Always focus on behaviour instead of events when setting goals

Getting people to embrace digital, whether these are your customers or your employees is a very difficult thing to do. At least when you focus on continuous movements. It is easy to get someone to move once, just nudge them. However do you want to nudge people over and over again to ensure they don’t stop moving? I guess not, that is a lot of work and won’t scale, plus getting nudged over and over again is something that will annoy people over time.Doing things that don’t scale

Doing things that don’t scale

Of course it is important to do things that don’t scale to test your hypothesis. Therefore it is good to test if a nudge will move people and what else you could do to get people moving. This is very event driven, how to get people to do X. However at a moment in time you need to think on how to move beyond this non scalable approach and scale up rapidly. Non scalable efforts often cannot be sustained on the long term.

Remove heavy lifting from the equation

Non scalable activities are heavy lifting, or can be heavy lifting when there are a lot of these activities. The challenge is how to have the same or better results without that heavy lifting. One thing I do is by switching the goal focus. Non scalable activities are often very event driven, do X to achieve Y, where X and Y have a one on one match, or a two on one match (twice the X to achieve one Y). However what you would like to achieve is to minimise you interactions to still achieve the same outcome. To do so often you have to focus on a behavioural goal and less on a event driven goal.

Since if you can start changing behaviour from people to do Y, it will require less activities from your end to make them do Y over time. Which means that the heavy lifting will disappear for a certain group of people and the attention can be on a smaller group of people who have a harder time to make this change.

A practical example

Imagine you want your employees to create content whether these are tweets, LinkedIn updates or blog posts doesn’t really matter. If your goal is to make sure every employee creates X amount of messages in Y period of time, you are very event focused. Which means you will work to achieve X in period Y. If you want to repeat this a second time, you still have to invest the same amount of time to get your employees moving the needle in the same direction. Basically you are just hopping from time period to time period and probably have a feeling it is a Groundhog Day.

But if you change your goal to enable your employees to create X amount of messages every week, you are very behaviour focused. There is no end to this period and you want your employees to make the number of messages they produce into a habit. Something they do over and again. So instead of pushing for a number in a limited period, you are approaching this as a longer term project to change the behaviour. Which most likely implies that you have to invest more time upfront (since you have to learn people how to do X time and time again) while you will have to invest less over time since the employees will be available to repeat their learned behaviour time over time without your involvement.

How the practical example will look in theory

To illustrate the practical example a little bit more abstract, you could think of these three lines:

  1. Units of Y (messages, blog posts, bright ideas, shares, cookies) produced by a person
  2. Total investment of your time (and / or money) to make people to do Y
  3. Average investment per person to help them to do Y

If you would focus on event driven goals, than the graph would look like this:

Event driven goals

Clearly average time spend per item / action stays the same over time. Which means if you want to get twice the results, you have to invest twice the time.

If you would focus on behaviour driven goals, than the graph would look like this:

Behaviour driven goals
The average time you have to spend per item will decline over time. Since people change their behaviour you don’t have to invest the same amount of time over and over again, which means a more scalable solution.

Focus on event driven goals if you want to be busy

The graphs show that if you want to be busy: just focus on event driven goals. You have to invest the same amount of time over and over again to get people moving. So if your goal is to build up head count or to create the perception you are indispensable for doing this, just focus on events. You will get the results you want, and you still have to do the heavy lifting, it is like being a worker at the conveyor belt, doing the same trick every few minutes. Until of course a robot arrives taking your job….

Focus on behaviour driven goals if you want to get things done

If you want to move forward you cannot expect yourself to do the same thing over and over again and have to hire more people if you want to do more. You want to get things moving without your direct involvement, you want things to scale and preferably only focus on the more difficult situations in which you can really add value by getting people moving. Of course it might be clear that there is moment that everybody (or enough people) is moving, which means that you can move on to the next challenge to solve.

Thanks to Rena Patel for proof reading this piece first :).

Four Types of Conversion to Focus on

Focusing on conversions is always easier said than done. There are so many to focus on, so how do you pick the ones that are really important for you. One approach I use is to bucket conversion in four types (and of course as the good consultant I am, I made a quadrant for you to show how). One is not better than the other, you need them all four in the end. Though at least this gives me an indication on what is working and where gaps might be.

Quadrant for conversion

Long term gains and personal connections

For me conversions on digital channels are about two things:
1. Create the start of a long-term personal connection that can lead to a business benefit
2. Or create the start of a (mutual) long-term gain that on itself can also lead to a business benefit

In the end it is always about business benefits to ensure the purpose for which the organisation was created is being served and business benefits are required both on short-term and long-term.

The four types of conversions

For me there are four buckets in which a conversion fits. Each of these buckets accomplish one or more steps leading to a business benefit. You don’t have to do them all to get to your goals, though you most likely want to use a mix to get there.


Exchanging is a really basic conversion. It is for example somebody leaving his information in a form on your website. Often this is very short-term gain (as in: a quick return) that could start leading to longer term gains. Also this aspect is not personal at all, it is somebody just handing over his data, no real connection is being created with your organisation yet.

This is the conversion you read most about it. However since it is a very short-term gain, it means that you have to repeat it over and over again to make it on the long-term and the returns are modest. So in the end you want to either move up or right in the quadrant which can lead to bigger gains.


Consuming is a nearly day-to-day behaviour, however this conversion is beyond just reading or watching content. It is about putting something on your device for consumption purposes. This can be downloading a PDF or installing an app. It is consumption in the here and now, but it especially about consumption that continues after the user has left the touch point and decides to revisit the content on his device.

This is a conversion that helps you staying top of mind of the user for a longer period than just the user’s session on your touchpoint. Being top of mind could ensure a longer term gain, since if a new issue arises at the user and you are top of mind for this issue the user might reach out to you.


Sharing is what happens on social media and of course content from your touchpoints could also be shared by your users. Leveraging other people’s audience is something that is relatively personal (the individual shares it on his social media accounts) and could provides some short-term gains such as exposure to your content or touch point to a new audience that they carry with them via their social media accounts.

This conversion creates a personal connection, even though it is initiated from the user and not necessarily answered by the organisation. The good thing is that this conversion can help you in growing your audience which in itself could help you in getting more conversions in all four buckets.


Connecting is the most personal of the four types of conversions. It is when there is a real connection between the visitor and you (or somebody else of the company). It opens the door for more than just a transaction, it opens the door for a longer term relationship.

It would be unfair to say this is the mother of all conversions. Since it isn’t. Too many people have a lot of good conversations with other people without actual business outcomes. A connection doesn’t mean a relationship and even a relationship doesn’t mean the creation of a business benefit. Though having a real connection with your stakeholders, even though it is just a digital one, could be a very valuable longtime gain. Since it would you enable to have somebody who you could share ideas and experiences with and who could do the same with you.

How you could leverage this quadrant

I would suggest to use this quadrant to map your existing conversions on these quadrants to see what works for you now. Also this mapping can help you to identify any gaps you might have in your conversions. Maybe your focus is only long-term, which means you want to add more short-term conversion or vice versa.  It could be an easy way or you to get additional insights on your performance.

Responsive Design: There is More in Life than just Screen Size to Respond to

What we learn often with Responsive Web Design that it is all about the view port. However that is just one of the many contexts to respond to. Of course we need to make sure that content is fitting the window you use to view. Though there is more in life than the piece of glass you are looking through to view the web, the app or any other media you are viewing. For the sake of simplicity let’s focus on the Web in general for the rest of this article and let me provide with an overview of contexts you could be taking into account when building your solution.

Know the screen

responsive-design-heroYou should make sure your website is viewable in a proper way on devices. So don’t make people zoom in and zoom out, set appropriate break points and scale content to the appropriate site and reorder the elements on the page where necessary. Furthermore there is more than page size to worry about. With the rise of retina screens you should take into account the pixel ratio as well. Since if you don’t you might end up with graphics that give an unintended 8-bit experience.

Know the source

It is delusion to think that everybody goes to your website directly as it is their only goal. Most likely people will go elsewhere first and then find a way to your website. However “elsewhere” is an important guidance on what people want to do. If people come to your website via a career focused website most likely they are looking for a job, why not personalise you site on the fly to showcase career focused elements instead of your latest and greatest white paper.

Also do you know if the visitors is coming via one of your others channels to your website? If so, why even think to reset the user journey, continue the user journey from your other channel. Your user is not thinking about you as a collection of channels, he is seeing one logo and expects one experience.

Is this the first time your visitor is coming to you, or the second, third or twentieth time? Use this data to modify your site to your visitors needs. A good example is this plugin available for WordPress.

Know the connection

Serving retina images on a GPRS connection might not be the best use of time and bandwidth. Though your retina screen is great, if you don’t have the bandwidth to feed it, why even bother trying. First and foremost it is about serving the content request in a minimal acceptable way. Anticipate the bandwidth of the receiver is a good way to make sure people will really visit your webpage and don’t drop off after a few seconds.

8636543831_e54b299c0a_oThe special case is of course the case of no connection (it is rare though it happens still), can you give people an offline reading experience after they visited your website for the first time? Your offline experience should be better than the standard no connection available message of the browser. Please keep in mind that if your site cannot be reached, people will blame it on you, since the rest of the items on their device is still working.

Know the activity

A simple way to validate what people are doing at the moment is to check where they are coming from. Not only a geographic basis, but also on a hostname and network basis. This information will often disclose if they are at an office, a public space, at home or anywhere else. Based on this context you can give them an appropriate call to action or present content in a different way. For example somebody who is from the competition and he is visiting your careers section during work hours on its company network could be offered with a less aggressive page so he can still browse around and apply while his colleagues might be thinking he is doing competitive research.

Combining this data with time of day you should be able to determine if a prospect is doing research from his desk during work hours, or still late at night at home. The latter could give you the impression that urgency is high and therefore a conversion is more likely than normal.


We even didn’t not touch on the topic of sensors, since it now easier than ever to ask somebody’s location and customise the display based on this information. And if you know somebody’s location you can also determine if somebody is moving or not, on what speed somebody he is moving and also have a best guess on what mode of transport he is using during his move from A to B. This is something you can use to customise the experience since if you have the best guess that somebody is on a train (based on high-speed and the current location) you might want to consider giving him a lower bandwidth version of your website to make sure it still loads, since reception and wi-fi are often pretty poor in trains.

Know your visitor

All the previous items were really passive data collection from a user perspective. The user didn’t had to take any action to get a more responsive web experience. However why remain passive. You could ask a user to login to personalise a website. Why couldn’t you be using this authorisation to go further than just the interests of a user. Imagine you could integrate with somebody’s calendar and adjust the content based on the calendar of your user. If you notice he has a steering committee the next morning on topic X and the individual is doing research on your website, why not offer him topic X prominently. Use the data that the user is willing to provide you to create a better context and respond better to his needs.

Know the device

IMG_0723If most visitors are using an iPhone to visit your website, why not give them a more native look and feel. They are used to do it in apps, so why not extend it to your website. Also validate how they are accessing your website, are they using Safari directly or are they using an in-app version of Safari? For example if you discover that your users are using the in app Safari version of the LinkedIn App, why not remove your sharing buttons on your website. The LinkedIn in app Safari browser offers sharing buttons already and having people to click on a sharing button would most likely break their flow / user journey and take them outside the eco system they would like to be part of.

Know when you can do better

There is no such thing as “the best” channel. There is the best way to do things for somebody at a certain time in a certain context. So why not offer people a better experience when you can and when you know it will be ten times better. The challenge is on how to make this channel switch a part of the user journey without breaking it and making people leave.

If you know your check out experience is better in your app than on your mobile website. Direct people to the app, explain them they can keep a credit card on file in the app and maybe lure them there with a small discount. Especially when you know that people having the app installed will buy more frequently than people using the mobile site. It is always worth paying the acquisition fee on a short notice to benefit on the long run.

You know

All the topics I touched upon in the above article are not new and not even close to rocket science. You could be starting to do this right now. All the data is available publicly for each of the topics I have listed examples. So why only respond on screen-size, respond on context, make things personal, not just from a content angle though for a complete experience point of view.

Your Users Hate Your Navigation

Navigation is a skill that involves the determination of position and direction. However as easy the navigation in your car might be to determine your position and your direction, as difficult is the navigation on most websites.

Those navigations are just space wasters on websites, they don’t have a real function, or better phrased: they have a function, but they are simply ignored by its users. That is of course not a mistake of the user, they have just found a better way to navigate your site than clicking through endless drop down menus, navigating mega menus or filling out forms to get somewhere they don’t know if they want to be there.

You could even consider that having the need for a navigation on your site shows something is already broken and the navigation is just trying to fix it.

Will it be good?

That question is exactly the issue that many navigations do not answer. The navigation could bring people from a point A (where they are) to an uncertain point B (something that could be their destination). As long as point B is an uncertain destination for your visitors, they will try to find a different route that gives them a higher level of certainty. There is nothing worst than getting lost or ending up somewhere you don’t want to be.

It is not about getting somewhere, it never was

Don’t think that the main purpose of your visitor to navigate as many pages as they can on your website. Do not think it is about visiting as little pages as possible. It is not about navigating at all. It is about task completion: to let people do something they want to do. It is about removing the uncertainty whether or not they can get to their task completion as quickly as possible. Not by showing a vague direction, but by showing the clear path to their goal.

Here comes the user journey

What is the purpose of your navigation? It is not about getting people from A to B, it is about helping the visitor to complete his journey. The visitor has a certain goal (“I would like to know more about X”). He has a starting point of his journey (let’s assume you are so well-known that he directly goes to your homepage, which is unlikely for most brands though) and you have a certain goal as well (“I want to have the contact details of this individual to make a sale in the end”). These three items combined form a very simplified user journey.

If you start thinking in a different way about your website and focus more on user journeys. You’ll notice that there is not a single entrance point (again: your analytics would have told you so already), which means that having a single one-size-fits-all navigation might fail you instantly. Since if the journey starts on the homepage you might need a different navigation than when the journey starts directly at the relevant page (since the user got there through Google). On the latter your might even want to consider to not display any navigation to prevent any distraction for the user.

So kill your navigation now

Seriously, don’t start killing your navigation right now. Start analysing the impact of your navigation right now. Then you will know if you have to ditch your current navigation on your website. Learn from the data what the existing user journeys look like and how you can modify your navigation, or even your website as a whole, to create a better experience throughout the user journey.

The navigation is just something that you might need to provide to help in  determination of position and direction during the user journey. It is not a mandatory item for your website all the time, since a user has not  a burning desire to be navigating all the time. Most often he just want to have task-completion.

How much privacy are consumers willing to give up? More than you think

Why are customers reluctant to complete long forms with their details despite offering them discounts, but don’t blink an eye about sharing their whole life on Facebook? What advantage does Facebook have over your company?

The answer is fairly simple: Facebook doesn’t ask for much. It never does. It does, however, ask little questions often. Small micro tasks: update your school, where do you live, when did you met so-and-so etc. Consumers don’t even think twice about whether they should give up this information or not. They just do, because the question is asked in context and is easy to answer. And sometimes even fun when it brings up some nostalgic feeling.

Even when Facebook is not asking explicitly, consumers continue to feed the Facebook beast with data by liking content on the web or logging into applications using Facebook connect.

Here’s what you can learn from Facebook on getting customer permission to share their data freely.

  • Firstly, ask questions appropriately in a timely manner and in good context.
  • Secondly, collect data over time since life doesn’t happen all once and your customer is more than just the single transaction.
  • Thirdly, make your customers be willing to share their data. What can you do to tease out that nostalgic or happy feeling?

Finally, and most importantly, don’t freak people out by predicting their behaviour too accurately. Humans like to think they are original with free will; even if research has shown most of us are immensely predictable. Facebook can predict cheating and suicide upfront, though never warns the individuals or its loved ones about it. It even detects it before the subject knows it. But they won’t tell you about it.

Collect and predict but don’t cross the creepy line.

This article originally appeared on Beyond the Buzz : the only place you need to stay connected with to prepare for tomorrow’s next innovation.

Holiday ended, mailbox is overloaded. Now what? 5 tips to handle it

There is big chance when you are reading this that you either are still on holiday, or that your holiday has just ended. Most likely, if you a decent amount of colleagues, you will find a couple of emails (or more) in your inbox. Though what to do about this small deluge of email, next to other work you also have to pick up after the holidays. So how to handle it?

The Daimler method

Just make sure it doesn’t arrive in your mailbox at all. Of course this could be a very German thing, however it does make sense. Why would you go to your old newspapers of two weeks? Why would we than think that we should go to through old emails?

Email bankruptcy

Another well-known aspect if ‘handling’ your email is to declare email bankruptcy. Which basically is: send an email to everybody you got an email from and tell them that you have to many emails to follow-up on and that their email(s) will be deleted. If they want you to follow-up on their emails they have to resend their emails to you.

Working the weekends

If you have FOMO or if you think deleting everything is not polite and very drastic of course you could start working on your email in the weekend just before your first workday. It will give you an extra day to catchup, and most likely an immediate longing for your holiday again…

Filing and sorting

Of course you can do something less drastic than deleting everything. You can also start by grouping emails by conversations or sorting their by subject and start working from there. Archive the long discussions thread that don’t need action from you, move the emails to an action folder that require further actions. Doing this shouldn’t take you too long (of course depending on the number of emails you received) and should give you a quick insight on what your real workload is.

Email is not your work, nor is it an assignment

Whatever your method might be, keep in mind that email is just a means for communication (or it ought to be). An email is not a task that you have to do, it is a message on something and it is up to you to define what the action should be.

So feel free to ignore the messages left during the holidays, there is nothing wrong with that. Most likely 2 or 3 week old messages are literally history anyway. Of course you can go through all of them in your weekend, or during work hours, that is up to you. However as many things: you don’t have to do it to do your job well. You can be more effective by giving all your direct colleagues a quick call to catch up (or have a lunch together).

Email doesn’t have to be done, everything that has be done is defined by you, not by other people dumping a message in your inbox.

Don’t Tell a Story, Make the Story

Products need to have a soul today, they need to have a story. Otherwise these products are just commodities. Easy to reproduce, to fake and low in value. The story is the thing that sets them apart, though what is often more important is the story on the story itself.

Thin line between a story and a lie

Everybody can tell a story, however some stories end up to be lies, instead of being authentic stories. Therefore it is sometimes more important to share the story about your story (this could become an Inception like blog post) that proves the authenticity of your story.

How Bentley does it

Of course Bentley creates stories about their new cars (see their ad at the end of this article, but please read the other paragraphs first). However this small commercial is not about their car, it is about the thoughts that have been put into the design with small quotes such as:

  • The car interior is a living space
  • You have to be able to adapt to the mood of the person
  • Design can be achieved by smells and touches
  • Can we liberate the user from carrying technology

All in all it is about making a brilliant experience that showcases that you can use your technology in their technology in the most convenient way possible.

Bentley’s story behind the story

In the last-minute of the clip they show how this complete commercial was recorded with an iPhone5S and an iPad air and the commercial was edited using the iPad on the backseat of the Bentley. If they can shoot a complete commercial using the stuff you normally have in your pockets / suitcase, edit in the Bentley, they show that basically everything you want to do is possible with this car. Just bring your own technology, sit on the backseat and relax.

Some stories work just better when you lift the curtain a little, since it shows what really happens. Bentley shows elegance, not just in telling their story, but in showing how their story is being told.


Self-service is the predecessor of Drone Delivery: McDonald’s

In several countries McDonald’s is adding self-service modules (big touch screens) to it restaurants. Of course self-service isn’t spectaculair and new, there are complete chains of self-service restaurants on the globe. However it is interesting how McDonald’s is introducing these additional screens, and what might be more interesting in the next steps.

Introduce new technology in a human way

McDonald’s doesn’t introduce the self-service touch screen by just putting it there and hoping that you will be using it. They have some hostesses walking around and when things get busy they pick people from the queue with the question if they would like to try something new. So these hostesses are not just introducing something new to get your meal, they introduce you to something new that saves you time. Creating a very positive first interaction with the self-service screen, increasing chances that you will be using it for a second time.

Also the process is done without exchanging any physical cash, so it reduces the risk on robberies for the McDonald’s also big time.

Next step, more self-service, though what’s next after that.

Of course it is clear that more self-service is the way McDonald’s is going. Not only will people get their order faster, they have to assign fewer people to cash registers and can assign more people on the assembling of orders. Which basically means that they can pay people less because works is getting simpler.

However that is the obvious, which is in some McDonald’s already the case (I happen to visit a small McDonald’s in France and they were already 100% self-service and 100% cashless. Though what is really next. I think the following items are next:

From their screen to your screen

It would make sense for McDonald’s to transition from their touch screens to your touch screen (phone, tablet etc). This way you don’t have to wait for the self-service screen (which would be just moving the queue to a different place in their restaurant) and you can order on the screen that is most comfortable for you. Also you can pay directly via your device instead of inserting your debit or credit card into another machine. Making the process more friction free than it was before.

From up-sell to social recommendations (and beyond)

If you are allowed to use your own device for ordering, why not make it a more personalised experience and make it even more frictionless. Obvious is a login combined with a credit or debit card (or a PayPal like service) so you don’t have to enter this data over and over.

Another clear step is to add some more data to your profile, preferably using something like Facebook connect since it gives McDonald’s the most data. Based on this data they can give you suggestions to eat (since you like Mars why not take a Mc Flurry Mars as a desert) and give you suggestions to eat with friends who are in the neighbourhood or to try out that new burger since people like you (or better: your friends) tried it and rated it 4 out of 5 stars.

From self-service to drone service

Of course the limiting factor for the number of meals that can be served by McDonald’s is in the end the capacity of its restaurants for now. So why only offer the service via your personal devices in their restaurants? Why not go home delivery. No longer it is a requirement to invest in cars, scooters or drivers for these vehicles. Today you just invest in a small swarm of drones.Amazon plans to do ita pizzeria in Mumbai is already doing it.

So why not leverage drones in combination with the GPS position of your mobile device to get your meal to you, instead of having to move yourself to a restaurant.

Change is never stand alone.

Even though it seems to be just a small change to move towards more self-service within McDonald’s restaurants, it could be a small step to a lot a big change in operating model. However change done right, could make it easier for future changes to be implemented.

As long as the changes are small enough and easy to accept and delivers a clear added value. In McDonald’s case I suggested the following: save time, create more convenience, offer better recommendations and provide independence of location.

Why the C-suite don’t ‘get’ social media marketing – and why this is perfectly fine

I am not a big fan of the suggestion that everybody has to be to be on social media and fully understand social media before you can do anything with social media as a big enterprise. Basically it is a big lie, since how many within the enterprise really understand the inner workings or your DWH (Data Ware House) or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), probably very little people. Does it mean it doesn’t bring any benefit because nobody understands? No, everybody understands the benefits it brings

And that is exactly what is important: the C-suite needs to get the benefits of something, they don’t ned to know all the details of everything, that is not their job.

The Guardian has a tear-jerking article on this topic, blaming the C-suite for not understanding social media and giving some arguments and tips that will ensure you that they will never invest in social media at all.

Arguments to hide the incompetence of the CMO or social media expert

“I have run out of fingers and toes on which to count the times a bright-eyed marketing manager within a big organisation has brought us in to pitch only to then hear the words “our CEO does not ‘do’ social” and this ignorance shows no sign of slowing,“ says Andy Barr, owner of 10Yetis social media and PR agency.

To be honest if your CEO doesn’t do social, what is the problem? How many companies will be bankrupt in the upcoming five years because of their CEO not being active on Twitter and LinkedIn? Of course this is just a wild guess, though I would say: none.

Jamie Riddell said: “Social media is not seen to be as measurable as other forms of media such as TV. In order for any media channel to be taken seriously at board level, it’s impact on hard criteria such as reach and ultimately sales, needs to be understood. Your average C-suite executive will be focused on business results that are more than brand mentions or sentiment analysis.”

Which is completely true, however if they understand the added value of TV (which is a correlation at best in most cases), than it is just a matter of thoroughly presenting your case with social media. Since with social media you can measure everything and focus on causations instead of correlations. You don’t have to assume what happens,you can show it.

“In some cases, execs are demanding a million Likes on Facebook or a million Twitter followers after they realise they need to be involved. This lack of understanding causes issues with agencies and staff who despair,” he said.

This is not a lack of understanding. This is like blaming your customer for using your products wrong. It is a lack of clear explanation. Don’t blame others for your own incompetence of explaining the added value of social media.

According to Hunt, the repercussion is that some agencies are still buying social media followers on behalf of these brands, despite the folly in doing so. This misunderstanding of social media could in part be explained by the lack of the C-suite’s personal involvement with it.

Of course the C-suite playing farmville on Facebook would have prevented this? No, it wouldn’t. Would a personal Twitter account of a C-level exec prevented this demand of being followers? Most likely not. Just for the simple reason that most people on C-level are not social media experts and given that social media is an area in which expertise is required they are hiring people with that expertise to explain it to them. If that ends up in a fan-buying game it is not the C-level not understand social media, it is C-level hiring the wrong experts (or people that present themselves as experts).

The tips from the Guardian to ensure absolute failure

1: Get them on social. Whether it’s posting from their own personal account or a corporate account, encourage your CFOs, CEOs and CMOs to participate themselves and provide support and training to avoid any faux pas.

Ok, they don’t get Social Media, that was the first thing in the article that was mentioned. So they will absolutely see the value of getting active on this? No if you still suck at explaining, you won’t be able to get them on board.

If you cannot explain the value, they won’t be onboard, no matter what you ask them to do.

2: Simulate a crisis. By simulating a potential crisis that could hit the brand, you enlighten the C-suite to the power of social media and also the potential damage it can wreak if you haven’t invested in social media listening and community management.

The science of fear, always a very positive way of getting the C-suite onboard: if you don’t this you will loose your company. The thing that could happen is an absolute lock down of social media in your company, including a heavy censorship on social media itself by throwing around take down notices. Y

You shouldn’t stimulate a crisis, maybe you should show them the added value of social media (how much additional revenue can be generated, how much money can be saved on call centers).

3: Identify the balance of your website traffic sources. Highlighting the traffic sources to the company website will demonstrate where it is over-reliant and hence vulnerable. For example, if the bulk of your web traffic comes from search, then growing your social traffic to diversify your traffic sources will be an asset when search positions fluctuate or if the company is hit by a Google penalty or algorithm update. Social media is also a significant contributor to search engine optimisation.

Given that most people in the C-suite are fully up to speed on web analytics this is a great tip. Only, most of the C-suite aren’t experts on Web Analytics, don’t know anything about search algorithm updates and most likely do’t care where traffic is coming from on the website (if they were aware of what the website is doing at all beyond being a brochure website).

Besides the direct benefits, explain the C-suite the indirect added value of social media. You can drive more traffic to your website for less costs (since for example you spend less on advertising).

Get the C-suite onboard

Don’t worry about the C-suite, start low profile with a project that doesn’t require the stamp of approval of the C-suite. Proof the value, present the business outcomes, present the required investment. Make it a highly rational decision with a clear investment and a clear return. That is how a C-suite works most of the time. They don’t need (or want) to know all the details, they want to have enough insights to make a good decision supported by real arguments and real data.

60% of the visitors of your Website are not human, now what?

Humans account for less than 40% of all web traffic. Which means that there are more robot ‘eyes’ watching your website than humans are browsing it, clicking it and touching the web interface you have created.

Why bother about robots and semantic markup?

Practical example: if Google (or any other search engine) cannot read your website correctly it won’t be able to display it in its search results. When Facebook cannot find the correct image to show next to your link on Facebook it will just take the first alternative it can find.

So if you want to be 100% sure how things are being displayed (or are displayed at all), make sure to use the correct (semantic) mark up.

You got visual

Of course you are surfing the trend of the visual web and you are making sure your website is an absolute visual tastemaker. You are working your h1 tags for SEO, however what about the rest of your markup? Have you considered that the average non human visitor on your website won’t notice that something is an address because of the lack of semantic markup? The bot might see the term ‘address’ caught within h2 tags, though it doesn’t know what in the next couple of lines is the address. So how do you make sure your non-human visitors will find the address you want them to find.

Don’t start worrying now, you don’t have choose between your nice visual style and semantic markup. It is about how you can use semantic markup together with your visual style to give your web page the right structure for robots to understand.

Pick your semantic markup

To right type of semantic depends on the robots visiting your site. So besides your human audiences, which of your robot audiences do you like to serve, since there are many different types of self-proclaimed standards (, microformats, opencyc etc) for in page optimisation of semantic mark up.

Besides that there are also some channel specific markup for the non human visitors from a specific channel such as Facebook (for its so-called open graph) and Twitter (for Twitter Cards) is the one that is supported by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo! and Yandex, which could therefore be your semantic mark up basis of choice if you mainly target search engines and want to use their unique functionalities to display and list certain content.

The big benefit doing it right

If you do your semantics right you are not only controlling how your website is being displayed in general, but also how and what is displayed by other services that use a robot to visit your site and digest your content.