Monthly Archives: May 2011

Women who do break the glass ceiling

This is an interesting infographic from the MBA online program talking about how much women earn, how many of them have taken MBA’s and how large the salary gap still is…

<Sigh>  Still a salary gap though.. Not good at all… see the large size infographic here… 


Twitter Interaction ratio: @jonhoneyball tops my list

I try not to follow too many people on Twitter in case I can’t interact with the people that I do follow in a meaningful way.  If I was following 10,000 people, I’m sure I’d miss important messages and news. I want to bring quality to my Twitter conversations and not broadcast.  After all Twitter is a listening tool – not a broadcasting tool…

So I’ve had a play with at Twit BFF to check whether my ratio of folks I follow: folks I interact with is at a reasonable number.  I like Twit BFF  It shows you who you interact with the most in Twitter and who you occasionally talk to.  This time, I got some interesting results:


So I interact with 86 of the 560 or so people I follow.  Just over 1 in 6 – which isn’t too bad a ratio as I follow companies, news digests and news feeds.  I’ve been chatting a fair bit recently to Timbo, Chris and Jon about iPad’s – hence their dominance in my chart.  But I do talk more to some people I follow than I do with others – but Jon – we should certainly chat on the phone a bit more!!


Strategic Value of Social Media workshop


Image credit: flickr

I’m delivering a strategic workshop in London showing you how to get your social media strategy up and running and aligned with your business.   So many social media courses focus on the tools used and focus very much on the how to.  I’m going to look at the evolution of Web 2.0 and talk about why your strategy is so important to your business. 

This course will benefit decision makers in your organisation who want to implement social media correctly throughout the business – avoiding the pitfalls and challenges that companies without a strategy have encountered.

This is an intensive session that incorporates subjects covered in my strategy and architecture workshops for clients.  It will give you comprehensive guidance on the steps you need to take to get things right first time.


This session is a one day workshop in Uxbridge and the session price includes a signed copy of my book for every attendee.  Here are the session details:


The Strategic Value of Social Media: Changing the face of customer and partner connections  

Social media is not a fad. This is not something that will pass you or your company by. Social media has far reaching effects that will permeate into every business, reaching all job roles. It is worldwide and pervasive. The new way of communicating will not go away. So what are you doing about it? We will discuss strategic practices from leading companies, review what other company leaders in B2B and B2C are doing today to integrate community marketing and social media to engage, share and drive conversations with customers and partners online. You will gain insights on how to leverage community, engagement, marketing and using social components to drive your marketing efforts to capture mindshare and increase customer satisfaction. We will start to define your outline implementation plan to include advocates and community influencers and consider cross team roles and responsibilities to execute your strategy.

The workshop will cover:

  • How to use social networking as a business enabler to generate business impact
  • Defining your social community strategy and engagement framework
  • Security and privacy,
  • Policies and guidelines
  • Social commerce and Social CRM Issues, reputation management and crisis management
  • Tools and strategies to amplify your brand

Benefits of attending
This workshop will help you achieve your goals using social media and Web 2.0 to find and engage with customers, identify your influencers and gain advocates for your brand. You learn how to improve satisfaction and perception about your brand and create a vibrant community using Social Media to amplify your message and improve the quality of your connection to your customers.

I’m only running a couple of sessions of this class, so I’d urge you to take advantage of this opportunity and leave with a workable and effective framework for your strategy and a social action plan for your business.


Realising the ROI from your social media activities


Image credit: Flickr

Social media Return on Investment (ROI) is something that all companies want. But ROI is a very difficult thing to measure through something as intangible as a social media campaign, a blogging strategy or web competition. Case studies are examples of your success in the corporate world, and also a key indicator of sentiment and success in the social media space.

In these difficult times, when companies have no budget, social media tools must deliver a positive ROI. If you run a project, you need to prove the ROI and demonstrate its’ worth.

Old Spice had an innovative way to persuade women to buy Old Spice in the US. They launched an online video campaign called ‘the man your man can smell like’. The campaign was launched during super bowl week and it targeted TV programs where viewers would likely watch together. In the first 3 months of 2010, mentions of the Old Spice brand captured 75% of all conversations with half of the conversations initiated by women. Other videos started to appear parodying the Old Spice advert and style of conversation, and TV presenters like Oprah mentioned the brand on her show.

The agency then hit upon a great way to capture the real time messages on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. It recorded over 40 responses to online messages: proposals of marriage, answers to questions and replies to users who had posted questions. This follow on campaign had an amazing response and a huge knock on effect on the Old Spice Twitter and Facebook pages. The old Spice website had a 300% increase in site visits and became the most popular channel on YouTube. Financially this campaign has made a difference too with sales of Old Spice body wash up by 27% in 6 months since campaign launch. A great return on investment from a YouTube video campaign.

Dell wants to drive repeat business, drive visitors to their site and lower their costs. Their site is full of user generated content and ideas for future product development. As social media impacts every part of Marketing, Dell sees a correlation between customers visiting their social and tech centre sites, discussing and purchasing of products.

Social media should be an integral part of brand building and activities done on social media, impacts the brand, the products and the way that Dell interact with customers and consumers. Social media impacts everything that social media can do from product development with idea storm – to graduate recruitment. The way that people talk about your brand is very different from the way that you talk about your brand. Go and engage with them where they are. Tools embedded in Facebook can bring value to the overall experience. Ratings on content means that you can add value to the user generated content. You get credibility for the content – and this leads to sales.

So how do you realise ROI for your social media activities? Here are some tips:

· Measure your success in your activities. 34% of B2B firms don’t currently do this. Find your baseline and measures to make sure that you can grow your figures and improve upon.

· Be credible. Get a blog. Demonstrate your credibility. The company will want to see positive PR and visibility. Employee blogs will add to these column inches as your presence increases.

· Get case studies. Find recent stories that are relevant to your organisation. Position them to the budget holders who want to see ROI, not the amount of fans, page views or ‘Likes’. They want to see revenue. The Old Spice campaign worked. It led to an uptick in sales. Sales matter. Numbers matter.

· Listen to the customer. Dell has a 24 x 7 Command centre. They listen to the conversations taking place about the company around the world. Credible insiders get a better response to their conversations than a Marketing or PR person.

· Have different strategies for your brand. Be prepared to change direction quickly if your strategy isn’t getting any traction. That way, you’ll be able to see which strategy generates the best ROI. ROI is what the executives understand.

· You need a social media policy. Your social media policy needs to be good, it needs to be flexible. It needs to be followed and it needs to be monitored. For this, you need to ask the key questions of your organisation. What the business wants, what the employees are permitted to do, and what the interaction with the community will be.

· Get sales from your efforts. Budget holders want to see a positive ROI or they will not commit. You’ll get a much better level of interaction if you can add your customer’s social media profile to your customer database. You’ll be able to engage with them at a whole new level. Think about which sites to focus on.

· Get staff to execute on your social media plan. You need to position this carefully as this is a cost to the business. 60% of businesses don’t have staff dedicated to social media. Without staff to engage or without time to engage you will not have success.

If the board doesn’t get the value of social media, remind them that 50% of your competitors are using social media and will be quite happy to have the conversation with your customers instead

And if they’re still not convinced, I’ll talk to them about the business value of social media and why they can get business success by following some simple guidelines in my book. J


Eileen Brown is a social media consultant who helps companies with their social media strategy. Her book, Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business, is available at

Deepening your networking relationships


Image credit: flickr


I sometimes get frustrated about LinkedIn.  After I’ve been out to a business networking event,  I’ll get LinkedIn requests to connect from people who happen to be in the same networking group as me.  I’ve never met them, and I’m probably not likely to either.

Other people I meet at networking events want to connect after only one meeting – usually all we’ve done is exchange business cards and had a short chat.  I then get a LinkedIn request and wonder why they do this.  Do they want to mine my contacts for marketing?  Do they want to broadcast to my network?  or do they want to ‘really connect’ with me?  What do they use these connections for??

There are many blogs that offer helpful tips on networking.  I’ve included links to several blog posts that I’ve previously written on the topic.  But Bruce recently sent me the link to the BNET blog where Geoffrey pointed out his 6 rules to business networking.   Very sensible stuff and all the tips have really valuable insights. 

I realise that I actually follow most of these tips when I Network.  Geoffrey’s rules are:

  1. Friendship trumps acquaintanceship
  2. You must be truly worthy of trust
  3. Regular contact is absolutely necessary
  4. You must anticipate your contacts needs
  5. Never pass up an opportunity to network
  6. Win business for your contacts

Whilst I’m already a class 1 advocate of numbers 1, 2,3 and 5, I have some other tips that I use regularly with my network.  These help me to stay focuses, keep my network active and connected and improve the relationships I have with my strong ties. Here they are:

      • Follow up. Email the person you have met at the event.  Start the contact.  This is key to the relationship actually  beginning and is a key determination as to whether it will be successful or not – and go to a deeper level…
      • Look at your LinkedIn social graph and watch for the weak ties.  Should they be there – as a weak tie -  or should you invest in the relationship a little bit more – and turn them into a strong tie over time?
      • Be a Natural Networker.  This takes work but is worth the investment in the long run.  People who are genuine have much better contacts and connections than people who network because they want to spread their business cards around.  This is similar to point 1 above.
      • Think about the introduction.  Have an icebreaker sentence handy to use when you approach a new group.  it will help your confidence and start the conversation flow
      • Don’t expect instant results.  Networks take time to grow and develop.  Invest time in creating and nurturing networks


But most of all – value the connections that you do have – and, like a good friend, a good business relationship will be valuable to you over and over again…

Bing and Google and their social search additions

There’s been some interesting social news from both Bing and Google recently…

Bing have been looking at Facebook and have discovered that 90% of people look for advice from their family and friends and this friend effect heavily influences our purchasing decisions.  (I see this lots of times when women are talking to me about shoes and handbags).  They call it the Friend effect and they’ve incorporated this into social searches – to make your searches more relevant.  Here’s an example I’ve just snipped.  You need to log into Facebook on one tab and change your location in Bing to United States to get this feature by the way. 


As your friends like links, then they will appear on your bing results page.


Google on the other hand, have released their social search results globally.  I’ve just had a quick look at recent Tweets sharing links from my stream and entered them into Google.  Here are the results shown on Google …


whereas Bing have a Twitter stream constantly updating – and results from everyone discussing the Tornado – again from the site – where my preferences are set to be United States.  This is the live stream from the News tab



Googles social results are relevant to you when you sign in to your Google account, with Bing, you can either sign in – or connect to yor Facebook account.  Both will add a great dimension to your search results and give you great personalisation.

Come on Bing – roll this out globally – and Google – let me sign in with Facebook.  Why should I HAVE to use my google account.  OAuth is ok you know… Smile 


Microsoft acquisitions mapped London Tube style

I love this.  A really detailed graphic showing all of Microsoft’s acquisitions – in an easy to read layout. Created by Robin at Ripe tungi and called out by Techmash Companies come and they go.  They get absorbed by other companies who grow and grow as a result.  I remember several of these names, now long gone, rebranded or dropped from product development.


Zoom in to get a closer look – pdf version here.  You can also see the cost of each acquisition along the way. They seemed rather busy in 1999 when they started preparing for their mobile offering and again in 2000 when they bought into a lot of communications companies. 

There’s a key at the bottom of the map – in the pdf version of the map – which is much easier to read,  showing how much each of these offerings has cost Microsoft.

Nice one Robin Smile


Keeping your Online Brand alive


Photo credit: Flickr


Improving your online brand is really important if you want to maintain visibility and keep at the forefront of peoples minds.  it’s not just about broadcasting on Twitter you know.  I talked about tools to help you improve your online brand last week, but its not all about the tools.


In business we rely on networking and recommendations based on reputation.  You reputation matters in business.  This is also true online.  People won’t read your blog, or follow you on Twitter, or Like your business page on Facebook if you have a poor reputation.  You have to make sure your reputation remains good.  It is really hard to improve it when things have gone bad.

If things have gone a little awry try to look forward and move forwards positively.  You can’t change the past.  What you can do is work to ensure that positive messages go out and rebuild your reputation

You know the steps to creating a professional business reputation.  Network, self promotion, blog, and community.  But what else do you need to do.  It’s a long list…

You’re a specialist at what you do so don’t dilute it.  Think of the technical specialists you know – and those who will have a go at anything.  Who has got a better reputation for their expertise?  The specialists or the Generalists.  Become a specialist.  If you’re working inside a company – become the go to person for that subject.  Become the only one who knows lots about Yammer for example – and share your knowledge with everyone.  you’ll soon get a reputation for being the go to person on that topic.  Capitalise on this. help others out, when they need help and your name, reputation and brand will spread inside the company.  This will improve your self confidence and authenticity

Make sure that the passion for your work shows with every customer visit you do.  Having passion for the company brand shows you as having passion for your brand.  You’re an extension for the company and any perceptions about you will be similar to the clients perception about the company.  Become an evangelist

With your specialism and expertise, you can stand out from the crowd.  Capitalise on this

Think about quality. Make sure online examples of your work is excellent, thought provoking, interesting and compelling.  If the content isn’t interesting to you – how will it ever be interesting to your network or potential employers?

If you’re using your brand to promote how good you are – don’t share too much personal or irrelevant you are on open networks.  Your trivial / anarchic / politic / religious conversations might not be viewed kindly by others and lose you the job you wanted.  If your social username reflects the work you do, then don’t talk about things that are widely off topic.  if you use your username, you can be a lot more flexible.  Remember, you are what you say, so don’t say much after consuming lots of alcohol

Think about your demographics and the connections you want to leverage in your network.  Be aware that Generation Y have the technical and social media know how, but haven’t developed all of the business skills they might need.  Generation X and Baby Boomers might not be social media savvy.  Understand this and learn from each group and add the skills you need to your brand.  Watch how the others act online and learn from their errors.

Learn about how you behave online.  Are you a lurker, a commentator, a liker or a critic?  Are you first to reveal the facts, or do you wait and give a measured reasoned commentary after considering all of the options and information available.  Each of these behaviours have their strengths and merits.  Watching alternate behaviours is a great opportunity to grow and refine your own online persona.

Make sure your LinkedIn profile is 100% complete, updated regularly and active.  Participate in groups, link to other social networks you have such as slideshare and your blog, and include links to them.  Make sure your profile is customised so that you can use it on your business card.  You need to be on LinkedIn if you want to have an effective online brand – it’s how you use LinkedIn that matters.  LinkedIn is no longer just a place to store your online CV.  There’s a job board that you can subscribe to and make sure you get the most appropriate roles.  You can look at other companies, the services they offer and careers available. 

if you want to update your brand make sure you communicate it well.  Have a recent image on your profiles across social networking sites.  Update the image regularly.  I get comments every time I change my profile photo across the sites I use.  People respond to real people.  Be careful though.  When Justin Bieber cut his hair much shorter he lost over 80,000 of his Twitter fans.  Update your brand gradually.

Ask questions online.  Think about responding to questions on Quora, voting up quality answers and answering some questions of your own.  You could even use Facebook questions to get interaction with your followers like Tesco did.  You can see who the influencers are in you network using Quora, and make some valuable connections

It’s not about the tools at all.  It’s all about the investment you put into your online brand management.  the more you get in, the more you’ll get out…

10 tips to get a campaign to go viral

imageCustomers pay agencies to create campaigns and their brief is to get these campaigns to go viral and get everyone talking.  Think about the Old Spice video that gained phenomenal views, interaction and sales after its launch at the Superbowl last year? Remember too – the Evian video with roller-skating babies? All were very successful for the brand resulting in increased awareness, impressions and sales.

Marketers want to create compelling and original content that goes viral.  The most successful campaigns have been with video and interactive campaigns.  With marketers getting clever with their online ad placements, the cost of getting wider coverage for your video based campaign is going to come down.  Videos are shared across Facebook and Twitter, mentioned on blogs and added to emails. The challenge is getting the video to go viral in the first place.

Well there is NO guaranteed way to get a video or any other content to go viral, but based on some of the best viral campaigns, I’ve seen, here are some tips to try to get your campaign video to go viral:

      • Seeding.  Don’t just use YouTube for your campaign.  Seed your video in other places where it will be picked up by other online viewers.  There are many different video hosting platforms – more than just Vimeo. 
      • Emotional.  Tap into peoples emotions.  Whether it’s cute babiesamazing achievements, human discomfort or erotic imagery, remember to make the emotional connection
      • Sex sells (see the Kylie Minogue video which was banned for being too raunchy.  It got great visibility for Agent Provocateur
      • Put the user in control.  Remember Subservient chicken, Elf Yourself or Tippex?  All of these involved audience participation.  You told the chicken what to do.  You determined whether the hunter shoots a bear, or dances with it.  You created those dancing Elves.  It was fun. you passed it on to your friends and they passed it on to their friends.
      • Have strong visualsThe Dove Campaign for real beauty was used as an example of how distorted our perceptions of the beauty industry have become.
      • Give it a catchy tune.  The United breaks guitars video went viral very quickly due to its song.  Think how many other songs stick in your brain – even when you don’t want them too
      • Make it amazing.  The Will it Blend videos have increased the company profits fivefold and made an unlikely superstar out of the CEO
      • Make it realistic.  T-mobile have a channel in which almost every video goes viral.  From the images of the Royal Wedding party dancing to singing to passengers arriving at Terminal 5, they’ve got lots of the elements to make their videos go viral.
      • Give focus.  This Transport for London video urging people to look out for cyclists certainly made people look again.
      • Consider Multiple formats.  The Compare the market campaign and the Cravendale milk campaign both have a co-ordinated TV, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook presence. This gives as wide as possible visibility to the campaign and ensures sharing across all the different media formats.

Don’t forget to hire a set of talented, creative, innovative and resourceful people on your team who are flexible and adaptable.  And be prepared to spend your budget to get a quality end product. But most of all – don’t forget to measure, measure and measure your success…