Tag Archives: Online Communication

Essential Words & Terminology for 2013

Essentials for online writing (The must know list):

If you are serious about taking your brand online this year, you better make sure that you know what you and others are talking about.

Web is developing at a “faster than light” pace and new words / phrases are coined equally quickly. It’s important to get a sense of the general terms so that you don’t become overwhelmed by semantics and terminology. Some basic but essentials to know:

Blog

A blog (originally called weblog / web-log) is an online collection of articles (posts) targeted at a specific audience profile. For instance a travel blog will concern itself with posts and updates related to the realm of traveling, holiday spots etc. It is important to note that every blog reflects the personality of its host / author (also called a blogger). Readers respond to both the content of the blog (what is being said) and the personality of the blog (how it is presented to the reader – humourous, serious, visually etc).

Tip: If you are considering a blog, decide what type of personality you will be reflecting before hand. Be consistent and make sure that your blog promotes your business with integrity and honour.

Collaboration

In an online world this means that more than one person is contributing to a post or topic. This is a great idea as it allows subject-matter-experts in your community to weigh-in on important issues. This should increase your blog visits.

Content Management System (CMS)

A computer program that allows you to create, publish and edit content. Once your content is created, the CMS then presents it to the web where others can view and comment on. Most CMS’s provide an interface that is user-friendly and easy to operate – even for persons with hardly any web background.

Del.icio.us

The social bookmarking site where users can collectively tag favorite links. As you browse the web and come across content that you find valuable / meaningful, DELICIOUS is the site that allows you to store, share and continue discovering more.

Links

Using hypertext, a link is connection between one picture, word or post to another. Perhaps it will help you to think of this as strings running between concepts that allow to jump from one to the other.

Tip: Bloggers use links to create multiple entry points to their blogs and posts. This is done by creating links to your blog in as many places as possible – i.e. placing a link to your blog on your website is a good starting point. You can build your link strategy by adding links to your blog to other partner sites (remember to request permission first!).

Social Media

Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, exchange and comment contents among themselves in virtual communities and networks. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media).  Some of the most popular social media sites include Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube – in no order of preference.

Scheduling

Using blogging software to write posts and schedule them for publishing in the future. A blog engine like this one (WordPress) allows you to plan and schedule your posts like you would schedule an appointment in your diary.

Tag

Tags are terms / phrases or specific words that describe the nature / content of a post.

Tag cloud

Visual representations of tags or keywords used in a blog. In other words a group of the most popular tags (words / phrases / terms) the blogger uses to categorize his / her posts.

Thread

A collections or series of posts pertaining to a particular topic.

WordPress

WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS) that allows users (like you and me) to sign up for an account, to customise what our blog will look like and to publish our thoughts and comments via this “program” (I use this term very loosely) or platform. The beauty of this CMS is that you don’t need any web development knowledge to get going, it is almost as simple as typing an article in Microsoft Word.

Over to you

Are there specific words / phrases that has you bamboozled? Feel free to leave a comment and let’s see if I can help you clarify them.

Adrinalin DIVA, done-and-dusted.

 


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.


What is Internet Marketing?

Internet Marketing

Internet Marketing is generally assumed (by you, me and the watchful advertising industry at large) to refer to the process of marketing your goods / services via the Internet. This could include:

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) for your website. Using SEO correctly allows search engines to easily find, index and refer traffic to your site.
  • Pay-per-Click advertising. Based on the budget you have at your disposal you acquire advertising space on the web. (Think of Sponsored Links in a Search Engine window)
Pay-Per-Click Advertising Results

Pay-Per-Click Advertising Results

  • Social Media. Now this becomes more interesting because you can
  1. Use your Social Media strategy (in essence your posts) to create a following and drive traffic to your website. Hubspot indicated to us last year that a Facebook FAN is more likely to do business with a brand that they follow on Social Media than internet users who don’t engage with your brand socially.
  2. Use Pay-per-Click advertising on Social Media sites. Same principle as explained above.
  • Business directory listings. Despite having a website for you business, you can list your business on other business directory sites. One of my favorites is www.jozikids.co.za – an excellent example of what directory listings should look like. Directory listings offer an introduction to your product / service; pictures if relevant and of course contact details. Despite added brand exposure, this is a vital part of your link-building strategy (or should be at least!). For more on link-building, read this post.
  • e-Mail marketing. I always include this in my online marketing toolbox. Use e-mailers / newsletters to engage with your customers. Remember that you can drive traffic directly to your site via cleverly placed links.
  • Content Marketing:(think blogging /  video blogging / webinars) involves creating and freely sharing informative content as a means of converting prospects into customers and customers into repeat buyers.
  • Affiliate Marketing: a product / service of one entity is sold via multiple representatives (affiliates) for a share of the profits.

What type of Internet Marketing should you use?

My top three include

  1. Social Media – more specifically, using content to create rich user experiences that build brand confidence.
  2. SEO – as explained above. This normally leads to Pay-per-Click advertising to boost ROI.
  3. Content Marketing  – I am assuming that this blog, gave that away :)

These might seem like “fluffy” marketing, but the crux of the matter remains – drive traffic to your site, make sure your content speaks to your visitors and focus on converting your new leads to sales.

Analytics / Tracking

Remember to add tracking to your web-activity wherever possible. The ability to track most user interactions on the web outclasses all other marketing activities. Knowing exactly how visitors / readers / users interact with your brand is invaluable IP – USE IT.

Done and dusted.

The Diva :)

If you want to know more about how to get your website or online marketing initiatives setup correctly, speak to one of the Adrinalin Junkies (junkies@adrinalinconcept.co.za) today.
www.adrinalinconcept.co.za

Blogging Success

Blogging

The art of blogging – i.e. the ability to engage with your (often diverse) readers in such a way that you continue to add value to their business / personal growth / travel plans / upcoming marriage turmoil etc etc etc. **Please substitute to include your area of blogging-preference.

This task s quite arduous, especially if you consider that most bloggers qualify to this status / title by virtue of ‘simply diving in’.

Making your blog great

  1. Blog regularly. You wanted the attention, no knuckle down and type my friend. Daily if possible – remember we are dealing with the cyber-consumer who demands instant-gratification.
  2. Type and read. Type and read. You remember ‘wax on, wax off’? Same story. Write, read, edit. As cathartic as blogging is, make sure that you are ready to send your thoughts in to cyber space when you hit “publish.”
  3. Keep up to date with relevant news in your industry or interest area. Keep it new, fresh and exciting but don’t just share and reblog what others write. Make it your own. Add an opinion or ask a question.
  4. Answer comments and questions quickly. Be polite, I guess.
  5. Add pictures. Remember that pictures speak as well. Use them to visually enhance and emphasise what you are saying. Get creative. Have some fun if you dare.
  6. Links! Link to other relevant commentaries and blogs. Comment and leave your own blog address. As much as I love Dolly, this is not about being an ‘Island in the Stream’. Forget isolation, think of being ‘The cosmopolitan underground-and-inter-connected railway”.
  7. Guest bloggers. Colleagues and experts who can engage with your readers. Even in the narcissistic world of blogging, consider that YOURS is not the only voice that deserves to be heard.
  8. Categories. Figure out what you want to write about, categorise your blog and make sure your posts add value to those topical areas.

Even more tips

Get your blog out there.

  1. Share your blog via your website.
  2. Add your blog URL to your email signature
  3. Share your posts on your social media platforms.

And finally,

Write about things that matter to you. Something you can sink your newly manicured nails into. Give it some meat and seasoning and watch-out for the return!

Diva, over-and-out :)


Complaints on Facebook

A recent query from a colleague alerted me to just how overly sensitive we still are to seeing complaint appear in our social media streams. Granted, it does sort of get your gut twisted and your blood draining when you open your stream and there it is for the whole world to see. My colleague’s reaction was to want to hit the “Remove this Post” button but is that the right way to go about it?

John Beale shared his experiences when dealing with online complaints in the post entitled Ten types of social media complaints on BizCommunity. He lists ten types of complaints and how to deal with them.  Valuable insight and a concise summary of complaint-type consumer engagements we can expect in our various streams.

What I would like to highlight as a conclusion from this particular post is the following: In not ONE of the types of complaints does he (or I, as a matter of fact!) ever suggest that you put your head in the sand in pretend it did not happen!

Typically every type of post (and platform) has a unique approach to take, but in general terms what I suggested to my colleague (and clients in the past) is this:

  1. Acknowledge the post or comment
  2. Indicate how you will be addressing the concern (i.e. “We will investigate and report back within 24hrs etc.)
  3. Indicate specific time-frames where possible and stick to them
  4. DO NOT engage in an emotive response where you simply defend your position (SMME’s are typically prone to this type of reaction)
  5. Use this opportunity to assist the consumer to resolve their complaint OR to change your processes to prevent this from happening again (learning opportunity in other words)

I know, it’s like showing up at school and realising you didn’t prepare for the test. Fact remains, you’ve gotta do it. Avoiding confrontation leaves a bad taste in the consumer’s mouth and creates the impression that your brand / business and ultimately you (SMME’s!) don’t care. It just isn’t worth it.

Diva, done.


Writing for Facebook

Facebook is growing, evolving and constantly changing the rules. Online communicators can’t afford to become complacent or lethargic. There is more and more content being circulated via Facebook and other social networking platforms. The overall effect that we are finding (looking specifically again at examples from our South African client base) that this is creating a more discerning reader. With so much on offer, we need to constantly work at adapting and innovating when we write for Facebook.

Here are three tips I always offer to my clients:

  1. Not all readers are alike. Some think visually others like intellectual stimulation and some still look to social networking sites for diversion and escapism. When we create your content strategy, try to incorporate messaging that will appeal to a broad reader-demographic. This means that you will need to create fun, interactive posts, try to incorporate meaningful polls and of course add videos and photos when appropriate.
  2. Circulating content from other blogs and websites. Subscribe to sites and pages that you like and that could add value to your content strategy and share the stand-out posts. What is even more meaningful is to add your own opinion, thoughts, comments or polls based on this content. In other words, use it but make it your own! Please give credit where due and don’t plagiarize.
  3. Don’t sell. Teach, inform, educate, introduce your brand personality and even have fun. You should ideally be prompting readers to visit your website regularly – they can learn more about your products and services there. Don’t spoil your online networking by mistaking it for a door-to-door sales opportunity.

And of course, don’t be stale. Try new ideas. Ask different people in your company to contribute posts and encourage interactivity and dialogue whenever possible.

Our favourite page of this week (with some excellent examples of the above) is Intiem / Intimacy Magazine. Have a look at their live chat sessions and the amount of activity on the page – we give them our A-D-A (Adrinalin Diva Approval) stamp. If you have more examples, please feel free to share.

Diva, over and out.


Building your links

Search Engine Optmization or SEO, is the practice of increasing the visibility of a website without paying for the results. This is also called organic results. This is an increasingly popular activity for online content as more and more businesses are represented online and each of those need to create an online visibility for their brand. SEO use a variety of activities to influence search engine rankings. These could include:

  • Understanding search engines (you’ve probably heard your SEO partner mention something like the ‘Google Algorithm’)
  • Considering what the original search term was
  • Typical search terms used on search engines
  • Rewriting online content to include specific keywords
  • Creating a variety of back links (also called link building) 

Link building creates a strategic referring network of links that refer to your website. Simplistically stated, creating a strong network creates strong result.

Nick Stamoulis of Brick Marketing‘s blog (Search Engine Optimization Journal) posted the following article. According to the article, you should remember not to put all your SEO links in one basket. In other words, don’t concentrate all your efforts in one area. He uses the example of Facebook – although this one site allows you multiple opportunities to redirect virtual feet to your site, this is not the wisest practice. Use multiple departure points (online sites OR offline marketing material) to lead to one destination (i.e. your company website).

SEO is an exciting practice that is multifaceted and constantly evolving – it challenges our content and our strategies. Remember though to build honest link-networks and avoid the frowned-upon activities of deception. Happy linking!

Diva, out.