IBM Sandy Carter’s ‘New’ Social Paradigm – WITI

sandycarter_witiWomen In Technology International Keynote speaker Sandy Carter, Vice President, Social Business Evangelism & Sales at IBM, says social adoption outpaces radio, TV and even Internet adoption. Facebook added 100 million users in 9 months and iPhone apps hit 1 billion downloads in 9 months.

To Carter, social networks are the new production line. She defines Social media as marketing, PR, branding and exposure.

In 2005, The Harvard Grad invented a way to move social beyond communications into talent management, sales, and customer service. “It’s not an option,” she says, “it’s really a mandate to fuse the two.”

She was one of the first execs in the tech sector to converge Social and Big Data Analytics into her internal employee structure. Her team created a proprietary crowd-sourcing app to offer solutions to complex business issues at the tech giant. IBM integrated this tool into its robust and successful social media strategy.

Carter elaborates further in her book, Get Bold Using Social Media to Create a New Type of Social Business. At its core, a social business is a company that is “engaged, transparent, and nimble,” she explains.  A social Business is one that understands how to embrace social technology, use it, get value from it and to manage risk. Carter boils it down to one acronym: AGENDA.

A – Align organization goals & culture
G – Gain social trust
E – Engage through experiences
N – Network your business processes
D – Design for reputation and risk management
A – Analyze your data

Continuous alignment of business and technology yields financial results. According to a study by the London School of Economics, synergy accounts for a boost in overall productivity by around 20%. This certainly trumps working in silos and individual contributions.

“Culture eats strategy for lunch,” Carter proclaims. She’s right. [I’ve worked for Fortune 500 brands and smaller businesses who claim they are nimble. Then they’ll allow things like legal approval processes to thwart progress. Often, there’s a lack of process around legal approval for content. The reason: no one can agree on the best process or what it could be.]

When culture norms become a stumbling block, Carter’s advice is simple: take an approach to change the culture into a collaborative place. C-level execs often say, “We need an Instagram presence” or “we need more followers” or the shiniest new toy/tool. Goals are simple or bold. Simple goals are getting new customers and more brazen goals include creating a new product in a new category or industry.

Carter’s 3 goals for a social business:

  1. Enable a good work force – operations, HR, etc increase job satisfaction and productivity when exposed to new knowledge, teleconferences, travel and collaboration.
  2. Accelerate innovation – Product research and dev teams hasten idea sharing, brainstorming and discovery. They can help generate ideas, gather feedback and share strategies from internal and external resources.
  3. Improve customer relationships – When customer service reps and agents have access to social content, they will work more efficiently. Marketing teams will also have more time to spend with customers and provide their own consumer-focused initiatives.

What are your experiences with social business?


Suzanne is an industry leading digital strategist. Currently, she’s a partner at a new interactive, post-production and full service agency: STICKS AND STONES.


Guy Kawasaki Keynote – WITI

guy kawasaki suzanne baran Spending three days with some of the most innovative women working in technology confirms that inspiration isn’t in short supply.

Women in Technology International held a summit in Santa Clara this month. Inspiration is what drives excellence and innovation in a fast-paced world with no signs of slowing down. Progression is fuel.

The Women Powering Technology Summit showcased global talent otherwise inaccessible.

Thought leaders in technology, entrepreneurs, recruiters, and high-powered execs shared the ways technology is empowering change. The summit was the perfect backdrop for idea exchange, knowledge and networking in a collaborative, non-competitive space.

Guy Kawasaki original Apple evangelist, special advisor at Motorola and Google, says the key to driving change is Overcoming procedural and people-driven challenges means breaking down silos. Based on three pillars of enchantment, anyone can learn how to accomplish greatness in marketing, tech and beyond:

  • Be Likeable
  • Accept Others
  • Default to Yes

Seems basic, right? So simple in fact that they are the bedrock of building trust. “Bakers are more trustworthy than eaters,” Guy quips. Finding common ground and arriving at a place of agreement no matter how trivial — is a segue to acceptance and trust. By defaulting to yes, you send the message of “I know you’d do the same for me,” Guy says.

Companies that embody these “noble truths” are Zappos and Nordstrom. “My wife never tried on any of their shoes” but [she] will make a purchase and Zappos will ship  and return it for free. A company based on mutual trust takes a small leap of faith. Now Zappos is a large-scale successful business model.

Guy says there’s a roadmap companies like Zappos and Nordstrom use for its employees:
M – Mastery of new skills
A – Autonomy
P – Purpose

By empowering people, a company demonstrates a willingness to get its hands dirty and take risks.


Suzanne is an industry leading digital strategist. Currently, she’s a partner at a new interactive, post-production and full service agency: STICKS AND STONES.

Content Marketing Lessons from ‘The Lorax’

The Lorax UniversalThe Lorax, released on Dr. Seuss’ 108th birthday relates the tale of a forest guardian who protects the trees and animals.

Parallels to modern-day are pretty obvious. The 12-year old boy in search of a real Truffula Tree is anyone seeking truth in an era of cyber pollution. Accosted with whitepapers, infographics, presentations, blog posts, tweets, updates, feeds, webinars, etc. is more content marketing than we can consume during a lifetime of 120 years. Content muckrakers are nearly extinct like Truffula Trees. Here’s my/our tale:

Way back in the days when the Internet was still green
and the content was still fresh
and false info was still lean,
and the voice of media rang out in cyberspace…
I joined the ranks of this beautiful place.
And I first saw Real Journalists!
I sourced magazines and books and shared content online!
Content is recycled, re-purposed, regurgitated, reused, devalued and polluting cyberspace… 

So who is our content Lorax?

Step aside, Google. The Panda algorithm can’t save us. It’s another ‘thneed’ disguised as a preventative measure to mass ‘thneed’ production.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.” — The Lorax

Become a content Lorax to:

  • Learn from the past to improve future content
  • Challenge the status quo by using integrity and authenticity to reach your audience
  • Craft quality which attracts quality…Use your passion to promote quality content creation — especially if it’s unpopular within your internal org. Truth has resonance and does prevail.
  • Turn fear into fuel for new ideas. Spark innovation by experimenting with new techniques and package content in original ways. Forget the whitepapers, videos, infographics and invent your own method of storytelling. Try traditional mediums with new media twists — a poem, a song, video greeting cards … get creative.

Who’s with me?

Pinterest Content Strategy Secrets

Pinterest boards content

English: Red Pinterest logo

Pinterest, the social platform for collecting, sharing, liking and commenting on of photos for personal “vision boards” is utterly engaging, absorbing, and yeah — addictive. New age gurus and Law of Attraction advocates recommend making collages of images that inspire you to visualize the future you want. This technique etches images into brain activity, triggering the power of the subconscious mind. They work. (So does meditation, sweat and tears.)

Using a similar strategy, users curate their favorite images more carefully than Facebook likes. When people pin items related to brands, for example, they care about content and how the image of the brand reflects upon them.

Here’s how I received instant followers, likes and comments and even a repin by Pinterest HQ:

1. Use creative titles for boards
One of my boards, “Bananas for Bakelite” features a personal addiction for vintage jewelry trends. Pinterest actually repinned a bakelitle purse. Find your unique passion and craft creative headlines and titles which speak to that theme. Always caption your images with cute sayings like, “Off with their heads” when posting images of furniture items like armchairs or thrones, for example. My board, “Armchair Warrior” is popular because it showcases unique images scoured from google,,, the foundary and coolhunter.

2. Make captions personal
Under the same board, “Armchair Warrior,” I posted the ever-popular Eames chair and wrote “My boyfriend just bought a replica at __.” This was repinned and commented on — comments are not as common as repins. It requires more effort. Make captions descriptive and use keywords, too.

3. Follow popular users
This one is kind of obvious but it helps build traction and provides a rich experience to emulate. Notice what gets repinned, how often and by whom.

3. Post personal images
|Yes, I promoted my photography skills in an unconventional manner and created a relationship to my work by sharing it with strangers.It was worth it. I love Paris and can’t hold back!

4. Showcase your work/portfolio
Pinterest is an optimal place for designers and creatives to amplify their voice by showcasing their talent. It’s a bit more difficult to pin website redesigns if you’re a content strategist…but you can get creative and post clips, sites you have worked on and elements of design you incorporated. I’ve posted a board called Edgy Infographics. Woking with designers and creatives, we constantly required clickable images for engaging sites and specific data points to capture a B2B audience. Infographics work. Pinning images on Pinterest can help centralize reference materials, clippings and other items to inspire or inform your work.

5. Pay it forward
When you are a true cheerleader to others, it can have a boomerang effect (regardless of timing). I’ve promoted a few artists, and a jewelry designer with a board called, “Works of Art(ists).” It’s not in-your-face marketing. That’s what I like about Pinterest – there’s a sweet spot between passion and promotion.

6. Create a conversation
Think about posting books you have read or music you love and captioning them as mini reviews. Spark engagement by expressing common themes. Pose questions, experiment and have fun! I networked with a book publisher on Pinterest. How awesome is that?!

What’s worked for you?