Monthly Archives: May 2012

Afrikaners is plesierig

So the song starts at least. Two of the things I encounter most often when dealing with social media are:

  1. We don’t want to open our brand to attack or negative comments. (Client / business perspective). Which is completely understandable, since the most common user perspective seems to be…
  2. I don’t want to waste time on Facebook or Twitter until I had a negative brand experience.  (Individual user perspective). At this point we often find socially inactive or dormant users awaken to blurt out their frustrations on a social platform.

How very odd. Apparently we don’t trust social sites enough to let them dramatically influence our purchasing patterns yet but we (as individuals) believe that we can negatively impact a brand by blurting out our frustrations in the social mix.

Very, very odd. Perhaps we aren’t so very “plesierig” after all.

So what to do now?

As a business:

  1. Stop the fear cycle. If they have something negative to say, they will do it regardless of whether you have a page or not. My thoughts are that if you have a centralised business page you at least have the capacity to influence the conversation and resulting perceptions. (You could of course follow trending topics and monitor how your brand is talked about but my guess is that if you are still debating the virtues of Facebook, this is might as well be written in Greek….)
  2. Swift, sharp, to the point. If you receive negative comments react as quickly as possible (within 2 hours). Don’t take it so personally – focus on getting to the root of the problem and advise on your findings and your intended corrective action. If the conversation is deliberately malicious, delete the post and take it offline. (You are after all the page admin!)
  3. Keep your house in order. Don’t make claims that are untrue, publish rude or offensive comments or advertise misleading promotions. If you don’t create obvious gaps in your integrity, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the lack of attack from Joe public.

As a person:

  1. Don’t be so quick to assume that your comment will sink a ship. Don’t underestimate the value of your opinion either. If you have a legitimate concern feel free to express yourself but take heed! Avoid enraged comments with flowery, emotive or offensive language. If you have it, say it and stick with it.
  2. If you really want to have influence, build your network. Having 50 Facebook friends doesn’t make you a social sheik. Sure 50 of your friends might consider never buying xxx milk again but so what? Grow your network (i.e. make more friends) if you want to have a real circle of influence.
  3. Try out the rest. Use the variety of social platforms as more than just a soap box. Look for friends. Pin a picture on Pinterest. Post a video on YouTube, or if that is too frightening at least comment on someone else’s, Tweet a comment on a worthwhile subject or share a (meaningful) thought on an interesting blog (The Spear lives On).

 

And while we are at it

let’s work on being more “plesierig”. Put equal amounts of zeal and effort in congratulating and complaining. Use your posts / tweets / comments or blurbs to commend businesses / brands on extraordinary customer service experiences. Changing a culture starts with you and me – its time to revolutionise the South African social media experience.

Diva, over and out!

Social Media Mixing (courtesy of http://www.bnettv.com/social-media-marketing/)


Lekker local social-mix

So we have established that America has left me with an epiphany. We are not American! Great you say, she flies thousands of kilometers to figure out something we already knew. Well, I believe there is more to it.

Why the difference matters

Being different might be an established fact in your mind but wherever I look I see the same international laws and premises being applied to our local culture. There are a growing number of individuals who offer their services and expertise on the Social Media Communications front but they are all doing the same thing. Reading the same Mashable posts and tips, using Google and finding resources like Social Media Examiner and imposing their truths on the South African market. If we agree that the South African market is different then we need to accept the implications of that statement. We cannot impose their rules on our market. We simply aren’t ready for it yet. To refresh yourself on why I believe our market is so different, read this post.

So what do we do?

Take a deep breath. We will be fine. We will also probably catch up with the American (and other international) markets but until we do we need to make our rules stick.

The American market (and home to the famous reference sites like SME, Mashable and others) uses social media as an accepted communication platform, they use multiple platforms without going into shock and private users accept that businesses and brands will communicate with them socially.

The South African market is still debating whether or not to jump into the social pool. Individuals are still obsessed with the threat of identity theft. Once we decide to venture into the pool, we fret about which platform, how often, why, and what to say. We are still living in fear of the social media revolution. I do believe that this will change but it doesn’t change the fact that our approach should be different.

How to communicate with the SOUTH AFRICAN market SOCIALLY:

  1. Stop obsessing about frequency and timings of your posts / tweets or pins. Focus on being authentic. Don’t waste time with irrelevant updates that are both annoying and time-wasters. American trends have taught us that interaction is most effective when FB post happen at least daily and tweets are sent at least 8 times per day – true for a country that has enough happening to fill the space.
  2. Look at the game plan. Social media is here to stay. It will grow and evolve with time and so will you. Just because you communicate via Facebook today doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind in the future. It is a free world and we live in a country that encourages democratic opinions. Decide what will work for you now, use it, try it and adapt.
  3. Remember the local-is-lekker consumer. South African consumers are by nature more distrustful. We are hesitant to engage with internet sites, we doubt most of what we read (unless it is a SPAM-chain-mail that offers millions if you only send it on and CC IOL!) and we have only a small percentage of our market represented on the internet. In the bigger scheme of things, don’t drop all your communication efforts in favour of a social media strategy that will exhaust you. Perspective….

Was it all for nothing?

Of course not. Like I said. Social media is here to stay. Get used to it. Incorporate it into your marketing mix but remember that we are a proud country with a unique, diverse population. Don’t obsess about Facebook, Twitter & YouTube. Relax. Remember that social media, more than any other communication platform available to you, is about creating a conversation with your market. So start talking.

That isn’t so frightening, is it?

Diva, out.


Socially in South Africa

10 days in the USA! It was amazing. The trip of a lifetime. A conference in Atlanta and my ENTIRE first day was filled with speakers talking about various social media angles. Having listened to them, working through my notes and just taking stock, here’s what I now know (perhaps I even knew it all along)….

My social media take-aways from the USA:

 

  1. South Africa is not the USA. Our consumers and social groups have not adopted social media communication to the level the international audience has. I do believe that we will get there, but at the moment our social media landscapes differ significantly. Here, I still start most social media conversations with the “why you should” sentence or the “benefits of”. There it is an assumed reality that you are connected socially on more than one platform. Delegates swapped social addresses like we would exchange business cards. Conference updates happened via Twitter and both delegates and organizers used the platform well without the fall back to more traditional communication methods. In other words – there was no FEAR…
  2. We aren’t ready to be the USA just yet. I felt completely exposed and laid bare with life happening in split-second bursts in the online world and it left me wondering whether it really is so bad to be patient while our country and culture readies itself for real global, social connectivity? I will be more focused on equipping our clients with appropriate communication skills than to rush them onto social media soapboxes (with nothing to say).
  3. We don’t have to pretend it’s our invention. Kudos belong (and should remain) with the North American’s, we don’t have to try and do it all over again. I was overwhelmed with the quality, quantity and type of social media interaction I experienced during my brief visit to the States. We should look at what works for them and then add our own Local is Lekker flavour. It’s OK to do what works… :)

 

And lastly, I was pleased to see that although all of the above is true, our (Adrinalin Concept) interpretation of sound social media practices stood with the rest. You can look forward to more from us on:

  1. Engaging with your audience in a meaningful way.
  2. Connecting with parents.
  3. To do and not do’s

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them here or on our Facebook wall!