July 2013

The world welcomes the #RoyalBaby – thanks to social media

Royal baby image

It amazes me that some brands/businesses are still reluctant to establish a presence on social media. In this day and age? Even the queen is doing it.

Earlier this week, the world was abuzz with the news of the impending birth of the #royalbaby – and no more so than on social networks. As Stephen Fry quipped on Twitter, “Labour has never been so popular,” adding dryly, “My guess is that it will be a baby.”

While the traditional easel was set out at Buckingham Palace announcing the birth of the newest heir to the throne (“Ta da!”), the royal family demonstrated that they are “hip with the times, yo” by posting the news on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Did you even know that the British Monarchy have a Facebook page? Me neither! How thoroughly modern of them.

The image and announcement of the baby’s name, George Alexander Louis, as of 16 hours ago, has been shared 34 116 times, commented on 4366 times, and liked by 95 614 people. I know, right? And that’s just one image on the official British Monarchy page.

Twitter went into overdrive about the birth, with more than 500 000 tweets about the baby being sent before he was even born. Tweets announcing that the Duchess of Cambridge had gone into labour were viewed by 487 million Twitter users – again, before the birth.

I could go on and on with stats like these demonstrating just how great an influence social media platforms have in 2013, but you get the picture. Social media = powerful. If the British Monarchy are talking about labour on Twitter, I guess that tells you all you need to know, really.

Join the party.

Original blog: New Beginnings, 5 July 2013 (Sarah)

On 28 June, a week ago today, I turned 28 – my “crown” birthday, so I’m told, turning 28 on the 28th. Birthdays are strange days for me – days that usually cause me to look at my life and where I am, and see if it’s where I want to be.

When I was little, I thought my life would look quite different when I was 28. There would be a white picket fence, a labrador, and a successful career in the mix. Given that the fruitful career I had in mind involved being a ballerina and a part-time vet (obviously), I think we can safely say that my predictions were a bit off. What I definitely didn’t foresee (even a few months back), was that I would be leaving the safe haven of employment and entering the unchartered territory of self-employment.

The nice thing about starting from scratch is that you can decide exactly what you want to do and how you want to do it. The terrifying thing about starting from scratch… is that you are starting from scratch. It’s all up to you to make something out of nothing. And no one is there to say (in a voice I imagine to be Morgan Freeman’s, for some reason): “This is how it works, young person.”

 

 

So, on Monday, when I joined Liz at Pomegranite, it was with a mixture of excitement and some trepidation. It’s somewhat daunting not having a guaranteed salary each month – but on the flipside, the freedom to create a role you want to fill and work you want to do, is a thrill I am still getting used to. A freedom that I wouldn’t exchange for anything, now that it’s mine.

Taking a moment to contemplate exactly what you want to do and what you want your professional life to look like is, in many ways, similar to looking at your online presence and deciding what – and how – you want to communicate about your brand to the online world. You ask yourself a lot of the same questions.

Who are you, really? (Not a ballerina and a part-time vet, perhaps). What is it that you do? What do you want to do? How does that make you different from others? How can you stand out from the crowd? What story do you want to tell the world?

Creating an online presence may seem like a daunting task – as does starting a new business – but the hard part is getting to the bottom of these questions. Once you have these answers, you have a roadmap for yourself.

The fun part is making it a reality.

Original blog: Embarrassing get-ups, 27 June 2013 (Liz)

So Pomegranite’s social media has taken a dive of late because well, I’ve been working don’t you know! Realizing how time has flown and the gnawing feeling of being left behind is a big shock, especially when I’m supposed to be good at this sort of stuff! But it has given me real insight and shown me exactly how to motivate our offering to potential clients.

Most people either don’t have the expertise or the time to run their social media properly. Like anything worthwhile in life, it takes planning and work.You can tell when something is posted on a Facebook account in a panic or when someone tweets because they feel they ought to say something.

Without focus, efforts come across hollow and unexciting and social media platforms are no place for a brand to wither and die.

Another big shock is going to your own website and realizing how far it is from reality. It’s tough because a website is generally a pretty static platform. You give it a lot of attention when you build it but, before you know it, you, your business, your brand have evolved and what’s on the website is not quite you.

Keeping a website up-to-date can be costly and time consuming but social media provides a bridge to maintain momentum between make-overs.

So neglecting online presence leads to a pretty awkward state of affairs. It’s like only having your childhood wardrobe at your disposal to go to a swanky party (that’s a genuine dream I’ve had): they don’t fit, they don’t suit you anymore and you’re acutely aware that what people see is you but also definitely not, not anymore.

I’m the one with open eyes

Ja, ja laugh it up. While I loved my sunflower aliceband, strutted myself in an over-sized surf t-shirt and wouldn’t be caught dead without my denim bomber jacked (sported here in a nonchalant waist-tie), I’m not that person anymore. What we wear is by no means the sum of what we are. I could still be myself in this ridiculous outfit. But I’d rather not. We take care of how the world sees us in real life. It works the same way online. So throw out your embarrassing wardrobe and get your sexy on!

Original blog: Where the magic happens, 9 May 2013 (Liz/Sarah)

Pomegranite has a new partner. You haven’t heard from her yet because, although she’s resigned, she’s still working out the notice period of her day job. Meetings have been held under streetlights in mackintosh raincoats (even on sunny days), emails have been sent in code (that neither of us understand). I can’t reveal who she is yet, but here’s a post from our mystery operative. 

Where the magic happens

There are a lot of teachers in my family – my mom, my sister, my aunt, my cousin. I even taught for a while in Korea, but that only lasted a year and a half and was more about the travel opportunities than the noble profession of imparting knowledge to small humans.
The great thing about having teachers in the family, though, is that they come home every day with stories about the hilarious/profound/ridiculous things that kids say. I keep telling my mom she should write them all down – I know there’s a book in it somewhere.

While the funny comments are my favourite, it’s a more profound one that has stuck with me. When asked what it means to be brave, one child said, after some contemplation: “It means being really, really scared – but doing it anyway.”

This is how I feel about my next big venture.

When Liz called me a couple months ago with the idea of starting a business together, I was about 98% excited and 2% scared. Ok, it was slightly more than 2%. Not having a guaranteed salary each month? Eeek! Being out there alone in the (for me) uncharted territory of finding new clients and chasing payments and signing contracts? Eish…

But the more I thought about it, the more the positives loomed big and bright, obscuring the niggles of doubt and hesitation.

Being my own boss and in charge of my own time? Yes please! Starting something new and exciting with a business partner I trust and admire? Sounds good! Being autonomous within a growing industry? What’s not to like? Drinking wine at work meetings? Jokes – that never happens…

So, while Liz has got the ball rolling, I have been waiting in the wings, finishing up at my “it-pay-the-bills” job and looking forward to the day I properly join Pomegranite with great excitement and anticipation. I have a feeling that this little business is going to do really well. And I know we’re going to have so much fun building it together.

It won’t be long before I’ve worked out my notice period and I’m ready to join the ranks of brave
entrepreneurs around the world, stepping resolutely out of my comfort zone. After all, I hear that’s where the magic happens.

Original blog: Top 10 search suggestions for ‘What is’, 2 April 2013 (Liz)

It’s 5.31am. I woke up hours ago for no reason at all and cannot convince my mind to relinquish wakefulness. Here’s what I learned about the Internet-searching mass of humanity that we’re a part of while the sky turned to gunmetal grey and the birds tentatively heralded the morning.

While googling something (I’ll never admit exactly what), I used the phrase “what is”. Here are the top 10 suggestions it offered me to complete my question:

1. What is love?
2. What is illuminati?
3. What is my IP?
4. What is global warming?
5. What is instagram?
6. What is the Harlem Shake?
7. What is Social Media?
8. What is marketing?
9. What is stress?
10. What is my IP address?

It seems we’re all a little lost at every level of being human, from the biggest questions about why and how we live to Instagram and the Harlem Shake.

Original blog: Oh me, Oh my, Oh Miko!

Today, I met with Suzi and Pascale from Miko coffee, an originally Belgian coffee brand with two centuries of roasting heritage behind it. Miko has  a Fairtrade brand calledPuro. With the support of their coffee brands, these great gals also run Trees4Schools – an awesome initiative which plants trees and veggie gardens in at-risk schools.

More stories about Miko’s fascinating history soon, including the myth that they had to resort to roasting acorns during the second World War but for now, check out Trees 4 Schools teaching kids how to grow enough food to feed their families in an old tyre.

 

Trees4Schools South Africa from Puro Fairtrade Coffee on Vimeo.

Original blog: Last Leap, 19 March 2013 (Liz)

So this afternoon I’m off to see my friend and artist, Michael Chandler (@MrChandlerHouse) to take a head shot for the website before I share it with the world later today. His beautiful emporium on Church street is a little refuge for me. Check out their website here.

I’ve had some feedback that this shot of my sister and me, with beers in hand isn’t going to cut it. Apparently having more than one person in your head shot is confusing. Personally, I like the mystery.

Liz Fletcher, Pomegranite

Original blog: TAX: Boogie/man nights, 14 March 2013 (Liz)

The lovely @Jen_Thorpe gave me a lead on a tax advisor so I went to go see Michael Rushby of Galbraith Rushby Professional Accountants (how’s that for a name to make you feel like an adult!) today. They’re extending their offices up a storey and down into the basement which makes a visit feel like you’re walking into a huge archaeological excavation. So we went across the road for a delightfully cold cranberry juice.

When I thought of dealing with Pomegranite’s finances, especially tax, I think. “HERE COMES THE BOOGIEMAN!”

Pomegranite tax boogie man

But Michael was so awesome and wise in the mysteries of the dark taxual arts that I came home feeling more like, “Here comes the boogie, man!”

Pomegranite tax boogie man

If you’re a freelancer or a business who need help with tax and scary money stuff, go see Galbraith Rushby. I can’t guarantee they’ll show off their dance moves but they are superheroes at making things simple and they work with radical clients like me. And production companies and stuff.

No platform shoes were harmed during the making of this blog post.