Do Startups Underestimate the Power Of Social Media?


Recently I found an online group of a startup accelerator where the short profiles of attendees were listed. When I clicked them through I found some interesting people and business ideas. The profile form had a place where Twitter handles could be mentioned. During visiting the Twitter profiles of these interesting people, I had to find out that they were not active on Twitter. They only had a few tweets, some of them zero, were following between 10 and 100 people and had about the same amount of followers. So, no reason for me to follow anyone of them. In the group I even found one e-startup with a new web-solution mentionining “Due to security reasons I don’t have a Twitter account”.

This made me curious and I started to google all of the founders and co-founders and I only found very few personal Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ profiles and not any company profiles for their respective startups. Do startups underestimate the power of social media?

With the following points I would like to reach those founders who don’t or only rarely use social media for their startup so far, because my experience tells me they are missing out on really important opportunities. Maybe I reach them at least through the SERP.

Challenges Of Startups

We all know the challenges startups are facing, but let’s sum them up here in a few lines, before we come to the solutions social media can offer here. At least in the seed phase startups are lacking money. Only very few can afford expensive advertising campaigns. So, where will the customers come from? Some are looking for co-founders and don’t know where to find them. In search of specialist knowledge they are again facing the issue of too less money – great consultants and coaches aren’t cheap. All of these points lead to a very slow growth and some of the startups will never make it. We haven’t talked about products or services with missing value for the market, a weak management team or a wrong business model, but these have to be solved anyway before going onto the market or at least step by step during the launch time. Considering that 93% of startups fail, it is necessary to get out on the market as fast and as strong as possible.

Tweet this: “Social media can help startups getting way more traction.”

Changes in the Society

With billions of people in the social web and being connected 24/7 lead to a change in the influence model we all knew, and the customer buying behaviour has changed as well. People are getting out their messages worldwide and within seconds and this is true for everyone, whether business person or not. Customers search for products on services and recommendations on the internet independent of they will buy online or offline. More about this you can find here: Transformation Of Business Society

Early Adopters and Brand Advocates

By providing interesting content on ones personal profile as well as on the business presence, more and more people get connected to their business. I would say it’s more important in the first place to do it on personal profiles, as people connect to people on the social web long before they do it to a brand. Founders should get into conversations with followers and friends online. I have also written on this in more detail: The Art Of Social Networking If only a few share information and links about a startup, more and more people will try the new product or service, and maybe share their satisfaction afterwards. The founder’s networking strategy will lead him to his regional market, internationally or at least worldwide – the targeting can be controlled by the mangement team.

If a founder is lucky enough to get in touch with people I call power-networkers, his startup will get a massive dissemination and amplification worldwide. The power-networkers I know are connected to thousands of people on the web and of course they are connected to each other as well. If they decide “Hey, that’s a cool product / company, …”, then the real party starts. The company will get a reach of millions within two or three days and thousands of leads brought to their website. I have been part of such “campaings” myself, and it always was exciting and fun, not only for the founders. 🙂

Business Angels and Venture Capitalists

Business angels and venture capitalists are very engaged on the social web. Search for the hashtag ‘startups’ on Twitter, take a look at some personal profiles there, and you will find angel investors and venture capital firms within seconds. They are all in search of the next great opportunity. That’s why they provide usefull information for startups and tag it for them. Of course, they are also listening to startup related hashtags. Think about what happens when your company gets mentioned continously by happy early adopters and brand advocates.

Founders out there, I hope I could provide you with some usefull information about the importance of social media for your business. You want to discuss it – please get in touch in the comments below.

Ahh, you want to network right away? Please find me @RogerAT.


Moment of Truth in Corporate Social (Media) Sales & Marketing

Clouds, The social powered enterprise

Yesterday I had a close encounter of the third kind. You think one cannot encounter that in the corporate world? Well, in German we have a saying “Wasser predigen und Wein trinken”, which translates to “preaching to drink water and drinking wine instead” what means that you do not walk the talk. That’s exactly what happend.

So, here is my story.

The big modern, social sales & marketing enterprise

I am currently working on a new sales channel strategy for the company I work for. There are still some questions open, like how to effectively recruit channel partners or how the partner marketing can be designed and so on. Besides having talked to some experts I visited the biggies, the real role models in sales and marketing on the internet. On the website of a sales and marketing cloud solutions provider I found two ebooks I wanted to read. The enterprise has a great approach on the social web. They even publish a lot of very interesting content about social sales and marketing – the way it is done properly these days. As I trusted the brand, I filled in the online form with my name, company, email address and phone number and done – the download link arrived right away. I thought: “Inbound marketing, cool, curious how the profs there will deal with the information I have provided. Maybe I can learn from them.”

Sell. Sell more. Sell much, much more!

Half an hour after I hit the button in the form, an email from sales rep no 1 arrived in my inbox.

“I have seen that you have registered on our website for watching a video about our social products. Can we be of any help from the perspective of information flow. Kind regards,…”

Eh? What video is he talking about and what does he mean by information flow? I replied that I do not need any help.

Another half an hour later email number two from sales rep no 2 (both from Munich office by the way) arrived. He had called me before, but could not reach me and now he wanted to schedule a phone call for talking about my interest in their products.
Eh? What interest in their products?

“Don’t preach social selling and act as the good old Snake-Oil-Salesman.”

Not only that the company missed to approach me with things I am really interested in (you remember: channel partner recruitment and partner marketing), they tried to sell like the good old “Snake-Oil Salesman”, i.e. I know what you want and I want to introduce you to my product as fast as possible. Did I mention that sales rep no. 1 wanted to talk about “social products”? 😉

Social powered sales engagement

This billion dollar enterprise claims that customers will increase sales by 31% when using their software. Oh, I don’t have to say “software” – they sell “cloud solutions”. The company is providing solutions for selling and marketing in the 21st century. Why didn’t they go the “social way” for getting in touch with me, started networking, figured out what I’m really interested in? They could have googled my name and would have found (my social web appearance card with all of my profiles on it). It would have been very easy to network with me, wouldn’t it?  They could have listened to my streams on the social web and read some of my posts, my blog articles, chimed into a conversation, connected on different platforms, provided me with an interesting link, invited me to their group about “Sales Channels” and so on. After a short period of time they would have known everything about my needs in their particular field, and I would have learned that they are absolute specialists in sales, marketing, social engagement and how to be more successful nowadays. I would have networked with some of their customers. Probably, I also would have figured out that their software, pardon, cloud solution is the right thing for me. Unfortunately, there are a lot of “woulds”.

Shall I mention the enterprise’s brand name? No, I don’t.

Sales rep no 1 or 2, if you are listening now – it’s never too late. 😉

Please find me @RogerAT.

Attracting People to What Matters to You Most

appearoo_picMany bloggers, marketeers, sales people, thought leaders and people from different other professions have been trying to get their ideas, visions, or simply messages across on the social web. And, many also have been struggling with doing it successfully. During the last years I figured out that the main reason for that is: Lack of influence! Sounds crazy? Although people are on many social media platforms they still do not manage to spread the word about to what matters to them most. The wider people’s messages get recognised, the stronger their influence in their special topics gets. Building influence means attracting as many as possible relevant people to your topics. That happens when you are able to lead people to all of your places and spaces on the social web. One tool has always helped me doing this – XeeMe. If you do not know it you can read my XeeMe story here.

“XeeMe is becoming appearoo now.”

Transition from XeeMe to Appearoo
Recently the company announced that they will change the brand name from XeeMe to appearoo. Why should they change the name of a success? Despite having success in attracting more than 1.7 million users to XeeMe and also having satisfied many users there also mistakes have been made which will be corrected now. Axel Schultze, CEO of Society3, the company behind appearoo, explained that they were keeping a brand name people were not able to pronounce – how the hell do you pronounce XeeMe? Further he states that they had ignored to come up with a proper user interface (mainly due to budget reasons) and a better user experience. Finally, he remarks that they failed in communicating the real advantages one gets when using the product.

appearoo_spread“Appearoo is actually an amazing software tool to gain more influence by attracting more people to what matters to you the most. The tool helps you to be found wherever you post, share, email, present… and makes it easy for others to immediately find all your online appearance.“, Axel Schultze states the real brand positioning of the product.

Crowdfunding campaign
On October 1 they will start a crowdfunding campaign for the start of the product’s relaunch on Idiegogo. They will have great perks which will help people to raise their visibility on the social web and attract more people to what matters to them most. I definitely will contribute to it, because I am convinced that appearoo will get even better than XeeMe was.

UPDATE: The crowdfunding campaign has started. If  you would like to know more about it, please follow this link

By Roger Koplenig
My social web appearance:

Management and the Need of Faith

Photo: birgitH  /

Photo: birgitH /

Is faith relevant when managing a company or an other organization?

Before answering this question, it is necessary to have a look at which kind of faith we should talk about in management. First of all, in management it is not relevant which religious faith one has. I have met managers with excellent and poor performance without any connection with their religious affiliation. The key question is, in what managers believe when doing their business. What are their principles and which attitude do they have towards real performance. Managers are responsible for results. They should believe in the goals and the core business their company or organization is in. They should believe in creating a high value for their customers. A strong positive faith or a constructive way of thinking is one of manager’s habits. The positive attitude to reach goals, to achieve the right results is the faith we need in management.

“Beware of the Pursuit of Happiness Approach in Management”

Wolfgang Dirscherl  /

Wolfgang Dirscherl /

But we should be careful. Not all believes are good in management. Not all of them will guide you towards the right results. One of the biggest mistakes in managing people is the so called “Pursuit of Happiness Approach”. Representatives of this approach believe in “Make your people happy and they will do a good job!”. Please understand me right, of course it is not wrong to have happy people in your team. The problem of “Pursuit of Happiness Approach” is that the management (or the government, or someone else) is responsible for the happiness of the people and the faith that only happy people will do a good job. In management I suggest to keep the faith regarding effectiveness and to the right results to keep the organization capable of surviving. Enable your people to produce real performance and the right results and the most of them – not all of them – will achieve a remarkable level of happiness. And, you will reach your goals, too!

By Roger Koplenig
Social sig:

Take Back Control Of Your Internet Privacy – Respect Network

respect-network-logoSounds impossible, right? The headline above is the slogan for the launch of Respect Network. This start-up company provides services for ensuring that our privacy within this decentralized network gets fully respected. Before I tell you how this all works, let me describe how I got in touch with Respect Network. In June 2012 during the XWeek of I attended a webinar with Marc Coluccio and Joe Johnston co-founders of This platform turns ones existing social network into a personal reputation system, as people get vouched by their peers for skills, . The highest trust level one can reach at is Trust Anchor. As I became Founding Trust Anchor, I also got in touch with Drummond Reed, co-founder and CEO of Respect Network and started following the development of this start-up. So, you can see I have known them since two years and it is not only a new company and service on the internet I am writing about here.

“Protection of our digital life is the civil rights issue of our time. Being able to choose what happens with our private information on the Internet is something we should all have the right to do – for our sakes, and for the sake of future generations. Now is the time to act.” Drummond Reed, CEO Respect Network

What is Respect Network all about

Respect Network is a network where people get so called personal clouds and businesses get business clouds. The membership of both base upon the Respect Trust Framework. The five core principles of this framework are are: promise, permission, protection, portabillity, and proof. You can find all documents of the Respect Trust Framework here. Members get in touch with each other through special apps, which will be launched from now on. How does this look like? Respect Network is decentralized system, other than Facebook, Google+, and all the other platforms we know on the internet.

We all can decide to whom we connect peer-to-peer, whether it is a private person or a company. Our data are not saved on servers of a middleman. We take total control of our information and relationships.

Respect Network Launch and Personal Cloud Name

On 23rd June 2014 Respect Network launched its “Cloud Funding” campaign and the possiblity to claim personal cloud names. Personal cloud names look like =rogerkoplenig and as you register for it you pay a one-time fee of US$ 25. By paying this fee you get:

  1. Lifetime membership
  2. Lifetime cloud name—plus the exclusive chance to buy up to 5 additional lifetime cloud names
  3. Lifetime storage for your base personal cloud at any Respect Network cloud provider
  4. The First Million Member App Bundle – 4 special deals on personal cloud apps you can begin using today
  5. Lifetime First Million Member badge
  6. First in line to become a Respect Network Trust Anchor

If you have 17 minutes  and you would like to get more information on it, watch this video (it’s really worth it, believe me) with Drummond Reed presenting the Respect Network at the launch event in London:


I really appreciate this possibillity of having my privacy secured, at least for special relationships and I am going to explore it further on. Of course I already have my personal cloud name and thus access to Respect Network. I am sure I can come up with some concrete examples, how I benefited of it next time.

By Roger Koplenig
Social sig:

Changing the Future of Privacy on the Internet – Respect Network

I’ve just attended a presentation about the Respect Network.

They will be changing the future of privacy and personal empowerment on the internet. Digital relationships will be organized decentralized without a plattform between personal clouds and business clouds. No more data gathering a la Facebook or Google. The official launch will be in June 2014. I will have the opportunity to explore it before launch.

So, stay tuned, friends, I’ll keep you posted. 

If you haven’t heard of personal clouds so far, please get your first information on it here:






By Roger Koplenig
Social sig:



Come Join us for an [X]traordinary [X}PendaPalooza 14!

Hey folks, if you are on Empire Avenue. Join us this weekend for [X}PendaPalooza 14. If you’re not, maybe now is the right time to jump in and get connected to many great people around the globe.

Empire Kred

leaders_xpendapaloozaforblog (1)

Get ready for an amazing weekend!

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EVERYONE in the [X]PendaPalooza community will receive 100,000 eaves to jumpstart your shopping spree. EAVLeaders and many players will run free invest and gift missions throughout the weekend. Plus, we’ll announce even more ways to get eaves throughout the weekend.

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FOR LEADERS ONLY! We know many of you are low on eaves due to the fast growth…

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Unpopular Decisions – Firing People

Firing People

S. Hofschlaeger /

After a long time I had to do it again – I had to fire an employee today. After the event came to my mind that I wrote a blog post about firing people some years ago. As my old blog is not on the web anymore and I believe what I wrote back then is still valid today, I thought should share this with you.

Firing people is a process hated by everyone. It is unpopular, sometimes it makes managers feel guilty and nobody likes to tell the truth about why it is happening. Often it is blamed on the market conditions, competition, or whatever else.

“Once you have decided to layoff employees, just do it, and take on responsibility for what you are doing.”
Roger Koplenig, 2005

Managers are responsible for laying off people and nobody else. They should have a look into the mirror and take on responsibility for their decisions. In such a situation a manager should simply say, “I made the decision. This is what we are going to do.” If you do not have the courage to do this, do not be a manager.

In the case of “mass firing” the people getting laid off are not “at fault”. More likely, it was the fault of the top management – the same top management with golden parachutes. At the very least management should provide services like job counseling, resume writing assistance, and job search help. There are firms that specialize in helping employees during “transitions”.

As painful a layoff may be, it is a good time to terminate marginal employees. It is good for the marginal employee, because he is not tainted with getting fired. He can blame on the management because of mass firing.

Sometimes managers show the people they are firing how hard it is on them. It is like the boy who murders his parents and then asks the court for leniency, because he is an orphan now.

What do you think about it? Please share your opinion in the comments below.

By Roger Koplenig
Social sig:

The Art of Social Networking

A conversation on a Google-Hangout I had recently brought me to the idea of writing this blog post. A participant asked me: “How can I use networking for my business on the social web?” My reply was: “The same way you do it offline – getting in touch with people, maintaining relationships and making use of your contacts when the right time has come.”

Pretty short answer – right? But, guess what, there are also people who are not used to offline networking, are not members of a golf club neither do they participate at events. And, of course, online networking also has got some differences to offline networking – the main principles are the same though. This article is especially for them.
The Goal
Networking is not an end in itself. When you start out with networking you should know what you want to reach. For example you want to find a new job or you are interested in entering a new geografical market with your business. Depending on your goal you start getting in touch with people who meet your criteria. That might be common sense, I know, but I can see it on a daily basis that there are many people out in the social web world who connect just for connections sake. Society3 CEO,  Axel Schultze, wrote a great blog post about that.
“Don’t become a digital tramp.”
Axel Schultze
The Attitude
The quality of each relationship equals the attitude you approach people. A minimum amount of love for people is necessary to be successful in networking. It will be hard for grumpy people to build and maintain many intense connections. You also seek for people who are similar as you are. Birds of a feather flock together! The second point is appreciation. You need to respect others for whom they are and show your appreciation. I’m OK, you’re OK is the right attitude for networkers.
Building your Online Network
Find the right people and let them find you! Do an online assessment and find out what platforms the people you want to get in touch with. Make sure that your profiles are complete and get organized regarding your social presence. You can do that by using services like  XeeMe or  About.Me  where you have all your social platforms listed at one place.
Find groups of interest and provide meaningful content there. Get in discussions with the group members. Do not think about selling or even attempt to sell or advertise there. Find out how the people fit your interests and your goal. After a while, when you feel comfortable about it, send a connection request along side with a personal message. You will also realize that your discussion partners will do the same. The great thing about the social web is that all the information you need is there. You get to know what the people are up to, what businesses they run, what their needs are. Always be polite and be of help for others. Provide them with what they need and show appreciation for what they are contributing to the community – like posts, comment on their posts and share their content with your network. Once you are a full member of the community you will get recommended and second or third degree connections want to connect with you. You have started the ball rolling!
Maintaining Relationships
Keep the most important people on your radar screen! Once you reached a network of a few hundred or even thousand people, it is necessary to get organized. There are people who are more important for you than the others. Put them into lists. Most of the platforms provide you with such a service. If you are on XeeMe you can use the app  S3 Flights, a kind of social spreadsheet for making sure to follow the right people. Go through your lists on a daily basis. Read what your online friends are up to. Engage with them – which means comment, chat, like, re-tweet favourite the content of your interest. Help them getting their message out. Do them a favor whenever you can. 
You will realize they do the same for you. That way you will reach your goals through social networking. 

When in Rome, do as the Romans do

Passport-to-trade2.0-logoI congratulate the team members of the “Passport to Trade 2.0” project. They have done a great job by gathering the right information about business culture and behaviour in several European countries.

We all know the ancient proverb: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” But, do we always stick to this advice? Certainly not, as we often do not know how people of the different countries do. Especially when doing business abroad, it is absolutely necessary to know how to act accordingly in the respective countries and situations.

If you want to do business in Austria, I only can recommend you to read all chapters about the country at the project website There you will find the major pitfalls that might occur when looking for business opportunities and getting in touch with Austrian people.

Being a Swedish immigrant, who has been living in Austria for 40 years, I could not refrain from laughing a few times when reading the text, because I realized how good the description matched my own attitudes, habits, and behaviour. There is a lot of great advice on the website.

In particular, I would suggest to keep the following in mind when building a business relationship with Austrian people:

“Austrians are generally conservative people and are prudent and moderate in their behaviour. They respect perfectionism in all areas of business and private life, and in their approach to work they tend to focus on achieving the task at hand.”

You will find much more information on the website, including topics like business communication and business etiquette in Austria.

Roger Koplenig
Social sig: