September 2014

Five reasons why I love Instagram

Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms – particularly in South Africa. And I just love it.

Are you on it? Because you should be. Here are five reasons why it’s creeping into my heart.

1, With Instagram filters, even your driver’s license photo looks good. True story.

2. The character limit is quite generous, and sometimes the captions are even lovelier than the images. There is something about the artsy vibe of Instagram that tends to inspire people to think of more creative captions. Being a words person, I sort of love this about a visually-driven platform.

3. You can be inspired by such a wide range of posts and people to follow. No matter what time of day I check, the following are always in my feed: incredible travel destinations, awesome fitness inspiration, beautiful poetry (tip: follow tylerknott – seriously. Just do it.), and little windows into the lives of my friends.

4. The short video feature – just enough to entertain you, not long enough to get boring.

5. While you may get a kick out of following celebrities on Instagram and getting a first-hand snapshot of their “real” lives (once they’ve been selectively filtered and cropped), it’s the rare glimpses into reality that I love most. Case in point: Anna Kendrick. And photos like this one, which is captioned: “I would just like to remind everyone of the reality of the situation.”

anna kendrick

You can follow me @skgurney and Liz on @123_liz_is_me

The importance of a dance break

Dancing is rarely associated with office culture except, perhaps, in the regrettable case of Christmas parties when a few sad strings of tinsel and too much free booze compel people to reprise their famous air guitar solos.

But it doesn’t have to be like that. At the Pomegranite office (which we share with the awesome Agriprotein crowd) we take fun dance breaks seriously. It’s not about dancing well and it’s not about looking cool (as the story of how it started shows). Bored of working on our accounts, I decided to recreate this amazing music video:

It was so good that Sarah had to take a photo (everybody cheering me is just out of frame).

dance break

Spitting image right?

Since then, we’ve been cranking up a great tune, having a singalong and moving our bodies. It’s about getting out of your head and back into your groovy body for a little bit. The benefits are SO worth it:

  • getting up and moving gives your back and stiff muscles a break
  • the music (and laughter) help clear your mind and improve your mood
  • those couple of minutes are transportative – you return to your desk renewed
  • having some fun and (most importantly) not taking yourself seriously bring your office mates closer.

So go, turn up something you can’t resist and get on down!

Five tips for a strong LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn may not be the sexiest social media platform, but it’s a really useful one. Apart from connecting you to thousands of professionals and potential clients, employers, employees, and/or associates, it helps significantly with your Google ranking as well as giving you or your business an added sense of legitimacy.

Here are five tips for creating a stronger LinkedIn profile:

1. Use an avatar – and keep it professional

Having a profile picture on your LinkedIn profile is crucial. Not only does the default avatar make your profile look incomplete, but LinkedIn will automatically move your profile to the bottom of the search results. Adding a professional photo gives you a definite advantage – that’s the key, here. A bikini beach pic, or you in your wedding dress, is not going to do you any favours on this particular platform, unfortunately.

2. Add media to your profile

Do you know what the three fastest growing apps of 2013 were? Vine, Flickr and Instagram – all visual platforms using photos and video. The “visual” is more important than ever, and your LinkedIn profile is no exception. Adding elements like photos, presentations and PDFs will make your profile stand out.

3. Have a strong summary

Your profile summary should be strong, punchy, and full of key words related to your industry that people are likely to search for. When someone clicks on your profile, they want to get a clear idea of who you are and what you have to offer within a few seconds. The moment they have to trawl through a jumbled concoction of your work history and qualifications to construct a picture of you, you will lose them.

4. Publish blog posts

LinkedIn allows you to share links – and the best way to take advantage of this is to share links to your own blog/business news feed. That way you establish yourself as a leader in the field, someone with thoughts and opinions on best practices, someone who offers valuable tips and information. This is content marketing 101.

5. Endorsements and recommendations

Endorsements are great on LinkedIn – they are very easy to give and it’s therefore quite easy to rack up a nice collection of them. Even more valuable, though, are written recommendations from previous employers or colleagues. While these take more time and energy than a click of the mouse (which is all an endorsement takes), they are worth asking for.

Five random things heard in the Pomegranite office

When you spend a significant amount of time in the same place with the same people, ridiculous things are bound to tumble out of someone’s mouth at some point. What makes this even more interesting, is that the Pomegranite office is not just home to us pomegranites (Liz and Sarah), but also to the staff of Agriptrotein, an innovative, award-winning start-up that develops protein sources for the agricultural sector and who happen to do it with maggots.

There are several lines that divide the office: tea drinkers | coffee drinkers, maggot wranglers | online presence magicians, men | women, those who think it’s hilarious that people think I’m the Agriprotein secretary because I’m the first desk you see when you walk in | me.

Here are five quotes from life in our office:

1. Sarah, busy building a website:

What do you call this thing that your tabs are in on the internet?

2. Source remains anonymous for obvious reasons:

Yes, they have a bootleg. Don’t tell my wife, all my jeans are dirty and she hates it when I borrow hers.

3. One of our excited clients:

OK great, where do we start with the website, fonts?

4. In a client workshop:

So it’s going to be maggot biltong, essentially.

5. Liz getting teased for her occasional make-up use:

Going on a date or seeing a client?

 

Image source

Are you a social media addict?

Question: How many of you check Facebook, Instagram or Twitter before you even get out of bed in the morning? No? How about before you wash your face in the morning?

I am definitely guilty of this at least two or three days in the week. And that’s only because I actively stop myself from doing it on the other days.

Social media addiction is a real thing. I’m pretty sure I have it.

In a couple of weeks I’m going to Botswana for a whole week and do you want to know one of the things I’m looking forward to most? Sipping red wine in the bush under the stars? Um, YES. But also: no phone signal, no internet connection. An enforced break from all things social media. I can’t wait.

You may say that I could just give myself this break in the land of connectivity too – what’s stopping me except my own lack of self-control right? But the problem is, it’s my job now. I have linked myself inextricably to social networking sites.

Yip. That’s my story. It’s legit ok?

And I’m not complaining – I do love it. It gives me such a kick to watch clients’ followings and reach grow each week on various social media platforms, and to keep an eye on the latest platforms and trends. It’s all changing at a rapid pace and it’s pretty damn exciting to be involved in something like this. But, at times, it does get a bit much.

Do you know how many times I’ve checked Twitter while writing this post? I’m not going to tell you. Because it’s a few times too many.

I know I’m addicted. But I’m not alone.

Apparently an estimated 350 million social media users suffer from Facebook addiction syndrome. On average, people between the ages of 20 and 29 spend a full two hours a day on social media. 31% of people admit to checking social media while on the toilet. Yip. 31%.

Yes, these stats are a little scary. But, looking at my own life, I take solace in the fact that:

a)   My friends do not refer to me by my Twitter or Instagram handle. It’s not that dire yet.

b)   I don’t yet plan my day around the amount of battery I have left on my phone.

c)   A notification doesn’t bring me more happiness than a smile from a real live person. And that’s a win for real life, right?

d)   Being out of range for signal and internet connection for a whole week makes me excited rather than panicked.

So I can’t be that bad, right? There’s hope for me yet?

One last question: How many times did you check social media while reading this article? Mmmm. That’s what I thought.

Image source. You can buy this print here