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Social Media and Social Networks

195 Posts

How do social media styles differ by culture/nation? This is part II of a blog series in which JC Giraldo and I  try to provide answers to this question by surveying our world-wide networks.


Note: We make no claim that the results of our informal survey are statistically relevant but they represent insights from people who use social media regularly for business.

We asked the following questions:

  1. In your country (or region or culture, if you prefer), how does the majority of people view social media?
  2. What would you say is a unique characteristic about social media usage in your culture?



California, CA (raised in Germany)

Natascha Thomson, CEO MarketingXLerator, Silicon Valley, USA


Natascha Thomson of MarketingXLerator


1. Silicon Valley (the home of many hot social media platforms) is not representative of the whole US but overall, the sentiment towards social media in the USA is overall positive.

  • There are concerns about privacy and online bullying, but most businesses have embraced social media, especially Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, to engage with their target audience.

2. Americans tend to feel comfortable talking about themselvesin public. Often, they learn in high-school and college to stand up and give presentations.

  • To get a job, it usually requires “blowing your own horn” in terms of talking yourself up. This is mirrored in social media usage, where a high percentage of people engages actively.
  • Of course, there are also many lurkers, but my friends in Germany are a lot more cautious and concerned to seem like braggers than my friends in the US.



Ingeborg Beusekom, Sr. Marketing Communications Manager & PR at SAP Nederland BV


Ingeborg van Beusekom


  1. Business
  • Dutch people are very modest on Social Media - they rarely give comments - we'd rather like or share stuff = much easier. People also have a fear of "what can I say and what can't I say with regard to my company". That's something that is holding them back. Last but not least, time and knowledge of Social media is not really incorporated in business. Mainly large enterprises are using it but Small & Medium business are not on the social bandwagon (yet).
  • Google+ and Facebook and Instagram are rarely incorporated in the social media strategy unlike the US.
  • 90%  of the people use LinkedIn and I think a whopping 50% are also using Twitter


2. Personal

  • Instagram & Facebook are mainly used for personal purposes. And Facebook is favorited here. Most people who are active on Facebook tend to share everything from morning till noon and apparently are less concerned about privacy than for instance people in the US.
  • Instagram is also fairly popular most people tend to use Instagram to take pictures and repost them onto Facebook. Or post a picture on Instagram and add text on Facebook.
  • Very few people use Twitter for personal use (or any other tool for that matter).


United Kingdom

Sarah Goodall, https://www.linkedin.com/search?search=&title=Regional+Head+of+Social+Media+%28EMEA%29&sortCriteria=R&keepFacets=true&currentTitle=CP&trk=prof-exp-titleRegional Head of Social Media (EMEA) at SAP in England

Sarah Goodall


  1. In the UK, I would suggest adoption is pretty limited in Gen X age group and older.
  • Gen Y accept it as the norm and expect to work with social media when they join the workforce.
  • Facebook is still considered a private tool but LinkedIn is very much the business tool of choice.

2.       Generally, folks use social media (such as Twitter) to vent frustration, log errors, moan about something. It’s a way to complain as us Brits love to complain.

  • Similar to Germany, users in the UK tend to be cautious about privacy settings, what they disclose etc.  This is often a reason people are reluctant to use social media.


United Kingdom/ East Coast USA

John Appleby, Global Head of SAP HANA at Bluefin Solutions, England/Philadelphia


John Appleby, Bluefin Solutions


1. I’m from the UK and living in the East Coast of the USA. Here, social mediais something which is acceptable in moderation, in business.

  • We don’t tweet getting up on a Monday and going to the bathroom – instead, preferring to use it for more focused business activities.


2. Those people who are primarily focused on social media aren’t taken too seriously.

  • To my mind, the defining characteristic of East Coast Social is the desire to carefully balance being taken seriously with the need to promote and communicate with customers, partners and collagues.


Austria / Silicon Valley

Mario Herger, CEO & Founder of Enterprise Gamification Consultancy & CEO of Austrian Innovation Center Silicon Valley


Mario Herger, Gamification Innovator


1. Social Media use is quite usual for Austria. Although there is always a skeptical tendency towards new technologies, Austrians tend to complain, but then they “buy" it anyways.

  • While there are concerns about data privacy and a certain paranoia after the revelations about the activities of the NSA, social media have become an important tool for political activities, seen in examples such as often satirical Facebook groups like “Can this brick have more fans than (right-wing politician) H.C. Strache?” or online petitions on political scandals.
  • Also the top anchor or Austria’s public TV station is an avid Twitter-user with a large following. And he tends to tweet during the news show.


2. From a professional point XINGis the dominant professional network, although LinkedIn is also used.

  • Austrians tend to use humor in using social media and talking about themselves. That has to do with a a slight feeling of discomfort talking about oneself in a too positive way.


China / Asia Pacific

Greg Dierickse, President, Wave Marketing Group LLC

Greg Dierickse of Wave Marketing Group


  1. A few years back, during a social media user group session, a few young Chinese summed it up very well, "Our culture has been all about networking and word of mouth,  social media is just a digitalization of what we do."  Now dig a little deeper, you can see why it's so true.
    • WOM:  Many mainstream media sources have had a long and questionable history of being manipulated.  Many Chinese and across Asia do not take mainstream media at face value.  In fact they place a much higher weight on informal or social channels.  This is from products and services, to news, and politics.
    • The notion of relying on and using one's network has been embedded into Asian culture for a very long time.  Social media is a natural fit.
    • The only question was: do they use Western based social media channels, and how will they deal with censorship, or threats to privacy. Despite blocking most Western social media channels in China (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, YouTube, and many blogs to name a few), and risking privacy/ exposure issues, social media is absolutely thriving here.  Weibo, Ren Ren, Youku, WeChat, use of QR codes... and many more. With over 500 million internet users the potential is huge.
    • In fact, I believe China and Asia are leading many of the social media trends... mobile and WeChat to name a few.  No wonder Facebook is buying WhatsApp... WeChat is on fire.  WeChat like many other trends are led by equal parts of necessity, and preference.  Users are using texting or social media apps to keep connected, save money, and enhance their personal lives.


2.  The majority of people is a tricky one.

  • Remember vast parts of China and Asia are still very poor.  But the rich and the growing middle class are very well off... especially the rich... enormously well.  We see penetration numbers are low if you look at the whole population, but for segments, it's higher than the US for sure.  Populations are generally viewed as young and technology crazed in Asia... the adoption will be extremely quick here.


3. Again in China, social media is very very active.

  • There are great examples, like Nike Olympic 2012 campaigns that spread like wildfire.  In general, the Chinese very much want to be part of the dialogue.  The dialogue definitely heats up over things like national pride, and social issues.  I've found that the national pride can bring on the social contributions, both in an attack mode (if public/ international media says something negative), or if they have something to brag / be proud of.  Weibo can absolutely light-up.
  • The darker side is how Asian governments want to be able to shut social media down, or track and expose some users.  We are seeing much more censorship, tougher laws, and greater enforcement around politic hot buttons.  By and large the internet can move pretty slow at times with all the monitoring and throttling going on. Interesting stuff.


4. Last, with the stunning growth of online commerce(see Taobao, or even Amazon.cn). I can see heavy use of social media, mobile & commerce.

  • It's definitely a "consumer - culture", and I believe social media will be used at all parts of the consuming process... reviews/rank, customer satisfaction, look-what-I-got-moments (products, services, trips, and so forth), to the use of incentives and promotions.  And of course,  Asians love good gossip... especially celebrity news, and definitely including the sources from the U.S., "Bieber did what?".
  • Politics, social movements, or other personal comments will remain a touchy subject... perhaps left more to the off-line WOM.


You can read Part I of the blog series on the global usage of social media here.

Last March, my friend and peer JC Giraldo sent me a DM via Twitter, asking my view on the differences in social media usage around the world.


We both thought that this was a good topic for a blog, and decided to co-author a post, gathering information from people in our network around the world.

NOTE: We make no claim that the results of our informal survey are statistically relevant but they represent insights from people who use social media regularly for business.


We asked the following questions:

  1. In your country (or region or culture, if you prefer), how does the majority of people view social media?
  2. What would you say is a unique characteristic about social media usage in your culture?



Juan Carlos Giraldo , Social Media Innovator at JC Giraldo 

JC Giraldo


Well , I have to speak as the Latino that I am who lives in the United States but was born in Perú. I do, however, have interactions with some peruvians


1 - In Perú, for example, they often use Social Networks like Facebook and Twitter.

  • They use LinkedIn a little bit, and they very rarely use Instagram (more use from Kids/Teens)
  • Only big media companies, radio, and TV use G+.
  • They do not care too much about privacy, and they use social networks for fun rather than for information or business in most cases.
  • Blogs are mostly about political issues or fashion/showbiz . There is a lot of interesting opportunity in this growing market.


2 – They use Facebook all the time.

  • For Peruvians, the main use of social media is for fun and bragging with little openness for others , including compatriots abroad, to collaborate.
  • There is very little interaction with English-speaking people.

United Kingdom / England

Sarah Campbell Booth, Owner at Campbell Booth Social Media





1 - Half of the UK population have Facebook accounts and see Social Media mainly from this platform, however, there are 15 million UK users on Twitter.

  • Pinterest is the biggest growing network in the UK, we only had about 200,000 users in 2011 and we now have over two million.
  • Everyone has their own views, some love it, some hate it; some see the business benefits, so have hopped into the Social Media bandwagon.
  • Opinion is divided. Women rule the Social Media landscape and the majority of the women I know, love it. I think it has, what we call in the UK, a Marmite affect. You either love it or hate it.


2 - I'm not surewe have a unique way of using Social Media.

  • Some use it as a way to complain to a company, others use it to keep in touch with friends and family, sharing photo's and stories. Other use it to see what celebs are up too, or find inspiration.
  • More and more businesses in the UK are turning to SM; they realise it's not going to go away and it's a great way to increase your brand awareness, keep in contact with your existing customers, find new ones and aid your SEO.



Ioanna Agelidakis , Freelancer Social Media Manager at Greek Weedings


1 - Social Media primarily Facebook is very popular in an everydaykind of way, people use them to upload pictures and posts in a casual manner.

  • In a coffee shop you will see people taking pictures and uploading them on Facebook (very usual thing to see). Twitter is user mainly for more "serious" conversations, sharing the news, political views etc but also talking with famous Greek (for example) singers.
  • Professionally Social Media Marketing in Greece is still raw and highly connected to advertising or general online services (such as site building or logo design). If you are asking me about how the Greeks "feel" about Social Media, I would say it's part of their life, kind of like a normal thing to do/use


2 - That is a tough one , I think Greece might be a country standard usage.

  • I think staying in touch with a friend and staying up to date on new is the most frequent use of social media.


Mabel Cajal , Owner , Turismo y Ocio 2.0


Mabel Cajal



1 - In my opinion, social media exists as two distinct groups.

  • One group includes regular users of social networks, and the other group includes users that don’t use social media at all. People In this group think that social media is has no worth and they see no reason to use it.
  • For people who don’t use social media for their professions, the uses are mostly for fun, so most people are on Facebook. Young people, however, use Twitter more. The majority of people don’t even know that Google Plus exists. Linkedin and Instagram are known, but they had not been used widely until recently.


2 - Generally, people like to use social media, especially Facebookto entertain and spend time with friends, comment on any topic that interests them, and above all, to share their experiences.

  • I would add that Young people are much more integrated with this generation of social media than older people.


Stay tuned for Part II and check out JC Giraldo's blog.

Watch this video, recorded in March 2014 at the Startup Marketing Conference, to learn digital marketing best practices from Atlassian, Chatcube, Hootsuite & theMIX agency.

You can simply click on the picture below:
GrowthHacking Panel 2014


The Panelists

Topics Covered

  • Digital marketing vs. growth hacking: what’s the difference?
  • How to identify, acquire, and engage your target audience
  • Ways to turn your fans, followers and likes into qualified leads (even sales)
  • Beyond the basics: advanced social media and growth tactics for the pros
  • Best kept community management secrets will be revealed


Watch the recording of the #GrowthHacking panel now, or register here for the Live Webinar on June 12, 2014 at 9 AM PT.
For more:

Over the past three years, Twitter has become an indispensible selling tool for me. So, when I recently took on a new global sales role, I looked around to see what my new team was up to on Twitter. Not much. In fact, when we did a quick inventory of everyone’s Twitter presence, I landed at the top of the heap.

That surprised me. I only have about 2,900 followers, which seems like a small following to me relative to some of the people I admire and follow on Twitter. But, that’s enough of a following to make an impact on my effectiveness as a salesperson. And, it’s apparently enough to intimidate anyone who’s just starting out.

Since I’m asking my team to step up their game on Twitter, I thought telling the story of my own journey with Twitter might take away some of the intimidation factor for them, and for anyone else who’s been thinking they should be on Twitter but hasn’t taken the plunge. There’s a lot of value to be had, and you can get there just like I did, putting your pants on one leg at a time.

A mandate from on high

I started tweeting because my boss at SAP asked me to, so if anyone’s to blame for it, it’s Steve Lucas, who was SVP, SAP Business Objects, North America at the time.  We were in an executive meeting room at a Business Objects user conference in Orlando. We had just concluded the meeting and it was just me and him left sitting around this big table and he said, point blank, “You need to get on Twitter.”

I was like a deer in the headlights. My mind was racing with all the same thoughts and fears I hear from other people when I say the same thing to them now: What does this mean? How do I get started? I don’t have time! I don’t know what to say! Nobody I want to talk to is on Twitter!

Steve said, I’m going to have someone come in and help you, and he set up a 45-minute meeting for me with Drew from marketing.

Baby steps

Drew came in and said, “I know this is supposed to be 45 minutes but this will only take 15. First let’s pick your Twitter handle.”

This was probably the most terrifying part because I wanted to be sure to pick the perfect name. By some stroke of genius, we came up with @bilafer.  Note: if you’re not on Twitter yet, go and register your name while you still can.

Setting @bilafer up on Twitter took about three seconds. Too fast, because the next thing I knew there was this empty box on the screen. It seemed like it was throbbing as if to say f”eed me, feed me. “

I froze. “I don’t know what to say,” I confessed to Drew. “There are all these abbreviations and hashtags.” It looked complicated. Drew gave me a short primer and then disappeared, leaving me alone in the Twittersphere.

I took it slow at first. I mostly consumed and retweeted things I thought were interesting, without really adding my own thoughts. I wasn’t sure how to be creative and unique, but I knew enough to stay away from silly posts such as,  “I just landed here or there and ate this or that.” Slowly I built a following of a few hundred people.

A world-wide, cross cultural platform

I got more serious about Twitter when I took a new post as Regional Vice President of Analytics for Asia Pacific Japan. I uprooted my family—my wife Michele, my 5-year old son and 12–year old daughter—and moved to Singapore for the role, thrusting us all into a world of unknown and uncertainty.

The mission was to move a market, and create a unified voice for SAP and the changes that we were trying to bring to the region. I saw Twitter and other social media channels as critical to that effort. These are global gathering places, the only platforms I know of that cut across all regions and cultures and I decided to up the ante on social.

The way that I see it is, I do a lot of presentations. I usually present to somewhere between 50 to 500 people. I put a lot of time and effort into not just giving the presentation but putting it together and rehearsing it, so why not share it with a broader audience on social media? In fact, it would be a waste not to, especially because you already have the content

We ushered in a new hashtag, #SAPAPJ, as a way to get people unified and engaged in one conversation. This is a region doesn’t see itself as a region but as all these unique pockets, so there was a lot of internal selling to get people to use that one hashtag and slowly but surely we got there.

We did it by consistently connecting the hashtag to interesting, relevant posts not just about what SAP was doing in the region but also about major business trends in order to help people see the bigger picture and how they might leverage analytics.

That’s really when I started coming into my own. I wasn’t just pushing the SAP message; I was also sharing information about how all kinds of organizations are overcoming challenges with big data. I was able to convey that we were going to help people and not just be there to schlep software.

I started to get more engagement, both in person and on Twitter. After presentations when I would leave the stage, people would come up to me and say they saw something I tweeted, or read a blog post I wrote. They felt comfortable to approach me and start a conversation.

Yes, you can get leads from Twitter

Conversation is great, but what every sales person wants to know is, can you get leads from social media? You can.

I blogged about this really cool demo we have, called Jones Hypermarket. It uses mobile analytics so it knows where everybody is in the store, and it has predictive analytics capabilities built in so you can try out different offers and see what the results might be based on who’s in the store. I tweeted a link to my blog and a guy I’d never heard of or met responded back and said, “Can you tell me all the SAP components that make this real?” To me that was just tremendous.

There’ve been lots of those instances. When we first announced the Analytics Plus program, a major SAP upgrade offer for APJ, I made a video and I tweeted about it. Somebody in the United States sent me an email saying, “I’d like to talk to my AE about this.”  It wasn’t even in my territory but because I was the person that was out there he reached out to me.

Towards the end of my time in APJ, I was named one of the top 50 SAP people to follow on Twitter, and also named one of Analytics World’s top 200 influencers on big data. That meant a lot to me, because I have invested a lot of time on Twitter, and also because it validates the promise of social media—anyone can have a voice.  You don’t have to be the world’s foremost expert or sit on the executive board. We all have something to share, and putting it in your own words and sharing your genuine enthusiasm about it is all you need to attract a following.

I owe a lot to Steve, not just for pushing me to get on Twitter, but also for informing my approach to the medium. Steve used to tell us, always be relevant. He advised us to read constantly so that regardless of who you are talking to, you’ll have some statistic or information or point of view that you can use to make a connection. It works in person, and Twitter is really just a way to amplify that.

When I look at salespeople who aren’t on Twitter now, it’s easy for me to look at that missed opportunity, shake my head and ask, what are they waiting for? Then I remember my own journey and I know what they’re waiting for: a hard push from someone who knows that it works.

You’re welcome.

This article previously appeared on LinkedIn and kurtbilafer.com.

Social media poses risks for employers if not properly managed.


Today social media is endemic throughout every aspect of our lives. We all know generally that it provides businesses with opportunities to reach markets faster & more broadly than ever before.

But do you know how to manage the risks?


On April 14, 2014, join the SVForum Marketing and Social Media SIG for a discussion of the latest legal developments with Paul Cowie, Partner at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.

Topics addressed will include:


  • Who owns your social media - the company or the employee?
  • Whose Twitter followers are they anyway?
  • How to protect trade secrets in the age of social media and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)?
  • Defamation – “I didn’t authorize that post!”  How can businesses limit such risks?
  • Can I fire an employee for Facebook posts? What does the NLRB say?
  • How to manage employee privacy expectations and ownership of social media?



During this Meetup, Paul Cowie, Partner at Sheppard Mullin, will share his experience and case studies on the key implications of doing business in the age of social media.


About the Speaker:

Paul Cowie is Partner at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP, in the the Labor and Employment Practice Group based in Palo Alto.


Paul focuses on defense work for technology and emerging growth companies related to a wide range of employment disputes, including BYOD, social media, executive agreements, discrimination, independent contractors, workplace violence, harassment, wrongful termination and whistle-blower complaints.


He is also a leader in gamification to engage employees in the workplace. Paul works extensively in the area of single plaintiff and class actions, wage & hour compliance, founder disputes, and workplace investigations.


He counsels clients on all aspects of employment, including assignment of intellectual property, privacy, cyber-security and protection of trade secrets. In addition, Paul has significant company formation and M&A experience and has worked closely with clients in structuring corporate transactions to minimize employment-related risks and to maximize the value of the transaction from an employment perspective.


Before practicing in the US, Mr. Cowie practiced in the UK for approximately five years, representing and advising employers at all stages of employment litigation, including as lead counsel in UK Employment Tribunals.


Mr. Cowie has drafted hundreds of employment contracts, dozens of settlement agreements, negotiated warranties and indemnities in corporate transactions and is very familiar with the challenges faced by companies expanding into in the US.


Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.



Location: Detati Digital Marketing 265 Caspian Drive Sunnyvale, CA 94089


6:30 - 7:00 p.m. Registration / Networking / Pizza & Refreshments

7:00 - 7:15 p.m. Announcements & Introduction

7:15 - 8:15 p.m. Presentation with Q&A

8:15 - 8:45 p.m. Networking

Cost:$20 at the door for non-SVForum members No charge for SVForum members


For More: Read Publications and News from Paul Cowie on the topic here.

Here the key takeaways from Sean Ellis' wonderful keynote Stacking the Odds for Authentic Growth at the Startup Marketing Conference.


On March 27th, at the #StartupMarketingConf, Sean Ellis, Founder and CEO of Qualaroo and GrowthHackers.com (in a 2010 blog post, he coined the term #GrowthHacker), presented the morning keynote "Stacking the Odds for Authentic Growth".

What is the formula for Nirvana? Desire minus Friction = Desire

Sean Ellis, Father of #GrowthHacking

Sean is a great presenter who knows how to convey strategic insights in an easy to understand way, while combining them with hands on tips for immediate implementation.

A. Maximize the % of "Must Have" (MH) Experience

  1. Any startup should ask their audience: Would you be disappointed without our product? Ask that question and then change your product and messaging to meet the audience's needs. A fragmented experience could be the reason for present disappointments. That does not mean your product is doomed. Listen, implement desired changes, and then ask the question again and again until you get it right.
  2. Steve Jobs claimed that the consumer does not always know what he/she wants; that he has to be told. How does this fit with Sean's approach of asking the end-user directly?  Answer: Product fit is a different issue from Stacking the Odds/Optimization. It requires coming up with innovation. Sean's approach assumes a product fit has already been determined.
  3. Don’t ask people if they like the solution/product. Ask them what their problem is, or how you could solve their problem.
    • Ask “must have” clients what they’d do if your product was no longer available to them.
    • Ask: What are you hoping [X] can do for you?


B. Website 101: Ask Lots of Questions

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is the most important lever for growth.

By creating more effective websites, you are able to maximize your business objectives while providing your clients the best experience.

  1. Ask: Does this page make you want to try [x]?
  2. Ask: is anything preventing you from signing up?
  3. Test to increase desire and reduce friction
  4. Provide strong hooks based on intent research
  5. Fix issues (fear and confusion friction)
  6. Testing never stops...


Idea: Ask people at Starbucks to sign up for your offer on your website /app store and to talk out loud while they do it (buy them a coffee in exchange).


C. Calibrate the Growth Engine

  1. Your hook and your promise have to connect; example: ads and landing pages.
  2. Communicate the “promise” about the "must have" experience.
  3. Strong value delivery drives organic growth; your proof that you are communicating the "must have" experience properly in your promise. It means you are achieving retention/loyalty and WOM.


D. The Startup Pyramid (By Sean Ellis)


The Startup Pyramid by Sean Ellis           

E. CASE STUDY: Optimization Unlocks Growth

  1. Growth before optimization was frustrating
  2. First 4 months of Optimization led to a 1,000% visit-to-purchase rate improvement
  3. Growth channels are now scaled


F. Summary

  • Marketer’s role is to reach potential
  • Product/market fit defines potential
  • Understand the "must have" experience (if user not disappointed without product; there is no case)
  • Increase desire, reduce fiction
  • Value machine drives organic growth


For more:

Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 9.18.18 PM.pngI’m a big believer in using social media for sales, and I’m always encouraging people to ramp up their social presence.  I get a lot of push back, and it usually has to do with one or more of these: time, what to say, and skepticism. These are the three biggest hurdles people seem to struggle with. Here’s how to overcome them.

Save time with technology

Technology is your friend when it comes to doing social media efficiently. I’m constantly trying out new tools, and a few have really proven their value. I’m a big fan of Buffer, a scheduling tool that allows me to maintain a steady social presence even when I’m on a plane or in a different time zone.

I sat down with one of our marketing people recently and he asked me, "How do you do this?  You're sitting with me right now and you just tweeted 3 minutes ago."  That’s Buffer at work.

I use Buffer to share content. I find content to share mostly through Pulse and Google alerts. I now use Pulse for most of my reading.  It aggregates feeds from all the magazines, newspapers and blogs that I subscribe to so I have just one place to go to get an update on all of the topics that interest me. I use Google alerts to notify me about new content related to specific search terms about products and companies I’m interested in.

Here’s my system. I usually do my reading before six in the morning and after nine or ten o'clock at night. Depending where I am in the world, these are not always the best times to post.  So, when I read an article that I like, I email it to myself, using an email filter that moves it into a folder called “Stuff To Post”.

When I have time, I go into that folder and I schedule my posts in Buffer, which is really easy.  You can connect it to all of your social accounts and you can post different things to different channels, or the same thing to different channels but maybe with different messaging, and Buffer spreads them out on the schedule you set.

The hardest thing for me about this whole process is how to get my thoughts into 140 characters on Twitter – there needs to be an app for that!  Pulse, Google alerts and Buffer make the rest easy.  They may not work for you, but there are dozens of tools out there to help make social easier. Do some research, ask around and try them out until you find a system that works for you.

Finding your voice

The second hurdle is that people don't know what to say.  That’s okay.  Start anyway. It takes time to find your voice.  I think part of the problem is cultural, or maybe hierarchical.  People believe they have to be at certain level of the organization, or have a certain level expertise for their voice to have value, and that's not the case.

My first blogs were all about my personal experiences. No one is more expert about that than me, so that was a perfect place to start. I’ve blogged about my first trip to Indonesia and the Philippines. I’ve shared my thoughts on SAP TechEd and my wish list for LinkedIn.

Hitting the “publish” button on the first post is a little scary, and you just have to do it. Eventually you’ll start to feel more comfortable with it.

When I started with Twitter, I started mostly by re-tweeting.  Gradually I got more and more comfortable and creative with it and started adding my own commentary about links I was tweeting.

The same holds true for LinkedIn. I had been using LinkedIn for many years before I started sharing content there. At first I didn’t share much. Then I started to get positive feedback from people in my network who said, I like it, keep ‘em coming. In my enthusiasm I may have over-posted for a while, and it wasn’t really sustainable for me, and maybe for my audience, because I did have someone ask me how he could stop getting my updates. Part of finding my voice has been about striking the right balance between sharing and overwhelming my network with information. The only way to do it is by trial and error.

Suspend disbelief

The third hurdle is that there is still, surprisingly, a lot of skepticism about the value of social.

The most common sentiment I hear expressed is that while social may be popular, people with certain titles or in certain industries aren't going to read your posts because they’re not active on social media channels.

There is a lot of research out now on how social influences the buying cycle, so it should be clear that whether or not the exact person you are hoping to reach is on social media or not, chances are very good that other people involved in the buying decision are.

I sell to the C-Suite, and what's interesting is, if I go to LinkedIn and I look at the influencers, a lot of the people writing there are CEOs and CFOs, or senior leaders.  But when I tell that to other salespeople who sell to the C-Suite, they will dismiss them and say, "Well, they are the exception, not the rule."

Some recent statistics could help dispel myths about who is, or isn’t, on social media:


Recently, LinkedIn added more influencers and opened its publishing platform to more members (myself included), noting in its announcement that “every professional has valuable experience to share.”  See?  You don’t have to be a celebrity.  You just have to be willing make the effort to share.

When you get right down to it, I think all three of these hurdles are more imagined than real. They all stem from, "we're afraid."  It's new technology.  It's a new way of doing business and most of us don't respond well to change.

Yes, it can be really overwhelming, and I was overwhelmed at first too. It’s a journey, so suspend disbelief, get yourself some good tools, pick a place to jump in and join in the conversation.

This article previously appeared on LinkedIn and kurtbilafer.com.

On March 27th, 2014, I've been invited to host a panel on Growth Hacking at the Startup Marketing Conference in San Francisco.


Read this blog to learn more about Growth Hacking, the amazing cast of panelists and the conference.


Startup Marketing Conference  - Growth Hacking



What put me off the term #GrowthHacking initially was that - for me - the word "hacking" carries a negative connotation a la Anonymous. But I have since been educated that the word "hack" nowadays simply means breaking existing rules for growth. I am all for rule breaking, as long as nobody gets hurt. The term also refers to using digital marketing for growth, I think..... Frequently mentioned in the context of #GrowthHacking are the terms: measurement, metrics, analytics, growth.



  • "Startup advisor and marketer Sean Ellis coined the term "growth hacker" in 2010.In the blog post, Ellis defined a growth hackers as "a person whose true north is growth. Everything they do is scrutinized by its potential impact on scalable growth."


MORE VOICES ON THE TERM Jack Mardack, panelists on 3/27/14, is a classic growth hacker, according to his LinkedIn profile:

  • "I've helped a number of early-stage web companies grow quickly by leading the installation of measurement and building a "growth analytics" practice, then leveraging those data insights through a program of experimental product development and testing to achieve growth effects in every area of the funnel."


In his blog: To Growth Hack or Not Growth Hack David Whitaker offers different opinions on the term:

  • "Combining the art of marketing with the science of product engineering. “Growth hacking”, promises to drive exponential growth for all who master it."
  • "However, not all are convinced. Their detractors claim that growth hacking is nothing more than hype, and that the same results can be achieved through traditional methods, like “direct marketing,” “inbound marketing,” or just plain marketing."
  • It's "more of a mind-set than a toolkit"


Kerry Butters writes in The Truth about Growth Hacking and How to use Growth Hacking:

  • The terms implies a "strong emphasis on user growth and engagement"
  • "A growth hacker is creative, yet also analytical; they will have a background that allows them to get the best value for the client out of the products and services that a company sells."


I like this definition by David Whitaker best:

"Growth Hacking is a methodology of increasing user acquisition through clever marketing (yes, it is marketing), intuitive product development, and in-depth analytics. The goal is to achieve measurable growth, with the lowest acquisition cost, and to optimize results over time."

No doubt, #GrowthHacking is a "hot" term. Just skimming Twitter shows you:


So, is #GrowthHacking simply GOOD marketing? How is it different from Digital Marketing? Expect to find answers to these and other questions on 3/27/14 at the #StartupMarketingConf during our panel discussion:



On March 27, 2013 at Startup Marketing Conference, I will moderate the Keynote Panel: Get More Users with Digital Marketing and Growth Hacking: Best Expert Advice from Both Worlds.

The Panelists


This will be an advanced take on the topic where the panel - leaders in the field - will cover the latest digital marketing strategies and growth hacks.  We all plan to open the kimono on our own best practices that have generated repeatable and scalable growth.  So no time for theoretical discussions, this is hands on stuff.

Topics we intend to cover:

  • Digital marketing vs. growth hacking: what’s the difference?
  • How to identify, acquire, and engage your target audience
  • Ways to turn your fans, followers and likes into qualified leads (even sales)
  • Beyond the basics: advanced social media and growth tactics for the pros
  • Best kept community management secrets will be revealed


If there are any burning questions you'd like us to cover, please comment on this blog or contact me @NaThomson, @JeanetteG, @2hp,@mfitz0705, or @VanessaCamones via Twitter.


See you at the Startup Marketing Conference.

social_sales_funnel.jpgMost of us in sales know that one of the keys to success in our profession is to always be selling. This doesn’t mean that we have to come across like the Wolf of Wall Street, constantly pitching the customer what they want to hear whether it’s true or not, but it does mean that we have to have an ongoing dialogue with our customers and prospects.

Social media makes this possible in ways we never imagined. What I find amazing is that so many salespeople still seem reluctant to leverage these new platforms and tools to help them stay relevant in the modern buying process.

Take Frank, a salesman I used to work with. Frank worked a handful of installed base accounts where he knew who all the stakeholders were. He was an accomplished sales guy who made it to club every year.

Things started to go sideways when Frank got a promoted to a job that required him to sell to new customers. Frank did well at the classic sales tasks—prospecting for new opportunities and harvesting through to close.  He was good in front of the customer and always well prepared for his presentations. But, he didn’t do enough of them because he didn’t get himself involved in enough conversations.

Frank didn’t see a way to make money in his new role. Frustrated, he took a job abroad thinking his problem was the market or the product, but from my point of view it was him, and his refusal to adjust in the face of change.

I was just like Frank six years ago.

Sure, I joined LinkedIn back in 2005, but I mainly used it to build my contact list and search for prospects--very classic sales tasks. To be fair, that’s the main functionality it had at the time. Lots more has been added since, but most sales people haven’t moved beyond those basic activities, so even though they’re on LinkedIn, they’re invisible to the customer. I know; it wasn’t until I started actively contributing on LinkedIn and other social channels that I realized the value, and the imperative for using social media for sales.

As salespeople we are always focused on advancing the conversation with our prospects and customers.  In a simpler time, we had one buyer and a well-defined purchase process so we knew who to talk to and the general outline of the conversation.

That time is long gone. Today’s buyer is much more sophisticated, with instant access to information to understand their options and assemble a short list of vendors.  According to the Corporate Executive Board’s  “The Digital Evolution in B2B Marketing,” 60% of the IT decision-making process is made before your prospect even meets with a vendor, so there’s a good chance they’ll have scoped their solution and assembled their short list before you even get a chance to meet them.

Making that short list is crucial. LinkedIn’s 2013 study, “The Social Bridge to the IT Committee,” found that 88% of purchases are made from the short list. On average only three vendors made the list, but here’s the killer: only one in six buyers purchased from a new vendor. I think about that statistic every day.

The LinkedIn study also found that today’s stakeholder map is a lot more complicated. Purchasing decisions are now typically made by an IT Committee that includes not just IT and the C-Suite, but also end users and cross-functional line of business users. It’s a challenge to first identify and then physically meet with all of these folks.

What this means is, we have to assume the fact-gathering process is taking place with or without us. We have to assume that it’s not just our usual “targets” that are involved. And, especially when trying to reach new customers, we need to do something very different to make the short list. That’s where social media comes in.

Social lets sales people be visible and valuable while prospects are researching and asking questions. In the past, sales has relied on marketing to do this. Sales is supposed to take marketing content, localize it for their target audience by industry and by role, and present it to the customer, usually via email or in-person sales calls, so the customer or prospect sees ongoing value in that relationship.

What’s wrong with that approach is how many opportunities you’re missing. If you’re just calling and emailing to get in front of the customer so you can add value, they are probably already doing something with another vendor. You might not even be reaching out to the right person. The whole conversation is taking place without you.

The other thing that’s wrong with that tactic is it doesn’t scale. Sales is a numbers game. The old metrics to success were how many calls you made and how many meetings you had. That’s not a scalable way into all the conversations that are taking place.

I’ve been using social media now for the past six years to help me stay connected to my network and “top of mind” for my customers should they want or need something from me. I can tell you that it is both scalable and effective.

As social has evolved, I’ve evolved with it, to the point that I’ve been invited to contribute here on LinkedIn on the topic of sales. As you may have guessed, I’ll be talking a lot about social selling, and I’ll be sharing the journey that saved me from Frank’s fate.

Selling today requires that we take it up a notch.  It’s no longer enough to just show up and remember the names and birthdays of our decision makers’ kids; we have to always be “on” and always contributing something of value.

You could argue that it’s marketing’s job, but I would argue it’s yours. It’s time to either embrace that or find a new profession, because if you don’t get social you won’t be able to compete and win against those who do.

This article previously appeared on LinkedIn and KurtBilafer.com.

"The highest form of loyalty is shared destiny." ~ Jeremiah Owyang


Odds are, you are already part of "The Sharing Economy". Even though you might not be familiar with the term or understand the full impact it has on business and society. This blog will tell you what you need to know.


Thanks to Jeremiah Owyang of CrowdCompanies for his insights and inspiration on the topic on Feb 28, 2014 at SVESMC.

You might wonder how the Sharing Economy is relevant to social media marketing. Read on and it will all make sense.

Slideshare Deck: The Collaborative Economy by Jeremiah Owyang.



Here my key 10 take aways from Jeremiah's "Sharing Economy" presentation:
Jeremiah Owyang
  1. "Sharing is the new buying", says Jeremiah. It saves money, creates an experience, and is efficient.
  2. What role do companies play in the sharing economy? Answer: See oDesk, TaskRabbit, Yerdle, Uber, AirBnB et al.
  3. Societal and cultural changes:  Social media has paved the way for the sharing economy. See the Dollar Shave Club (any product can be a service) or #UberTree (there's an app for that, even your X-mas tree). Or outsource even your clothing choices with Trunk Club.
  4. Economic factors: You can sell the same product many times, e.g. Netflix, Drive Now. Compete or obsolete.
  5. The Maker Movement is, as Wikipedia calls it, a "technology-based extension of DIY culture". A force for companies to reckon with in its aggregation.
  6. Technology factors: New technology opens up new biz opportunities, e.g. Google & Uber competing in the area of shipping (watch out Amazon). Smartphones and other existing tools are enablers.
  7. As seen when taxi drivers revolted against Uber, "technology moves faster than regulation". This causes confusion and conflict but will be resolved eventually.
  8. Sustainability is a driver:  See the Patagonia & eBay Common Threads initiative provide a used clothing marketplace; also see Peers.org.
  9. "The highest form of loyalty is shared destiny." Example: UHaul Investors Club provides UHaul with capital, while generating customer profits and commitment. Also see Lending Clubs as a way to avoid banks.
  10. Anything can be shared. As I was tweeting during Jeremiah's live presentation on Feb 28th, I was followed by @GetPitStop ("Share Your Restroom"). Frankly, I like sharing but this is going "a toilet too far" for me. I'd like my tax dollars to pay for public toilets, please.


Live Event on the Sharing Economy:

I recently spoke at the Socialize! Social Business Silicon Valley Meetup run by Mario Herger on the topic: Are there (replicable) rules for using social media for B2B marketing?


Please find the Slideshare deck of my presentation and more details on each rule below:

Slideshare Deck: Are there (replicable) rules for using social media for B2B marketing?



  • As social media provides a new set of (partially untested) tools to marketers, there is still the possibility to try something for the first time and succeed. Follow your own instinct and experiment


  • No matter what anybody says, business on social media is very personal. More personal than ever, as on LinkedIn or Twitter, people interact 1:1 in real discussions. You'll need a thick skin to participate.


  • #3 and #4 are inextricably intertwined but getting there requires two separate actions: First, be clear about your goals. Why do you want to do social media marketing? And second, what will success look like? Describe it in quantitative and qualitative terms and figure out how to measure it.


  • Social media provides us a new set of tools and allows us to get information that was previously hard to come by. But, it's still only marketing. So, you'll still need to clearly define your brand and (unique) value proposition before it's time to go out and promote. And, whatever you do, don't do it in a silo.


  • Social media and digital marketing mean pull marketing vs. push marketing. A large percentage of buyers researches your offering online way before they ever talk to one of your sales people. If you can't be found, you don't exist.
  • And if the user experience  you provide is not good (e.g. on your website), it reflects poorly on your brand.


  • As always in marketing, the key to the kingdom is closely tied to knowing your audience really really well. What are their needs? What information do they want and when? Where do they go to get their information? Who influences them? Position yourself via outcomes not features.


  • "85% of business decision-‐makers said at least one social media channel is important when making technology purchase decisions", according to Forrester Research.

#9: FOCUS   
  • Ruthlessly prioritize your activities. There are so many channels and so many tactics you could apply, and they might all work well - but you probably don't have the resources. So do your homework and focus on the areas that promise the highest ROI
#10:  KNOW “Your  Stuff”    
  • It's easy to talk a good game, use the buzzwords and pretend to know what you do. Reality is, to succeed, you need in-depth knowledge of the social channels you are focusing on, what strategies work and how to implement the tactics.
Group at the Socialize! Meetup
By the way, Mario's Meetup was fantastic.


If you liked this blog, you can find similar content here.

I generally try to do some "house keeping" at the beginning of each year but, of course, it pays to implement the tips below whenever you get to it.

Cyber security, or rather the lack thereof, is one of the main threats of our time.

Here two simple tips that could make the difference:

Photo by flickr user rpongsaj used under a Creative Commons license.


Photo by flickr user rpongsaj used under a Creative Commons license.

1. Have Excellent Passwords (Take no Short Cuts)


Hate changing your passwords for your social media, online banking, Amazon.com and many more online accounts? So do I - but having someone invade your privacy, social channels, or even financials could be devastating and time-consuming.

The DO List:


A good solution to make changing passwords less of a pain is to sign up for a password storage tool. Personally, I use 1Password which carries a yearly fee. I’ve also heard good things about a free tool called LastPass.


  • All you need to do, once you have such a tool, is to create one really hard password and remember it. Then you can let the tool auto-generate all your other really hard passwords, which you won’t need to remember.
  • You can have 1Password installed on your Mac/ PC, iPhone, and iPad (as long as you are not using iPad 1, as the OS does not support it).
  • You can "feed" 1Password every time you go to a site that requires you to create or use an existing login and it will store the details directly through the 1Password browser extension. Say you are going right now to change your Facebook password, when you are done doing that, 1Password can automatically record and encrypt the details for you.


The DON’T List:

If you are not ready to use a password tool, take these tips to heart:

  • Don't use the same password or similar password that you slightly modify for each account. Make each password unique, with a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, special characters - at least 6 characters, ideally 9.
  • Change your password occasionally (at least once a year). While having a really difficult password is the number one best way to protect your accounts, changing your password cannot hurt.
  • Don't use any real words, your pet's name or anything people could Google about you.
  • Personally, I discourage publishing your birthday on LinkedIn or Facebook as the birth date is a crucial detail to cracking an online identity.


2. Check and update your social channel settings Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media channels periodically (or in Facebook’s case: all the time) change their privacy options or add options without making users explicitly aware of it.


For a safe 2014, visit at least your key channels - in my case Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn - and check your privacy and notification settings.

  • Update where needed. Also, disconnect access for apps you no longer use.
  • While you are there, it might make sense to tweak your profile information, in case you can add a new accomplishment, job, or had other changes happen.

I recently taught an advanced social media marketing class at UCSC Extension Silicon Valley.


To make it more interesting, I invited two innovative pros into my classroom to talk about inbound marketing and the use of social media for job search.

Here are the two decks they presented:


How to Use Social Media to Find a Job

Brenda Rogers, Talent Strategist & Leadership Coach, HR Strategies



Danielle Herzberg, Senior Sales Manager, Hubspot



Thanks to both of these fantastic ladies for sharing their expertise with my class and in this blog!


Once again, wishing SCN supported the embedding of Slideshare decks!

According to Gerry Moran of MarketingTHINK, business to business (B2B) decision makers use social media or some form of social networking to base their day to day purchasing decisions.  Whether they read community postings or blogs (81%), check a colleague or company background on LinkedIn (74%), or consume information or points of view on Twitter (42%), information is available, pervasive and used. The global conversation is going on around us in social media which I have likened to the "world's largest focus group." As SAP community members, we can choose to be part of the conversation - or not.


And this was the basic premise, around building out thought leadership, personal branding, and increasing community engagement that led to a spirited panel at the recent ASUG Volunteer meeting in Fort Worth, TX. Cortney Bjorlin (@cbjorlin) and Thomas Wailgum (@twailgum) of ASUG News moderated a panel including myself (@william_newman), ASUG board member Sheryanne Meyer (@SherryanneMeyer), SAP Mentor Susan Keohan, and ASUG Community Manager Danny Pancratz (@ASUGDP).


Some key points from the conversation and take-aways for any ASUG member or practitioner:


  1. Your point of view matters.  As part of this big community of SAP practitioners, customers, consultants, influencers and partners each perspective is important. No one person has the "full picture" of everything inside SAP and at all possible business interactions. In order to participate in the community, your point of view on your specialty area needs to be heard.
  2. Start with a blog.  Your point of view needs a home.  Unless you have the mechanics to promote your own email marketing or social media campaign on your own or through your company, a blog is a great place to start.  You can connect your blog to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+ or just about any platform that shares news, photos and information.  Susan is a huge blogger right here on SCN, which is a great platform to get started and to build. (Just remember there are Rules of Engagement on SCN, so you don't have full publisher freedom on this platform as if you hosted your own blog on WordPress or Blogspot). Danny also provided a peak at the new blogging capability with ASUG.com.
  3. Connect to where your audience is. As Gerry Moran points out, many decision makers use Twitter.  I generally stay away from connecting with kids on Twitter or Tumblr (SAFTK = Stay Away From The Kids) and limit my professional exposure on Facebook.  Most of my point of view is getting pushed out to LinkedIn, Twitter (I also manage several channels including @ASUG_Michigan as their ASUG Chapter Communications Chair, more on that below), Google+ and apps that consume those social streams (like Scoop.it and Paper.li).  They drive traffic back to the blog or twitter post which is where I also track my interactions and other social media stats (views, views per users, clicks, opens, etc. which can be useful if you are designing a social campaign - see my Using the "Rule of Ten" article on how to gather email addresses and contact information to convert social interactions into hard sales).
  4. Manage your channels. Back during the 2008 election, a worker at KitchenAid forgot they were tweeting on behalf of the company and not themselves, resulting in a very high-profile career-limiting misfire.
    KitchenAid SocialMedia bomb.jpg
       (Source: Mashable.com)

    So while you shouldn't necessarily be loose and casual about your posts and from what channel they come from, you can make sure some of your posts allow a bit of your personality to shine through conversationally (as replies in conversations to others whom you know in real life - IRL - and for personal interests). For example I post informal wine reviews and foodie notes as a personal interest which helps build out my personal community with #hashtags that relate to those interests (outside of #SAP circles such as #wine, #foodie and others). As a side note many ASUG volunteers also appear to have an enthusiasm in food and wine topics but that is another conversation for another day...
  5. Finally build your personal community brand. This also works for ASUG Chapters and SIGs. We had several good examples, particularly from Mark Richardson (fellow Communication Chair from the ASUG Ontario Chapter, @ASUG_Ontario) where brand building via social media even led to event gamification in the form of the now-famous "Canuck Hunt" that erupts during SAPPHIRE and the ASUG Annual Conference (last year the Ontario chapter had live analytics showing who was ranking - real time - during the event).  That just draws more interest and parties who can then enjoy hearing about your content, point of view, information, or other interests.


The panel was great and very informal with a lot of interactions...

And of course we were able to include #Spot in the social conversation. I'm pretty sure #spot was trending that Saturday just out of the Fort Worth meeting.


For more tips on how to get started as a personal brand or as part of high growth SAP partner, consider watching the Social Business webinar series sponsored by the Institute of Management Consultants.  Until next time, see you in the blogosphere and twitterverse!


Best regards,

William Newman (Bill)

For her article "How Does Twitter Use Twitter to Recruit?", Erin Osterhaus went straight to the source: Anitra Collins, Twitter’s Recruiting Programs Officer. Thanks to Holly Aker for authorizing me to quote from the SoftwareAdvice article.


Before sharing what Twitter's Ms. Collins had to say, here findings from SoftwareAdvice's Social Recruiting Survey:


"Twitter’s Twitter Strategy


First of all, if you’re going to use Twitter to recruit, you should create a clear and executable strategy. Twitter should be used for more than just blasting out job postings. Sure, creating awareness about new positions is one part of the strategy.


But there’s another side to the coin that Twitter capitalizes on: you can create a real-time view into your company’s culture, making people want to work for you.

As Ms. Collins says of the @JoinTheFlock handle, “We offer more than just job listings; we also share news about events happening within the company, external events we attend and insights from our executives. The handle gives our followers a look into what’s happening inside of the company and a bit about what makes Twitter a great place to work.”


There are several ways Twitter uses Twitter to get the word out about open positions, grow its following and, ultimately, source and attract great talent.


Here a few of the Twitter recruiting team’s tips that will be covered in more detail below:

  1. Use employees to Tweet jobs
  2. Share news and events to expose your culture
  3. Harness the power of the hashtag
  4. Leverage video
  5. Connect with candidates


1. Use Employees to Tweet Jobs

Using the tools available—hashtags, current employees, notable personalities (an advantage perhaps specific to big brands like Twitter) and other multimedia—Collins and the rest of the recruiting team have created an enormous following for the @JoinTheFlock account: to be exact, 361,888 at the time of writing. How do they keep all those followers engaged, as well as add new followers daily? By Tweeting compelling content, of course.



But here’s the kicker– Ms. Collins and the recruiting team at Twitter make a concerted effort to re-Tweet job posts from current employees’, interns’ and other company handles. As she says, “We get the help of our hiring managers to Tweet out job listings to their followers for extra visibility.” For instance, re-Tweeting calls for applicants from the company’s Director of Engineering:



2. Share News and Events to Expose Your Culture

Allowing potential candidates a glimpse into company culture keeps them interested, and might pique the interest of passive candidates, as well. Check out this re-Tweet from a current employee:



Even the lower rungs of the company get in on the action (read, interns):



If your strategy includes involving this cultural component, you’ll need to do more than have one person Tweet out new jobs once a day. Instead, you’ll need to have a multi-pronged approach–and that’s just what Twitter has done.


3. Harness the Power of the Hashtag


As you’ve probably noticed, hashtags pop up all the time on the @JoinTheFlock account. There are several advantages to using them.


  • First of all, they get your Tweets in front of Twitter users who might not follow you already.
  • And secondly, they narrow down your target audience.


For instance, if someone is looking for a job in software development, they might search certain tags, such as #hadoop, #CMS, #UX or #TechTalent. By including hashtags in a job post, these candidates can find the job, even if they don’t follow the @JoinTheFlock account already.


Hashtags are also a great means to source new talent at industry-specific conferences. As Collins says, when looking to fill niche roles, hashtags are a lifesaver: “To fill a specific role, we might look at the hashtags for a conference taking place in that field, and look at the profiles of the attendees who are Tweeting or on a Twitter list.”


4. Leverage Video


Perhaps what separates Twitter’s recruiting presence from other companies is its clever use of various media channels. “We are in the process of developing Vine videos to share, and of course we point to our Twitter YouTube channel when we have something new,” says Collins.


A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a video is just, well, better. It makes the candidate feel like they’re in the office–and Twitter has a really cool office. There are multiple instances of the Vine video app being used on the @JoinTheFlock account, and all serve to showcase what a wonderful place Twitter is to work. One employee took a six second video of the new yoga studio in the office:



Within the header of the @JoinTheFlock profile, you will find a link to what might be the page’s most effective recruiting tactic: a link to the YouTube video At Twitter, The Future is You.”


As Collins says, the video “was created to be ‘the worst recruiting video ever’ by our internal team.” The tongue-in-cheek tone of the video worked. Collins notes that it “drew a lot of applicants, and showed our style and humor—our CEO [Dick Costello] even participated.


5. Connect with Candidates


Twitter’s approach, as you can see, is multi-pronged. They showcase their culture in a way that makes the company look attractive to prospective employees, by sharing current employees and hiring managers’ Tweets and using multimedia to allow a glimpse into the day-to-day life at the company.


All these tactics highlight Twitter’s openness to potential applicants. But do they follow through and respond directly to applicants who Tweet at the @JoinTheFlock handle? According to Collins, “Yes, we do Tweet directly at candidates who appear qualified, point them to our current listings. These exchanges make the process much more personal.”


In addition to connecting with candidates personally, Twitter’s recruiters also use the platform to garner information about candidates that would otherwise be unavailable through traditional recruiting processes.


“Many times, we look on Twitter to vet candidates for their style, their communicative prowess, their approach to the world,” says Collins. “It gives a great lens into one’s personality and interests, and adds a lot of texture and sensibility—things you can’t see easily on a resume.”


In the end, Twitter is a great way to expose new people to what your company has to offer. If you follow these tips from Twitter’s own recruiting team, your company has the potential to grow its following and its talent pool—and at an astounding rate. Just in the course of this writing, @JoinTheFlock has gained 200 new followers. So, get Tweeting!" Click here to read the original post.



MY PERSPECTIVE: It's not Quite that Simple

I'd like to add some perspective to this interview with Twitter. Something to keep in mind is that social media recruiting works well for active but less for passive candidates, who are often in highest demand. Having a well-known brand does not hurt either.


I write about this in detail in my blog: How to use Social Media for Recruiting?

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. Step one is to be very clear on what exactly you are looking for.


Social media works better for recruiting active than passive talent

It seems relatively straightforward to recruit active employees via social media, i.e. people who are actively searching for a new role. Brands like Taco Bell and UPS have created Pinterest boards, Twitter handles and Facebook pages, dedicated exclusively to this purpose. Obviously, they frequently hire for jobs that don't require a high-level of education and have many seekers.


But this approach might not work if you are looking for a highly qualified super star; somebody who is currently employed and might not even be thinking about making a move. In this case, posting your job on LinkedIn or Twitter is unlikely to have much impact.


Combine social and traditional for passive recruiting

Recruiting with Social Media, B2B Social Media Marketing Consulting


Jim Coughlin, Executive Recruiter at Dynamic says that for passive talent, a social media strategy alone might not work, especially if your business is not a well-known brand. Ask yourself: Why would somebody who is in high-demand leave their current job to join your company?

The Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey found that: “Recruiting passive candidates is the most popular tactic in competitive recruiting.” One way to do that is with LinkedIn Recruiter, one of LinkedIn’s Talent Solutions.


Targets can be qualified and then contacted via LinkedIn InMails, which is where the skill of the recruiter comes in. You’ll either need a qualified in-house resource or outsource the process, as talking somebody out of a job and into a new job is neither quick nor easy.


The best way to get the highest quality candidates is to encourage your (happy) employees to promote your job openings on their own social media channels and in-person. Referrals trump everything else!


For more tips, check out the book “42 Rules for B2B Social Media Marketing“.


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