Archive for the ‘social networking’ Category

Employee Advocacy in 9 questions?

November 27, 2015

I recently organized an event together with “ADM – Where Business meets ICT” on the subject of Employee Advocacy.  It is a hot topic for many companies as the low hanging fruit for brand ambassadors has not been picked yet.

Here is what members of ADM taught us.  The full list of questions are below in the appendix

Q1: What words come to mind when you hear the word “Employee Advocacy”?

Here is what the audience thought….

EA - 11

We all know that Employee advocacy” is a term used to describe the exposure that employees generate for brands & company using both their own online and offline assets.

Q2 – Q4 pertained to current Employee Advocacy

About 2 out 3 companies that took part in the on line survey during the event had a program in shape or form for EA.  Most of the Advocacy seemed to happen on LinkedIn (45%) while Twitter and Facebook came in 2nd with about 23%.   In most companies between 15% and 25% of employees are being advocates.

Q5: What Employee Advocacy programs do you know?

One thing that is clear is that even though there are many platforms out there, people seem to know few of them.

EA - 12

Q6 – Q8 pertained to who drives the EA initiative

Though marketing seems to be the biggest driver (46%), HR and communications are close seconds.  Even though we seem to hear that incentives are the key to successful EA, most of the companies in the survey disagreed.  Less than 30% offer incentives to their employees.

EA - 14

Now with Employee Advocacy comes the danger of having things go wrong so having a clear up to date social media policy is key.  As my other research has shown about 50% of companies are not paying attention and have no or an outdated social media policy.

Q9: Who is responsible for the content that will be shared through Employee Advocacy?

The obvious answer seems to be marketing but stories from and by employees seem to be the trick to successful EA.


If your company want to start with an Employee advocacy plan a few steps need to taken:

  1. Make sure you have a culture of sharing and openness
  2. Update your social media policy
  3. Have your employee create content
  4. Implement an employee advocacy platform
  5. Encourage sharing through a smart incentive plan

What are your thoughts, feedback and experiences? Love to hear from you

EA - 13

Appendix: questions asked to about 70 companies during the event

  1. What words come to mind when you hear the word “Employee Advocacy”?
  2. Does your company have an Employee Advocacy program?
  3. On what platforms is your advocacy happing?
  4. What % of your employees participate in advocacy?
  5. What EA platform are you using or know of?
  6. Which department drives EA?
  7. Are people incentivized for being an advocate?
  8. Do you have an updated social media policy?
  9. Who is responsible for creating content to be shared via EA?

When the whale washes up on the beach…

November 5, 2015

The last few weeks it has been raining negative messages around Twitter.  But what if the Twitter whale really washed up on the beach what would the consequences?

twitter whale

Loss of employment

The first group of people impacted are those companies that make tools to slice and dice Twitter.  There will be a lot of blood flowing on the floor.  From monitoring platforms to posting platform and tools of all other kinds.  I see you thinking: “It is only startups and who cares? But it is not only a large number of startups that would go out of business overnight but also some of the big players would get hurt and have to let go of people.  Not to mention companies using these tools.


OMG! The Klout score could really disappear for real.

Companies and Organizations

Twitter has been the tool that many companies have used to provide customer service and/or get close to the r customers.  All of a sudden they would lose their eyes and ears on their community,  Back to phone canvassing or trying to move the communities to one of the remaining platforms.  Let’s be honest, you don’t want the twitter type conversations on LinkedIn or even Facebook as a company.

Twitter users

people tweetingAnd how about the users of Twitter.  They would have so much time on their hands.  No more checking their influencers (an retweeting or pressing like), no more content curation, no more personal branding tweets to be sent, no more customer service complaints, etc. just to name a few.  What would they do with all this regained time?

Let’s be real, Twitter washing up on the beach would mean that we are left with only 2 real networks.  Google+ has been catching rays on the beach for a while now.  Would Tweeps really move to LinkedIn and/or Facebook with their content and messages?

What a nightmare that would be for both the platforms, companies and users.  I can’t image what messages on LinkedIn will look like or how the amount of spam in LinkedIn groups will spiral as the (professional) influencers from Twitter flock to LinkedIn.  What if more people started to complain about company services  and products on Facebook (or LinkedIn for that matter)…  Could customer service really move to Facebook? I guess Not!


twoogleThe long and short is that Twitter is likely not to disappear, so stop whining and spreading negative news.  I kind of want to  come back to my predictions for 2015 in the sense that if Google with Google+ (They have the users) and Twitter (they have the content) should team up (Twoogle?) they can be a counterweight to the two protagonists.  I wonder…

The Renaissance of the social media policy

October 15, 2015

Let’s start in 2009

2009 is the year that social media breaks through on a large scale.  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the likes are adding members quickly.  I would like to call this the age of “consumersation of Social Media”.

social media errorsBut 2009 is also the year that we start seeing how naif people are.  They post anything and everything on social media.  They tarnish not only their own reputation but also that of the companies they work for.  Some even get fired for their behavior.  But also companies make mistakes with this young and new medium.  And then companies do what companies do best: the lock down and lockout social media on the work floor!

They did however not count on the fact that mobile was also becoming a  commodity. People creative as they are fled to these mobile devices to take part in social media during work hours.   Companies had to do something: The social media policy was born!

2011 – 2012

one in fiveWhen I did my survey about social media policies in companies, I found that only 1 in 5 companies had one.  Even worse: within those companies less than 10% of the employees knew about it.  This still holds true today.  Social Media policies were merely a tick in the box.

Companies only made one when disaster struck.  They created them as insurance policies.

2015:  Time for a social media policy renaissance

We are now 2015 and there 3 important reasons why companies should revisit their social media policy or create one.

3 reasons socmedpol

Reason #1: We all know that 2015 is the year of the video more specifically live-streaming.  Apps such as Meerkat, Periscope or even Blab give every employee a live camera in their hand.  What if they start live streaming your production process?  What if they stream paying events?  And this is just the beginning.

Reason #2: For years companies have been looking for ambassadors.  They kept looking outside the company and forgot their biggest assets, the employees.  Today Employee Advocacy is stepping into the limelight.  Employees can amplify company approved content and get a higher organic reach.  Today companies are using a number of tools from rFactr, over GaggleAmp to Sociabble or Smarpshare just to name a few.  But what if your employee add comments to post that are not appropriate?

Reason #3: More and more companies are embracing Social Selling (aka the use of social media by sales to find leads and build relationships).  We all know how disciplined sales people are and things can go wrong very quickly (and yes, this is black & white).  You really need a policy to help this people with their social media.

And finally, people are still naif in this day and age.  They are still being fired for posting stupid stuff.

So time for the renaissance of the social media policy.  If yours is more than 2 years old, it is time for a revision.


From my current research, it looks like about 50% of the companies have as policy of which some are more than 2 years old.  With social election in many companies coming up, it might be a good idea to include some paragraphs about union behavior and use  of social within your enterprise.

In my next article I will focus on the how you make/update your current social media policy.

Sloppy programming or no respect to the users?

June 30, 2015

Open letter to LinkedIn

Time to vent!  I will abuse my own blog to vent some of my frustrations with LinkedIn.  However, some of my readers might be suffering from the shortcomings below

Let me start out by saying that I am a very big supporter and user of LinkedIn but as a professional you bring me a lot of frustration.  As a social media professional, I try and teach people the good use of LinkedIn but time after time you, LinkedIn, brings my and its reputation down.

I am not sure what kind of quality control you have in place when it comes to English and Non-English versions but the interface really looks sloppy and it seems that complaints are not taken seriously thus giving us the impression you do not care what 350 million people suffer from daily.

Let me explain what I mean.

English versions

It starts on the home page where some people have the Long Form publishing button and others not.  While in the past you provided the option to request, this is no longer possible thus 2 different versions without a clear explanation when user will get access to Long Form Publishing.

While I love the new contact sheet, I still regularly people with the old contact screen.  And yes, there might be a button asking change the lay-out, people do not always see or get it.  Thus here too 2 different versions (and they have nothing to do with the one above versions it seems).

When it comes to personal contacts, some people have the button to add relationship details while other not.  No clear explanation why.

There are some conflicting messages like in posting a job.  On the start screen you mention 3 easy step while on the job posting itself only.

job 1

VSjob 2

And then there are the paying versions of LinkedIn.  It seems there are ways to get a paying subscription:

  • Upgrade your profile from your personal account settings page
  • Upgrade via the Business Services button

Did you notice that the job seeker solution has been dropped in the Business Services?  And then there is the myriad of pricing schemes that are floating around.  Most of them no longer featured anywhere.

Non-english versions

Since I regularly teach classes in Dutch and French, I change the language on LinkedIn.  From a functionality point of view there are differences.  Here a few examples:

  • Under the “who viewed your profile” the options of ranking and post views does not appear
  • Endorsements are no longer triggered when you view a 1st degree contact
  • Removing contact button sometimes disappears

And then there is the mix between the local language and English like in sections such as “Keep in touch”.  And yes, this could be a cookie issue but when I change my UI I expect all of it to be updated.

li langs

There are many instances where this seem to happen.  I would categorize this under sloppy programming and poor Quality Assurance.

Call to Action

Though I understand LinkedIn is constantly adding (and removing) features to make it more attractive, this is no excuse to provide so many different UI’s (User Interfaces) and active versions.  I am seeing 5 to 10 different UI’s on a regular basis.  I think the roll up of profiles and version needs to be quicker and smoother.

It might actually make sense to involve non-english trainers and professionals in your Quality Assurance process as well as provide clear timelines when functionality is available to all users in any language. And yes, I would love to be included!

What you always wanted to know about when to post on Facebook and LinkedIn

April 9, 2015

One of the biggest challenges on social media is when to post  to get maximum reach.  There is maybe one simple trick that will tell you when your connections and contacts are online: your birthday!  Or better, when people wish you a happy birthday which means they are online.  Time for me to do an experiment…


A few days ago (April 7th) it was my birthday. I took this opportunity to get an insight into when my contacts, friends and followers posted and mailed their best wishes.  The sample size is a few hundred messages (about a third of my complete network) which is representative for my network on LinkedIn and Facebook.  Twitter is the odd one out.

Here is what I observed:


On LinkedIn messages started as of 2.21AM (A late night worker?).  However the real stream started at 5.54 AM but with a first peak between 8AM and 9AM.  The next burst came between 10 AM and noon.  As of lunch the mails dropped down considerably but evened out over the afternoon and evening.

linkedin posts

2 conclusions from these statistics and the fact that my network is evenly spread between Europe and the USA,

  • I can conclude that far more Belgians and Europeans than Americans use the tab “Keep in Touch”.
  • Also, my European network is stronger than my US network.


On Facebook it started at 1AM (okay, that was someone who was up late ;-) ) but the real postings in Belgium started at 6AM.  The first strong push was between 7AM  and 8 AM slowly dropping down towards 9AM. However, my Spanish contacts got active at after 9AM.

facebook post

The highest activity was measured in the afternoon starting at noon and going up from there.  Things slowed down after 5PM.  Here, I must admit, my network is more Belgian based than internationally.


Amazingly enough, twitter only started at 9AM but that is because Twitter does not send people messages when it is your birthday.  Here too the biggest number (how few those were) happened in the 2PM -5PM timeslot. But the number of messages is too small to make any real statement about when to post.


It is clear that if I want to reach my target audience posting between 7AM and 8AM (before work) and/or Noon – 5PM (at work?) are good times on Facebook.  LinkedIn seems to be used by my contacts in the morning  between 8 and noon.  As far as Twitter is concerned I have no conclusive data to make any recommendation.

What do you think? Does this hold true for you too?  How do you really know?

Will Live-streaming throw our privacy completely overboard?

April 2, 2015

The world of social media is changing at a quick pace and some innovations make it even shake in its foundations.  It has been touted that 2015 was going to be the year of the video.  But what is happening now is just mind boggling.  Personally, I love it! Live-streaming has just gone personal!  Meerkat and Periscope are among the shakers in this field.


What is meerkat or Periscope?

Live-streaming is nothing new but personal live-streaming surely is.  Meerkat and Periscope are personal live-streaming video apps using a twitter account to rally viewers and share live video content.  We are even more at the point of being a reporter with camera in hand (our smartphone) than with pictures.  And yes, today the service is only available for Iphone users.  Below is an infographic comparing the 2 main players.

infographic meerkat

Meerkat was the first to jump the gun and soon had many followers (over 100K in less than a month).  But then came along Periscope (by Twitter) and the steep rise stopped in favor of Periscope.  Who will be the winner?  I guess the app that gets soonest on Android/Microsoft, I think!

The potential of live video streaming is huge.  Creative marketers will be able to feast on new things they can do starting with streaming product launches, product demonstration, events, interviews, promotions and much more.

However, the biggest issue still has to be tackled.  Privacy is hitting yet another tilting point.

What privacy?

Privacy and the internet are an oxymoron and contradiction anyway.  But these apps hold the potential for many more breaches.  It could be a nightmare in the waiting.  Looking at the terms of use of both platforms (MeerkatPeriscope) they are dodging all responsibility and beyond.

Here is an interesting paragraph from Meerkat

All Content, whether publicly posted or privately transmitted, is the sole responsibility of the person who originated such Content. We may, but are not required to monitor or control the Content posted via the Services and we cannot take responsibility for such Content. Any use or reliance on any Content or materials posted via the Services or obtained by you through the Services is at your own risk.”

But beware and please read carefully the section after the word “reproduce”:

You retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services. In order to make the Services available to you and other users, Meerkat needs a license from you. By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).”

The service claims not to store the video but are you really sure?  I would suggest you read these Terms of Service agreements carefully.

But again, you will ask me “Where is the privacy issue?”

stopWell, what if people start streaming live video from a paying event? Of from a soccer game where a TV station has paid the screening rights?  What if you are filmed and have not given your consent?  What if people start streaming video from places where disasters have happened?  These are all situations that will raise the bar in the privacy game.  And yes, the first events where Meerkat was banned are a fact.  But how can you stop this?  You can’t ask people to check in their smartphone when they come to your event.  Interesting times ahead!

Finally a last thought. If this service would have been offered by Facebook, the world would have been up in arms around the privacy issues but for now people focus on meerkat-in-carthe gadget level of these apps as if there is no issue.  We hear a lot of speak about using your common sense or like Meerkat puts in its rules “Be Kind”.  We all know where that road leads to.

Let me be clear that I am very excited to see these evolutions and technology appear. I will be a supporter from day 1 but will keep a close eye on the dark side of this technology.  I wonder what you think about this technology and the privacy issues that it entails.

50 Shades of Content for your LinkedIn Company Profile

March 15, 2015

linkedin compWhether you like it or not sharing content on your LinkedIn company profile will help your company’s visibility and allow its employees to share valuable company approved content via their personal profile.  However, most companies and people have no idea what to share.  Therefore I have brought together these 50 posts from 33 companies and organisations as a source of inspiration on what to share on LinkedIn.  When you take a look at this list, I am convinced you will not be able to say that you have no content to share anymore.

LinkedIn company pages are essential for branding and for building and sustaining a following and community. LinkedIn is providing B2B companies with a unique opportunity to present themselves as thought leaders and generate meaningful conversation about their businesses. Sharing the above content will increase readership, create visibility and encourage employees to share the content in their professional network.

So what are you waiting for to post every day on your LinkedIn company profile?

I can do it too! 3 outrageous prediction for 2015.

January 2, 2015

madame soleilAs one year comes to and end and the new year is about to start, we find ourselves in the time when annual reviews and 2015 predictions are plenty.  I am slowly getting fed up with large number of posts about the future.  BTW, which of the 2014 prediction come true?  No one really checks.

It seems everyone has a crystal ball and is a futurologist or trend watcher.  Where did the time go when Madame Soleil was the person to go to to get predictions for the new year.  Nostalgia… I guess I must be a romantic.

Enough of “Video will be the preferred content form” or “Content Marketing finally matures” or “Everything mobile”!  I do not want to hear this anymore, but under the mantra “if you can’t beat them, join them”, here is my spin on the predictions for 2015:

My 3 outrageous predictions for 2015!


Facebook will disappear this year!

For the last year or so, we have heard more and more people saying they want to stop their Facebook account because of the ever changing privacy rules or abundant advertising .  But guess what?  Facebook is not stupid and saw this coming.  So they are launching Facebook for Business now.  More constant and better money flow? Great move on their behalf except that most people use Facebook for private use (not business) and are shutting down their account.  Why should companies get started on Facebook for Business. I guess death will quick.

Google+ finally gets off the ground

All those sleeping Google+ users (Gmail users, Android phone users, YouTube-ers, Bloggers, et al) finally realize they already have a Google+ account. Moreover, since they are running away from Facebook, Google+ becomes the next safe haven where their friends will be posting their personal updates.  And yes, privacy is much better and less advertising.  So getting to 1.6 billion members in 2015 will be a piece of cake.  Sorry or

Microsoft buys LinkedIn

I can see you shake your head but think about it.  Microsoft already owns the largest Enterprise Social Network (Yammer) which focusses on the intra-company social media so it make sense to add an external social media network to it.  Business meets Business.  And yes, Microsoft has the cash to burn.  A marriage made in heaven for professional social media and networking.  The benefit for LinkedIn will be that finally the company pages really get developed to create more value to the business users.

What do you think? Do you agree with any of these outrageous social media predictions? Do you have any you’d like to share? Please share your comments below.

You really want me to pay for LinkedIn?

November 15, 2014

paying for Linkedin I recently read yet another article about 8 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade To LinkedIn Premium.

Though I am not against paying for LinkedIn I believe you should be stretching it first to its limits before you do pay.  I find that a lot of people are paying where they shouldn’t or as they are not using the extra functionality.  Let me give you some insight into why I think you should not pay…

Additional Filters

I agree with the fact that the advanced search of LinkedIn is very powerful.  If and when you are working in a smaller type market (Belgium with 2.3 million members), these extra parameters are of no value.

Tip : just use the keyword search to get better results.  You will not be disappointed.

More Search Results

Okay, you can see more than 100 profiles which means that your search is not specific enough.  Let’s be honest you do not have the time or even energy to scroll through 30 screens.  You are not doing this on Google search so why would you do it on LinkedIn.

Tip: Be more specific in your search criteria.

More saved searches

There is something to be said about that were it not that few people (that I know or  have been in my classes) even know about this function.  It is very powerful to detect who in your network has changed his/her profile and now falls into your “target audience”.

Tip: set up your 3 saved searches

Do more reference searches

To my knowledge few people are even coming close to using this function.  Heck, most of them have not even discovered where this button is.  And let’s be real, in my neck of the world people ask you who to contact as reference.

Tip: Get some recommendations and endorsements of your skills. You could add to your summary that you are willing to provide references (if needed).


Of course, this is one of the high flyers when it comes to paying for LinkedIn.  Is sending emails to someone you do not know really such a good idea or practice? And by-the-way, did you know that you can send an email to anyone for free?

Tip: Just join one of the groups that person belongs to and your email is free!

More Introductions

Yet another one of LinkedIn’s biggest secrets.  Like in real life you can be introduced by someone you mutually know.  The quality of the network of many LinkedIn members is very good so they can do this type of introductions. Great feature but rarely used.  I rarely get a request (which I gladly pass along – try me!) even though I do have a large network.   Since this feature is hardly known few use up the 3 introductions.

Tip: Use your monthly 3 free introductions and be open to pass introduction.

Free subscription

See full profiles of 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree contact

Yes, it can be frustrating not to see the details of your 3rd degree contacts.  However, these people have a public profile which can be easily found back through a simple google search.  All you have to do is enter the First name, initial and company and Google will give you the public LinkedIn profile.  Here you will find the full story.  Have you ever tried?

Tip:  Try a Google Search on one of your 3rd degree contacts.

Who viewed your profile

Yet another top reason to pay for LinkedIn.  You can see everyone who visited your profile in the last 90 days.  Do you have any idea how many people visit your profile on a daily?  I dare to tell me it is over 5 which is what you see when you have a free subscription.  And no, you will nog see more from the anonymous people who view your profile.

Tip: Check your “Who viewed your profile” daily and you will catch all viewers.

Open profile

Are you really waiting for unknown people to send you emails on LinkedIn?

Tip: Just mention you email address in your summary or make visual on your public profile

The gold Badge (Premium)

Well, what a vain person are you?

Tip: Be less vain!


Unless you are a recruiter or salesperson working in a very large community, it makes no sense to pay for LinkedIn.  Stretch the free version of LinkedIn to its limits  before you decide to pay.  Yes, I have recently signed up for a premium account for Sales Navigator.  As part of my social selling practice, I need to appraised of its functionality.  The jury is out whether this will actually bring me the so much awaited ROI.  Will keep you posted on my results!

How social is the CIO-of-the-Year 2014?

October 1, 2014

The end of the year is slowly on the horizon.  And with that come numerous competitions for “best in class”.  One of these is the Datanews “CIO of the Year” competition.

CIO of the yearSometime ago (august) the list of the top 10 nominees was published.  Each of the nominees was selected for having a good vision, strategic insight, leadership qualities and personality.  And then is was up to the the public to vote who will be in the top 3!  The winner will be crowned on November 20th in Brussels.

I started wondering how these CIO’s would go about promoting their candidacy for the top 3.  One great place to do this is social media.  Think of the success of #TVVV or #BGT.   Since I had some reasearch (blogpost of April 2011) a long while back, I decided to take another look on social media.  After all these years I expected the presence to be much improved.  But no, it was again (still?) staggering to see their presence is very limited.


All CIO’s have a reasonable complete profile and good amount of contacts.  However, few have discovered the functionality of sharing a Status Update which could be formidable weapon in their quest to become one of the Top 3 CIO’s.

Only one CIO noticed that I visited their profile and wanted to connect.  The rest did not even click back.  Well I guess who will get my vote.


7 out of the 10 do have a twitter account which  I think is great. When it comes to tweeting few have masterd the art.  They all remain under 300 tweets (all-time) and 50% have not tweeted at all.  I just wonder if they know who is following they.


Half the CIOs are on facebook. And of those who are, none of them have protected their friends and/or pictures.  I would have thought they of all people would know something about privacy.


CIO’s seem not to missed Google+ completely.  I think 3 have discovered it probably by accident but their profile lack content and general information.  It is as good as empty.  But then again, Google+ is considered to be the desert among social media platforms.  Maybe CIO’s will move directly to

Other platform

When it comes to leadership one would hope that CIO’s run a blog but unfortunately, I was not able to find one.  Neither do they have a slideshare account or YouTube channel.  But one could say this is only for marketing.

cio logo
CIO messages2


Even though their companies are using social media heavily, CIO’s themselves still have not discovered Social Media – the cloud applications that outrun any other application domain.  It is clear that Social Media will have a minimal bearing on the winning of votes to be among the top 3.  This was a sad conclusion on most of the profiles of the 10 CIO’s



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