This week we feature an interview with Matthias Lufkens, former social media director for the World Economic Forum in Davos, who tells us about the organization’s use of social media.  We caught up with him at PRSA’s Digital Impact, where he was one of the keynote presenters.  Over the next few week’s we’ll be sharing more interviews from the conference.

Matthias has several takeaways from his presentation:

1. The number of visitors to your own website is less and less important; organizations now have to be everywhere, on all the social sites.

2. Start by sharing riveting content.

3. Being active in social media means ceding control and letting people comment and share your content.

4. Create communities and then engage and lead them.

He has an additional piece of advice for communicators: look at online communities as your friends and that will change the way you build relationships with them.

Joe cites a KPMG study on how much social engagement activity emanated from Davos this year and how social media really opened the gathering to the world.

Gini calls out Matthias’ comment about having a small team and says with social media, a few people who know what they’re doing can accomplish a lot.  She doesn’t agree with his point about traffic your site being less relevant and believes social channels should drive people back to your site.

Martin mentions Matthias’ point about thinking of customers as friends and having that inform the way we communicate with them by avoiding the hard sell.

Want to meet us in person? Gini, Joe and I are going to be attending the PRSA Counselors Academy conference in New Orleans – Gini’s a keynote presenter, Joe’s doing a roundtable and I’m conference chair. We’re recording a show at the conference and doing more interviews with some of the smartest entrepreneurs in PR.  And everyone who attends gets a copy of Gini’s new book, Marketing in the Round.  Hope to see you there.


Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoe Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

This week’s episode was produced by Kristine Simpson.


  1. I totally agree with Gini that the number of visitors to your webpage is still significant because it’s not just about these people visiting your webpage as such but more about the information around it (where did they come from, why, what did they looked at, etc.). I think this information is still valuable as it gives you a little bit of insight into the nature of your stakeholders as well as the effectiveness of your other offline and online efforts.

    That being said, I have noticed that some companies (particularly the smaller ones) don’t even bother to create their own webpages and use Facebook instead. It may be as a result of their lack of finances of other resources, or it can also reflect the behavior of their stakeholders who don’t bother to go to the companies’ webpages anymore. We will see if this trend will continue.

    I like Mr. Lufkens’ approach of treating our customers as your friends. Adapting this approach not only humanizes your customers but also humanizes your company in the eyes of your customer. I think this strategy is more common in the USA and Canada than it is in the UK or Europe where the “power” distance between the customer and a company is still evident even on social media (my dissertation actually focuses on the differences of how public relations practitioners use social media in culturally similar countries so I could talk about that for ages. :D)

    Anyway, I can’t wait for other interviews!


  1. Social media advice from the trenches « Social Media in Public Communication

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