Twitter releases Follow buttons for your website

Twitter just launched a button that you can add to your website that allows twitter users to click follow from your website and follow your twitter profile. To quote Mashable: “Previously, website publishers had to redirect users to their respective accounts on before users could opt to follow them. The new feature will likely encourage publishers to increase the number of “follow us” prompts on their sites, because they won’t have to risk redirecting their audiences off-site.” Here’s a preview: Follow @mikeasaunders [box type=”tick” border=”full”]This is a great feature and I would encourage everyone to get their own![/box]

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...

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....

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...

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...

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 and 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...

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...

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: Well done to Mike and the guys at Fuseware for putting this report together

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?

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?

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...

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...

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