Category Archives: Branding

Online Social Media principles– Coca-Cola style

I like the transparency of Coca – Cola in its social media conversations online. It published its social media principles for online behaviour last year – but its worth having a look at why these principles work so well.

Coca-Cola works around its shared values which it uses throughout the organisation:


LEADERSHIP : The courage to shape a better future;
COLLABORATION : Leveraging our collective genius;
INTEGRITY : Being real;
ACCOUNTABILITY : Recognizing that if it is to be, it’s up to me;
PASSION : Showing commitment in heart and mind;
DIVERSITY : Being as inclusive as our brands; and
QUALITY : Ensuring what we do, we do well.

And in its social media activities, these values are articulated and summarised as:

Transparency in every social media engagement. The Company does not condone manipulating the social media flow by creating "fake" destinations and posts designed to mislead followers and control a conversation. We also require bloggers and social media influencers to disclose to their readers when we’re associating with them, whether by providing them with product samples or hosting them at Company events, and we need to monitor whether they are complying with this requirement.

Protection of our consumers’ privacy. This means that we should be conscientious regarding any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) that we collect, including how we collect, store, use, or share that PII, all of which should be done pursuant to applicable Privacy Policies, laws and IT policies.

Respect of copyrights, trademarks, rights of publicity, and other third-party rights in the online social media space, including with regard to user-generated content (UGC). How exactly you do this may depend on your particular situation, so work with your cross-functional teams to make informed, appropriate decisions.

Responsibility in our use of technology. We will not use or align the Company with any organizations or Web sites that deploy the use of excessive tracking software, adware, malware or spyware.

Utilization of best practices, listening to the online community, and compliance with applicable regulations to ensure that these Online Social Media Principles remain current and reflect the most up-to-date and appropriate standards of behaviour.

These values, whilst similar to other companies that have an online presence show clearly and with transparency  — how the brand interacts with its customers.  The company uses social media successfully as an advertising tool and demonstrates its commitments to its customers by publishing its  online shows just how much it wants to follow its own guidelines and make a success.

If only other companies would do the same…

Eileen is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact Eileen to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

Does social media influence your buying decisions?


You see a tweet. You buy the product. True or False?

False of course. We are not so easily influenced by promoted pages and promoted tweets.  These promotions are just to make us aware of the product.  Then we will decide.

But how many of us would actually buy just based on social media messages alone?

Forrester has done some research showing that less than 1 per cent of sales actually come from social channels. It watched 77,000 consumer orders placed during April 2012 and discovered that:

Although 33 per cent of transactions by new customers involve more than one trackable touch point, 48% of repeat customers visit multiple trackable touch points.  These touch points include searches for the product, pay per click advertising placements onto websites email blasts and newsletters.

Email is important for return business.  If the brand starts the interaction with an existing customer it is likely to turn into a sale. Thirty per cent of sales transactions come from existing customers that have received an email from the retailer. An additional 30 per cent of customers type the retailer’s URL directly into a browser.

Forty-eight per cent of consumers reported that social media posts are a great way to become aware of new products. however less than one per cent of transactions could be traced back to trackable links on social media sites.This indicates that Social tactics are not meaningful sales drivers but are valuable for awareness.

If there are trackable links such as and a great analytics engine behind the web site, then social links can be directly linked to sales. But without these processes in place, then the brand needs to focus on awareness and remaining top of mind in its social channels whilst closing sales through other forms of digital marketing, complemented by social feeds.

It is such a shame that many brands still get this wrong…

Eileen is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact Eileen to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

Image credit: Tom Morris

Are we annoyed by Apple and fatigued by Facebook?


Day after day we are bombarded by news about the big tech guys.  Product and feature launches are hyped up to the hilt.  Queues if fans line up to be ‘the first’ for the new product, the first to try the new software features.

Perhaps we are getting tired of all of the hoo-haa.  Perhaps we are not as naïve as marketers think.  Perhaps we can think independently for ourselves.

I saw an infographic a few weeks ago from Sodahead which had polled its users for their thoughts on Facebook and Apple’s product launches.

It seems that I am not the only one that finds the fanfares a little bit over the top.  Others too are becoming a little jaded by the overwhelming presence of these giants. Here are some of the call outs of the poll:

52 per cent of respondents feel that they will spend less time on Facebook in the next year, while only 12 per cent plan on spending more time. 36 per cent think they will spend the same amount of time on Facebook

– 37 per cent of respondents do not check Facebook at all, while 33 per cent check a few times per day, 20 per cent check once or twice a day and 10 per cent are checking constantly

– Moving forward, 73 per cent of respondents believe another social network will eventually eclipse Facebook, while only 27 per cent think that no other social network will ever top Facebook

– In terms of the number of social networks used by respondents, 61 per cent use a few, 23 per cent use just one, nine per cent use “a ton,” while only seven per cent don’t use any social network

– For Apple’s rumoured upcoming product launches, only 28 per cent are interested in the “iPad Mini,” while 72 per cent are already “over it.” Even fewer are excited about the iPhone5, with 26 per cent stating they are interested, while 74 per cent are over it.

Perhaps Facebook and Apple are at saturation now. Everyone has heard of them, most people use the devices or the software.  Perhaps we need something new to get excited about. The next big thing might already be here – but we are so focused on the old, established brands we can’t see the new guys just waiting around the corner to steal the market…

Image Credit: goldberg

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Sync your Amex card with Twitter for hashtag offers

This is a nice bit of innovation from American Express.  Now you can sync your American Express card with Twitter and receive offers when you Tweet or check in with Foursquare.

When you use Foursquare to check in to a location where an Offer exists, a message will be sent to your mobile device notifying you of an available offer (such as, by way of example, a statement credit or point of sale discount).

If you would like to take advantage of the offer, you must first activate certain offers by pressing the “Load to Card” or similar button. To redeem an offer, follow the instructions and use your Card for the purchase.

On Twitter you need to look our for special offer hashtags from American Express or the brands that are partnering for the offer. using the hashtags loads the offer onto your synced card. Once the offer is loaded onto your card, use the card to pay for the offer and the offer is applied as a statement credit on your account.

This is a great way for Amex to measure levels of engagement through hashtags and offers. The merchant bears the cost of the discount and pays Amex the transaction fee for each transaction.

Currently the brands offering discounts seem to be US based, but the offer conditions also apply in the UK according to the terms and conditions on the web  site.

How long will it be before other debit and credit cards follow the lead of Amex and connect their social activities together too?

This is a good initiative which ensures that future campaigns will be seen by as wide an audience as possible – for the minimum of investment.

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Reasons to implement your Engagement strategy

Does your online strategy show how much you care about your customers?  Do you engage regularly with your audience, giving them value from your interactions with them? In this connected world, can you afford not to communicate with your customers?  Do you know what your ROI on your social activities is?  Do you even measure your ROI?


There are some staggering numbers of people online these days, and there’s also an expectation that brands will have good workable social strategies.  Take a look at these facts:

  • Over 2 billion people online are now.  There are only 7 billion people in the world.  Lots of them are still too young to read.  You can engage with 28.5% of the entire population of the world 
  • There are 1 billion accounts on Facebook.  If you have a Facebook page, potentially huge numbers of your fans can see it.  Starbucks has 30 million fans, Coca Cola has 41 million fans and lady Gaga has 50 million fans.
  • 85% of customers expect that businesses should be active in social media.  Where is your social brand?
  • Business is built on relationships.  Are you passionate about your customers>  Does your online engagement and social activity demonstrate how much you care about your customers? Customers believe that 80% of brands are not passionate about their customers
  • Do you blog?  If you do, you’ll get about 55% more visitors to your web site ad 67% more leads than if you don’t blog.  Demonstrate your credibility.  Blog regularly, be credible.  Keep up the conversation. Put blogging at the heart of your content marketing strategy
  • 77% of customers will read status updates from the brand.  They probably wont comment – but at least they are listening to you.
  • 17% of your fans will comment on your messaging.  Perhaps they will share your story amongst their friends.  That is if you are communicating with them in the first instance.
  • 51% of Facebook fans say that they are likely to buy from you if you have a Facebook page.
  • 68% of subscribers to your email newsletter are likely to buy your services.  You need to have a strong call to action to encourage them to purchase
  • Brands don’t always have a good listening strategy.  30% of customer questions and feedback do not get replied to. 
  • On Twitter the listening strategy is poor.  over 71% of complaints on Twitter are not responded to.  implement a listening framework across channels and respond to feedback, good and bad.
  • 43% of social media users talk to brands, but brands don’t listen to their social customers

Further information and facts can be found in the infographic from BitRebels.  Avoid this at your peril.  Engage or be left behind commercially.  You need to have an engagement strategy and make it work with your audience and customers.


Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Credit: Keoni Cabral


Has the Internet made journalism better or worse?

The Economist has posted an interesting video.  It argues the case for, and against the Internet making Journalism better or worse..


I’m in the ‘for’ camp.

I think the Internet brings much greater interaction with brands.  It forces brands to be more transparent and amplifies mess ups and exposes inaccuracies.

However, it has unleashed a new wave of cyber bullies who have the power to say what they want to about a brand.  Trip advisor hotels are subjected to awful attacks by consumers with power.  Everyone with a blog can publish rants about others if they choose.  Openness and transparency can be replaced by vitriol and spite.

What do you think?  Has the Internet made journalism better?  Or is the propagation of rumours, half-truths and gossip destroying the validity of news?

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

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18% of brands don’t listen to their social customers



42% of social media users talk to brands

… and 35% of users post information about a brand on social media sites.

There’s a lot of engagement. 

But all this engagement is totally wasted if you don’t know what is being said about you.  Do you care about what is happening online?  Do you have a listening strategy?  No? well, you’re not alone.

If you’re one of the 18% of brands that doesn’t have a brand monitoring strategy in place.  What should you do? 

70% of marketers have little idea about that people are saying about their brands or their clients brands.  They don’t have an idea how many free and paid for tools are available.  I’ve put together a list of  a few free, paid and crowdsourcing tools which you can use to listen to the conversation:




Backtype Alterian Crowdspring
How Sensible Hootsuite Pro Fold It
Social Mention Lithium Threadless
Tinker Meltwater buzz Mechanical Turk
Thinkup Onalytica Mob4hire
Who is Talking Peerindex WeArehunted

There are many more tools, with new tools evolving and disappearing each month so this list is not exhaustive.

But having a list of tools is not enough.  You also need to have a listening plan that deals with the appropriate actions to take when brand mentions occur.  And if you have a listening plan, you also need an engagement framework in place to deal with the data:

Discovery: Blog post, Tweet, News article

Evaluation: Positive, Neutral, Critical, Anger

Assessment: General enquiry, Dissatisfaction, Criticism, Rage

Response: Success story, correction, Facts

Considerations: Timeliness, Tone and Manner, Acknowledgement

When brands listen actions happen.  Brands shouldn’t wait until a social crisis occurs before they respond.  They need to respond promptly and they need to listen to the customer.

Otherwise, their messages will fall on deaf ears…

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Image credit: ky olsen