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Women, Unicorns and Entrepreneurs

January 26, 2016

Today is our compilation of some wonderful articles we read over the past

Women and Money

  • Control the $: In this article about Philanthropy, we discover that women now control more than 50% of the wealth in the USA. A number that is bound to increase.
  • Get less $ from successful ventures: Here, we learn that ventures lead by women and backed by VCs showed an exit rate 37 percent lower than that of startups led by men. The article points to a research from Sahil Raina who hinted that a lack of women partners in the VC world is partially to blame for that disparity. As a matter of fact, Angie Chang tells us that only 11% of investment partners at VC funds and 15% of angel investors are women
  •  Odds are stacked against women on ‘Shark Tank’
  • Women behave differently than man when the market is unstable


  • Population: 229; Valuation: $1.3T; Got $175b in funding.
  • From innovation, Americans build disruptive business, Chinese follow with enthusiasm and Europeans regulate. Hence the 101 unicorns in California alone. No surprise as, according to E&Y, VC investment in the San Francisco Bay Area alone tops $24.7b while Europe is only at $10b.


  • Be resilient: The #1 trait of startup founders” by @writerpollock – and per @sethgodin, a highly valuable skill.
    The team @ecairn agrees wholeheartedly.
  • Be reasonably patient: @lilbovness and @andrewparker talk about five years in the making overnight successes
  • Out of the ~2000 startups from the top USA incubators we analyzed, about 15% have now more than 20 employees

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Why social media will never be like mass media

December 15, 2015

Guest Post by Yann Gourvennec

“Social mass media” is an oxymoron

I first coined the “social mass media” phrase in a Hootsuite video a while back, more in jest than in earnest I have to admit. Social media has indeed been considered by (too) many professionals as a new means to apply their good old mass media communications recipes. Regardless, there are many issues regarding this vision of social media as the new mass media. In my eyes, one should try and get back to the basics of word of mouth marketing. In this piece, I will describe why I believe social media will never be the new mass media advertising professionals – and some of their clients – think it has become.

Consumer, I love you and I know you

 The following video, as far as I know, is a Microsoft commercial. So much for those who think advertising agencies have no sense of humour. At least the one behind this video has a sharp sense of self denial. It briefly sums up the situation: advertisers (and their clients) spy on consumers, track them and “personalise messages” (another word for spamming maybe?), thinking this is enough for clients to feel loved and recognised. But all this ends in a divorce. Don’t imagine advertising is useless though. As a matter of fact, It has already been proven that advertising is efficient in the long run and has a track-record of stimulating desires and behaviours. For those who still get this wrong, please refer to the excellent demonstration on the importance of advertising in Byron Sharp’s How Brands Grow opus.

Mass media vs. social media

The reason why social media cannot make do with mass media approaches lies elsewhere. In fact, like it or not, mass media and social media are sitting on the opposite sides of the marketing spectrum. And confusing one for the other does pose a problem: not only is is bit like trying to place round pegs in square holes, it is also pretty ineffectual.


Mass media means content in small supply for large quantities of people


In traditional media, content has to be as unique as possible, and therefore must be in limited supply. Quality being a subjective criterion I won’t take it into account. The objective with mass media is to deliver content to the greatest number of people; hence its name. Having vast amounts of content, let alone user-generated hardly comes into play. What matters is that the content in question be applicable to the majority. Even on the scale of a small country like France (65+ million inhabitants) or Britain (60 million), mass media audiences reach tens of millions of people. The numbers are a matter for debate, we’ll get back to that later.

first pic

Mass media follow a logic of content in limited supply, as unique as possible, delivered to large audiences (cable/satellite channels mimic that approach but only reach a fragment of that audience).


Social media is a horse of a different colour

 On the opposite, content on social media is plentiful, it lends itself to duplication and is therefore easy to adapt and share. Unlike traditional media, it is not all about copyright and uniqueness. The norm, on the contrary is that of the Creative Commons license. It grants readers the right to share, use and build up upon existing content. Nevertheless, Creative Commons does not mean copyright-free. One should not get confused, rules also apply to online shareable content.

Visionary Marketing - 24

Social media is guided by the rules of word of mouth marketing. In this environment, content is inexhaustible, groups of readers or participants (vs. viewers/eyeballs) are small and segmented. Media (“message”) views are weak, and even sometimes reduced by the platform (Facebook shrink your post views by tweaking edgeranks to encourage you to “promote” your posts)

Stop confusing social media for TV ‘audiences’

 On social media there is no such thing as passive audiences like on mass media. Even though real content creators are and remain a minority of 0.1-10% depending on subjects and platforms (check Forrester’s social technographics diagram for reference), and can even go up to 20+% in some cases if small content creation like Facebook posts is taken into account, no user of social media is entirely passive. As a result, there is something amiss with the use of the term ‘audience’ when it comes to social media. An audience being a group of passive users, looking at the same piece of content without interaction.

In this instance, I am not taking so-called “social TV/radio” into account. One might think that this is a game-changer and that social turns binge viewing into interactive viewing but I would disagree with that. Social impact is different according to the kind of shows (deemed “high social” and “low social” shows by Nielsen). Its impact is still low (except for “high social” shows) and besides, one may also look at this phenomenon as two activities carried out side by side rather than interaction being added to passive mass media viewing). For more information on TV viewing and the social impact on “audiences” check this 2014 piece by Nielsen at

Audience, viewers, potential viewers, what are we talking about here?

In my opinion, the definition of ‘audience’ that one typically uses in the case of mass media, and that one extends to websites, is way off the mark when it comes to social media.

audience noun [C] (GROUP OF PEOPLE)

B1 [+ sing/pl verb] the ​group of ​people together in one ​place to ​watch or ​listen to a ​play, ​film, someone ​speaking, etc.:

B2 [+ sing/pl verb] the (​number of) ​people ​watching or ​listening to a ​particular ​television or ​radio ​programme, ​reading a ​particular ​book, or ​visiting a ​particular ​website

source: Cambridge dictionary

Assuming one can measure precisely the “number of people” watching a website is already walking on thin ice. On the Web, users/consumers are building their own schedules, collecting pieces of information in no particular order and sometimes, “consuming” several pieces of information at the same time. Their attention isn’t always focused on one single task. On many occasions, we have found out that, when calling back B2B leads generated through a Website and asking them about what they wanted, a vast majority of them couldn’t even remember visiting the Website, let alone filling in a form, just one day after the capture of their email address. Besides, as I was working for one of the world’s largest telcos a few years back I noticed quite a few times that official Web audience measurement could easily be twice as big (at other times twice as small) as what I could see with my own eyes on my site-centric stats dashboard. I can’t explain why nor will even try to, all I know is that I only trust site-centric analytics.

Moving forward, with regard to social media, the use of the term ‘audience’ is really unconvincing to say the least

And now a few facts and figures. Imagine that you publish a few tweets to your 13,000 followers. It is a good number for a ‘normal’ user who is neither an expert nor a celebrity. This score would place you in the 500 first Twitter users in London or first 250 in Paris, and even higher than some minor local celebs. Obviously, in the States, the stakes would be higher.

If we were to measure our “reach” for this 13,000 follower-tweet, one would then use online apps such as the excellent Now, you would certainly think that reaching thousands of people (a true “audience”) in a single message is quite an achievement. Well done Twitterer, you will go far! Well, not so, not so. This is all wrong. And time and time again I have seen people with stars in their eyes because certain ‘influencers’ (notice the inverted commas) were able to drown the cyberworld with thousands and thousands of views. Hold on. All these numbers are just the result of the piling up of potential readers (get the nuance?) So actually, it does not mean much if anything at all. It may be good. It may be bad, only time will tell.


Lacking imagination, I made a research of my own Twitter handle. Try a search on any given hashtag and you will reach (potential) huge “audience” numbers. And you would be completely wrong.


Shareholders and advertisers looking for ‘audience’ numbers in Twitter are in for trouble


Of course, I don’t mean that tweeting is useless. On the contrary, I love it and think this is really powerful. But if what you are after is an “audience” of mindless followers gobbling up your words you’re in for trouble because this isn’t the way that social media is working. Social media isn’t so much about valuing numbers as it is about valuing interactions, and even so, meaningful interactions.


There is a case however, in which social media will act (almost) as mass media: it’s when you are already famous. Snowden attracted 900,000 followers a few hours only after opening his Twitter account this year and so did the Pope and Obama before him. Big deal, they are already widely known and popular. You, and your brand, may not be so lucky. I even heard that advertisers were buying tweets from celebrities at incredible prices for a single tweet. Not only is it astrosurfing – and therefore mildly illegal – it’s also not very effective. Tweets aren’t messages, impressions aren’t views. There is a huge misunderstanding here. So, unless a mass media journalists sees that tweet, many chances are that it will remain the Internet’s best kept secret.


Twitter and Facebook (and the like) aren’t real “media”

The bottom line is that Twitter and Facebook, to name a few social platforms but all of them are concerned, aren’t real “media”. they are more like – at least their timelines are – uninterrupted pipes of information. In order to reach a large number of views, one will have to share the content several times (that is exactly why I publish my articles several times during the day on Twitter, an approach I learned from Guy Kawasaki when he came to visit the guys a few years ago. Even though Twitter tries to suppress that (hence shooting oneself once more in the foot).


As a matter of fact, you cannot assume that everyone is in front of their gaspedalscreen at the time of your first Tweet, nor even the second. (Facebook works differently – you won’t be allowed to post the same kind of information as many times without being penalised – but in essence it is also an interrupted pipe of information pouring from your friends and friends’s friends). Sometimes, a promoted message pops up as an attempt to revive Seth Godin’s archenemy (marketing by interruption) and they even get a few, very few, clicks for their money. As Hugh once put it, advertising Is the cost of being boring.


This phenomenon is interesting because timelines on social media such as Facebook or Twitter are somewhat disconnected from user accounts. One may very well use one’s social media account and even post a lot of stuff, without paying much attention to other people’s opinions/content. And this is exactly what a lot of people do; and most brands too. Because they think it’s “media”, means all they have to do is post nice things, preferably nice kittens, and people will “like” them and that’s that. Obviously, no-one can be more mistaken.


The infamous edgerank


In addition to that, certain social platforms such as Facebook reduce the reach of your messages (thanks to the infamous edgerank that controls which posts are to be displayed on users’ timelines). This is what drives brands mad at the moment, seeing how much they invested in paid social media and how much deeper their pockets must be to keep going.


Now, do you understand a bit more how social media differs from mass media? Imagine being a TV series producer for the BBC and that the channel managers decide to turn off your audience’s TV sets of their own accord. Their aim would be to get paid to turn those TV sets back on. Would you still deal with a business partner like the BBC? I don’t think so (as a matter of fact the BBC operates without advertising which is even more virtuous).


Different ways of using social media (and not necessarily as a conversation tool)


To make things even more complex, there are more than many ways of using social media. Social media can be used as a tool for one to many and many to many conversations, crowdsourcing, sharing, creativity, and even messaging. More often than not, we start using these tools and it only starts dawning on us that more possibilities exist much later on in this process. I started using Twitter in early 2007 and remained puzzled by the 140 character microblogging system for quite a few months. You may add Social to TV though, It’s flavour of the month. and You can certainly notice that there is yet another difference with mass media, the latter being a one-way channel.


Frederic Cavazza’s drawing is spot on: social media is not mass media, but it differs from community platforms too

We have already established that mass media is used in one way only. The fluctuating element of consumption in mass media, is the users’ viewing time. With the rise of the plus7/catch-up TV concept, it has turned television viewing into a live/recorded mass media.

So, beware, don’t always trust the numbers. The audience of social media ads are not really cumulative.


Caption: The Perrier ad on Facebook reached 6.7 million “views “ but are we talking about views or reach or potential reach… and what is 6 million views to Perrier, honestly.

And even so, the reach is modest, considering the amount of engagement that is out of reach for low budgets. (I witnessed several examples of low budgets that attempted to micro-target audience on Facebook. Well, even using ads, they obtained weaker results than this very blog post, through pure organic reach).


Mass media and social media do not have common audience figures

 I dug deeper into the French media audience figures (the ones that were available to me), which are huge. Even on mass media, interpretations vary. Audience “points” fluctuate (anything between 561 000 and 581 000 peopler each point). Thus, average audiences are huge, only a handful of Websites reach such numbers, there is no comparison.

Even a niche channel like French leading news channel BFMTV that has an average audience of 2%, reaches around 1 million spectators. The evening peak (between 9:15 and 9:30 PM) represents an audience of 27 million people, everyday except on Saturdays.

A: an amateur video about Nutella shot by a user who is not impressed by Ferrero’s advertising campaigns


B: mission 404, a highly engaging viral video by Orangina produced by Studio Bagel (a Canal+ company). A brilliant viral video example.


Caption: The evening audience peak on TV, mass media by excellence


So, if we want to compare the audience on Youtube, we can look at the following cases: (A) an amateur Nutella video (with almost a US-type score) and superior ranking in YouTube on the “Nutella” keyword and (B) Studio Bagel’s (Canal +) professional viral video “mission 404” (a very engaging and highly successful several-million-euro super production). The cumulated audience of these videos is of around 6 million each. Mass media capture their audiences around brief moments, with YouTube, it’s a different story, there is a long-tail effect. (Note that with catch-up TV, the visibility time is extended to another week).


Note: there are of course YouTube videos like Gagnam Style with billions of views, but this is out of proportion. Let me refer back to our analysis on the Korean phenomenon in our book Mastering Digital Marketing Like a Boss.


Recently, in 2015, Google has tightened its grip on Youtube and is trying to find its own economic model regarding mass media. Nothing too surprising, according to what I discussed previously. It has taken years for YouTube to attract serious advertisers to its platform, now the latter are seriously anxious to get value for their money.


Social media platforms are not, in fact, mass media: there is a lot of content out there and Content Delivery Network costs are impressive and rocketing with views (a 15 minute HD video weighs around 200 million bytes, or even 1 GB if uncompressed). It is extremely costly to narrowcast such content overs CDNs, a special infrastructure is required, it’s not as trivial as it seems.


It’s possible that the cost for Youtube be around 100 million dollars per year for bandwidth and storage only. I would say this is a bit underestimated. Despite this, audiences, as we have seen, do not match. monetising such “audiences” therefore really causes an issue. Besides, from a user and usability point of view, online monetisation is truly annoying and a real deterrent because of the increasing invasiveness of online video advertising. All of this is prompting users to adopt ad blocking systems and circumvent the issue.


Again, social media and mass media work in different ways. To sum it all up, this article aims at prompting brands to look at social media differently. Maybe they should also look at advertising differently, or so Pepsico’s Brad Jakeman said, but as I’m no expert in advertising, I’ll take his word for it. Brands should realise that relying on paid media is not always a good move regarding the return on their investment, even though it looks like it’s the easy way out.


Visionary Marketing - 43

social media vs antisocial media

As a conclusion, it is important not to confuse paid, owned and earned (word of mouth) media. Advertisers’ approach to social media is, in my eyes, flawed. And Facebook pages should never be – IMHO – at the centre of a social media strategy. The aim of word of mouth is that people share your stuff on their pages, and not to transform Facebook into a Website generator; even though the latter would be delighted that the Internet be entirely encapsulated within it.

Given all that, it’s about time to go back to word-of-mouth marketing basics.







Why the hell do people post their stats on Twitter?

October 15, 2015


I see people, quite a lot of them actually, that publish automatic tweets about their performance on Twitter.

It could be:

  • How I did on Twitter this week: 2 Mentions. How’d your week go?


  • Thanks to my top interactors! …..

and I don’t really see the point.

First of all, Twitter, like any other platform, is not a numbers game (that people inevitably cheat on). What really matters is who you are engaging with and the quality of the exchange.

Also, I don’t see any situation where this kind of message would make a positive impression on the reader.

When I read that my thinking goes

  • the person does really bad (if the numbers are low)
  • he/she is clearly into vanity metrics (cf, the lean startup)

and more importantly, it is a ROBOT and I don’t want to listen to a robot.

Did I miss something?

(image by

Employee’s Advocacy: fine line between Chaos and Propaganda

August 5, 2015

smurfy-workers-1183449I often have “discussions” with Social Media Marketers regarding “Employee Advocacy”.

Employee Advocacy is clearly the buzzword of the moment (or maybe it is Content) and it looks like every company is embracing this – as social media monitoring a few years back, without much of a plan/ strategy.

Don’t take me wrong. Employee praising their companies in Social  is a great thing. However, it is naive to believe that any conversation/tweet/exchange between an employee and someone outside is a good thing, provided that the employee is positive.

Here are situations where this would actually hurt.

  • Your sales team is in a middle of a fierce negotiation with a prospect and an employee with no knowledge of the context or authority on the deal is jumping in, and engages with prospect’s employees, creating noise.
  • A junior employee engaging with a competitor CXO’s, an analyst although not qualify to comment on behalf of the company.
  • An employee soliciting people from another firm publicly.
  • An employee engaging conversation with an exclusive client who has a dedicated account manager.
  • In short, employee engaging in conversations where they don’t have the expertise/knowledge.

These are just examples.

I remember when working for HP, being quite confused when someone would ask me to fix problem with his/her printer or provide discounts to buy tablets. ( my track record with printer is VERY bad).

I always attempted to redirect them to people who could really help but this was frequently felt as an avoidance strategy.

There is no such a thing as a one size fits all “Employee Advocacy program” or “Employee Engagement Program”. Sales, Marketers, Engineers, Evangelists. Execs, Legal, … all should use Social a different way and engage with people outside that are relevant for them and (sometimes) for the company.

As Jim Fields (SAP)  –  @fieldsjj – puts it

“Look at how to enable each of our employees to become an ambassador for the company and an ambassador for the brand in a way that is true to their role in the organization and their ability to be a voice for us within their various networks and with their social constituents.” (

Employee Engagement cannot be: let everybody be on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram and talk to anyone on behalf on the company and go for it or (which is the same), let’s deploy an Advocacy solution, train the people and make sure they use it.

Going the other way round and establishing PR lead and “Official accounts” as the only voices of the company does not work either.

I see many companies, including private banks & exclusive brands !! using generic Twitter accounts to engage with dissatisfied clients and it is usually a pretty bad move. These clients are worth $100K’s and have dedicated account managers. They should be the one to jump in.

So what is the right approach?

The right approach start with strategy and mapping.

It requires structuring the engagement so that every team is lined up with its appropriate target audience/tribe and we recommend the following steps:

  1. Define roles, responsibilities, objectives and metrics
  2. Specs policies
  3. Map audiences and align audiences to roles in the company.
  4. Train employees
  5. Deploy starting with the employees who are the most Social Savvy

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 4.59.21 PM@dominiq

The difference between Social Selling & Social Network Selling

May 18, 2015

There is clearly  a major shift to “Social Selling” ( yeah we know that):

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 4.51.46 PM

at the expense of telemarketing and cold calling

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 4.53.10 PM

This is specially true in the US where people basically don’t answer the phone anymore. ( Nicely highlighted by @michaelhlock from Hearsay Social)

1- Phone is intrusive, specially for the Millemials. Younger generations rely on text as a primary means of communication and  their normal process is to use text or social to schedule a phone appointment.

2- Telemarketers have overused it. They are the only one still calling on land lines and iff they reach a smartphone, there is a high chance they will be blacklisted and blocked in a click. Here is a 2013 stat: “8 attempts to reach a prospect today with a cold call vs. 3.68 in 2007 “(source: TeleNet and Ovation Sales Group).


However when people talk about “social selling”, what they mean by that is replicating the same selling process using social network.

The process they advocate is still:

  • one to one
  • disruptive. whether it is thru a “cold text message, tweet, linkedin introduction”, or “almost cold introduction” i.e ” you just had a new baby, are you interested in a College savings plan”.

It is better ….but is still missing the point of Social NETWORK.

The point I want to make is that:  In Social Selling, Social is the important word but Network is THE critical word, albeit missing.(Tweet) @ecairn

So how do you do “Social Network Selling”:

#1 You (the sales rep) define the target as a group of connected people who share needs and know each other. Think like you will join an association, mingle with a Chamber of Commerce, target Private Schools or Alumni Group. The key is to move from the idea of selling to a LIST of people to selling to a NETWORK of people.

#2 You become expert  about the ecosystem that you target and you provide value to the ecosystem. MrX needs something that MrY can help with. Mrs A&  Ms B are both organizers of an event that you can sponsor. The goal is to be the go-to person for this subgroup.

#3 You grow your network within this natural network one connection at a time.

#4 From time to time, you sell.

The goal for a Sales Rep is to own this territory and the territory should be as small as needed so that it can be owned and as big as offering opportunity for a profitable business.

For example, there is no way that as a single sales person one can own the wealth management market in New York. But you can own the market of affluent people in NY who invest in art or wineries or who perform specific type of charity investment, or  Columbia’s alumni  or Entrepreneurs with German origin, or Sports Celebrities or Affluent working in a specific location in Manhattan.

Keep in mind that everyone suffers  over-information and is hungry for relevance and value.

The process above: strategy, targeting and focus is the only way you can achieve relevance and value and really build a network in social and sell.


Automation, Scheduling… why sales rep & relationship managers should never fake it in Social

April 23, 2015

Image courtesy of Simon Howden at

I am amazed by the number of companies coming up with solutions that enable Sales people or Relationship managers “automate social”.

– Some propose to schedule content, or even better to automate the retweet of corporate content.

– Some propose options to delegate the social identity of the sales rep to the marketing department … who will probably use an intern or an offshore team to manage it

– Some propose access to content libraries that the sales rep can use  when they have nothing to say.

The arguments behind these value propositions is that “Social Media” takes too much time,  that it need to scale and that Sales people should not divest their precious time in social platforms.

Other arguments (in the Financial sector as an example) are regulations (FINRA, SEC) and consultants and vendors frighten relationship managers of the consequences of tweeting the wrong post.

But frankly, these are just excuses not to do the job and yes selling is a tough job. The reality is that:

1- There is no better use of a Sales Rep time  than listening and engaging with prospects or clients.

2- There is no higher risk for a Sales Rep to let a machine, a marketing intern or a content library  represent him/herself in Social.

3- These is zero risk in building relations with prospective clients in social, as long as  sales rep are cautious to take the “next step (actual selling) one on one offline. It’s not different than in real life. At the moment of truth you need to say “we should meet” and take the next steps private. (btw whether the industry is regulated or not, that is how it should be done).

Let’s tackle the  risks of automation, scheduling and “pre-digested content”


Let’s face it. 99% of automation is Spam. And people don’t like Spam. So why would you spam prospects and clients?

In addition, most automation violate the T&C of Social Platforms. Twitter (as an example)  is very clear: “generally most automation is detrimental to the user experience and frequently results in blocks and suspensions.” 

Also using automation, there is a major risk of posting something irrelevant or out of context.

If you’ve been in sales for some times you know how difficult it is to even transfer a prospect to another sales rep.

Context and history of the relation are very difficult to transfer. Yet many Sales Rep are OK transferring prospects to “automated scripts”, this is crazy.

People buy from REAL people


Scheduling sounds interesting. It usually provides the option to send the same content several times, at different intervals.

But customers are smart. If they have been using social media for some time, they will be quick as spotting the same tweet from a sales rep at different time of the day. They may also have sophisticated listening capabilities.

When they realize it, the indirect message that customer receives is that they are not worth your time and that you will not be there for them when they need you. Not the best way to start a relation.

Best case they will unfriend/unfollow you. Worse, they will share their findings with other  potential clients

This is a killer for reputation and trust.

People buy from people who are there when they need them.

Content Libraries

This one is more subtle. It plays on people fear of the blank page ;-). People should post regularly, so when they have nothing really exciting to say, they should go get company canned messages and post. Right?

That’s actually a very wrong advise.There are  evidence that people don’t engage with Corporate Accounts so why the hell would a real person build a presence in social that mimics a corporation?

It is even worse when someone looks at  Company level.  What do you think a client/prospect will believe when he/she sees 10’s of sales rep/relationship managers from the same company spreading the same PR-engineered article without a personal note? …

People don’t buy from boring people.

The net is that automating social is a very wrong way to do it. Even worse for companies who are competing with robots (like wealth management / financial advisors…) where the only way to differentiate is the depth of the relation, the strength of the relations and the deep understanding of the client.

So what should sales rep do? Actually, the same thing they have always been good at.

Be themselves, engage in conversations, build their network, bring value to the community they are targeting,  solve problems, be fun and entertaining,  listen to prospects and clients and above all BE RELEVANT.

Fake it ’til you make it ? Not this time.


One thing to think about before you embark on an Employee Advocacy Program

March 30, 2015

From time time, we have marketers contacting us about Employee Advocacy programs and asking whether/how we can help.

I am usually offering them this short story.  “The Secret Life of a Standard Employee Advocacy Program”

===========    beginning of story ===========


1-  A Manager in a PR/marketing group (maybe back from SXSW) decides it is a critical program.

2- 10s,100s of employees are named ambassadors. A solution is purchased with content distribution, leader boards …

Everybody is highly energized and ready to go for it!

Early problems

3- “Ambassadors” have a job to do and they have difficulties keeping up with the amount of content and the time commitment. Some were not really using “social” in the first place. The ones that were already good at social don’t really feel like spreading marketing content to their contacts will help the company … and their personal reputation.
4- Corp Marketing pushes on training, content and rewards.

5- Since “productivity” is the issue, the centralized program automates more and more, sometimes even it takes over the social identity of the employees and tweet/engage in their names.

It can be automated so it can scale.


6- The audience of the employees who used to perform decently in social is turned off by the corporate spamming (same message every other day …) and they quit listening.


7- The problem is diagnosed as a lack of motivation from the ambassadors and the conclusion is either “social does not work”, “social does not work for us”, or “our employees can’t figure out social.”

=============    end of story ==========

If they don’t like the story, then I try to setup a meeting 6 months later.

If they do like it, then we start discussing an alternative approach to thought leadership / social selling: The grass roots one.

1) It starts by mapping the company and identifying employees who are already successful at social — usually executives and top performing sales reps.
2) The we build a “STAR” program, i.e giving “de facto” ambassadors more intelligence about the audience and better real time content. This way they can be strategic and more effective at social. They can also measure their progress and learn from their successes and failures.
3) Leveraging on the initial success, the program grows from few to more to many more.
As with many processes where change management is critical, grass roots is the way to go !

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