Tag Archives: Social media

Mobile Marketing 101: Opportunity, Awareness, Execution

Remaining dissatisfied about my understanding of mobile marketing (as expressed in my blog: “What I learned about Social Media Marketing from a Webinar on Mobile Marketing“), I was full of anticipation when Moira Jacobs agreed to present at my (and Nancy Uy’s) Social Media Aficionados Meetup group on February 22nd, 2012.

And I was not disappointed! In the following, find a summary of the most salient points from Moira’s presentation: Continue reading Mobile Marketing 101: Opportunity, Awareness, Execution

Why You Need to Know about Social Search, Engagement & Geo-Targeting

At SAP TechEd 2011 in Las Vegas, I had the good fortune to spend some time with my fellow SAP Mentor Sina Moatamed.  It turns out that he is not only a very bright and fun person but has a much deeper knowledge of social media than most (particularly the self-declared social media “gurus”). In addition, he was willing to share his wisdom on video:


In the video, Sina talks about social search, engagement and geo-targeting, as a means to leverage social media to the fullest.

In regards to search, he said that “search is engaged with social communities. Search will now show you the content related to the people you are connected with first”.  Companies need to be on social media to show up in this context.

Asked about engagement he highlights: “Don’t billboard yourself on Facebook but really engage in the true social nature of what it is. Grab a larger audience by not just talking about yourself but your industry etc. You’ll end up getting yourself rated higher in social search” by casting a wider net.

And introducing the term “geo targeting”, Sina emphasizes how important it is to have a “geo-targeted presence of content”.  This means that you can “geo target” things like your Facebook page, so that, for example, your “likers” in Germany will see a different page, content and conversations than then ones in India”. Content quality is important but content relevance is just as important.

Thanks to Sina for giving 5 minute of his time to enable me to share his know how with you!

Follow Sina Moatamed on Twitter at @SinaMoatamed.

How To Build Your Brand on Social Media

Are you new to social media and unclear on how to set up your profile? Do you want to avoid the mistakes of people who did not get a job because of information that existed about them online? Do you want to use social media to extend your brand online but are not sure how?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes”, read on.

Having a personal brand has never been more important than in this age of information overload.

How you position yourself online will impact your success in reaching your objectives. People will judge you based on your picture, your profile description, your content, the messages you retweet and more.  And don’t forget that everything you say online is “forever”.

Hence, it is important to take charge of your online persona, devise a clear strategy and manage it with discipline and continuity.

So who do you want to be online?

Well, first of all, you are who you are and you know what you know. So, that’s a good start to define yourself – as long as you are not planning to create a fake alter ego online. For most people, their brand online is an extension of who they are off-line.  The most important question to ask yourself is:

Why am I participating in social media in the first place? What are my objectives?

In my case, I am a social media and yoga professional.  My personal objectives are:

  • Stay-up-to-date
  • Network
  • Be perceived as a thought leader
  • Recruit students for my yoga classes

STEP 1: Choose a focus area

As social media and yoga don’t go together well, I had to make a decision up front: Do I want to be known as a yogi or a social media thought leader?  If I chose social media, I’d need to keep yoga-related messages to a minimum, as I’d otherwise run the risk to lose my social media audience that is not interested in yoga. The reverse was true for my yoga target audience.

Lesson:  Once you decide on your brand, you need to stay on message. If you have divergent businesses, it is usually best to create respective online identities for each business. Note that this will require extra time and resources on an ongoing basis.

STEP 2: Make a name for yourself = build your brand

Now that I know that my focus area is social media, and my goal is thought leadership, I can start building relationships, and by association my brand, online.

To get started:

  • Find experts on your focus area
  • Share information on your topic area
  • Engage in topic-related discussions

Examples: On Twitter and Facebook, I consume information from social media experts. On Twitter and LinkedIn, I share social media know how, as well as engage in social media-related discussions.

When you first get started on social media, it’s a good strategy to follow your target audience and thought leaders; on Twitter, it’s very likely they will follow you back, and you’ll create a snowball effect that will amplify your brand/influence in your topic area. On LinkedIn, join topic-relevant groups and start to answer questions to broadcast your expertise and establish yourself.

If I wanted to build a yoga business, I would make talking about yoga, meditation and health the focus of my online existence. I’d also follow other yogis, experts and influencers, and try to figure out where else on social media they go so that I could join the discussions.  A popular option is to start your own or contribute to a blog.

 STEP 3: Be consistent

Many people you will engage with online participate in a multitude of social media channels, e.g. Twitter, FB, LI, YouTube. Make sure that your brand is consistent across all of these channels, or you can create confusion.   As mentioned before, if you have different objectives that don’t converge, you might need to create different personas or operate in closed communities. For example, I keep my FB circle limited to closer friends and business conversations to a minimum.

STEP 4: Be yourself

Does having a brand mean I cannot be “myself”?  Yes and no. It’s very important to have a personality on social media as you don’t want to come across as a robot that sends out automated messages. But where you draw this line depends a lot on who you are “in the real world” and what your objectives are.

In my case, I am an extrovert and optimist in the real world and that comes across in many of my conversations on Twitter. I like making jokes or occasionally sharing a personal high-light, e.g. my yoga teacher certification.  However, I would take a more professional approach in most LinkedIn groups and share less personal information.

I do believe in taking excessive chit-chat into private messages or direct Tweets (see my blog: The Does and Don’ts for Tweeters). But some of my social media connections have made it their trade mark to be brutally honest (including hurtful) online, thereby gaining the reputation of being very credible.  Only you know what you are personally comfortable with, and what your values are.

STEP 5: Monitor

There are two main reasons why you will want to monitor your social media presence:

  1. To find out what people are saying about you (to be able to respond and possibly take corrective action)
  2. To optimize your online brand/engagement

Here is a short list of tools to get you started. There are hundreds of them, so don’t be shy to use Google to find more:

  • Google your name or set up Google Alerts
  • Search for your name on Socialmention.com (in addition to a list of search results, you get stats on sentiment, top keywords, top users and hashtags)
  • Put your Twitter handle into TweetReach.com and get metrics on your reach/impressions, retweets, mentions, top followers etc.
  • Klout.com provides your influencer score. Take this with a grain of salt as it’s not a perfect science. It covers Twitter, FB and LinkedIn.  Twitalyzer is a similar tool for Twitter only.
  • Mr. Unfollowr tells you who has recently unfollowed you on Twitter (PS: There is also Mr. Follow, to find out who you should be following).


To create a successful brand online, you need to have clear objectives, execute in a consistent fashion, keep it real and monitor the results.   Of course, high-quality content, subject-matter expertise and a solid off-line reputation will be key contributors to your success.


An overview of some key social media sites and their profile options:

LinkedIn:  On LI, your brand is defined by your resume (=your profile) and your participation in groups. There are many options to spruce up your resume with apps, blog links and recommendations. It’s worth looking into them.

Twitter:  It is paramount that you complete your profile. Otherwise you are an unknown quantity and very few people will follow you. Not having a picture can signal that you are not a serious user. More tips in my blog: How to get started on Twitter in 1o simple steps.

Facebook: For a professional page, the purpose has to be clear; you will be judged by the quality and frequency of conversations on your page amongst other factors.

Google+: State your purpose and complete your profile with the desired brand attributes.

Any other channels like your own blog, SAP Community Network, Spiceworks, YouTube, or Flickr: create a profile that demonstrates your intention and expertise to the other community members; a picture usually makes you seem more committed and helps people recognize you.

For a summary, check out this deck on SlideShare: “Your Brand on Social Media“.

Also see: “You on Twitter“.

How to Manage your Time on Social Media

How much time one should spend on social media, on which channels, and where the line should be drawn to one’s private life is a very difficult question, and in a way, everybody has to answer it for themselves.  This blogs attempts to provide some guidance.

  Continue reading How to Manage your Time on Social Media

Do you Archive your Tweets? (Used to be free now mainly for pay)

Last update to this blog: September 19, 2012: Many free Archiving options have disappeared
Only Google now offers options to set up free Twitter archiving: “Free Tools to Archive Twitter Searches“.

The Five Myths of B2B Social Media Marketing

For a panel discussion at the quarterly Silicon Valley Enterprise Social Media Council this June, I received the following request:

“Identify some of the major problems that you face as a leader of social media within your organization. I thought it’d be great for each of us to email our top 5 problems to see if there are consistent issues across our teams. It’s OK if you don’t have all of the solutions, that’s why we come together, right? Be honest!” (thanks, Alex Plant from NetApp :-))

After some thought, and reading what some of my peers had already listed, I sent the following response:

  • Myth #1: Social media is free
  • Myth #2: “2,000 Twitter followers” is a meaningful business goal
  • Myth #3: Social media is global
  • Myth #4: It’s easy to find content for social media
  • Myth #5: Marketing people have integrated social media into their tool kit

I could write a blog on each of these myths but let me give you the short rational behind each one:

Myth #1: Social Media is Free

  • It takes significant resources and time to develop social media objectives, find your target audience/build a community for your target audience, to engage, and measure your impact.
  • You always read that “content is king” in social media and that is true. You need subject matter experts who can write and communicate, as well as social media-ready content.

Myth #2: “2,000 Twitter Followers” is a Meaningful Business Goal

  • The number of followers or fans is not a meaningful goal in itself. I read recently read that the average Facebook fan is worth $3.06 for a vendor. I must assume this is mostly based on B2C statistics, but even if not, it’s an average, so you better make sure that you have the right fans or followers to create real value.
  • But the real question is: what will you do with those followers and fans once they have arrived? And how will you measure the value of that activity? How much awareness and engagement can you generate? How much does your social media effort cost and how much ROI can you derive?

Myth #3: Social Media is Global

  • Let me step back for a moment…I recently co-wrote a social media events playbook that helps people extend the reach of an onsite event beyond the physical location; potentially reaching millions of people. The key elements of the playbook strategy are: influencers, Twitter and blogs. IN THE USA, as I learned quickly.
  • Well, everybody knows that China has its own social media channels but there are huge differences in social media usage amongst the European Union countries as well.
  • Yesterday was the SAP World Tour Italy event. In terms of influencers, we had our partner TechEdge support the social media activity with Tweets and blogs. They did a fantastic job #SAPWorldTourIT but there were only very few other people who joined the conversation. And this is only one example…There are other countries where Twitter usage is low or sentiment against social media strong.
  • Everything would be so much easier if everybody just spoke English :-). The reality is that measuring social media activity for a specific country is difficult, especially if they speak a mix of languages (e.g. in Holland you can find English, Dutch, German…). How can a social media tools distinguish which country a Tweet came from? (Contact me if you have the answer!)

Myth #4: It’s easy to Find Content for Social Media

  • Finding content seems one of the most difficult parts of social media marketing. There is a science behind figuring out what content is the most popular with your target audience but even if you know that, getting that content consistently seems very difficult.
  • One reason is that at least at SAP, social media is not yet part of every marketing person’s job.  Another is that just sending URLs to white papers is not a well-rounded strategy. A person has to go and extract the salient points out of a document and Tweet them in a meaningful manner, trying to engage.
  • Content is often not appropriate for a particular conversation that is going on in a social media channel, but subject matter experts are often not at hand (many companies outsource their Twitter handles or have Interns run them).

Myth #5: Marketing People have integrated Social Media into their Tool Kits

  •  I wish I were wrong but social media is mostly not integrated into other marketing activities, even though that would be one of the easiest places to start.  Think about what you are already doing to achieve your business goals and how you can leverage social media to be more successful, e.g. create a video instead of a data sheet and post it on YouTube or Facebook.
  • In my humble opinion, this is partially based on the fact that people are afraid of the perceived risks of social media but the main reason is that most companies have not made social media activity part of employees’ MBOs.  It’s time-consuming to write a blog, so why would you write it if your goals state that you need to produce five data sheets? As a result, your company might be missing out.

I’d very much like to hear your opinions and experience on these topics; particularly if you have found solutions to some of the challenges I listed, or simply don’t share my point of view.

Social Media 101: Questions To Ask Before Getting Started With Social Media

As a social media professional, I get many questions from clients and friends who are new to social media and would like to add social media to their marketing mix. The learning curve on social media is still steep for most people, and in this blog, I have aggregated the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Many of my consulting engagements start with the sentence “We need to have a Twitter handle” or “I need to increase the number of fans for our Facebook page”.


The answers: “Why”? and ,”Let’s take a step back”.

Before you get engaged in any kind of social media project, please ask yourself the following questions: Continue reading Social Media 101: Questions To Ask Before Getting Started With Social Media

The "Dirty Little Secret" of Facebook (Access Control)

Recently, I discovered some “dirty truths” about Facebook that I found somewhat disturbing, even though the situation can probably be explained with personal and cultural differences. Nevertheless, I find the practice offensive.

In a nutshell, it’s become more and more popular for people to create “levels” or “castes” of Facebook friends who they give different “access rights” to content on their FB pages.

If you are not familiar with Facebook lists, here is a quick tutorial. This feature allows you to create lists of “friends” and to then limit their access to your Facebook content through settings in the profile area.

Quite some time back, Jeremiah Owyang wrote a block about what to do if your boss wants to be friends with you on FB. There seemed to be a moral dilemma to tell your boss if you’d like to keep your private life separate, that is, you don’t want him to be friends with you on FB.  Coming from German decent (we are very direct), I found this hard to relate to. My believe is that if I can’t tell my boss that I don’t want to share my private life with him, I should probably be looking for a new gig.

I am personally confused by the need to segment your “friends”. Obviously, Facebook is a semi-public tool. For one, very few people trust Facebook security and (should have) consequently have made peace with the possibility that the information they share might end up on Google one day. Second, if you are not limiting your FB page access to close family or your closest circle of friends (most people I know don’t), you are already customizing your postings to sanitize them. Let’s face it FB is a conversation with many people at the same time, and some reputation management is required. If you want a private conversation, pick up the phone or meet in person.

My FB strategy subscribes to the Malcom Gladwell philosophy, that it’s good to not just have “A” and “B” contacts but also stay in touch with “C” and “D” contacts. For example, once you set out to find a new job, your “C” and “D” contacts are much more likely to provide new leads, than your “A” and “B” contacts who you are constantly in close connections with already. You also find out a lot of great information from people in your wider network, stuff you’d not learn from your closest friends. It’s a big world out there and fun to get access to other people’s worlds/lives. Voyeurism is part of FB, be honest.

My rules are simple: I have to know and like you (this means we’ve at least spoken, ideally met but not mandatory); I consider you as a person with enough common sense to not write something embarrassing or stupid about me; I assume you are interested in what I share on FB and I would like to know more about you.

Obviously, my philosophy is not shared by everybody and I was almost shocked to recently learn that it is very common to segment your friends on Facebook into different lists. Well, it happened to me and I take offense. If I ask somebody to “friend” me, I have absolutely no problem in getting no response at all (“Not Now”) or to get an honest response that says “FB is very personal to me, how about we connect on LI (or not even that)”. What I find offensive is to get accepted as a friend – but not really – to end up on a FB wall that I can’t write on. It means, I accepted you as a friend but I did not really want to but did not know how to tell you that.

What is your opinion and experience with this issue?

Learnings from the Silicon Valley Enterprise Social Media Council Summit

The Silicon Valley Enterprise Social Media Council (SVESMC) is a group of Bay Area social media practitioners (no vendors) from CA Technologies, eBay, Ariba, Cisco, Taleo, Xerox, PayPal, EMC, Symantec, Wellsfargo and SAP.  The objective of the group is to network, discuss challenges and share social media know how with enterprise peers who live and breathe social media.

On March 25th, SAP hosted the first quarterly social media summit for the group that was started in late 2010. Fittingly, the first group members were “recruited” via Twitter. Our currently close to 30 members regularly meet for a monthly dinner and share expertise in conference calls, via a LinkedIn group and Twitter (follow the public list @SocialB2P/SVESMC).

The summit was a full success with non-stop passionate discussions, sometimes taking a panel into an unexpected direction but only because there was so much enthusiasm and eagerness to learn and share. Overall, I was very pleased to see that SAP holds up well in social media compared to its peers; and I got a lot of great new ideas, and made new friends.

Here a copy of the summit agenda to show the range of topics we covered:

Perrine Crampton of PayPal will take over the chairwomanship of the group from me (for the next three months) in April, and PayPal will also host the next summit.  Not surprisingly, we found an LI expert amongst our group who volunteered to manage the LinkedIn group for SVESMC going forward (which will hopefully help all of us learn about using LI more effectively), plus we are about to start a workgroup to define requirements and standardize around metrics.

Ironically, we asked everybody to turn off their Twitter and other social media tools for the day to keep our discussions open and confidential. Without violating this agreement (“what happens in Palo Alto stays in Palo Alto”), I can share some key findings from the summit:

  • Everybody has challenges with listening. Radian 6 is being re-evaluated by some but used by many. There is no tool out there yet that is easy and perfect.  There are lots of free and pay tools out there but the market has not “shaken out” yet to any kind of standard; rather new vendors are emerging daily. As an output of our new work group for metrics, I hope to also get consensus on what are some of the best tools to listen and measure.
  • There is scepticism about the accuracy of sentiment analysis. How much can you trust the results?
  • Scaling the social media function is difficult. There are many different models out there, including hub and spoke, dandelion, or a champions network (of internal evangelists) or a combination of all of them. The jury is still out and there probably is no “one size fits all” approach for everybody.  At this point, everybody mainly shared their experiences, i.e. what worked and what didn’t. It is a challenge for social media professionals that there are very few dedicated social media resources and that social media is not an accepted part of “main stream” marketing yet.
  • Social media is not free. This myth seems to still prevail in corporations and “social media happy” executives don’t ask many questions but want to see FB pages and Twitter handles crop up. In the SVESMC group of professionals, there was violent agreement that social media without a strategy is dangerous and expensive. Resource planning and committment are at the core of social media success. A clear content strategy and editorial calendar are needed to effectively “feed” your channels.
  • Metrics are a challenge all around. The big B2P interactions aren’t happening yet. Most “wins” are traditional “reach” and “click-throughs” to web sites etc.  Some companies do TweetChats and others have done Facebook live discussions (which I’d really like to try). At this point, everybody is still working on figuring out where the greatest value of social media lies and how to measure it in the most meaningful way.

Here a URL to more pictures from the summit on Flickr.

If you are a social media professional in Silicon Valley (not a vendor) and would like to participate in SVESMC, you can contact me to discuss membership ().

The Top Five Do's and Don'ts for Tweeters

It feels to me that the honeymoon phase of Twitter is over – or at least it should be.

While there are still thousands of users joining Twitter every day, many of us have now been using the tool for years, which means that rules and conventions have developed. Most of them make the use of Twitter more effective and enjoyable, some of them seem to clog up space that could be utilized for more meaningful communication.

Here my personal list of “The Top Five Do’s and Don’ts for Tweeters“:

Continue reading The Top Five Do's and Don'ts for Tweeters

220-Year-Old Company King Arthur Flour Has the Recipe for Social Media Success


King Arthur Flour Company, Inc. is a 220-year-old, 100% employee owned, flour company in Norwich, Vermont that has found the recipe for social media success.  While the company has only 300+employees, their online marketing team has been reaching, engaging and converting people via the web,  Twitter, Facebook and YouTube for over three years.

Only this summer did they start an online community where King Arthur Flour afficionados can communicate around their passion of baking and cooking. A sample posting looks like this:

Continue reading 220-Year-Old Company King Arthur Flour Has the Recipe for Social Media Success