Heidi's Blog

In this blog, I share my thoughts and inspirations on social strategy, the industry, the people and more. I hope you will enjoy it and share your reflections too.

WIN Reflections

After taking time to reflect on three days in beautiful Rome surrounded by 950 thinkers, dreamers, doers and in-general amazing professional women from around the world. I will share my reflections.  In the last years I have somewhat limited my participation in gender-based forums and yet, I see and feel the value of them when there.  I simply wish more men could experience the same profound impact of connection and inspiration, while talking solutions for sustainability, profitability and growth.  In effort to focus, keep in mind this is not a summary of the WIN Conference as a whole, but my reflections as a global social strategist. …

Learning Styles and Social Strategy

I made a promise to myself recently to be more true to that which I teach: the importance of learning, fun and visual communication.  These are all elements of evolving as a social strategist.  Searching for the best route to clarity: communicating complex concepts in easy to understand forms.  Often when dealing with the global element of my work, verbal language and culture differences bring out the importance of seeking alternate approaches to achieving clarity.  As a result I have plunged into learning as much as I can about new models for learning and teaching.  Personally I am both a visual and a kinesthetic learner, so I am really enjoying this process.

TIAW World of Difference 100 Award

Heidi Forbes Öste Recognized for 


The International Alliance for Women honor 100 Awardees at 

Global Forum on October 27

Heidi Forbes Öste, Global Social Strategist, 2BalanceU AB, has been selected by The International Alliance for Women (TIAW) as a recipient of the 2011 TIAW World of Difference 100 Awards. Along with fellow award recipients, Heidi will be recognized October 27, 2011 as part of the TIAW Global Forum at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC.

The 2011 awards recognize 100 achievers from 27 countries for their efforts in advancing the economic empowerment of women locally, regionally or worldwide. …

Social Strategy for NGOs

Presented at the Global Summit of Women in Istanbul 7 May 2011.

Twitter for Event Promotion

Recently I have been asked to provide some twitter tips to event organizers that I advise.  I thought it might be worthwhile sharing as this seems to be a common question.

First, Do you have a twitter id for your company? If so make sure you share it (widget for that at http://twitter.com/about/resources).  If not, you should. Keep it short like @BEbiz (short for Big Event Business) so that it is easy to re-tweet (RT) - share and spread. That account should tweet updates on speakers booked, events or interviews leading up the event, relative events and content, live statements at the event, RT others tweets about the event and related issues and post event comments as well as content related to the topic and people involved. …

You and Your Avatar

After two very real face to face events in the last month with completely contrasting groups, I am struck by the challenges and the opportunities they present.  My peers come from a highly technical world .  My clients and students come from two communities that are vastly different in their technical capacity and access to technology (for economic, education, cultural and infrastructure reasons). In one they are traditional senior leadership who are resistant to change.  In the other they are eager, often young, entrepreneurs and business students from both developing and developed markets.   …

Ah ha moment: Why Social Strategy?

Playing with some new tools to communicate the basics of why social strategy. Hope you enjoy this one. It is the very first of a coming series to accompany other interactive content.

#SxSW Social Media Offline

Ted Rubin said it well, as we sat for a coffee in the Hilton with the buzz of South by Southwest (#SxSW) moved around us.  "South-by is like Social Media face to face." Everyone had a twitter handle @ and a hash tag # to find them and what they do.  Celebrities and influencers have "followers", "friends" and "connections" visible in their entourages and their VIP access.  The refueling stations were gathering spaces for re-caffeinating bodies and charging multiple devices.  Contacts shared by the Bump App and new friends were made by bumping as you found space to sit for panels.  There was an App for everything, predominantly for iOS and Android (Apple iPhone and Google's development platforms). …

Measure Relationships: Micro-Engagement with Macro-Impact

ROI of Engagement and the value of relationships is no new conversation.  What is new is how we develop and maintain the relationships, especially as leaders.  In developing leadership seminars for the new social paradigm, we came across the same challenge of measurement but looked at new solutions.  "Quick and dirty" ROI measured from campaigns and their impact is not relevant or feasible when talking about social leadership.  Unlike a short term campaign or solution it is a long term adjustment to culture and approach to communications.  

Finding the tools that can help us measure more effectively are a start.  …

Social Implications of Mobile Apps

massimoSometimes it is important to dig deeper into how things work.  As children we disassemble things or dissect them for better understanding of what we are really dealing with.  Last week I chose to immerse myself in such an experience provided by the Big Nerd Ranch's Europe campus at Kloster Eberbach.  Okay, so the name speaks for itself, and the class was iOS programming (iPhone/iPad Apps). Having become a true adopter of both devices, my curiosity got the best of me. I re-discovered my inner geek, and renewed my respect for programming, after 15 years of strategy.

You may wonder what this has to do with social strategy.  …

8 Critical Elements of Social and Location Based: Reflections from #XMediaLab

The Xmedia Lab in Malmö on Friday with a focus on Location Based we were treated to some great speakers with relevant insight.  Here are some of my take away reflections put in the social context.  Thank you to all of the great speakers for sharing your insight.

INFRASTRUCTURE: Johan P Bang, MD Future Position X emphasized that without the continual build out of infrastructure the effectivity of location based tools will remain confined to highly developed areas.  It location based tracking must be integrated into all new projects - from city planning to building construction and telecommunications.  …

5 for 2011: Walk the Talk to the Finish

I admit, I have always been a little impatient with technology.  Somehow I was born with the “when” gene not the “if”.  It has served me well in deciding where to live, what path to choose and the methodology to get there.  As one friend so aptly told me, “you are one of those people that has to swim across the river with the rope to determine where the bridge will be placed.”  I admit, there were times, when the current was too strong and I swam back to safety in order to survive. I realize I have had the luxury of a safe shore to return to.  For the most part, my tenacity (others might call me “stubborn”) eventually got me to the other side.  …

Perspective Without Connection

camelFeeling the weary road warrior (and I know I am far from the worst), I try to seek perspective from that which I experience. In the last couple of months it has been everything from Silicon Valley and the network of industry specialists in social commerce to Kosovo and discussions on social enterprises and change agents to family gatherings in New England, to workshops for leaders in US cable, to local (Malmö, Sweden) discussions on entrepreneurship and social leadership to Abu Dhabi to discover opportunities for knowledge sharing and advising on how social strategy can be used.  My head is spinning, my heart is full and my body is worn out from flying cheap seats and changing time zones.  …

Did You Mean What I Heard?

Misunderstanding is common when we speak freely without forethought. I am referring not just to what we say, but how we say it and to whom we say it to. We are taught to treat others as we wish to be treated, but in actuality, we must treat them the way they wish to be treated. In the global social paradigm we cannot assume that words, phrases or context will translate. We need to know what we are talking about well enough to re-form it to our audience.

In cross-cultural communications that is a constant challenge but also a gift. For in this instance, it is assumed that we are coming from two different perspectives. …

Social in Kosovo

Listen to this delightful local Swing band, Zig Zag, that played at the closing gala for The 1st International Conference on Women's Entrepreneurship in Kosovo as you read.  I had the great honor and pleasure to be invited to speak on Social Entrepreneurship last week in Pristine by the Mirlinda Kusari of the She-Era organization. This conference was ten years in the making, and much needed boost for the Balkans and Eastern Europe. I came away from the experience both inspired and reminded of perspective.  This is the gift I receive whenever I participate in any capacity building programs in developing markets, that returns my social investment tenfold.

Authentic Leaders are the Future

I stumbled across this video as I was doing some research for our upcoming BOOST (Bolder Organizations Optimize Social Tools) program. BOOST is developed to train leaders in authentic leadership for the new social paradigm. Buzz words aside, we are talking about awareness, acceptance, passion, translated with clarity in a communicable format that works within the confines of social tools and is presented by the leader themselves. This short piece produced by Harvard in August is a beautiful validation of the efforts we are making. Listening to Charlene Li talk of Open Leadership again provided further affirmation of the need.

Reflections on Rise of Social Commerce #rsc10

Here are some my takeaways from the Altimeter Group’s first event, The Rise of Social Commerce in Palo Alto. Before discussing the presentations, I have a few personal reflections. Face time is so critical. Having conversations with like-minded peers is empowering, validating and challenging all at once. Having the opportunity to directly say out loud “thanks for the retweet” with a smile rather than a :) , gave me particular pleasure. The quality of participants and the genuine passion for the subject of the new social paradigm was impressive. It was a pleasure meeting you all. I look forward to continuing the conversation. …

Lessons Resonate in Images

  The avatar we create or image we post is the profile we portray for the masses that learn and process information visually. Why are we not be more mindful of that when we post?  Of course, this is logical, and we hear over an over that images are more interesting to look at than text.  Our mothers advised that you never get a second chance to make a first impression.  When was the last time you looked at your profile picture?  Is your logo up to date?  Does it say anything about your business, or is it just a fancy way of writing the name?  "A picture speaks a thousand words."  Imagine that.  …

The Rise of Video as a Social Tool

I was very inspired by watching this recent TED talk by founder Chris Anderson.  It speaks volumes to the importance of presence, awareness and the power of video sharing.  I have recently been working on a collaboration with two very talented individuals for leadership seminars to touch on just this.  With careful preparation, the delivery of complex messages can spread and grow.  Not everyone is comfortable in the spotlight, but many have stories to share.  Authenticity and Clarity in our stories, messages, word choice, objectives, and the impact of our non-verbal cues and as well as props usage can have an immense impact.  …

Hot Spots for Social

Okay, so I will admit it.  Sometimes I get to wishing that I was in Northern California enjoying being part of the Valley's pace, the face to face gatherings of like minds, the buzz of Social.  After all, I am not just a geek, but a people person at heart.  I am looking forward to taking part in the Rise of Social Commerce event hosted by Altimeter Group in Palo Alto.  I hope to get my social strategy community face to face and California fix there.  That is not to say there is nothing happening here.  The Öresund region is alive and buzzing as well.  Especially with organizations enabling collaborations like

Discover the Art of Social Strategy (©2007, 2BalanceU AB)