Marketing

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3 Tips to stop producing boring content

In order for your business to gain a cult (or commercial) online following, you’re going to need to provide your fans and followers with something to sink their teeth into, something to while away their online hours. The key is that they should be thinking of your brand while they are consuming this content – be it videos, blog posts, infographics, cartoons, eBooks, charts, Twitter chats or webinars.

It’s not always easy to produce original, engaging content on a regular basis. It takes time that you may not have, but it always pays off! Whatever you do, don’t reproduce other people’s content. Rather spend a little time repurposing other content you find to make it your own.

Here are three tips to keep your online audience enthralled with your content.

1. Appeal to the Emotions

Humans are emotional beings. If you’re feeling stressed at the end of the week and could do with a laugh and a drink, it’s likely your fans do too. The most powerful and viral content online is undoubtably humourous. Funny, cute and emotionally charged images, videos and stories will always win the day.

2. Aim to Inspire

People today are surrounded by a fair amount of negativity – in the news, online, at home, at work. More than anything, sometimes people just want to feel inspired and reassured with a positive message. Use your platform to do that and chances are people will share and ‘like’ a lot more.

3. Be Mysterious

By appealing to human being’s innate sense of curiosity your target market won’t be able to resist getting sucked in to your campaign. Serving up small titbits of information in anticipation of a big reveal is a great strategy, as is giving people only half the story and waiting to supply the rest. You can bet they’ll be checking in regularly to see when the next instalment appears.

Read:

21 Types of content we all crave
22 Ways to Create Compelling Content

How to: Start tweeting for business

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to get new interest in your business from Twitter because you’re not sure where to start. Start here!

Step 1: Go to Twitter, enter your name, email, and a password and click Sign up.
On the second screen where can select a username – the name by which you will be known on Twitter.
Try to stick as close to your business name as possible. You may find it’s not available. If so, try using _ somewhere (logical) in the name or incorporate other prefixes like, “the” or “real”. Use caps for each separate word if possible as this makes your name easier to read. Once you’re happy with your username, click on the “Create my Account” button.

Step 2: Read through the Twitter prompts explaining what a tweet is and take the opportunity to “follow” any friends the network might suggest. If your contacts are in a supported network like Gmail or Hotmail, Twitter will find your friends who are on Twitter. If you prefer to move on, skip these steps for now. You can always add your friends later.

Step 3: Tweak your settings using the Settings link under the Account tab. Set the time zone and make any other changes, for example, how and when you would like to receive updates/notifications via email etc. Click Save.
Under the Profile tab you can upload a picture/logo for your business. Don’t skip this step. Many Twitter users (including me) will not follow profiles without photos. Your photo can only be 700k in size so you may need to resize. Also under the profile tab, you can add a small biog for your business and link to your website or blog. Keep your biog short but informative so that people can easily see who you are and what you do. When you’re done, click Save. Continue reading

How to: start a blog with WordPress

Blogging is an awesome way to get your message out to the world – whether you’re an established business, a hobbyist looking to go professional with your skills or simply a person looking for an online outlet for your particular passion.

Currently there are three platforms widely regarded as the most popular and ideal blogging platforms: Blogger – connected to Google – Tumblr – more for creative & visual posting, and WordPress.

Today, we’re going to look at WordPress. Why choose WordPress? Well, when you do, you inherit as massive amount of free, powerful and highly adaptable features that aren’t available anywhere else on the web.

Before you begin, you need to have an idea of what kind of blog you want to create. Will it be purely business related? Will it be newsy, creative or fun? This will have a bearing on what you do going forward.

1. Before you install WordPress
Before installing WordPress, you need to check that your web hosting provider fulfills the necessary conditions and that you possess the required skills. For a list of requirements on your web host, see Hosting WordPress and/or the official requirement page.

2. Installing WordPress
This shouldn’t take more than a few minutes and some web hosts will actually install it for you, so make sure to check.
Begin your installation by:

  • Checking to ensure that you and your web host have the minimum requirements to run WordPress.
  • Download the latest release of WordPress.
  • Unzip the downloaded file to a folder on your hard drive.
  • Be prepared with a secure password for your Secret Key
  • Pick a domain name – this will be like your address on the web. It might be hard to find something that isn’t taken, but try & use something short & relevant.

For quick & easy installation instructions, read: Easy 5 Minute WordPress Installation on Windows Continue reading

How to: List your business on Foursquare

Before we launch into the ‘How’, we’re just going to touch briefly on the ‘Why’. You may be wondering why it’s a good idea to list your business on Foursquare? Perhaps you’re wondering what the hell Foursquare is?!

Foursquare is a type of social network that allows people to ‘check in’ using their mobile devices and share their locations with other people. As your check-ins add up, you earn badges and eventually can become the ‘mayor’ of a place once you’ve visited it more than anyone else.

It may seem like a silly concept to some, but for certain types of businesses in particular it can be an incredibly useful marketing tool. Every time people check into your establishment, other people see, which raises awareness for you. Those people can also leave reviews and add pictures, which will further highlight your place to people who come across your Foursquare listing.

Once you are the verified ‘owner’ of a Foursquare listing, you can also use it to advertise specials and promotions and reward your loyal customers.

1. First thing’s first, you’ll need to create a Foursquare profile for yourself (you, not your business). You can do this through Facebook or manually.

2. Once, your profile is created, find the Search bar at the top of the page and search for your business. You’re going to need to make sure that there isn’t an existing listing for your place already. If there isn’t, you’ll see it may bring up similar businesses nearby. Look underneath the results on the left hand side of the page and you’ll see a small link that says, ‘Add a new place to Foursquare’. Click it to continue.

3. Fill in your business details in the form. Make sure your business name and address are spelled correctly. If you’re unsure about how to phrase your address, click the Style Guide link for clarification. Continue reading

3 Tips to stop annoying your Facebook fans

We’ve all comes to recognise them by now – those really annoying people on Facebook that just won’t stop posting pictures of their baby, or whining about how sad their life is, or enthusing about their gym routine.

But what happens when that annoying person is your business? Getting ‘Likes’ is crucial to growing your brand but at what expense? If you notice you’re losing more fans than gaining, you may need to rethink your Facebook strategy. We’ve got a few quick tips that might help you figure out whether you’re on the wrong track.

1. Begging

Don’t beg people for ‘likes’ constantly. It makes you look desperate and makes the fans you do have feel unappreciated. It’s cool if you let people know every once in a while when you reach a milestone or when you reward your fans for increasing your following, but don’t overdo it. You wouldn’t beg people to like you in real life so you shouldn’t do it online. You want people who will build a genuine appreciation and affinity for your brand and ultimately bring you business – not just beg for ‘likes’ in return. Continue reading

3 Tips for better business tweeting

It wasn’t that long ago that the word ‘twitter’ was simply defined in the dictionary as “to utter a succession of small, tremulous sounds, as a bird”.
Not so anymore… Every day more businesses are becoming aware of the power of Twitter as a brand platform, sometimes learning difficult lessons along the way.
When you put your brand on Twitter, you put it out there, open to all manner of criticism and compliments alike, so you want to start with your best foot forward (not in your mouth).
If you are completely new to Twitter and need a crash course before you even type your first @, you could start here, with the comprehensive Mashable Twitter Guide.

These are three things we like to remember when tweeting.

1. Skip the ‘hard sell’

Twitter is a social media network and although people do use it for business purposes and to promote their products and services, no one likes to be assaulted with continuous advertising. It’s like watching Greys Anatomy on MNET during prime time. Rather intersperse your tweets with helpful or interesting or topical links. Start a conversation about something relevant to your business or find a creative way to market your product in a fun way that people will enjoy sharing.

2. Stay Relevant

This is the other side of the coin to our previous tip. While nobody wants to hear you warble on about your brand constantly, it can also be frustrating when businesses post lots of random content. If you’re in the pet industry, try to tweet interesting links, pics and chirps that relate to animals and pets. Don’t wander off on a tangent about plumbing or politics, or suddenly start promoting your sister’s BnB.

3. Be Helpful & Honest

It’s easy to forget on a social network that there are real people behind those avatars (well, some of the time at least!). As a business you need to treat them exactly the same way as you would treat them if they walked into your shop, restaurant, bank etc. Be polite and helpful. Answer questions and deal with complaints. Be honest. If you make a mistake, just admit it and try to move on from there. There’s nothing more ugly than a Twitter catfight and history has shown, that dishonest brands always come last in these battles.

For more Twitter tips Read:
17 Twitter Marketing Tips from the Pros
10 Tips to be Effective at Marketing on Twitter
Why Business should join the Twitterverse

3 Tips for more Facebook engagement

When discussing online influence, Facebook is often the first thing that comes to mind.
Some businesses wonder why Facebook is so important? The fact is, Facebook is where the people are! Acquiring Facebook fans for your business page is one battle, but the next step is making sure that they stay engaged, motivating more people to join.
As with most online communications, it requires thought and often a subtle hand. When all it takes is one click for people to walk away from your brand, you need to be adding, rather than detracting from their Facebook experience.

 

Here are 3 simple tips to start you on the path to making your Facebook fans happy!

1: Get Visual

A GOOD picture will sell your idea, product, event, special or brand far quicker than words. Facebook users (and people in general) are immediately drawn to attractive, shocking or interesting pictures online and the better the picture, the more likely they are to share it or like it. The stats show that Photos perform better than any other post type on Facebook & some experts say you should be using them for up to 80 percent of your posts!

2. Stay Relevant

Don’t just post for the sake of posting! Try to keep your posts relevant to your industry or topical conversations that are going on around the platform. Post interesting links, tips and news items that are relevant to your fans and win them over by being a helpful resource. Try and think like your fans and ask yourself what kind of content people interested in your business/industry may find helpful or enjoyable. Continue reading

3 Tips for more business blog reads

The purpose of this weekly blog post is to dispense some quick advice on how to get your business noticed online. But the online realm extends to email too! That’s why today we’re talking about email newsletters. It’s a tricky area, a bit like a school playground where you’re trying to make the absolute best impression, but one small slip can get you kicked right out of the game.

There’s no simple way to ensure that people read your email. Most people are simply too busy and just delete anything that looks vaguely unfamiliar. When it comes to email marketing subtlety is king.

1: Talk to the right people

Try to keep your message specific to people’s interests or industry. Rather mail a small group of people who are likely to be intrigued by what you are offering than spam a massive group you know nothing about. Use an email sign-up process or regular customer database so that you’re not just bombarding strangers. They will not think kindly of you and probably won’t want to do business with you in the future.

2. Say what you mean to say

Try to make an impact right away with a punchy headline or eye-catching visuals. Don’t write long and complicated essays on your newsletter. Rather use it to link to your stories on your blog or website. Focus on your two or three most important points you want to get across and try and be creative about how you display them. Make sure your subject line isn’t boring or spammy and that your newsletter comes from a reputable email name, otherwise, you’re not even going to make it to the Inbox.

3. Don’t oversell

Don’t be that guy that just talks about himself at the party. Don’t put your logo front and centre and shout your achievements at people. Rather, provide insightful and useful information in short punchy excerpts that people can scan easily. Your tone should be consistent with the kind of business you’re in and match your overall brand. Your email frequency should be considered. Too many emails will put people off, but too few may reek of inconsistency. Also under this point, make sure you give them an option to unsubscribe on the email. It’s the legal and courteous thing to do.

Read:
22 tips for getting your email newsletter read
Things that shouldn’t be included in an email newsletter
Six critical elements you need to consider for your newsletter

Check out the latest Safindit newsletter & let us know if you think we’re on the right track!

3 Tips to find your online consumer

It’s the third instalment of this new feature & today we’ll be honing in on a specific but elusive area of online marketing – the online consumer. Because the internet is a giant, ever-evolving beast and society is being influenced constantly by new internet-fuelled trends, painting a picture of a ‘typical’ online consumer is not really possible. There are ways to try and stay involved in the conversation though.

1. Follow the Conversations

There’s a reason why social media marketing became so huge. It was easy to see what people were talking about and what products and trends they ‘liked’. It seems fairly obvious, but the truth is, you need to be constantly aware of what people are talking about and sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Pinterest in order to ‘get to know’ your consumers. Know what’s trending on Twitter & Youtube and try and figure out why that one seemingly silly picture or video is doing the rounds from Cairo to Cape Town.

2. Sign Up

You don’t have to trawl the internet daily to get up-to-date information. Sign up to relevant newsletters or create an aggregated newsfeed using your favourite sources on Google Reader. Let the information come to you. You may feel a bit ill when you find an Inbox filled to the brim with ‘junk’, but after reading it all, you could be able to formulate a picture of what is going on out there in the web.

3. Understand the Medium

Try to understand what kind of people would prefer which online platforms and use that knowledge to figure out where & how to position yourself. While people on Facebook tend to spend a lot of time discussing things, people on Pinterest tend to speak with their pin choices. It’s interesting & helpful to look at the personality types behind the different media.

Read: How do we get to know the online consumer? & Follow Digitlab to get more up-to-date research on the online consumer.

Also, check out this infographic of online consumer behaviour around the world.

3 Steps Toward Online Awareness

In our second instalment of our new feature, we’re once again looking at ways that you can harness the internet to sell your brand & how to brand your business for the online world!

1. Who are you?

Before you do anything (online or otherwise) you should spend some time thinking about what your brand actually is! As Peter Perfect says, “Change your image, change your life!”.

If you’re going to try and compete with the massive network of business out there on the internet, you need to know where you fit in amongst them, and more importantly, how to stand out from them!

Read: Try this online quiz to help you figure out what your Brand Archetype is!

2. Blog for your Life!

For those who don’t write or read blogs, they seem like silly things. But they are an undeniable tool in your online toolbox. They give you the chance to tell the unique story of your business and its people, one post at a time.

You can infuse a blog with any kind of personality and make it creative, informative or funny. It’s a perfect way to soft-sell your products and services by telling a story. Blogging will show people that you are proud and passionate about your business and increase brand loyalty.

Read: The Business Blog R-evolution

3: Stagnant Social Profiles Suck

It’s one thing to not have social media accounts at all, but another thing to neglect the ones you do have. It may not seem like such a big deal, but it is. Increasingly social media isn’t just used to connect socially but for business too.

If your profiles look old and neglected, people take for granted that your business is too! If it looks like you don’t take time to engage with your customers online, people assume you won’t do the same in reality. Even if you just supply one update per day or two or three per week, you will be doing your business a great service.

Read: 7 Reasons Businesses Are Still Afraid of Social Media

3 Tips to leverage your online brand

We love to support and grow small businesses and brands in South Africa. That’s why we don’t charge anything to create a listing on Safindit. It’s in this spirit that we are starting a new blog feature entitled “3 Tips for Online Awareness”, where we will give you three, easy-to-digest weekly hints on how to leverage your brand’s true online potential!

Let’s just dive right in with our first three tips, looking at the most basic areas!

1. Your Brand Needs a Home

Whatever you may or may not have heard, the truth is, your business really needs a website. It doesn’t even have to be big or fancy. Hell, it can just be a landing page that directs people to your social media pages!
In the past it was very expensive and complicated to get a website but times have changed, and with the introduction of free platforms like Woza Online there really is no excuse to not have one. Woza Online was created for the very purpose of giving South Africa’s small businesses and entrepreneurs a free, easy platform to create a website – in MINUTES!
No matter what your technological ability (or lack thereof), if you simply follow the easy steps, you’ll have a fully functional website in no time at all!

Read: 5 Reasons why Every Small Business Needs a Website Continue reading

The Devil & Team Inkredible

RedInk Multimedia is a full-service ad agency, based in Centurion, specialising in all that is Multimedia – from social media content management to email marketing, mobisites, SMS campaigns and general consulting on e-marketing requirements.

We spoke to Redink MD Daniella Louw.

Safindit: Who are the people behind Redink Multimedia?
Daniella: The owners are myself and Belinda Nelson. I’m the MD and she’s our Creative Director. We make a great team. People often assume from first impressions that we’re vastly different- I’m the rocker and she’s the soccer mom. But it’s not so. We are actually very alike. We’re both ENTJ personalities, we’re very supportive of each other’s endeavours and views and we run a tight ship. We’re known as “D the Devil – generally depicted with a whip and a cat of 9 tails – and B the Angel – generally depicted with wings, a halo and known around here as the Good Cop. It’s an invaluable combination!

S: How did the business come about?
D: Belinda (I call her B) and I worked together at Marketing Mix magazine in the year voetsek. We both left to start our own businesses- I in journalism and marketing and she in graphic design. We soon found that our clients were overlapping, that we were working together on a lot of projects anyway- and decided to join forces and see if we could fly this thing! It’s 7 years on and we have never looked back.

S: What’s it like to work at Redink?
D: There’s a great energy here. B and I put a lot of effort into company culture. There’s always music playing, manic outbursts of laughter, a pool table, a foostable, strange bites of inspiration from my office and a general consensus of “Screw it, let’s do it!” B and I like to encourage an entrepreneurial spirit, and we’re suckers for independent thinkers. So it works, and brings out the best in people. Team Inkredible rocks! Even if I say so myself.

Continue reading

Go Mobile or Go Home

We’ve introduced this feature on our blog because we’re passionate about the web and we love to see local brands leverage their online potential.

In South Africa there are around 50 million cellphones in operation and it’s no coincidence that mobile is currently regarded as the ultimate frontier for digital marketing. Considering the majority of the market doesn’t own PC’s, internet access is largely limited to mobile platforms. For some, mobile provides the only point of access to their favourite brands, yet so many South African businesses still haven’t adapted to take advantage of this.

Sure, there are obstacles. The myriad of handset types and the ‘pay-as-you-go’ culture mean that brands need to put some real thought into their design & functionality – rather than simply creating a smaller version of their website.

If people choose to access your site mobily, it’s because they need information on the move – not because they want admire your website’s delightful flash intro. Only a small percentage of South Africa’s vast mobile market currently own Smartphones, which means their actual browser capability isn’t always great. Varying screen sizes, different platforms and browsers, slower connection speeds and differing input controls further complicate the mobisite challenge. Add to this the fact that the average user is likely to be on the move and in a hurry.

It’s up to developers and digital marketers to really understand their market and its’ mobile capabilities to determine the functionality of the mobi-site. When this is done correctly – as in the case of someone like Ster Kinekor or Vodacom, the users feel relief at the ease of use and automatically have more loyalty to the brand in question.

In this section of our blog, we’ll highlight local brands and businesses who we feel have hit the nail on the head, or missed completely with their mobile sites. And perhaps we’ll encourage others to take a closer look at their own mobile platforms – or lack thereof!