social media marketing

Managing Global Social Communities for Enterprise-Level Brands: An interview with Eleftherios Hatziioannou

NATHANIEL HANSEN, CEO OF THE SOCIALIZERS INTERVIEWS Eleftherios Hatziioannou New Media Manager of s.Oliver and former Social Media Manager for Mercedes-Benz Global.

This is the English version of a feature interview I submitted to Marketing Week Magazine in Greece. The article was published in the May 1-5 2011 issue. The Greek version may be found here.


1. How do enterprises handle the 24-7 nature of online social communities?

This is indeed one of the big challenges businesses have to deal with in a truly globally connected world where people get more and more used to non-stop real-time interaction. When Europe goes to bed Asia rises. There is a 24/7 stream of information and conversations going on which can be of interest for brands and businesses. But business can handle it! How? Like in real life it is all about defining some kind of a rhythm to manage the information and issues. Once you have set up the processes, roles and tools, you just need to be disciplined and do your work day-by-day. And never forget: What counts in real life counts for the social web as well. Over time you create a culture and people understand when to expect an immediate answer and when it can take some time. Communities are smart enough to understand that even a community manager needs a break. I suggest to everyone involved in social communities to be really open about what they can offer and what not. One solution could be defining a “netiquette”, which includes basic rules and guidelines about what people can expect from you and when. Like the “old school” signage at the doorstep of your shop.

2. What criteria do you use in discovering technical solutions for social campaign management and internal facing social solutions?

It depends on what you are looking at and in which phase of your social media engagement you are in. It is an evolutionary process after all. Let’s have a look at “web monitoring”. I suggest that if you are just getting started you do a lot of manual work: reading through comments, searching for tweets related to your company and also creating lists of the blogs which are interesting for your business and subscribing to them. You could organize relevant blogs with tools like Google reader for example. There are a lot of other free tools, e.g. Twitter search, to start with.

However, once you grow and start doing more activities it makes sense to look into professional monitoring tools in order to manage the amount of topics and also being able to analyze and report to your management. I recommend looking at different tools and deciding which one fits your needs best. It doesn’t mean that the expensive solution is also the best. What I definitely prefer are tools which allow you to not only have a “radar” system in place but to work with your findings by transferring them into your internal collaboration space. Think about reading a critical or false statement in a blog which you want to share with your PR colleagues who decide whether to make an official statement or not. The more you open up for the online dialogue the more you want to assign tasks with just a few clicks. Other than that simplicity is king! You want to make it easy for your co-workers to embrace the “change”.

3. What goals are realistic when managing social communities and how do excellent community managers succeed?

Behind every blog, account and profile there is a human being with basic needs: The need to be heard. The need to be appreciated. The need to be part of something greater than himself/herself. An excellent community manager understands these needs. He acts like a real friend. If you want to be a good community manager just think of how relationships and friendship works in normal life. He is the “real deal”. He is not faking anything. He is like a bridge between the inside and the outside of the company translating the language and culture in a way that it can be understood in both directions. He is a strong communicator with excellent social skills. A real champion talks with and not to the community. He filters topics according to their relevance for his audience and balances between company’s and the community’s interests. And last, but not least, he always keeps his promises and openly corrects mistakes. Belive it or not: Communities forgive when you are open about your mistakes. And who’s perfect by the way?!

4. How would your strategy differ when managing social media outposts and a branded community?

The biggest difference would be that in a branded community – which is more of a private thing – you can do more and dive deeper into user engagement. People sign up – with all the data you need to know to be safe- because they really want to be in touch with you. In general it is more of a “trusted” environment where you can engage on a deeper level. Look at it like a VIP lounge in a club. Members feel special but also expect a more “exclusive” treatment. It is more difficult to reach a broad audience if you are not a company like Apple or Google who managed to build huge audiences and communities around their excellent products and services giving special benefits to loyal users, e.g. like testing new devices first or using services before the official launch. I like the concept of branded communities especially in the B2B space where you want to have a certain level of confidentiality or privacy.

It is a different story to build and manage a community on a open and massive platform like Facebook for example. There is definitely less control. People “like” you on the go by simply clicking one button. The same applies to leaving your page again. It is a much faster game and you need to really make sure not to overload the community with your contents and tasks. This applies to formats, tonality as well as lengths of post or videos,etc. related to your communications.


5. What types of insights are most valuable to you from business intelligence gathered via social network analysis? How can such insights also be applied internally in fomenting culture change?

All insights are valuable. The more you know the better you understand the game. At least in this stage of the social media evolution. What is interesting though that in the beginning you appreciate growth in quantitative aspects. “We grew by 1000 fans in Facebook over the past week”, “we have 500 new followers on twitter this month”, “we served 1.000.000 impressions with our campaign”. This numbers definitely help creating awareness and build momentum in the beginning because we were used to measure success in such facts (e.g. CPM – cost per mille). However, I find it much more important to look into the qualitative aspects as well. And in this regard we are still at the very beginning! There are no broadly applied KPIs yet which make your performance comparable. But anything is possible: Why not measuring service levels based on the amount of complaints coming in in relation to problems solved on Facebook? Why not comparing ratio of positive mentions to negative mentions on twitter in comparison to the last month to understand customer satisfaction levels? I guess it is pretty clear what I want to say. Social media is more than just a growing number of fans. Social media is all about real conversations taking place. And there are tons of valuable data available. Think about customer feedback or suggestions related to your product or service. The question is how to handle this inbound stream of information and learning from it?

6. What are your favorite online communities? Why?

My favorite social network is Facebook. I created my profile back in 2006 when I was helping a friend after work to build awareness for a social learning network among students. And back then Facebook was still a platform mainly for students. So we thought it would be the right place to promote this startup.

If I look at Facebook today it amazes me how much they have done right in the course of the past few years. The speed of action. The level of continuous innovation. And of course the massive growth in users and usage. They also managed to hire a lot of talent. I love Facebook for allowing me to connect with my family and friends around the world. They are far away but still so close. I know what`s happening and I can choose how public I want to be. But the social web offers more than Facebook: Think about blogs and how they democratized publishing. Think about twitter and how fast we learn about news in the world today. Or think of the new rising stars who built their audience on YouTube. I find it really amazing to see how technology allows human beings to thrive!

7. You’ve spoken in interviews about culture change internally. Often a period of “cleaning up the organization” prepares the enterprise more fully for social engagement. Speak to the challenges of doing this and also the specific obstacles in a country like Greece.

Change is never easy and you have to make sure that people understand what it is all about. This means that you first have to understand where people are standing right now and what their values are. A colleague in HR in his late 50 with no Facebook profile needs to be addressed differently than a 30-year old colleague in the Marketing team already reading blogs about marketing related issues. What I find valuable is to use the concept of “storytelling” for internal change. Create relevant stories related to the values and challenges of your opponent and also make time to look into and explain the social web. Ask your CEO to “Google” himself or do a live demo of mentions about your company or products. This will work magic – trust me.

Finally, really take your time. Change does not happen over night. Spread the virus, talk to as many people as you can. Walk the talk. You cannot preach change without living it yourself. So spend a lot of time sharing links and information related to social media. Create working groups and inform people about the latest stuff and news. In short: Evangelize and keep walking!

8. Forward looking, what developments in technology do you believe are most relevant to where social communities are headed? How about in relation to where internal corporate culture is headed?

A really interesting question. What is happening right now is that we are going through a complete transformation of our communication and information behavior based on the technologies available and the development of infrastructure (networks, devices, prices for data plans). If you look at the younger generations (digital natives) you see that using various media simultaneously is a normal thing. They got used to real-time information, easy sharing of information, collaboration with friends and all the other technology-driven advances. It has become a natural thing to them. Now, imagine what this means for the “workforce” of tomorrow. Do you think they will come and work for companies which are stuck in the past? Working on ancient soft- and hardware? You cannot expect that they come into the office and forget about all the great tools and features they use in their leisure time.

So besides the cultural change in terms of opening up for online dialogue, embracing social media as a driver for business excellence and stronger customer relations we need to answer the following question: How does the workspace of the future look like? How do we learn from social media about better collaboration? And how can we make work being a playground again for more creativity and innovation? How can we empower our teams to excel?

Eleftherios Hatziioannou (1), Babis Mavridopoulos (2), Nathaniel Hansen (3) and Peter Economides (4) at the Intercontinental Hotel, Athens, Greece. March 2011.

9. What’s your favorite spot in the world?

Generally speaking I love the sea. Especially the Aegean. I guess it has to do with my origin which lies on Rhodes, in the Dodecanese, where my family lives. The deep blue colour, the sandy beaches and the lovely sun in August/ September are truly amazing and work magic if you want to re-charge for business. I will be back in May or June.

Add’l resource: Brian Solis interviews Eleftherios Hatziioannou on Solis TV here.

Spend 36 Hours with Lorrie Thomas, The McGraw-Hill 36-Hour Course: Online Marketing!

Nathaniel Hansen, CEO of The Socializers, (traveling in Athens, Greece) caught up with Lorrie Thomas, CEO of Web Marketing Therapy (traveling in Austin, TX) today for a quick interview on the release of her new book The McGraw-Hill 36-Hour Course: Online Marketing.

1. What’s one of your favorite Internet Marketing tips from your new book released today, Lorrie?

My #1 tip from my online marketing book is the healthy reminder that it is not all the geeky-cool wild web tools out there, it is HOW we use the tools strategically to make and grow relationships. At the end of the day, marketing truly means making relationships. This reminder is our compass that heps us choose the social web tools and decide how to use them.

2. What do you see in 2011 in the world of the Internet and social networks?

For 2011, I see a smarter use of social networking. The use of social networking as an interactive Rolodex will continue, however, community development, service and collaboration will explode. People seem to finally get that social web tools merely amplify traditional networking we do live 🙂

3. I hear that this book is a course and the reader can actually take an online test for certification upon completing the book. Say more!

The 36 Hour Course to Online Marketing does have an online exam that can get readers a certificate in online marketing! There are 100 quiz questions (instructions of where to take them online are in the book) and it is such a smart way to grade your comprehension and boost your resume! McGraw-Hill has been a wonderful partner in this book process and their certificates are such a nice bonus.

4. What conference(s) do you recommend attending in 2011?

As the CEO of a virtual company, I first recommend attending every webinar you can to get the most bang for your buck. Web Marketing has a channel on and I’m launching a 36 Hour Online Marketing channel this year too. Devour every Hubspot webinar you can! I am attending the eMarketing conference in SF, Social Media week in SF and RISE Global in Austin live this year, check all those out!

5. Love seems to be a BIG theme lately in your posts. Any thoughts on how Love is important in the world of Internet Markting?

Ah, love :). When marketers love their current and prospective customers, everything falls into place. Love keeps us ethical, boosts how well we communicate and keeps things gentle. May we all embrace love!


Find more on Lorrie Thomas, The Web Marketing Therapist at

The Shaman's Spellbook

“Myths and symbols are the language of the soul. A myth helps us to take a situation to heart and know what we must do: if it is to see the truth and act upon it, then the image of Psyche with her sword provides a magic perspective. A symbolic object can then be a talisman that helps us to do what we need to do. Like passing a literal torch, these are rituals that empower us by infusing an act with a deeper meaning. To think and act this way is magical, metaphoric thinking that can call forth the qualities we need from within ourselves and may also tap into sources of help that lie beyond us.” ~Jean Shinoda-Bolen.

When social media operatives discover a shaman’s name and gain the list of phrases he/she uses to enchant a tribe, the full membership and complexion of that tribe appears like holiday lights in a dark forest, guiding products/services down the CORRECT chimneys. Discover a tribe’s key influencer and study his/her way of phrasing things and you’ll have all you need to discover what draws the tribe inexorably. Chiefs always turned to shamans for the spells to influence the tribe.

In Greek myth, Eros was called an Eleutherios, or liberator. By some tellings, he is the son of Ares (strategy, intelligence, and warfare) and Aphrodite (love and attraction, the most influential of deities). Eros IS an important god for Social Media Operatives, along with Hermes. Social business IS erotic by nature, weaving corporate silos together and blending previously disparate departments like Marketing and Customer Service. To be clear on the sequence, it is Aphrodite (Influence) who seduces Ares (Strategy), producing Eros, “The Eleutherios”, who entrances Psyche EVERY single time.

To translate: True Influencers that gather masses of crowds are a combination of a Celebrity and a Celebrity-Maker, a King and a King-maker. The Celebrity may have a face and body that excites PLUS an idea of how to move that body and crack that winning smile. She elevates when in touch with a strategist who knows the words and the audiences best suited to her devices. This is why Aphrpodite the Influencer and Ares the Strategist create Eros, the Liberator. He is their device by which to attract Psyche, the mythic persona whose story matches the aching passage of all humanity from unconsciousness to consciousness. OR, to speak in marketing terminology, to introduce awareness of an excellent product/service into the mind of the buyer MOST prone to purchase.

A social intelligence document containing all the right keywords, largest audiences and key influencers for a specific product or service IS a shaman’s spellbook…a playbook, a war strategy, and the method to create Kings and Queens. Those who can analyze the social fabric of the Internet and deliver such documents are the kingmakers, the tribe-winners, and gain the ear of kings and queens. Aggressive pursuit has its place BUT to know a tribe’s perfect summoning spell, indeed, to know the right notes on the flute…well, we all know the rest of that story.


a. KEYWORD ANALYSIS: We use best-practice leading keyword research tools to drill down on the search volume and Share of Voice of those keywords.

b. ALGORITHMIC AND HUMAN RESEARCH: We enter all keywords into best-practice, WOMMA-ethics-approved tools and run machine-driven research, and then do subsequent human analysis on those results in the social fabric of the Internet, web communities and blogs.

d. DATA COLLATION AND VISUALIZATION: We collate this information and create Excel spreadsheets following best-practice methods. These spreadsheets are then uploaded into several visualization tools to clarify/see the results.

e. CONVERSATION SNIPPET ANALYSIS BY HAND: We assign teams to hand-analyze conversation snippets and provide spreadsheets where conversations around topics of interest are tallied up and ONLY relevant comments are kept/segmented.

f. REPORT AND INFO-GRAPHIC CREATION: We distill all of this information into a report with digestible, punchy insights and best-practice info-graphics based upon the needs of the campaign.

g. TEACHING AND COACHING: We conduct a talent search for your ideal community manager and then teach and coach that individual in best-practice execution of social and internet marketing strategy.

Spreading the news of your offering to the World


1. IDENTIFY your customer by doing a writing/drawing/brainstorming project wherein you describe 5 DIFFERENT members of that audience.

2. CREATE THE SOCIAL GRAPH: Generate keywords from those descriptions and use the Google External Keyword Search + any number of paid/free social monitoring tools to create an initial social graph of where these 5 members locate. Buy these posters, laminate them and put them on your wall as MAPS of INFLUENCE in the social web!

3. OBSERVE and STUDY: Go to the locations on these maps and study the behaviors and likes of YOUR AUDIENCE there!

4. DESIGN: Design your offering in a way that matches OR exceeds what ATTRACTS those individuals. CREATE CONTENT THAT WILL FIT IN THE CONTEXT OF YOUR AUDIENCE!

5. GO LIVE: Take the microsite (blog) and social footprint live. Use WordPress, Posterous, Blogger or Drupal as the platform for your microsite (each has their benefit depending on your technical skill level and time available). In terms of social properties, set up in Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Flickr and Slideshare. Add to these from your research project above and through studying the maps from The Conversation Prism, basing your decision upon contexts populated by YOUR key influencers, customers and community.

6. SOCIALIZE: Use the following sequence as a model for populating the microsite AND social footprint WITH content:

7. GET INTIMATE AND GIVE POWER AWAY TO YOUR AUDIENCE! BRING THEM ONSTAGE: Respond to all comments AND build content from your feedback. Create a virtuous cycle by LISTENING and then creating content from what you hear…crowdsourcing a percentage of your content WILL reap HUGE rewards in terms of buzz because your audience wants to get up on stage WITH you! Imagine one man on stage at the outset and then see more and more people JOINING you on stage. This is an image of how crowdsourcing works. Find a great resource on current crowdsourcing examples here:



LEARN MORE by following this trail meme on social media monitoring and brand creation: or use this Rollyo Targeted Search Window that focuses solely on social media monitoring. Awakening the Heroes Within: Twelve Archetypes to Help Us Find Ourselves and Transform Our World is an EXCELLENT book on Archetypes and very helpful in terms of identifying HOW your key influencers may accelerate your audience’s awareness of your offering to the extent that a REAL contribution is made to the world.

The Value of Audience Intelligence

Gathering intelligence to inspire meaningful and actionable social programs is priceless. ~Brian Solis

To listen well, is as powerful a means of influence as to talk well, and is as essential to all true conversation. ~ Chinese Proverb

The best salespeople are great listeners – that’s how you find out what the buyer wants. ~ Spencer Johnson and Larry Wilson


Web monitoring tools offer business developers and marketers CRITICAL INTELLIGENCE on where the major audience(s) for a product/service reside in cyberspace and in the physical world. is a website where a 3-tiered competitive intelligence solution is offered. The solution provides online intelligence in regards to where a client’s major audience (major conversations, major communities and key influencers) currently resides in social media/web properties in an accessible format for the non-technical user.

Whereas there currently exist numerous web monitoring solutions available that offer access to this information, there are few services that offer a SIMPLIFIED version of the intelligence ALONG WITH TARGETED STRATEGIES on how to use the intelligence. We offer a simple final format that has TWO sections:

YOUR AUDIENCE: Where your Audience is (based on keywords submitted by the client). This is presented in a Top 25 format in each category:

In blogs
In social media properties
Web Communities
Key influencers
Largest dicusssions
Largest communities

YOUR STRATEGIES: Strategies for the social web that offer basic preliminary strategy/tactics on: (a) establishing a presence, (b) entering the conversation, (c) becoming a leader in the conversation and (d) monetizing tips. Advanced strategies for specific needs related to your organization.

How does this work?

1. Using keywords and keyphrases, we use a combination of sophisticated social monitoring tools to discover the key influencers, major online communities and highest populated conversations about your product/service/brand.

2. We compile a report of these top audiences for your product/service/brand AND give you strategies for accessing and monetizing these relationships and conversations. Remember, a conversation IS a community AND a selling opportunity. Read more here on the Top 10 Reasons to Listen from Radian6, one of the world’s premier social intelligence solutions.

3. We deliver this report to you for your use.

What do I do with the report and strategies?

The key influencers, major discussions and largest groups/networks identified around your brand/product/service indicate fabulous starting points for getting the word out/participating in the conversation about your offering. The strategies tell you how to do it.