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From zero to hero: the power of boosting

Establishing your brand’s social media presence takes a whole load of effort. By the time you figure out what you’re giving your audience and what you want them to give you, you can be pretty exhausted. So when it comes to considering a boosting budget, it can often seem like a task for another day. So to convince you how powerful social media tools can be we thought we’d share a recent Facebook success story.

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It all starts somewhere (the reminder of a Facebook memory)

By Liz

I have mixed feelings about those Facebook memory posts. You know the ones, they appear first thing in the morning announcing, with confetti, “on this day four years ago…” and a photo of you in the arms of an ex-boyfriend that makes you cringe inside. That’s no way to start the day. It’s like running into your old self on the street, a twin you enthusiastically wearing your old clothes, obliviously making your old mistakes. You’re confronted with the person you were, a person who has changed. Mostly, I wanted to drag that historical twin into the nearest doorway and pack her away into a cupboard.

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My five favourite things about Hootsuite

When I first used Hootsuite, it felt like I was sitting at the control panel of a spaceship. So many columns, so many posts! What if I end up like George Clooney in Gravity!? But once you’ve got the hang of it – which doesn’t take long at all with this helpful beginners’ guide – you’ll never want to go back. It makes managing multiple social media accounts a breeze, but even for just one account, it helps you run your social media better.  I still feel like I’m in spaceship, but now it’s looking down at all the busy planets of Facebookland, the Twitterverse and LinkedInland.

Here are my five favourite things about Hootsuite:

  1. You can manage it all from one window.

    Research has shown that 42% of adults are using multiple social networks so your brand had better be there too. Hootsuite is essentially a dashboard which supports social network integration for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare, MySpace, WordPress, TrendSpottr and Mixi (I’ve never heard of the last two either) without you having to hop from window to window.

  2. You can schedule posts.

    This cultivates the practice of planning your content which is crucial to good social media management. Being able to schedule posts means that you have to think ahead: figure out what’s coming up, what you want to highlight, what kinds of interaction you want to foster and what content you want to share. This awareness gives your content structure, saves you time and completely eliminates the dreaded morning feeling of, “Oh crap, what am I going to post today?” which generally ends up being something lame, which helps no one.

  3. You can see action quickly and easily.

    All of your notifications show up on your dashboard so you can keep track of interactions immediately. You can also read through all of the feeds of all of your platforms in one place. Not only that, you can see your private messages, set up lists and see what you’ve scheduled.

  4. You can dip in whenever you like.

    While you can schedule your posts ahead of time, there is nothing rigid about the platform; you can jump in to share something spontaneous or join a conversation at any point.

  5. You can shorten URLs in a flash.

    For the times when characters need conserving, Hootsuite has a built-in URL shortener. Simple, quick, easy.

Quite simply, Hootsuite helps you work smarter. It’s integral to efficient working methods like How to Spend Only 10 Minutes Per Day on Twitter.

Twitter_time

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

Social media talks at schools

Whether they’re permitted to be or not, the fact is that a lot of school kids are on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and SnapChat. Remember how you used to get in trouble because you would spend all day with your friends at school and then come home and talk to them for hours on the phone? Well, social media is the new THAT.

It’s a great way for them to stay connected with their friends all day long, sharing photos, videos laughs and making plans.

The thing is, when you’re digitally surrounded by your friends, it’s easy to forget that these platforms are not safe little social bubbles – they are public platforms. And they can get kids into a lot of trouble, sometimes even when intentions are entirely innocent.

While school learners are digital natives and are very comfortable with these digital platforms, their parents and teachers, as digital immigrants, are not always as comfortable. They sometimes avoid having the all-important “how to be safe on social media” conversations with their kids because they don’t understand the platforms themselves or are unwilling to venture into these murky waters – so where do they even start?

Pomegranite offers social media talks at schools (both primary and high schools) which can be tailored to address the issues specific to your school. For example, would you prefer a talk on bullying on social media or how to stay safe on public platforms – or both?

I recently gave a talk to the grade 4s and 5s at Auckland Park Preparatory School about social media and bullying, and it was a great success. The girls were FULL of questions at the end, and one little girl even put up her hand and told me she loved my nail polish. Winning!

Here’s what their teacher, Vicky Hyland, had to say:

Thank you for a great talk around Social Media for our Grade 4 and 5 girls at APPS. It was pitched at the right level. Your examples were current, relevant and practical. The idea of interaction as well as questions at the end of your talk worked well.

It also highlighted for all the teachers sitting listening how vital a talk of this nature is.

All our pupils are making use of the platforms in one form or another. The girls themselves said how informative your talk was, particularly empowering them on their respective platforms of choice and making them feel safer.”

If you’d like to chat to us about giving a talk, please get in touch.

[Feature image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net]

sceptical baby social media

5 simple ways to engage your audience on social media

Ever wanted to have your own shop selling stuff you love or be a radio presenter recognised and adored for your sense of humour? If you’re active on social media, you’re already taking on roles like these.

Social media is space we all curate – whether it’s our personal brand (of life being amazing all the time) or a business’s brand (of the business’s values, products, lifestyle). Visual platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr can be compared to custom magazines and you could say that Twitter is like having your own transcribed podcast beaming out to followers who are tuned in. So what are you doing with your curated spaces? Getting people to participate is one of the best ways to build loyalty. Here are five simple ways to get followers to engage.

1. Polls

Polls are a great way to get feedback from your community while not asking them to make much of an effort. There are plenty of apps out there to facilitate them – just be aware of your settings: pranksters can have (hilarious but) devastating effects when you allow the public to add suggestions.

2. Competitions

For as long as society has used pronouns, people have loved free stuff. Facebook recently slackened the rules for running competitions which has made life a lot easier. By using an entry mechanism where ‘liking’ your page is a condition, you can build follower numbers quickly. After that, it’s up to you to keep them around.

3. Videos

Generally, we’re a pretty lazy society and there’s no better example of this than our internet habits. We would much rather watch a short clip than read a paragraph of text. Film is a multi-sensory experience and, while it’s expensive in relation to writing text, the impression it gives is incomparable and you can get a lot of mileage out of it. A short, captivating clip to introduce your brand and a number of key points can be used in presentations, on your website, and shared on all of your social media platforms.

4. Links

Your curated space doesn’t have to be made up exclusively of original content. While a certain amount is crucial, your brand’s online presence can also be a hub for relevant and useful content. You can be the go-to place for all things [insert your field here].

5. Photos

Because they communicate immediately and powerfully, images are some of the most shareable content on the internet, especially when overlayed with text. There are plenty of easy-to-use, free tools out there such as PicMonkey which make creating this kind of content a cinch.

If you’d like to take your social media to the next level, check out 26 Facebook Fan Engagement Tips or get in touch about our social media workshops and social media management.

Why the internet was invented: Humans of New York

I use the internet every day. My appreciation of the world wide web is mostly from quite a hum-drum perspective. Every now and then, though, I come across something online so awesome that I feel like I need to stop, take a moment, and just be grateful that the internet was invented. And not just because my job wouldn’t exist without it.

Case in point: Humans of New York.

Brandon lost his job trading bonds in Chicago. Without much of a plan in mind, he decided to move to New York and take portraits of strangers on the streets. His mom was chuffed. As you can imagine. But, so far, things have gone pretty well for Brandon. Humans of New York has nearly 4 million followers on social media, and has become a #1 NYT bestselling book.

Each day Brandon walks the streets of New York and takes portraits of the people he meets. The best part? He collects quotes and stories from these people, which he displays alongside their portraits. The blog provides people around the world with a snapshot of the lives of New Yorkers. The success of this project speaks for itself – people are fascinated by these glimpses into the lives of strangers. Myself included.

When I first came across HONY I spent hours scrolling through their Facebook posts. There is so much joy in the portraits and their accompanying stories – but there is also a pain and vulnerability to many of the portraits Brandon captures. It’s just a beautiful snapshot of humanity, really. Do yourself a favour – follow HONY on Facebook (if you don’t already). It’s quite astounding, the poignant moments Brandon captures and the insights he comes away with after just a few moments of conversation.

One of my favourite portraits is of a man in a beanie, looking away from the camera. He leans against a wall with a skateboard in his hand.

“I told her that if she wanted to start over, to meet me where we first kissed,” his caption says. “She was supposed to be here 15 minutes ago.”

And that is all you get. That tiny window into a moment in this man’s life. A man who lives a million miles away. A man you will never meet. But for that moment, as you read those two sentences and look at his portrait which tells its own story, you are connected to him because, on some level, you identify with him. You know what he is feeling. And that, right there, is the beauty of the internet. Of social media. That it allows you to do that.

HONY makes me think. If someone came up to me on the street and took a photo of me right now, and left with one caption, what would it be?

What would yours be?

I'm not too emotional of a guy. People say I have a good heart, but they're wrong. I have principles. The heart is a fickle thing. There's no way I can love everybody. So I'm not even going to try. But I can respect everyone whether I love them or not. And that I try to do."

“I’m not too emotional of a guy. People say I have a good heart, but they’re wrong. I have principles. The heart is a fickle thing. There’s no way I can love everybody. So I’m not even going to try. But I can respect everyone whether I love them or not. And that I try to do.”

4)"What was the happiest moment of your life?" "When I married Joe." "What was the saddest moment of your life?" "When Joe died." "What was your favorite thing about Joe?" "He was oh-so-romantic." "What's the most romantic thing Joe ever did?" "Let's just say that he was good with his loving."

“What was the happiest moment of your life?”
“When I married Joe.”
“What was the saddest moment of your life?”
“When Joe died.”
“What was your favorite thing about Joe?”
“He was oh-so-romantic.”
“What’s the most romantic thing Joe ever did?”
“Let’s just say that he was good with his loving.”

3)"What's your greatest struggle right now?" "Struggle? What does that mean?" "Challenge." "Ah! Being a good grandmother." "What's the toughest part about being a good grandmother?" "Oh, I don't know if I can answer in English. Let me see.. Be Present. Listen. Be Loveful. Did I say that right? Loveful?"

“What’s your greatest struggle right now?”
“Struggle? What does that mean?”
“Challenge.”
“Ah! Being a good grandmother.”
“What’s the toughest part about being a good grandmother?”
“Oh, I don’t know if I can answer in English. Let me see.. Be Present. Listen. Be Loveful. Did I say that right? Loveful?”

2)I asked what he wanted to be when he grew up.  He screamed: "A benny!"  "What's a benny?" I asked. "That's his name," said his mom.

I asked what he wanted to be when he grew up.
He screamed: “A benny!”
“What’s a benny?” I asked.
“That’s his name,” said his mom.

5)"Well there's this girl that I'm friends with, and you know, I like her, but I don't know if she likes me..." "Do you mind if I share that?" "I don't know, if you share it, she might figure it out." "She'll definitely figure it out." "... do it."

“Well there’s this girl that I’m friends with, and you know, I like her, but I don’t know if she likes me…”
“Do you mind if I share that?”
“I don’t know, if you share it, she might figure it out.”
“She’ll definitely figure it out.”
“… do it.”

 

10 amazing social media stats (to make you sound like you know what you’re talking about)

I wasn’t a huge fan of numbers at school. Maths was my worst. WORST. The day I wrote that final matric exam was possibly the greatest feeling in my life to date. Ok, let’s call it top five…

However – as I’ve grown older and wiser, I’ve come to appreciate the power of a good statistic. Here is a little fact for you: quoting an (accurate and current) statistic makes you sound like you know what you’re talking about. It just does.

So I’ve compiled a little list of 10 amazing social media stats for you to quote in your next meeting/dinner party/awkward conversation that descends into silence and badly requires you to make words.

1)    72% of all internet users are now active on social media. My mom is one of them. The other day she invited people to like a page. It’s happening guys!

2)    5700 tweets happen every second. Every. SECOND.

3)    As you might expect, the majority of Pinterest users are female, but those demographics are shifting. Right now the divide stands at 68% female and 32% male.

4)    There are currently over 1.15 billion Facebook users, 23 percent of whom log in at least five times per day. (Where do you stand here? More or less? Be honest…)

5)    Approximately 50% of individuals between the ages of 18 and 34 check Facebook immediately after waking up.  More than half of these individuals check their Facebook pages on their smartphones before getting out of bed. (Guilty)

6)    Instagram now has 150 million active users, and the most followed brand on this platform is MTV.

7)    Facebook users share 2.5 billion pieces of content each day. I can’t even wrap my mind around that number…

8)    Twitter has 560 million active users. It’s not quite Facebook’s 1 billion, but it’s growing at a rapid rate – particularly in SA. Not one to be ignored!

9)    79% of LinkedIn users are 35 and older. Let’s be honest – this is not the most exciting platform. But I know a few people who have been offered jobs through LinkedIn or generated leads. It has its place for sure.

10) 71% of users access social media from a mobile device. So often, in fact, that it’s hard to go to dinner with friends without someone picking up their phone mid-conversation to check a tweet or Facebook update. New game? Upon arrival, everyone puts their phones in the middle of the table. First person to touch their phone buys dinner for the table.

[Sources: Mediabistro, jeffbullas.com and lifementalhealth.com]

[Feature image source]

#Neknominations: Why South Africans WIN at this (ridiculous) social phenomenon

This week, my Facebook timeline has been taken over by two things:

1) The whole “My Facebook Film” phenomenon, which I actually love more than I would like to admit (that emotive music – it just gets me every time); and

2) #Neknominations. ALL the #neknominations.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept, people who are nominated by friends on Facebook are required to make a short video of themselves downing a drink before nominating two more people to do the same within 24 hours. The concept started in Australia but has spread around the world over the past couple of weeks.

Don’t let the title of this blog post mislead you. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching my timeline fill with people downing drinks in increasingly creative ways. From Power Ranger dance moves to tiger suits, (manual) beer fountains, sheep(ish) farmers, risqué bubble baths and swan dives off boats in exotic locations – it’s been hugely entertaining.

People who are not active on Facebook at all have come to the party, answering their nominations, sometimes most impressively. What interests me is what it takes to get such a vast community of people so actively involved on Facebook, when they are otherwise somewhat indifferent to the platform: the call to down a drink in the most entertaining way, to be watched by, one would hope, by a considerable audience.

Humans are strange creatures.

Don’t get me wrong – I fully include myself in that judgment. Downing a beer and dancing around in a Power Ranger suit while someone dressed as an Arab sits in the corner reading a newspaper, while a cat looks on confusedly? Love it! Play it again! Comment! Like!

But where this social phenomenon really won me over is when people (read: South Africans) starting turning it on its head, harnessing the momentum of a (somewhat ridiculous – let’s be honest) viral movement and adding to the beer-downing-crowd-pleasing nominations the challenge to do some good too.

Most of the #neknominations I’ve watched over the past two days include people handing meals to those who need them, pledging to clothe people in need, give soccer balls to underprivileged kids, or challenging those they nominate to give back in any way they choose. And that’s in addition to the element of the ridiculous that made the #neknomination concept go viral in the first place.

And this is why I love South Africans – a nation full of people who are not shy to look like idiots if it means making someone laugh. People who have such big hearts.

Unfortunately I can’t show you the videos I’ve been loving on Facebook, because, well, Facebook. You know. But here’s the one that started the whole giving back vibe in SA.

Social Media trends for 2014

So we’ve all finally got our heads around the fact that the working year has begun, and the trauma of early mornings and no afternoon naps has been faced. Let’s get our grown-up pants on, stay on top of our game and check out the trends forecast for social media in 2014.

Stop following me!

Like we used to hang out in our parents’ cars and play CD’s during their lame dinner parties, teens are fleeing social media platforms where their parents (gah just leave me alone!) are encroaching and are carving out their own social spaces online. The fleeting nature of Snapchat seems most appealing – Fast Company reports that “with more than 360 million photos shared – and deleted within seconds – this company is proving that a younger generation is in fact cozying up to the idea of private moments.”

If you can’t beat ‘em…

Google Plus had a rough start with a reputation for being unintuitive and obscure but an obligatory SEO tool for anyone wanting to please the great Google. Brafton predicts steady growth on the platform and hails its unique features: “Google+ offers a lot of functions that other networks don’t have, such as Communities, Hangouts and the ability to share specific content with targeted groups.”

Content is king

To kick off the year, Mashable asked nine successful entrepreneurs how they are planning on altering their social media marketing strategies in the next six months, based on their predictions for the new year. Here’s what Andrew Howlett from Rain had to say:

“To achieve a deeper connection with your customers, a company needs to engage on a deeper and more intelligent level. Short videos, infographics, quality imagery and polls are all ways to engage deeper. Companies need to look at the content they put out and ask themselves, ‘Is this shareable?’ […] Also, companies need to focus on the fans they have and not the fans they want. If your message is always trying to reach out, you’ll bore the fans that have chosen to connect with you.”

Image source