social media

Social Media requires integration

Social media has not only had a major influence on society, but also on business, disrupting organizations for the past 10 years. Today, more and more companies have integrated social media into their marketing communications as a means of customer engagement. Now that the basics have been mastered, it no longer is about scaling social engagement but rather about focussing on partnering inwards as well as outwards.

Social media requires leadership

A social media strategy needs to work across the organization, across silos, support the company’s digital vision and requires new levels of employee engagement and advocacy. To be able to do this, strong leadership is needed to move social media beyond marketing communication and to create a true social business vision.

Altimeter has released a new analysis on “The 2015 State of Social Business: Priorities Shift from Scaling to Integrating” based on interviews with thought leaders, brands, technology vendors and a survey of 113 strategists (social, digital and/or heads of social) at companies with more than 250 employees.

Here are the most important findings in one infographic:




Smartphone Jealousy

ChinaWe Are Social updated their annual Digital Statshot on China this week. And it does not look like the pace of digital adoption is slowing. Believe it or not – China now has more social media users than the US and Europe combined.

When I look at China’s digital landscape, I realize that we are not using our phones to their full potential. China’s great firewall may mean there is very limited access to services like Twitter, Facebook or Google but when you see how much messaging services like WeChat can do that sort of can become irrelevant. WeChat is not only a messaging service. It lets you play games, check into a flight, call a cab, make money transfers and soon also a stock trading function.

Not only is cheap technology an advantage in China but also with it being the largest internet culture (some 668 million wired people, 89% on phones alone!) make a great test market. And in China, mobile payments are much easier to use because it is more widely accepted. No need for merchant’s to have special terminals because they have accounts within social networks like WeChat. Imagine if you could pay for your pizza delivery in Europe using your WhatsApp service! And not to ignore giant Alibaba that has expanded their service for online cash for anything like paying your rent, bills etc. You can even earn better interest with them than with a regular bank and get a loan if you need it. Financial disruption at its best.

You can read the full report here:

Is our economy suffering from attention deficit disorder?

Bank of England’s Andrew Haldane caused quite a stir with his speech “Growing Fast and Slow” where he talked about the forces that underpin economic development. It is not about neoclassical growth theory or the role of education in the industrial revolution – rather he talks about how the internet and social media may be hindering economic growth. Is technology really undermining one of the key psychological prerequisites for economic growth: patience, and the willingness to put off current gratification for future gains? It is an interesting argument but one of which I am not completely convinced of yet. You can read the whole speech here.


Inroads in social media marketing for financial services

Consumers have long moved on from just using the internet for information-gathering. Social networks are growing at an incredible pace. We all know that social media lower costs and optimizes marketing spending. Now is the time for financial services companies to move from just “being” on social media and start to truly “engage” with their customers. At the end of the day it is all about using social media tools to build personalized customer relationships.

There are many financial companies, like American Express or UBS, already optimizing their use of social media. Accenture has identified 11 social media tactics that can help achieve a specific outcome and that should ideally not just be used in isolation.


It is important to keep in mind, that social media marketing always needs to be fully integrated in your company’s digital and corporate strategy to achieve the best impact possible.

Here is a link to the full report.

The State of Social Media in June 2014

Social media continues to evolve at what seems like lightning speed.

  • On average 2 new members join LinkedIn every second
  • There’s around 1 billion Youtube mobile videos views a day
  • Around 60% of Facebook and Instagram users sign in everyday
  • 500 million tweets are sent everyday
  • 50 million users signed up to Instagram in the last 6 months.

The main takeaways from JWT Inside for this month are:

  • There are 44,000 mobile job applications sent everyday on LinkedIn
  • The highest traffic occurs between 1pm and 3pm
  • 77% of internet users read blogs, written by 12+ million people.

Does one really need skills to be a social media manager?

apeWhile I have been working in marketing and communications for a very long time, social media was not always around. Everything I know relating to social media is something that I have taught myself and have learned by working with and for different clients. And it does not stop there. Technology, metrics, SEO, you name it are developing at incredible speeds meaning having to constantly stay on top of the latest developments. It certainly is not something anyone can teach you overnight (even if there are many companies out there, making a quick buck offering certified social media professional courses).

I notice many businesses underestimate what it means to deliver good social media. It takes time and expertise. It demands lots of different skills like networking, planning and strategy, understanding the customer and the business, writing skills, analytics, commitment and focus, just to name a few. And very important is also experience. I certainly would not trust a new college graduate or trainee to handle my business’ social media activities. You need a strong grounding in marketing communications. You need to understand the industry, its products and have customer facing skills to deal with what social media is all about: engagement. Engaging with community for a business needs to be be strategically driven. And this works best if you are a marketing strategist who can oversee the complete picture. If you believe social media success is about having tons of followers then you are walking down the wrong path.

But enough on this topic. Sailing season is starting and I am off to the boat in bella Italia! Ciao.

Twitter is the new newswire, the new trading floor

trading-floor-300x224The biggest news in the past weeks has been coming from social media. I read about the Boston Marathon bomb attack on Twitter. In near real time. With photos and videos. It was at least another 15 minutes until the major news outlets started reporting on TV and online. More and more, Twitter is giving us major news events before the rest. Yes, Twitter has become the new news wire.

And getting news from Twitter is also influencing our markets and the way we invest. Companies like StockTwits built an entire trader network based on twitter feeds. NYSE added social sentiment to its super feed market data service drawn from Twitter in February. Mid-April Bloomberg announced that they were adding Twitter posts about companies to their terminals. And I know of many small trading firms that give their traders their own Twitter screen next to all the others they need for their daily business.

Is there a pattern here? There sure is. Trading floors and their chatter have more or less vanished. Twitter is filling the void by letting like-minded people find each other on a digital level.
As blogger Barry Ritholtz put so well in an article in the Washington Post last week, “With Twitter, you can build your own virtual trading floor and research department”. While Twitter can offer a lot of misinformation, it also allows you to get different view points from sources you would not get in other news outlets. It lets you spot trends and ideas. It just is so much faster than any other traditional news media.

But as we saw last Tuesday, fast can also cause havoc. I was on the subway when I saw @AP report on Twitter that there had been explosions at the White House, Barack Obama was injured. While I did not really believe it (or hoping it was false), I was waiting, updating my screen seeing if other new outlets were about to report the same news. It turns out @AP had been hacked but in those minutes, this tweet alone caused a mini-crash on the Dow. The traditional chain of events “news comes out, markets react” had been subverted. So has the credibility of Twitter as a news source taken a hit since then? Sure. But nonetheless Twitter remains the new number one place for news.

“If you can’t convince the top, then you can’t be led”

gorillaPretty strong, but true words by Jeff Hayzlett, former CMO of Kodak, now turned marketing guru. He was referring to the fact CMOs need to be at the forefront of their business all the time. They need to be quick and agile, strong change agents within their organization.  In today’s fast-paced times, being satisfied with business as usual is not an option. An organization is only as strong its slowest common denominator and as Hayzlett says “… if the slowest is at the head of your organization, then you have lost before you began.”

There is an indisputable need for top management to embrace the power of digital. And it is the task of the CMO to understand digital as part of his or her marketing organization. Digital has changed marketing by offering us data that allows us to better understand what our customers are expecting, how they want to engage with us and what they definitely do not want to see. Therefore, CMOs must be change agents within their business, constantly making the case for change to the higher up organization whether this is regarding digital or new business opportunities.   Content, mobile and social media are fueling change in our industry. We are moving from a one sided conversation to engagement. All of this means embracing change and adapting to new environments.

And digital will be changing even more of our work environment. In a new report, Forrester analyst Anthony Mullen shows how new emerging technologies will make almost everything digital in the near future from wearables to smart objects. This will mean another shift not only in marketing practices but also marketing skills. It will mean spending more time on innovation such as gaming or interaction models. It will also mean formalizing “working relationships with adjacent practices such as customer experience, analytics, IT, and product design”.

Which brings us back to one of Hayzlett’s core messages “adapt, change or die”. As marketers and CMOs we must be willing to continuously adapt and change in order to meet the future, to spread the spirit of change to our executives and to ensure growth for our organization.

Hello….my personal brand is


Wikipedia defines personal branding as a “process whereby people and their careers are marked as brands”. Personal branding has become more and more important as we manage ourselves as a commodity in what sometimes is a very competitive market place.
We all have relationships with brands, probably ever since we can remember and are constantly exposed to them in our daily life. And while the practice of self-branding may not be exactly like corporate branding it still is about packaging, designing and selling yourself – just like one would any product. Your personal brand is all about who you are, what you stand for and what you want to be known for.

So why should you care? Because in our digital world and the surge in social media more and more people are checking you out. Sometimes even before they have even met you – like your future employers, potential business partners….even those that may have a romantic interest in you.
And you should want to be in control of all those impressions. Packaging your self-brand is all about personal visibility. Technology and digital tools give us the opportunity to create a sell-able image of ourselves across multiple platforms. This may take some self-analyzing before you get started. Figure out who you are and how people perceive you. Think about your strengths, your expertise, your marketability and who you want your audience to be. Look at the channels that you want to set up, topics you want to talk about.

Being a personal brand is not necessarily about promoting your work or accomplishments, rather it is about promoting your presence in the market. Do not see it as a profit seeking practice. Use personal branding as a voyage of discovery. See it as an added personal value of how you think about yourself.