enero 20, 2014


Have you ever feel social media users' seem to behave like zombies? I have. When you dedicate a bulky part of your day to analyze Social Media Users' behavior, sometimes, inevitably, you get the feeling they seem to act like a bunch of zombies. Many seem to move incoherently from one content to another following the next viral thing that pops up. Hordes of limping walking dead creatures lurching towards the nearest fresh brain to feed from.

We live in a constant battle for attention, and there is little doubt, attention seems to follow gregarious activities. It's in our curious nature. If you drive by a place where you see a pack gathering, your attention will focus on the group, wondering what's catching so many people's eyes. It's no different in Social Media.  But, like it happens in the phisical world, once you take a peek on what's attracting so many, it takes the blink of an eye to make you decide whether is worth your time or not. For that very reason, brands should seriously evaluate if that is the type of erratic attention they ougth to be seeking for.

Nowadays, brands seem to be zombies too. They see the group of undeads running towards something and follow the crowd, just like another confused flesh eating monster.  They throw content erratically trying to fish some attention in the turbulent waters of zombieland. Or even worse, they place content like fishermen hook bait, trying to deceive fish with fake flies. That is wrong in so many ways, it scares me.

Some brands still don't get it: Social Media has not changed the field, it has changed the game, and this new game has new rules and new responsibilities. Let me point out 3 basic ones.


It may be controversial, but my advise to brands is to stop feeding meaningless content to the "zombie" crowd, regardless how much attention that content seems to be generating. Social Media Users may, sometimes, act and look like zombies, but they're not.

You don't want to be the smoking wrecked car of an accident. Although it certainly catches attention, it's not the one you want. You have to be the event people want to voluntarily attend. 

In Social Media, you have to provide content people take concious action to consume. The one they look forward and seek for.

Yes, funny cat videos get lots of viewers, but nobody wakes up eager to find the new funny cat video online. Plenty, however, look forward to watch a new chapter of their favorite TV Series or a game of their favorite team. Stop trying to earn erratic attention. Make your content worth the user's attention. Make each piece of content count.


I know: when talking about audiences, size matters. But you know what? Value matters more. Viral non specific content, like a light bulb to flies, is a magnet to zombies, I admit it. And zombie crowds are eye candy to marketers and brands...but there is little value in such audience.

Don't waste your efforts reaching out to the many, narrow down your content, and reach out for the valued few. 

Remember: people may accidentally bump into broad content that catches their eye briefly, but they voluntarily seek and pay attention to content specific for themselves.  It makes them feel special. And that, my friends, is the kind of attention you should be searching for.

If you sell outdoor trekking apparel online, you may choose between two content marketing strategies: You can take the path of the funny cat video content hoping to become viral and see if you catch the eye of the outdoorsy person by chance;
...or you can make a video listing the 5 best trekking routes of Yosemite's park. That video may not reach an audience as large as the cat's, but it will definitively get to one more valuable to your interests.
If you give value to social media users, you show respect for them. That respect will win you their appreciation.
Don't stop there: take a step further and narrow it down even more: The Best 5 Yosemite's trekking routes FOR FAMILIES. You may feel like you would be losing part of the audience but, in reality, you will be gaining more valuable attention. The trip planning parents with kids will defenitely pay closer attention to that content: it will be percieved as done just for them! Of course, within that video, be sure you subtlely point out the special cooler cantine, the reinforced socks, the portable med kit, the boots, the hat, the new waterproof cammera, and the pocketted vest your online store carries and recommend.  But careful! Don't make it too obvious! That would be creepy, zombielike.


Zombies are not social creatures. They are individuals that do not interact with each other.  They gather around prey, yes, but they're not organized nor collaborative.

If you publish content appealing for zombies, chaces are you'll receive zombie behavior in return. And, what's worse, you'll be collaborating with the zombification of society. You may think your content has value because it catches the attention of many, but the truth is you'll be adding noise to a noisy environment. Your content marketing strategies should encourage relationships, interaction, social behavior... And I don't mean just within users, I mean with you, as a brand, taking an active role in the conversation.

This is one of the mistakes I see over and over again: brands creating great content that people enjoy and share, wasting that valuable effort putting themselves outside the conversation. It may've worked in the recent, yet archaic, traditional media world of the past, after all, we did not have the tools to ease up anything other than witness what users did with our content. That is not the game anymore. If you are not active in conversations, your brand is a zombie brand, regardless of how good your content is. Make it social.

enero 15, 2014


I've always wondered why B2B's executives keep telling me they're not interested in Social Media for their Business. In my opinion, if there is a business sector that should understand and value Social Media, is precisely B2B.

B2B's professionals had always relied on business contacts and personal relationships with customers. B2C's, otherwise, normally deal with anonymous buyers. The buying cycle is longer in a B2B environment, than it is in a B2C's, and usually goes way beyond the actual sale. A successful sale requires a, somehow, intimate knowledge of the customer, beyond product's characteristics or seller's level of expertise.  The roles of the influencer, the decision maker, the user... have always been present and well defined in B2B.

B2B has always been about developing Social Networks. Now that we live a time in which those are on steroids at a global scale, it seems to me, from a Social Media Strategy's point of view, there is much a B2B company may benefit from.

So, for those of you who, like me, have to face the resistance of the B2B´s executive to integrate Social Media in his profesional arsenal, here go 5 tips to make them change their minds.


B2B's decision makers are people. They don't live in a distant galaxy. They are regular Joes and Janes. In fact, they're normally better educated and enjoy higher incomes than average. And, guess what, that fits perfectly in the description of the Social Media user. Do you know why? Because B2B's decision makers are indeed heavy Social Media users themselves.

Ask the B2B executive about his social media habits. He probably visits independent blogs, gets info through Social Media Channels, has a LinkedIN profile and engages likely in social media activities. Don't believe me: belive the $500 Forrester's study  that proves me right.

Survey done among North American and European decision makers at Companies with +100 employees

Now that we've established the obvious: B2B's decision makers are humans and use social media, let me tell you another thing about them: they use social as a tool in their buying decision making process. If you want them to know about your business, don't wait to see if your wonderful SEO strategies lead them to your site, put yourself where their eyes are. Join the conversation. Become part of their social media environment.


I'll never get tired of repeating this: Reputation is Social Media's currency. Reputation is the door to influence. You may be an eminence in your field, but it won't give you the influence you deserve unless you make it very public. Social Media can help you build your reputation as well as that of your business.

What are you waiting for? Show the world your company's real value: the keen angle of expertise no other has. As redundant as it may sound, you need to strengthen your strengths, the things that differenciate your business from your competitors. If you don't do it, others will. Or worse... your competitors will percive your social media absence as a weakness and make it work against you... which leads me to the third of my tips


There is an analogy commonly used when refering to Social Media: it's like a big party. It's almost true. And you know party's dynamics, don't you? If you're not present, bad gossip about you is more likely to spread around than when you're there, dominating the room, being the soul of the event. So, if not for anything else, be sure you make your own invitation to the party to protect yourself/company from insidious gossip.  Besides, parties are fun. Blend in and enjoy.


Your clients not only are present in social networks, they are sharing their lives, the interests and people they care about.

Imagine you've been trying to convince the purchasing manager of a company to buy your product. Wouldn't it be helpful to know his godson is a enthusiastic fan of the Miami Heat NBA's franchise, buy a t-shirt signed by king James Lebron himself, and give it to this manager you want to lean the purchasing decision towards your side? You won't be buying something nice for the decision maker, you'll make him look great in front of a boy he cares deeply about. Guess what, now all that info is available for you, for free. Chances are that person is already sharing about the things he cherishes, and the intimate connection he has with them. If you don't use social to research about your clients, be certain your competitors do.


Face it, you're not Brad Pitt. How did you make your better half fall in love with you? You made her laugh, didn't you? Nothing works better than humour to enhance your natural charm. Humour catches attention. You maybe wondering what does it have to do with B2B? We're serious people doing serious business here! Well... think it better. I'm not telling you to be a clown, I'm telling you not to understimate the power of a smile.

Take for example what CISCO did. They have a router, the ASR9000. Price tag: $250,000! Buying Decision Cycle: 2 years! Not your B2C'S cherry pie. What did they do to improve the chances of selling such a product? They made a Valentine's video. "Nothing says I love you like 64 Terabites per second". Using the words of Eric Crangel from Business Insider:

There's really only a tiny handful of people with the budgetary authority to buy stuff like this. If even only a few them smile and think of Cisco more as a funny cool friend than a stodgy IT firm, it was worth it.

Next time you hear B2B's executives telling you Social Media is not for his business, you'll have a 5 points story to tell them.  You'll thank me later...

enero 08, 2014


Facebook modified its EdgeRank Algorithm... Bad News?

Advertisers don't seem to be particularly happy about the change. Now that they were finally comfortable promoting their stories and cashing out on their hard earned likes, Zuckerberg's company changes the playing field and establishes new rules of engagement... how uncool... Why is Facebook doing this?

Facebook answer to that question is:
Surveys show that on average people prefer links to high quality articles about current events, their favorite sports team or shared interests, to the latest meme. Starting soon, we’ll be doing a better job of distinguishing between a high quality article on a website versus a meme photo hosted somewhere other than Facebook when people click on those stories on mobile. This means that high quality articles you or others read may show up a bit more prominently in your News Feed, and meme photos may show up a bit less prominently.
Apparently, Facebook has been conducting a series of surveys in order to finely tune up the way the algorithm perceives relevance for the audience in your updates. They presented users with different types of content and asked them the following:
  • Is this timely and relevant content?
  • Is this content from a source you would trust?
  • Would you share it with friends or recommend it to others?
  • Is the content genuinely interesting to you or is it trying to game News Feed distribution? (e.g., asking for people to like the content)
  • Would you call this a low quality post or meme?
  • Would you complain about seeing this content in your News Feed?

I have my issues regarding the survey design and results. I specially dislike the way the 5th question was presented. It categorizes the "meme" as low quality leading answers negatively about memes in the mind of the user. Somehow, I don't see a user answering honestly he or she prefers a funny meme over a well crafted article from a news organization, despite the fact that the former seem to be much more popular than  the latter, but I imagine Facebook has taken the shame factor into account interpreting the survey's results.

How is people reacting to the new algorithm?

Comments on FB Official Blog new algorythm's anouncement

Judging from comments in Facebook Official Blog, many suspect it's a matter of Facebook getting greedy. They think Facebook does not want companies to clutter people's newsfeeds with content unless is paid. And according to the comment of Nestor Carrasco, responsible for the fanpage "StarterDaily" the results of organic unpaid updates are dramatic: a decrease from 30% engagement to 2%.  Content that, up until today, made 30% of your fans engage, now gets only 2%. Less people exposed to the content turned into less people engaging.  If Facebook wanted engagement, reducing the number of people the content reaches does not seem logical... or does it?

My Opinion

Although Facebook usage is still growing, Facebook has seen a decrease in this growth. They want it back on high speed and they've figured out that engagement is key to recover velocity.

Engagement will keep users on Facebook, make them use it more, expend more time on it.  Take it from the perspective of a user: if your news feed keeps filling up with non engaging content, you'll look for it somewhere else. An engaging user is a person who goes from mere witness into action mode. From that point of view, brands should prefer this type of user over the other. Facebook wants to be a platform of engaging users because they know they have more value.
Turning non engaging users into engagement junkies is not a task Facebook can do alone. They want us marketers to step inside this "creating Mr Engager" scenario and add our 5 cents to the jar. In the long run, activating engagers is a desireable scenario for us too.
They made some recommendations alongside the anouncement:

  • Make your posts timely and relevant
  • Build credibility and trust with your audience
  • Ask yourself, “Would people share this with their friends or recommend it to others?”
  • Think about, “Would my audience want to see this in their News Feeds?”


1.What you consider important may not be what users find important.

Well, for once, it seems pretty obvious that Facebook does not encourage us to prioritize what we consider important over what users may consider important. That is a key factor to consider when we prepare our content. And don't only consider the essence of the content, notice the relevance of now. What is important for the users currently. Context Matters my friends.

2.Make "Engagement Trigger" Content

Shareability of your content seems to be important. Facebook prefers a message your followers would recommend to others, or even better, one they'd comment about, over content they may like but not feel in need to share. This presents some issues.

Imagine you are responsible for Viagra's Social Media Strategy. There is certainly a community of people interested in your content but... will they share it with others? Seeking shareability is undoubtely a challenge.

3.Make your content Facebook Native. Links may not work as they used to.

AllThingsD interviewed Lars Backstrom, Facebook's NewsFeed Manager, and he had some remarks that particularly caught my attention:
Q. Are you paying attention to the source of the content? Or is it solely the type of content?A. Right now, it’s mostly oriented around the source. As we refine our approaches, we’ll start distinguishing more and more between different types of content. But, for right now, when we think about how we identify “high quality,” it’s mostly at the source level.
Q. So something that comes from publisher X, you might consider high quality, and if it comes from publisher Y, it’s low quality?A. Yes.
It's yet to be determined what a high quality source by Facebook's algorithm standards is. Backstom's answer lead us to think that a vague article about cancer treatment from the New York Times would be considered of higher quality than the testimony of a cancer patient posted on his personal blog... I happen to disagree. But, since it's a factor, it may be better for us to create the content natively within Facebook, so outside links to what could be consider a not so high quality source weight less on the algorithm's criteria.

4.Value Facebook Users' interests as much as Facebook does

All the changes Facebook does to the algorithm have one purpose in mind, and it is not to make you pay to reach their users. Facebook wants to empower their users. They want them better informed, more engaging and active. They cherish the user because he is the main asset of their business. Facebook prioritizes a better user experience over a better marketer's one because users' enjoyment, not advertisers money, is Facebook's source of income. Advertisers will always come second, that is the way it has to be. A Facebook with a UI tailored for advertisers instead of for users is not valuable even for advertisers.

So, Facebook designs its algorithm trying to get into the mind of the Facebook Native. They want to mimic their thoughts, think like one, in order to give him or her what he or she wants. You should do exactly the same.

enero 06, 2014


What would you do to increase your sales by 135% overnight?

It happened by mere chance, but there are lessons to learn from the story I'm about to relate.

Antena3TV, a TV Channel from Spain, is broadcasting a series based on a bestselling novel. It tells the story of Sira, a young lady who earns a living sewing clothes in a tailor shop. The story runs in the 1930s, not the best time framework to explore the posibilities for current products' placement or other traditional media gimmicks. 4 episodes later the series is a big hit: 26% share, +5 million average viewers.  A rebump in sales of the book, as expected, took place everywhere...but something else happened: an unexpected 135% increase in sewing machines sales at

Not 35%... 135% increase, out of nowhere. Regular sales multiplied by 2.35.

Was this jump due to the TV Series? You bet it was! Sales at the unusual 10:00 to 24:00 time frame (the time the show is on) went up 124% in broadcasts days!  This experience would have been IMPOSSIBLE just a few years ago even with e-commerce sites like Amazon already present and running. Mobile makes the real difference. Consummers are watching TV shows alongside their smartphones and tablets.

There are, of course, market situations that helped this success. The economic crisis in spain is making more people refurbish their clothes or think about starting their own clothing repair businesses. But up untill the show started, sewing equipment sales were far from booming.

Buying habits are shifting from instore to online. Mobile was the piece missing to complete the e-commerce puzzle.You better get your company ready for this, or the opportunities will fly away from you, regardless on how good your product is.

What can we learn from this situation?


Don't understimate the power of mobile. We're witnessing a cultural shift deeper than the one that made us switch from neighborhood small businesses to big stores and shopping malls. People are finding mobile shopping easier and more convenient than instore experiences.


Who would have thought people would buy sewing machines on impulse? You better make your products available for sale 24/7 or sales will be missed.


Amazon is not a single store. Is a conglomerate of different companies selling under the same umbrella. Opening an online store requires substantial effort and resources. Consider the possibility of selling through Amazon´s infrastructure.


Evaluate events happening and to come. They may have hidden opportunities for unexpected sales you may take advantage from. Use Social media to newsjack.


Singer, the sewing machines' brand featured in the tv show, and probably the best positioned in the mind of the consumer, was the one making more sales, but there was a shortage of product at the store, and delivery dates for the Singer popular items started to push further in time. Numbers shown that people bought other brands prioritizing delivery dates over product choice.

Mobile means now. Consumers are getting smarter and once they make a decision, they want the chance to get instant gratification. Sew your strategy to the 2nd screen. Take advantage of it or your competitors will.

enero 04, 2014


In a recent podcast interview with Tessa Barrera, former Director of Social Media Strategy for Red Bull, she mentions that, in Social Media, it is far more important for Brands to focus on who you are instead of what you do. I cannot think of a better Social Media advise.

Companies focus too much on what they do, the products/services they sell. They push their content to the public the way they've done it for ages. They do not seem to understand the social shift markets have developed: the two ways scenario new platforms bring to the marketplace. One way communication is not dead yet, but it is decadent and anoying.

The traditional approach would've promoted an energy drink showing the product and its benefits. RedBull took another path. They understood what energy drinkers' lifestyle is about, what they enjoy. An Energy Drinker is an Adrenaline Junkie, a seeker of excitement that goes beyond replenishing electrolytes. Red Bull provides them with tailored content like no other: competition, extreme challenges, excitement. They don't ask you to buy their product. You don't see a sales pitch anywhere in their content. They associate the brand with all the activities that catch their potential consumer's attention: outstanding people doing amazing stuff. RedBull sponsors events that keep you in the edge. They give you emotions beyond ordinary: drama, adventure, passion, motivation, courage, thrill... And they use Social Media wisely. Monitoring what is being said about the brand, interacting with people, engaging in conversations. They truly understand how to be native socially.

What can we learn from RedBull's Social Media Strategy?

Don't Marginalize Social, Make it your Business

To give marginal importance to your Social Media Strategy is a clasical mistake that goes beyond my comprehension. In fact, if building custommer relationships means anything to your business, Social Media (community empowerment) should be the foundation of your business strategy. Period.

Red Bull does not see itself as a company that sales energy drinks. Nowadays, it's a powerful content provider for people who seek for extreme excitement and emotions, that happens to manufacture and sell an energy drink. Once they understood who they are, their strategy evolved around the concept.

Don't Ask, give

Red Bull seldomly asks to buy their product. They hardly ever show it. Instead, they give their audience exclusive content, using the language of Social Media: visual content. Videos and Pictures more than articles or typed posts. And they facilitate sharing.

Don't Manage, Empower Your Community

Besides amazing content, Red Bull gives their audience tools. Tools like Red Bull #TheShow initiative. An application that turns people's instagram pictures into a show to share.  They give them power, value, the hability to turn ordinary content into a visual experience.

Don't Target the Wallet, Target the Heart

Don't take me wrong, I'm pretty sure Red Bull's executives want to sell energy drinks and expect Return On their Investment. They simply take the Social Path to it. Red Bull does not focus on what they sell, they focus on who they are: a company that brings excitement to its advocates. Isn't that what an energy drink does? Why not focus on it? Don't sell the product, give an experience. Customers will associate the experience with the brand. The value of an emotional impact is worth much more than a sale. 

Take for instance, the Red Bull Stratos stunt. An austrian with an unpronounceable last name, was going to do something no one had ever done before. They created an event, carefully promoted on Social Networks to broadcast it live for a worldwide audience, making everyone witness history on the making.

Go Mobile

Red Bull uses Apps for smartphones. You can install the Red Bull TV App in your iphone, consume and share their content with your Social Networks. Free Smartphone games... you name it. They know the importance of mobile, and make the effort to be in your smartphone's screen.

Monitor your Brand Wisely, use Social Language Skills 

Content distribution is an important factor to put your brand on Social Networks, but it is not the only one. It's also a splendid tool to listen and monitor. People talk about your brand, and not always well. Reputation is an asset that has to be nurtured and cherished. Red Bulls pays attention to what people say about them, and acts with wonderfull finesse.

If an anonymous guy with 200 followers ironizes on twitter about "diying of cranberry red bull overdose", they don't ignore it, but they don't over react either. They respond using Social Media Tools: humour, irony and hard core facts.  Traditional companies would had either ignore or threaten the guy. Red Bull protects its reputation skillfully, improving it at the same time. Brilliant.

There is much to learn about Red Bull's Social media Strategies, but, as Tessa Barrera said, the key is to understand the importance of focusing on who you are, not on what you do. Keeping that in mind on each of the steps you take in Social, everything else will follow.