Social Media and Advertising Agencies?

Advertising is when one throws something at a mass and hope they listen.
Social media is when many throw something at one and hope that the one is listening.

So it looks like social media and advertising are orthogonal to each other. But since "social" is the way to go, advertising agencies are seeking ways to add social media into their mix. Some try "tweeting for clients", "run social media advertising", "building fan pages"…. but with only little success. More frustrating: those services don't bring the six digit figures like the TV spots or print campaigns of the past.

Social Media Academy

Are there six or even seven figure social media campaigns?

Absolutely. But certainly not the way Joe Doe Creative Director thinks. Tweeting for clients is the least successful, mostly even counter productive way to bring a client into the social web. Thousands of Fan Pages are dormant URLs after the first enthusiasm is over and haven't done *anything* for the brand. Giving out promo codes in Twitter is not social media but a very traditional way to give out promo codes anywhere – this has nothing to do with social media.

So what can an advertising agency offer?

Continue reading “Social Media and Advertising Agencies?”


Social media start for your boss

If you need to help somebody starting in the social media world you will notice three things:
1) The more convincing you do the higher the resistance
2) The fear of "not getting it" is typically stronger than curiosity
3) No matter how little your knowledge is – it is overwhelming to the other.

Some social media consultants fail to help their clients to get started because they are too overwhelming.

Some steps you can ask your boss to take:

1) Approachability
Make yourself approachable. Share your current presence like a LinkedIn profile or Facebook profile with business or personal friends and ask them to share their profiles with you.

Continue reading “Social media start for your boss”


Channel Empowerment

This is a recording of Axel Schultze's keynote at Tech Innovators in Las Vegas last week.

In essence: As 75% of world trade is conducted by indirect sales organizations, producers are better suited to empower their channels than developing a social media strategy for themselves.

As a follow on, you may join us on December 17 for our Channel Empowerment webinar



‘User generated’ Chief Marketing Officer

>>> 'User generated' Chief Marketing Officer<<< was the recommendation of a reader when Heineken announced they will replace their current CMO – the third in a row.

$100 Million in advertising and no success. Here is why:

In accordance to a study that was done a few years ago by John Todor Ph.D. an average American adult is confronted with about 4,000 brand messages every day. It's like living near a train station and no longer hearing the train, living near an airport and no longer hearing airplanes, or like living in Gilroy and no longer smell the garlic – we are living in "Advertising Gilroy".


Continue reading “‘User generated’ Chief Marketing Officer”


How a tourist center uses social media

Here is an example how a resort town is using social media to attract tourists *before* they make a decision where they want to spend their vacation next year.

Tourists are much better informed about the destinations they are targeting. Long before they make a decision, they read reviews from other tourists, explore the places on Google Maps, and often times know more about the place than all the travel expert sites together. The glossy brochures have less and less influence. The week of vacation is too precious to just trust advertising.

One resort town decided to make a difference. They wanted to get in touch with tourists long before a decision is made and have a chance to get in touch with the tourist long before arrival. Here is what they decided to do:

1) Social Media Monitoring
The tourist information center was equipped with social media monitoring tools to learn about people asking questions like "has anybody been in XYZ" or "We plan to go to NNN" where NNN is a similar place but not our resort town. We developed a comprehensive set of searches and an internal escalation plan so everybody knows what to do based on the results.

2) Social Relationship Building
They then add the people they find into Xeesm and do two things:

a) Getting in touch with tourist in the social web and develop a relationship.
The team is visiting the tourist a few times, to learn about their optimal place.
Xeesm is the social relationship manager keeping all the contacts and their social profiles in one place.
Also Xeesm helps to keep track of the visits, contact intensity and so forth.

b) Introduce tourists to former visitors
The team then introduces the tourist to former visitors of the town to increase the number of positive suggestions.
Especially if the search is on a competing town it is important to let the tourist know what others think of their place.
In this case Xeesm acts as a database for former tourists and their social sites. So that a virtual introduction does not need to reveal any email addresses but for instance a Facebook URL. That way a tourist can make their own intro, asking the person how they liked the respective place. Introductions are made only to people who are already publicly stating their support of the resort on their fan page.

The tourist center has a young team who reaches out to over hundred people a day and you can already imagine what impact that has. No tourist had ever experienced such a personal touch to a resort or place *before* they even made a decision. Obviously the team is *not selling* but just socializing. The team is not allowed to make any hotel suggestions, give out pricing, promote a place or any other promotional effort unless explicitly asked for. The overall task is to be that friendly guide before the tourist even arrived. Obviously the team was well trained and is equipped with URLs to "show people virtually around". With an outreach team of approximately 100 (most college kids) the tourist center is able to reach over 25,000 tourists a month. After some additional ramp up the goal is to be in touch with a quarter million tourists long before the summer season 2011 even begins.

An interesting aspect to mention is that the whole initiative is all about relationships, personal touch and individual connections. There is no traditional social media marketing like contests, pricing competition or any of the "old world" promotion involved. The cost to the tourist center is primarily hiring the team for an hour or so per day and is distributed to sponsors, mainly resorts and SPAs. But none of the sponsors get access to the people and the people are not getting any advertisement. The reward for the sponsors is to get a fully booked hotel in 2011.

Xee you next year in…. ah ah no selling :)




The new role of the “middle man” in the social web

I have the pleasure to talk about social media empowerment at this year's Xchange for Tech Innovators in Las Vegas today. The past years was filled with social media marketing conversations. The biggest challenge for many businesses is still to actually reach the end user and have a meaningful conversation. Why? Because it is pretty difficult for a company with 500 employees to have meaningful conversations with 10 Million customers.

The social media magic for businesses is called "leverage". Reseller, Distributors, Dealer, Broker, Agents have created business success as mediator for the past 5,000 years. And that is not going to change.

The Social Media Academy is providing complete social media solution programs and is working with leading social media tools vendors including Alterian, Sysomos and Xeesm to help businesses leverage their partner ecosystems and provide a better customer experience to their respective customers.



Sales just took a new leadership role

Everybody wants to grow their business. But what can you actually do to make it happen?

A) Think

Most educated purchase decisions are based on recommendations and influenced by what people say about the product they purchase. Now here starts your first obstacle. Not enough people say anything about your product. In addition to that, you don't have the marketing budget to make a big push. Don't settle with – "ok we are small", "we can't compete with the big boys" – yade yade yade

B) Decide

Decide that you need to find a way to make your existing customers talk and contribute to the recommendation volume. "They won't", "I can't force them"… is just not an option. Decide that you will take every step to get to public conversations – no matter how long it will take. It's the "Fly with the eagles or scratch with the chickens" decision.

C) Conclude

Conclude that you will engage with your existing customers. Develop a social relationship and have public  conversations that draw other people into it. It may take some time but you will get the conversation and a benefit for all participating parties.

Here is how:

1) Start with approachability

The best way to start a conversation is by  being approachable.
Take your Xeesm and tell your existing customers how they can reach you.
If they are not social help them to become social – it's one benefit you can provide

2) Initiate Conversations

You may write a blog and invite customers to read and comment
Stop sending out white papers. Have the content on a blog instead
Stop sending emails with news – instead point to the blog or page where the news is shown
You get the idea – create a gravitational force around your content in the public space
Use your Xeesm to send XeeNotes to your clients to introduce those news individually

3) Focus

Stop sending out manufactured mass mails which land in the waste
Create Xeesm Flights with 20 – 50 people and initiate very personal and individual connections
Visit your customers on their profiles at least weekly and know what's on top of their mind
Track the visits and the places to stay focused
Keep track of the objectives in your flights to not loose sight of your goals
Xeesm does all the tracking and visiting navigation for you
Every visit is an opportunity for a conversation

4) Provoke

With the conversations you are having by now you may start provoke your clients
Ask a provocative question and ask for comments
Let everybody engage and accept critical or aggressive comments
Create a situation of exchange, learning, contribution and rewards

5) Shift Gear

At that stage your clients began to open up and are most likely thankful for the experience
We humans are inheritably social – and people who help expand that skill are welcome
Asking your customers what they think about your products or services is now much easier
They won't be your marketing agency – they will talk about the good and the bad – but they talk

The level of cooperation between you and your customer will significantly change. Their influence will grow and you will need to be more responsive than ever before. The customer will shape your business more than you think – but that also means your customers will take more ownership and will be more involved in your success than you can imagine.

Xeesm Flights…

…also known as the "social spreadsheet", is only a tool and the relationship part is your major contribution. But Flights! will become your most critical management tool to execute your plan. Flights will keep you close to your objectives, reduces the risk of social media distraction and helps you focus on the most relevant contacts.


As you get your team behind the concept of socializing with customers you will want to understand their performance differences, level of engagement, relationship strength, contact intensity and the overall development of their social capital. Flights! can be shared and as such a manager can help the team navigate through the social engagements. Measuring and comparing social capital development, relationship strength, contact intensity are important KPIs in this new world and help managers further develop the skill sets of their team.

You can do all that on your own, create your own Xeesm and go. If you need any help, let us know and we are happy to support you and your team in any way we can. The network of Xeesm partners is around the world and helpful to support implementations any size.



(connecting the way you like)


ROI From Social Media! Think Again?

Thankfully, I think we are almost at the point of having serious conversations about how social media can be utilized in most organizations, rather than still asking the question “Is Social Media just a fad?”. However, there are some massive misconceptions on what social media will do for the organization. As a result, often we aren’t even hiring the right skills today to build a competent social media presence. We’re also looking to measure social media in a way we measure other marketing initiatives, channels, advertising campaigns and media, but social media is neither a channel, marketing, media or simply an initiative. More>>

Social Capital, Relationship Strength and Influence

Business opportunities depend on relationship strength to customers, purchase decisions are made based on relationship strength to peers and other connections, product launch successes depend on relationship strength to market influencer, event successes depend on relationship strength to the audience – you can easily add many more examples.

Xeesm is releasing an early version of its Social Capital Reporting system

Xeesm today released the first version of its Social Capital Reporting system. The Xeesm social capital score indicates the relationship strength to other business contacts such as customers, prospects, partners, peers, and so forth.

In order to calculate somebody's Social Capital, Xeesm developed a sophisticated algorithm comprised of network size, contribution and attention.

The report in "Contact Details" inside Xeesm shows the relationship strength index as stars, The aggregated social capital is the sum of relationship contribution (activities of the person) AND relationship attention, the attention the person received from the other. To make it easier to "translate" Social Capital for everybody, the report shows how often one engaged with the other in the social web. Hereby it doesn't matter whether this was a visit on Facebook on LinkedIn, a retweet on Twitter or reviewing a video clip on YourTube.


A two way street

It's no news that relationships are based on reciprocal engagement. Managing relationship strength was always difficult. Business managers know the great importance to learn and understand how relationship building works and good their teams are in relationship building. The relationship power or Social Capital influences business outcomes and therefor not only forecasts but also levels of investment, in time, money and resources. Xeesm's Social Capital reporting system is created to shed some more light on relationship strength from business teams to their respective contacts.

Developing and measuring Relationship Strength

Xeesm is one of the most successful social media business applications with probably one of the most advanced technologies, The Social Relationship Manager in Xeesm as well as Xeesm Flights now leverage the full potential of a Social Capital Analysis. Data aggregation just started in October – yet we see very interesting results.

Your Social Address Book

If you have already a Xeesm Business Edition, go to "MyContacts" and see who is interested in you. You also see your own engagement with the respective person. Stars indicate the relationship strength. Blue stars show you that you are putting more into the relationship than your counterpart. Red stars indicate you receive more attention than you put in yourself. Gold stars indicate that you are having a well established reciprocal relationship. It will take a while to really develop a deep relationship and that will be shown with platinum black stars.

The current version is only available to Business Edition users.

We are working on a new license model to provide this functionality to all Xeesm users for a low fee.

The CPU capacity requirements for those reports are pretty high so that we won't be able to provide the service for free. However for those with a license we provide the data for all connections whether they use the free Xeesm or the Business Edition.