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Social Media and Social Networks

205 Posts

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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What is Growth Hacking? Is it a must do activity for your business or a "bubble term" that is misused?


Find the answers in this OnDemand roundtable with innovators from Chartcube, Hootsuite, and Qualaroo; including Sean Ellis, who coined the term #GrowthHacker.


Access the OnDemand event here.


#GrowthHacking Panel on BrightTalk

The Panelists




#GrowthHacking Webinar Highlights

Engagement is the holy grail in social media marketing. However, while everybody is talking about it, few do it well.

Buzz words like content marketing, mobile marketing and WOM distract many-a-marketer from what really matters: reaching business objectives.


Find out how to engage your community with a purpose at the Social Shake-Up 2014, in Atlanta.


The panel I am honored to moderate:

The Importance of Being Purposeful - How to Maintain Community Engagement,

features some of the sharpest minds in social business marketing:


Social Shake Up Community Panel

What to expect from this panel:

As a marketer, your end goal is to help your company sell more products and services. To reach this goal, you are tasked to influence the market.


  • Social media marketing is neither a past time nor should it be a loss item. To do your job, you have to be clear on your goals and then strategically plan their execution.
  • Community engagement is not a goal in itself but part of a strategy that supports your business goals, whether that is to create loyalty, save money or create revenue.


On this panel, brand leaders from Adobe, Hootsuite, and Polycomwill share their first-hand experience in

  • setting SMART goals
  • creating strategies that foster community engagement
  • leveraging influencers
  • generating content that supports your goals
  • finding and using tools and creating reports that help you succeed
  • selling social media inside your company (keyword: social business)
  • leveraging internal and external communities for goal-achievement
  • avoiding pitfalls and false advice
  • owned, earned and paid social media.


I will be moderating this panel with my distinguished peers and hope to see you at the event.


Feel free to connect with us on Twitter ahead of time: @JeanetteG, @MariaPoveromo, @Petra1400, @NaThomson


Like most in-person events, networking is the most crucial and valuable take away, and the Social Shake-Up has the "who-is-who" in social media from Silicon Valley and the rest of the country. Don't miss out.  It's one of the best social media events around.

Where:  Social Shake-Up, Atlanta

What: The Importance of Being Purposeful - How to Maintain Community Engagement

When: September 16, 2014 at 3:15 PM

I believe that Enterprise Social Networks will gain more and more importance over time. Either ERP software may see, in the future, a social layer as a fundamental building block.


But this is the future.


At the present time, there is a wide offering of Enterprise Social Products, SAP among them. But, if you look at whitepapers, webinars and other promotional material, the common theme is "how to get engagement". Yes, because a Social Networks left "alone", struggles to gain attention and to engage users in content creation.

(This is a reason because I imagine an increasingly strong integration of ERP with Social).


The real step forward will happen when all the interaction among users (within the Company borders) and with people outside the Company, will happen across the Social layer. Examples? Mail.


I have been impressed by the increasing commercial activity of Microsoft, that is increasingly competing with Google on a new generation of Office/Collaboration cloud-based platforms. More details on my last public blog.


Immagine per social_01.jpg

In my view, this competition will shift when one of the two will "revert the order", pushing it's Social layer at the center of the offering.


By now, in my role of IT management, I look at what happens...


What about you?

It’s true: “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure”.


I have an addiction and it’s called “yerdling”. I blame Jeremiah Owyang of CrowdCompanies.

He introduced me to Yerdle during a presentation on the #Collaborative Economy.


So what is this Collaborative Economy and – what the heck – is Yerdle?

Cute Item on Yerdle


1. The Collaborative Economy

This “trend” has been a long time coming but was finally given a name that has gained a lot of traction.The term encompasses three societal developments:

  1. The Sharing Economy (aka The “Peer-to-Peer” Economy
  2. The Maker Movement (or “Maker Culture”)
  3. The Co-Innovation Movement


In her March 2014 Fast Company article, Ariel Schwartz writes: The Collaborative Economy Is Exploding, And Brands That Ignore It Are Out Of Luck.

Rides, houses, power tools: You can share almost anything today, and the number of people sharing is growing every day. If you're a company that only sells to consumers and doesn't help them share, you may want to rethink your plans.”


The article also presents some nicely visualized statistics.

The Highest Form of Loyalty is Shared Destiny


For an introduction to the Collaborative Economy, I recommend this Slideshare deck by Jeremiah Owyang that took me down the path of Yerdling (disclaimer: read at your own risk):


Here Five Nuggets:
  1. "Sharing is the new buying”. It saves money, creates an experience, and is efficient.
  2. Societal and cultural changes like social media have paved the way. Examples are the Dollar Shave Club that proves that any product can be a service, or #UberTree. Yes, there's an app for that, even for your X-mas tree.Or outsource your clothing choices with Trunk Club.
  3. New technology is opening up new business opportunities. Example: Google & Uber are competing in the area of shipping (watch out Amazon). Smartphones and other existing tools are enablers.
  4. Sustainability is a driver (but not the main one): See the Patagonia & eBay Common Threads initiative provide a used clothing marketplace.
  5. "The highest form of loyalty is shared destiny”, says Jeremiah. Example: The UHaul Investors Club provides UHaul with capital, while generating customer profits and commitment. Or check out Lending Clubs as a way to avoid banks.


Yerdle HomePage

What are the Limits of Sharing?


While tweeting during Jeremiah’s presentation, I was followed by a Twitter account called @GetPitStop; byline: "Share Your Restroom".

Personally, I find this concept has taken it “a toilet too far” but it shows you that there seem to be no limits to what can be shared.


On September 8, 2014, Jeremiah will talk about the Collaborative Economy live at the SVForum Marketing & Social Media SIG in Silicon Valley.


Yerdle Image 2. Yerdle


Yerdle is a cell phone app. Yes, they have a website, but to barter properly, you really have to go to the app on your phone (unfortunately, there is no iPad version, but the iPhone app works on the iPad; my Android friends say app functionality is limited).

Free Online Shopping: True or False?


Let’s face it, I’ve spent quite a bit of time lately looking for packaging materials, printing shipping labels and packing Yerdle items. I’ve also spent money purchasing tape, and have taken various detours to drop off packages at FedEx boxes. And, of course, I’ve been paying for shipping for the “stuff” I yerdled. Free?

Purchasing aka Bartering

So how does Yerdle work? (Or “yerdling” as I call it; even though my husband finds that me using this verb bi-directionally is confusing. When I say I am “yerdling” something, he asks “does that mean you are getting an item or getting rid of one?” It makes sense to me, as in my native language German, there is also only a single word for “lend” and “borrow”. Context, baby.)


Yerdle starts you off with 250 points to spend. To stay in the game though, you will have to generate more points. You can spend your points by “purchasing” items posted on Yerdle. Items either have a minimum price (or zero price) or a “get it now price” or both.In either case, you can start by making an offer or if there is a “get it now” price – you guessed it – get it now.


Yerdle Monster Orange

Selling aka Posting

You can post your own stuff on the site with up to four pictures, a title, description, category and your desired minimum price, “get it now price” or neither. It all happens on your phone and is very simple. If you have a minimum price set, that might be all you will get for your item. If it’s a popular item, people will bid higher: either up to your “get it now price” = there’s a winner; or, if there is no “get it now price”, a bidding war might ensue and you’ll reap tons of points.


As you can tell, you have to contemplate your pricing strategy if you want to maximize your profits aka points. You don’t have that problem if you just want to get rid of some old junk and make somebody happy. Items stay up for 4 days or until “purchased” (whatever comes first). Yerdle will repost your item automatically, once. You can edit posted item prices after posting.

Yerdle Shipping or Pick Up


When you post an item, you also communicate what the winner will need to pay for shipping. Options: small envelope ($2), small box ($3), or medium box ($4). You can also allow local pick up. Personally, I never choose pick up; too close for comfort. Plus, the site has US-wide Yerdlers. Yerdle also allows drop off at their offices in San Francisco so a Yerdle winner can pick up. Would be interesting to know how frequently that happens. I’ve lately seen sofas and other larger items posted where this would make sense.

Here the brilliant part:

  • To pay for shipping of an item you “won”, you simply log into your Amazon account. Choose your address. Pay. Done.
  • If you have to ship, Yerdle will email you a label as soon as your “client” has paid for shipping. Print it, cut it out, put it on the package; drop at a FedEx box.



The Yerdle support people remind me of Zappos and other places with fun and friendly service. They call themselves the "Happiness Team" and despite having a small staff have always responded fairly quickly to me. Lately, some items have disappeared from my account, but I think that’s because Yerdle helped me merge two accounts that I set up by mistake (I logged in with Google+ AND Facebook).


Yerdle is the new shopping

So What's the Big Draw?


While my husband keeps shaking his head as a flurry of small packages continues to arrive at our house, I’ve tried to put my finger on exactly why I like Yerdle so much.

Preliminary Finding: Yerdle Meets Three of my First World "Needs":

  1. Sustainability: It’s great to get rid of your old stuff. It’s even better to give it to somebody who actually WANTS it. I call this “true recycling",
  2. Pop Culture: Browsing the postings on Yerdle is like going to a museum of life. Yerdle provides anthropological insights based on “the stuff” we own and discard; it provides sociological insights on our culture, based on how we value things (pay attention to the wording people use to market their wares), and the abundance present in our first world society.
  3. Individuality: Like at second-hand shops, the items you can find on Yerdle are often unique. Many look like they were dug out of people’s attics and basements. Sometimes you can’t help but wonder if the seller won’t regret giving them away. In a society where strip malls dominate and major brands dictate fashion trends, it’s refreshing to get access to vintage and self-made items.


Whatever the deep down reasons for my Yerdle obsession may be, I so enjoy browsing through the "What's New" items, marveling at who the people behind the item may be, and taking the occasional trip down memory lane. But most, I enjoy making my trash somebody else’s treasure (and vice versa). Screen Shot 2014-05-23 at 9.08.43 AM

I’d like to end with some food for thought:

Yerdle claims that: “80% of the items in our homes are used less than once a month, and self-storage is up 1,000% over the past 30 years. Yerdle's mission is to reduce the durable consumer goods we all need to buy by 25%. Why shop when you can share?”

Ask your burning question in the SOCIAL INTEL PODCAST!


Staying up to date with the changing demands in the field of digital and social media is difficult. How can you stay current? Luckily, Denise Holt, CEO of Social Intel, created the Social Business Helpline Podcast.

Simply call and leave your question:

  • (855) SO-TELLER or (855) 768-3553


Denise will contact one of the many experts on her podcast panel and then make the answer available in the next episode of her podcast. For reasons unknown to me, Denise has also invited me to be on the panel, so you might get an answer back from me if you call in and it's a topic that I have experience in.

If you would like a taste, check out the latest episode In the show opener, find out why Denise Holt, has dubbed her dear friend, Congressman Eric Swalwell, “The Millennial Congressman.”




Other questions in this episode are answered by Michael Brito, Chris Boudreaux, Liz Bullock, Ric Dragon and Yours Truly.


Questions include:

  • What defines quality in content, and regarding SEO and rankings, what matters to Facebook and Google in their algorithms?
  • Where do you see B2B marketers going wrong with their inbound marketing efforts?
  • There are so many advocacy platforms, how do I choose the one that’s right for my company?
  • What is your opinion regarding creating social media policies? Is it a case of less is more? Also, where do you draw the line in telling your employees what they can and can’t say through social media?
  • People keep talking about why Google+ is so important to include in your marketing campaigns. What does Google+ offer that other channels don’t?


So, if you have a question now or in the future, call in. it only takes a minute or probably less (depending on your question :-)), and pass this resource on to your friends and colleagues on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.

Simply call this number and leave your question: (855) SO-TELLER or (855) 768-3553

For more information, visit the Social Intel website.

How do social media styles differ around the world?

This is Part IV, the last part, of JC Giraldo's and my blog series where we 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?




Chantal Bechervaise, Senior Human Resources Assistant at Privy Council Office and HootSuite Ambassador


Chantal Bechervaise


1.- It’s hard to find a lot of statistics on Canada and social media usage.

  • From gathering information and doing a bit of digging I have discovered that Canadians do indeed love their social media and internet usage. I am a heavy social media user myself. (My family is always joking that I am online talking to my imaginary friends.)
  • In terms of engagement, Canada ranks as one of the top 3 countries around the world. Canadians use on average, 41 hours per month online on their computers. In a recent study conducted by Media Technology Monitor, 2 out of 3 Canadians use some sort of Social Media network.
  • Businesses in Canada are also open to social media.
  • The top three Canadian social networking sites are Facebook, Twitter and then LinkedIn. Facebook is the most popular among Canadians. The second most popular is Twitter. It will be interesting to also see how Pinterest, Vine, Google+ and other social sites begin to rank as more statistics become available.


2.- Canadians appear to love their technology and ability to connect and engage.

  • I think that our usage will continue to increase. It was just announced this week that Parks Canada will be setting up 15-20 wireless hot spots in our national parks as part of a trial run, and hopes to have 75 in the next three years. It is becoming more and more en-grained into our culture and it is here to stay.



Avtar Ram Singh, Digital Marketing Manager at Circus Social, Ogilvy & Mather

Avtar Ram Singh


1.- With internet penetration at 73%, the internet and social media is a way of life in Singapore.

  • To drive home that fact, consider this: 3.2 million of the 3.9 million people on the internet have an active Facebook account.
  • Mobile internet penetration is at 64% as well, and on average, mobile internet users spend 2 hours using mobile internet each day. Around 96% of internet users in Singapore have a social media account in some shape or form.
  • Due to the high cost of traditional marketing in Singapore, a lot of brands have shifted to social media in the last few years and have started to build a presence. Most, if not all, retail stores have a presence on social media with a fairly active following.


2.- There are two things that surprise me:

  • The first, is how high the Facebook usage in Singapore is, and second, how low the Pinterest usage in Singapore is.
  • Less than 100,000 Singaporeans have a Pinterest account, and for a country that's fashion obsessed - that's a little strange.
  • The second thing though - is how much content Singaporeans consume on a daily basis. Trains, buses, standing in queues, having lunch alone - 4 out of 5 people will be on their phones, either watching a soap, scrolling through their news feed or talking to friends.



Lillian Leon, Copywriter, Social Media and Online Marketing at The Online Marketing Rookie


Lillian Leon


1.- In New Zealand, businesses are aware they should be on social mediasomehow.

  • But businesses still don't really understand how it works for ROI.
  • Some larger and entrepreneurial companies are using social media well, but not many. Slowly, we're getting there.
  • We use Facebook most, but Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest are gaining popularity.


2.- Unique characteristic?

  • Probably that New Zealander's are not outspoken people, so we tend not to vent our opinions on social media.
  • Social media is used more for connecting with others.



Vicky Iskandar, Social Media Consultant at Temptu

Vicky Iskandar


1.- The number of people who are online in Indonesia are over 79 million in 2014 ( over 30% of the population). This sounds low in terms of % but significant when you take into account that Indonesia's the fourth most populated country in the world with over 250 million people.

  • Indonesians view social media as entertainment and they truly love to socialize .
  • They're the 3rd most active tweeters (via @conradhackett).
  • They see twitter as a platform where they can chat and connect with their favorite brands and local celebrities. It's pretty easy for a local celebrity to gain quick followings.


2.- Mobile plays a majority part in social media usage as smartphones and data packagesare more affordable and readily available compared to desktop access.

  • Facebook is still the number one platform with over 90% of the country's online users but majority of active users are turning to Path (which is mobile only) as the main social platform to socialize with their friends.
  • Facebook seems to be seen as more of a nuisance, with many pages abusing and bombarding their Facebook friends with tags and sales pitches etc.
  • Whereas Path, which had a 150 friend limit till recently, is seen as a more private and intimate platform.

Here the first III parts of the series:


Thanks to our wonderful blog participants from Germany, Holland, UK, Austria, China, Spain, Greece, Australia, Guatemala, Belgium, New Zealand, Singapore, Canada, Indonesia and Perú, who took the time to share their experience with you to pay it forward.
Last but not least, thanks to my fabulous collaborator JC Giraldo who is so easy to work with and a kind soul.

When people accept new jobs, they're filled with a sense of hope and pride, thinking about the money they'll earn, the title they can show off and the corner office they'll soon call home from 8 in the morning until 5 in the evening. As part of that new job, most people will be asked to sign a ream of paperwork, covering everything from health insurance benefits to sick pay to use of the company microwave. Buried deep in the fine print, however, are a series of rules concerning the use and abuse of social media. These wee paragraphs could provide you with a roadmap to a stellar online reputation.


The vast majority of large companies have social media rules, and often, they're designed to protect the company from lawsuits. With policies like this in place, companies don't need to worry about the horrible photos their employees post or the terrible things they might say about clients. The company can just fire the person who shares too much without suffering any kind of financial repercussion whatsoever.


social media contract.jpg


These rules also contain some good tips about basic online communication. The Adidas social media guidelines, for example, contain these nuggets of wisdom:


  • Don't engage in any behavior online that you wouldn't feel comfortable displaying in front of a group of coworkers.
  • Think about the consequences of online statements BEFORE you make them.
  • Don't steal the photos or the words of another person.
  • Admit to mistakes as quickly as possible.
  • Remember that information posted online stays there forever.


Similarly, the social media guidelines provided by the Associated Press remind employees not to "retweet" any controversial messages, as these repeats might be viewed as a sign of approval. Similarly, employees are reminded that "liking" controversial figures on Facebook could also be interpreted as bias.


Following these little rules could allow you to avoid a significant amount of embarrassment as you go through your online life. You likely won't get caught up in a scandal, saying impulsive things you'll come to regret later, if you're following rules like this. You might also keep your job.


We know that most people don't read their employee handbooks or study the social media rules of their company. In fact, one man who worked for Lacoste, and who was fired for posting a photo of his paycheck on Instagram, told reporters that he signed documents containing, "…something abut social media," but he admitted that he didn't read the documents. If he had, he might still be selling Lacoste merchandise, and it's likely he wouldn't have a poor online reputation.

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.


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