Nestlé shows how not to use Social Media

Have you already heard about the Nestlé Social Media debacle which occurred on Facebook last week? My mouth was wide open when I continued reading what was going on.

It all began with some Facebook users using the Nestlé logo as their profile pictures – displaying a nest of birds in order to call attention to environmental damage the company was alleged to be involved in. Nestlé was blamed to be buying cheap palm oil which, amongst others, would ultimately lead to the deforestation in its production countries (More details here).

Nestlé reacted and informed its 90.000 Facebook fans with the following post: “We welcome your comments, but please don’t post using an altered version of any of our logos as your profile pic — they will be deleted.”

Inmediately hundreds of “fans” started commenting to the feed. Paul Griffin tried to open a conversation with the Nestlé Group Moderator and posted that he’s “not sure you’re going to win friends in the social media space with this sort of dogmatic approach. I understand that you’re on your back-foot due to various issues not excluding palm oil but social media is about embracing your market, engaging and having a conversation rather than preaching!

The moderator’s response was: “Thanks for the lesson in manners. Consider yourself embraced. But it’s our page, we set the rules, it was ever thus.”

Personally, I was shocked by the tone Nestle’s moderator used in this forum. It’s understandable that the company needs to limit the appearance of manipulated logos on members’ profile pages and to avoid  negative PR. However, the way the moderator is talking down on the “fans” is not excusable. Further the fact that the debacle didn’t

occur within a closed Nestlé network but on Facebook, an open platform which you cannot easily censor, was a big mistake which totally backflashed on the company’s image.

Of course the storm quickly reached Twitter, with dozens of tweets about the debacle. “Watch Nestle self-implode and abuse their fans on their own Facebook page” or “The #Facebook #Nestle Mess: When #SocialMedia Goes Anti-Social” and so on.

It also had strong impact on the decrease of Nestlé´s shareprice:

Many well established multinationals from the old days still underestimate the power or Social Media and Online Communities. The Nestlé case shows that it should be taken seriously and not be neglected as an easy marketing or customer service job but that  people with good relationship and conceptual skills are needed.


Managing Multiple Social Network Accounts

Recently I came across HootSuite Twitter client and I’m pretty impressed.

It’s a simple web-based application for managing single or multiple Twitter profiles through one interface. This application does more than just tweeting outside Twitter. HootSuite, enables users to manage their profiles with multiple editors on each profile (if more than one), schedule tweets, track stats, RSS their content to submit into blogs and websites. The interface displays vertical columns of a user’s tweets timeline, with drag-and-drop functionality and embeddable columns.

Further to Twitter it integrates Facebook (Profile and Management of Fanpages), LinkedIn and status updates allowing users to manage their various social profiles from one location, and to schedule updates in advance. In addition, the system allows users to update GTalk, Tumblr and several other social networks, which are particularly popular amongst businesses. In essence, HootSuite is more of a social media account management tool, which I think is very useful for entrepreneurs and business professionals and, indeed, marketers and sales executives who rely heavily on social media to engage with their audience. As of today, all of these features are available through HootSuite‘s new iPhone application that was unveiled yesterday by the developers.

Tech Marketing in Times of an Economic Crisis

Recently, I participated in a TeleSummit on “Tech Marketing in a Recession” organized by Women Who Tech. I’d like to share with you the insights given on why and how companies should consider integrating “cost effective” Web2.0 into their marketing campaigns especially when the economy struggles.

Fact is that in current times the PR/Marketing budgets are the first to be cut. How can organizations create or maintain a healthy marketing campaign on an already squeezed budget?

How to use Twitter for your business?
Many discussions are going on these days around Twitter and if it really makes sense for a brand to create a profile there. The value of Twitter lies in the fact that you can create relationships with your customers and that you can get a feeling of what people are saying about your brand. In order to see what users are saying about your brand or yourself just type your name into the Twitter search field. Further, you can also subscribe to an RSS feed for the term, which alerts you any time the term is mentioned.

Who to follow?
Check out Twellow . It’s a useful tool to find interesting people to follow. It’s a search directory of people by area of expertise, profession or other attributes listed in their personal profiles. Twitter itself does not offer such a service at this stage. If you’re interested in other Twitter search engines have a look at this list .

How to get a presence and followers?

  • If you’re a brand and on Twitter, make sure your Twitter Profile is on your website. Make sure that people can actually find you.
  • Do not only talk about yourself or your brand. Provide value and interesting content for your followers.
  • Make sure you respond to people. It’s not about you or your brand – it’s about relationships. You can either respond directly or you can also re-tweet what other people are saying (e.g. RT @themodcom) which establishes you as a human being and not only as a company.

If you would like to learn more on how to use Twitter check out the Twitter FAQ: RT, HT, OH, ETC.

Facebook Fan Page
Facebook Fan Pages let you import notes, you can upload videos and photos and be face to face with your customers. It’s the same as creating a personal profile – people can become friends/fans of your brand and you can enter into a direct dialogue with them. It’s an inexpensive way to promote your page. Make sure you promote your fan page well enough so people can actually see it. The first step is to invite your network to become a fan. Here you find more explanations why you should create a Facebook Fan Page.

A business blog is an informal, easily maintained way to regularly communicate with your customers and employees. A business blog offers a more approachable, informal way in which customers can enter into contact with your company and get to know you better. They learn about you, your products and your achievements & innovations. If you blog you can represent your company in a positive light – for free!

Is a social bookmarking site. Delicious enables you to find information later which you’ve saved, or information that other people have seen. It’s always interesting to see what people tag your website as. You can do your own searches (try your company name or product name) to find out what others think of it. Tie this into your web marketing efforts:, the keywords that users are tagging information with should also extend to your Search Engine Optimization. After all, this is how the end user or consumer is thinking about your webpage. Even though delicious users are only a small segment of web users, the fact that they’ve taken time out to tag your content deserves some credit; at least take the time to understand how they’re tagging your content (or your competition).

Is a social news site. It’s a library of articles weighted by importance by users. Users submit articles and others vote on them. If your brand is mentioned, make sure that you digg it. If your submission rocks and receives enough Diggs, it gets promoted to the front page. Learn how to digg your article here.

Even though times are tough “You cannot be silent – you need to be visible”. You need to be out there even though budgets are hard and the economy is difficult. The presented tools are worth integrating as a complimentary part to your marketing campaign. They are “cheap tools in hard times”.

For sure you need to invest time at the beginning to find out the best ways to use these tools. Once you’ve figured out how to use them properly however, they can turn into a successful and important element in your overall marketing campaign. I strongly believe that social media represents a new set of marketing tools. By integrating social media technologies into a marketing plan, you strengthen the overall plan to drive business. Always keep in mind: What value do you bring to your costumer? What makes you different from your competitors? Focus on your strengths during the hard times!

Collaborative Communities at Next09

Our Linqia team attended the Next09 conference in Hamburg this week and rated this event as amongst the best in Europe. With over 1,300 participants, 100+ speakers and moderators and a host of innovative sponsors and partners, the event exceeded our expectations.

Our CEO, Maria Sipka, presented to a group of more than 200 people on the topic of ‘Collaborative Communities’ focusing on the role of an online community within the sales process/ cycle of a company. One of our key missions is to increase the % of vibrant, active and engaging online communities drawing on the wealth of knowledge and experience our team has accumulated over many years.

Whilst the majority of online communities and groups have been created by individual users on Facebook, Ning, MySpace, XING, LinkedIN and Bebo, companies and brands are also playing and positioning themselves in this powerful social media channel. P & G have built more than 2.000 communities (e.g. Being Girl ) over the past 7 years whilst Nestle has only a handful. Also companies have realised that they cannot afford to turn a blind eye to the power of online communities and groups. The fact is, there are more than 80 million communities and groups online. Most of them existing within 2,000+ Social Networks. 250 million people are registered and active in at least one online community or group.

During the presentation Maria shared the 6 essential ingredients for launching and maintaining a vibrant, active and profitable online community. Her specialty and focus is on monetization and identifying value drivers to ensure the end users experience is a positive one.

Following the presentation, feedback and comments again proved that companies are still in the early days of exploring the possibility of integrating social media and online communities. There’s uncertainty around where to start, what type of resources are needed internally and externally, the cost to setup and manage, which technologies to use and how to deal with the level of transparency the web has lead people to expect.

Nielsen: Social Networks and Online Videos on the Rise

In their latest study on The Global Online Media Landscape, Nielsen Online analyses current online media trends, looking at audience engagement, video, mobile, e-commerce, online advertising and social media, facing the current context of the economic recession.

Nielsen shows that social media and especially video sites have reshaped the web and the online advertising market. Active Internet users tend to prefer sites that contain more specialized content, such as video and social networking sites, which are the two fastest-growing categories this year.

Since 2003, the time spent on video sites has increased by over 2.000%, and the number of Americans who visit online video sites like YouTube, Blinkx, Nickelodeon and Hulu has climbed 339% over the same time period. “From February 2008 to February 2009, the viewers of online videos grew 10%, the number of streams grew 41%, the streams per user grew 27% and the total minutes engaged with online video grew 71%.”

Implications on TV
Obviously, the question arises if this means that the audience is taken away from watching classic TV. According to the study there is no evidence that the Internet is cannibalizing TV use. In fact, Nielsen studies have shown that high consumers of TV are also high consumers of the Internet: “high-intensity media consumers are high intensity media consumers regardless of media type.”

Implications on Advertising
The current trend towards watching more online video should drive more advertisers towards this medium, as for social media, so Nielsen,  “a monetization formula continues to elude the globe’s brightest marketers.

“In recent years, the Internet has changed dramatically as people seek more personalized relationships online,” says Charles Buchwalter, Nielsen Online senior vice president of research and analytics. “In particular, time spent on social networks and video sites has increased astronomically. Advertisers are starting to positively re-assess the value of the online experience and create more meaningful relationships with consumers.”

The fact that Nielsen includes online video and social media in one report indicates that the two are merging. Many video sharing sites already offer interactive features like commenting, rating, sharing and to make the video viewing experience more social.

Watch the Video on the Global Online Landscape: John Burbank, CEO of Nielsen Online, summarizes the highlights of the report
See also: The Next generation end user with online video by John Burbank.

20 Do’s and Dont’s of successful Group Moderation

Moderating a special interest group within a Social Network is can be an honourable and fulfilling task but also a very challenging one. Below we’ve created a basic checklist of the do’s and dont’s to consider when moderating groups within social networks.

10 things moderators should NOT do

  1. See it as a “pass by” work – it takes time and effort
  2. Link yourself with everyone – you won’t be able to handle it
  3. Dismiss people without warning them clearly beforehand (a “3 strikes and your out” system is preferable depending on the severity of the violations)
  4. Move, edit or delete articles without communicating, with a valid reason, to the thread starter or the members (depending on the importance for the members) – and always take a screen-shot beforehand
  5. Accept sexual harassment, defaming, racism or anything else which is clearly criminal
  6. Allow directly selling of ‘anything’
  7. Spam members with mass messages or dump large quantities of (irrelevant) content
  8. Force your views, beliefs, points
  9. Appear defensive in your posting style
  10. Appear emotional

10 things moderators should DO

  1. Clearly state the groups rules, atmosphere and style on your “About this Group” page and the “Welcome-Message”
  2. Be there (responsibilities during holidays?) and be reachable (allow the members to send you personal messages)
  3. Check your guestbook entries, your contact requests and your private messages regularly (You wouldn’t believe where you can find urgent information!)
  4. Be quotable (otherwise the members react negatively)
  5. Look after your network – figure out VIP members, link yourself with core connectors – and inspire them to support you
  6. Develop knowledge about your group – otherwise people won’t build up trust in you and your role
  7. Ensure it’s all about people (passion and emotions), not about profiles or virtual lives
  8. Be neutral in conflicts – if you are not, ask another moderator to intervene
  9. Use verbal communication (i.e. phone) to solve conflicts especially when dealing with problematic members
  10. Allow criticism and discussions about you, set the limits though

Online Community Revenue and ROI Techniques

A free report from Forum One Networks on how to generate revenue from your community.  The report is available here.

Key Learnings are:

  • Respondents generally valued non-fiduciary dimensions of value, like loyalty, over direct revenue.
  • The most effective revenue generating techniques were advertising and charging for community subscription.
  • A member-first attitude is needed when considering the addition of fee-based or revenue-generating services. The best way to find out what your members do or don’t want? Ask them.