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Social Selling & Digital Predictions: Zoe Sands Interview
An #SMWF Training Course on Social Selling
#SMWF launches Digital Marketing World Forum – Coming to Amsterdam this December
Talking all things social media, consumer generated content & online recommendations with @bazaarvoice at #SMWF
Are Bloggers The Key For Customer Engagement Success?
#SMWF 2015 – In Pictures
#SMWF 2015 Round-up
#SMWF Europe Day 1 round-up; what you might have missed
Brand Embassy launches platform to help big brands meet demand for social customer service.
How News UK ensures its content provokes emotion – whether that’s intrigue, tears or laughter.

Social Selling & Digital Predictions: Zoe Sands Interview


Your Guide to Social Selling

19th November, Kensington, London


Your Guide to Social Selling is a training course brought to you by #SMWF and Social Selling expert, Zoe Sands. We had a chat with Zoe about her expertise in this field and her predictions for digital trends in 2016…


What inspired you to choose social selling as a core specialism?


I’ve chosen social selling as a core specialism because over the past 18 years I’ve been working in digital marketing client side and I’ve seen many trends and technology bubbles emerge over this time. Social Selling is by far the most fascinating for me and the one where I think it has the biggest potential to revolutionise the way we do business today. Back in the late 1990s the Internet revolutionise marketing and I see social selling doing the same thing for sales. It is an exciting time to be on the cusp of a new digital transformation in business. 2016 is going to see social selling become more mainstream and create opportunities for more businesses and individuals.


From your many years as a practitioner I’m sure you have lots of examples of lessons learnt, is there one you can share with us that helps understand the benefits of social selling?


Buyers have never been more informed than they are today. It feels like buyers have all been on accelerated buying training, similar to how sellers are sent on training to hone in on their sales skills. This has forced sellers onto the back foot, those sellers that are successful are those fully utilising social selling. They are listening more online and cultivating relationships enabling them to see opportunities and add value before their peers and competitors. From this I would say my major learning is sellers and marketing need to evolve their practices or risk failure. Social selling, social prospecting, comment marketing and social media are helping sellers and marketers engage with the modern buyer. If you unsure of these tactics then I would advise you seek out training and develop your knowledge in these areas as soon as possible.



What are your predictions for digital marketing trends in 2016?


Great question! I actually write a predictions blog every December, so watch out for this. Here are some of my predictions for 2016 are;


  • Social selling will become more mainstream in 2016. I saw a lot of early adoption of social selling in the tech world. I would expect to see other industries to start to pilot and utilise social selling during 2016.
  • Comment marketing will be on the rise as brands see the value in engaging with individuals on a one to one basis, but don’t confuse this tactic with social selling. Agencies will use this as a revenue stream from those marketers limited with time and resources, who outsource this activity.
  • Vanity websites will become the norm particularly for those businesses that don’t operate an e-commerce or content generate sites. These sites will basically be reference points for prospects and customers to refer to during the buying process, but won’t be the first point of contact. Social Networks will be the new shop front to the world.
  • Employee Advocacy will be more important than brand marketing. I expect to see businesses lowering brand advertising budgets by moving spend across to developing employee advocacy during 2016.
  • Video will continue to be on the rise. It is only a matter of time before LinkedIn becomes a video profile rather than a written profile. Better brush on those video skills for 2016.



What skills do you think a successful sales person needs in the digital age?


The skills a successful sales person needs in this digital age are as follows:


  • Communication – learning appropriate and timely engagement online is essential. Understanding what triggers can be used to engage a conversation and start to build a relationship online.
  • Writing – a modern sales person needs to hone his/her writing skills for comment marketing and blogging. It is essential that the sellers develop this skill, it is not enough to rely on marketing to generate content, the savvy sellers generates his/her own content and share expertise and knowledge freely
  • Personal branding – an understanding of how to build a personal brand in line with the business brand and utilise this to develop and nurture relationships is the nirvana. It is not easy and it takes time to develop, those that invest in personal branding will reap the rewards in the future.
  • Social listening – it is essential that sellers learn and know how to perform social listening. This is a perfect way to understand prospects and build up a decision making unit before engaging.
  • Relationship building – adding value and being seen as a trusted advisor online. The prospect needs to feel safe in the knowledge that he/she can do business with the seller. Building a trusted advisor status in line with a personal brand that mirrors the sellers online and offline persona is very important.
  • Technologist – keep abreast of social media and utilising the appropriate technology tools to help progress sales. Being adaptable and embracing digital transformation is critical. Strong expertise in LinkedIn, Twitter and other relevant business social networks will give the modern day seller a key advantage over others.


Watch this video on “Selling in The Digital Age”. It has some interesting thoughts on how selling has changed.

Selling in The Digital Age from Red Sky Vision on Vimeo.


When you’re not training or busy with digital marketing, how do you like to spend your time?


I love doing so many things in my spare time. My passions are a great driving experience and F1, shoes of course, my cat and exercising. Ask me about these when we meet. I believe in a healthy body healthy mind. This year I took up triathlons even though I’m petrified of swimming, a challenge I’m working on overcoming. I think it is working though, as I came second in my category on my second triathlon, so pleased with that result. Let’s see what 2016 has in store for me in terms of progressing my triathlon times and techniques. I’m planning on getting a new lighter bike, so that should shave 10 minutes off my time. I regularly take part in my local ParkRun, that’s either participating or volunteering.  I also love yoga and do as much as I can and go to the gym when the weather is not that great. And at the weekend exploring more of England’s hidden treasures with my partner is great, we really like visiting London and the local national trust properties in Buckinghamshire.



Your Guide to Social Selling takes place in London on 19th November 2015. Early-bird prices are currently available for a limited time, make sure you grab yours before they’re all gone! Register today

An #SMWF Training Course on Social Selling

(c)iStock.com/nopporn suntornpasert

Your Guide to Social Selling

Social selling is a key marketing skill to have if you want to become a leader in your market. Buyers are becoming increasingly more informed via social networks and sellers are unable to reach this new generation cold – they need to do more to engage.

Buyers use the information they can easily gain online and use it to make smart buying decisions. This is a change in behaviour for buyers, meaning sales and marketing strategies also need to change to keep up.

Focusing on the challenges and issues facing B2B sales and marketing – Join us for a one day course with experienced social seller, Zoe Sands, on 19th November 2015 in central London.


How does one get close to the buyer?

Sellers need to adopt new approaches and utilise the online channels; social networks and social media to build awareness, engagement, connections and trust and leverage their business relationships. Without this, online interaction sellers will find it increasingly difficult to sell.


Who is responsible for social selling?

This is most definitely a team effort between sales and marketing working through the buying funnel together. Those businesses effectively connecting sales and marketing to create new business and retain existing customers will become leaders their markets.

(c) blog.glider.com

(c) blog.glider.com


Course outline

  • What is social selling and why it is important to implement a strategy, plan and programme
  • Social Selling Tips
  • Social Selling Tools
  • Creating a social selling programme


Tutor Bio

Zoe Sands is an experienced digital marketer and social seller. She started her digital marketing career in 1997 by launching Hyundai’s first website in the UK, since then her career has spanned the motor industry, non-for-profit and the IT sector where she worked for Cisco and Juniper Networks and led EMEA Digital Marketing. She was the driving force for social selling at Juniper Networks and is a leading expert in this field. In 2015 she decided to leave her corporate role to focus her efforts on building up her consultancy to enable more businesses to connect sales and marketing through social selling and social media. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and on Twitter @ZoeSands and @zoe9



Early-bird prices are currently available for a limited time, make sure you grab yours before they’re all gone! Register today.




Want to learn more about digital marketing? #DMWF will be taking place this December 1st – 2nd in Amsterdam, with further shows TBC in Singapore, London and North America. Receive 20% off a 2-day delegate pass when you book a place on Your Guide to Social Selling. For more information please visit: http://www.digitalmarketing-conference.com/amsterdam/

#SMWF launches Digital Marketing World Forum – Coming to Amsterdam this December

The team behind #SMWF, the premier event series for digital and social marketing professionals, is excited to announce the launch of #DMWF – Digital Marketing World Forum, offering two days of top level speakers and insight from across the marketing arena, arriving in Amsterdam this December 1st-2nd.

With the growth of social into a wider marketing strategy and the reflection of this in marketing roles, the extension of the #SMWF conference series to fully incorporate all aspects of digital and social marketing within #DMWF represents a natural evolution of the 7 year conference series to maintain it’s status the home of high level thought leadership within the marketing industry.

#DMWF brings together the worldwide digital marketing community to tackle the challenges that the digital future presents, covering every aspect of the digital and social marketing landscape, marketing technologies and available platforms, with themes including:

#ContentMarketing – Distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract a clearly defined audience.

#CustomerExperience  – Creating customer engagement and loyalty for brands via interaction and storytelling, whilst matching the brand experience to the product on offer.

#DMTech – The newest and best in digital marketing technology and how to implement platforms to provide a great customer experience.

#Data – Transforming data into usable insights via analytics, and the platforms available to do this.


#SMWF – Covering every aspect of Social Media Marketing, including; influencer marketing, storytelling, reputation and crisis management, social media listening and video.

#Commerce – Closing the gap between sales and marketing teams, with the best approach for ecommerce strategies and benefitting from the evolving digital landscape.

#DMWF will be taking place this December 1st-2nd in Amsterdam, with further shows TBA in Singapore, London and North America.

Take your opportunity to get involved today by registering for your pass or getting in touch with the team.




Talking all things social media, consumer generated content & online recommendations with @bazaarvoice at #SMWF

We caught up with bazaarvoice’s VP of EMEA Marketing Prelini Udayan-Chiechi @prelini at Social Media World Forum Europe 2015 to chat about her views on the future of social media, the ever expanding and influential world of consumer generated content, and online recommendations. After creating a substantial buzz on the #SMWF hashtag with her keynote presentation on day one of #SMWF “Consumer Economy in The Digital Era”, we sat down with her to discuss the new vision for the digital consumer, and get some fantastic advice on social media from an industry pro. Read More

Are Bloggers The Key For Customer Engagement Success?

Guest post: By Rotem Dahan, Community Director at BlogsRelease, and Dani Finkelstein, Co Founder, BlogsRelease.

Customer engagement was a hot topic at this year’s #SMWF Europe. With speakers including Paul Gill from Oxfam, Josep Hernandez from Mondelēz International, Will McInnes from Brandwatch, Patrick van Straalen from Philips and many more who discussed attracting, engaging and listening on social media. With more and more marketers turning to the benefits of digital to increase their customer engagement, it’s fast becoming the truth that a company who is invisible on social media is almost invisible to their potential customers.

Read More

#SMWF 2015 – In Pictures

We hope you enjoyed this years #SMWF Europe 2015! After two days of high level debate and networking we’d like to thank all of our 70+ speakers, sponsors and attendees who helped make this year’s event the best yet! Here are our photo highlights from both days, and some of our favourite tweeted images from our speakers and attendees.


  • Keynote Audience at #SMWF
  • Macon Phillips and Ambassador Matthew Barzun on the #SMWF Keynote stage.
  • Ambassador Barzun on the #SMWF Keynote Stage
  • Macon Phillips at #SMWF
  • Crisis Control #SMWF Learning Lab with Crisp Thinking
  • Crisis Control #SMWF Learning Lab with Crisp Thinking
  • Alper Eroglu of Unilever speaks on the #SMWF keynote stage.
  • #SMWF Networking Area
  • #SMWF Networking Area
  • Crisis Control #SMWF Learning Lab with Crisp Thinking
  • #SMWF Networking Area
  • Digital Marketing Learning Lab "Protecting Your Business's Digital Identity" at #SMWF
  • Brandwatch with Ambassador Barzun at their stand at #SMWF
  • Keynote Audience at #SMWF
  • Keynote Audience at #SMWF
  • #SMWF Sponsors
  • IMG_0173
  • Crisis Control #SMWF Learning Lab with Crisp Thinking
  • Keynote Audience at #SMWF
  • Simon Veaney from American Express speaks on the #SMWF keynote stage.
  • Simon Veaney from American Express speaks on the #SMWF keynote stage.
  • The new trends, platforms and tools panel at #SMWF
  • Prelini Chiechi of Bazaar Voice speaks on the #SMWF Keynote stage.
  • Keynote Audience at #SMWF
  • Brandwatch at #SMWF
  • Tom Ball snaps one of his 100 Selfies at #SMWF
  • #SMWF Networking Area

Read More

#SMWF 2015 Round-up

#SMWF Europe 2015 wrapped up this evening after two action packed days of top level debate, discussion and networking inside London’s Vinopolis.

Day 1 saw American Express’ Simon Veaney take to the #SMWF keynote stage to discuss “Paid Amplification vs. Organic Growth”, exploring different styles and approaches to growth within both paid and organic growth, and the different ways to utilise math, testing and optimisation to promote and distribute content. Read More

#SMWF Europe Day 1 round-up; what you might have missed


#SMWF Europe kicked off in London’s Vinopolis Monday June 8th where marketing professionals from around the globe joined to discover, engage with and discuss all things social media and digital marketing.

It took just 33 minutes before our hashtag #SMWF began trending in the UK and for that we have you to thank!

Read More

Brand Embassy launches platform to help big brands meet demand for social customer service.

LONDON / PRAGUE – JUNE 8, 2015 – Today, Brand Embassy, an award winning digital customer service technology firm, announced the launch of their new customer service platform. Brand Embassy’s cloud-based SaaS brings digital customer service channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email, live chat and discussion forums into one interface and then uses a variety of parameters like post influence and topic to intelligently route requests to the most relevant customer service agent. Brand Embassy also announces it has already signed up Vodafone, T-Mobile and GE Money for its platform.

As the global market leader in telco social customer service software, Brand Embassy has seen a shift in the way some of the world’s largest brands like Vodafone approach customer service. When demand is low, social media management tools that capture a live stream of brand mentions are suitable for social customer service. Marketing managers can act as the liaison between requests made on social and contact centre agents. But with even the slightest increase in demand the whole thing falls apart.

A 2014 study by McKinsey found, e-mail and telephonic voice have fallen from over 80% to about 60% of the telecoms communications portfolio over the past five years, while time spent on social networks has doubled. When consumers do use their phones, only about 20% of the time is for talking – down from over 60% just five years ago.

 “We’ve seen a major change in the way our customers want to communicate with us. They demand more than just marketing on social media, they want customer service. We believe it’s our job to deliver that exceptional service. That’s why we’ve invested in customer service technology from Brand Embassy, and together we’re well on our way to achieving our goals.” says Phil Wilson, Social Media Communication Manager at Vodafone UK.

“Customers already have cutting edge technology in their pockets – its businesses who need to catch up, customers aren’t willing to wait on hold anymore to get customer service. They want to communicate with brands the same way they communicate with friends – on social media. It’s just easier.” says Vit Horky, co-founder and CEO of Brand Embassy.

The many-to-many nature of social media creates a conversation that can get very complex, very quickly. Brand Embassy understands the complexity of a social thread and intelligently creates, prioritizes and routes requests to the most relevant person – everything from an email-turned-angry-Facebook post to a simple ‘thanks’ on Twitter is captured and appropriately assigned.

  • Integrated CRM gives agents real time customer data to provide a more personal and relevant customer experience


  • Intelligent Workflow identifies and sorts requests based on post influence, topics mentioned, language and source of origin, a critical feature for operations at scale


  • To Bee Done List automatically creates tickets from complicated social threads so agents don’t have to worry about missing an individual issue or question within a single post


  • Knowledge base allows agents to share information and save time with easily customizable predefined answers


“Our technology isn’t just a glorified Google alert for social media – it’s much smarter than that.” adds Horky.

About Brand Embassy

Brand Embassy (www.brandembassy.com) is a digital customer service technology company that makes it easy for brands to be loved by today’s impatient social and mobile customers. Launched in 2011, Brand Embassy’s SaaS is now trusted by over 100 enterprise clients like Vodafone, T-Mobile, Samsung and GE Money. By unifying all digital customer service channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email, live chat, forums and self-service into one Social Customer Ecosystem customer service becomes efficient, personal and scalable.

Brand Embassy will be speaking in the #SMWF Keynote Stage at 3.30pm today. 

Media Contact

Vit Horky

Co-founder and CEO of Brand Embassy

tel: +420 731 162 905

email: horky@brandembassy.com

How News UK ensures its content provokes emotion – whether that’s intrigue, tears or laughter.

For content provider News UK social media has had a huge impact on what and how and what it produces for its readers. The shift in its business has seen big changes as consumers become publishers in their own right – so is it change without risk? We interviewed News UK’s creative content director Tiffanie Darke to find out more. Having worked on The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Express and The Observer her journalism background is extensive. In her latest role she heads up the new Native Advertising Unit for News UK, covering The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun. Read More

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