“I love advertising because I love lying.”

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In a normal world, when people get the CLIO award, they thank the whole world, their parents and sometimes God for achieving the honorary trophy. Not so Jerry Seinfeld in New York during the Advertising Week. Although the award is seen as the “world’s most recognized international awards competition for advertising, design, digital and communications,” Seinfeld plays the honor down for having been the longtime spokesman for American Express.

“I think spending your life trying to dupe innocent people out of hard-won earnings to buy useless, low-quality, misrepresented items and services is an excellent use of your energy.”

What an honest statement. What a harsh reality. What a burst of laughter. Don’t bite the hand that’s feeding you, someone like his clients might have said. However, he just let’s it all out and probably makes the whole celebration audience think for the first time in their lives.

Having moderated the dmexco conference some weeks ago, I have to admit that some people also asked, if I hadn’t been too honest when I mentioned that most of the digital advertising companies can be happy that venture capital and private investors exist, as otherwise 80% of the digital parties today would not happen.

Sometime, it is just good to keep the spirit of self-reflecting sarcasm up to drive the future business growth. So, have fun watching Jerry Seinfeld making almost everybody in the room laugh…

Social Network Leaders for Business

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Adobe’s CMO.com did a great job in summarizing the leading social networks for business in one nice infographic alongside their CMO Guide to The Social Landscape. The marketing technology company checked each of the platforms according to four criteria: brand awareness, customer communication, SEO and traffic generation.

Obviously and not surprising, the leading platforms are Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. From our experience not all marketers are aware of the importance to change the contents for each platform and not just run them in different timings. The target-groups on the various platforms may be quite different, thus their interests in content and context as well as their wants and needs might vary extremely – although they might be the same people sometimes.

YouTube will probably become the leading platform when the whole world is more driven by Millennials and their input. Although you might be thinking about funny videos, going viral now, most of the business content can be manuals, employer branding stuff, or even product explanation videos. The opportunities are massive and it is time for marketers to realize.

In the B2B space, Slideshare might be a new platform for marketers. The chances are big here as well, as companies and brands get the option to show presentations from various standpoints. Especially, if the company is addressing different stakeholders in a purchase process, it is sometimes good to open up some thoughts before the meeting, so stakeholders can prepare. And, how often did presentations before meetings not go through as of company email file restrictions…?!

Obviously, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest play a role from a corporate brand perspective. And Google+ especially from a SEO and content marketing point of view. However, we are still at the beginning and every case needs to be evaluated on its own.

Any important platform you are missing in the top 8 social networks?

CMO_Social_Landscape_2014

Facebook & the “Freemium”. What if Facebook charges one dollar a month?

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money-sepiaStop reading this blog post if you are a Facebook fan. You might hate it. You might like it. Stop it! You won’t? Well then, don’t try to be a consultant and just read this and act like a Facebook user. This is our idea how Facebook could become even better…

When I wrote about The Social Globe -a world of paid social networks- some years ago, people called me “mad” and “crazy” teasing such “wild” and “early” paid ideas around social networks. Sometimes, I wondered why The Social Globe – a “network” of social networks like the broadcasting network Sky (earlier Premiere in Germany) never kicked off, bearing in mind all big social networks needed revenue. Maybe it was too big an idea. Maybe too superficially explained. Maybe… Whatever. I never found an answer. Well, maybe one. All major networks want to outplay their competitors. Collaboration is out. Although, we all have the social media philosophy in our heads: Sharing is caring. It does not count for social networks it seems.

Some years are gone since, and we all think about and discuss the value of Facebook. We wonder about it’s algorythm deciding what we see, watch and read. And we blame their advertising programs which often don’t make the user happy, nor does it seem to meet the personal targeting criteria. Well, in case people even notice the ads.

Traveling a lot, I have discussed a new monetization approach with social media and social networking insiders all over Europe. What happened if Facebook would change their business model according to the following “freemium” scenario. Yes, I know that Mark Zuckerberg has said, Facebook will never cost the user anything.

But what is the value of restricted and filtered content? What if I cannot see the content of my real friends? What if I don’t see (the ads of) my favorite love brands anymore on Facebook? What if Facebook loses it’s personal benefit and value for me more and more?

So, this is the moment of truth. Users get two account options on Facebook in the future…

a) Free Account
Filtered user account. Ads and branded content to be displayed according to Facebook’s targeting system. Facebook decides what content the user sees. Who your “real friends” are is decided by the algorithm.
Costs: 0 EUR per month

b) Paid Account
Unfiltered user account. Opportunity to personalize the own stream. Ads and branded content of the user’s favorite brands will be displayed according to their love brand personalization. The users decide what content they see. Who their “real friends” are is decided by the user.
Costs: 1 Dollar per month

Facebook has opened up a new field of communication, a new way of bringing people closer to each other. No matter how far separated they are. It is a great way to make us aware how close we are living, breathing and experiencing our daily lives.

The idea of paid for Facebook accounts is out there to being discussed. Go ahead and give us your thoughts.

Maybe this is the start of a new way of thinking about Facebook. Maybe we can start a real discussion on how to make Facebook a better social networking place with more personal value, less self-glorification, and so on. One that leverages “real” personal connections.

Would you use such a paid version, or stick with the old free account?

Infographic: How Google Ranks Your Website’s Relevance

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Google Rank WebsitesThis is one of those secrets that is discussed in every single seminar we do: How does Google rank websites? Why does my website not rank higher than my competitors? What could be the best SEO strategy so that Google ranks us under the first three results?

The Google’s algorithm is one of the biggest secrets in the marketing world. The 200+ ranking features make it very challenging to find the right web strategy of your content and website structure. So, what’s the best way to develop a “Google-loves-us” strategy?

Neil Patel has created a nice infographic that illustrates the main components of the Google algorithm. Let’s see what he comes up with…

How Google Determines Where to Rank Your Website
Courtesy of: Quick Sprout

Spot On!
The main challenge to drive more traffic via search lies in understanding the holistic approach of Google’s algorithm. Obviously, it is about the final user that works with the website, reads the content and shares it through their own social communication platforms. Over are those days when people though the “link-in-link-out” game will solve the SEO war, when companies got paid for building link farms, and people got money to bring more links in. In the end, the user decides on what they need, and finally the Google Algorithm reflects that.

The answer to meaning in B2B marketing

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For years, I have been working in the B2B industry and have looked, maybe a bit envious, at those friends who were working for BMW, MINI, Red Bull, LVHM, going to fancy parties with the guys from GQ, or those who enjoyed other sexy lifestyle moments out there in the B2C universe. When I was telling stories about B2B channel strategies, brand campaigns of mainframe providers, B2B community communication, and even if it was around web TV in the year 2000 and around brands like IBM, HP, Intel or Avaya, nobody seemed to be excited about B2B marketing the way I was. Not many eyes smiling (only with a sense of sympathy maybe). Not many questions were raised or asked. Not much fun.

Being a B2B marketer can be a challenging and somehow self-motivating task. But there are reason why I have never lost the energy in being one. And the funny thing with user-generated content and storytelling is that I do not even have to write why I do what I do (maybe good and bad that is). I just had to listen to those like-minded souls out there on Twitter, expressing their inner feelings and their drive for the fun in a B2B world.

Dough Kessler really took his approach to “The Search for Meaning in B2B Marketing” but I would sign this for my career as well… and just have to curate his great presentation in order to make people understand my career and my B2B marketing story.

THX Dough!

The Search for Meaning in B2B Marketing from Velocity Partners

History of Hashtags (Infographic)

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Whether you use hashtags “#” or not, they have made their history since first introduced in 2007 by Twitter. They became the filter, not only for Twitter – also for special topics, for branding, for trends, and for what not.

Although many people ignored hashtags from the beginning on the social platform, they find more and more acceptance today, now that people know why they are in the world of social web communication. Their real increase in use cam with the year 2009, when the 140 character network decided automatically linking anything preceded by the pound sign.

Nowadays, if you want to get retweets, you better use hashtags as these tweets are 55% more likely to be shared than those without any #. Even Google+, Facebook, Instagram or Vine have started to accept the hashtag value. And Offerpop now introduced an interesting infographic which shows the history of the hashtag.

PS: Interesting to see that more people use hashtags on their mobiles than on their laptops or desktops. Mobile information is consumed in short time periods, so you better make sure people grab your information when they jump on the bus, the train or at a break at an event. Hashtags are the access keys!

History-of-Hashtags-Infographic

Study: Online forums still popular and leading community option (Infographic)

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According to a recent “2013 Social Media Survey” by Proboards the interactive communication preferences across platforms are still heading towards forums. Although you might think that they asked their own users (which is probably right), the survey still shows the importance of forums and communities. For their results the company promoted the research toover 150 respondents via Facebook, Twitter, and the ProBoards customer support forum.

The study claims that online forums are still popular. What was interesting for me to see is that they were even preferred compared to social media platform for interactive communication. Two out of three respondents (67%) stated that forums were the social media tool they found most valuable. Obviously, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and Google+ follow but the question here could be asked whether most people realize that all these platforms are also forums if used in the right way. That LinkedIn did not figure in as a significant social media tool is in my eyes not correct as the forums there within, are very powerful and interactive, plus they generate very valueable input for managers.

“The survey results do not surprise us since platforms such as Facebook and Twitter do not give you the level of control that forums do,” said Patrick Clinger, founder and CEO of ProBoards. “Forums provide greater customization and more options…”

Forums -although we would define them as communities according to our Community Centric Strategy- offer a great way of engaged communication, and probably with better and deeper quality than any other social network. There is more information in the infographic attached…

ProBoards-Social-Media-Study-Forums

How Millenials and Baby Boomers can meet half way… or never.

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There are many rumors how the Baby Boomers might deal with Millenials (GenY) in the workplace. We have shared some serious advice based on different studies on how Baby Boomers have to see and understand them, what drives the millenial teenager, how they see the future workplace, and why they might cause a headache for IT decision-makers with their BYOD trend. And you might read a recent report from Georgia Institute of Technology and the International Telecommunication Union which illustrates that there a digital native not always is what he or she seems to be, although they love their smartphones and the digital chat.

Still, many managers ask us what they could do to make their workplace interesting for this mobile and networking generation. It is time that someone gives us some more clear and fresh advice, on how to deal with the Millenials in the workplace today. This training video might be of help for those that have not yet met the expectations of those young geeks.

However, reflections often turn rumors into reality. So, what are Baby Boomers doing when the GenY strikes back and gives some response with a “Guide to Baby Boomers”?

The easiest way to bridge the gap between these two generations is to bring them together at one table and let both sides give their real pitch on how they can meet half way. Just do it, and when you need advice on how to moderate it, just get in touch with us. We have done moderations between these parties in different projects.

PS: Don’t take these videos too serious. You might fail…!

What customers hate about brands on social media (Infographic)

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In many seminars I have been asked this question and hey, the guys from ExactTarget CoTweet have given an answer some months ago: What annoys people when they follow brands on the social web, and what makes them like brands? Discounts we knew it. Well, if you still think it is the frequency and too many updates on promotions, you might be right but it is coming worse.

Just imagine you publish a status update that carries some wording in poor typo or, even worse, a grammar mistake. If you read this infographic, you might get the impression that sending out hundreds of status updates asking people to go in shops, to buy tech gadgets, or tell them to buy those online, makes people not turn away from loving your brand. It is actually not that bad, it seems…

However, if you loose the appropriate tonality in your social accounts and a certain kind of quality control gets lost like poor spelling mistakes, then your brand might face a challenge in terms of reputation and followership.

“A lot of people talk about the need for brands to be less formal when they communicate through social media, but this survey shows that there is a danger in letting standards slip too far.” Lance Concannon, Director of Disruptive Communications.

“The findings also illustrate that you can’t take a one-size fits all approach in social media. Younger consumers clearly have different expectations and priorities – overall people said that not posting updates frequently enough wasn’t a major concern for them, but the 18- to 24-year-olds listed it as their most important issue”, says Concannon whose company put together the infographic.

How about you? What do you think annoys people when brands are on social media. Maybe it still is your hundreds of status updates on a day?

What-customers-hate-about-your-brand-on-social-media

Study: Fortune 500 are getting better in Social Media

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They are on increasingly on Twitter (77%), Facebook (70%) and Youtube (69%): Fortune 500 companies. However, in terms of blogs (34%), Google+ (35%) or Pinterest (9%) they seem to be a bit behind or not seeing the value. And the report obviously forgot to look at LinkedIn. This is the findings of one of the latest research pieces of the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.

Fortune 500 Companies Blogs 2013Although from our perspective, blogging is seen to be the essential starting point of a social media strategy, most companies are not there yet. Not all industries see corporate blogging similar. The use varies significantly by industry. It is striking that no company in the pharmaceutical and tobacco section blogs. In contract, 53% of Fortune 500 companies in the telecommunications industry do. Almost 80% of the blogs show regular activity, have got RSS feeds, appreciate comments and offer subscription.

Fortune 500 Companies Social Media 2013Twitter is used in eight out of the top 10 companies (Apple, Chevron, Exxon, Ford Motors, General Electric, General Motors, Phillips 66, and Wal-Mart). All these companies offer frequently status updates on Twitter. Just Berkshire Hathaway and Valero Energy are missing out. Interestingly enough, Facebook has got most followers on Twitter. Google comes in second, then Starbucks, Whole Foods Market, Walt Disney, JetBlue Airways, and Southwest Airlines. 

On Facebook only Exxon is not showing up with an account. The rest, nine of the top 10 companies (Wal-Mart, Chevron, Phillips 66, Berkshire Hathaway, Apple, General Motors, General Electric, Valero Energy, and Ford Motors), has got a Facebook page. Obviously, the special retail shows strong use of Facebook (96% with a Facebook fanpage) versus 44% in the utilities sector. That Facebook has most Facebook fans is not surprising. Coca-Cola is number two with 66 million fans, followed by Walt Disney, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, and Target. These companies all collected more than 20 million fans. 

Spot On!
What we found interesting in the report is the mention that 59% of companies link to the social platforms from their corporate homepages, whereas for the other companies it required the research team some additional searching. Looking at further social networks and results shows the different strategies. From companies ranked in the top 10 just Berkshire Hathaway has got its own YouTube account. In terms of Google+, 35% use their Google+ accounts actively while 19% set up corporate accounts which are unactive. 50% of the top 10 companies got actove Pinterest boards (Apple, Exxon, Ford, General Motors and Wal-Mart). And although Instagram is now a part of Facebook, only Ford Motors opened an account here, as Wal-Mart is the only top 10 company making use of Foursquare.

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