Don’t hire any old social media expert

In his latest article Peter Shankman very passionately describes why he hates social media experts. My guess is that he has had a very bad run of interactions with social media gurus and consultants. Unfortunately, so have I. I have often found myself in conversations with “experts” who spend their time telling what pages they have setup rather than how much value their clients derive out of social media. To be honest, Peter’s frustrations are the same as mine. We just sit on opposite ends of the table. He has to deal with the “experts” who never realise return and I spend my time making sure we deliver on the expected return from my clients. Peter suggests that social media is about generating revenue, being relevant and brevity. I could not agree more. When I started DigitLab I set out to build a social media management company on three pillars – strategy, implementation and research. The reason was simple to me. Clients needed strong strategy coupled with experienced people to implement. These experienced people are copywiters, administrators, designers, developers, creative directors and PR specialists. In fact, I am the only “social media expert” in the team and I could never do my job as well without the skills in our team. The big win for us is the research. Anyone can implement any campaign. Not everyone has the know-how, skills, knowledge and analytical mindset to look at the statistics your campaign produces and use them to understand the customer more....

Managing Social Media CRM (Nimble Review)

The impact that social media management has on business CRM processes has always been a big question amongst my peers. I have personally found that my Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin Mail inbox’s are as lucrative communication vehicles as my email inbox. Most of my new business deals have been secured through my blog or social media channels. On top of this my clients have continued to be interested in contacting me through social media channels rather than on email or telephone. The challenge for me here has been not missing any communication from clients. I am pretty good at getting back to everyone who contacts me, however I don’t check my Facebook account every 10mins for a new message (contrary to popular belief). Now I could put my Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin accounts on “push notifications’ to my iPhone but I have found this to be a rather ineffective way to live from a productivity point of view. I find that this made my communication methods stressful, and time consuming (more than they needed to be). The end result is a need for tools to help us manage our Social Media CRM. > Welcome to Nimble! Nimble has come the closest to managing social media and email communication in one dashboard view. It also helps manage your contacts and consolidate their social profiles. Another nice touch is being able to link your google calendar to the account. I found Nimble to be very useful by bringing together my four main...

Does your name affect your chance of success [infographic]

I found an interesting infographic on the names of CEO’s on Linkedin. It seems that if your name is Peter or Deborah you are destined for success. Whereas top sales people and CEO’s all have names that are shorter than four letters (something to think about on your next sales hire). It should have been obvious but successful restaurant owners have much longer and creative foreign names. If this seems a little tongue and cheek- it is. I don’t actually believe that a name determines your success. I believe that hard work, wisdom, insight, leadership and guts make you successful. Maybe the Jacks of this world just take a few more calculated risks – if so, lets learn the lesson from him and start getting a few more Mike’s, Jenny’s, and Johan’s into the CEO leader-board. I thought the infographic was fun so here it is: Want to know more about Linkedin? I have prepared a Linkedin Workshop that looks at how to use network to build you business profile on Linkedin. The workshop also looks into how to use the network strategically to increase your networks and your personal brand. Read more about Woza Linkedin.

Foursquare’s influence on its users (info graphic)

A few weeks ago we wrote and insightful article written on our DigitLab blog introducing people to what Foursquare is all about. Now I wanted to take a look at how Foursquare users are being influenced by this online location based social media game. As you know, if you read this blog often I am usually intrigued by peoples usage of the internet but in this case I have had a few personal experiences that made this research even more interesting. A good friend, who is an avid foursquare user, called me the other day to share with me how his girlfriend had got emotional after securing her “mayorship”  at one of their favourite coffee shops. Clearly this mayorship meant more to her than most mayorships. Then my wife nearly caused an road accident, yelling at me for driving off to quickly from a destination before she could “check-in.” I would love to hear any Foursquare stories you may have – just leave them in the comments section below. I found this great infographic that shares some information on the Influence of Foursquare on its Users. It was put together by Austin & Williams. A Few Key Highlights: Users are searching Foursquare at least once a week for local businesses 86% of users are checking in once a day (Thats a stronger loyalty than MXit users) Claiming Foursquare badges can increase foot traffic in a retail store simply to get the badge Tips on Foursquare are...

Digital Business Shifts in Recruitment

As the Internet makes a bigger impact on the recruitment industry we are starting to see recruitment agencies enter into a second state of disruption in South Africa. The first state of disruption that the recruitment industry experienced due to the internet lead to the creation of Job’s Boards and career websites like Career Junction. Some campaniles struggled,  and still struggle, to make this transition in business as their industry started to take on a very digital approach. The second state of disruption facing the recruitment industry comes in the form of social technology. Recruitment agencies now find themselves in a stage of their digital evolution that forces them to harness social media websites and online headhunting strategies to find new candidates. I believe that the biggest shift between these two states is the role that digital technology plays in each stage. Finding and Processing Applicants In the first state digital technology allowed recruitment agencies to manage their influx of applications for jobs they had on the market. A strong digital presence would also have increased the number of applications for each job. This data was then processed and matched to the job specification criteria. Once the match was made consultants often took the candidate into the interview stages of the recruitment process. The biggest challenge in this state was the management of MORE. Job boards and the likes, created huge volumes of online applications and instead of more quality, the truth was was that the value often stopped at...

Recruitment Shifts from Social Media

The recruitment industry in South Africa looks like it is on the rise for the first time in two and a half years. Human Resources South Africa reported “employment grew by 5.6% during March.”As business slowly starts to find its feet again after a rough few years in the global economy recruiters are looking for good people to take their companies forward. “The aim and challenges of recruitment in South Africa is to put the right person, at the right place, at the right time in the organisation. By doing this the company should hopefully improve their organisational performance and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the company ” (Human Resources South Africa) What are the trends being used that are shifting the way the recruitment industry works? There are two obvious and high impact trends that have risen out of social media and online technology that are worth looking at: Move Towards Headhunting Wall Street Journal makes an interesting observation that social media has made headhunting easier and cheaper. Networking websites like Linkedin have opened the door to finding people based on expertise, experience and CV. We are able to see immediate recommendations of people we are thinking about hiring and can make more comprehensive decisions about people before starting the interview process. On a global scale we see business looking to decrease their job board subscriptions and move towards using social technology like Facebook and Linkedin to find great employees. The general consensus being that jobs boards create too many...

South Africa’s Top Websites in 2011

I am always interested in how South Africans use the internet. Last year I wrote an article on the Top 20 Websites in 2010 and we found that South Africans were primarily interested (in general) in information, entertainment and money. This year a few interesting developments may provide interesting insight into internet usage in South Africa. Increased YouTube Interest YouTube has moved up the ranks to fourth place showing an increased interest in video content on the internet. I have especially noticed that the younger Generation Y see youtube as an integral way of learning and keeping in touch with whats popular. I also remember a conversation with a young Gen Y who shared the embarrassment she felt when she had not seen the YouTube Video that all her friends were talking about. I believe that this interest in video content is something worth looking into as we try to communicate effectively online with South African consumers. Business Networking sees growth Last year, Linkedin didn’t make it onto the Top 20 Websites. This was almost the expected result as many people I had spoken to had never heard of Linkedin. Business networking is taking off at a seriously fast pace with Linkedin now claiming the 12th position. I did some research on South Africa’s Linkedin Usership in 2010 and found about 600 000 business professionals using the business in South Africa. Say in touch with this blog as we will release the 2011 Linkedin stats soon. 2011 also see’s many...

One Day Without Shoes

DigitLab went to work without shoes yesterday in support of the one day without shoes campaign. An incredible exerience that opened our eyes to what its like to live “out of our shoes” and experience life a different way. One day without shoes is a fantastic initiative and we wish Tom Shoes all the best in spreading this campaign further around the world. I was pleased to see how social media was again used to get a movement off the ground. In fact, the one day without shoes campaign was designed around the sharing nature of social media. The campaign gave out free posters, website banners and other promotional tools that people could use to promote the concept to others. This material made it so simple to create awareness. I, for one, used this marketing material in a presentation I gave yesterday to explain to the audience why I was barefoot for the day. The response was great as the audience were then encouraged to support the cause by “going barefoot” through the presentation. In addition to the free marketing material, people (fans of one day without shoes) shared their experience with others as they changed their profile pictures on facebook, skype and twitter. This buzz attributed the following comment from a friend of mine: I have no idea what this is about but I want to find out because it look awesome This campaign worked so well because it strummed a chord in the hearts of people. Helping others...

Google Chrome provides a personalised view of the Internet

Internet users are starting to leave Firefox and have started using Google Chrome. Google Chrome is fast becoming a preferred internet browser by many of the internets influencers and power-users. So lets look into how this will impact your SEO efforts in attracting the attention of influential internet users. Starred/Bookmarked Results are appearing on the font page When people bookmark pages in google chrome it syncs with their google account and prioritises those results in google search. Google does this because they believe that the most meaningful results are those that come from sources that you trust. This means that our SEO and internet marketing job just got harder. If we are not able to build trust with our consumers and our competitors are then they will most likely hold a top, front page position instead of us. Here’s an example: I have bookmarked TomorrowToday, the company where I am a Keynote Speaker and Social Media Coach. Recently I did a search on Keynote Speaker and found a page full of results that did not link to TomorrowToday. I only found TomorrowToday on the second page of the search result. However, because I have TomorrowToday bookmarked the search result displayed TomorrowToday on the front page in my starred/bookmarked listings. This listing showed up at the top of the page. Building Trust Building trust is a complicated and onerous task. It is done by building relationships with the end consumer and  learning to appreciate their unique situation. Companies and brands online need to build trustworthy communities in order to naturally...

Generation Y in South Africa – A Short Study

Over the last month we ran a small study on Generation Y in South Africa. We interviewed 144 students with an average age of 18 years old. The gender split was 60% female and 40% male. As the size of the sample group is relativley small this can’t be seen as the final word but rather as an indication of what is taking place with Generation Y in South Africa. The findings were quite interesting and echoed many generalizations about generation Y. In South Africa, Generation Y uses digital platforms for communication and prefer Facebook and BBM over any other communication tool. Email continues to lose its effectiveness as a communication vehicle with this generation. Google is starting to lose search market share to Facebook as 50% of Gen Y chooses to use Facebook as a search engine over Google. Although MXit is popular it’s loyalty is much lower (less than one hour a day) than Facebook (up to five hours per day). When given the choice Gen Y chose the internet over magazines, their cellphone over the internet and tertiary education over their cell phone. They are also a healthy bunch of individuals choosing healthy food over junk food, restaurants over fast food and bottled water over fizzy drinks. Here is a list of some of our findings Use of the internet 85% have an email address, but only half check it more than once a month 99% use the internet – most about 2 hours a day They...

New functionality with Facebook pages

I recently posted this on www.ideate.co.za but wanted to share it on my blog as well. Facebook recently made changes that will have a big impact on the way we manage our business pages in future. Here is an excerpt of the article to explain the fundamental changes: You can now switch roles The most fundamental change is the ability to now change your role on Facebook. Now that has all changed. Facebook allows you to “switch your role” on Facebook and let your browse the Facebook network as an organisation, company, brand, product, celebrity or business. I decided to outline a few of the benefits of the new changes: What Changed? You can now act on behalf of your page on Facebook Your page can ‘like’ other pages Your page can’t become friends with a  persons profile Your page can’t comment on a persons status update Your page can comment on another page Your page now has a newsfeed that collates all the news from the pages you follow meaning you can now track business partners, sponsors, industry experts and competitors on Facebook Your profile now sports a funky looking picture banner at the top of your page. What are the benefits? You now get notifications of comments on your page via email When you “switch” your account to a page account your notifications list will house the page notifications Your new friends button will now show a list of the people who recently ‘liked’ your page Your business...

Digital lifestyles create a way to segment our target market

One of the biggest challenges with online marketing is segmenting your market. The normal demographic, geographic and psychgraphic segmentatics tools don’t always work when looking at digital consumers. I believe that any campaign launched in the digital space should consider the digital lifestyle of the consumer they are targeting. Too often we end up targeting low technology users with high end smart phone applications. Yes that target market may own a smart phone but their digital lifestyle is such that the application may not engage the consumer. TNS surveys have created a great framework to use called Digital Lifestyles. Take a read through the lifestyles and leave a comment letting me know which lifestyle best describes you. INFLUENCERS The internet is an integral part of my life. I’m young and a big mobile Internet user and generally access everywhere, all of the time. I’m a blogger, a passionate social networker with many social network friends. I’m also a big online shopper, even via my mobile. I want to make sure as many people as possible hear my online voice. COMMUNICATORS I just love talking and expressing myself, whether that’s face to face, on a fixed line, mobile or on social networking sites, instant messaging or just emailing people. I really want to express myself in the online world in the way that I can’t in the offline one. I tend to be a smart phone user and I’m connecting online from my mobile, at home, at work or at college....

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...

Twitter stole my tweets!

So I made a very upsetting discovery the other day that Twitter has stolen 2285 tweets from my tweet count. On the 6 Novemeber I had 2300 tweets… and the on the 10 November I had 15 tweets!!! What is your tweet count? You tweet count is the total number of tweets you have ever made on twitter. Why does yout tweet count matter? Your tweet count gives people an indication of how active you are on twitter and whether you will be worth following on Twitter. So now that twitter have stolen my tweets it looks like I have only contributed 15 tweets to the twitterverse in the last 2 years. I wouldn’t be too interested in following someone with such a low level of contribution to this information network. Luckily for me my follower list is pretty high (Thanks for the support guys!!) and that becomes a recommendation of my value to the people on twitter so hopefully people will overlook my incorrect tweet count and decide to follow me because of the others that have chosen to follow me. I just hope twitter does not steal my followers next. I wonder if you can insure your tweets and followers? Turns out I am not the only one this has happened to so if you have had an experience like this comment about it here and maybe twitter will wake up and find a way to give us our tweets back. UPDATE 24th November 2010: Twitter restored my...

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...

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