Social Media Coaching for Executives and CEO’s

Learn about social media management in one-on-one or team executive coaching. Social media has become the most exciting shift in communication that business is currently experiencing. This shift spans across generational boundaries and has made a more convenient lifestyle for people as the socialize on the internet. Over the past year I have had the privilege to coach executives from Mr Price, The South African Presidency, the ACDP, Southern Sun, Three Cities, TomorrowToday and a number of Non Profit Organisations. The key areas that we cover in social media coaching are: How to use social media platforms? How does this affect my business? How does this affect people? How can I make the work for me? What makes social media coaching sessions different from social media workshops. The coaching sessions encourage conversations that speak directly to your needs or concerns One-on-one coaching can be done on your schedule (we can even do them over Skype if its more convenient). For more information please contact workshops@mikesaunders.co.za.

How valuable is your website in B2B purchasing decisions?

The invention of social media and blogging has left a big question unanswered in the online marketing realms. Just how valuable is a company website in business to business purchasing decisions? Well it seems that they are very valuable but not neccessarily influential in in the three stages of purchasing. This information comes from the Buyershpere report which I believe shows great insight into the platforms neccessary to create business to business sales leads from the internet. A Summary: How important is your company website? When looking at buying business services there are three stages of the purchase that have been identified: Identifying and defining the need Indentifying potential suppliers Final selection of the supplier In all three stages a company’s website was the primary channel used to gather information, even more than web searches. In stage one industry press, word of mouth and events were next in line as channels used to identify and define the need for the purchase. The company website in this case has the opportunity to establish brand, share product details and specifications and add value to the different purchase stages. the interesting fact that rose oot of the study though was that the company website had very little influence on the conclusion of each stage. The effect of social media on business to business purchasing decisions It’s all about influence! Every stage of the purchase cycle revealed that  social media channels and word of mouth were the primary influential channels that influenced the decisions...

New Keynote on Social Media – Consumer 2.0

I am happy to announce that almost a years worth of ideas and concepts are neatly wrapped up in my latest keynote presentation. Consumer 2.0 The past ten years have seen the world move closer and closer to a digital existence. The boomer generation confidently lead to way by integrating our lives with electronic banking, business intranets and cellular phones while Generation X and Y have continued the journey into blogging, instant messaging and social media. This digital life has not replaced the real “person to person” lifestyle but rather enhanced life to be more convenient and dynamic. Electronic banking opened the door to convenient banking and social media made relationships easier to manage. Does this mean that everyone is moving to using these new technologies? In our experience no, instead people are adapting to those technologies that matter to them. This has lead to a more complex consumer who is using various communication tools in their own way. Making it more difficult to engage with the consumer – regardless of their generation, income level or intelligence. The level of a consumers digital savvy will depend on how and when you could connect with your consumers and whether they will appreciate your presence or not. At the end of the day you have four questions that need answering: How does this influence the way we do business? How has this changed the consumer? How does this influence your reputation or brand? What do we do now? Consumer 2.0 is a...

Is social media changing the way we watch TV?

There are big questions about the longevity of TV alongside the competition of online media. Online video content has become so popular globally and in even in South Africa there seems to be a love for video content. Recently YouTube has broken into the top 5 most visited websites by South Africans. So the question has become – is TV on the way out? I would argue no. It seems that TV programs are actually experiencing an increase in viewership. So why is this happening if people are obviously spending more and more time online? I would like to suggest that social media is shaping a new way of watching TV and that rather than phasing out TV it has chosen a symbiotic relationship. Here are a few quick thoughts about how this works: 1) Social media helps promote TV Social media is often used as an outlet to express watt important to us. When people are excited about important TV episodes/programmes they will use social media to share their enthusiasm. The last Survivor episode, an important rugby match and the chilean miners rescue are all examples of TV being shared in excitement on social networks. Once this excitement is shared more people are exposed to the TV event taking place and the potential of more people ‘tuning in’ increases. 2) Social Media adds a new layer of engagement Once the game is on and people are sitting around the beloved box there is often a conversation that begins. It...

Social Media can’t fix everything

I read an interesting article on Groundswell which highlights a very important aspect of BP’s current social media nightmare and what they should do about it. Basically the suggestion is to do nothing and actually fix the problem of the spill. In fact all BP’s resources should be focused on this one problem. In the same way not every single negative piece of  social media press can be solved with social media management. You may need to throw all your energy into fixing the problem. An example would be a public dissatisfaction with the level of service received at retail outlets of a major brand. The dissatisfied public have chosen to ‘vent’ on their favorite social media platforms and as a result their message is spreading like wildfire. A literal PR nightmare. You can respond to every single comment and produce all kinds of interesting media into the social realm, but if the root of the problem is not fixed then the bad social media press will continue. My advice (and Harvard Business’s Advice) is to tackle the actual problem first and train your employees to deliver greater service levels to your customers. Once the actual problem is solved, return to your Online Reputation Management and build a campaign/message around how you have dealt with the problem and how your customers can now visit the store and experience better service. This positive experience (subsequently felt by the customer) may make it onto social media and their opinion will be heard...

Coaching the South African Presidency in Social Media

Over the past few months The South African Presidency have been speaking about improving their communications to the South African public by getting involved in social media. In fact, I found out over twitter that this was a topic of conversation on 5fm a few days ago. I can confirm all the hype now after I sat with Mr. Vusi Mona, Deputy Director General: Head of Communications, from the South African Presidency. Over coffee at the King Shaka Airport we discussed the strategy to implement this new communication vehicle into the The Presidency. I found Mr. Mona to be incredibly insightful and passionate about exploring social media management. Mr. Mona had this to say about our consultation session together: “Thanks Mike. I derived lots of value from our discussion.” I am looking forward to serving our country in developing their new social media communication strategy.

Mike Saunders and Barrie Bramley talk about Social Media

I spent last week in Johannesburg and had a chance to chat to Barry Bramley about social media in South Africa. Barry has since put our conversation down on a podcast which captures a few clear points about social media management. Bearing in mind alot of the content here is just my opinion but we looked some case studies, why social media is important, how I launched my consultancy, the most important asset to social media and B2B marketing online. You can download/listen the podcast here

5 Fudamentals of a Good Internet Marketing Strategy

A good internet marketing strategy will include these five fundamental elements: Marketing Research Marketing research needs to take place before the campaign begins and continuously thoughout the campaign activation process. If the correct metrics are not in place you are in danger of creating the wrong kind of return. Even worse, you may not generate any return on your campaign. Facebook has done a very good job in providing its Facebook Insights on pages created in Facebook. These metrics can provide valuable information to the campaign and its return. A Willingness to Change All this research is available all the time. Some of it is even available in real-time. My suggestion when building your marketing strategy would be to identify your marketing decision maker and make sure that they are integrally involved in the strategy. You can make changes to your internet marketing campaign almost instantly, why not take advantage of this flexibility and make sure that your team is ready and willing to make quick decisions to activate intuitive marketing ideas as soon as possible. Clear Project Management There is nothing worse than a strategy activation where the team involved in carrying out the campaign are unsure of their responsibilities. Put someone in charge of making sure that all the task happen at the right time and make sure that everyone is clear about their responsibilities. Internet maketing campaigns often have alot of small but vitally important tasks that need to take place and these can easily fall through...

Whose on Twitter in South Africa

I am very happy to see South Africans producing great social media research. Fuseware recently released a report about Twitter in South Africa and I thought I would share a small piece with you. According to the report your top users of Twitter are: Designers Students Engineers Entrepreneurs Artists Writers Photographers DJ’s Managers Journalists Consultants It would seem then that if you are looking for intelligent, young and creative individuals then Twitter may be where you can find them. Makes me wonder why recruitment agencies are not on Twitter in force. You can download the entire report here: http://www.fuseware.net/reports/sa-twitter-2010/ Well done to Mike and the guys at Fuseware for putting this report together

Is Facebook getting bigger than Google?

A few weeks ago I wrote on the Ideat blog that Facebook had the potentional to become the King of the Internet. This was highlighted by the fact the Facebook had been the most visited website in the US a week or two earlier.More recently Facebook has become the most popular searched brand in the US. What has become more interesting is that in South Africa 82% of the online population are on Facebook and 74% of the population are actively involved in social networking.  In March we also saw the launch of Google real-time search in South Africa, which brings social media updates into Google. There are also develoments, made by google, that mean you have better search potential in Google if more people are following you on twitter. What is taking place is a fundamental shift in the way people use the internet. People are choosing to network, search, discuss, aggregate and understand the internet through social networks, of which Facebook is the largest. This has meant that Google has had to go to the social networks to get the information that people are intesteted in. So the question: Is Facebook getting bigger than Google? What about in a South African context? What do you think?

What on earth is a Facebook Community page?

The biggest question I am asked as a social media coach has been “what should I use to promote my business? A page or a group?” Well now we have something new to consider: Facebook Community Pages What it looks like and why have one? A Community Page looks and feels exactly like a normal Facebook page but it has a slightly different purpose. The page is meant to be used for all the unofficial band, brand and business pages that are out there. Facebook seems to be trying to bring a more official status to a Page by letting the unofficial pages have their own platform. What’s so different about it? Basically the biggest difference is that when these pages gain popularity they have the potential to be handed over to the Facebook community. This will mean that the community page will start to look like a wiki about the page topic. Why not just use a group? My personal opinion is that Facebook is trying to phase out groups but there is no proof for that other than my gut feel. Another thought would be SEO. Groups on Facebook are not indexed by Google. So if you would like to start a community of people and wish that community had a search engine presence then a Community Page is they way forward. The other thing to remember is that pages provide user statistics. So your community page could provide some interesting insight into its users. Allfacebook makes a...

Forget teenagers! Generation X use social media in South Africa

Bizcommunity posted an interesting article the other day that spoke about the Friendship 2.0 study that was commissioned by MWEB. The study showed a very interesting statistic: The average age of Facebook users in South Africa is 33; MySpace is 32; Twitter and YouTube come in at 31; and the youngest in the survey is MXit with an average age of 27. These findings dispel perceptions that social networking is for teenagers only. Unbelievable! That means that people on Facebook, Twitter, MXit and YouTube could have more decision making power than we think. We may need to start changing the way we market to these networks because we may be missing the mark completely. Generation X are the ones we can meet with social networking. Very exciting news! One question is begging though? Where are all the teenagers?

Pepsi steals 2010 from Coke with Social Media

Everyone knows that Coke is sponsoring the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. We are also aware that Pepsi is spending almost a third of it marketing budget on social media management. Now how is this working out for Pepsi? Well Pepsi has just been able to attract half a million viewers and closely associate themselves with the world cup. This happened by launching an interent video that went viral and became one of the worlds most viral video’s last week with 512 243 veiws by the 8th March 2010. Pepsi may not be the official sponsor but they are doing a great job of aligning themselves to the event and getting great coverage. Without paying the hefty sponsorship fees!! Video on the internet is a great way to interact with people online. The viral opportunity is vast, especially for international markets. However this does not mean that there is no scope for internet video marketing in South Africa. You  Tube is still one of the Top 5 most visited websites by South Africans (more popular than Gumtree and Twitter) proving the the South African audience is very interested in consuming video online. To find out how to implement an online video marketing campaign email me to set up a meeting. Thanks to @case_studyinc for the tweet

The key to driving traffic through social media

Content is the key!!! I could stop writing now because it is that simple but I would like to expand on this a little more. The content that you create for your social media campaign will determine the success of your campaign. In creating content for your website it is important to look at a number of factors: The internet habits of your audience The media consumption of your audience The cultural and social background of your audience A good understanding of your audience is the key to creating and executing a content strategy that will engage your audience and encourage the desired response online. If you would like to find out more about social media management and creating a content strategy that will impact your target audience online click here.

Celebrating the 500th Tweet

This article will become my 500th tweet on my primary twitter profile @mikeasaunders. A rather momentous occasion as I have found it to be a pivotal area of my Social Media marketing. Twitter has been very slow to take off in South Africa which begs the question ‘what value is there in twitter for South African social media campaigns?’ I believe that would depend entirely on what you goals are for your campaign. Who is your target market and what technologies are they comfortable using. South African twitter users are primarily tech savvy individuals. There would be very little benefit promoting soap through a twitter channel however a software product may achieve a greater level of success. In my analysis of this marketing medium I have noticed a few fundamental ingredients to setting up a twitter profile that achieves it goals. The fundamentals have been evident in almost every twitter profile I have seen succeed. Using these fundamentals to your advantage could see your following grow and goals realised. Focus Focus Focus This first is the simplest concept in marketing and yet the one that people struggle the most with. Focus! Your product or service offers something unique to someone and that USP is what carves its place into the hearts of your consumers. Give you Twitter profile the same USP and let it elbow its way into the minds of people and become valuable to them. Good marketers know that you must promote the features of a product that...

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