you a few days later. The Mr. Unfollowr list will show you if the unfollows are from vendors you are not interested in or if there is attrition in your target audience; in which case you might want to review your Twitter strategy.
  • There is also Mr. Tweet, now part of Twitter and displayed as “Who to follow” on your personal Twitter homepage. Learn who you should be following based on your interests and grow your following more quickly.
  • I look forward to my weekly email from TwitterCounter that provides me updates on my follower growth and often highlights other useful  tools.
  • Use Bitly’s to track click-throughs on the URLs you use. If you use TweetDeck, you can connect your Bitly account directly by getting a code from Bitly that you enter into the “services” section on TweetDeck. Your Bitly page will then give you full CTR stats; you can even drill down to get information on the users.
  • And last, for Pinterest, you can use this URL to see what has been pinned about your business: http://pinterest.com/source/marketingxlerator.com; simply replace “MarketingXLerator.com with the URL to your site.
  • Last, if you wanted to measure the impact of your social media activity on a blog, for example, Google Analytics is one of the best free tools. It can not only tell you how many views you got on your blog but also where your referral traffic came from (e.g. Google, Facebook, Twitter), what search keywords people used to find your site, and much more. The knowledge on how to embed the Google Analytics code into your blog can easily be acquired on Google.

This list is by no means comprehensive but I have used all these tools successfully.


If you have a budget, Radian6, Alterian and other big solutions can give you deep insights. But, to dig deep, you’ll also need qualified resources to mine the data successfully. Of course, one option is to outsource to a qualified vendor.

More Resources

Check out this fantastic blog by my friend Ingeborg van Beusekom: Does the perfect social media monitoring tool exist? It expands on the options provided above. Follow her at @socialsomething.

Are there other tools that you are using to measure metrics? I’d particularly be interested in the free tools.

Aloha! (Tridip, I”ll blog about what metrics make sense for each channel when I return :-)).

Silicon Valley Social Media Survey: Please Participate (5 min.)


If you are located in Silicon Valley and are interested in diversity, sustainability, volunteering and innovation, I’d really appreciate if you could take this survey!



 Survey 1:

Take this survey if you are somebody who likes to stay informed on sustainabililty (e.g. environmental friendly technologies), diversity (e.g. women in technology), and/or innovation in Silicon Valley, including local events on the topic:



Survey 2:

This survey is for non-profit professionals whose target audience are people that care about sustainability, job growth, opportunities in Silicon Valley, innovation, volunteering, diversity and related events:



Thank you very much for taking 5 minutes to complete this short questionnaire.

I will share the results in a future blog.



Pinterest – Scrap Booking for Adults?

Yesterday, I had the great honor to be invited by Sudha Jamthe into the #partnersocial classroom at University of Santa Clara to talk about social media, jointly with Perrine Crampton.

We learned about the goals of the students, saw a presentation on Walgreens & Foursquare, and spoke about our career paths.


Finally, we gave a presentation on Pinterst, which you can find here:

Pinterest – Scrap Booking for Adults?

View more PowerPoint from MarketingXLerator


How to use Pinterest (for B2B)


Did you like to scrapbook as a kid? Well, I did not, and hence it is taking me a bit of effort to understand the recent hype for this new site. More importantly, as a social media marketer, I want to know how Pinterest can help generate awareness and demand for B2B.

We have all read that Pinterest has soared out of obscurity to be a top business referral source. Supposedly, referral traffic from Pinterest is higher than from LinkedIn or Google+ (behind FB, SU, Google & Twitter).

15 Interesting Facts on How to Use Pinterest (for B2B):

  1. To get started, set up your account at Pinterest.com (as of today, it was still necessary to request an “exclusive” invite), create a few dashboards with topic you care about, and install the Pin it button. Then, you “pin” pictures or videos as you browse web sites that will then be added to your dashboard (s). This is all pretty simple. You can also add URLs into the description area (obviously, you’ll want to link back to your site or a particularly landing page)
  2. You can ask people to follow your pins to create an audience.
  3. If you have your own website, you can install a “Pin It” button that will hopefully encourage your visitors to pin your stuff to their dashboards.
  4. If you log in with Facebook, like I did, you inadvertently connect your FB account with Pinterest (and display your pins to your friends); but you can disable that.
  5. You can have other people “tag” you in their pins, e.g. if they posted a picture of your product, they could tag you to let you know (this is good for contests, e.g. ask people to pin a picture of themselves and your product to their dashboards).
  6. There is some effect on your SEO but the different sites I read don’t necessarily agree on the size of impact (TBD).
  7. It seems that to maximize your ROI you have to keep pinning and updating, just like in any other social media channel.
  8. You can create “associations” with your brand, depending on the pin boards you create, e.g. sustainability for an energy company or fitness for a food manufacturer.
  9. Using hashtags or keywords in your pin descriptions helps “findability”.
  10. There is a whole sharing aspect, where you can allow others to pin on your board etc. (who is not looking for yet another social network to add to their lives?). You can “like” pins or comment on pictures. The good thing for businesses, the URL the picture was taken from is visible and active (still, add your URL in the description area too).
  11. You can see what has been “pinned” about you by using this URL: http://pinterest.com/source/marketingxlerator.com/ (replace “MarketingXlerator.com with your URL)
  12. You can pin videos (and there is a special video section too). Me likey!
  13. To create engagement, comment on other people’s pins and ask questions (this comes back to the high-touch model of many social media tools).
  14. To dazzle on Pinterest you need crisp and impressive photography/imagery. This favors some industries over others, but is a good creative challenge.
  15. If you are doing Pinterest for business, there are no business pages yet. Make sure you log in with your business accout (Twitter of Facebook). Then set it up with your business name, logo, or your customers might see a picture of you at the beach. Also make sure that “Hide your Pinterest page from Search” is turned off.

In conclusion, I am not fully convinced that Pinterest is as well suited to B2B as it is to B2C. For consumer marketing, the tool is an obviously good choice as 95% of all success stories are B2C.

The interesting question is how the market will eventually shake out. Logically, each of us has only so much time per day to spend on social media. Can Pinterest hold the current interest and if yes, to the expense of which other channel? Or can seamless integrations be created (likely through consolidation) that make channels more connected and less cumbersome to access?

Have you tried Pinterest and what are your thoughts? My board is here. Not too inspired by Pinterest yet, but then it took me a year to like Twitter.