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.


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.

marketing · Uncategorized

Tweet Chats 101

Tweet chats, also known as Twitter parties, are a great way to find influencers in your industry on Twitter. Think of them as an online cocktail hour. These organized chats are identified by a hashtag (#) and tend to take a set time of 1 or 2 hours. Some tweet chats are weekly, while others are monthly or quarterly. There are hundreds of Tweet Chats, so you’re sure to find one in your area of interest. Whether you’re tweeting as an individual or as a brand, and whether you are planning to just participate or considering hosting your own Tweet Chat, here are some tips to help you get the most out of the experience. With regular participation, you will be able to:

  • develop relationships with customers and influencers
  • increase engagement
  • grow organic following on twitter
  • increase your  tweet reach
  • cross promote other platforms or campaigns

What you’ll need:

  • List of Tweet Chats:
  • Tweet Chat room:
    • Displays only tweets with the selected hashtag to help you put your blinders on to the twitter-sphere
    • Tweets made in the Tweet Chat room will automatically add the hashtag and the room auto-updates.
    • You can use other twitter platforms (i.e. Tweet Grid, TweetDeck), but then you’ll have to add the chat’s hashtag to each of your tweets
    • Advanced tip: To control the quantity of tweets flying by, check “block retweets” (under the user control tab)

Tips to participate in a Tweet Chat:

  • Read about the topic and the moderator’s scheduled questions ahead of time to have prepared links/responses
  • RT the moderator’s questions after they post them to help others keep track of the conversation
  • RT and/or comment on others’ tweets
  • Tweet Chats tend to be personal in nature, so decide if you want to tweet as “I” or as a brand
  • Prepare tweets about any campaigns you are promoting, but tailor them to the conversation. Tweet Chats have a very authentic tone, so spam is an unsuccessful strategy
  • Follow participants to reinforce the relationships you are creating
  • Consider offering a prize to randomly selected chatters at the end of the hour. (This will have to be pre-approved by the moderator)
  • Moderators do not typically ask for payment to be a guest host on their Tweet Chat. Consider the ROI carefully if anyone suggests this to you.

Tips to run your own Tweet Chat:

  • Participate in Tweet Chats before running your own – there is no substitute for experience!
  • Pick a short hashtag to save characters
  • If you have a guest host, make sure to provide a how-to sheet
  • Publish a blog post explaining Tweet Chats to your readers. (Example:
  • Direct people to the right link in promotions:
  • Make sure any guest host promotes you on their social properties ahead of time using the hashtag in tweets (Example blog post- Decorati:
  • Imagine yourself as a host of a party, so make sure that you welcome people to the Tweet Chat, don’t spend too much time talking with any single individual, and make sure everyone is included
  • Solicit self identification of participants in the chat (Example: “Glad to see everyone here at #AppleChat, please share your website and bio.”)
  • Select 5-6 questions ahead of time, and post them during the hour at regular intervals to keep the conversation flowing. Make sure to label them Q1, Q2, etc. to maintain clarity (Example: “ Q1: What are some simple holiday entertaining tips?”)

Have fun! Tweet Chats are a great social experience

Blog post reprinted on the Banyan Branch blog.

marketing · Uncategorized

Gilt’s First Ever TweetChat!

Mark your calendars. At 11am EST the 12th, we are hosting our first TweetChat using the hashtag #AskGilt. One randomly selected chatter will win $50 Gilt credit!

For our first chat, we’ll talk about holiday gifts and decor. We’re considering making this a recurring event, so please email us with chat ideas, as #AskGilt will be community-based and lead by our fans.

How To Do It
•    We have set up a TweetChat:
•    Alternatively, many people use Hootesuite or Tweetdeck. In this case you will set up a column with the hashtag #AskGilt. Remember, in each tweet, please be sure to use the hashtag(#) so everyone can follow the conversations.
•    Join in any time during the hour. The more the merrier!
•    Please RT great comments, and feel free to answer questions yourself if you’re so inspired.
•    Most of all, #AskGilt is about learning, sharing, and having fun.

Our moderator for #AskGilt on November 12 is @GiltGroupe.
In addition, we are joined by @GiltMan, @GiltChildren, @GiltHome, @Alexandra_Gilt, @giltjulie, @giltsupport and @rockandrollmama, a much-loved blogger who submitted some of the conversation topics we plan to cover, including:
Q1: What are some simple holiday entertaining tips?
Q2: Any ideas on the perfect gift for the guy in my life?
Q3: Any suggestions on gifts for the lady in my life?
Q4: What are some unique or must-have gifts for kids?
Q5: I need a “me” purchase to survive the holiday season. Help?
Q6: Looking for some good snowy destinations to get away…fam? Significant    other? Solo?
Q7: Where can I go to get some sun and leave this cold weather behind?

Sound like things you’d like to know more about? Join us on Friday at 11 a.m. Let’s do this!

Note: Blog post reprinted on the Gilt Groupe blog.

marketing · Uncategorized

Affiliate Programs: A Financial Win-Win

If you sell goods or services, or if you like to talk digitally about goods or services, affiliate programs are something you should know about because they make you money and are free to set up (for the company too, but I’ll get to that).

I love affiliate programs because I feel they are a win-win for everybody. They allow companies to get in front of very targeted leads, they allow bloggers to earn a commission on products they would already promote, and by funding bloggers, they help create the targeted content enjoyed by blog readership. I have read complaints that this promotes false advertising by bloggers who only care about commissions, but I feel that the bloggers who talk about products they don’t really love do not achieve the reader trust that translates to sales.

What is an affiliate program?

An affiliate program, sometimes called a partner program, is when a company offers a piece of tracking code that you can place after any link to their site. This code does not change the customer experience of using the link, but allows the company to track and reward the person who sent them any online sales. The code snippet is often preceded by a question mark, and might look something like this: ?azy3345. So instead of blogging about, you’d blog about Getting your personalized code involves visiting the target website and finding and setting up your affiliate account with them. It’s pretty easy.

I sell products or services. How do I start an affiliate program?

There are several for-pay affiliate programs such as DirectTrack that cost thousands of dollars, but I am a fan of HasOffers because it’s free for the first 250,000 clicks. The user interface is well designed and customizable.

marketing · Uncategorized

Pay-For-Performance Marketing with Excel

Excel has amazing abilities to help pay-for-performance online marketers. Pivot tables and the Microsoft Advertising Intelligence Add in allow pay-for-performance online marketers to create popular keyword lists, expand your negatives, create traffic proposals, research market trends and create bid proposals, all within Excel. That’s a lot of jargon to say that you can find out how to get the best return on your money when buying promotion on search engine homepages like Google.

marketing · Uncategorized

A Google News SEO Backdoor?

The Google search engine is unlike most other search engines in that a company can’t just buy a high ranking. Companies have to make themselves appear useful to consumers by following the rules of the Google algorithm, which is a secret. Social media such as company blogs and online interaction with blogs in the company’s industry can help SEO. A lesser known backdoor into the Google rankings involves submitting a press release to Google News through posting a press release to PR newswire for $30 or rantrave for free, which are preferred and automated Google news feeds. Google news affects Google search, and therefore your companies’ google search engine rankings.

While this service will hopefully be used for good, there have been cases of people creating false news in this manner, so Google may have to close this backdoor or limit it by only automating news feeds from providers who charge a fee for press release submissions.

This is a shame because many small businesses get squeezed out by such measures.