marketing · Tips and Tricks

Personal & Professional Social Platform Review

social-media-yes-or-no[This post was originally created for and partially posted on the Social Media Explorer blog on August 14, 2017]

How do the big three social platforms stack up from a personal and professional standpoint? Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter all have strengths and weaknesses.


Strength: Facebook’s super power is in its ability to keep me in contact with my weak connections. I can peep former classmates’ struggles with parenthood or find a couch to crash on in cities former coworkers scattered to. People don’t vanish from your life anymore.

For marketers, the Facebook database is huge, offers great targeting (with some weakness in the area of job titles), and some of the best advertising return on investment (even beyond social media).

Weakness: If my newsfeed offered an actual distillation of the coolest events in my friends’ lives, I’d be glued. One could blame the ad-focused algorithm but sometimes the ads are better targeted to me than the rest of the content. The truth is, my friends and I don’t always agree on what is post-worthy and the “boring” bits dilute the value of my news feed.

Opportunity: Introducing post tagging would allow me to remove politics entirely from my feed, making it a much happier and more engaging place. Taggable topics could include life event, celebration, baby pics, pet pics, travel, and sports. Bonus points if Facebook pre-selects the most likely tag for you when you post.

Friends pre-facebook. No idea what he’s up to these days.



Strength: I often find my LinkedIn newsfeed more interesting than my Facebook newsfeed. The professional nature of the platform results in a lot of social cooling, but what I lose in personal stories I gain in the relevancy of links shared. Additional post tagging/filtering options would be helpful, such as work anniversary, job opportunity, job seeker, case study, etc.

As a B2B marketer, LinkedIn is a power house. Facebook may be cheaper, but you are not able to effectively drill down to audiences like “medical C-suite.” LinkedIn offers the best job title targeting – essential for B2B campaigns. InMail is particularly effective – though a bit more expensive – especially if it comes from an executive as opposed to a brand.

Weakness: LinkedIn is late to the game with native video/gif support, which is still not available on company pages. The LinkedIn Pulse news feature is still not well integrated into the user experience and the limit of 2-3 influencers per company seems a bit arbitrary.

Opportunity: Leverage user data into a dating site or a lunch roulette with nearby professionals in your field.

Most of my jobs and speaking opportunities come via LinkedIn



Strength: Twitter’s superpower is it allows conversation between everyone on a level locke_and_demosthenes.pngplaying field. Idealistically, I want it to aspire to become “the free nets” envisioned in the book “Ender’s game,” in which social media empowers a meritocracy of ideas. Twitter has also made strides in positioning itself as a customer service tool. 82% of users engage with brands on twitter and 42% expect brands to be on twitter vs only a 34% expectation of brands to be on other social platforms.

Weakness: Twitter’s problem isn’t really monetization, but rather user growth. Users want new innovations. Twitter’s corporate vision is to allow third parties to cover non-core offerings, but third parties aren’t taking the risk that Twitter may then re-develop innovations in house – putting them out of business.

Opportunity: Leverage the democratic design of twitter conversations:

  • Get local: Nextdoor has demonstrated the passion people feel around connecting with their neighborhoods and learning what is happening nearby. Twitter could add a lot to the experience by leveraging geotargeting to offer drill down to local conversation around events, the sharing economy, and gamification (e.g. the search and sharing of “secret shows” at music festivals).
  • Organize the conversation: Advanced search is a good start. Hashtags should be leveraged into tweetchat room experiences that make it easy to form groups and participate in conversations.
  • Customer service support: Several newer features that make it easier and faster for customers and care teams to connect include removing DM character limits, the easy click message button on brand profilesdirect message deep links and quick replies. This success story could be touted more widely. When potential users ask “why Twitter?” a top of mind answer should be “because it’s the fastest/best way to get brands to solve my problems.”
  • Targeting: Paid marketing with Twitter is challenging due to the lack of targeting options (which reduces ROI) and a poorly integrated, unintuitive suite of options. Facebook offers the big database, great targeting, and some of the best ROI. LinkedIn offers the best job title targeting – essential for B2B campaigns. Twitter only offers targeting based on tweeting behaviors (interests, extrapolated demographics, similar accounts, etc.) One solution is to allow profiles to be more robust and targetable. And all that public data about users’ interests could also fuel a new iteration of Klout Perks.
  • Multiple handle management: Brands want to offer an integrated destination on social platforms, while at the same time offering personalized experiences for specific countries, products, and stores. An “integrated subhandles” design similar to Facebook Global pages would allow personalized timelines to be displayed on relevant company webpages.

These ideas will be challenging to bring to life. Beyond the technical issues, there are issues of privacy, free speech, and public safety to consider. Twitter’s future rests on its ability to grasp the powerful opportunities currently being left on the table.

Each social channel is catered to different parts of life and encourages different content. Not a lot of people would share business content on Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat, but they would do so on LinkedIn or Twitter. Conversely, those personal wedding pictures are best kept off LinkedIn.


World Heart Day AED campaign

[This blog post was originally posted on the Philips internal blog on November 30, 2016]

Written by Andrea Hofer and Pita Keeney

This year Philips is celebrating selling our 1.5 millionth Automated External Defibrillator (AED) as well as 20 years in the AED business. The PCMS global team worked together to create an integrated marketing campaign to help get the word out about our AED business and provide education on sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) for World Heart Day on September 29.

The team kicked the campaign off with a presentation at the first North American DigiSummit in Andover on the history of Philips AEDs, the importance of AEDs in treating SCA, and offered a live demonstration of how easy our AEDs are to use.


The integrated awareness and education campaign included PR, media pitches, adding updated save stories, a social campaign involving Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and PhilipsVoice, an educational quiz, an infographic, a NA-focused search campaign, and a free employee AED training campaign.

react.PNGThe social content focused on driving interest to our site, positioning Philips as a professional thought leader and innovator of AEDs and nurturing relationships with industry influencers. Our own Carla Kriwet shared a thought leadership piece in LinkedIn to help get the word out! The campaign successfully reached our target audience and was retweeted by paramedics, professors and MDs. Total social reach was 1.3 million and total engagements were 9.2K (source: Sprinklr). PR efforts resulted in 20 pieces of coverage, generating 6.2 million impressions.

Our message is clear: Philips AED solutions act as your personal coach to guide you through a cardiac emergency with a simple, step-by-step process. With access to the right equipment and support, everyone can help save a life.



Winter Geocaching

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAQiAAAAJDcxMGM0NjkzLTVlYTAtNGIzOC05NmQ5LTI3OTNkOTcwM2UxZQ.jpg[This blog post was originally posted on the blog on December 4, 2015]

With winter weather comes new challenges for geocachers. Days are shorter and colder while snow and ice change the landscape, making special equipment necessary.

Clockwise from top left: Earthcache at GC1575A Big Four Ice Caves in Washington, Heli ski to GCV3AH “Georgia on my mind” in Georgia, Eurasia, GC141MY The Northern Lights (Traditional Cache) in Newfoundland and Labrador, unknown night cache, unknown doggie cache, unknown tree cache.

Despite the winter challenges, you can still remain active in the game! Winter geocaching activities include:

  • Build skills for new geocaching experiences at a rock climbing gym.
  • Visit a library cache.
  • Host or attend a geocaching event.
  • Work on Puzzle caches.
  • Take a trip to low altitude places to find more accessible geocaches.
  • Channel your inner Maker Madness and create wow-worthy caches, trackables, and SWAG for placement in the Spring.
  • Scout potential hide locations to see how they look in the winter.
  • Venture into the snow. Bring a poking stick and poke that snow till you hear a clang or thud. Before heading out, make sure you’ve reviewed our cold weather caching tips.

Clockwise from top left: GC4WEJH Franz Josef Glacier (Waikato) in North Island, New Zealand, GC115ZX Deception Island EarthCache in Antarctica, unknown mountain cache, GC115ZX Deception Island EarthCache in Antarctica.

Depending on where you’re located, you can be in for any type of weather. With these seasonal geocache finding tips and seasonal geocache owner tips, you can make geocaching a year-round activity!

Winter can be an incredible and inspiring time.

What wintertime geocaching activities do you enjoy?


A Special Geocaching Mission to a Ghost Town


[This blog post was originally posted on the blog on April 19, 2015]

Any excuse to find a geocache in a ghost town, right? Geocaching HQ received notification that public access to the ghost town of Monte Cristo in the mountains outside of Seattle was about to be closed. Hazardous mining-related waste has to be removed. It’s the same location where Geocaching founder, Jeremy Irish and his wife Samsy placed one of the oldest caches in the state, on November 19, 2000. We decided to use the last weekend before the closing date of April 15th, 2015 to retrieve the historic geocache.

An unexpected snowfall upped the terrain rating of the caching trip but gave us a chance to explore a winter wonderland. The 10 mile hike (including side excursions to cache) led us across rivers, through woods, and to crumbling miners’ homes.

We look forward to repeating the hike and replacing the cache when the mining town opens up to visitors again. Now to fill in the next hole for the Jasmer Challenge!

Check out the pictures of the adventure below. Tell us your favorite geocaching adventure below, and we just may feature it in our next blog post!

Bri crossing the only “bridge” to Monte Cristo

The snowy trail to the geocache site

Ghost town building

Jeremy and Samsy recovering the geocache hidden in 2000

Jeremy Irish and Bryan Roth, Co-Founders of Geocaching


The first Giga-Event draws 8,000 Munich attendees

[This blog post was originally posted on the blog on October 7, 2014

On August 16, 2014, the world’s first Geocaching Giga Event took place. Annie, Andrea, Raine and Annika traveled from Geocaching headquarters in Seattle to the Bavarian capital of Munich to witness this historic moment. Below is a trip report in the Lackey’s own words:

The first-ever Giga was a blast! In geocaching terms, Giga means 5,000+ participants, but Mia San Giga 2014 had well over 8,000 participants!

A Giga would not be complete with a whole weekend of mega entertainment. The night before the giga, we attended the “ochsenessen,” where a whole ox was roasted on a spit in true Bavarian style. This was a chance to sit down and chat about local ‘caching customs. We learned that German cachers refer to each other using “Du” instead of “Sie” (both meaning “You.”) Normally “Du” is reserved for family, extremely close friends and sports teammates. This is an example of the instant community geocaching creates.

Saturday was the big event! The doors opened at the Munich Olympic Stadium and hundreds of visitors to our shared lackey/volunteer booth started flowing in. We enjoyed the wide selection of options available from vendors, including geocaching socks, Geocoins, and T5 gear. The food stalls, beer garden, and stage also provided constant entertainment. Particularly fun were the bavarian-themed games for kids of all ages including a stein lifting contest, a “cow” milking contest, and a coaster toss (the target was a barrel.) All the while geocachers ziplined overhead across the stadium and toured the rooftops of this architectural marvel.

On Sunday we rounded out the weekend with a great finale at the breakfast event in the festive hall of the famous Munich Hofbräuhaus. Together with hundreds of cachers we enjoyed a beer and white sausages for breakfast followed by a tour of the most interesting places in Munich thanks to 30 lab caches.

We would like to thank all the friendly geocachers from all over the world for the fun, the insights, and the opportunity to participate in the geocaching community. A special thank you goes to the giga organizers and all the volunteers for their hard work in creating such a smoothly running and memorable experience.

Want more? This video immerses you in the experience (and it’s only 3 minutes!)


Nightcaching at Sweden’s largest Mega-Event

[This blog post was originally posted on the blog on December 10, 2013


Editor’s note: Geocaching HQ staff are joining geocachers at Mega-Events around the world to celebrate and share the adventure of geocaching. Andrea Hofer attended Sweden’s oldest and largest annual Geocaching event – FUMBLE AFTER DARK 2013. This is Andrea’s account of her trip.

Andrea, representing Geocaching HQ. Photo: Marcus Bengtsson

After attending Florida Finders Fest, I hopped on a plane and made my way to Fumble after Dark in Sweden, getting a chance to see two different communities back to back! Sweden in November feels much like Seattle in November – short, drizzly days and long, chilly nights. That’s why Fumble after Dark is so great: 900 participants come together to embrace the long nights and make them into an opportunity for amazing geocaching!

Photo courtesy of Marcus Bengtsson


The event was in Sodertalje, a one-hour drive from Stockholm. After my 22 hour travel from Florida, I gratefully settled in at the adorably Ikea-esque Scandic hotel. A few fun facts about driving in Sweden:

  • You have to keep your Headlights turned on 24/7 by law.
  • Traffic lights briefly turn orange after red to warn that green is coming.
  • In a Peugeot, “A” means “drive” and when you brake, the motor goes completely silent.

The Fumble After Dark event ran from 10 AM to midnight. Noon to 5 was reserved for presentations, which included puzzle cache tips, a fascinating presentation on “lost places” (especially Detroit), and cache hiding tips from the Swedish Reviewers. I gave a presentation focusing on what the Geocaching HQ Community Team does and our plans for 2014. I also learned that the majority of the attendees are on Facebook and completed the entire #31in31 August challenge!

Swedish reviewers presenting. Photo: Marcus Bengtsson

Next it was time to load up the night caches’ GPS coordinates (including the 10 lab caches) and head out into the woods for 3-4 hours of spooky excitement celebrating All Souls’ Day.

Setting out. Photo: Marcus Bengtsson

The only light is the one you bring. Photo: Marcus Bengtsson

A knot-based puzzle off-trail in a forest.

Climbing to get the find code for one of the Lab caches. Photo: Marcus Bengtsson

It was utterly dark, chilly, off-trail in a forest, muddy, hilly, scary, and exciting, and I was glad to have been invited to tag along with the Swedish Reviewers. Much of the cache terrain was higher than one would see at a similar event in the U.S. and the geocaches were all clever, especially the haunted kindergarten lab cache:

Many thanks to organizer Fredrik Wellener and all the geocachers who helped create this very special experience.

Click here to see more pictures from Fumble After Dark.

Have you ever gone nightcaching? Share your best experiences with us in the comments below!


Sonic Chat Recap – Holiday Trends with Michelle Phan

Sonic-Chat-Recap-with-Michelle-Phan-125x125Our December 18, 2012 was full of great holiday style and beauty tips from our fans. We had the pleasure of co-hosting with Michelle Phan, a beauty and fashion blogger.

She chatted holiday trends and shared some tips for a healthy, stylish holiday season.

We pulled out some of our favorite tweets to share with you: 



Here are the topics we discussed along with some of your great responses:

Q1: What are your tips to stay cozy but fashionable in the winter?

  • @Gucchie23: “I love the over sized sweaters with leggings. fashionable and comfortable.”
  • @labyo2do2do: “Layering clothes, wearing skinny jeans & knee high boots, scarf too.”
  • @jeevonkay: “comfortable boots and infinity scarf.”

Q2: What are you looking for in your dream holiday party look?

  • @MichellePhan: “Lace! I love how lace gives your entire look a romantic classy touch.”
  • @MardelD03: “Shimmer and glow!”
  • @amyl12: “A flattering style, probably navy blue, and some sequin and sheer material.”

Q3: What beauty products must you have in your purse during the winter?

  • @kygurl62689: “Nivea A Kiss of Shimmer Lip Balm and a moisturizing lotion/hand cream.”
  • @etfani: “Red Plump lipstick.”
  • @amyl12: “A really good lip balm and hand lotion, also some loose face powder.”

Q4: What are you asking Santa for this year?

  • @LSAS1: “For a healthy and happy family. We are blessed.”
  • @mcgraw14me: “Would love to have some new jeans, boots and a @Clarisonic Mia!!”
  • @MardelD03: “Patience and makeup!”

Q5: What is the best gift you’ve ever given or received?

  • @momUNblogger: “Best gift I ever received was my barbie corvette back when I was little. It was so, so exciting.”
  • @PaulinaChills: “A pair of diamond earrings I wear them all the time.”
  • @idontlooksick: “Engagement ring designed by my husband w/ stone from his great-grandparents. he gave it 2me 1 yr ago yesterday.”

With 198 participants, a twitter reach of over 27 million people, and trending nationwide, this was our best #SonicChat yet. Join us on January 22 to try and make the next one even better!

How the #SonicChat works:

  • We’ve already set up a tweet chat “room” that you can use to participate here:
  • Many people also like to use Hootsuite or Tweetdeck for tweet chats. If this is the case for you, you’ll just need to set up a column with the hashtag #SonicChat.
  • Join in any time during the hour. The more the merrier!
  • We will ask a series of questions, each beginning with “Q1,” “Q2,” and so on. If you’d like to answer a question, just tweet back with “A1,” “A2,” etc. to the corresponding question.
  • Feel free to RT great comments from @Clarisonic or other participants in the chat, and interact as much or as little as you like. Just be sure to include the hashtag #SonicChat in all your tweetsso everyone can keep track of the conversation!
  • Most of all, #SonicChat is about learning, sharing, and having fun.

Last Week’s #SonicChat Recap!

CS-Blog-Image-125x125We love chatting skincare and beauty in our bi-weekly #SonicChat, a one-hour tweet chat that includes tips, special guests, and prizes!

Our November 27, 2012 co-host was Stacy Mackler, VP of PR at Lancôme. She chatted holiday prep and how to make the holidays bright!

Topics included:

  • How do you stay healthy during the holidays?
  • What are some of your favorite skin and body products to give and receive during the holidays?
  • Do you have any special holiday looks planned? Fancy new dress, metallic eye shadow, pink Christmas tree?
  • What are your favorite holiday traditions/plans?
  • How are you giving back this holiday season?
  • What does an ideal holiday party look like to you?

We pulled out some of our favorite tweets to share with you. They got us in the holiday spirit, and we hope they do the same for you:


With 154 participants, a twitter reach of over 11 million people, and trending nationwide, we were certainly busy!

We will be at it again on Tuesday, December 11th at 11am PDT. Join us!

How the #SonicChat works:

  • We’ve already set up a tweet chat “room” that you can use to participate here:
  • Many people also like to use Hootsuite or Tweetdeck for tweet chats. If this is the case for you, you’ll just need to set up a column with the hashtag #SonicChat.
  • Join in any time during the hour. The more the merrier!
  • We will ask a series of questions, each beginning with “Q1,” “Q2,” and so on. If you’d like to answer a question, just tweet back with “A1,” “A2,” etc. to the corresponding question.
  • Feel free to RT great comments from @Clarisonic or other participants in the chat, and interact as much or as little as you like. Just be sure to include the hashtag #SonicChat in all your tweetsso everyone can keep track of the conversation!
  • Most of all, #SonicChat is about learning, sharing, and having fun.

Photo by Ellen Moran via GettyImages


marketing · Tips and Tricks · Uncategorized

Twitter Dos and Don’ts

TwitterI think Twitter’s features are not explained well, which scares some people off. Examples of common misunderstandings:

  • Starting a tweet with a twitter handle doesn’t broadcast to anyone but that twitter handle. Even some influencers that I interact with still make this mistake.
  • Put your commentary in front of a RT, or you’ll end up like ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who recently made Cardinals running back Beanie Wells look like he was smack talking his own quarterbacks.
  • Hashtags help people search for things on Twitter, see what topics are “trending” or popular,  or filter a conversation on a topic such as an event or tweetchat. Don’t overuse them.

I recommend that twitter offer better training when you sign up.


Recap: MarketMix 2012 conference



Last week, Amy Rainey and I went on behalf of Banyan Branch to the day-long MarketMix conference on “Thriving in the Conversation Economy.” This event is the largest annual gathering of marketers in the Pacific Northwest. We got to hear marketing strategy from speakers like Ben Huh, CEO and founder of Cheezburger and Ted Rubin, chief social marketing strategist at Collective Bias.

Here are some of my major takeaways from the conference:

“CEOs talk ROI but decide budgets on a feeling. Social media is about feeling.” – Ted Rubin of Collective Bias

It’s easy to get focused on daily tasks and forget about the bigger picture. At Banyan, we have our eyes on developing social trends, influencers and social buzz for our clients every day. This information represents a constant opportunity to get the right feeling across. Save those supporting facts and great shout outs and be sharing them whenever possible with your clients.     

“Social media drives engagement, engagement drives loyalty, loyalty correlates directly to increased sales.” – Ted Rubin of Collective Bias

Clients want to see ROI and agencies should make this a goal. However, if marketers focus on sales but overlook engagement and loyalty as metrics of success, they miss the long term effects of developing repeat customers. Relationships are the currency that keeps paying off.

“80% of people watching TV are mobile multi-tasking: e-mail, text, talk, or social networking. 15% are using phones the entire time they are watching TV.”- TV break-out session

Social TV is here to stay. Marketers in the entertainment field need to engage with viewers on multiple platforms, or someone else will. With tools like TV Everywhere popping up, marketers are expanding beyond household information. Today we are learning about individual users, right down to who is using what kind of content on what kind of devices.

“57% of companies have acquired customers through a blog.” – Andy Boyer of Relaborate

Some clients aren’t yet willing to give a blog the attention it needs to thrive and support ROI. Marketers have a responsibility to prove blogs’ value and to offer a content development strategy. Success requires a collaborative approach. Developing Q&A templates can help to extract key insights from thought leaders within a company which a content manager can then craft into a SEO-optimized post. 

“Make sure you have your social properties and social campaigns on clients’ email unsubscribe page.” – Laura Ashley of TailoredMail

View client email unsubscribes as an opportunity to connect in a different way with customers. Just because a customer doesn’t want to receive brand emails doesn’t mean they don’t want to continue the relationship. Highlight social campaigns, contests, or giveaways – more often than not, the customer will forget to push the unsubscribe button at all!

“The Internet has created more drive for people to connect IRL, not less. Like at conferences, like this one.” – Ben Huh of Cheezburger

Never lose sight of the user experience. Social succeeds where it facilitates connection, relationships, and experiences. There’s nothing like a campaign with an in-person element to drive online buzz.