Jim interviews Ekaterina Walter, a Social Innovator at Intel and author of the book “Think Like Zuck.”
Do You Like To Connect?
Ekaterina Walter’s bio starts with the following sentence: “I love building connections with other people. I am passionate about social media because it allows me to do just that.”
After spending less than an hour on the phone with her, I’d say she hit the nail on the head. A lot of individuals that you’ll meet in your life will utter the phrase, “I’m a people person.” If that’s truly who you are, in the digital age it is now easier than ever to say it (say, in the About Me section of your website) and to prove it (through social media channels).
Another catch-phrase that is tossed around is “follow your passion.” Once again, if you’re genuine about it, it really shows. I’ve been told that I sometimes “talk like a hockey fight,” meaning I have an idea or a topic and I talk as fast as I can until I am tired out and then I just stop and someone else jumps in.
My conversation with Ekaterina was more like a game of bowling… I just kept setting her up with questions, and she’d rear back and knock ‘em all down. But it was as if the ball return just kept giving her ammo again and again, and she just kept throwing strikes until we moved on to a new subject.
What really shone through was her passion for social media. When you’re genuinely that excited about a topic — which you have to be to make it your full time job AND write a 250 page book about it — it comes gushing through on the phone. When that information is backed up by knowledge and experience, then you’re really on to something.
As usual, I recommend listening to the whole interview on iTunes or pressing Play above, but here’s an overview of what we talked about.
What does a “Social Innovator” do at Intel?
- All about setting the right guidelines for employees and helping others execute on social strategy
- Building and growing communities, no matter which social network they are on
- Talking to customers and making sure their needs are met
- Creating killer content and engaging on a daily basis
- Make sure all of this is measured and the data is understood and applied to doing things better
- Setting up real-time responses and crisis management
- Educate others in the company
Challenges for working at a large, international corp. like Intel
- Lucky that their management looked at the way social was changing years ago, and said we need to be savvy there
- Put together a robust training program, first for marketers and then anyone else in the company
- Answered questions: What does it mean for us? To become a social business? What are the networks? Which are growing? How can we use them as marketers? What do we do with mobile?
- They’ve effectively combined their traditional media team with their social media team
“There is no miracle”
- People often ask her how it’s done, how do you do it?… there is no miracle, no easy answer
- She engages with people. She REALLY REALLY spends her time – both on and off the job – talking to people and asking them questions and answering their questions and just connecting with them
- She does this PROACTIVELY, building up her network through conversations
- She admits… maybe it’s just her at this extreme
- But even Lady Gaga actively reaches out daily with comments, photos, information, activities, etc etc
What are some tools that she uses to track engagement?
- One of her favorites is PageLever… they’re affordable, update their UI consistently, are fast to adapt to Facebook changes
- Also Hootsuite, Sprinkler to tag and manage campaigns
- Make sure to address both positive and negative sentiment… responding to a negative complaint and turning it around can build a strong bond
What is Le Web Conference and what did you learn there?
- Le Web is one of the biggest technology events in Europe
- Takes place in Paris in the winter and London in the summer
- Very well run; videos of all presentations are posted online
- Discussed: Where is technology going, Where is social going
- Interesting trend: Body data… how do you track your health as you jog, sleep, walk around
- Rise of a mind/brain/technology connection
- There were some really great products there
Example 1: Muse… the headband that controls your smartphone with your brain
- Example 2: Ublooly toy… A kid’s toy that integrates with your smart phone and an app to talk to you, interact, and learn from you.
(I was going to embed the offical video, but this GeekDad review with British accents was so much better).
Tell us about your book. What inspired it and what was the writing process like?
- Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg
- Her first book, so quite an interesting journey
- Came about: Has a friend that is an editor at McGraw-Hill, had always wanted to write a book, so came up with the idea
- Not just Facebook, but Threadless, Zappos, 3M, Dyson, CollegeHumor
- Wrote the book while on sabbatical
The 5 P’s of business success: Passion, Purpose, People, Product, and Partnerships
Everyone knows OF Mark Zuckerberg, but I feel we don’t KNOW him. What kind of access did you have and what did you learn?
- She didn’t get to interview him directly, but has worked with Facebook for the past 4 years, and knows the inner workings, their culture, their developers, their brands
- If you look at the historical account of the company, past books, and research, you get to see the trends in his personal and professional life
- Actually has many similarities with many other successful companies and leaders
- It’s amazing how he drives to excellence, sets goals, and leads by example… learning Mandarin or wearing a tie every day
- He combines great passion and purpose
What are tactical things brands and people can do on Facebook?
- Get great content out there and engage!
- The reason people are hiding your posts is because of the content… they are giving you that permission, you need to live up to it
- Many tools now will TELL you the best time to post for optimum engagement
- Look at the back-end data to see where you are getting engagements
- What format? Double down on PHOTOS. Create custom images to celebrate milestones or something worth posting.
How is she using social media to market her book?
- Lots of grass roots… tapping her network, friends with following, book reviews, guest posts, podcast interviews, webinars
- COOL IDEA: Create images around quotes from the book, post “snackable” content on social networks like Facebook and Pinterest
- Bonuses: She is giving away the following on ThinkLikeZuck.com:
– FREE copy of the e-book “Social DNA: Becoming a Social Business: a Practical Guide to Social Media Adoption Within any Organization” by Ekaterina Walter
– FREE copy of a special report “Customer Service Will Fix the Economy… and a few companies too!” by Shep Hyken
What is your biggest challenge?
- Continuing to create real-time, compelling content
What is your most vital piece of technology?
- A combo: Her laptop/mobile phone/camera
Which person or event has had the biggest impact on your career thus far?
- Her past managers (Jane Price at Intel), who believed in her and gave her freedom and encouragement to do what she loved to do
How do you maintain work/life balance?
- There is no balance! But she reads and really takes the time to appreciate the little moments in life, playing with her child or spending time with family
What would you tell a newbie entrepreneur?
- Author: Be prepared for every stage of book creation and promotions
- Entrepreneur: Do not be afraid of failure. James Dyson created more than 5,000 prototypes before his famous vaccuum
Connect: Think Like Zuck Book | Ekaterina Walter website | @ekaterina on Twitter
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