Conference Review – Digital Agenda 2012 Conference Brussels

Presentation in parliament

The great work finishes with a great presentation by workshop moderator David Smith at the parliament of the European Commission.

The pan European Social Media Strategy was already mentioned as a great effort of the Digital Agenda Assembly in the morning of that day. No question, thinking out of the box and just doing what needs to be done receives more attention than arguing about what others should do. :)



During the workshop and its presentations on Thursday (June 21)  #da12social  was “trending” on Twitter. This is an outstanding achievement because Twitter is recognizing only the most intense discussions. So far no public sector discussion ever reached that level. We grew to 90 Million impressions and reached 20 Million people during the Digital Agenda event (per reported data by the Digital Agenda). A HUGE thanks to Berrie Pelser and all of those power networker, some of the best connected people in Europe and approximately 1,900 people who helped spread the word during that day. You know my mantra: “We may achieve the extraordinary – If nobody notices, it won’t make a difference!”


Three major achievements

a) We demonstrated that a highly skilled team has the ability to crowd source important research and then develop a market relevant and success oriented pan European strategy proposal in less time than 6 weeks.
b) We demonstrated to tens of thousands (apparently up to 20 Million people) that Social Media is a serious way to collaborate across an entire continent and allows to achieve results in extreme short period of time at an unprecedented low cost: no travel expense, absolute minimal administrative overhead and on top: next to no environmental deficit.
c) We demonstrated on a broad level that with initiative and courage combined with an open and democratic society – everybody’s contribution does make a difference.

The huge feedback from participants, such as EC members, politicians,  event attendees and people from the outside following our activities, made it very clear: We already made a difference.



Obviously that was only the beginning. During the participatory workshops we explored in total 9 activities from which 5 seemed to resonated most. We will make a formal proposal how we can execute those activities and what measurable results we can deliver:

1) Education
Educate social media professionals across Europe gaining the skills necessary to quickly expand what we started. We trust we can educate at least 2-5 professionals in each EU country that can in turn educate others down the road and lay the foundation for a homogeneous understanding how social media can create measurable business improvements and create new jobs as a result. We have already over 20 applicants from 7 EU countries who are interested in such a program.

2) Growing Export
Create and roll out an initiative that inspires more than 1,000 business leaders across all 27 member countries  expanding their export capabilities by leveraging social media, creating success stories others can follow and new jobs based on the expanded business. During the conference we have so far 5 businesses who would like to benefit from that.

3) Business Competition
Initiate a business competition where at least 500 business leaders compete for best possible customer experience, creating business advocates and inspire other business leaders to follow. It is also essential that we not only help entrepreneurs to start a business but equally important grow a sustainable business operation and jobs.

4) Public Sector Involvement
Involve the public sector, such as local authorities, chamber of commerce, unions, local EC outlets in the above initiatives so that we get additional local support on one side and the public sector is “learning by doing” the effects of social media. Also during the conference we saw interest from participants from the Sweden, Spanish and UK government to participate.

5) Industry Collaboration
Cooperate with large enterprises who also want to grow their business in the mid market and are interested in sponsoring a significant amount of money for a pan European awareness campaign that provides the needed visibility to make as many companies as possible aware of the advantages of a single digital market. We have also here some larger enterprises considering to support the initiative.



All of the above have very clearly measurable objectives and an achievable execution deadline: Summer 2013. Currently approximately 20 people each day express their interest to join the initiative. The EC officers clearly encouraged us to continue with what we started.


Next Step

1) We will document the Social Media Strategy details that we worked on during our preparation meeting and work on a detailed execution and resource plan as well as cost structure over the next few days.

2) We will present all details and an initial time table for going forward on Thursday July 5 Please Register Here. This will include how we can involve other countries (the Swedish and the Spanish team are already constituted), how we can execute the above topics, how we can get funding for the initiative and how we can eventually help creating 2 Million new jobs across Europe by 2016.

3) We will prepare a concrete proposals for each of the five topics explaining how the EC can support our plans.


Taking a break

Again, I want to thank all of you who helped us get that far. This was an unprecedented initiative and I trust we can make a significant contribution to the European economy. I  also want to thank everybody from the EC for their encouragement and support for our engagement. It certainly changed my picture about the work of the EC.

For now, take a break, focus on your current priorities and think about to what extend and capacity you can help going forward. I hope I will see most of you at the July 5 online presentation.


Social Media Acceleration with Partner Channels


Expanding market reach has always been one of the biggest advantages of indirect partner channels. And in the Social Media age this is no different. It is actually an advantage like no other if that force can be unleashed.

We all learned, Social Media is not just another channel to blast a message out. Social Media is primarily about Relationships. And one of the biggest challenges is to leverage the new media with existing Resources to be as approachable as possible and build customer Relationships that are valued and lead to Recommendations and at the same time extend the company’s Reach.

Resources – Relationships – Recommendations – Reach

Managing the 4 Rs. The good news is that social media provides platforms, tools and techniques to overcome those issues and help teams to engage and create a customer experience that makes a brand stand out and well received by its customers. Teams respond to requests on Twitter, have chats with prospects on Facebook, share video clips on YouTube, share product photos or screen shots on Pinterest, provide product updates, news and much more across the various platforms and networks to people they are connected with so they can share it with their contacts, colleagues and business friends if they find it of value.


Resource Explosion

Now imagine you have a partner channel across the glob. If you can train that partner network and their teams to do the very same locally, in their niches, in their geographies and industries. Your communication power would simply explode. And all it takes are business partners who are open minded enough to give this new world a try. Within most partner networks are “Alpha Animals” who jump on new opportunities and quickly inspire others to follow.

Imagine that news get not only re-tweeted by a handful of team mates but by hundreds or even thousands of business partners reaching their local networks around the world. Comments not only come from a few engaged direct customers but from customers around the world.


Partner Training

Helping partners understand the opportunity not only to strengthen your brand but also strengthen the relationships to their local markets is the most important Social Media Strategy a channel focused business can have today. Partners will want to understand the impact of Social Media to their business. It isn’t so much about how to tweet or how to build a fan page but about the purpose and business objectives, about the return on investment and the possible competitive advantage. Partners need to learn to create a sound social media engagement plan that provides an opportunity to grow their business. Over the past 3 years, the Social Media Academy developed and continuously fine tuned a dedicated Channel Partner Empowerment Program that is considered to be one of the best in the world. The training is provided online through a social eLearning platform that allows thousands of partners from around the world to be trained. The program includes partner manager training so the managers know what partners learned and what to ask for.


Global Social Media Initiatives

Only best educated partners are capable to jointly collaborate on global social media initiatives. Partner empowerment is not only a “goody” for partners to become more successful but also a requirement for channel oriented vendors to create successful social media initiatives.


Most recent awareness initiative – Tweeting #da12social updates

283 tweets generated 3,219,789 impressions, reaching an audience of 802,507 followers within the past 24 hours


Top 10 by number of impressions Top 10 by number of tweets Top 10 by number of followers
  1. berriepelser: 1,291,374
  2. axels: 571,389
  3. lorimoreno: 475,550
  4. swissbusiness: 275,952
  5. maritar: 111,314
  6. confluencemedia: 76,914
  7. zaplindasilva: 52,908
  8. henrystradford: 25,792
  9. seodixitbaiju: 22,054
  10. bee_ruud: 20,050
  1. axels: 21
  2. maritar: 14
  3. olafkracht: 12
  4. berriepelser: 9
  5. peterfinney: 9
  6. tzarulnicolai: 7
  7. joclarbh: 6
  8. socialtele: 5
  9. rogerat: 5
  10. serviceplease20: 5
  1. lorimoreno: 237,775
  2. berriepelser: 143,486
  3. swissbusiness: 68,988
  4. axels: 27,209
  5. zaplindasilva: 26,454
  6. henrystradford: 25,792
  7. confluencemedia: 25,638
  8. seodixitbaiju: 22,054
  9. waynehurlbert: 12,721
  10. carlyathorne: 12,260

See More details here:
(keep in mind that the stats on hastracking is dynamic and changes every day)

Digital Agenda Conference – Twitter Life Stream

On June 21, 2012, the Social Media Strategy team will present its research and strategy proposal during the Digital Agenda Conference to the EU Commission.  We will try to report as much as possible during the conference and keep everybody up to date.

Please tune into #da12social on twitter or use to follow the conversation.

Making #da12social trending on June 21

We’d like to get as broad as possible coverage across all 27 EU countries.  Please let your friends, colleagues, customers know – something outstanding is happening. Unfortunately there is no region called “EUROPE” on Twitter but if we get all engaged we may even get #da12social trending on a global scale that day – JUNE 21


This is what it’s all about:

30 strategists, 250 volunteers created 1,000+ pages of crowd sourced research and 1 strategy proposal in 4 weeks#da12social #outstanding

300 extraordinary volunteers created a plan, 4 1000′s of consultants and 100,000′s of businesses to grow. #da12social‬


Suggestions & Support

If you have any questions, suggestions or like to help, please get in touch with Berrie Pelser who manages the awareness campaign and is our “Buzz Master” :)

Stimulating growth and business revenue through social media – Stimulating growth and business revenue through social media #da12social

At DG INFSO, we are impressed with the drive and enthusiasm of a project being managed from a variety of independent social media experts throughout Europe in the run-up to the Digital Agenda Assembly 2012. (#da12social)

We asked Axel Schultze, leader of the project to tell us what he is aiming to achieve:

The overarching objective of the project is to stimulate small and medium size businesses and innovative start-ups across the EU leveraging social media to create a sustainable growth, additional jobs and being able to compete in a global market. Specifically we want to double the number of businesses, who grew their revenue and added new jobs by leveraging social media, year over year till 2016.

We seek new ways for a more stable European Union and like to make business leaders and entrepreneurs aware of the opportunities Social Media holds and help them to apply it in a professional and pleasant way.The first few steps of the current DA12 Social project were orchestrated with smart, highly skilled and very motivated people. With nearly no administrative overhead and a leadership style of the social media age, executives, manager, business development people and social media consultants worked all hands on deck together. Autonomous work groups achieved in only two weeks what traditional consulting teams hardly complete in several months.

This is an ambitious project – how long will it take?

The project life span is expected to be from fall 2012 until end of 2016. Teams in every EU country will work with country officials, collaborate with chambers of commerce and related government groups to help SMEs leverage social media to thrive. The teams will be between 10 and 100 people working in the respective industries or geographies by country  – making it a total of approximately 500 engaged mostly part time people in the project. Funds will be sought from many sources, possibly in part from sponsoring industry leaders. We will build a scalable finance model to ensure relative success by 2016 – meaning even if underfunded we will demonstrate partial success.

So what does success look like?

Success is if any of the team members can motivate 25 companies each quarter to leverage social media to grow their export and hire additional employees to do so. Over the course of the next 4 years success is if the team of 500 was able to help 200,000 companies across Europe to grow plus 200,000 who basically learned on their own. If those companies hire just 5 additional people, we created 2 million additional jobs.”


Social Media as a DA platform – #da12social

Like any other initiative in the private or public sector, the Digital Agenda Europe and its eight different topics have the same challenge to overcome: getting to the right audience and spark an engagement – in this case even across Europe. (#da12social)

The commonalities between all topics are striking similar: How to create awareness? How to provide information and updates to an interested audience? How to get enough feedback and crowd source ideas? How to collaborate with a diverse group of people across geographies and time zones? And finally how to share progress and success with the relevant and interested population?

Social media as a platform

Social Media is basically the platform to provide those services and support those concepts. While Social Media is one of the silos within the Digital Agenda, it is predicated to also act as a platform for the other #DA12 topics including Convergent Media Platforms, High Speed Connections, E-Commerce, Data, Cloud Computing, Security or Innovation & Entrepreneurs.

There is no reason why the Social Media group should have the highest level of awareness, other than they use the media for their own activities. Innovation & Entrepreneurship is a very strategic topic for the EU, yet the participation is very low.

It is advisable to provide a Social Media overlay service for all Digital Agenda disciplines to raise awareness and address more people ensuring that relevant and highly skilled experts join the respective initiative.

Action list:

1) Ensure that every DA group has at least one experienced social media practitioner as one of the first functions right when a new DA meeting is planned.

2) Provide coordination services and platforms from the EU to be able to execute a social media initiative. I.e. suggestions for collaboration such as Facebook, sharing images such as Pinterest, easily accessible blogs such as WordPress, presence tools to get everything on one place such as XeeMe.

3) Providing some education for the respective teams to be able to leverage the social web for crowd sourcing, research, collaboration etc.

4) Assist with and request unified social media monitoring to be able to measure progress and success and share that with the public.


Top 15 Social Media Rules for Business Leader


Rule #1 Connections

If you hate to read about people walking their dog, eating pizza or making you rich in 3 weeks:

You are connected with, or are following the wrong people.

What you read is who you connected with

Rule #2 Time Management

If you are not sure how much time you should spend in social networks? Don’t spend any time at all.

Invest time in your most relevant contacts. If they happen to be in the social web – be where they are.

Invest time in relevant people not platforms

Rule #3 Social

Social media is a interwoven combination of

a) the relationship aspects between individuals to build, maintain and expand connections, learn and teach faster, inspire and get inspired, and get more done – personally or business wise – in connection with others (social).

b) networks, platforms, tools and technologies (media)

That means social media is definitely NOT a channel or a new marketing tool to get your message out. Spamming and hard core selling would be counterproductive for everybody. Social media is a new state of mind not a new way to express old thinking.

Focus on ‘social’ – not ‘media’

Rule #4 Cross Functional

We are all customers of somebody else, whether we make a personal or a business purchase. As such we are all interested in getting better products or services whether we talk about B2B or B2C.

Businesses can create one of the biggest values for themselves AND their customers when customers suggest improvements, help other customers to get more out of a product and directly or indirectly make recommendations. But that value can only be created if the teams inside those companies provide the necessary ways to inspire those conversations and receive those suggestions and act on them.

Create a mutual business value across all departments

Rule #5 Purpose

Social media contains unparalleled wealth of opportunities for businesses to build better products or services based on customer interaction, improve the customer experience, reduce cost of operations and customer acquisition cost and solve company specific business challenges in collaboration with their customers.

Lack of a strategy to take those opportunities and degrading social media to marketing campaigns are the biggest mistakes businesses make in their engagement.

Think of purpose driven strategic Social Media engagements

Rule #6 Making Friends

The lines between personal and business use get more and more blurry.

The day we do business primarily with business friends and help friends to advance in their business – those lines are gone. Top executives know that business between business friends are the most successful. Social media helps making trustful business friends on all levels within an organization.

Don’t build walls between personal friends and business friends

Rule #7 Networking

Understand the NCP Model. The larger your Network the farther your reach. Contribution is the fuel for the relationship with your network. Sharing content or provide comments are some of the key contributions to spark an engagement. Participation from your Network in your Contribution is the currency of the social web.

If you have great content but nobody is interested, your social engagement will be limited. If you have great content but only a few to share it with, your engagement will be limited. If you have a huge network and massive contribution but no participation, your effort in the social web was apparently of no value.

If you contribute relevant content  to a huge network and recognize a great participation, you know that you are on the right track, you know you gain influence and you see the return of your investment.

Think NCP: Network – Contribution – Participation

Rule #8 Tolerance

The social web is a virtual world, across all cultures, religions, political structures, and national laws.

People have the right to say anything and share anything. If you are offended, disconnect from the person who offends you – but don’t judge him or her just because that person is different and has a different way of doing things. What may be unlawful  in your country, maybe an accepted behavior somewhere else. What was an accepted behavior in your culture just 100 years ago maybe even unlawful today. (See rule #1).

Be most tolerant and respectful

Rule #9 Social Ownership

A company can’t be successful with social media if just a few people, or agency engages in the social web and the rest of the company does business as usual (See rule #4). If a team has no interest in the relationship to customers – a relationship cannot be delegated.

Own your relationships

Rule #10 Efficiency

Unlike in the old marketing world where your target audience was an anonymous and faceless mass of  target groups, titles, demographics and territories that you addressed with equally anonymous ‘penetration’ techniques – in the new world you are actually engaging with human beings who have a name, a face, a need and are ready to socially engage. Unlike in the old sales world where it took hours and days to arrange for a meeting plus hours of traveling and typically an hour of a meeting, an engagement in the social web may take only a few minutes. It won’t replace the face to face relationship but it not only accelerates processes, it also allows a person to handle 10 times as many relationships as before and ten times as many interactions than before.

Engage with significantly more people in less time

Rule #11 Assessment

Before you start any engagement make an assessment.

Have a clear picture about where your customers are in the social web and what is on top of their mind. Know what your business partners doing and how they engage. Know where and how your own team is currently engaged. Know everything about your competition because the social web is an open book that tells you everything.

Know where your entire market is

Rule #12 Social Assets

Relationships in general and social media in particular are like investments turning into assets.

You have to put something in before you get something out.

Treat Social Media like an asset

Rule #13 Privacy

You post and engage publicly to gain exposure and get more feedback than through any private interaction. Everything you share is public. The level of privacy is determined by what you share – not by what network you use. Keeping things private is neither the purpose nor the functionality of social media.

You are the only one who determines the level of privacy

Rule #14 Reputation

Building your social network, contributing to that network and gaining your network’s participation is a process resulting in reputation and trust. It takes months if not years to develop a decent reputation in that world. Building reputation in the social web is like the land grab in the physical world. While the land is limited by physical availability the reputation is limited by the attention span of the global audience. If you don’t have a computer yet, you can still buy one. If you never used the Internet you can simply buy access. But if you have no presence and reputation in the social web, you can’t buy it (See rule #12).

You can’t buy a social reputation – you will need to build and earn it.

Rule #15 Competitive Advantage

Ultimately Social Media can create one of the most significant competitive advantages for any business. And since relationships are fragile most businesses won’t brag about what they do and how they do it. It’s not necessarily to keep it as a business secret but it’s actually the customers turn to brag about their influence into a company. Take any ‘Social Media success story’ with a grain of salt if presented by a consultant or agency or the company itself.

Create a competitive advantage but don’t brag about it.

Judge social media based on your own experience

At any given time in history new innovations have been rejected for the same four specific reasons: 1) It is not secure, 2) It has no value, 3) It will cost businesses too much money and 4) It is just a hype and will go away. Whether it was the introduction of automobiles, supermarkets, airplanes, computers, cell phones or any other technology.

Social media is no different, even though over 1 billion people are using it already. The only way to find out is to make your own experience and decide wisely and with an open mind.



The Overall Project Information

The EU is committed to invest Billions of Euro specifically into the digital advancement of EU Member countries and their respective businesses. The EU Commission fully comprehended that the digital infrastructure is the next most important investment of a developed nation. The typical infrastructure evolution starts with clean water supplies, then transportation infrastructure (Water ways, roads, air traffic), radio communication, and now Internet and Social Media. Continuous infrastructure development is the pathway to a successful and globally competitive nation.

Continue reading “The Overall Project Information”

Digital Agenda 2012 Review

Objectives (Per EU Commission)
The main objectives of the Assembly are to:

Assess progress to date on implementation towards the Digital Agenda’s goals and actions and seek ways to improve delivery;
Identify challenges ahead for the implementation of the Digital Agenda and for the information society in general;
Mobilise stakeholders’ actions to make further progress and address challenges.
Review :

Continue reading “Digital Agenda 2012 Review”