Coaching the Leadership Coach

Probably the most daunting experience I have ever had was to coach Keith Coats in Social Media. Keith is a well respected and seasoned leadership coach. So I was nervous that I would not hold up under the pressure. Well Keith turned out to be great to coach, he was very interested in learning and spent alot of time doing additional exercises between sessions to ensure that he really got the hang of Social Media. Here’s what Keith had to say: It wasn’t long into a meeting with Mike (one he had initiated and in which he approached me to do some mentoring with him) that I realized I had more to learn from him than the other way round! What followed has been an amazing journey as Mike has coached, mentored and supported me in exploring the world of social media technologies and most importantly, how to strategically connect the dots in this world. Mike’s skills sit not merely in his undoubted expertise in this area but also in his incredible ability to make sense of it for someone for whom it…well, doesn’t make sense. I have no hesitation in endorsing Mike as a Coach in this area…and have done so repeatedly. I wish more of the leaders with whom I engage would avail themselves of Mike’s expertise. Then again, I suspect many who work with and for these leaders, wish the same! Taking things further Keith is still in coaching as we have dived into further Social Media...

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...

Team Training in Facebook and Twitter Marketing

The International Hotel School (IHS) hosted Mike Saunders for two days as he worked with IHS and members of the Three Cities Marketing team. The workshops took the candidates through a fun and strategic understanding of how to use Facebook and Twitter as a marketing vehicle. This is what some of the candidates had to say about the training: Mike, you are a star! Your social media training with us has been invaluable. Thank you – Ruth Paulsen (Head of Marketing – IHS) Thanks for the insight over the last 2 days. It was great fun and very exciting looking at the integration possibilities. Now we need to just get out there and use the technology – Jillian (HR Manager – IHS) Hi was a fantastic experience..i am so excited 2 lift off..i get bored and lose focus so quickly, but u had my attention the entire time..u brought my focus back 2 the wonderful world of online networking..tx a mil! – Carla Rossouw (Lecturer – IHS) Mike thank you, you have no idea how your workshop helped open my eyes to whats out there in terms of social media and the internet. Im so excited, I cant wait to see whatsinstore for IHS. – Neliswa Sithole (Consultant – International Hotel School)

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

One-on-one Social Media Coaching

“Ever stood facing the cold pool water when all that stood before you and the shock of the cold water was the commitment to jump? Of course you have. And your hesitancy was most likely being subjected to the taunting of kids already in the pool. Then you jump and there is a split second of mid-air realization that there is no going back before you are immersed in the ice-cold water. I have just jumped. I have just had my first coaching session in Social Media.” – Keith Coats, Leadership Expert“ Like Keith many people have recognised that they need to learn and understand this new realm of social media. You can attend all the courses you like on this topic but nothing will entrench the topic in your mind like one-on-one coaching will. These one-on-one meetings are a an opportunity to have your questions answered while following a predetermined curriculum to ensure that you gain a complete understanding of social media. So if you would like to know more about facebook, linkedin, twitter, MXit, blogging, websites, mobile media, internet advertising, online marketing and promoting yourself online please contact me for more information. You can see a few articles about some people who have gone through this type on one-on-one coaching here

Peter Van Niekerk learns all about Social Media

Peter is a local and international conference speaker, speaking mainly in Africa, Europe and the USA. He has recently seen the need to get on top of social media in order to get his message out to the people who have asked to hear more from him. Peter sends out devotional thoughts aimed at challenging the lives of christian believers. I took Peter through a series of one-on-one courses where we dealt with the topics of social media, the internet and it’s anthropological attributes. I thoughoughly enjoyed our conversations as Peter has a very broad understanding of society and how people interact. We had a great time drawing correlations to what I have experienced in my research online. Peter had this to say about the coaching programme: Hi Mike, Thought I would just give you some feed back from my experience of you coaching a new boy on the block concerning facebook and twitter. I really enjoyed the manner in which you pointed out line upon line how best for me to approach these two unknown opportunities. It was not only the information you imparted to me that has been hugely helpful, but I also enjoyed the dialogue we had, where you spoke into the huge space of my ignorance concerning other aspects of social networking. As this is a totally new field for me, my biggest problem has been the time factor, where do I fit this all in? I feel much more competent now in using these two...

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.

Five tips to beating social media overload

Yesterday I was emailed over facebook by a follower of this blog. I still get a kick when people touch base and tell me that they actually read everything I write up here. The gentleman that emailed (lets call him Frank) wanted to know how to do social media management and still have a life afterwards. Frank has stumbled accross a very important element of social media that is often under-rated. Social media is addictive and time consuming. Especially if you are marketing through social media. This only gives us a better reason to be ‘wasting or time‘ on our favourite network. If you want to make sure you optimise your time on networks like Facebook and Twitter here are a few tips that may help: Give yourself a time frame to spend in social media and stick to it. After your time is up – Close the web browser/programme. Use a Twitter Client. This helps because twitter clients are designed in such a way that you can tailor the information you recieve from twitter. This means you get less distracted. Twitter clients are now starting to offer Facebook, Linkedin and integration. Have a social media free day – Every now and then, spend a day away from social media. This helps in many ways, but the most important one for me is clarity. When I leave social media for a day, I start thinking about the marketing exercises that really work. Don’t flog a dead horse – If...

List of Twitter Clients

A twitter client is a programme that can be used to access your twitter account without actually going to the website. Twitter clients are becoming increasingly useful as they allow you to customise what you see in twitter and most have now extended their service to facebook as well. Making it easier to manage your online social profiles. To make life easier I have listed a few twitter clients that I recommend with a brief list of highlights: Tweet Deck Mobile app suport Facebook, Linkedin and Myspace integration Works on windows and mac Hootsuite Windows and mac compatible iPhone app Schedule tweets Facebook, Linkedin and integration Click through statistics Thwirl Works on windows and mac Video recording capability support Seesmic Works on windows and mac Blackberry and Andriod apps Facebook integration At the end of the day its your choice! Enjoy

Three reasons why social media does not work for you

So you jumped into social media and have found it to be a waste of time and of very little value to you. I want to suggest that maybe the problem is not social media but rather how you are using it. Here are three possible reasons why social media does not work for you: You are not worth following. The content your are producing is poor following and therefore you have been found wanting. This could be because you focused on self-promotion rather than interaction with the consumer or it may be because your content was not well thought out. You are not focused You posts may be interesting but you lack focus. Focus is what will create loyal followers. You need to give your users something to hold onto. In my own personal experience I gained five times more twitter followers once I found a focus and a plan for my twitter marketing strategy. You are not social Social Media demands your attention, or at least the attention of an employee in your company. This is not a one way street where you can shout down the social media channel with your meagphone and expect the masses to come running. Social media is an opportunity to build trust with your public, to make your brand more approachable and likable. This can only happen with a social media management strategy that actively pursues a two-way communication strategy.

Will your domain names ‘stick’ in the mind of your clients?

Is your internet portfolio sticky? Does your domain name stick in the mind of your clients, or even better, your future clients? Researching the available names for your product or service can be tiresome and confusing because of the different views expressed all over the internet. My advice (to add to the confusion) would be to make sure that whatever domain name you choose – it sticks!! In fact, in my opinion, nothing else matters with a domain name. In the area of domain names only two factors need to be considered to make the name stick – Simplicity and Consistancy Simplicity should be the king of it’s domain A simple domain will stick in the mind of a consumer better than a fancy, creative, obscure name. The following process has always helped me to find great domain names: Start with focusing on the purpose of the website – make sure that the purpose of the website is a part of the doman name. Research your target market – do the neccessary research to find out what keywords your target market are searching Look at creative way to combine your website purpose with the targeted keywords – make sure that in your creativity you remain simplistic! Consistancy makes you easy to follow When considering your domain name it is important to look at the social media channels you intend using as well. Social media URL’s can create a confusing environment for your client if they do not follow the same...

Facebook breaks through office clampdowns on the social website

As more and more businesses take steps to block facebook from the working environment I have been wondering how facebook would react. It is obvious that Facebook needs to retain communication with facebook users in a spam free manner in order to maintain their interest and loyalty. So a new small feature may have the power to engage employees once more. I have discovered that facebook will now let people reply to their status udates via email. I wonder how this will affect Facebooks usership in South Africa. I already know many people who work in ‘facebook free‘ office environments and who are kept out of the loop when it comes to what happens with friends on Facebook. It is most likely that over time we will see Facebook rolling out email replying capability to other aspects of facebook (inbox, photo comments, etc) although this has not been publicly announced in any way. As Facebook becomes more email friendly will the business world accept that employees can interact via email or will they try to clamp down on that as well. Marketing Implications? It will take a bit of time to see the full effect of a feature like this however anything that increases the possiblility of further interaction with people online should always produce some sort of positive  opportunity. Although this new feature may decrease the traffic to the site which would decrease the value of Facebook advertising. What are your thoughts to how this may impact marketing on...

Stop Following Seth Godin! He adds no value on social networks

Seth Godin, one of the worlds most respected bloggers and new media marketers, and he should be. His expertise and wisdom in these marketing arena’s is invaluable. However, my advice would be to stop following him on Twitter and Facebook. Seth has publically made it clear that he does not believe on social media (specifically Facebook and Twitter) and it show in his profiles. His Twitter profile is only ever a list of updates from his blog and therefore we see no interest from Seth in engaging with his followers. Thus the purpose of following him on twitter is pointless. There is no desire from his seide to engage other people. He does not follow anyone. On Facebook we see the same issue as his 39, 702 fans don’t ever seem to get replys to their comments on his updates. These profiles are proof that Seth has decided against social media. Therefore I suggest you unfollow and ‘unfan’ Seth on your social networks and rather just subscribe to his RSS and comment directly to his blog. You are getting no additional value by following him verses subscribing to his RSS feed. On the plus side, Seth seems to be adopting the mobile media well and now has a new iPhone app.

Book Review: The Social Media Marketing Book

A must read for anyone wanting to know more about social media About Dan Zarella Dan has writ­ten exten­sively about the sci­ence of viral mar­ket­ing, memet­ics and social com­mu­ni­ca­tions on his own blog and for a vari­ety of pop­u­lar indus­try blogs, includ­ing Mash­able, Copy­Blog­ger, Read­WriteWeb, Pla­gia­rism Today, ProBlog­ger, Social Desire, Cen­ter­Net­works, Now­sourc­ing, and SEOScoop. He has been fea­tured in The Twit­ter Book, Fast Com­pany, The Finan­cial Times, AdAge, NYPost, The Boston Globe, Forbes, Wired, The Wall Street Jour­nal, Mash­able and TechCrunch. He was recently awarded Shorty and Semmy awards for social media & viral marketing. He has spo­ken at Pub­Con, Search Engine Strate­gies, Iowatas­mic, Con­ver­gence ’09, 140 The Twit­ter Con­fer­ence, The Cool Twit­ter Con­fer­ence, Word­Camp Mid Atlantic, Social Media Camp, Inbound Mar­ket­ing Boot­camp, and The Texas Domains and Devel­op­ers Con­fer­ence, and he cur­rently works as mar­ket­ing prod­uct owner at Hub­Spot. Why I reccommend this book I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in social media marketing. This is why: It does not take long to read It defines social media perfectly and covers each of the top social networks (incl. Digg, Delicious, YouTube, Slideshare,Twitter and Facebook) Dan even tells us how we should approach each social medium to get the most from them I found the book to be very insightful and comprehensive. It would be particularly useful to someone who is getting into social media to profile themselves or their business. Buy The Social Media Marketing Book from “The book will teach readers which platforms are the...

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...

Tips on Creating your Online Portfolio

Creating an online profile of yourself can be a tricky concept. People are such mullti-facted beings that encompass a variety of business, emotional, spiritual and social interests. This means that if you are blogging about all your personal ‘facets’ you blog or facebook profile may not hold a persons interest for long. So how do we setup and manage our social network in such way to generate interest and build our reputation with our followers? In my experience I have found the following tips very helpful: Use specific social platforms for a specific purpose. I use my facebook profile to socialise and share everything about me with people I know. This is appreciated by my friends but most people who are interested in my photography don’t care much for the social media articles I share. My twitter profile is then specifically focused on social media and therefore my followers on twitter are only interested in social media. These people may never join me on facebook, which is fine. I already have their focused attention on twitter as I post articles, case studies and blog posts on social media with a South African focus. When people in facebook show interest in social media I invite them to join me on twitter as their experience will be better. I also use Linkedin as a portal to network with business people who I may never see on Facebook. The environment is more professional and in turn the interest generated tends to be professional....

The Value of Social Media Databases

I love social media because of the database it creates! I have always found myself trudging through an inaccurate database of ‘potential’ clients at some point in my life and simply ended up frustrated. Traditional databases can be very ineffective and a waste of time because the are simply a list of people you are going to approach with your concept. These people are not interested in you and are not looking forward to your call. Social media and the blogosphere spins this concept on its head. If you tell people what you are about and what interests you those who are interested will follow you. Those followers have joined you voluntarily, they are genuinely interested in you and you work! Thats fantastic news! Your social media database is the most valuable database you own aside from your personal phone book. This is a database of people who think like you, believe in you and want to know more about you. So tell them, tell them what you are doing, what you are selling and how it will benefit them. Don’t get too carried away though because they can leave you easier than they followed you. Respect them and they will in turn respect you. The value in the social media database (your twitter following and friends/fans on facebook) is higher than ever because it consists of interested people. If I gave you a list of ten people who were interested in your product what would you do? You would...

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