Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Social Business – The Focus of NetProphet 2011

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

So what is Social Business, who’s doing it, and why is it so important?

NetProphetNet Prophet 2011 opened up with yet another bang this year, with Rob Gilmour covering the overall history and success of NetProphet to date. This year being no different, but with attendance exceeding the 1000 people mark.

The general theme of the event was that of Social Business, and why we should all be thinking about getting involved. Although the concept is a rather fresh one, it’s something that many businesses, to a large extent are already very actively involved in. The sad fact however, is that most businesses haven’t even considered the idea.

So what is Social Business?

Social Business ThinkingImagine if you will the impact of businesses working together not only for profit, but, in the process, creating a business model that adds immense value to the broader community that surrounds it. How many times have you found yourself frustrated by a number of things that just don’t work? How many times have you thought to yourself, if I had the means, I could fix this, and make it better?

Now take this example to the next level. Imagine, you were able to conceptualise the solution, get the right team of people together, employ a vast number of free technologies to support it, raise some funding along the way, and in the process, not only fix the initial problem, but make life better for all those impacted by the same problem, and while you’re at it, make a profit from your initiative.

This is Social Business.

Social business is not about running a charity, or a non-profit organization. It’s not even about doing things for free. On the contrary, social businesses make good profits, and all the while, they are aiding a greater cause, eliminating a problem, or just simply making life easier for all those around them.

While this might sound somewhat utopian, social businesses are already a reality in most parts of the world, delivering much needed relief from a wide variety of global challenges.

Two examples of such social businesses are:

Young Africa Live, a mobile-based community portal developed by the praekeltfoundation, where young people can openly discuss critical issues such as love, sex and relationships with each other, and mPedigree, a mobile service in Ghana and Nigeria that verifies via SMS the authenticity of medication prior to being taken. Saving millions of lives and recouping lost revenue to pharmaceutical companies.

Social businesses are sustainable, they deliver true value to their community, they build trust and most importantly, lasting customer relationships, and loyalty. Another great thing about social business is that, if set up correctly, they are a great source of ever increasing annuity revenue for the founding businesses.

Technology and Social Business

With the level of technology at our fingertips today, the possibility of social business also becomes that much more of a reality. The misconception of limited Internet access in places like Africa is now superseded by present day mobile phone penetration, allowing us to reach a much wider audience immediately. Social Media allows us to share and consume content and media much faster, while also collaborating on multiple projects in real time. And finally, the Internet provides the power of research right on our doorstep.

So, the next time you are faced with a situation that you find somewhat frustrating, chances are, you are not alone. The difference however is that you might be in a unique enough position to bring about a change that has a long-term benefit to your community, while making you a handsome profit in the process.

Foursquare and seven social sites ago…!

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

If Abraham Lincoln were still alive, he’d probably be making use of this great new social media platform. Foursquare is one of the “newer” social platforms that will be making waves in South Africa in the next few months. So what is Foursquare you ask? As Foursquare puts it, Foursquare will help you meet up with your friends, let you earn points and unlock badges for discovering new places, doing new things and meeting new people. That may sound like many other social platforms but Foursquare has one clear advantage: More effective selling potential to customers near your business.

What does it do?

In simple terms, Foursquare makes use of your GPS location or cell phone tower triangulation (either through your phone or PC’s IP Address) and identifies nearby businesses and establishments. Foursquare then lets you “check in” to restaurants, bars, businesses and other establishments when you visit them. This then notifies your friends of where you are and what you’re up to while at the same time giving “shops” an indication as to how popular they really are. This dove-tails nicely with ORM (Online Reputation Management).

Foursquare’s marketing power

Many South African’s haven’t realised the hidden potential  and marketing prowess that is offered by this semi-unique social platform. In the States, many businesses are running “Foursquare specials” whereby any user that frequents their establishment, will receive special discount for simply “checking in” on Foursquare. What the businesses get in return is a bigger market reach, never mind the fact that there is always the potential of their campaign going viral through Foursquare.

The Business Centre Bryanston

In the States, Foursquare has even started sending out stickers to local businesses to remind users to “check in” whenever they walk through the doors.

What are you waiting for? The Foursquare wave will be hitting you soon enough. Have you registered your company on the social platform yet?

Cell C : social media blunder or genius?!

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Cell C recently made tsunami sized social media waves with their Trevor Noah social media campaign. The jist of which is that Trevor Noah, the South African comedian, wrote to his Twitter fans that Cell C was the worst network ever and that they needed to change their attitude or lose him as a client forever! Cell C CEO (the real CEO, Lars Reichelt) then placed a HUGE full page advert in the Sunday Times written directly to Trevor Noah asking for an open conversation as to how they can solve his problem.

Now from the outset, this seems like case study territory. This, wow, the CEO (the real one) of Cell C took the time to realise the power that is Trevor N……. I mean social media and respond to it, repairing the relationship and making Cell C a real social media powerhouse!

This was then followed by Trevor, seemingly, agreeing to be the face of Cell C’s social media campaign and within days (nay hours) you could not turn on the tv or the radio or drive down the street without seeing Trevor’s smiling mug as their new CEO (customer Experience Officer).  This was a onslaught of offline media driving hard at online, pushing people to go online and connect, to respond and to get involved in making Cell C the best cellular provider in the country.

Unfortunately the honesty and openness that is social media has been corrupt. Cell C staged the entire thing. Trevor was approached before the tweet went out! The domains were registered, the campaign planned, the logo changed (nice move that) and the (Im sure lucrative) deal with Trevor was signed and sealed.

Is this what social media has become..?

A place where large brands who have capital (read : cash) clout can monopolise the landsccape once more and write the story before we get to say if it is a story that we want to even read or not?! Are our delicate sensibilities yet again going to be plundered by large corporates?! (I’ll stop with the rhetorical questions now).

I personally believe that this is not the future of social media. This is an example of a large corporate who has based their social campaign on an offline strategy. Some say it is genius, others say it is ludicrous. Whatever your take on it, you have to admit it worked!  Whether it will have legs to continue being so prolific in the media and with consumers is another story which we will have to wait to find out.

What’s private might not be so private anymore

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Facebook- the social media site that has taken the world by storm. With 1 million users in 2004 to over 400 million users in 2010, Facebook has become one of the most common ways to communicate with people not only on the other side of the world but next door too.

Despite the number of users, Facebook has recently been taking slack from many of its followers. It has slowly been increasing the amount of data that can be shared with “friends” on Facebook. Between December 2004 and April 2010, Facebook has increased the amount of items that are available for public viewing from 4 to over 8. This means that information that is put up on Facebook has gone from being available for viewing for Facebook users, to available for the world to see. Not a good thing if your mate put pictures up of that time you passed out drunk, hugging the toilet bowl.


Facebook suicide

There was recently a website formed, www.quitfacebook.com, that petitioned the privacy settings. The plan that was to follow was for Facebook users to “kill off” their social network profiles. Quit Facebook Day on the 31st May 2010 had almost 30 000 members who planned to say goodbye to the addictive site forever. They felt violated by Facebook’s privacy policy and settings. However not all of the angry users did delete their profiles.

The creator and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, and the rest of the team have nothing to worry about should more people decide to cut ties with the popular social site. Facebook is gaining a monstrous 35 000 users an hour. To break that down for you, that’s about 10 users every second, all over the world.

Privacy control on Facebook

With so many complaints about Facebook privacy settings there have been changes made to try decrease the amount of personal information and data that is available to the public. A privacy setting has been added to all content. It applies to contact details, photos and status updates. Facebookers can now decide whether or not they want to share their information with Facebook friends, friends- of- friends or everyone on the internet. Less information will be available to the public from now on and games applications on Facebook will have to ask the Facebook account holder for permission to access private information.

Over the last few months, Facebook has received harsh criticism from regulators. The European Commission and advocacy groups such as Electronic Frontier Foundation have made remarks and complaints about Facebook’s privacy settings. Facebook was accused of steering users towards sharing private information instead of keeping it private.

Mark Zuckerberg says that because so many new applications and features have been added to Facebook, it became almost impossible for users to control the privacy settings. They became complicated and difficult to use. Let’s just hope that they have overcome this hiccup and that we can continue posting those crazy weekend pics up without the rest of the world having a good laugh at us.

The Social Media Wave

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Having just attended the 2nd Annual Social Media Conference in Johannesburg I thought it pertinent that I blogged about Social Media and how it is affecting people, business and marketers alike.

We have become a society fixated with immediate results and instant gratification…

The evolution of the internet itself has fueled a lot of this transformation in information consumption.

The first “version” of the internet was basically a directory and if you were listed there you were doing well… You spoke; and the masses had little choice but to listen.

Then the Internet changed and people were able to talk back… Conversations started between companies who were ready and willing to engage and their consumers who were more than ready to give them their thoughts…

The third “version” of the internet we find ourselves in at the moment is commonly referred to as the “social web” as it is no longer about 2 way communication between a website and a consumer, but the interaction of the consumers themselves about your company or product  where  most of the time you are not expressly invited to the conversation.

The beauty of social web though is that while you are not being engaged 1 on 1 with your consumers conversations, you are more than welcome, nay, encouraged to listen to what they are saying and then respond.

The key lessons there are ‘listen’ and  ‘respond’

Censoring and gagging your consumers who are talking about you – especially when it is bad – is possibly the worst thing that you could do for your brand. It shows that you are frightened about what the public generally thinks about you or that you are arrogant in believing that their thoughts are not worth listening to… Listening to your consumers, and more than that, offering them a platform on which to speak about their interactions with your organisation – both good and bad – is the first true step in understanding and utilizing social media to your advantage. Listen to them and learn from them.

Responding is the next and equally important lesson. When people are talking negatively about you it is far, far easier to simply ignore what they are saying and hope like hell that they are going to go away and the issue will be forgotten…

Not Going To Happen..!

As what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, similarly, what happens on the internet, Stays On The Internet…! The negative comments are not going to go away, they are not going to be forgotten and with the advancement of Search Engine Optimisation, and the stance that Search Engines are taking, user generated content, the same content that you are trying to ignore, the search engines are giving value to and are 9 times out of 10 ranking highly on prominent search engines.

Probably higher than your website itself…!

This means that you need to respond quickly and effectively to any negative and indeed, positive comments that are being made about you online.

social-media-converstion-flower-brian-solis1

Claiming ignorance is no longer an option as access into these conversations has never been easier and the information is readily available 24 hours a day, begging and pleading for your attention… And if you are not going to give it your attention, your competitor is and they are going to turn your unhappy customer into their happy customer!

Combining these 2 very important aspects with a way to integrate your social media strategy with the rest of your marketing strategies is a guaranteed way to success, not only in avoiding alienating your current customers, but also in winning new ones.

The realm of social media is still a new and scary place to be, which is why many businesses and marketers are hesitant to get their hands dirty as they relinquish all control that they had by pushing messages one way, and have to succumb to the masses thoughts and opinions.

It is precisely this reason why we need to get involved in social media and be forever vigilant as to what is being said about us online and ensure that  we are adequately prepared to embrace the challenges and successes that social media brings.