Archive for the ‘business’ Category

5 Creative Ways to Spend your Lunch Break

Friday, May 24th, 2013

One of the best pieces of work advice you should take is – yes, to make sure that you take your lunch hour.

If you take preference in indulging in your food at your desk, think again – it’s an unhealthy habit! Having no sense of fresh air or sunlight on your skin for stretches of ten hours or more is really not good for your wellbeing. Take time to take a lunch break – you will be amazed at how useful that one hour can be to enhance your productivity and wellbeing.

Beyond running to the nearest service station or shop, shake things up with one of these creative ideas.

1.         Join a Lunch Network

GetLunched.com is a free online network that allows you to “get a lunch connection” or “get a lunch deal”. Here you can personally extend invitations to people and restaurants you want to connect with. It’s very simple, find who you want to lunch with and decide the terms, either “I’m Buying”, “You’re Buying” or “50/50”. Featured restaurants can also help with lunch deals for the day and if you’re a member, you will have early access to the best offers at hand!

For more information, check out GetLunched.com.

2.         Play “Lunch Roulette” with you Co-Workers

No matter the size of your company, you are bound to have co-workers that you have never had a decent conversation with. The idea of “Lunch Roulette” is to grab food with a co-worker you would like to get to know a little better. You will be amazed at how much you can learn about somebody with an hour and some food. Get to know the girl or guy sitting around the corner from you!

3.         Tap into your Smartphone

Be sure to remember the minicomputer in your pocket! Head outside and browse through some really cool and highly rated apps in your lunch hour.

  • Audible.com: Learn something new or engage in a story with Amazon’s audible.com. Get access to over 100,000 audio books or iTunes’ podcast library for thousands of free podcasts.
  • Pictorious: Practice your iPhonography skills and compete in photo challenges— like snapping a pic of unexpected artor a silhouette. You can earn points and rewards as your images are up voted or down voted.
  • SCVNGR: Relax in an around your office environment using this mobile app. Scavenger allows you to complete tasks to earn points – points that lead to real life rewards!

4.       Get a Manicure

If you prefer disconnecting from all technology, head to a nearby salon and treat yourself with an express manicure. Be sure to return to your desk refreshed, with freshly trimmed and polished nails, a simple touch to add to the professional vibe.

5.       Work Out

If a work out in the evening is too tiresome, consider your hour lunch break to recharge your brain and muscles. This is a fabulous energy booster and of course, is healthy for you. Pack a change of clothes and your iPod for your lunch time work out and sweat out your frustrations for the hour, leaving you rejuvenated and energetic for the rest of your working day.

 

work-out

Are Social Media and Technology ruining your life?

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Social media and technology have changed our lifestyles and keeps us connected like never before. There are many advantages to social media and technology, however, have you thought about the negatives? Can this have a negative impact on our lives by being an overload of data influencing our lifestyles?

Social-media-frustration

Can social media and technology have a negative effect on our lives?

Is social media a tool used to share information, or can it be a form of procrastination in the working world, thus hindering productivity?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you play games before your work is done?
  • Do you use online games or surfing the web to avoid completing tasks?
  • Do you check social media posts frequently?

Using social media as a diversion is not advised. From a physical health point of view, it is harmful to be seated and munching  whilst on the computer for lengthy hours. Emotional stress can be a result of social media. This is because updating your status makes you happy , but reading your read friends’ status updates, leaves you feeling envious and negative about your own life. Posts are likely to be positive, as people do not favour posting their worst experiences.

 

What are the negative effects of sharing our life via social media and technology?

Social media and technology brings forth great tools to share your life with your loved ones and stay connected. However, this should never be a platform for personal issues as too much information let out could be harmful in the long run.

 

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I exposing too much personal information?
  • Do I want everyone to know about this?
  • Could this post be interpreted in the wrong way?

The key to using social media is for your own enjoyment. It is not a platform to impress others and try to portray the perfect picture of yourself to your friends. Do not be easily swayed by others’ opinions and be sure to not overexpose yourself.

 

Can social media and technology change the way your brain works?

The human brain is constantly working and retrieving new data. This new data can have an impact on cognitive functions in the long run. Social media and technology can also cause shorter attention spans with its instant information and response.

 

What should you do?

There is no need to disconnect from all social media and technology platforms. Simply be cautious in how this is used with regards to time and exposure, and make time for yourself to disconnect. It is always good to shut down and go back to an old fashioned lifestyle to recuperate and stay in touch with yourself.

 

Samsung’s AlwaysOn Wi-Fi service goes live

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Free Wi-Fi service access available from 15 April 2013

 

Samsung Electronics have announced that their AlwaysOn free Wi-Fi service has gone live as of 15 April 2013. With more than 1,000 local AlwaysOn hotspots, consumers will be able to enjoy this free service at almost any favourite location.

 

Samsung WiFi Always On

Samsung WiFi Always On

If you are a Samsung user, on any Wi-Fi enabled smart device purchased after March 2010, you will be able to register  your device for this free service. This entitles you to 1GB of free AlwaysOn Wi-Fi data every month for 12 months, per Samsung device.

 

With the digital age and the need for Internet access at any given time, Samsung has come to the party by allowing consumers to enjoy and be in control even when they are out of the office or home. Samsung consumers get to sit back and enjoy the convenience of this premier Wi-Fi service, simplifying mobile connectivity.

 

To be able to use this service, Samsung users need to:

  • Locate the nearest AlwaysOn hotspot
  • Register on the AlwaysOn network
  • Connect your Samsung device to the AlwaysOn hotspot
  • Select Samsung Registration from the Free Sites menu option
  • Enter your details including the serial number of your device (dial *#06# or found on the back of your device)
  • Begin using AlwaysOn Wi-Fi!

 

Once the 1GB of data is depleted,  you may purchase additional data from the AlwaysOn Wi-Fi portal at standard rates.

 

The AlwaysOn Wi-Fi service is designed to move towards strong value-added offerings to Samsung consumers. Samsung combines product innovation with constant connectivity, allowing you to be connected at any time without additional expenses.

 

To find the AlwaysOn hotspot location closest to you, visit http://finder.alwayson.co.za

 

Structuring a complete Digital Marketing Strategy

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Introduction

Having recently completed the Digital Marketing Institute’s (DMI),  Digital Marketing Diploma, I thought I would summarise and share the contents of the course, and at the same time provide a holistic overview of the DMI’s view on Digital Marketing.

Marketing Trends

What are the top marketing trends you’ve come across?

The program consists of a 5 Day intensive bootcamp covering all the various disciplines of Digital Marketing.

First off, it’s imperative to understand, that there are many channels that make up an entire Digital Marketing Plan, and by selecting only a few of them, you could be leaving out many other crucial aspects.

Secondly, by utilising all channels, you are in effect harnessing the full power of a complete strategy, but need to do so in a fully integrated way.

The different components that make up a Digital Marketing Strategy are:

  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  • Search Marketing – The DMI covers Pay per click (paid advertising) under this section
  • Email marketing
  • Digital Display advertising
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Mobile marketing
  • Analytics (being able to report on results)

The entire marketing framework, then needs to be underpinned by strategy, and thorough planning.

Aside from just understanding the various channels, the DMI continually refers to the 3i Principals, being initiate, iterate, and integrate. The basic concept is that each strategy must start off with the customer as the focus of the campaign, alter over time, as one gathers more accurate info about this customer, and finally integrate all other marketing messages in a coherent manner.


Your objective

First off, and more importantly than the channel you are ultimately going to use, is the over arching objective(s). Why you are doing it

Be Specific

What results are you looking for?

You need to set yourself, and your organisation, very clear, specific and measurable goals that you are looking to achieve from your online marketing strategy.

By starting with the customer in mind, you could begin to ask such things as; ‘who is my customer?’ ‘Where do they work?’ ‘How do they browse the web?’ and ‘what leads them to make a buying decision?’

Why do we need to ask ourselves these questions? Well, in order for success, your message needs to be highly targeted. The better you know your audience, the more they we feel as though you are talking directly to them.

Tell your customer, what you want them to do, by making your ‘Call to Action’ clear.


Research

Once you’ve answered these questions, you need to invest a considerable amount of time doing focused and quality in depth research.

  • Interrogate the keywords that people use when looking for your product or service
  • Check trending data of search volume at different times of the year for your product or service
  • Explore which channels potentially stand to provide you with the best success and Return on Investment (ROI)
  • Be aware of what your competitors are already doing in this space, and how you can differentiate

Plan

Once you have worked out the purpose for your campaign, and have done your research, you now need to develop a detailed action plan.

Decide how long in advance you wish to plan (3, 6 or 12 months), and then set up a calendar, with dates to take various action steps.

Marketing Strategy

How will you unlock your brand’s potential?

Make sure that all your dates coincide correctly, and don’t overlook anything. An example of this would be to make sure you have designed and populated your emailer, before the date it’s due to be sent.

Execute

The greatest marketing plan in the world is absolutely meaningless, if not acted upon. So in order to get results, take action.

If your planning stage was done correctly, there is no need to second guess yourself, so trust your plan and work it accordingly. Stick to the plan and don’t deviate at the outset. You need to allow for a certain amount of action, and results before you decide to change anything.

 

Measure

If you can’t measure it, how can you improve on it?

In order to run any marketing campaign effectively, you will need to decide upfront what will determine its overall success.

Analyse and report

Have you got the results you expect?

This is important, so that you can ultimately tweak the campaign in the direction that will further increase your ROI.

Decide in advance what you plan to measure in your Digital Marketing Plan, as well as how you plan to measure it. This can easily be done with a number of free or paid for reporting tools which can be found online, and taken advantage of.

Before deciding on the tools to use, first decide on the type of information you wish to measure, and what you would like to do with it, once you have it.


Conclusion 

So, while there are many opportunities and channels for Digital Marketing online, and whilst it is important to pick the rights ones for your business, its even more important to do in depth research, strategise your campaign, have an executable action plan, and then, through real-time and effective monitoring, deviate your strategy and actions, to make the most of everything that online has to offer you.

 

 

 

 

Once it’s out there, you can’t take it back.

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

What you say on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+ and any other platform on the web) could potentially end you in hot water.

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Not only is this a fact when it comes to issues of humanitarian aspects, racial commentary or general slander against individuals, but even more so against the corporate world, and especially the company you work for. More and more companies are monitoring their reputation online, and this online commentary has become easier to monitor, and pick up through a wide range of tools. Therefore the chances of negative (and positive) sentiment being picked up on the web is a reality, and increasingly so.

So what does this mean to you, the employee of a company, against which you have had or made a negative outburst? It’s quite simple, you can lose your job, and what’s more, even have legal action taken against you. Just by posting something on the web, in any form or any platform, you are governed by the same laws that govern publishing as a whole.

So, the next time you retweet someone’s negativity, or post on Facebook, or decide to just have your own negative outburst, think about the long-term impacts that this action could have against you

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How to not suck at Twitter

Friday, February 1st, 2013

In the world of Social Media and community management there are some people who just “get Twitter” and some people who don’t.  So this is a fun, yet serious post that I feel is long overdue to help people who are just doing Twitter so wrong, do it a little better – after all Rome wasn’t built in a day, or in less than 140 characters.

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So you have heard about this thing called Twitter, and you have opened yourself up an account and chosen a handle (which is what your name is called on Twitter), what do you do from here onwards? Well let me help you out.

  1. Start following people with the same interest as you:  You can find these people by searching keywords that interest you, in order to find other people who are talking about the same stuff as you, for example ‘running’, ‘fishing ‘, and ‘poetry’.
  2. Get interacting:  The most valuable thing I was ever told was “Interaction is Key” and it really is. How is anyone with a lot of followers supposed to know you are there and that you share their interests if you don’t try to talk to them? So get interacting
  3. Don’t over use #Hashtags: Your tweet has to get across what you are trying to say in under 140 characters. There is nothing more annoying than reading a tweet that goes along the lines of, “Wow, what a great run #Running #Fitness #WorkingOut #RunningTips #RunForFun”. Your tweet gets lost in the hash tag noise.  Tweet it like you would say it, and if you do need to add a hash tag, I would personally stick to 2 maximum.
  4. Don’t join #TeamFollowBack or beg for followers: Team Follow Back is to Twitter what Oil is to Water.  Granted you can put oil and water together but sooner or later they are going to separate and the result isn’t pretty. The same applies to #TeamFollowBack. Your Twitter experience will be diluted because they are following you and you are following them only because you are a number.  Rather have fewer followers who share the same interests as you and really enjoy the people in your community than having millions of people you don’t talk to but feel obligated to follow.
  5. Don’t be an arrogant idiot:  Ok we get it. You have a lot of followers. People may even call you “an influencer”, well guess what? The people who made you an influencer are still following you and can stop doing that at any time.  Respond to tweets, follow the ones trying to interact with you or interact back with them.  Be human. Calling yourself a Twitter celebrity is kind of like the homeless guy at the traffic light. Everyone knows you are there and can see you but only the ones who smile back will give you their spare change or a moment of your time

Good chat kids. Now go forth and tweet, but be ‘Twitter Friendly”

User optimisation vs. search engine optimisation

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

For most of us, the topic of search engine optimisation, is an old one. All you have to do is just Google the term, and the long list of SERP’s that follow will all kind of say the same thing. Most with a slight varying nuance in the ‘how’ to approach it. But all of that is rapidly changing. While up until recently, it was all about keyword density, increasing the number of pages on a site, or getting as many backlinks as possible. That’s all quickly coming to an end.

Google SERP’s

Why the change?

Much is being researched and written about the many algorithmic changes that Google is making, and rather than slowing down, these changes are actually on the increase. We saw as many as 12 changes in 2012, compared to just 11 in 2011. And if that’s not enough, the latest Google Panda update #24, the first for 2013 was released on January the 24th, 2013.

So, why the change? It is widely documented that this is Google’s continued attempt to ‘clean up the town’ so to speak. For all too long, SEO companies, practicing in both the white and dark arts, have been ‘influencing’ the results found on Google’s SERP’s. And in retaliation, Google continually intervenes to keep the search results as pure and uncontrived as possible. Most of which can be dated as far back as 2003, when they first began to ignore the keyword tags on websites

So where is this going?

The real question is, where will this end? I personally can’t see it coming to an end. For Google to remain competitive, and continue to attract users to its search engine, it is imperative that it continues to clean up the results its users find while searching. What’s more, Google now looks beyond search. Much more emphasis is now being placed upon the users engagement factor. Things such as bounce rate, load speeds, and goal completions, can both positively or negatively impact on where your site ranks, more so then how you got them there in the first place.

Whilst pre Panda and Penguin updates focused on driving the click, these days the emphasis is more about post-click activity. The bottom line really, is if the user wins, we all win.  So much more effort needs to be placed on what happens after the click.

The conclusion

While this is rapidly becoming the new reality, it is still important to consider both sides when approaching your SEO rollout. While the new focus is around optimising the browsing experience for the user, increasing overall engagement, and retaining the user for a longer period of time, the old practices still apply to some extent. To put it simply, while it is becoming increasingly more important to keep your user engaged once he or she has found your site, you still need to get them there in the first place.

Graph Search: Providing greater access to your Facebook network

Monday, January 21st, 2013

There have been rumors flying around for a while now that Mark Zuckerberg and his very own “team awesome” have been working on a Facebook “search engine”. Well, it is here and its name is Graph Search: certainly an interesting utilisation of the social media platform.

Available, at the moment, only to English (US) audiences, this social search engine was not developed to index the web. Instead, Facebook is indexing their map which is growing by close on 1Million new profiles daily. Data such as images, videos and connections are used in searches to provide an accurate result. This offers Facebook users the chance to dive deeper into their network.

How do I use Graph Search?

The search may be done in the search bar at the top of your Facebook window. Facebook users will be able to search for anything from photos to people and even interests. For example: if you are interested in forming a running group in your area, you would search, “People interested in jogging in Rivonia”. Graph Search will then pull all related profiles from within your profile that match your search request. The search result will provide results in order of “friends” closest to you, right down to mutual friends and connections.
Having been built up as a “database of people’s lives” Facebook allows lives to cross and the world to become more open. Graph Search has been designed to provide users the tools they need to make the most of their close and extended network.

Why is it useful?

Facebook predicts that this search platform will become a useful tool. From recruiting right through to forming niche groups, doing market research and even dating, Graph Search has allowed us access to valuable information, at our fingertips.

What was once an online platform to interact with friends and family, Facebook is now an empire that in many ways has become an integrated part of both our personal and business lives.
When to expect Graph Search…

Facebook has announced that they will slowly roll Graph Search out and as it becomes a more commonly used tool, they will certainly expand on its functionalities.
Once again we are left with the question, “What is next, Facebook?”.

Digital Marketing Institute Launches in South Africa

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

The Digital Marketing Institute (DMI) officially launched in South Africa yesterday. The opening address was made by Mr. Ian Dodson, the CEO, in which he promised to ’build the digital economy one person at a time’

Present at the launch which was held at the Balalaika Hotel in Sandton, was a delegation of the Irish Trade Commission, and a number of South Africa’s top Digital Agencies. Also present was Blue Magnet, the 1st of 5 accredited training institutions that the Digital Marketing Institute has partnered with to roll out its wide variety of course material to the local market. With its flagship course being the Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing, they offer theoretical training with practical outcomes.

The DMI promises to introduce a number of standards over the next few months. These are set around the standards in the industry and training of Digital Marketing, through the planned advisory council.

Globally, the DMI spends considerable time working with its partners around the globe to maintain these standards, formalise, and rollout education.

The DMI promises that through its dedication to educating professionals in the field of Digital Marketing, career growth and competitiveness in a global jobs market will increase.

“The Digital Marketing Institute spends considerable time working with our various partners at the Advisory Council.  This ensures that the syllabuses for our various courses are exactly what is required in order for you to further develop your career.  We get input from organisations such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Universities and other Educational Institutions as well as some of the world’s leading Advertising and Marketing Agencies” says Ian Dodson.

With online marketing being the core focus for businesses across the globe, DMI hopes to improve the current standard of quality within South Africa and worldwide. The focus on education and training means that we will be able to develop the digital industry in South Africa and through that, reach and target foreign investors.

CEO, Ian Dodson introducing the Digital Marketing Institute

How does Google+ affect SEO?

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

When Google launched Google+ everyone rolled their eyes at Google’s attempt to try and dominate not only search but Social Networks too.  At the time however there was talk of what Google+ would mean for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and how would it affect search results and website visibility in the long run.

Many SEO’s know that a link from a Social Media site has value when it comes to ranking, more so of late with Google adding social results to Search Engine result Pages (SERP’S).  There are many things to consider when we talk about how pages are ranked but Social Media and SEO should definitely be working together to affect page ranks.  Social Media is related to search results as Social Networking sites and the activity on them shows what content is favoured by people, it also drives queries and it is those very queries that influence ranking.  For that reason alone it has become increasingly important for companies to have a presence on social networks.

As we know a large part SEO is all about links, the better the links the better your content will rank in SERP’s.   Links from Social sites like Google+, Twitter and Facebook will help you get to the top of Google quicker as they carry authority.   Placing social sharing icons such as “+1’s” and “Likes” on content is important as social sharing affects SEO in that sharing carries weight when it comes to the Google Algorithm.  Sharing is important because it encourages interaction and the more interaction there is the more traffic the content will receive. This hopefully will result in an increase in direct relevant links.

Any inbound links to your website count as a vote, the same applies to social shares. The more people who like and share your content the more likely it is that Google will return it to the SERP’s.  Makes sense doesn’t it?

Google+ should not be ignored by companies just because it is not as popular as Facebook and Twitter.  Google Plus carries weight because Google owns it, obviously, which makes it very easy for them to track and measure social signals unlike on Twitter and Facebook.   Google has given their +1 a big advantage, if you are not adding +1’s to your content you will me missing out on a very precious ranking factor.  Google Plus certainly does affect your rankings. You need to be utilising it as part of your SEO in order to rank better.