Archive for the ‘Other’ Category

Facebook’s Changing- Welcome EdgeRank Algorithm

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Facebook has become a major way for big and small businesses to advertise their services or products. However, with the recent changes that have come about, social media advertisers have come to see their results and post reach dropping. Why is this? Facebook has changed their algorithm.

Facebook’s Changing- Welcome EdgeRank AlgorithmWhy, How, What?

Facebook, as a business, is also dedicated to providing their users with high quality content. Before this algorithm change, Facebook had released a survey to their users to find out what high quality content was to them.

Based on these results, Facebook then developed the algorithm to provide their users with high quality content that deems relevant to them.

The algorithm follows a certain ranking order. This complex system looks at the following criteria:

How popular (liked, commented on, shared, clicked) are previous posts made by the post creator.
• How popular is this post with people who have already seen it.
• How popular have past posts been with the user?
• Does the post type (link, photo, status update) match previously popular posts with the user?
• How recently was the post published?

Don’t Panic- It’s Not All Bad

Although social media marketers have seen a decline in their organic post reaches, this recent change is not all bad news for marketing. Facebook users are exposed to thousands of stories a day, so in order for Facebook to ensure its users are happy, they post stories to people newsfeeds that interest them. Therefore, the more a user is involved with your business page, the more often they will see your posts. This lessens the siting of your posts being marked or seen of as “spam”.

An organic reach is now unpredictable, but this gives marketers and businesses alike, the opportunity to create content that is engaging and aimed at the audience you’re trying to reach. Likeminded businesses and clientele will be drawn to you if the information you are posting is relevant and interesting to them.

At the end of it all, the change deems no need for panic. Concentrate on bringing value-added content to your pages and it will be broadcasted to people who want to see it.

Website Tips: Working Smart and Growing Fast

Friday, November 29th, 2013

web-tipsAt WordCamp Cape Town, Rob Hope, a WordPress fan and web developer, spoke on strategies behind his successful site. With 6000 daily visitors and 30 submissions a day from designers wanting to get features on his site, Hope knows his stuff. Here’s what we can take from his strategy.

Users and Community

As obvious as it might sound, ultimately, you’re building a site for an audience. So, why wouldn’t you consider your markets experience and ways to communicate with them? Rob Hope explained that he personally contacted people of sites he would be featuring on his website, and asked them if their work had been presented in the best possible way. This allowed him to create a relationship with them directly, also making them feel honoured in having a chance/a say in how their work is going to represented.

There on, the featured designers visited Hope’s site and shared their work on his platform through social media. This gave him immediate exposure from a range of different clientele. This gave Hope’s site immediate traffic.

4 Simple and Effective Rules:

  • Easy navigation
  • No clutter
  • Visible content
  • Make it easy for visitors to subscribe

Change + Improvements = Boosted Audience

The worst thing a website can be is static. Change it up for your users and reap the traffic benefits. Tweak and improve your site on a regular basis and monitor what changes work for your specific audience. This allows your site to be customised to the needs and wants of your direct target market.

It’s (not) All About The Money

Before zooping your website up with ads, first concentrate on putting together the best possible site for your market niche. Once you have regular, returning followers, you can proceed with monetising your website.

All in all, website development is a fluid business. Keep improving, know your audience and keep improving and keep going.

Marketing 101: Know Your Audience

Friday, November 29th, 2013

It goes without saying, by knowing your audience; you learn to make your business thrive.Identify_Your_Audience

Audit Your Audience

Pay attention to your visitor profiles no matter what business you run. By knowing who is viewing your sire you begin to gain an understanding on the particular audience viewing your website, and who you want to be looking at your site. Monitor you visitor profiles though analytics programmes to keep track of who is paying attention to your business. By using this information, you can tweak your site and develop marketing campaigns to further your reach.

Using Visitor Profiles To Optimise

By understanding who is visiting your site, how frequently and what they’re doing on your site aids you in developing a feasible marketing plan.

Cassie Lancellotti-Young is the VP of client optimisation and analytics at a company called Sailthru. She recommends personalizing marketing strategies based on the “BUS”(behavioural, usage, situational) model.

  • Behavioural

What time of the day are the customers browsing?

When does the customer convert?

What devices are mainly used?

Is it through an app or mobile web?

  • Usage

By analysing usage, you reaffirm the importance of what marketers have looked at before: frequency of purchases, how often etc.

  • Situational

This is about factors which could be affecting users’ behaviours. So for example, why are people not engaging?

Twitter Execs Rake in the Cash Money

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

The first 2 weeks of a new month is a depressing time for most. Debit orders have come off and payments have gone out, not leaving you with much to play with. However… Twitter executives and investors have found themselves rolling in the dough after Twitter shares recently hit the open Market on Thursday.

Twitter Shares

On Thursday Twitter shares hit the open market. The original target price was sitting at $26 per share (announced the Wednesday before). At the opening bell, shares hit up to $45.10 per share!

It’s all About the Money

Naturally, this price increase made Twitter executives very happy. Their wallets certainly thickened by a substantial amount.

  • Evan Williams- Co-Founder: $2.56 Billion

Having provided the capital need to operate Twitter from the very beginning, Evan certainly got back and then some. Having once been the CEO, he has definitely walked away with the biggest piece of pie.

  • Rizvi Traverse Management- Private Equity Firm: $3.82 Billion

This private equity firm holds about 9% of Twitter and thus rightfully walks away with quite a hefty sum.

  • Spark Capital- Investor: $1.46 Billion

Back in 2008, Spark Capital invested in the Tweeting business.

  • Peter Fenton- Investor: $1.42 Billion

This Benchmark Capital partner invested in Twitter 4 years ago in 2009,

  • Jack  Dorsey- Former CEO: $1.05 Billion

Twitter’s well-known former CEO and now Chairman.

  • Dick Costolo- CEO: $345 Million

With a mere 1.4% in the company, $345 Million ain’t bad.

  • Adam Bain- President of Global Revenue: $80 Million

Bain oversees Twitters overall ad strategy.

 

Not bad eh? Perhaps next time you’re looking to invest, try a a little dabbling in the social media realm.

The Link Between Bigger Brains and Video Games

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Yes, it has been scientifically proven! Many avid gamers have had the reputation of being recluses, boring and socially awkward… But how about this? They might actually be smarter, and all with due thanks noted to their 3D world habit.

Molecular Psychiatry Study Says…

So here’s the down low. A new study has taken place that investigates the effect of video games on the volume of the brains gray matter. This is the tissue that controls your muscles, memory, language as well as sensory perception.

What, Who, How?

Berlin’s Max Planck Institute for Human Development along with St. Hedwig-Hospital have researchers, who used adult subjects to play “Mario 64” on a portable Nintendo for 30 minutes a day, for two consecutive months. The outcome? There was “significant gray matter increase” in both bilateral hippocampus and portions of the right prefrontal cortex.

Say Whaaat?

Let’s break it down this way. The hippocampus is the part of our brains which is responsible for memory formation, and connects all sensory information to memories. (Think here to those feelings that arise when one smells a certain scent and it brings back memories.) These “brain gains” were shown to have occurred due to the fact that when playing the game, players need to switch between first person and map views. And how’s this to make things more interesting? Research also showed that players who enjoyed the game and looked forward to playing it had more of an increased volume of gray matter than those who just played it because they had to.

Interesting stuff! So next time you’re about to moan to your boyfriend about those games he plays, think twice, it could be making him smarter.

Facebook’s 5 Star Ratings: Good or Bad?

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

How Will your Brand be Affected?

Hello Social Media folk… Facebook is bringing out a new application just for you. How do you feel about star ratings?

Well, say hello to Facebook’s new app. This brand feature displays a 5 star rating underneath the company’s name on business pages. These ratings are nothing new; however, the new placement could be an entirely new feature. Rest easy, this is still just in prototype mode. So why is a this big deal you may ask? Well, people are more likely to see it now with the new acquired visibility, and this will impact your strategy on a major level.  Here’s why:

The Good Side:

The stars are highly visible and very prominent. People used to look at the “talking about this” metric in order to judge how popular the brand was. But now, the star ratings put things into a new perspective. So instead of competing against other companies for more likes, your brand will now be aiming for positive star reviews. Here is where the quality VS quantity strategy comes into play once again. See another article reference here.

As opposed to competing for quantity of “likes” social media strategists are now able to focus on rather the business, and the quality thereof. By focusing more on the quality of your brand and engaging with the followers you already have, this enables more focus to be put on effective customer relations and content provided for your current followers.

The Bad Side:

As mentioned before, these 5 star ratings are prominent. And there’s no way to tell whether they will be displayed when suggested your page to other Facebook users. At the end of the day, not all businesses are going to have high ratings.

This could be affected by customer relationships, unethical ratings or bad reviews. This will all affect your ratings and your brands image.

Apple releases iPhone5S… so what?

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

If you find yourself asking questions like “What’s all the fuss about” or “Why is the world going nuts over a phone”, then, take a read…

 

Over the years, Apple has gathered quite a huge following. Year after year masses wait with bated breath for new updates on their Apple products. This year, it’s been the upgrade to the infamous iPhone 5- The iPhone 5S.

So, what’s the difference?

As each upgrade comes along, screen resolutions got sharper, CPU’s were faster, camera’s got better and apps were optimised. The same goes for Apple’s new iPhone offering. This time around, a little but more has changed than just the usual. On the surface, it looks pretty much the same as the iPhone 5. However, the fingerprint scanner proves to be somewhat of a novelty amongst the iPhone gang. Instead of having a password or a pattern locking system, simply swipe your finger on the screen and unlock your phone. The promise of feeling like a CSI detective is quite alluring.

The processor boasts an impressive 64bit and the video player shoots in slow-mo.

The biggest difference to the iPhone 5S is the core software, iOS 7. It’s brighter, it’s clearer and it’s gotten rid of drab wallpapers. Siri herself got a makeover. All apps and menus have been reinvented to be slicker and more refined. The Apple weather app boasts a new interface so that its background mirrors whatever the weather’s doing. Now that IS cool.

Should You Get it?

If you’re an avid Apple-er and iPhone fanatic, then yes. Explore the new interface and have a blast. If you don’t hyperventilate when your iPhone is not clasped tightly in your hand… Perhaps wait until something really catches your eye.

Cotlands: A day to play – World Play Day 2013

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

As one of Cotlands benefactors, I was invited to attend their Experiential visit which formed part of their #WorldPlayDay initiatives. Cotlands World Play Day - Handing Talooma donations over to LoisThe day included a tour of their head office as well as a practical demonstration of their transition from health focused initiatives to education.

Our tour began with visiting the current group of babies that are awaiting adoption, witnessing feeding time and some even getting bathed. At first, we felt a small reservation to go into the rooms but the sight of the smiles on their faces was enough to melt your heart! Following that we were taken on a tour of what used to be orphan rooms and are now the sensory rooms – sight, sound and touch. Viewing the tools used in each room really made me feel like I took nursery school for granted. I remember dressing up at school and fighting over who played what, yet there are so many lessons to be taught that many children don’t have the opportunity to experience.

We were also shown the hub of the Johannesburg Toy Library, a room where all the toys are grouped by the lesson it teaches, some brand new, some donated. This is where the ladies that travel to the different schools collect their packs from each week, depending on the lessons to be taught. I really felt special to have been able to have played with some of these toys as a child!

After having our faces painted, Europcar Vans were on hand to take us into Soweto. Our first stop was the Faba household in a more informal area, where Cotlands have been providing support and education to the 2 disabled grandparents of a small child. She is HIV positive and Cotlands have educated her grandparents on how she should take her ARV’s, as well as how to provide basic child learning. Cotlands also provide seedlings to help generate an income for families as these and some of the funds raised will be used to send the child to Grade R which, in addition to her health and extra education, will give her a better grounding for success in Grade 1.

 

Our next stop was to a little playschool at the Dube Hostel. We had to receive permission from the Chiefs to be able come in as visitors

to the hostel. Here people live without electricity and under political divisions. The residents have generously donated what was their Community Hall so that the children from the two opposing political parties can have a place to play, learn, develop and be looked after during the day. Some of their parents work, others do not and these children would normally not have done anything constructive. Now Cotlands sends a teacher with the latest Toy Library box and lessons for the week, to see them and help advance their development.

After playing with the kids at Dube, our day was completed by having lunch with Sakhumzi at his restaurant in the famous Vilakazi Street where he gave us a very inspirational talk!

He explained how a speech made by Nelson Mandela inspired him to lift himself out of unemployment and to help those around him. Focussing on something he loves he was already providing full bellies to his friends and family. He then opened a restaurant at his house. He now employs 70 people from Soweto at his restaurant, where he serves a buffet of traditional South African cuisine to locals and foreigners alike.

I felt so humbled to be spending the day with people trying to make a difference in our country – I even got to meet Miss South Africa, Marilyn Ramos, who is a Cotlands Ambassador.

Lois Moodley, National Marketing and PR Manager, was on hand to take receipt of donations from our staff members. Thank you to Kerry, Charlene, Bonita and Aimee for your kind donation!

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.

 

 

 

 

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.