Category Archives: Social media marketing

Social media from the heart

Millions of people use social media; some do it well, some not so well.

In this post I will give you some tips on how to stand out in your social network so that more people will listen to you and share your content.

Your online brand

You have access to several online social networks where you can show who you are and what your interests are by building an online profile. Your online profile is a blueprint of who you are and what you stand for.

I have read many people’s descriptions of themselves on LinkedIn, Facebook and on their websites. Some people’s descriptions accurately reflect their situation and you get a true and honest picture of who they are by reading about them. Some of the online profiles that I’ve come across are not a true and honest reflection. One person I first connected with online told the world how fantastic he was at networking and how great he was at connecting with people. When I met him in real life he was a very shy person and had no charisma at all. He was not telling the true and honest story about who he was. Don’t make the same mistake he did.

If you want to make an impact online you must be honest about who you are and what you believe in. Your personality online should match how you are in real life. Show what kind of person you are in terms of your head, heart and spirit.

Social media Likes hanging

Who says what matters?

Social media is not just about being social, sharing and providing information. It is also about credibility and influencing people in your network.

If you compare it to how we live in society, we are all more likely to listen to people that we trust and respect. The same rules apply online. We’re much more likely to listen to honest people who are sharing an opinion that they genuinely hold.

We all have an OBD – an online bullshit detector, we can see immediately if anyone shares something online and doesn’t mean it. You had better show who you really are, including your flaws, and stay true to your values. We connect with people on an unconscious level, and it’s very hard to say exactly why you like someone. Well, it is for me, at least.

The basic human need to be social

Interacting with others is a very basic need for human beings. Our ability to network with each other, to connect with others outside our tribe, is one of the reasons we have survived as a species. That is why we’re here today and why we have been able to go through different phases of development. We can’t help it, we’re programmed to connect with other people and we want to stay connected with the people we like.

Have you noticed that women are naturally better at communication, building relationships and connecting with people? Look at the top ten Twitter accounts, eight of the ten are women. If you are a man, open up your feminine side and become a better networker who can leverage your connections better.

Showing empathy and caring for each other

It’s deeply programmed into our DNA that we feel empathy and show each other we care. This is now made easy with the help of social networks and digital media.

We can like, comment and share information with each other. If the train station is closed it will be mentioned on Twitter immediately. If you have something to celebrate you can share that with all your friends in a moment.

We want to know what’s going on and most of us want to engage with others and let other people know what we’re up to.

I once felt a bit down and wrote on my Facebook page: “I’m in big need of a virtual hug…” That evening I received over 50 likes/hugs and several messages and, yes, it made me feel much better.

Most of us want attention and appreciation, even if we are not saying that out loud. Publicly praise people in your networks. Many people love public compliments. Say thank you on a friend’s Facebook wall, tweet someone who has done something you admire. Make it visible and show others that you are a fan of them and care about them.

When you share posts online, share what you believe in. The three ‘E’s will work magic for you: Engage, Entertain and Educate your network with your posts and updates. Then people will keep coming back to you for more information.


You can download Sofie Sandell’s tips on how to become a leader online and we will let you know when the book is out. Just sign up to  here:

Image courtesy of Archipoch at
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The future of digital media? You had better look back five years

During Social Media Week 2012 in London, I attended a panel discussion where the future of social media was to be debated. I was intrigued by this topic and thought to myself: “Yes, they are going to give me some answers”.

I left feeling rather disappointed. There were five social media experts on the panel and they did not give us any idea about what the future looks like in social media. I was expecting a fiery debate about what will happen in the next five years but, instead, we got sage philosophical answers to our questions.

Can you look into the future?

I believe that this lack of foresight may be a general phenomenon as it is very hard to distinguish what digital media is going to look like even one year down the road. Most of us who have been to a job interview have been asked the question: “Where do you see yourself in five years?” As you know, it is impossible to say what things are going to be like five years into your future.

You make up an answer and reply: “I see myself as a positive contributor to the success of this company”. (They will love that answer for sure.)

The same happens when you ask a digital media expert what the digital world will look like in five years’ time. They can’t tell you. But one thing is for sure, there will be amazing developments even if we can’t say exactly what these will be or where or how they will come into being. I can guess that new social networks will be born, that we will live in increasingly digitalised homes and that we will be even more reliant on our smartphones.

Sofie says: Digital leaders keep up-to-date with what’s going on in the digital world. They won’t tell you that they know what will happen in the next five years, because they can only guess.   

Looking backwards

When I’m teaching and discussing social media and digital media I used to ask my students what will happen in the future. It’s very hard to get the conversation going so I’ve taken a different approach.

I do an exercise that is about looking backwards, looking at how you used digital media five years ago and how that has changed.

Some of the questions I ask are

“Did you have a smartphone five years ago?” Often, only one or two people in the audience had a smartphone five years ago whereas today 95% of the people I meet have a smartphone.

Another question I ask people is: “How did you listen to music five years ago?” Lots of people used to listen to online music illegally. Things are different today as there are so many opportunities to subscribe to a wide variety of music services online, free or paid for.

Another big development in digital media has been online reviews. I ask my audience: “Did you use to read a review before you booked a restaurant or hotel five years ago?”

Today, we are unlikely to book a new restaurant or hotel without reading a review about it online first. If the reviews and testimonials are good, then we pick it. We make more of our consumer choices based on online reviews using social media.

We also read about businesses and people online. A good testimonial on a social media profile gives a person much more credibility and you get a great first impression of them.

Another question I ask is: “What kind of browser did you use when you were surfing the internet five years ago?” Most only used Internet Explorer.

Today, you have both Google Chrome and Firefox. Both of these browsers allow you to add several extensions and plugins. It has made life a lot easier for us and there are lots of funky things you can do. This didn’t exist five years ago.

Online networking

One central aspects of what has changed in the last five years is that most people were not a member of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. They might have been a member of one online network back then, but now more people are on all three of these networks, plus other online networks as well.

Online videos

How we use online videos has significantly changed our online behaviour. YouTube was set up in 2006. It was then quickly bought by Google, and Google has developed it into an amazing source of information.

I personally almost never watched online videos five years ago, but today I watch 20 videos on YouTube per week. Five years ago, internet speed was not very fast and the video content was not that exciting either. Now, as it has improved remarkably, we are spending more time there.

In 2012, we watched four billion videos per day on average. 4G mobile technologies are being introduced to more and more countries. I can assure you that in the next year, when more people have smartphones with 4G, they are going to watch many more online videos on their phones. The faster 4G network will improve the user experience.


When we look into the future and try to figure out what is going to happen five years from now, we can learn a lot by looking backwards.

We are experts in our own history. Look at your life. Think about what you did with social media five years ago. How did you use the internet and digital tools? When you examine your own digital world you will better understand how quickly it will change in the future.

We are living in a world full of opportunities and entrepreneurs are going to explore and expand what’s possible.


Sofie Sandell is the author of the book ‘Digital Leadership – Dare to be creative, it’s easier than you think’, to be published soon.

You can download Sofie Sandell’s tips on how to become a leader online and we will let you know when the book is out. Just sign up to Sofie’s newsletter here:

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Online copywriting checklist

So you are selling something, maybe a product, service or event? There are a few rules that will make people read your copy, and if they like what they read they will buy from you.

Main point

Make the main point the main point. Include the most exciting benefits in the first five sentences. Then your readers are more likely to read the rest of your message.

Make it scannable

Break up the content. Short paragraphs are easier to scan and you are always striving for making your content scannable.


Put in a lot of efforts into getting the headline right. When your customers sees a compelling and inspiring headline they will read the rest.

Readability test

Do a readability test. This is one of the best kept secrets for great copywriting. I often check that my copy is following the best practise for plain English. Here is an online version: and you can also check this in word.

So this text has less than 11 words per sentence, awesome. You should try to have under 16 words per sentence when writing online. A person with 6 years educations will understand it. Flesch Reading Ease is over 60, which indicates that it is written in plain English.

Readability test online


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25 tips how to promote your website and grow your online brand

You can use many different techniques to promote yourself and your website online. And depending on your brand, your audience and messages you can use different tools and channels to reach out.

Here I’ve collected 25 ways to promote your website and share what your business is up to.

Banana Advertising

Banana Advertising

There is one rule that is crucial in every technique and that is good writing! Great copywriters rewrite the headlines and the way they describe their products or services several times. The headline is the attention grabber that will make your website visitors to read more and explore your site.

  1. Adverts online and pop-up window
    Have you ever clicked on a pop-up window? For me this is a bit old-fashioned, I wouldn’t recommend pop-up windows for any of my clients, but they are still used so it might work?
  2. Remind customers about your website and social media channels on your products
    Yes, remind your clients how to get in touch online. Easy and should be on more products.
  3. Put your website and social media channels on all your printed material
    On your brochures, postcards and other paper products etc. Online and print works well together
  4. Always add your website, social networks and events in your email footer
    Every time anyone from your organisation is sending an email this will be seen in the footer.
  5. Organic SEO
    Be found when someone is Googling your products and services. Super important!!!
  6. Pay Per Click (PPC)
    Buy ads from Google. Can cost a lot of money if not managed in a god way.
  7. Email marketing
    Build a great database of contacts and send them updates about what’s going on and your offers.
  8. Automatic email programmes
    This is very common. You get your audience to sign up and then you get them into an automatic email campaign.
  9. Free downloads – ask website visitors to give you their email address
    A great way to build your database. Your website visitors love freebies.
  10. Event marketing
    Putting on the right kind of events can raise your brand online a lot! People are sharing the event with their friends and they will tweet and Facebook during the event.
  11. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter
    I think these two social network are the basics in your social media campaigns. You can also try out other social networks depending on where your audience are hanging out.
  12. Start a blog and get the content to be shares in all kind of networks
    Blogging about the problems that your clients are having will boost your online brand.
  13. Image websites such as Flickr and Pinterest
    People love images and photos. Share them with others. And get your fans to share yours.
  14. Membership / online communities
    We love to feel special and to be invited to a group. Online there are many ways to communicate with your fans and also get them to get to know each other.
  15. Online testimonials and reviews from customers
    We are very likely to read online reviews before we make a decision about what to buy or where to go. Make sure your happy customers write a testimonial and that they share it in several online forums.
  16. Online games
    Very popular, loads of people want a fun game to play online.
  17. Coupons / promotional codes / online vouchers / Groupon
    Special offers online that will save your clients some money. Who doesn’t like this?
  18. Online competitions
    We all want to win something. Be creative and engage your audience!
  19. Podcasts
    Your clients will listen to them. Very good to offer as a download and your audience can listen to it when they have time.
  20. Videos
    YouTube is going to be even bigger in the future. Today we’re watching 4 billion videos per day!
  21. Build a mobile App
    Who can live without their smart phone and Apps? Very good way to share your online content and engage your customers.
  22. QR codes
    I am not sure about how efficient they are at the moment. But I believe they will be used more in the future.
  23. Online press releases
    Publish a story about your business and publish it online.
  24. Become a guest blogger and link back to your website
    If you share your knowledge on another blog they will link back to your website as a thank you. Very efficient and you’ll be seen as an expert in your field.
  25. Speak about your business at different events
    If you have the opportunity to speak about your business take it. The audience will listen to you and you have to tell about some of the problems you are solving for them and where they can find you online. Hand out your business cards to people who want to learn more.

Best of luck promoting your business and website!

If you need any help or training in how to use any of the promotional techniques please get in touch

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How to crowdsource a message and make it into a video

I’ve just produced a video for JCI UK’s video competition 2012. The theme is I ‘heart’ JCI UK. Please check it out, it might give you some ideas how you can collect thoughts from your community and share the message.

During a meetup/networking event with an ex-colleague I came up with the video idea. I tweeted “Please tell me why you love #JCI.” I got a lot of replies back from my JCI-friends around the world.

In the video I’ve collected over 30 people’s tweets and I have got huge respons online and in social media, over 25 shares from my Facebook home page in 24 hours.


Sofie Sandell is the author of the book ‘Digital Leadership – How Creativity in Business can Propel Your Brand and Boost Your Results’.

You can download Sofie Sandell’s tips on how to become a leader online and we will let you know when the book is out. Just sign up to Sofie’s newsletter here:


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Get another notch on your belt. Why CEOs and business executives shouldn’t fear social media

Connect, tweet, click. Social media is fast, and if you are using a platform such as Twitter you are getting exposed to the whole world and people can reply back to you immediately.

There are no walls protecting you. It does take up some time, and you have to learn about online networking. Gosh, who have time for that? Isn’t this just another critical risk? Social media and online networking does take a bit of time every day. And of course if you share inappropriate things online there is a risk involved, as it would be with sending emails with sensitive content to everyone in your address-book.

Former Medtronic Inc. CEO Bill George, a management professor at Harvard Business School and avid tweeter says: “Most CEOs should accept that social media is part of their job description. People want CEOs who are real. They want to know what you think,” he says, adding: “Can you think of a more cost-effective way of getting to your customers and employees?”

At the moment very few CEOs and business executives are active in social networks. If you are a numbers person you will love this: there about 1 billion people on Facebook, over 500 million accounts on Twitter and the research shows that yet only 7.6% of Fortune 500 CEOs have bothered to jump on Facebook, and just 4% have opened Twitter accounts. It looks as there are a few more customers to gain for Facebook and Twitter.

I also know that many CEOs hardly have bothered to get a proper LinkedIn account. I once worked in a place where the CEO had a LinkedIn account with only three connections. It did send out a very anti-social message to all employees, who of course noticed this and made fun of him. As a leader today your online brand is very important, it says a lot about you, what you stand for and believe in.

5 top tips for business executives how to boost your social media visibility

1. Get started. Social media will stay in our lives and it’s about networking and connecting online. You who wears a c-suite (CEO, CMO, CIO, CFO) should not be seen as one of these anti-innovation people, you know someone who’s refusing to stop using the typewriter when they should use the computer. Accept that the change is here to stay and start learning how to do it.

2. Check out who is active and influential on social media in your organisation. You can use Klout or Kred to see who is influential. Highly influential people in social media can be very helpful for your organisation. If your organisation is lacking influencers it’s time to encourage people to start using social media. Just to give you an indication: Barack Obama has Klout score 99 (100 is the highest). The British celebrity Stephen Fry has Klout score 89. My Klout score is 62. Everyone over 50 are seen as elite on Klout.

3. Be authentic. It’s much better to do most of the updates in your social networks yourself. Do fewer updates but let the message come from you. Other people might inspire you with ideas and that will help you to be better. If I read updates on a Twitter account I can say in less than 30 seconds if it’s the person behind the name of the account who’s written the updates or if it’s the PR department.

4. Make sure you track the feedback you get from your customers. If your company doesn’t have an online customer support who tracks what people say about you on Twitter etc. it might be a good idea to get one. This is just a new way to keep in touch with your customers.

5. Allow people to try out new ways of communication online. Setting up too many rules will put people off and they might end up doing nothing instead. Get the legal team together with the social media experts in your organisation to write a social media policy. Things are moving swiftly in the social media world and the policy needs to be updated on a regular basis. Proper training in what you are allowed to do in social media networks is probably the best prescription to avoid future mistakes.

Everyone who’s posting online are publishers. In a minute you can make your voice heard and inform and inspire others.

You who have a leadership position in an organisation need to support innovation and creativity. You’ll be seen as an innovative leader if you are using social media to communicate with your stakeholders. What we see today in social media is just the beginning, there are much more to come around the corner.

Learn from the best, check out Richard Branson’s twitter account. He has over 2,5 million followers.
Read an article about how Richard Branson is using social media to connect with his customers.

Bio Sofie Sandell

With a background in sales and marketing and a master in business administration, Sofie has extensive and diverse business experience under her belt.

Fascinated by the web and how it connects with its visitors, Sofie has been working with the web for many years. As a pioneer in social media she early saw its potential and has a deep understanding of the subject. Sofie has gained a wealth of experience managing integrated digital marketing campaigns and e-commerce projects at a major publisher in London, she has worked as e-commerce manager for one for one of the biggest TV-channels in the UK and until recently Sofie was the website manager for Junior Chamber International UK and where she set up over 14 websites.

Today Sofie works as a consultant and trainer helping organisations to get the most out of their digital marketing activities.

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Uberpong an example of a successful crowdfunding project

I recently co-funded a start-up project online with help of a crowdsourcing platform. It was a very neat experience I would like to share the story with you.

It started when I got an email over Facebook from David Lowe an entrepreneur who I know from London. David is living in the US and  in his life there’s always been a new idea around the corner.  He asked if i could promote his new project/start-up Uberpong which is about making boring ping-pong paddles look more beautiful.

He didn’t ask me for any funding directly, only for promotion. By doing this he lowered the level of risk and I could decide what I wanted to do. Approaching your potential funders like this is one of the key elements in successful online fundraising. Don’t ask them to send you cash in the first conversation, ask them for their support. This method is used by the fundraising team behind Barack Obama, and they have as you know been extremely successful.  Uberpong ping pong paddles

I love to support new businesses so I promoted the project on my Facebook wall and other social networks and I also made a donation.

They used to raise money. I had never used it before so it was interesting to check it out live to see how it works. The platform was created 2009 and is now one of the most popular available.

The website for the project was easy to overview and scan. They used tons of photos to show what the future of ping pong paddles will look like, which in this case is likely to drive more conversions (images are great for your website if you want to create higher engagement)

Most crowdfunding projects give you a reward if you support them, it can be a DVD if you support a film, tickets to an event or as in this case a ping pong paddle. I didn’t want a reward at all for my sponsorship so I went directly to checkout. The check out step was super easy and they asked me to use my Amazon account.

After the check out there were several ‘Thank you’ emails sent out and I also got to know when they reached their target. In total is was great engagement during the process. If you want to follow the story the Uberpong website goes live this week.Uberpong ping pong paddle with sun and clouds

I believe this kind of funding is the way forward for the future and kickstarter will launch in the UK in October. It’ll be interesting to see how well they will do in the UK.

You can use crowdfunding for almost anything; events, a record, an invention, a book  and there are loads of platforms on the market. On this website you’ll find some of them.

4 tips for successful online fundraising campaigns

  • Spend a lot of time checking out where you’ll be able to promote your campaign online and offline. You have to look at yourself as detectives. Who are likely to promote your project – make a stakeholder map and start working with them.
  • Avoid in-your-face sales approach. Ask people to support you by asking for their email and to follow you online. When you have their support ask them to support you financially.
  • Focus on a few key messages that you repeat on a regular basis. Your followers are likely to be exposed to a lot of messages in their lives so to be noticed you have to tell them about your project on a regular basis.
  • Pull together a team of people who has a deep understanding of the online world.

Background about crowdfunding; source Wikipedia

Crowd funding or crowdfunding (alternately crowd financing, equity crowdfunding or hyper funding) describes the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their resources, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations. Crowd funding is used in support of a wide variety of activities, including disaster relief, citizen journalism, support of artists by fans, political campaigns, startup company funding, movie, or free software development, and scientific research.

Crowd funding can also refer to the funding of a company by selling small amounts of equity to many investors. This form of crowd funding has recently received attention from policymakers in the United States with direct mention in the JOBS Act; legislation that allows for a wider pool of small investors with fewer restrictions. The Act was signed into law by President Obama on April 5, 2012. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has been given approximately 270 days to set forth specific rules and guidelines that enact this legislation, while also ensuring the protection of investors.

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Social media, people and opportunities

Today I tweeted: ‘Social media is about people. Embrace the ways people connect. It’s about sharing, helping and doing good! Do you agree?’

We all have turned into global networkers using social media and we are not far from being connected from almost anyone any longer.

All people have got an online profile weather we want it or not. Employers, colleagues and people we just met are checking us out on Google.

We are forming relationship using social networks, we decide where to go on holiday by reading reviews online, and you as a member of your community have loads of opportunities to influence the politicians where you live using social media.

I just signed an online petition for same-sex marrige rights After filling in the form I was taken to a page where I could send an email to my local MP (politician) which I did, yesterday two weeks later I recived a letter from my local MP thanking me for sharing the information with her. So she got my message.

I often hear lots of negative comments about social media, that people only update really boring things on Facebook and Twitter. It might be true that some people do, but there are thousands of opportunities that are lurking around in social media. Whatever your problems is you are likely to find a solution out there on YouTube, twitter, Facebook and other niche networks.

Keep your networking online growing stronger.

Sofie Sandell is the author of the book ‘Digital Leadership – How Creativity in Business can Propel Your Brand and Boost Your Results’.

You can download Sofie Sandell’s tips on how to become a leader online and we will let you know when the book is out. Just sign up to Sofie’s newsletter here:


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Social Media Q&A

Do you have any questions about life in relation to social media?

Send an email with your question to Sofie Sandell for a chance to get it published here.

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12 practical tips for how to use social media to build your reputation and share your key messages

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