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...

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...

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...

How social media affects Google search results

Google is still the primary place that people go when looking for something online. Social media has become the number one activity on the web. The reason social media had become so popular is because it is a natural extension of who we are. We are social people, our social circles define us, encourage us and potentially groom us into who we are to become in the future. It is only natural then that people would spend time sociallising online if they had the option. What does this have to do with search? As I always say in my social media presentations, search is all about delivering relevant results to your search query. Relevancy on the internet used to be related to the amount of links linking back to a website (this was Googles primary way of discovering relevant, topical websites). Social Search Now Google has launched Social Search which takes into consideration your social connections on Facebook, Twitter and everywhere else. This means that articles written by peers may be higher in your search results than another persons search results. Google describe the impact of this best with a video example of someone looking to travel to Zurich: To put it simply, the bigger your network on Facebook and Twitter the more impact you could have on people’s search results. If you would like a more personalised search experience visit www.google.com/profiles and update for profile.

Does social media affect mobile marketing in South Africa?

There is so much to say here, but I will leave you with one of my most important observations. Social Media is the platform that companies can use to engage their mobile audience! ALL social media websites are mobile ready and they present a product to our consumers that is so integral to their daily lives. A communication vehicle. Especially Facebook and MXIT who offer that communication with more people than any other network in South Africa. Couple this thought with Authur Goldstucks research: “The findings suggest, on the surface, that more than half of urban cellular users – 8.5-million – are capable of accessing e-mail on their phones, and as many as 60% – 9.5-million – are able to browse on their phones. The implications of these numbers are significant: in one fell swoop, they would turn the SA Internet user base from the 5.3-million reported by World Wide Worx at the end of 2009 to 9.6-million. Add Instant Messaging to the mix, and the total becomes 10.56-million – exactly double that of the Internet user base at the end of last year.” Goldstuck also says ““The truth is, many people with these applications on their phones do no use them and do not even know how to use them,” says Goldstuck. “It is clear that the cellphone has the potential to take South Africans across the digital divide, but the phones themselves need to become more user-friendly, and a vast amount of consumer education is needed.” With national...

A story about foursquare the next big social network

So the other day I sat down at a resturant about to have lunch. I decided (while I wait for the rest of my party to arrive) to check in on foursquare. On opening the app on my phone I recieved a suggestion from a friend about what to have for lunch. That was pretty cool actually because I was out of town and did not know what was good. The only problem was that the lunch suggestion from my friend was for the resturant next door. I had just been recommended lunch by a friend who I had not spoken to in ages, at a resturant I wasn’t even at. The choice was mine! Stay where I was or get up and have the recommended meal of the day. Which would you choose? This is a small story about the power of foursquare, a new social network making waves on the streets of South Africa. Walter Pike presents his top seven reasons to love foursquare on memeburn.com as: The first reason that it will kick *** is that it’s fun. The competitive element, the earning of awards, and the leader board all make it a “jol”. The big win is the location element. People know which of their mates are around, and venue owners can send out promotions and messages that relate to people on the premises or close by. So when someone checks into the coffee shop down the road, and up pops a tip to say Foursquarers...

RANT! Why you need to invest in Social Media

It has become abundantly clear over the last week that business needs to get proactive in understanding human engagement on the Internet. It is too late to simply respond to criticism or appraisal. There is a massive need to take the initiative in creating your online presence. I specifically haven’t used the word control because that would contradict the nature of web 2.0 and the future of the Internet in web 3.0. There is much that business can do to take the initiative and encourage and create a positive online experience for their customers. The shift in the way we build reputations and brands online has meant that our customers now build our reputation and brand for us. The power of word of mouth on the internet has put the power in the consumers hand/mobile/tablet. Business needs to find ways to meet their consumers online in a very real and personal way. This will mean a fundamental change in the way our organizations are run, our marketing plans are structured, our products are developed and our departments are structured. This is a part of business that I hope to guide people through by educating staff of the values of the internet, activating campaigns to learn and challenge how value is reinforced online and researching human interaction on the internet. Although the information above is not all that new, I believe that the need to evolve business and marketing strategy online is paramount because we are running out of time. As...

GivenGain for Non Profit Organisation internet marketing

GivenGain offers you the opportunity to act, connect and communicate your passions and missions with your world. Your actions give the world the opportunity to see you, talk to you and donate money to your cause. This network is basically a network of philanthropists who would like to support worthy causes in any way they can. The network allows you to setup a profile with details of your organisation. Once the organisation is setup you are able to create projects that you need funding for. GivenGain members are able to promote your projects for you by becoming activists. Activists essentially take ownership of generating interest and funding for the project. The good news is that you can have multiple activists for a project. The biggest benefit for South African Non-Profit Organisations GivenGain opens up a credit card payment gateway for your organisation. You are then able to take donations from almost anywhere in the world through your GivenGain profile. Even non-GivenGain members can donate via credit card using the facility. I would easliy suggest that all South African non-profit organisations make use of this new social network, even if it is just for the payment facility. At just under $70 a month it almost seems a no-brainer. To find out more about how to implement GivenGain and other social media platforms into a complete Non Profit Organisation internet marketing strategy please take a look at our presentation Social Media for Social Good.

One-on-one Coaching with Southern Sun

SunSwop is an exclusive, private exchange facility developed by Southern Sun Lifestyle Resorts. All Southern Sun Lifestyle Resort owners gain automatic membership to SunSwop and are in the best position to take advantage of our preferential exchange opportunities. As a SunSwop member, you are entitled to request exchanges either in South Africa or Overseas, from a choice of over 2600 affiliated Resorts worldwide! The Sunswop and Southern Sun Brand Manager contacted us to start a series of Facebook coaching sessions on how to look after their marketing on the popular social network. At the end of the sessions they had this to say: “Mike is very passionate and professional. I found his work to be of a very high standard and personally gained valuable information through the coaching sessions we had.” To find out more about one-on-one social media coaching click here

Internet Marketing for Non-Profit Organisations

Here’s the dilemma, people don’t use google to search for non-profit organisations to donate money to. The solution: Online marketing for Non-Profit Organisations needs to revolve around community. Enter social media!! Social media offers an opportunity for organisations to promote their cause to a wide variety of people on a technological platform that speeds up the process of “word of mouth.” This technology (facebook, twitter etc) has made it easier to spread your message wider and garner support from groups of people that are not in your physical network. The real power of social media comes in when your support base is no longer geographically constrained and you are able to promote your message across borders. Further to this, as your support base grows it does so with an atmosphere of excitement because it is spread organically and naturally. In other words, people love the work you do and they love to tell everyone else. So how do you market your non-profit organisation online. Build a social media platform and strategy to distribute your message to the public Invite like-minded people to the platform and encourage them to spread the message to their networks Create actionable elements to your campaigns that achieve the results you’re looking for Repeat steps 1-3 The best way I can describe what you are doing when marketing your non-profit in social media is with this analogy. It’s like giving your message to the people in your world, neatly gift-wrapped, so that they can tear 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...

How to get your company to buy into social media

Harvard Business Publishing has released a video that I think can be very valuable to most marketers in South Africa. The video offers seven steps that you can implement to show the value of social media to the management executives within your organisations. Often the task at hand in business is not showing the value of social media, but rather getting people to believe you and support you. Harvard Business offer these seven steps Start small Get an executive sponsor Line up other stakeholders ahead of time Move quickly Seek precedence Make friends Measure your success Check out the video to get the details. Through Mike Saunders Consulting we have successfully done executive level social media coaching to help executive business people understand the value of social media. We have seen many CEO’s and MD’s making big steps forward in social media once they have spent some time in our coaching sessions. These sessions simply outline the benefit and steps neccessary to implement a successful social media management strategy within your organisation. For more information please feel free to contact us.

SA Linkedin usage report

Linkedin is a great network to take part in. It aids business relationship building, employee recruitment, and idea sharing. I have found that being a part of this network has opened up opportunities to profile myself in a professional manner online and start networking with like minded people in my field of work. I have since done some research on the usership of Linkedin by South Africans and found 600 000 South Africans were registered, 94 000 users are in management positions with 50 000 company directors and presidents. The site also has over 75 000 business owners registered along with 26 000 consultants. So to make things easier I have put a few of the statistics into a presentation (below) and a PDF Download. Please bear in mind that the pdf download is the most detailed. In the presentation there is mention of our latest presentation called WOZA Linkedin which is designed to explain how Linkedin works and how to use it yourself. The presentation can be done in one-on-one session’s and in team training environments.

Twitter launches Twitter Places

Twitter recently launched Twitter Places, a technology that allows users to tell Twitter where they are in the world. The benefit for the user is simple. Their tweet now has more context. From twitter: When turning to Twitter to keep up with the current world cup soccer game, it helps to know where a Tweet is coming from—is that person watching the game on TV or is he actually in the stadium? To help answer that question, we’re excited to announce Twitter Places on twitter.com and mobile.twitter.com. Starting today, you can tag Tweets with specific places, including all World Cup stadiums in South Africa, and create new Twitter Places. You can also click a Twitter Place within a Tweet to see recent Tweets from a particular location. This also means that Twitter will now have similar attributes to the new social media startup Foursquare. Location is becoming an important part of online socilaising, which makes it no surprise that Twitter is now entering this space. Most people have come to realise that I only care about adoption when it comes to social media. There is no point marketing into a social media platform unless your public are using the network. Twitter has the potential to create serious competition for Foursquare here as they have a user base of about 11 million with 64 million tweets occuring each day. The latest stats I could find on Foursquare sat at 1.4 million users. However in true social networking spirit Foursquare and Twitter...

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

Should I focus on Facebook or Twitter for my business?

I am a fan of focus! It always gives you a better return for the same effort. Social media management is no different. When looking at Facebook and Twitter most people know that you can link Twitter and Facebook so that you only update one and the other updates automatically. I have warned people about linking Twitter and Facebook before and won’t go into it here. Assuming that you agree with my argument that you should treat Twitter and Facebook seperately, the question goes back to focus because if I am on Facebook – Twitter suffers and vice versa. According to an article in Hubspot Marketing a survey discovered that business to business companies benefit more from Twitter while products and services that are directed at the consumer can achieve better results on Facebook. This starts to make more sense when you look at the atmospheres that each network has. Twitter is more tolerant of business promotion because it is more of an information network than a social network. Business promotion is seen as more information and therefore if it is relevant to my need it is valuable to me. While Facebook adopts a purely social stance in the mind of its users. Think about a shopping center, its a social venue. People spend time in shopping centers when there are relaxing and taking time out of the normal work routine. However there is an incredible amount of business transaction that takes places in a shopping center and it mostly...

Google has bigger privacy issues than Facebook

Everyone is talking about the privacy rights of Facebook at the moment but a very interesting statement was made by Mark  Zukerberg in a recent interview: Let me paint the two scenarios for you. They correspond to two companies in the Valley. It’s not completely this extreme, but they are on different sides of the spectrum. On the one hand you have Google, which primarily gets information by tracking stuff that’s going on. They call it crawling. They crawl the web and get information and bring it into their systems. They want to build maps, so they send around vans which literally go and take pictures of your home for their Street View system. And the way they collect and build profiles on people to do advertising is by tracking where you go on the Web, through cookies with DoubleClick and AdSense. That’s how they build a profile about what you’re interested in. Google is a great company, but you can see that taken to a logical extreme that’s a little scary. In essence it is becoming more and more evident that Google is breaking the boundaries of privacy by gathering information without consent. Google tracks most of the activity on the internet and then uses that information as they please. Mike Wronski spoke about an experience where Google potentially scanned his email and used the information to tailor advertising to him. Although this sounds like Google is being extremely clever there is an underlying privacy issue that Google needs...

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?

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