CMO’s, Get Your Social Media Rocks On, Here’s How.

Sometimes the on-line world just amazes me. I’m up to my ears in on-line social networks, have followers around the globe, am building significant and lasting relationships and keep in touch with friends on an almost daily basis.

Then there are people who say to me, “I don’t get that whole internet thing”. That’s okay, no worries. Usually these are people who do not need a (strong) on-line presence. They live in an “old school” neighbourhood where they’ve lived all their lives and have all the social interaction and connections they need.

CMO's, Get Your Social Media Rocks On, Here's How.And then you come across a blogpost about CMO’s (Chief Marketing Officers) and their utter lack of presence on Social Media. Now that makes me go, hmmmmm…. Didn’t we get the memo? Don’t we know by now that Social Media is rather huge, and very much expected from some people?

Well.., turns out there is a memo (albeit a very recent one), and we know SoMe isn’t going anywhere. So, isn’t it time to get going?

Granted, for some, it’s just not interesting. SoMe is a far away land where people share their lunches. And it might be true. Not that everybody shares what they eat, but that some people really don’t need it.

But, for CMO’s we can agree that you need to work on your personal brand. And, by the way, this goes for a lot of professionals, especially those having to do anything with tech, marketing, content creation, HR, PR, IT… well, you get the idea.

If you have anything more then 5 years to go in your career, then this concerns you.

First, Ask for Help!

Chances are, your company is already active on Social Media (if not, you have bigger fish to fry then your personal presence). But, assuming there are people working on-line, get them in a room and ask them what they’re up to. As a CMO you should know. However, we’re assuming (again), that your focus lies with ‘traditional’ media and any Social Media efforts are delegated (and left alone).

Let’s face it, the situation above is pretty common, so nothing to be ashamed of.

Anyway, get these Tweeple to help you getting set up. I’m sure they’d be very happy to get you going, help you create the necessary accounts and walk you through their basic use. Also, whenever you get stuck, get s/he in your office (or better yet, walk down to their desk), and ask for a helping hand.

Remember, it’s all about Social.

Browse the platforms

Once you have your accounts set up you can look around. Search for the name of the company or co-workers, see what pops up. It will give you a different view of the company and its employees. It could actually be a very fun thing to do. And I’m sure you can make some time to have some fun (it’s OK to have some fun).

It’s the difference between walking a route or travelling it in a hot air balloon, it’s the same route, but a completely different perspective.


And don’t forget to connect with co-workers, as many as you can (i.e. all of them).

Social Media is nothing without us humans actually connecting, talking and sharing with each other. People are the engine.

If you are a CMO of a strong brand, then finding connections should not be a huge problem. In fact, judging from the lack of CMO’s who’re socially settled, it shouldn’t be a big problem at all. If you start now, you’d still be among the first batch.


And last, but certainly not least. Start a conversation.

After connection you start to build relationships. This you do by talking to people, share their content and let them know what you think (especially when it’s good stuff).

Especially concerning employees, you can engage in an informal manner with them, opening up and getting to know your company in a new way, a better way. Employees will appreciate this to no end. Your reputation will grow quickly, simply because of your position.

Connect and talk to peers too, they give you insights and idea’s to work with. Especially when they blog.


You might have noticed I didn’t mention any platforms you should join. That’s in part up to you, and in essence, the connect and converse part is the same for all. But, for sake of completeness, here’s a list in order of importance:

  1. LinkedIn
  2. Twitter
  3. Quora

Yes, only three. Facebook is not worth it, not professionally. And you don’t want to many. Time is, of course, precious.


I just have to mention this. Blogging is a great way to build a reputation. You can share knowledge (yes, that’s OK), and help others with whatever issue they might face in your field of expertise.

Getting your network to share your (personal) story and views can be quite satisfying.

Adding your precious content to the corporate blog is also a good idea. Align it with current business and marketing objectives to make sure the content is marketable and worth the effort.

Added Value

The added value to your brand can be significant. Having a strong personal brand, combined with being a Subject Matter Expert makes you a highly valuable brand ambassador. Somebody who can influence customers with just a Tweet.

Trust me.., it is possible.


Social Business in Europe, not what you might think.

Or maybe it’s exactly what you think. The problem of having the same name for two quite different definitions can be confusing. Doing a search of “Social Business in Europe” shows you exactly what I mean.

Social Business in EuropeYou can’t see the forest through the trees. As a tried and true metaphor, it explains my point exactly. In an earlier post I described both versions, and the relation between the two, and you’ll see one variation gets completely overgrown by the other.

When you search, and look around on the web, Social Business in Europe is predominantly about the Prof. Yunus definition of Social Business.

For me, as a Social Business professional this is a bit disconcerting. Because I follow Peter Kim’s definition of the term. I focus on the goings on within a company, how they communicate, how they share knowledge and engage with their employees, partners and customers.

In essence, I don’t care how they make a profit.

Why is this a problem?

Well, image some executive hears about Social Business in Europe. Some partner or even a competitor is very happy with their Social Business implementation. Having nice results because of it. Getting their Social Media under control, having proper on-line conversations and happy employees. All smiles, all around (it can happen).

Now this executive does the Google thing and is hard pressed to find anything related to what he heard during lunch.

What he does find is a lot of information on Social Business as depicted by Prof. Yunus.

OK, so why is that a problem?

Because this executive is going to abandon his search really quick when he finds out that according to Yunus’ definition of Social Business, his company needs to change the way it does business and needs to become socially responsible in a way that requires him to uproot his entire business process. Or at least part of it.

He’s not going to do that. And chances are, he won’t pursue the idea for some time. Missing out on the great benefits of having a Social Business according to Kim’s definition.

Now, I love the idea of Yunus’ Social Business, the concept is tantalising and the fact that the EU is picking this up is very promising. I do believe it’s a very important part of building a sustainable society.

However, not every company is ready for this, far from it, hardly any company is ready for this.

It is happening

A Google search on “Social Business in Europe” might lead you to believe we don’t practice Kim’s version of Social Business. The opposite is quite true. Rawn Shah did a write up following the Enterprise 2.0 Summit in Paris, earlier this year.

Rawn says:

Enterprise 2.0 and Social Business are reaching a stage of maturity in Europe with detailed cases from mid and large-sized organizations from a wide range of industries, headquartered in various European countries.

Even Microsoft Netherlands is doing a great job moving into the Social Business sphere.

The Difference

The difficulty lies in the different definitions of Social Business. Although both firmly rooted in “Social”, both have a very different impact on business. So much so, that a clear distinction has to be made when looking for a certain solution.

And let’s face it, most established companies will be looking for the Enterprise 2.0 version of Social Business.

Social Business in Europe

I know the two definitions are sticking. One comes from the US and is generating considerable traction. Books are written and businesses are build around the term.

The other comes from Bangladesh and, apparently, is getting momentum too, only on a different continent.

One is rooted in business and aims to create a more inspiring working environment leading to more streamlined and resilient company. The other a business which aims to create “new kind of capitalism that serves humanity’s most pressing needs”.

Quite a difference. Heck, Wikipedia doesn’t even recognize the first, they refer to Social Media.

Bottom line (literally), when you’re searching for a Social Business solution, make sure you get the right answers.

“Why? Social Business” – My E-book

UPDATE: The 5 day give-away of my E-book has ended. I can say it’s been a tremendous success. So much so that I don’t want to disappoint you, so if you still want a free copy, you can sign up (and get 60 Pieces of Blogging Advice too), or just get your Kindle copy for only a couple of bucks.


When I realised that the various jobs I held over the past had some major social business elements in them, I started to take the term serious and started digging into it more and more.

Eventually leading me to write Why? Social Business, a 33 page E-book explaining why a business should get on this train. I wanted to make the “why” crystal clear for me and anybody who’d read the book.

why? social business ebookMy first real moment where I could name “Social Business” was when I saw an interview with Mark Fidelman, done by Dino Dogan. Mark had written a book; “Socialized!: How the Most Successful Businesses Harness the Power of Social (Social Century)“, and the way he described it fitted perfectly with what I had in my when it came to social and business. At least in part.

Add to that (mandatory reading): “What’s the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences” by Brian Solis and “Social Business By Design: Transformative Social Media Strategies for the Connected Company” by Dion Hinchcliffe and Peter Kim and the image becomes crystal clear.

What I learned was that Social Business is so much more than just implementing a tool, a piece of software or adopting a social media platform. In fact, technology (and social media) is only the enabler. It’s people who are the driving force behind a Social Business.

The philosophy of a company needs to change, the mindset. For some companies their whole way of thinking and day-to-day routine must change. These are some significant realisations.

It’s still business mind you. There still has to be a ROI, the changes still have to be lead to results. I would not go as far as saying it’s a project. A project, by definition has an end. Social Business doesn’t “end”. It’s something you do. Sure, the implementation of a specific tool, or the change of a workflow are still projects.

It the long run, social business will become business as usual.

Why? Social Business

Why Social Business E-book
Why? Social Business

Back to the book and this post. I asked Mark Fidelman to write the foreword of my E-book. Mainly, because it was he who opened my eyes and I wanted to thank him for that.

“Use this book as a jumping-off point to spark your company’s dialogue about social business. Bring it to the higher-ups, and show them why they need to adapt… or else risk extinction.”

– Mark Fidelman

The premise of the book was to help those who are wondering what the heck we’re all talking about. The buzz around SocBiz is tangible, however, I still have the feeling that few know what it entails. I can imagine many mid- and top-level managers would love some answers, a rough guide if you will.

This is not a ‘for dummies’ book and it’s not a complete field manual for transforming your business. I too have learned form others.

I wrote about Geoff Livingston’s personal exodus, and however this is not a novel, nor in print, nor a quadrillion pages thick.., it was still a tour de force. It forced to write down all my wandering thoughts into a coherent (and readable) format.


For the next 5 days I’m offering my first E-book for free to my readers. In fact, if you know anybody who might benefit from this book, let them know, so they can get a copy too, then go ahead. Don’t forget to claim this wonderful find for yourself. Your friends will think you’re just awesome!!

I am proud of my work (can I say that.., sure I can). I’m very content. I didn’t write it to become rich, I am a pragmatic realist (yes, that helps with Social Business too). But, I do want to share my achievement with the world, with my readers and friends.


So.., there it is.

All I ask in return is let other people know about it and if you wish, leave a comment or a rating on Amazon.

Also, feel free to leave a comment, I’d love some feedback.

The books

Below are the books I use, which are my reference (these are affiliate links, if you don’t want that, click on the links at the beginning of the post).

I added “Why? Social Business” because, let’s face, it looks mighty cool.