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Social Media and Social Networks

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On October 17th and 24th, 2014, I will be teaching an Advanced Social Media Course at UCSC Extension Silicon Valley.

Registration is now open.


UCSC Ext. Silicon Valley


If you have been thinking about investing in your career by improving your social media marketing skills, this course is a great opportunity to learn with your peers from Silicon Valley. As I outlined in a recent blog post, to stay relevant in the days of digital transformation, social media skills are essential.


That's why I am teaching advanced social media at UCSC Ext. for the second year.

Below a picture of last year's class, with guest speaker Jeanette Gibson of Hootsuite:


Class Picture

My day job is running my own social (media) business consultancy, MarketingXLerator - after having worked for companies like SAP and EMC over the years - so can bring in real-world case studies to share. What am I planning to teach?


You can read the official course description here (which was produced by somebody else and is a bit ambitious for a 16 hour course).

Key Take-Aways:

  • How to build a brand on social media
  • How to create a social media strategy that works
    • Goals, audience, channel identification
  • When to use owned, earned and paid media
  • Why "Marketing" automation is crucial to the social business
  • What digital transformation is and how it affects your career
  • How to leverage influencers and advocates
  • What is hype vs. what really works


I am also reserving time in this course to address questions and topics the students request, to make sure they can take what they learn in class back to their jobs, grow their careers and impress their bosses :-).


  • An active and complete LinkedIn profile. (As this is an advanced class, that seems reasonable to me.)
  • A professional bio in multiple lengths: 100, 75, 50, and 25 words, as well as 160 characters.


Guest Speakers


I have invited a number of social media professionals from Silicon Valley to share their on-the-job experiences. Petra Neiger, Sr. Dir. Integrated Marketing at Polycom, and Eric Geslien, Dir. Enterprise Sales at Tracx, and Mario Herger of Enterprise Gamification Consulting, are confirmed so far.


  • Petra, @Petra1400, will speak about integrated marketing in the age of digital media.
  • Eric, @Geslien, will talk about (and demo) how to prove the value of social media to meet business goals.
  • Mario, @MHerger, will provide examples of how gamification can be used to drive results in marketing.


If this sounds like something you would be interested in, please register here. Join the Meetup group to network ahead of time and after class.


To attend the class, you need to register directly on the UCSC Ext. website.


Contact me at @NaThomson if you have question.

Hi All,


I am a new employee within SAP Product Support – Dublin. I recently completed my Masters in Information Technology at NUI Galway. My Masters’ Thesis researched integration of ICT and Teaching Strategies within Irish Higher Education environment and one of the main findings was that Learners and Educators made a distinction between Personal and Educational (Work) Social Media Platforms and this in turn dictated how they interacted with each Platform.


Currently a hot topic within many Corporate Circles is the use of Social Media tools as a way of engagement and connectivity with other colleagues and customers / clients.

Many organisations and individuals are using a multitude of Social Media Platforms i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+, Corporate Portals, Forums, Blogs and even Snaps etc.


The first query I have relates to linking your personal and private Platforms with the corporate or public Platforms:
Should / do you actively maintain a segregation between personal and work profiles and content?


Secondly, relating to the Medium /Platform, what the subject matter is and to whom you are communicating:
Does the way you write matter? I.e. use text talk, emoji’s, worry about grammar and punctuation etc.?



I believe in transparency and openness in a working environment but am aware how this extends to private / family content and that any personal views may not necessarily support or reflect the views of the organisation you work for.


If you are willing to actively publish information on Social Media you should not only be mindful of your target audience but also of other interested parties that may be able to access that information and be professional at all times.


I suggest that everyone should be aware of corporate guidelines or policies pertaining to Social Media that are in place and partake in any training or info sessions that are available.



Finally, as a “tongue in cheek” guideline for Social Media Etiquette I would like to refer you to a video that was produced by Mr W A Yankovic. Happy watching ;).
"Weird Al" Yankovic - Word Crimes: http://youtu.be/8Gv0H-vPoDc (note due to restrictions on some company IT settings this Music video may not be accessible).





Let’s get out there and be “Social And Professional” - “SAP” Savvy.





Congrats! You’re already well versed in social listening, so let’s do a happy dance Happy Dancxe.gif

So, what’s next? Here are three simple tasks:



1. Share your story



Content marketing is the next generation marketing tool;
instead of looking for customers, the customers would come to you to know how you can help them.

Social listening helps because you’d know the customers’ concerns, needs and complaints, so you
can design your contents to cater to what the customers want to hear. Even
better, transform your contents into videos, infographics or SlideShares for
easier consumption. You can start by sharing your Social Listening success
story or a customer success story.


2. Share any story



“Sharing will enrich everyone with more knowledge” – Ana Monnar



Power is gained by sharing knowledge, not hoarding it. Make
an effort to share at least one post per day on all your social profiles. A big
chunk of it should be shared with your customers in mind but you can also slip
in some silly ones to entertain your audience. A great resource for assets to
share is the contents created or shared by your colleagues or peers in the same
line of work. Other than that, you can go to Mashable or Digg which are
socially driven content-sharing platforms.



3. Create a persona



Want to have a better understanding of your customers? Create
a Facebook or LinkedIn profile representative of your average customers. Once
you personify your average customer, it’d easier to relate to them and comprehend
their needs and interests. Share this persona with your colleagues so they can add-on/adjust the characteristics of the persona. Remember, people change, so these personas can change too; make an effort to update your persona at least once a year. Once you’re done, share your personas to relevant parties. Click here for a beginner’s guide to creating a persona.



Now you’re all prepped and ready to be the Social Listening advocate that you were born to be.

Now off you go and spread your knowledge




This post is part of a series of three:

First article

Second Article


Some IT specialists are considering social media integration, but want more ideas where it can be used. We are three students doing a practical phase at SAP BPM. Our task was to find a use-case and to build an application for it. In this document we will present our solution.



Ann wants to buy a train ticket, but the machine is broken. She scans the QR-Code on the machine which generates a tweet with certain hashtags (like “#ticketmachine #1234 broken”). With this hashtag the machine can be identified. A BPM process searches for tweets about broken ticket machines and therefore finds Ann’s tweet. Sophie is responsible for solving the problem. From her task view she can send a reply tweet to Ann thanking for the report. This way she can stay in her working environment and does not need to open Twitter. Sophie evaluates the problem and sends a qualified technician to fix the machine. She can also search and react to other tweets about this problem. After the machine was mended she can send a tweet informing that the machine works again.

As proof-of-concept we have integrated our solution into the default Task Execution UI:


We also started creating a SAP UI5 application.



Technical Structure

To access Twitter we needed to implement the OAuth protocol. We created a servlet that works as a generic adapter which is compatible for every web site that offers OAuth authentification. Our structure looks like this. For further information about OAuth please refer to the official OAuth specification.



Some tweets can be generated automatically. The person working on the problem still has the possibility to send tweets manually, but it might not be necessary. The following diagram shows what the process flow could look like. More actions like twittering “we are working on it” are automated and Sophie can concentrate on more important tasks.


We have mainly focused on integrating Twitter, however integrating other social media platforms like SAP Jam or Facebook is possible. The OAuth process would be similar.

Lea Poletin, Maiko Müller, Maximilian Rickayzen

Building a great summary is one of the key elements of an engaging, "customer-centric" LinkedIn profile. Your summary should tell the customer, in 4 short paragraphs, about you, about your company, and how those two elements will help the customer with their business challenges. Your summary should be built to showcase you as a trusted advisor or subject matter expert. You want your customer or potential customer to look at your profile and say; "I need to talk to this person, they are going to be able to help me solve x".


In general, your summary should be written in the first person narrative - this humanizes your profile. I've outlined below what each of the four paragraphs should include, but feel free to add more information if you think it will be relevant to your customer. The whole goal of your customer-centric profile is to get your customer to feel like you are going to be able to help them, all the while understanding that you are a human being and have interests and passions outside of the business world.


Paragraph 1 – The first section is the place to showcase your knowledge and experience – not as a sales person, or as a business development exec (i.e. not about awards you’ve won for Best Sales Rep), but as a problem solver and innovator. Talk about how your experience with X has helped you help your customers. Talk about your background and what you can bring to the table as a solution provider. Include the skills you've gained by working with clients, and how those skills will benefit your customer.


Paragraph 2 – This is the place to talk about your organization – but in a thought-leadership way, not a product centric way. Talk about what your company brings to the table. Include your experience with the products or services your organization provides, and the benefit that your customers have seen by choosing to use your product or services.


Are you seeing the pattern here? It all relates back to how you are able to help your customer or potential customer.


Paragraph 3 – In this paragraph you can talk about your personal and professional passions. If you really, really enjoy brainstorming solutions to problems, or if you get excited about walking side-by-side with a customer to help them achieve their goals, talk about that. If you have a hobby or interest that you feel comfortable sharing, feel free to talk about it here. I’ve seen people talk about wind-surfing or classic cars or astronomy and it truly adds a human element to their profiles. This allows your customer to feel that much closer to you before they even talk to you.


Paragraph 4 – More of a call-to-action than a paragraph, this line is really to let your customer know how to connect with you. It can be any of a combination or all of “Connect with me on LinkedIn, Follow me on Twitter, phone me @ XXX, email me @ XXX”. However you feel most comfortable is the way to go here.

A lot of people struggle with this part of their LinkedIn profile. It is a complete shift in mind-set around how to talk about yourself on LinkedIn. One of the important points to remember is that as a Sales Exec or Business Development Exec, your LinkedIn profile is no longer your on-line resume. It is a showcase of who you are and how you and your experience can benefit your customer.


Take your time, jot down points that you want to include, and then pull them all together into paragraph format. It takes a little bit of effort to make that mindset shift, but once you do, you'll reap the benefits.

listen beyonce.gif

So you’re already familiar with Social Listening and how it benefits you; if you’re not, click here to start your social listening journey.

Here are the next action steps to become a social listening advocate:

1. Spend ten minutes to build a keyword bank

A keyword bank is useful to document your frequent searches/areas of interest. For
instance, when you have new projects/leads, you can go through your keyword
list to facilitate your research. Tools like HootSuite and Talkwalker would
keep a database of your keywords. Talkwalker would also update you when a
keyword in your database is mentioned online.


  1. Think like a customer/competitor when you create your list
  2. Ask yourself: what do I want to know about my customer
    • Social listening isn’t about Googling readily available information but it’s about
      getting to know your customers on a more personal level
  3. Click here for a more detailed guide to create your keyword list


2. Spend 30 minutes at least 3 times per week for social media monitoring using the keyword bank that you’ve created.

This is the main action item of your social listening journey. If you’re not motivated to
use these tools yet, you can familiarize yourself by monitoring something of
interest (e.g. college football, Miley Cyrus, Darfur, etc.); Once you’ve found
an opportunity where social listening can really help, you’d be adept at using
the tools to your advantage already.

Here are the possible social listening tools that you can use:


3. Read on Social Listening and share articles that you interest you.  

    1. You can start by sharing this article so that your LinkedIn connections can kick-start their social listening
    2. Here are three articles that influenced me to start social listening:

This article is part of a series of three:

First article

Third article

I often get asked - "I know I need to update my LinkedIn profile, but where do I start?" Well, here is my answer. The tips listed here are really the most basic things to change about your profile, to make it more professional. LinkedIn is a social business network after all, and your aim should be to present your professional persona in the best possible way.  Below are my top five tips on how to build a profile that engages customers, and helps them understand how you can enable them to achieve their business objectives. There are lots of things you can do to build an amazing profile, but these are the top five items that need to be addressed. In the coming weeks, I’ll address how you can build an All-Star profile!


When your customer or potential customer looks at your LinkedIn profile, they want to see someone who is a) professional and human and b) able to help them solve their business problems. When you first built your LinkedIn profile, you likely built it as your online resume, documenting your current and previous roles, and potentially you built it to attract recruiters. As a socially enabled sales professional, the purpose of our LinkedIn profile has changed, and we need to adapt the look and feel of the profile to accommodate that purpose.


Here are the five tips to polish your LinkedIn profile;


1) Professional photo – This should be a professional style headshot – head and shoulders only. Wearing professional clothing – business attire for men and women. Avoid casual stances, settings such as a bar or other non-professional setting, busy backgrounds, pets or other people in the shot, poor lighting etc.


2) Name – Use the name you introduce yourself as – Mike vs Michael, Bill vs William, it makes it easier for your customer to find you.


3) Headline – this is the line just under your name at the top of your profile. Your headline should describe what you do and the value you bring, without stating your title. For example – use Business Process Consultant, instead of Senior Account Executive. You can also add in keywords here that are related to your area of expertise – Cloud, Analytics, Retail, whatever that might be for you. When anyone searches on LinkedIn, the search engines only search name, headline and location, so you need your headline to be very strategic. Using value-added words such as "enabling" or "driving", transformation" etc. all add to the engagement level of your headline.


4) Contact Information – Your 1st degree connections can see your direct contact information, and everyone else can see your Twitter, WeChat and Website links. In order to make it easy for your connections to reach out to you, I would recommend including your business email, your phone number and address. I would also suggest including your Twitter handle (and any other social media handles you have professionally), your phone number, and the link to any publications you have (blogs etc). A QUICK TIP: When adding websites, if you choose "Other" from the drop-down box, you have the opportunity to modify the text for the hyperlink, and can make it a call-to-action "Learn more about ABC" or "View a demo".


5) Summary – This is the part that will take you a bit longer to modify. Essentially, you want to build your summary in a “customer-centric” way instead of “you-centric”. It is no longer about you and your accomplishments; it is about what you can bring to the table as a representative of your company or business, which will benefit your customer. Look for the next blog post that details how to build a strategically sound summary.

If you address these five areas of your profile, you will be well on your way to an All-Star profile on LinkedIn. The next blog will go into details around building a great customer-centric summary.


Please reach out with any questions!  I am happy to help you build your new "customer-centric" profile!  I can be easily found on LinkedIn - Kirsten Boileau

Social Listening Pic.gif

Social media listening or social media monitoring is a
data-mining process to identify and assess what people are talking about. Going
through all the information/data can be a daunting task, so here are 3 easy
tips to start your social listening journey:


1. Start with the objectives / goals:

Social listening is one of the strategies to fulfill your
customers’ desires before they have the desire for it. Through
monitoring their social media activities, we can find out their interests and
complaints that wouldn’t seem relevant to us at first; However, if we aggregate
the data collected, and then carve out the trends that we see, we can quickly
respond to those findings.

For instance, a lot of people are complaining about their
morning commute to work; however, working from home reduces the instantaneous collaboration
and human interactions that an office environment provides; maybe it’s high time
for a seamless holographic communication technology which allows employees to
have a more personal interaction with their colleagues.


Here are some questions you could ask yourself when
detailing out your goals:

  1. Who do you need to persuade?
  2. What do you want them to do differently/better
    than what they do today?
  3. Why aren’t they doing what you’d like them to
  4. What are their interests/complaints/pet peeves?
  5. How would you want social listening to benefit


2. Improve your social media accounts/personal brand:


Social listening is about being able to quickly respond to
what you’re listening to. If you don’t have a professional, well-built social
media account, your customers may not believe that the account is legitimate.
Improving your social media accounts is easy and takes less than 30 minutes for
each social media. Here’s a quick guide on improving your LinkedIn profile.


3. Get familiar with at least one free social media listening tool:


Social media listening tools are designed to be
user-friendly enough that you’d utilize it every day. However, using too many
tools at once can be overwhelming; so, just start with one social media
monitoring tool that you’re comfortable with. My favorites are:


  1. TalkWalker
    • Gives you alerts on articles / mentions of the
      keywords that you want to monitor – it could be anything from the name of your
      customers/company to the specific topics that you’re interested in (e.g. Social
      Listening, Lead Generation, etc.)
  2. SocialMention
    • It works like Google search, so it’s apt for
      quick searches without a database of your past searches. This tool organizes
      your search results based on the source (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, etc.), so you
      can get in touch with the social media user personally.
  3. HootSuite
    • Aggregates all your social media accounts under
      one platform for easier monitoring of all your accounts.


This article is the first in a series of three:

Second article

Third article

Are you looking for a new job or a promotion? Are you expecting to change jobs or careers before you retire? Could you possibly get laid off?


If your answer to any of these questions is "yes", are you prepared?


According to the JobVite “Report on the Social Job Seeker”, in 2012, "69% of employed Americans were actively seeking or open to a new job. 88% of all job seekers had at least one social networking profile; 64% had two profiles and 44% had three.”


So it comes as no surprise that recruiters are turning to social media to fill jobs. A study from Software Advice confirms that Social Media Dominates Recruiting Channels.

  Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 11.48.48 AM.png

At first glance, it might seem unrelated to social media that employee referrals still have the highest probably to result in hiring. But there is a connection: to get a referral: you need a good reputation and it helps to have “paid-it-forward”. Aka: build a network before you need it. How can you do that?


Build Your Own Brand


One important avenue is social media. Social media gives you the opportunity to build your own brand, to establish yourself as a qualified resource, maybe even a thought leader, in your area of expertise.


A good example is http://timoelliott.com/blog/Timo Elliott, a business intelligence thought leader at SAP. Timo Elliott has built his own brand as a BI expert: he has a popular website, a blog and active social presence on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus. Timo is respected  inside of SAP, as well as by partners and clients.

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 11.35.11 AM.png

Timo has, what I call, a portable brand. If Timo decided to leave SAP, it would be easy for him to find another job.


Of course, this is not only due to his social media presence, but it plays an important part; a part that requires a strategy and diligent execution. Do you have one?


5 Steps to Creating Your Brand

  1. Identity: Decide who you want to be (on social media). What is your goal? Who is your audience? What type of content will you share?
  2. Profile: Write a 100-word-bio and condense it to 160 characters. Use this “business card” on all your social channels.
  3. Audience: Fish where the fish are. Use (free) reports to identify which channels your target audience uses (e.g. Pew Research Center).
  4. Content: How and what do you like to create? If you like to write, a blog might be a good idea. If you dislike writing, maybe you enjoy creating videos or Infographics? Pick something you enjoy as content creation will require your ongoing commitment.
  5. Consistency: Engage regularly, at a minimum: post 1-2 tweets a day; 1 LinkedIn status update a day, one blog a week. Tools like Bufferapp let you queue up content as you read it (via a browser extension). Add your own insights before sharing to add value; don't just amplify.


The Top 5 Social Platforms for Career Management


1. LinkedIn

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 10.44.32 AM.png

    • You can't afford not to be on this professional network if you work in the B2B space. . It’s the place where people go to get a virtual first impression of you. First impressions matter. Make it a good one.
    • It’s key to have a (good) picture, meaning the picture actually is in focus and fits the space LinkedIn provides. If you don't have a picture, it undermines trust. Why would someone connect with you, share their identity, if you are hiding yours?
    • Complete your profile. Be creative in the line right below your name – it’s a branding opportunity. Instead of posting a job title, you could say things like “Marketing Executive” or “Sales Representative with $40m revenue a year”.
    • Your background summary is one of the most important parts on your LI profile. It’s your chance to position yourself as a leader, team player, expert etc.  If you are looking for a promotion or a new job, write the summary in a way that positions your experience as the ideal candidate for the opportunity you are seeking (without lying). This summary tells other people how you see yourself. Did you single-handedly turn around the last company you worked for or are you a team player with a mission? Don't come across as narcissist but don't undersell yourself either.
    • You need recommendations. Third party endorsements are much more credible than what you say about yourself. Offer people bullets on what to write if they are too busy. Also, pay-it-forward: be generous in your praise for those you respect and recommend them. And don't do it because you expect them to reciprocate.
    • Add (changing) content to your summary section and add projects that show engagement beyond your current job scope.
    • Join relevant groups and participate in one or two regularly, building trust. Recruiters, employers, and peers will notice you.
    • If you get offered to blog on LinkedIn, and like writing, go for it! #SEO


Here a Google HOA video with Kristina Jaramillo: Three Tips to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile.


2. Twitter

    1. Have a (good) picture and background picture. Check on your mobile device that they display well on the app.
    2. Have a profile description. Who are you? What will you tweet about? Why should I follow you?
    3. Add a URL to your blog, LinkedIn profile or other relevant page to your profile..
    4. Follow potential employers and recruiters. Follow individuals at brands you target for job to build personal ties. Follow influential people at your current job, if you are looking for a promotion.
    5. Use Twitter to connect with peers to build your thought leader brand, stay on top of trends and learn about jobs at other companies.


Read this blog to learn How Twitter uses Twitter for Recruiting.


3. Blogs

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 11.52.29 AM.png

    1. If you are serious about establishing yourself as a thought leader, your blog will be your crown jewel. It will demonstrate your expertise and provide original content for your social activity. Syndicate your blog to reach a wider audiences, changing the blog title.
    2. Blogs are easily discovered by recruiters and future employers, as well as help raise your profile at your current job; not least because of the reputation and engagement you create with prospects and clients in your industry.


4. Branded and Internal Communities

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 11.46.30 AM.png

    1. As SAP Community Network (SCN) members know, SCN is a great way to connect with the SAP ecosystem: SAP customers, employees, partners, and analysts answer and ask questions, learn, share and network. People share real-world relevant content, not theory.
    2. Active SCN members who have built a good reputation can become SAP Mentors (providing access to the “SAP inner circle”) and it’s not unusual for them to get approached with job offers.
    3. Paying-it-forward is always a good strategy! And when you help others, you usually learn yourself. That makes you better at your job.
    4. Similarly, company internal communities can help raise your profile at your job. By sharing best practices and industry expertise with your colleagues, you first of all put yourself on the map, but also gain a reputation as an expert and team player. Soon, people will think of you when they need certain expertise and your value rises.


5. Google Plus

    1. Fill in your “About” page diligently to tip Google search results in your favor.
    2. Use Google Hangout On Air (HOA) to record interviews with experts  to fuel your social media activity.
    3. While Google+, like Twitter, allows you to connect with relevant people and brands, I find, the most rewarding engagement on G+ happens in communities. A G+ group I participate in puts on member-hosted HOAs regularly, on topics that bubble up in the community as “knowledge gaps”.

Stay Current. Stay Employable.


Beyond simply being found by recruiters and building your own brand, there is one more reason why social media needs to be part of your career tool kit: you can't afford to let your skills obsolete in the age of digital transformation.


Let me borrow the words of Ray Wang of Constellation Research to explain:


  • “Forget millennials, Gen-X, Gen-Y, baby boomers and others. How we communicate, the values we share, and how we interact with technology stem from our digital proficiency.
  • Digital disruption is more than just a technology shift. It’s about transforming business models and how organizations engage.
  • We must invest in digital artisans. Concurrently, a market will develop for those who can spread the digital business gospel and infuse digital artistry into organizations."


Last, before you set out on your digital career management journey, be sure to set clear and measurable goals. Focus and put quality over quantity!

If you have questions, please post them below. I’d also like to hear about your own experience in using social media for you career management.


Further Reading:

This blog attempts to answer the following questions:


  1. As an individual, can you take control of your social identity?
  2. As a brand, are you collecting the right amount of data?


Let's start with some facts:

The eMarketer report Marketers Scramble to Unscramble Customer Data found that:

“77% of US digital media and marketing professionals increased their data collection process over the past year.”


But while digital marketers are collecting as much data as possible to better personalize and target brand messages, consumers are getting increasingly concerned about their privacy and identity theft.

What Does the Term Social Identity Mean?

In their report, “Leveraging Social Identities”, Charlene Li and Andrew Jones of Altimeter Group define the term social identity and explain how relevant data can be collected so brands can build 1:1 relationships.


Social Identity:

  • Personal Profile Data
  • Social Activity


Capturing Social Identity

The slide below lists ways to capture social identities sorted by the increasing level of difficulty:


The Lure of the Social Sign-On


If you are like me, you like the convenience of logging in with your Twitter or LinkedIn account – called social sign-on – when the opportunity presents itself; so that you don’t have to remember yet another password.


Mobile devices like cell phones and tablets – which generally have smaller screens - have accelerated the social sign-on trend; particularly for apps.


As of Q2 2014, Facebook is the clear leader in social sign-ons:

Chart by Orpha Buena via PopHerald.com; data from Gigya.com.


Social sign-ons are great news for marketers, as the convenience they offer can increase registrations and other (potential) buyer engagement in marketing campaigns.


The social sign-on information can then be used to match individuals with existing records in a CRM system to create more complete personas. As a result, marketing messages can become even more relevant in regards to product, place, promotion, and even price.


  • Consumers will appreciate that they receive less spam and more personalized communications. Or at least that is the nirvana.
  • Consumers may not appreciate, giving away so much personal data. Examples of hackers targeting brands include the theft of 40 million credit card details from Target and the blackmail of Domino’s Pizza, where hackers threatened “to release account information of over 600,000 customers”.


When I brought up the topic with my husband, CTO at security start up Lookingglass Cyber Solutions, he said: “I would NEVER use social sign-on”.


What If (Only) You Owned Your Data?

A number of startups offer to help you own your social identity by storing it in a single place and then letting you decide how much of it you’d like to share. Depending on the amount of data you are sharing (with brands), you will be compensated. In effect, the startup is brokering your data. They include:



”Did you know that companies spend over $2 billion a year in the US alone to buy personal data from data brokers? But when was the last time you got a check in the post for the information about you that is being sold?”


“For too long, your data has lined the pockets of just about everyone except you. Datacoup helps you aggregate, package and sell your personal data. Finally, you can earn money and peace of mind from your data.”


Who should control your digital soul? Cookie Monsters, Identity Thieves, Big Brother or You?”


“I think people are just starting to realize that these large companies are acting as silos and that making ‘us’ the product is a form of digital feudalism.”

~ Katryna Dow, CEO, Meeco (The Rise of the Personal Data Marketplace.)


Forgive Me For Being Confused

How does centralizing and selling your data yourself prevent the existing data brokers from continuing to collect and sell your social identity?


  • How does it prevent unauthorized data brokers from filling in the gaps in your social identity, with the information you have chosen not to share?
  • Why would I trust some company with my (aggregated) social identity data? How can they guarantee to protect it?


It seems that never has there been a bigger incentive and clearer target for a hacker who wants to steal your identity.

These new startups seem to position themselves as altruistic privacy defenders when in fact they are out to make a buck on your social identity; albeit with your consent.


If I got this wrong, I'd like to hear the defense, please!

The other BIG question is: would consumers actually provide accurate information?


  • Would they not try to set up fake identities to increase the amount of money they could earn?
  • What is their incentive to provide information that is correct (apart from avoiding getting spammed)?




The solution MIT suggests is for you to own your own data and to share only code instead of data.


They admit to some unresolved challenges, but as Dirk Helbing, professor of sociology at ETH Zurich puts it: “I don’t see another way of making big data compatible with constitutional rights and human rights.”

Example: “Instead of you sending data to Pandora, for Pandora to define what your musical preferences are, it’s Pandora sending a piece of code to you for you to define your musical preferences and send it back to them.”

As openPDS is currently in beta testing, the jury is still out on the long-term viability of this approach.


What is the Solution?

Unfortunately, there is no simple solution to protecting your social identity. Even if you were completely disconnected (and that means not even having a mobile phone), there would most probably still be information available about you online (e.g. pictures you are tagged in).


  • As a consumer, the most promising approach, I believe, is to minimize the amount of data you share (e.g. avoid social sign-ons). You can also sign up for services like LifeLock, or set up alerts to be informed of any transaction on your bank account. Constant monitoring is one of the most effective approaches so you can take corrective action quickly.
  • For brands, the question is at what point collecting data to personalize the consumer’s experience is adversely impacted by the consumer’s concern for their privacy.


As the example How Target figured out a girl was pregnant before her father did proves, if consumers feel that Big Brother is watching they "get creeped out".


So What is the Right Balance?

Treat your clients like you would want to be treated: Give them reason to trust you. Be transparent. Be honest.


I like how BenjaminPring of Cognizant put it during a recent # Tweetchat:


“Tell your customers what you know about them.“

That sounds like a good start.


Without a doubt, there is a need to redefine the role of the marketer for the digital age. But that's not sufficient. Digital is not limited to marketing, change has to originate from the C-Suite to actively lead the transformation to the social business.


CDO Report by Peter Kim, Constellation Research The Case for the CDO


A good contribution to the topic is the report The Case for the Chief Digital Officer (free download) by Ex-Constellation Researcher Peter Kim, who - interestingly -  has since become CDO  at Cheil Worldwide. Talk about defining your own role. Peter argues that the CDO needs to be separate from the CMO and CIO role to bridge the gap between marketing and IT. Reporting directly to the CEO, the CDO, will be  responsible for digital disruption by driving a "digital-first mindset". The report quotes Benny Landa, who predicted in the 90s that "everything that can be digital will be digital".  As this appears to be correct, businesses now have to figure out how to leverage "digital" to create customer value or risk being left behind.

Code Halos

Code Halos by Cognizant

This view fits in with the world described in the book Code Halos by Cognizant:

"Every digital click, swipe, "like," buy, comment, and search produces a unique virtual identity – something we call a Code Halo™. While Code Halos are important to each of us, they are becoming increasingly vital to the success of every business."

According to CodeHalos, for a business to create a winning solution:

  • A supporting business model is crucial.
  • "If it costs more than $50 and you can't eat it, put a Code Halo around it".


Beyond the Case for the CDO Since Peter Kim's report about the CDO, Ray Wang, Founder of Constellation Research, has evolved the concept in line with the Code Halos model.

For the Slideshare deck, Seven Design Rules for Digital Transformation and Digital Business, Ray chose the unambiguous sub-title "More than a Chief Digital Officer, we need Digital CXO's":



Here the Abbreviated 7 Rules that Explain Why a CXO is Needed:

"Rule 1:

  • Digital disruption is more than just a technology shift.  It’s about transforming business models and how organizations engage.  The goal is to create transformational business models.

Rule 2:

  • We move from selling products and services to keeping brand promises. Time to market, pricing, and product differentiation are not enough in a digital world.  .

Rule 3:

  • Forget millenials, Gen-X, Gen-Y, baby boomers and others.  How we communicate, the values we share, and how we interact with technology stem from our digital proficiency.

Rule 4:

  • Data is the foundation of digital business. Every touch point, every click, every digital exhaust is relevant insight.

Rule 5:

  • If 20 % of your revenue is not an insight stream by 2020, you won’t have a digital biz model.

Rule 6:

  • You need more than a CDO to infuse digital into your organization. You need a broad bench of Digital CXO’s.

Rule 7:

  • We must invest in digital artisans. Concurrently, a market will develop for  those who can spread the digital business gospel and infuse digital artistry into organizations."

Read Ray's full post with more great insights here.

LIVE EVENT With Ray Wang

Ray Wang, Constellation Research


If you are in Silicon Valley on August 11th, you'll have the chance to see Ray present this information himself. Demystifying Digital Transformation: Do We All Need CDO's? will be hosted by the SVForum Marketing & Social Media SIG at Detati Digital in Sunnyvale.

Register here.


"Ray will break down the forces driving digital disruption, the new business models emerging, and the role of the CDO or CDO-like figures in digital business." A special thanks to Ray, for allowing me to use his firm's research in this blog.

Ray is a great analyst as well as a kind and supportive spirit!

Further Reading:

When it comes to social media and B2B, one of the most important things you can do is listen.  Actually, I think this concept applies to a lot of different areas of life!  We can learn so much, and gain invaluable trust when we truly listen to what our customers are saying. 


Let’s start with the fundamentals.  No matter whether you are in marketing or sales, understanding what your customer is interested in, what their pains and
challenges are, and how they like to consume information is critical to engaging your audience.  So how do you get inside their head?  In the past, many
organizations have conducted surveys, or held customer advisory council meetings, or mainly tried to call or visit a potential customer.  Today, we have an incredible tool at our disposal called Social Media. 


I’m sure you’ve heard and seen all of the staggering statistics around the use of social media in business, so I won’t go into those details.  However, today I’d like to illustrate how one of the most valuable aspects of social media often gets ignored, and that is social listening. 


“Social listening” is the act of following, reading, understanding, and gaining valuable insight from, your target’s online or social presence.  Social listening is one of the first steps in a social selling strategy.  Understanding your customers helps you to engage them early in the buying cycle, and have a greater chance of being part of the close of the sale. 


Social listening can be done through many sources.  Today I am going to focus on the two most common sources, Twitter and LinkedIn.  By reading something as static as their LinkedIn profile or following something as dynamic as their Twitter feed, it is possible to gain valuable information from
these sources.


Why is this information important though?  What could you possibly gain from following someone’s Twitter feed?  Don’t people usually just tweet sports scores or celebrity stunts?  While you might think nothing could be gained from following those kinds of posts, there is actually lots to be learned about
a person with that kind of information. 


By following a Twitter feed, you can learn that someone is a sports lover or wine connoisseur, if they follow current events, or if they are into travelling.  All of this information can be very valuable when you start building a relationship.  This knowledge could help you to initiate a Twitter conversation which could open you to a LinkedIn connection request, and potentially a sale.  I know of a real-life example where a target contact tweeted a lot about loving wine, and
trying out new wine bars in her city.  The rep did a little digging and research and found a new wine bar that she hadn’t yet tried.  He tweeted to her about this new wine bar, and through a few different conversations, that tweet turned into a meeting and a 350K deal.  Listening is very important!


While reviewing a profile posted on LinkedIn, LinkedIn actually helps you sift through the information that you are reading.   By providing you with points of commonality with a potential client or colleague it might be discovered that you both attended the same school, or worked at the same company in the past.  One of my favorites is being members of the same LinkedIn “group”.  I find groups the most valuable because this type of information is dynamic, based in the present, instead of the past.  If you are part of the same group on LinkedIn, you can really target your interaction within this group to gain an in-depth understanding of the topics that your target contact is interested in and what their pains and challenges are.


Through following both a contact’s Twitter feed, and reviewing their LinkedIn profile – especially their status updates, you can also get an understanding of how they like to consume information.  Do they read (and share) blogs, or do they share articles from trusted business publications?  This kind of information is valuable because it will help you to target your own sharing.  Will you source news and industry articles or will you research and share interesting, current blogs, or perhaps write your own?  The more you know about your target, the better you will be able to share information that will be relevant, educational
and interesting for them.  That is what gets their attention, and begins to build that relationship before ever having reached out to them directly.  When you
have built a relationship without reaching out, you have a much better chance of actually connecting with them when you do reach out.  Going back to my wine bar example, because the rep had built a relationship with the target contact before reaching out directly (through phone or email) he was successful when he actually did reach out.


Relationships are built on trust, and you build trust with your contacts when you truly listen to what they are saying about themselves and their situations.  How many of you have gone into a customer meeting and tried to pitch your product, solution or service without really having an understanding of the customer’s business needs?  I’m going to bet it didn’t go very well.  Customers respond incredibly well when you can go into a meeting armed with information about their business needs, and tailor your message directly for them.  By using this amazing tool of social media, you have an even better chance of tailoring your message. 


All in all, social media is a very powerful tool and can be utilized in many ways.  Don’t forget to listen though, as it can be the most valuable aspect of your social selling strategy.


Some people ask me ‘what is the best social media tool for me as a business that is B2B focused?’

What you do is simple! You sell to other businesses, so this is pretty clear.

The network that was created for business purposes which over 3.5 million Australian managers and professionals have joined.

This platform is all about business networking. Haven’t figured it out yet? It’s LinkedIn.

There are plenty of social media channels that cater to different needs and could be considered more B2C but these also need to be considered such as Facebook and Twitter but LinkedIn is the one you want to get cracking on first.

Many will ask why not Facebook or Twitter? There are over 6 times as much traffic and people on these types of sites but are purely here for all things social.

Another major factor could be that we socialites on Facebook and Twitter don’t like to be thrown sales messages at us constantly. We probably react badly when these come up on our news feeds.

This could actually damage your reputation more than promote it and that is the last thing you would want from the get go.

The most powerful tool for B2B connecting is LinkedIn. Groups, Communities, Managers and Professional gather together in one area to share conversations and common goals. This is where you want to, need to be.

What are your thoughts on the best B2B social media channel? I'd love to hear your experiences with LinkedIn.

This blog was first published on PSDNetwork, the site that helps women make decisions on their start-ups, leadership, and management. I provide exclusive content to PSDNetwork monthly (this blog is an exception) and encourage you to visit their site for good content by many excellent writers.

Is Social Media Dead?

Grave Stone.jpg


At a recent conference, a friend and I had to admit that we were bored by the social media discussions. It seemed that nothing fundamentally new had happened in a while. Same old, same old. Or at least that’s how we feel, as we “do” social media for a living. This led us into a conversation about where social media is headed. There seems to be a great divide between businesses that are heavily invested in social media (examples: SAP, Cisco, eBay) and companies that are scraping the bottom. Even inside the enlightened companies, there are social proficient employees (often this is their job) and those who are still trying to learn what a hashtag is (their boss told them to “get with social media”).

What does this mean?

Let’s take a step back.

Social media is dead. Or rather, social media used in isolation is dead."

Point in case: Marketing: While no company has a “VP of Email Marketing”, there are plenty with a “VP of Social Media”. Isn’t it about time to roll in social media with marketing communications, PR, and Analyst Relations?Yes, the important term here is: Integrated Marketing. Social media in isolation makes no sense.


Is this a good enough solution? No.

Social media is dead. The Social Business is alive; or should be (and I don't like shoulds). In the age of inbound marketing, the traditional marketing model is no longer working.


Old days:


Client A purchased a product and that was usually the last he/she heard of Company B. If the product was good, Client A told a few friends. If the product was bad, Client A told a lot of people.




Client A purchases product and expects to stay in ongoing contact with Company B.

  • If the product is good, Client A might rate it online (e.g. Amazon) and tell her/his friends on Facebook or Instagram about the good experience.
  • If Client A LOVES the product, he/she will go to great lengths to let their online network know.
  • If the product is bad, Client A will let Company B know – via Twitter or Facebook etc. Client A will also let their entire online social network know that they are unhappy at the same time. Client A expects to receive a response from Company B to their complaint. If Company B does not respond, Client A will get even more upset and continue to voice their displeasure online.


Find out what this means for your business by reading the rest of this blog on PSDNetwork.



About PSDNetwork


PSDNetwork is committed to being the first place women turn to make start-up, leadership, and management decisions. Patti Fletcher and Heather Boggini founded PSDNetwork with a passion for the women who are transforming the world around them. The founders have an unwavering commitment to provide highly motivated women with tools and access to achieve their next big thing.

PSDNetwork blogs, video, articles and podcasts deliver concrete advice to navigate the sometimes complex and confusing milestones of growth that intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs face.


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