Author Archive

Facebook Timeline: the evolution of online socialising

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

We’ve been hearing about it for a while and it has finally been released publically, well in New Zealand at least. Facebook Timeline may one day be the default setting for all Facebook users, however in the mean- time it will slowly become available in various parts of the world. If you would like to enable Facebook Timeline now however, you are able to, in a few simple steps.

Facebook Timeline is in essence, a collection of items that Facebook already allows you to post up on your profile. Photos, videos, posts and other experiences appear in a chronological order. At first, your Facebook Timeline may appear to be rather “incomplete” but over time, as you fill it up and add more to it, a “story of your life” will start developing. Your friends will be able to add pictures etc. to your Facebook Timeline, as they may currently do on your Facebook profile.

Facebook first announced that they would be releasing Facebook Timeline, back in September. With its sudden release in New Zealand, it shouldn’t be too long before all South African Facebook users get to play around with it, if you haven’t already enabled it.

Allowing you to document a “timeline” from your date of birth to present, Facebook Timeline is allowing Facebook users to engage with their friend’s online scrapbook, whilst enjoying the ease of a well- designed interface. Facebook Timeline users will be able to get creative with their profile page and cover photo, a new feature that allows a personalised image at the top of the page.

We certainly think that this is an exciting step in the world of social media. Facebook Timeline shows us that there really are no restrictions to how creative and exciting a Facebook profile can be. Who knows what they will do in the future or how other social media platforms will evolve in time.

Social Screening: the online FBI

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Gone are the days when a great CV and interview were enough to get a job. Most companies are taking advantage of social networking platforms to screen (social screening) potential employees and to get a deeper understanding of who they are.

There are over 535 million social networking users across the world. These users have one or multiple accounts across LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Any company looking at hiring new staff, looks for the most qualified and talented people as possible candidates. This is where social screening is an effective method.

Facebook is the ideal platform to investigate further into a person’s character and personality, whilst Twitter identifies a person’s interestsetc. LinkedIn offers a more professional insight into who the person is, as well as their working history.

With companies using social screening to find out more about the people they consider hiring, potential employees should consider “cleaning up” their social media accounts. According to mindflash.com there are 5 ways of ensuring you never get hired, based on social screening:

  • Digital dirt (inappropriate images)
  • Terrible Troll (swearing and adding annoying commentary to blogs posts etc)
  • Big Mouth (negative comments about previous employers etc)
  • Numerous contacts and comments (having inappropriate contacts and participating in inappropriate conversation with them)
  • Being constantly negative (never posting positive comments etc)

Although there are ways to limit the amount of information people are able to view on a personal account, being cautious about what content appears on the social media platform is the safer bet.

Numerous recruitment agencies and companies use social screening to head hunt a potential employee. However social screening is also used to dismiss staff. Although using social screening may take time and possibly cost money (Facebook Ad’s, etc) many companies find it to be the better long term option when trying to find the ideal employee to fill a position. Using social screening also increases the candidate pool.

With social media becoming more and more useful to businesses, it is important to ensure that the content that is visible to the public, compliments who you have said that you are in your CV, etc. Especially if you are looking for a new job.

SEO copywriting vs. other styles of writing

Friday, November 18th, 2011

What is online or SEO copywriting? Well, SEO is the acronym for the phrase “search engine optimisation.” Search engine optimisation is all about doing specific things to your website to drive more traffic to it with the aim of getting a certain reaction from the people visiting your site. Whether it’s to get them to purchase something online or simply get them to enquire about your company’s product or service, their experience on you site needs to be interesting and helpful.

What are some of these things?

There are a few but here we will discuss how SEO copywriting as a style of writing achieves those results. SEO copywriting is unique from other forms of writing such as magazine writing or a newspaper writing. SEO writing focuses on specific “key words or phrases” that make your website or specific web page on your site emerge on the first page of a search list – which is essentially where you want to be. However this is only possible provided the writer has adhered to specific SEO protocol which includes:

  • Finding the correct search term or phrase for your product or service (there are a few online tools which online Copywriters use for this)
  • Using the search term or phrase only a certain amount of times without over using or misusing it
  • Avoiding very long words (words with multiple syllables)
  • Not writing very long sentences
  • Having an appropriate and appealing topic if writing an online article
  • SEO copywriting must still be readable and persuasive like any other style of writing

Styles of SEO writing

Online writers write articles, press releases and “optimise” existing web content. The copywriter must keep in mind all the above mentioned SEO “rules” when writing articles. Press releases are similar but cover more than just one topic. Optimising web content is simply increasing the use of a specific key term or phrase on a particular page of a website with the hope of making that page rank higher during a search.

Writing for magazines, news papers, pamphlets or even bill boards, the Copywriter writes easy to read, enjoyable and compelling copy with the aim of persuading you into taking a certain action. Whilst SEO copywriting is steered in the same direction, the online Copywriter has a goal of making a company’s website or specific web page on the site rank highly in a search.

The foremost goal of SEO copywriting is to produce succinct, effectively persuasive text for a well-written web page and to make it rank highly during a search.

Google pushes all Ad campaigns to the bottom of the page

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Google has been slowly but surely changing the way in which we use Google Search. The design and overall user experience of Google Search, that is. This mainstream search engine recently revealed that Ads will now be placed at the bottom of the search results page, instead of the top.

This transition from “top vs, side” Ads to “top vs. other” Ads is said to perform better. This is because the viewer can easily scroll from the top of the page, down to the bottom, which is a natural action. In tests that Google have been performing, results show that Ad placement at the bottom of the search results page, received better click- through rates.

Google revealed that Ads placed at the bottom of the page and those placed on the side of the page, will be exclusive. This means that these Ads will not appear at the same time, reducing the amount of clutter, with regards to advertising.

Organic search results positioned at the bottom of the page have been known to generally have higher click- through rates than Ads in that portion of the page. However, now that Google Ads will be placed at the bottom of the page, there will more than likely be an increase in traffic to the Ads. This poses the question? Is Google planning on doing away with organic search all together?

One thing is for sure… The bottom of the Google results page provides plenty more space than the top and side of the page, allowing for more Ads to appear on one search results page. But what does this mean for the Ad campaign’s success? Well if most viewers find what they need on the first Google results page, it could mean dismal results for Ad campaigns on other pages.

At this stage, it is too early to judge the success of a specific Ad campaign at the bottom of the Google results page. However if certain keywords result in high volumes of paid Ads, then a specific Ad campaign will appear at the bottom of the Google results page.

“Digital Marketing is the future” says Talooma’s Big Chief

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Owning a Digital Marketing Agency can be a challenging task as well as an extremely fulfilling one at the same time. It is a very competitive industry and one that’s changing every single day. If you can’t keep up with the rate at which the internet and the digital world is advancing, I am afraid it’s quite easy to find yourself in deep waters without a life boat.

I caught up with Ceri James, the founder and Marketing and Sales Director of Talooma Digital Marketing Agency. Talooma has been in the digital marketing space for over 12 years and continues to set benchmarks.

Talooma Digital Marketing Agency by user8601966

The secret to Talooma’s success lies in its leadership and the quality of its staff. “Team dynamic, passion, a common purpose and unlimited potential to learn” this is what Ceri had to add to the ingredients of his company’s success.

With mobile internet devices like Smart Phones and Tablets becoming more and more affordable and therefore accessible to most people, the internet has become available to almost everybody these days. As a result of this, Digital Marketing Companies are becoming more and more relevant as most companies realise the huge potential for a great return on investing in online marketing. The future only has bigger and more exciting things to offer for the online space and digital marketing as a whole.

Talooma has grown tremendously as a digital marketing company over the last 12 years but the journey does not end there, in fact this is what Ceri had to say, “in the next two to three years we are certainly going to be a lot stronger in the hospitality industry…our aim is to hopefully be listed as one of the top 500 companies to work for”

The Talooma story is certainly a testimony that hard work and dedication pays off but for Ceri the sky is the limit and there’s still a long way to climb.

Social Snap Shots: a new way to interact with brands

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

If you are battling to keep up with social networking and new media, I certainly don’t blame you – They are growing faster than we can get our heads around them! SpyderLynk a mobile marketing and technology company has just set the next level of advertiser and consumer interaction. Social Snap Tags allows smart phone users access to a brand offer for special discounts, video clips, coupons, promotions, store locaters, free samples, etc.

Unlike 2D barcodes, Social SnapTags does not require the download of a special software application working for any consumer with a camera phone and messaging capabilities.

What are Social Snap Tags?

You will find Social Snap Tags on any advertisement. Using one’s mobile camera phone, a consumer can get access to brands’ information, specials, discounts, retail location and so forth. Furthermore consumers can ‘’like’’ or ‘’follow’’ a brand.

How Social Snap Shots work?

Social SnapTags turn your brand logo into an interactive marketing tool. Consumers with either a standard or smart camera phone can take and send a picture of the Social SnapTag to a designated short code or scan the Social SnapTag using a Social SnapTag Reader App to instantly access offers, content, promotions, and information.

Consumers may also begin to share these promotions and offers with their friends on Facebook, Twitter and via e-mail directly from their mobile phones. This is how Social Snap Shots extend their footprint into social networking and e-mail.

Contact Spyderlynk today

The Google 1 Chrome Extension has arrived…

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

The wait is over; Google (Google Plus 1) has joined the extension bandwagon. If you are a Chrome user the Google Plus icon will become more and more visible on all your favourite web sites which will allow you to Plus 1 any web page. This ingenuity was developed directly by Google Inc. and it will function similar to the Facebook “like” button you see on most web pages today.

The concern for most, however, is the fact that Google Plus sends a list of all the pages that you have visited to the Google Server but this information will not be connected to your account as a user. Normally the company may keep some information about your visit to certain pages, usually for a period of about two weeks, to maintain and clear up its systems.

So how does Google Plus 1 button work?

Whenever you search for something on Google Chrome, you will find a small transparent Google Plus button in front of your search results. When you click on it, it becomes blue. This simply indicates that you have voted for that link, it’s like telling other searchers “hey! Check this webpage out”.

If you see 2 pages on Facebook for example – one having 100 likes and other having 100000 likes – without giving it much thought, you would go for the page with more likes.

This concept is similar with Google Plus, the number of “+1s” a site gets indicates its popularity.

Google Plus 1 extension

Not all websites have started making use of the Google Plus1 button, however the extension of Google Plus allows all Chrome users to Plus 1 any web page they desire whether it is using the in-site Plus 1 button or not. By installing the extension the user is able to Google Plus 1 the page and should you have already done so, it will turn blue. The number of Google Plus1’s are also shown.

Benefits of Google 1

The launch of Google Plus buttons literary means very effective steps has been taken that combine the power of search engine optimisation and Social Media in bringing massive free traffic to your website or web page. It affects the ranking of a website on Google Search results. The more “ 1s” your website gets, the better Search engine ranking it gets – it’s that simple!

Apple boss, Steve Jobs steps down

Friday, August 26th, 2011

So Steve Jobs the man we have come to know as “The Apple Man” has stepped down as Apple CEO and chairman. So what does this mean for Apple and the industry at large? There are so many questions on people’s lips but one thing is certain, Tim Cook the current COO will succeed Steve as Apples new CEO.

Tim Cook, was hand-picked by Steve Jobs himself, he has handled the top position repeatedly in the absence of the sickly Jobs. Though he may not be nearly as recognisable as Jobs, Cook had been running Apple since the beginning of 2011. The company has performed really well during that time and has rolled in billions of dollars in profit from around the world.

Steve Jobs’ resignation as CEO does not necessarily mean he has left Apple completely – let’s just say he has taken the back sit, and he will continue to contribute his unique insights, creativity and inspiration. Many Apple fanatics hope that his wisdom will transcend through the newly appointed Cook.

On the other hand, Apple’s board of directors have “complete faith” that Tim Cook is the right person to replace him. There’s no doubt that Apple needs to persuade its investors and consumers that it will continue to produce innovative and trend setting technologies if they plan to retain their loyalty.

However, some industry experts don’t have full confidence in Apple’s future: Trip Chowdhry, an analyst with Global Equities Research, said “Jobs’ maniacal attention to detail is what has set Apple apart from its competitors”. He also added “Apple’s product pipeline might be secure for another few years”, but he predicted that the company will eventually struggle to come up with market-changing ideas.

Apple’s future as the leading technology company after Steve Jobs’ departure is uncertain to some but the Apple brand is still as strong as ever. I guess from now on only time will reveal all.

Steve Jobs’ resignation as Apple’s top man due to illness certainly brings new meaning to the saying: an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Facebook “Like” button and promotion guidelines

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Facebook: the universal platform for individuals and businesses. However there has been much speculation about how much of your information remains confidential and how much of it becomes freely available to the Facebook Headquarters and others.

Those using Facebook in the northeastern parts of Germany have been warned to avoid the “Like” button. All government sites within Scheswig- Holstein, (the northernmost of the 16 states of Germany) have been requested by the Independent Centre for Privacy Protection to dismiss every Facebook plug- in. If they do not comply with this request, they will possibly face a fine of about EU€50 000.

This request comes after a press release announced that by pressing the “Like” button or becoming a fan of a page on Facebook, Facebook users become victims of infringement laws. If a Facebook user takes this action their profile and all the information on it becomes available to the Facebook Headquarters in the United States. Germany’s online privacy laws do not under any circumstances support this.

German government websites have removed the “Like” button however other suggestions have been made, such as avoiding Facebook completely. In the mean time, German online authorities are working with Facebook to develop a common understanding and set of privacy issues.

Hosting Facebook competitions and promotions; what are you legally required to do?

Facebook has become one of the most common and popular platforms for companies of all sizes to advertise and host competitions on. Recently released, Facebook has notified these parties of promotional rules. (Promotion Guidelines)

These clearly state than anyone wishing to promote on Facebook is fully responsible for every part of that promotion. All promotions on Facebook MUST include all of the below:

  • Complete release of Facebook (every participant)
  • Clearly state that Facebook in NO way sponsored, administered, is associated with or endorsed the promotion
  • Disclose that participant is supplying information (not to Facebook)

Furthermore any promotion has to be administered within Apps on Facebook, (Canvas page or an app.) With regards to voting or entering a competition, companies cannot ask participants to “Like” a page and may under no circumstance, communicate to winners or participants by sending Facebook messages, posting a comment or using Chat.

For further terms and conditions regarding hosting a competition on Facebook read the Promotion Guidelines.

Exploring Online Writing as a Copywriter

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Billboards, magazines, websites, newspapers, radio, TV, pamphlets: they all have one thing in common. They are copy driven.  However within each industry, Copywriting requires something different.

Getting your online writing onto Google

Copywriting for the web or SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) Writing as it is better known, is the process of steering traffic towards a website. By using a selection of carefully chosen keywords, SEO writers need to ensure that the article or piece of writing will appear among the top search results. Depending on the amount of times the (highly searched) word is used in the piece of writing, it will rank higher.

As the importance of being on the World Wide Web has increased for companies all over the world, so has the demand of SEO Writers. Being aCopywriter of this sort is demanding as businesses want to rank top among other websites within their industry. To ensure that they get there and most importantly, stay there is an ongoing process. There are various types or styles of writing that as a Copywriter, you need to be able to adapt to.

All of these are very different and hence require a Copywriter to be dynamic and flexible within their tone and style.

Being able to flirt with creativity, whilst remaining informative is key. Readers usually glance through the information they come across on the web and should they not find what they are looking for, they will leave the page. Website visitors read online information for only one reason: they want answers conveniently placed on the page. As an Online Copywriter, it is your job to spoon feed that information to them. This is achieved in various ways.

  • An extremely effective heading
  • Sub- heading
  • Bullet points
  • Call to actions
  • Links/ back links
  • Get to the point
  • Provide clearly visible contact details
  • Highlight words of interest

As a career, Copywriting can take you on a journey through bounds of research, which is a large part of any Copywriter’s job. With so many Copywriting  avenues to explore, Online Copywriting is a great place to develop oneself. Not only does it allow you to expand on your writing knowledge, it also provides the opportunity to be exposed to various styles and a huge portfolio of brands, topics and trends.