Archives for posts with tag: Social Media


The hype surrounding Social Media is dying down while the new shiny object everybody talks about is Social Business.

Just google the term and you get a million different definitions, descriptions and explanations. Add a layer of technology and you create massive confusion.

This is an attempt to make it very basic for anybody to understand, without acronyms or convoluted explanations.

1. Since brands were created, there were always two conversations: internal conversations (“I”) and external conversations (“E”). The internal conversation represents any form of communication that occurs within the company and the majority of the stakeholders (suppliers, dealers, vendors, etc.). The external conversation represents any conversation between customers, prospects and people that are tangentially interested in your brand.

2. What separates the external and internal conversation used to be a massive wall (“W”). Emerging and social technologies have poked holes in this wall. Some of the corporate walls have come down almost completely, others are still sturdy, constantly in repair. The state of the wall depends on cultural, technical and organizational factors.

3. In a perfect world, you want “I” and “E” to be as much in sync as possible. Nike is an example: The employees think their brand is cool, delivers awesome products, and so do their customers.

4. When “I” and “E” are not in sync, that’s when a brand is in deep trouble. When “I” says Product A is the best thing in the world, while “E” complains about the same product, you have a problem at hand. It’s hard to sell a bad product with good advertising. The same is true when the internal conversation (traditional US airlines are a good example) is full of negativity, the advertising is filled with unicorns and the plane occupied by extremely unhappy customers.

5. How can you sync up all these conversations? That’s where Social Business comes in.

6. Social Business pokes massive holes in the wall (“W”), with the ultimate goal to eliminate the wall altogether or provide as many openings as possible. When two unsynched conversations happen at the same, they are likely to get more out of sync over time. To adjust and sync both conversations, you have to make it easy for “I” to engage with “E”, and vice versa.

7. Ultimately, Social Business is about subverting and re-aligning hierarchies. We heard so many times that the customers are in control. To have a fruitful conversation, customers and companies have to be in control. Companies want to avoid a Twitterstorm or other social/main media/PR disasters and customers want to be able to have some control over the relationship. These control mechanisms are different for every company and service model.

8. Getting started in Social Business is not about technologies or social platforms. It’s about aligning conversations to help customers to get what they want and businesses to prosper in a social ecosystem.

Was that helpful?


Google that question and you get thousands of of answers. Books have been written about it, about any Social Media conference will have a session about this topic and you can find daily new blog posts discussing the organizational model for Social Media. The majority claim Social Media should be centered around the marketing department, a vocal minority thinks PR is best suited for this task, some outliers think customer services are best equipped to deal with individual inquiries.

Some of my favorite experts believe Social Media is so revolutionary, such a fundamental game changer to the future of business that it had to start with the CEO and work down from there, utilizing the power of the whole organization.

Brands can add value to the community through content.

And that is an important skill of marketing people.

Real conversations should be between real people.

And that’s where the customer services team shines.

People desire an authentic dialogue with the whole company, including CEO.

That’s where it’s beneficial to make the whole organization social.

All true. Where do we go from here?

How about starting with the customer?

There’s not one customer in the world who cares what department owns Social Media.

They have their own reasons to visit social properties and, from time to time, to interact with a brand: They might want convenience, reassurance, discounts, exclusivity, etc. Customers only care about ownership when the engagement they are looking for is dysfunctional: When they express criticism on Facebook and get no response from qualified individuals, just the unicorn response: “Look at me, we are beautiful.” When the YouTube video is just another self-indulgent promo. When the Twitter feed is a pure push marketing platform.

The owner of a social platform has to be the best qualified person/department to deliver the best experience to the audience.

Ownership of platforms should not be a departmental/divisional question, it should be a customer experience question. When you want to deliver a press-focused presence on a platform, it makes no sense for the marketing department to own it. A customer services platform shouldn’t be run by PR people.

From a strategic point of view this adds a layer of complexity, particularly when it comes to aligning departmental goals. But, let’s repeat this slowly: Goals shouldn’t be about the department, they should be about improving the customer experience.

The discussion of Social Media ownership will continue for the foreseeable future. And the answer remains the same: There’s only person who really owns the social platform, and that’s your individual customer.

A few weeks ago, I started working with a new client, a mid-size business. They started using Social Media a few years back and, over time, developed presences on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ YouTube, LinkedIn, Foursquare, a blog, Facebook Places, Tumblr and just started on Pinterest. Their previous Social Media consultant operated on the premise: Businesses need to be on as many social media channels as they can.

Why? In this rapidly changing world, businesses never know where their customer is going to be, so a business needs to be everywhere.


Mr. Consultant, stand in the corner and write “I will never recommend something that insane again.” 10,000 times.

There are two reasons why consultants, experts or agencies would give obnoxious advice:

– They try to fleece customers.

– They don’t know what they are doing.

I won’t even bother with people that try to fleece brands. Ultimately, brands will see through it and end the scam prematurely.

I’m much more concerned with people that believe in the philosophy that brands should be everywhere. Should Axe advertise on each TV Channel, even the Hallmark Channel? Should PETA run an ad in the Hunter’s Journal? Should Obama advertise on the Rush Limbaugh show?

Social Media shows its immaturity when “being everywhere” is still an advice I hear every day. Just like traditional and digital media, social media needs to rely on research – for example a social media audit. Understanding demographics, psychographics, spend decisions, social network use, day/time parting – all the good stuff and more that helps you understand where you need to be, when you need to be there, and what you should be doing/saying while you’re around. This helps brands and their community not to waste anyone’s time, helps to achieve goals and measure results.

Don’t be everywhere. Just be where your research tells you to be.

Good aggregation of data by Esteban. Below are a few notes:

– Ranked by growth, India (51.7%) and Indonesia (51.6%) are the Top 5 social networking countries, followed by India, Mexico and Brazil.

– Only 16% of Facebook “fans” see posts. Make sure that is communicated to stakeholders when you report your Facebook reach.

– U.S. Social Media ad spending to reach $9.8 billion by 2016, challenging traditional advertising and threatening display ad growth.

– Google+ has 150 MM monthly active users after only 1 year, less of social network more of a SoLoMo layer.
– Since December 2011, YouTube views have dropped by 28% while YouTube tries to be a TV-like appointment viewing platform with their premium channels.
– 75% of U.S. Smartphone owners regularly use location-based services.
– Pinterest visits are slowing down, just like the number of users of FB Connect. A correction or a trend?
– “Social Business” shifting from buzzword to market reality.

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Let’s face it:

  • It’s hard to reach people on Twitter and Facebook.
  • It’s even harder to get a decent engagement; the platforms are not helping your quest.
  • It’s hard to scale social media and have a decent reach.

Still, there’s immense value for social platforms as simple customer service, community building and listening tools. If you have people that want to connect with your brand, why would you put up barriers to prevent that interaction. There’s a lot of value in talking to 0.98% of your customer base than talking to nobody, and it can make you a lot of money.

Don’t bother doing it part time.

You can’t log-in to Facebook once a day for a few moments and hope to get something out of it for your business. Don’t bother conversing on Twitter for 10 minutes a day and expect any ROI. You will never keep people interested in you or looking for you if you are never there. This means content and persistence. It means having a thick skin and showing a human face for your brand.

It takes a lot of energy and effort to build an online community for your business. We create and manage content for multiple clients. It’s hard work. It’s worth it. We helped brands to extend their reach and awareness dramatically to where now we can actual redirect some of my time to other areas of marketing to grow even bigger.

Social Media is worth it because you get a multitude of value back. Sales. Feedback. Engagement. Customer Loyalty. There’s one caveat:

You have to be all in or not at all.

The good news is there is help. You can learn. It is fun. The resources often are mostly time. But if done right the return on that time can be immense.


Neophile: A neophile can be defined as a personality type characterized by a strong affinity for novelty.

Neophiles have the following characteristics:

  • The ability to adapt rapidly to extreme change
  • A distaste or downright loathing of tradition, repetition, and routine
  • A tendency to become bored quickly with old things
  • A desire, bordering on obsession in some cases, to experience novelty

Psychologists have tracked neophiles over time. This is what Psychology Today had to say about them:

“Looking under the hood of the person high in novelty-seeking, it seems that dopamine, the pleasure neurotransmitter, seems to be involved.  According to research conducted by Zalid et al (2009), high dopamine activity in a specific part of the midbrain is higher in individuals high in novelty-seeking, even after controlling for age and gender. An orientation toward reward could help account for the relationship between the desire to seek out new experiences and a tendency to develop addictive behaviors.

Some forms of novelty-seeking may, on the plus side, may be related to creativity. According to Marvin Zuckerman, people who seek pleasure from new experiences are also likely to be more creative. The ability to have big ideas seems to require a certain degree of enjoyment of expanding your mental horizons into new territory.

Novelty-seeking, then, is a mixed bag in terms of its ability to get you through life. To get the most benefit from novelty-seeking, it’s important to keep the balance in mind between sameness and change. New may be better than old, but not at the cost to your mental health.”

Advertising was always a meeting point for neophiles. We had to find new ideas, new insights, new ways of connecting with people.

The emergence of new platforms, new channels and new bright shiny objects has moved the industry to pathological extremes of neophilia. I’ve met with a client recently that planned on delivering their messages through 28 channels. They had enough budget to disseminate their message to the point where it is spread so thin, they are ensured to make no impact.

Brands should not create confusion. Their communication planning should deliver a cogent vision and definition of their values. Only then customers will contribute to the brand, rather than spreading confusion. When Social Media gives the customer the possibility to mass-publish any thought or personal opinion, a comprehensive and well-defined definition of a brand is more important than ever.

Agencies should be in the business of building brands.

The agency neophiles are diluting  brands.


Mass Marketing dominated the last century: You need to reach the masses through as many channels as possible. You need retail stores, fliers, website, PR, Ads, Social Media, and and and and and…until you finally reach critical mass and you succeed.

Target is a mass marketer, Huyndai and Delta. Once you achieve ubiquity you get revenue, advancing the cycle, ultimately, reaching scale.

Mass Marketers love macro (soft) metrics while direct marketers love micro (hard) metrics.

Direct Marketers need to get it right on a small scale. The mailer can be forwarded to 200 people, gets a 4% response rate; now you can mail it to thousands of households with confidence.

Direct Marketers experiment on a small scale. When they scale up, they are confident it’s going to work. The Mass Marketers place a big on thousands of little cues, little signals, converations.

A Direct Marketer is the guy at the Blackjack table, placing constant $5 bets. The Mass Marketer is the guy placing a million dollar bet on one number on the Roulette table.

Why do we still revert back to Mass Marketing?

It’s easier to put off the day of reckoning, hoping for a miracle two months in, not wanting to admit failure. Almost every marketing initiative is better when you treat it like direct marketing. Many of the Mass Marketing initiatives are based on hope. Brands rather invest in marketing that’s based in results.

It’s very romantic, ‘Mad Men-like’ to spend the majority of the money at the start. That’s a big bet and you might lose miserably. Rather, bet small in the beginning and scale up when you see a pattern.

We all need to be direct marketers now.


Some agencies are still struggling to integrate digital into their offerings, developing holistic communication and prospering in the digital culture. It’s getting late in the game because integration was just a small mountain to conquer, compared to the Mt. Everest all of us are about to face:

Keeping up with the increasing speed of technology change

Our greatest challenge is simply keeping up-to-date with the technology from both the perspective of communication product delivery and media. Agencies were struggling to implement new experiences when Timeline was introduced and the new retina display for the iPad caused chaos for publishers and advertisers.

We have to acknowledge making the transition into the new world is not enough, we have to have our finger on the pulse of this dramatically changing world, filled with streams and feeds, and be able to respond to the changing requirements that technology is forcing upon you. No one wants to be left behind, drowning in the streams and no one wants to appear dated and behind the times with when they communicate digitally.

The emerging fragmentation of social media channels has just begun and adds a level of complexity to the task at hand. This doesn’t mean we should jump on the next Path bandwagon once it rolls through ad land. Successful agencies of the future will have to keep up with the technological change and being able to anticipate it, build for it, and stay ahead of it. Agencies need to constantly read and live the pulse of change, build small experiences on new platforms to experiment. test, and, possibly, scale up and down. And you thought integration was a challenge. You ain’t see nothing yet.


We all know the lesson President Obama’s campaign taught us in 2008: Social Media can be powerful and a game changer. 4 years have passed and almost everybody learned that lesson by now.

The 2012 primary season is in full swing and Social Media is not the hottest thing in town anymore (still important), but we learned a few more lessons in the last few months:

Behold, the power of earned media.

Gingrich’s campaign has been declared dead numerous times. He had no money to spend on ads, he had no organization and no support. 20 years ago he would have had no chance to make it to South Carolina, In 2012, he won South Carolina by a landslide.


Because he played earned/owned media platforms masterfully to create even more earned media. In a world filled with 24/7 new channels, Twitter feeds, blogs and other content platforms, the beast needs to be fed constantly. Gingrich did exactly that, coming up with new ideas, new messages, new proposals every day. It clearly shows the diminishing return of paid ads and the increasing power of earned/owned media supported by paid media.

Be agile.

This has been the strength of political advertising for a while: It’s agile. You say something controversial at 5pm, your opponent will exploit it by 6pm. The marketing world is still stuck in old, traditional production cycles and outdated timelines. Communication and conversations don’t start when your first ad launches – it’s ongoing. Brands need to be more agile and leave room in the budget to reply to a crisis, exploit the weakness of a competitor or tap into new consumer insights immediately.

Forget about standard formats

What was the most talked about creative so far in the primaries? Not a 30-second spot, a 728 x 180 banner or a 60-second radio spot. Nope. It was the 27-minute documentary, released by Gingrich’s Super PAC. The old standards just feel, well, old. People want variety: long-form documentaries, YouTube snacks, podcasts. Give them what they want.

Appeal to the heart.

2004 was about fear. 2008 about hope. 2012 will be about anger. The successful candidates in 2004 and 2008 appealed to emotions, not to the brain of the voters. Romney tried to play to the common sense of voters, being the technocrat that will fix what ails the economy. Gingrich tapped into the anger of people, being the angriest man in the room. Guess who’s leading the race today?

Take risks.

As the advertising and media world becomes more fractured, you take a huge risk when you don’t take risks. Tactics that worked in the past, proven ways, ideas by committee are maybe the riskiest paths you can take at this point. There’s a moment in every campaign when you have to take major risks or you’ll drop out quickly just like Tim Pawlenty. Dig deep and understand what your brand stands for. Then take risks and lead with your gut. It worked for Clinton, Bush and Obama. It will work for your brand.


What’s the difference between a Starbucks shop around the corner and your local coffee joint?


Well-run, small businesses have personality. Large companies often lack that competitive advantage. Large companies replace that with a brand. Large companies are also not social organizations, that’s why they have massive problems integrating social throughout the organization. Big brands will learn over time and advanced brands will transform into a social business.

Small businesses are already social businesses.

When you are a small business, stop with the Social Media already. You don’t need to copy tactics of big brands or try mimick their behavior on social platforms. Rather, build relationships. Be yourself. Use the platforms to amplify your personality.

Stand out by being yourself.