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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

How to: Create a place on Google Maps

Most people nowadays know what Google Maps is, but if you don’t here’s a quick run-down. Launched in June 2005, Google Maps is a web mapping service that uses the technology of Google.
It allows you to find just about any place in the world – from National Parks and monuments, to your own house. With the addition of Google Streetview in 2007, users can now view images of many the streets displayed on Google Maps.

Today, it’s important for your business to be listed on Google Maps. With so many people using them to find their way around, it will make it far easier for people to locate you! The only catch is that you will need a Gmail account in order to set this up, so make sure you have one first.

Creating a place on Google Maps is easy too!

Step 1: Go to Google. Click on the Tab at the top called Maps.

Step 2: Go to the link on the left hand side that says, “Put your business on Google Maps“.

Step 3: At this point, you’ll need to login to Gmail. Once you’re logged in, you’ll need to fill in a form giving your business information.

Step 4: Below the basic info, you can specify which areas your business serves & whether you do call-outs. You can detail your operating hours and payment policies. You can also upload photos and videos if you wish.

Step 5: Once you’re happy that all the information is correct, then you can press Submit.

Step 6: Google will then ask you to verify the information given by allowing them to phone or SMS you at the phone number you’ve provided. Once you’ve ticked your option. They will call or SMS with a PIN code.

Step 7: Enter your PIN code on the following screen and your process is complete.

Note: It may take up to a week for your new listing to appear on Google Maps. You can get more info and Help at Google Places Help.

How to: Create an Safindit Listing

We spend a lot of time online and so we know that sometimes the internet can be a dark and confusing place, particularly for the technologically timid. Our new blog feature aims to help those folk with phobias to quickly and easily sign up, login, build, locate and create all sorts of things online that may benefit you and your business.

We’re going to start with an easy one and one that is close to our own hearts! We’re going to show you how to create your very own Safindit Listing.

 

Step 1:
Go to http://safindit.co.za and look on the far right-hand side of the home page. Click on the tab that says,ADD YOURS +“.

Step 2:
You’ll see you have the option to add a place, event, special or story. To create a business listing, you need to tick ‘Place’.

Step 3:
Add your business’s name under Listing Title. If your business has more than one name, or operates under the banner of another company, try to use the name that is most closely associated with your line of work. If your business doesn’t have a specific name, but provides a service eg: Tree Felling, you might want to think about specifying a bit more, for example, writing, “Tree Felling Service – Western Cape.

Step 4:
Add a description of your business and/or services. If you already have a website that has a full description of your business, you can simply copy and paste it into the space provided. If, however, you don’t have anything written down, you’ll need to try and be specific about what your company does and how. Think about how you would describe your business to a friend or new client. You can also simply list the services you provide.

Step 5:
Add your full address where possible, including province. We will use this information to plot your location using Google Maps. If you don’t have an office or work from home & prefer not to use the address publicly, simply add the area; eg. Durban North. If you are an online-based business, just state South Africa. Continue reading

Daily Collection

Wired Women – Ladies in Tech!

The fields of IT and digital technology used to be all about the men. Rarely would you see a sassy blonde and heels saunter out of an IT office to fix your PC.

But that’s all changed. The digital revolution has arrived and with it, a host of powerful, dynamic women, motivated and inspired to change the world with their own technological innovations.

In this collection we’ve grouped together technology startups and websites with strong women at the helm, who are bashing down barriers and stomping on preconception and convention in their Manolos.

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

Knock, knock – It’s knickers!

If you have a passion for pretty knickers and love a good surprise, you’re going to adore Lingerie Letters. Founded by Lauren Graham and Kimberley Wood of online fashion retailer Diligo.co.za and Sylvia Gruber and Margaux Knuppe of beauty box sensation rubybox, this new service is already delighting women all over SA.

The idea is simple enough. You sign up online with your personal details and preferences and every month you’ll receive a surprise pair of panties in the post!

We spoke to Lily Chantilly about this unique business and it’s growing popularity!

Safindit: How did the business come about?
Lily: We’re always looking for a new excuse to buy a cute pair of panties and still love how it feels to receive a letter in the post (not a bill). Combine the two and you get Lingerie Letters!

S: It’s an unusual idea. Are there other online businesses offering anything like this?
L: Lingerie Letters is the first online lingerie subscription service in South Africa. It’s all about reviving the postal service so that you receive a cute surprise pair of panties every month, instead of just the usual boring bills. It also follows on from rubybox and Diligo, where you get to delight yourself from the comfort of your own home.

S: What is it about lingerie that interests/ excites you?
L: I love all the intimate appeal of lingerie, no one knows what style you’re wearing yet somehow you feel more confident wearing that special pair of panties. Plus, I love the variety. Everything from delicate drawers to tom-boy briefs, there’s something for everyone.

S: Where and how do you source your lingerie?
L: All Lingerie Letters panties are made with love in South Africa. We hand-select the fabrics and trims locally and with the South African women’s figure and sizing in mind. Continue reading

MHub brings mobile to the masses

As you already know from our regular Mobisite reviews, we at Safindit have a particular passion for mobile – and now we can show you just how much!!

We have been hard at work over the past 18 months to grow and update Safindit’s listings and now we hope to take it a step further by allowing users to discover information via mobile too!

We are proud and excited to announce the arrival of MHub – an awesome new platform brought to you by the Safindit megaminds.
MHub allows all local businesses to create a mobisite in minutes, that will help them to take advantage of the growing number of consumers who use their handsets to find service providers.

Anyone can have a mobisite with MHub, no matter how big or small! By making use of the Safindit API any business that has an existing listing with Safindit, will find their information will come up automatically when they do a search. Then it’s simply a matter of making any updates or changes and submitting the form.

Within seconds you’ll have a fully functional mobile website that you can share with others using your MHub url or even using a custom QR code, which is generated by the MHub engine. You can download your unique QR Code that directs people to your mobisite and add it to emails or print it and stick it on your business premises, vehicles or products.

Watch our video below to see how MHub works! Then go to www.mhub.co.za to create your own free mobisite!

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

Quicket picks up speed!

Launched almost a year ago, Quicket is an online ticketing system with a difference or two. Their smart and simple system allows event organisers to easily create a profile and start selling tickets for their events within minutes. In a local landscape where the public and events promoters are getting fed up with some of the larger suppliers and are craving a more personalised and efficient solution, it makes sense that Quicket has all the makings of a success story!

We spoke to one of the masterminds behind the website, James Tagg.

Safindit: Who are the people behind Quicket?
James: Myself, James Tagg plus James Hedley, Tim Church and Mike Kennedy.

S: How did the idea for Quicket come about?
J: We started with the intention of creating a concept similar to www.wepay.com. After discovering we would have serious fraud problems and that the market wasn’t necessarily large enough, we decided to target the online ticketing market.

S: What skills/experience do you and your team have that make you the right team for the job?
J: James Hedley : Business development and marketing and Sales, Tim Church : Art Direction, Graphic design, Advertising, James Tagg, Mike Kennedy : Web Development – DotNet.
Our Combined skills cover most of the vital internal and external functions in the business.

S: What makes Quicket unique?
J: Our offerings for smaller event organisers, the super-quick and simple sign up process, the option for Facebook upload and to sell from Facebook or your own website.

We’ll soon have a free offering for smaller organisers and a complete range of self marketing tools with competitive pricing. Our Wildfire Facebook incentive system offers organisers incentives to customers who invite friends. We have a revolutionary cash sales system using kenito – anywhere anytime Kiosk – which facilitates a one-step purchase process.

S: How long did it take to develop Quicket?
J: 4 months Continue reading