Video Social Media Insight 08: How to use visual elements in the Facebook Timeline

Show what you haven't shown before on your Facebook Timeline for business (Image: arztsamui).

The launch of the Facebook Timeline for businesses has cause one mighty buzz. Gone are the welcome pages (like-gates), the navigation on the left with the customised tabs and the picture gallery on top. But there are new opportunities as well – especially when it comes to visual elements.

Of course there has been some talk about how to use the Cover picture (the big one sort of embracing your profile picture), but I felt that it was mostly legal talk on what you can and what you can’t advertise on there.

That is why I decided to talk about how I feel visual elements could be used in the new Timeline for businesses in a creative way.

How are you (personally and business-wise) using the Timeline visually? (I found a useful infographic which tells you exactly what measurements the visual elements of the Timeline have.)

And: here are a few of my favourite exmamples (American Express (App Tags), U.S. Navy (history part), Tifanny & Co., Dawanda Deutschland, Puma, dm-Drogeriemarkt (e-commerce), Krones (Cover & History & App Tags)) and my personal one.

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Video Social Media Insight 07: Ways to do personal branding on social media

Where ever you interact: put your smile to it. (Image: Ambro)

Having an actual person to talk to rather than just a company logo open up a totally different type of dialogue with your stakeholders.

Many people feel that companies appears to be more approachable, more open and even more authentic when they have “real” people representing them on social media.

Personally, I am a big fan of that. Being able to talk to someone whose name and smile you know makes it more likely that you won’t resort to swear words or other inappropriate means to voice your dislike.

In this weeks video I explain some ways you can do personal branding for your social media efforts and why you should start with that today.

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Video-Interview: Do women fail to rule social networks?

Women may not be dominant on SoMe, but does that mean they're insignificant? (Image: Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot)

On a networking event in Jan 2012 I was interviewed by Tanja Gabler about women and how they network. From the answers of my fellow interviewee I gather that frankly I wasn’t too far off with my assumption that women are shy due to social expectations.

In this video interview I talk about how women should transport their passion for any possible subject without thinking about what others think of that.

The video is titled “why women fail to rule social networks”, which I believe a little mis-chosen as women do “rule” Pinterest for example. And while I believe that men might be a bit more pushy about their own “brand”, I feel that female contacts are actually closer and therefore probably more valuable.

I believe that being authentic, passionate and dependable concerning regularity will lead to making your voice heard.

Female networkers out there: what do you think about this and how to you go on about networking and personal branding?

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Video Social Media Insight 06: How companies benefit from transparency

Communication transparently opens up whole new windows to stakeholders. (Image: digitalart)

Many companies are still afraid of putting themselves out there to tackle the transparency that comes with social media and online communications. However, there are many benefits if they face the challenge.

In this week’s Insight I am sharing what I learned about how companies can benefit from communication transparently. Getting a better reputation is of course the over all aim.

But also you can get closer to your stakeholders, you can manage a crisis better, you can spark your innovation processes and so on. More benefits I present in the video below.

In your opinion, what are the benefits of a transparent social media and online communication by companies?

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Video Social Media Insight 05: How to prevent a Social Media crisis

Vorbereitung lässt auch in Krisenzeiten Land sehen. (Image: winnond)

Putting your company or brand out there for the whole Internet-world to see and discuss will lead to a dialogue with your stakeholders – but sometimes that dialog can turn into the unwanted situation of massive negative feedback. 

In this weeks Insight I would therefore like to share what I learned about how to prevent an online/ social media crisis.

This video summarises a few vital points that should help you to keep out of trouble in the first place or when it comes to a crises be prepared to deal with it.

Did you ever have to deal with a crisis situation before? And if so, how did you handle it?

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How to Pinterest & Benefits for companies

Pinterest opens up windows to things you had no idea of.

On social media we share more than mere status updates. We share moments, inspirations, and passions. The new network ‘pinterest’ helps us to put pictures to these.

Even though pics usually trigger more interactions within social media than just texts they were mostly neglected so far. Pinterest is closing this gap.

Officially pinterest is still in a beta-state only accessible via invites, but with four million unique users and a traffic increase of 4000 per cent in the last six months it already is among the top 10 of the social networks.

Pinterest is fascinating because on the one hand it’s the first platform that stages pics and videos as character references. On the other hand it offers a range of options for companies to promote themselves and get some SEO done.

Above all it is refreshingly simple. You can ‘pin’ content from any side via your browser or a mobile app (not for android yet). In the following I am going to describe how it works and how companies can use pinterest for their online reputation management and to generate traffic.


First you request an invite – either directly on or from someone who’s already using it (which might be much quicker).

Once you got the invite you log in – you can do that quickly by using your Facebook or Twitter account.

After logging in several categories are shown to you to pick some you’re interested in. With the help of a search you can alter them and add more later. Now you can start to pin stuff to your ‘boards’.

To do so you can either use content that you found on other websites, upload your own stuff or re-pin other people’s content. When you hover over a pic with your cursor on the top you’ll get show the options ‘repin’, ‘like’ or ‘comment’.

Via your profile (you find it in the upper right corner where your personal pic is) you can manages your boards, pins and likes.

You can install a ‘pin it’ button to your browser which allows you to pin from any website you’re on.

Pinterest for companies

That pinterest has the reputation of being for women planning their weddings, is really not considering the opportunities it offers for companies.

It is true that pinterest’s users are mostly female (which can be considered an advantage as the other social networks have more male users), but that does not mean that only home-deco and dresses work.

Comments do have to be supervised on pinterest, but otherwise it is mostly dominated by push-communication (but of course there are several ways to initiate interactions) as it is about creating a visual self-portait of brands and topics.

That’s why it says “pin what you know and love”. Exceptional, beautiful, funny, peculiar or personal pics are what it takes – not some run-of-the-mill corporate stuff.

There are many opportunities to spark interactions that exceed the pinning. I.e. you could ask users to pin pics that show them with you product. Or you start a little picture puzzle.

The biggest advantages of pinterest for companies are the seo benefits and on the other hand a potential use of it for ecommerce without being too pushy.

SEO and e-commerce through pinterest

Products can easily be promoted here without being pushy.

Those two benefits are connected by how pinterest works. Pinned content automatically generates a backlink to the sources it was pinned from. Which means that the picture of a product automatically links back to the place of purchase.

Since the end of January those external links were set to nofollow and therefore they are not as seo relevant as they used to be. But the external links, which were placed on the profile and pin-board sites, are still relevant for search engines (dofollow).

This means that it’s no longer possible to generate hundreds of relevant seo links with basically no effort at all. But there is still a small benefit for seo left.  Companies could use pinterest for employer branding efforts or to build up their reputation as experts.

However, it is important that companies remember the usual web-manners: you shouldn’t pin from just one source (i.e. your own website). Repins of other people’s material are very much wanted and that also builds up your network.

Also, you should tend to your profile and make sure it shows different facets. Meaning: don’t necessary keep the boards set by default, but create your own.

And now: happy pinning.

For invites please leave your email address in the comment section (or send me a tweet @steffisoehnchen).


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Video Social Media Insight 04: How to find a topic (content strategy II)

Clever ideas are based on a good content strategy (Image: winnond)

As promised last week, this weeks Social Media Insight is about strategies that can help you get ideas for content topics.

A content strategy needs to be based on a clear idea of who you are (your brand is) and what you want to stand for.

So, if you’re just starting out I suggest that you choose a range of “tags” (keywords that describe you as exactly as possible) as a basis for your planning process.

In the following video I describe two ways (of many) how to come up with relevant content topics: Using the “customer journey” or a system called “newsjacking“.

In case you missed last week’s video on content strategy (how to find your audience) here’s the link to it.

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Are we brainless yes-men thanks to the Like button?

Brainlessness just one Like away? (Image: basketman)

When I got a text message from a friend the other day I caught myself instinctively looking for the ‘Like’-Button. Facebook, Google+ and Co. taught me to show my approval of things to the world by clicking ‘Like’ – now, has that taken away the ability to have a controversial opinion?

A German journalist claims just that. She wrote an article for the magazine ‘Neon’ in which she elaborated on how the Like Button is born out of a society that does not have a political opinion anymore, even seems to detest any controversy and therefore is very content with just one option – the Like.

She quotes a range of experts to prove her point that without discussion there is no democracy and therefore our society (and I guess the rest of the world using Facebook) should be ashamed of being a bunch of brainless yes-men.

Now, I think she is only partially right. Clearly, without different opinions or world views there cannot be democracy – so if she was right with her idea that the Like button is a manifestation of us being only confirmative about everything you couldn’t call our system a democracy anymore.

But I think she is forgetting a few aspects surrounding the Like button and its siblings such as Google’s +1.

The inside out strip

The social web encourages us to openly share more and more of our (private) beliefs, life events, everyday moments, our friendships, our food – basically anything imaginable. Sometimes only a handful of close friends are listening (which seems to be the exception these days), other times the whole world is.

The social search feature and the newly enabled ‘search plus your world’ show us what our friends like, what cake they eat, where they have their car fixed, who they discussed a movie with and what they said.

Now, taking this into its fullest extent – is it not obvious that we are more willing to do a soul-striptease about things we like than about things we hate?

I think that the sum of our Likes (as very nicely displayed by the program CircleMe or by my new favourite Pinterest) leaves a lot of room for debate, but sort of on a positive basis.

And then saying ‘Like’ is expressing taste and not an opinion which makes the whole thing even less debatable in the sense the journalist did.

Rude – in your face

It is common sense that you say your friend’s baby or car or flat or

Some people rather say 'I Like' than hurt anyone - which does not mean they don't have an opinion. (Image: David Castillo Dominici)

whatever they’re proud of is absolutely fabulous even though you personally are not as thrilled as they are about it – because you do not want to (pointlessly) hurt them.

Pressing Like may be something like the digital equivalent of that – even though I feel it even goes a bit deeper. Because pressing Like makes me feel like I am moving a tiny step closer to them as we both ‘Like’ (which is just a more generic word for “agree on, find amusing, love, want, aspire to, remember” etc) the same thing.

If you wanted to put it in digital writing that you ‘Dislike’ someone’s idea or picture or relationship status without further explanation, I think you should find that people get touchy about that.

Anyone who is active on social media knows that people have not stopped being critical just because they have the easy option to just ‘Like’.

You will find that a lot of people feel even more encouraged to voice controversial opinions or even rude comments because they are protected by anonymity.

And that can even be the case on Facebook or Google+ or any other network.

Dislike in private?

If we were given the opportunity to put our ‘Dislike’ out there just as easy as we ‘Like’ stuff – would we make use of it?

Would we put a ‘Dislike’ under our friend’s quote of the day or our sibling’s relationship status?

I do not think so. Mainly, because I think that we do not like to put stuff like that in writing – for several reasons.

We do not want to openly stab anyone in the back for one. And then we make ourselves attackable in return by publicly putting someone else down.

The ‘social’ in these networks clearly has its limits. But that does not mean that we have mutated into brainless Like-Bots, it just means we still have manners.

An easy Like

Of course it does not take much to press Like on something, but that only works because liking something does not take much explanation.

I feel that a ‘Dislike’ always would take some explanation in order to go down ok. That is why the habit of turning to a private message or a more elaborated comment has developed.

But the first no one gets to see (which is sort of the point) and the second one the journalist chose to overlook.

However, I agree with her that if people stopped making their minds up about things and communicate what they thought, it would be so worrying that I would consider uttering a public *Dislike* about it.

But until then I cannot agree with her on the Like button or any of its relatives being a threat to society.

Here’s a German article on why social media do not make us stupid.

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Video Social Media Insight 03: How to find your audience (content strategy I)

There are a few quick and free ways you can make sure that you're not wasting your social media efforts. (Image: Apple's Eyes Studio)

It does not only take time to fill social media channels with content, it also takes ideas and a good strategy to help you come up with relevant topics and formats.

This is the first of two videos in which I would like to share what I learnt about how to create a content strategy (or at least the basis for one).

In this video I give you some ideas about how to find the right channel by looking for where your audience is.

In the next video I will talk about how to actually come up with topics.

But before I share my thoughts, I would love to hear from you, how you brainstorm or plan your topics.

Here’s a link with a bunch of good ideas about how to tailor your content to your audience.

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Childhood cancer: how much could a bald Barbie help?

"We girls can do anything" - bald or not.

For some, Barbie dolls are the symbol of adventurous, beautiful and stylish women who can be anything they want to be. Now how can that help little girls who lost their hair due to chemotherapy to fight cancer? I believe: a lot.

A Facebook group called „Beautiful and Bald Barbie! Let’s see if we can get it made” has formed to try and convince Mattel to bring a bald Barbie to the shelves. Over 130.000 people believe that this would show that being bald does by no means mean that you cannot be beautiful.

But there are others who are skeptical whether a bald Barbie would really have this effect. Even the American Cancer Society is one of these.

“Childhood cancer is exceedingly rare. I would also argue that cancer is rare among the age group of women likely to have daughters young enough to play with Barbies”, writes their media relations director, Andrew Becker, concerning the bald Barbie efforts.

So this discussion seems to revolve around the question of emotional and psychological benefits vs. the actual demand for such a doll.

After signing people share why this cause is important to them and show a lot of hope and admiration.

The pro-bald-doll crowd has also launched a petition, which is supposed to put some authority behind the wish for a hairless Barbie – but so far only 3.500 people have signed it.

Is the bald Barbie a good idea?

Now, having lost a close friend to cancer when I was 16, I generally believe that anything that can make someone who is suffering from cancer feel better is definitively a good idea.

But whether asking a global company to manufacture a product that may not be in high demand just for the sake of its metaphorical meaning is the right way is questionable.

Does this message need to be attached to a specific product?

Also, this group is asking for the profits to go to childhood cancer research – which generally (again) is a very good idea.

In the area of breast cancer we are already familiar with products being sold to support research in this field – but (objectively) why should a company invest in a product like this if it is uncertain whether they even get the chance to help due to this investment?

Because if Becker is right and such a doll would gather dust on the shelves then even such an investment would not help.

Mattel have given out a press release (which unfortunately, I was only able to find in German) in which they say that they are already supporting a range of non-profit organisations in a similar area, but that they take this cause seriously and will think about it.

Beautiful – with or without Barbie.

Concerning little girls battling cancer and how a bald Barbie would help, Becker says:

“Each one is a tragedy, and they and their families deserve sympathy and support, but it is critically important to pull back from this exercise in consumer bullying and ask whether the need this movement is rising to meet is as big as imagined, and whether it will result in any meaningful support reaching those who need it.”

I believe conveying the message that being bald still means you are beautiful is important. That holds also true for Barbie’s other metaphorical meanings like the courage to become whoever you want to be and be fabulous while you are getting there.

I do not know about you, but I used to cut my Barbie’s hair (and all my other doll’s) when I was a kid all the time (well, once in each case).

Maybe this is all it needs? Cut any doll’s hair and show your little girl that the pretty face and the beaming smile and the twinkling in the eye is still there?

I think the message is more important than its packaging.

And I can only speak for myself, but I guess that in order to feel this way and to generally support the idea of putting funds towards childhood cancer research one does not need to sign a petition for the creation of a Barbie doll.

Here you can find more news about the “Bald Barbie Campaign“.

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