Tag Archives: social media

Do you stay in the trenches or go over the top?


During Word War 1 there were two types of soldiers in the trenches, one who played a support role in terms of logistics, communication, developing battle plans and provisioning and those who went over the top and engaged with the enemy. If you are a business-to-business marketer, do you stay in the trenches or do you go over the top?

“Online business-to-business marketers who stay in the trenches are never going to derive tangible value from their participation on the social web”

If you want more leads and prospects and your marketing department is spending most of their time doing the following, it is time to revisit your B2B social media marketing strategy:

Presenting management with reports that ONLY reflect the number of page views and visitors to your website and blog, number of Twitter followers, Facebook Likes, LinkedIn followers, subscribers to the blog, YouTube views, etc

Use words such as communication, reputation management, branding, public relations, corporate identity and do not use words such as engagement, conversations, interaction.

It is no coincidence that marketing colleges and universities are rewriting their marketing management syllabus because the playing field has changed and marketers have to radically rethink how they do things.

For organisations who sell products, services and solutions to other companies, PR, branding, reputation management and corporate identity are still fundamentally important but do not underestimate the importance of using the social web for what it was designed for ie to connect, interact, engage and build relationships.

You need to identify the people in the trenches in your marketing department and those who are prepared and willing to go over the top into no mans land. The trench dwellers are very important but you shouldn’t use them when the whistle blows and the troops start climbing the ladders.

The soldier who goes over the top has to be brave and when he is in no mans land he has to improvise, depending on what he encounters.

If you are planning on generating new business opportunities from your participation on the social web, one way broadcasting and reporting on page views will not cut it. Identify your soldiers, equip them with the right tools and training and you will see the results!

Do you agree or disagree? Do you have anything to add? Would you like to comment? I would love to hear from you?

I invite you to engage and interact with me on Twitter and LinkedIn

Online marketing is a full time job? Really?


I participated in a conference call earlier today with colleagues in another region where I was describing my role and what I do on a daily basis. After going through all my daily responsibilities I was somewhat bemused when one of the persons on the call said “But that sounds like a full-time job”. After hearing this I thought it may be a good idea to explain a “day in the life of an online marketer”

Preparation of content

Any online marketer is dead in the water without good content to fuel their online marketing fire. In order to source good content, you need to meet with thought leaders on a regular basis to encourage them and assist with the creation of content. Any good content marketer will know that content has to be fit for purpose, depending on the channel they are using.

Publishing the daily blog post

There are no hard rules around the frequency of blog posts but the general rule is not too many, not too few and focus on quality. I attempt to schedule one blog post per day, preferably first thing in the morning.

Sharing blog post across online channels

Depending on the social networks you are participating on, you may want to introduce your published article differently. As you know, Twitter has a 140 character limitation so you want to be brief but still attempt to attract attention. In terms of Twitter I try to attract the attention of social media influencers and journalists and editors from popular business publications. In some cases I will contact certain individuals through a Direct Message (DM) and email or mention their Twitter handle in my tweet.

When sharing on LinkedIn and Google+ you are able to prepare a longer introduction to the content and ask your community for their comments, opinion and feedback. Besides the LinkedIn update, I also share the article on the relevant LinkedIn groups I manage and other groups I have joined. I also include specific people I am connected with on LinkedIn. In the LinkedIn groups I manage I will also use my weekly announcements feature on the groups to send an announcement to group members.

After creating updates on all the relevant social networks I then add a scheduled update on Socialoomph for Twitter and LinkedIn.

Preparation of email campaigns

For our email subscribers, we will identify specific content and determine which roles within organisations and which industries we should be targeting. I then need to prepare the templates for the relevant emails, create the filters, insert links, send a test to check that all is in order and then schedule the email.

Dialogue with community

Any online marketer or community manager has to ensure that all comments on blog posts, DMs on Twitter, shout outs on Twitter, replies to email campaigns, requests for information, CVs sent, comments on LinkedIn updates, comments on LinkedIn groups, requests to connect on LinkedIn, requests to join LinkedIn groups, discussions submitted on LinkedIn groups which require authorisation (I will end it there) are attended to and responded to timeously. This is an all day task and depending on what campaigns you are busy with, varies in intensity.

Measurement and feedback

This has to be done on a regular basis so that the relevant stakeholders within the organisation are kept abreast of all online marketing activities, understand the effectiveness of the channel and are able to react quickly to sales leads that are generated through my efforts.

Writing articles and supporting other influencers

I also need to find time to identify suitable subject matter to write about for subscribers to my personal blog and for sites where I am a guest blogger. Over and above that, I need to spend time reading, commenting on and sharing articles written by thought leaders.

So if you are looking for someone to manage your online marketing, I can assure you that if you want to do it properly and get results, then budget for a full time person.

Is there anything I have missed out? Please add to my list.

Your 2013 LinkedIn checklist to enhance your personal brand


LinkedIn may have played second fiddle to the likes of Facebook and Twitter for some time but things have changed. Besides the explosion of LinkedIn user numbers on a global basis, LinkedIn has introduced a whole bunch of new features and functions which has radically improved the user experience. If you are serious about exposing and enhancing your online brand from a business perspective, LinkedIn is the place to be, however if you are going to use LinkedIn, I advise you not to do things in half measures. Here is a list of LinkedIn “must do’s” to start your 2013 off with a bang.

1. Upload a decent photo

Statistically, there is a greater propensity for people to connect with you if your profile has a DECENT photo. LinkedIn is a business social network, so in most (if not all) cases, the accepted norm is a colour head and shoulders shot. If you want to project a professional image, then I suggest that your attire is business casual. Make sure the image has enough resolution to be enlarged without blurring.

2. Include job history

As you would do with your resume when seeking a new job, include a detailed account of your past employers and your role within the organisation. You wouldn’t go to a job interview with half a resume, so don’t do this online for all the world to see. Even if you are not a job seeker and you are using LinkedIn to promote your expertise, potential clients will want to know what you did in the past.

3. Provide a good summary

The LinkedIn summary is your “brag sheet” or 30 second elevator pitch. You want to create a good impression as quick as possible and this is the ideal place to do so. Use the summary to explain your core skills, where and how you add value with one or two examples.

4. Where were you educated?

Besides your job history, potential employers and clients want to know where you were educated and what qualifications you have. Besides schooling and tertiary education, make mention of the certificate courses, diplomas, short courses, awards achieved.

5. Add skills and ask for endorsements

A recent addition to LinkedIn is the ability to have other LinkedIn users you are connected with to endorse your skills. This is the LinkedIn’s version of word of mouth marketing. If I have heard from multiple sources that a person is good at something, there is a good chance that I will believe it. The best way to get endorsements is to endorse others and they will reciprocate. If they don’t, then ask them to.

6. Ask for recommendations

Reach out to your colleagues, clients, ex-clients, past employers and manager and ask them to add a recommendation. When applying for a job or tendering for a project you always include references. This is exactly the same. The more references the better. Just remember to reciprocate!

7. Connect!

This is what LinkedIn is all about. Reach out to all your colleagues, friends, associates, past employers, past and existing clients and connect with them. Remember to follow LinkedIn protocol when doing so otherwise this feature will be blocked. If you do not know someone personally, but would like to connect, ask someone you are connected with to introduce you.

8. Join groups

There are MANY LinkedIn groups out there so take your time joining groups. The idea behind joining groups is so you can interact with LIKE-MINDED individuals. If this is not happening, then leave the group. You also join groups to learn, so if there isn’t decent interaction and/or the subject matter is poor, then leave the group. You can use groups to build credibility and to let people know that you are knowledgeable around certain subjects. In order to do this you have to participate in discussions. Ask questions, post content, use the polling feature, but participate.

9. Monitor updates

Check updates on the LinkedIn home page. This is where you have visibility of all the updates made by your connections. If there is good content, read it, share it and comment on it. The more you do this, the more you are noticed and the more your connections will support you. Remember that your connections have extended networks. As soon as they start sharing your content and comments, the more your content is noticed.

10. Share articles where you have been published

LinkedIn provides a great feature where you can showcase articles that have been published which you may have wrote or where you have been interviewed or quoted. This just helps to build your credibility.

11. Include contact information

Make sure to include all contact information such as email address and telephone numbers. If you use Twitter and have a blog, be sure to include links to these platforms to. Just ensure that your blog and tweets are current if you are going to do this.

There are many other great features and functions available on LinkedIn which you should take the time to explore, but I will leave you with these 11 tips to enhance your personal brand for the time being. I can assure you that if you use this advice, you will see the results. Have a great 2013!

Do you have any other LinkedIn tips to add? Would you like to share any of your personal experiences? What is your opinion of LinkedIn?

I invite you to connect on LinkedIn or chat on Twitter

How to create a decent Twitter profile and Twitter best practice

More and more businesses and business people are recognising Twitter as a great environment where to keep abreast of breaking news, source information and connect and interact with like-minded individuals. What many are still getting wrong however are the basis such as the creation of a decent profile and effective participation on Twitter. 

I have listed a few tips below that should assist you in deriving more value and benefit from Twitter. If I have left any out I would love to hear from you here on my blog or on Twitter (@DavidGrahamSA)

Creating Your Twitter Account

Your Picture – This is one of the most important aspects of your Twitter profile because that’s what people are going to look at first, before making their decision of adding you as a friend or not. My advice is to insert a real picture of you (or the picture of a man/woman). I don’t recommend adding a logo or an abstract image because people don’t really relate to those. However, people can easily relate to the picture of another man or woman.

Background Image – Do not use one of Twitter’s background images. It won’t be personalized enough. Instead, I suggest you upload your own image as a background. Many websites let you download Twitter backgrounds or even create your own. Click here for a list of free Twitter backgrounds resources.

Name – It is important that you use a real name, and not just a brand or a website URL. People will more easily trust a real person’s name than they will a brand or website address. It makes sense, but still, many people do the mistake of not using a real name.

Username – Your username is what people will see on Twitter. Avoid having numbers or special characters in your username. If possible, try to have a single word or an association of 2 words.

More Info URL – This is your one chance to drive traffic to your website without doing anything. If you can, create a custom page on your website to welcome people coming from your URL on your Twitter profile. You can for example create a page to welcome them and tell them what your website is about and maybe give them a few links so they can easily browse the important pages.

One Line Bio – The bio is another very important element of your Twitter profile. You have to be able to tell people about you in 140 characters or less. Think of it as a mini resume so be as concise as possible.

Twitter Best Practice

Share – Share photos and behind the scenes info about your business. Even better, give a glimpse of developing projects and events. Users come to Twitter to get and share the latest, so give it to them!

Listen – Regularly monitor the comments about your company, brand, and products.

Ask – Ask questions of your followers to glean valuable insights and show that you are listening.

Respond – Respond to compliments and feedback in real time

Reward – Demonstrate wider leadership and know-how. Reference articles and links about the bigger picture as it relates to your business. Champion your stakeholders. Retweet and reply publicly to great tweets posted by your followers and customers.

Establish the right voice – Twitter users tend to prefer a direct, genuine, and of course, a likable tone from your business, but think about your voice as you Tweet. How do you want your business to appear to the Twitter community?

Do you have anything to add to this list?



The level playing field has turned into a content arms race

This article which I have reblogged from Schaefer Marketing Solutions, emphasises the importance of content in your social media marketing strategy. 

Kremlin cannon

The level playing field has turned into a content arms race

(This article was written by Mark Schaefer and was originally published on the Schaefer Marketing Solutions website. Click Here to access the original article).    

Have I ever told you how much I love Gini Dietrich? For me, she is such an amazing role model for dong it right on the social web. And if you’re one of the five people on earth not already following her Spin Sucks blog, go do that now.

Gini is a smart and savvy friend and we don’t always see eye to eye, which makes her an even better friend. Last week she penned a post about how Facebook seems to be unfairly squeezing money from us by forcing us to use paid promoted posts to reach people who are already following us. It’s a good point of course, but I fell off Gini’s wagon at this point:

The awesome thing about the web and social media, in particular, is it levels the playing field. No longer do you need millions of dollars to spend on PR firms and ad agencies in order to build your brand and reputation among the masses.

Today all you need is a good writer, a self-hosted website and/or blog, and organically grown social networks. With those three things, you suddenly are competing with the big boys for reputation and credibility. You’re seen as a thought leader in your industry. You’re creating kinship among your prospects. And you’re selling in a way that has never before been possible.

All of the tools are free so it’s a really low barrier to entry. And it works.

You see, I have been thinking just the opposite about our social media world. Yes, three years ago Gini was probably right. When the social web was young almost any foray into social media was novel and attracted attention. It was pretty cheap and the entry barriers were indeed low. You could post a video of a bride falling into a swimming pool and it would go viral.

No longer.

Today YouTube is mainstream entertainment fueled by slick corporate video content. People have increasingly sophisticated expectations about what they’re going to find on your Facebook page, Twitter stream, or blog.

I recently saw a statistic that stated there was more information created on the web in the last two years than all of human history combined. I don’t know if that is true or not and I rarely let facts get in the way of a good story anyway, so let’s just say it makes a point — there is an enormous amount of data to get through these days. Heck, even Mashable makes me dizzy.

The content arms race

To succeed on the social web today you better bring your A Game and a bucket of money. To connect with customers today you need to consistently provide useful, relevant, and entertaining content — and that is not cheap. And as the information density on the web increases, so too will the cost to produce that great content.

Yes, yes, I know there are plenty of companies who are still finding niche success with modest social media programs but as soon as their competitors get in the game, the content arms race begins.

As I wrote recently, the social web is NOT a level playing field. There is definitely a first-mover advantage for people who have the money to create useful content and overwhelming amounts of it (which then become entrenched in the search rankings). In the long term, you probably will NOT be competing with the “big boys” (as Gini states) with just a writer and a blog.

Crowd sourced social media advice for Chief Information Officers (CIOs)

I published a blog post titled “What social media advice would you give to a Chief Information Officer today?” which I shared on the social networks where I participate. I have provided selective responses I received.

If you have anything to add, I will welcome your contribution. I will be sharing this article with CIOs within my network. Please share with IT Professionals who may benefit from the sage advice provided by a number of global business consultants, social media, marketing and branding specialists.

Richard Simmonds (@RichSimmondsZA) – Knowledge entrepreneur, business consultant, Twitter and social coach to increase influence of brands

“I am about to post to my blog on something very similar. So here is my copy and it goes about Macintosh “Hawks” and Lance Witten who were suspended this week. Not finally edited but I am sure you will get the gist of it.

Just another reason you should (not) be on Twitter

I chatted to a parent at my sons’ school today and he had inclination to tell me about the two South Africans who were suspended for Tweeting insensitive remarks this week on Twitter.

His comment to me was ‘Richard just another reason you should not be on Twitter’. Of course he has some idea that I am involved in some way with social media and he happens to be the CEO of a rather large company in the service industry.

My response was when will people start to realise that your private, social and work life are not three separate things and that we are living one life and that we remain accountable for what we do at all times.

Social media only amplifies what we are saying, so if you have said it you have said it. As we rapidly move into a world that demands more and more transparency, we must realise that we can no longer hide things and hope things go unnoticed.

Unfortunately being the proverbial Ostrich and putting your head in the ground actually draws more attention to your actions.

Should you ever say something that is out of line or even out of character; don’t apologise by saying you we’re asked or told to apologise as this week perpetrators did.

The advantage of social media is that you get almost instantaneous feedback. Monitor this and when you start receiving negative feedback that is relevant and will potentially damage your personal brand. Move as quickly as possible to authentically apologise as errors do happen and people are sometimes willing to forgive.

What normally happens is that people normally say things that are offensive and then arrogantly hold the opinion and have no intention of apologising until the real damage has been done, then coming with a weak apology that is not authentic will never help.

Social media is extremely effective and simple when you apply basic manners and realise that we deal with real people and not audiences.

As we move into the more transparent world my advice is always to treat everyone as if they were in a relationship with you, think of them as your spouse and how you would communicate with them; as the old adage goes ‘think before you speak’ and try to imagine the response before you post or say something.

No one said that the journey would not have challenges along the way, but I can promise you it exciting – see you in that social arena, called life!

Talking mobility it also seems that there is a bigger push from people wanting to use their own devices (smartphones, tablets and notebooks) and the company to just supply data in the form of a Wi-Fi network at work. Soon the employees will want this as part of the package and not want the company to provide them with any sort of device.


Cees De Boer (@ceesdeboer) – Member of Executive Board, CFO and COO at Deloitte Netherlands

I certainly would advise CIO’s to embrace social media. Social media will play an important part in B2B in the coming years, and social media platforms will become business platforms that CIO’s will need to manage in some way.

I suspect some CIO’s are still fighting or tolerating it, which in a way is understandable if you look at the traditional “control” role of the CIO. The problem with social media platforms is that they cannot be controlled. They reside in the cloud, and control is limited to policies, and not more. So must be scary for CIO’s.

But the rise of social media platforms is consistent with the rise of cloud. Infrastructure will not be owned by companies anymore. Here is another traditional role of the CIO being phased out. CIO’s will need to focus on buying / building / managing business applications that are of strategic and tactical importance for the business. In my view a social media platform will quickly become one of those business applications.


Rajesh Harie (@rajharie)

This is a very important aspect of the CIO’s role today and probably warrants a posting on its own. There is an increasing shift in mobility and BYOD, it is predicted that by 2015 80% of South Africans will have access to smart phones. The cost of the devices are already sub $100 and soon it will be closing on the $50 cost making it more accessible to people.

But mobility and BYOD also has its pitfalls as the CIO does not know or control what corporate information gets placed on these smartphones. Which becomes a problem when it gets lost or stolen?

I came across an interesting article which goes into it a little more in depth – With the rise of cloud and BYOD, what does the future hold for the CIO? http://t.co/7kxm7ze3


Darren Smith (@DazMSmith) – Businessman, New media & web strategist, Strategic Marketer, Communicator, Networker, Idea engineer and Creative thinker

Social media an important subject, and a sadly neglected one. I know of few CIOs in South Africa active (and I mean active and engaged) in social media. And given that it is the CIOs responsibility to take the tech leadership lead in business, how on earth can CIOs possibly do so if they fail to understand how to use social media (if they’ve never really used it).

You can’t lead from the back of the crowd. I get a sense of an attitude of ‘ignorance is bliss’ in business, or even ‘wilful ignorance’ … this sense of “it doesn’t really matter” and business will simply carry on remorselessly. We can argue the point until we’re blue in the face, but the attitude is pervasive in business, else we’d see more senior executive engagement in social.

A conversation I had recently with Sim Shagaya (DealDey.com, Nigeria) was interesting. I asked him what the impact of social was on his own business, in the context of this Forrester report some months ago – Less than 1% of online purchases come from social channels.

His response was enlightening. “Our business is driven mostly by word of mouth (Nigeria having a huge informal economy). Social media is the biggest CATALYST to word of mouth.”

Therein lays the power of social. And no, it is not as measurable as the reports would have you believe.

So what would my advice to CIOs be?

Simple. Forget about social media. Think about The Social ERA. Social media are just tools we might use in the conversation. The social ERA is profound & represents a fundamental change in the way we consume and share information. If information is the bedrock of knowledge, and companies are not participating in the conversation (speaking only to themselves and preaching to the converted), then they do themselves a disservice.

“Get educated. Find out where your audiences are. Listen to them. Engage. Add value. Invite them in to your world, and you may just be invited into theirs. But don’t sell to them. They’ll become brand advocates when you’ve earned their trust. Start using social yourself. With your peers!”


Neal Schaffer (@NealSchaffer) – Trilingual Social Media Strategy Consultant, Coach, Speaker, Author of Multiple LinkedIn Books and University Professor

I actually just presented to IT professionals on this very topic of what they need to understand about social media. Hope you find it useful!



Claude Super (@claudesuper) – Valuation and information governance consultant

“Take Time to observe Key users and trust them!”


Dr Nikolaus Eberl (@NikolausEberl) – CEO of BrandOvation, Brand Leadership Expert, Author, Brand Ambassador Program FIFA World Cup, Reciprocation Marketing™

I would definitely point out the lessons from Obama’s recent social media campaign regarding list building and targeting specific user communities.

Secondly, I would point out that with the advent of broadband in mid-2014, content marketing will become the single most important marketing tool in business and that each and every business needs to convert their employees into content providers.


Mike Said (@Mike_Said_What) – Owner at www.brandstrategy.co.za

There is not a whole lot I can leave you with that has not already been covered but here are a few of favourite tips.

Social media is about being interesting AND interested, not one or the other. It is an INTERaction not an action.

The four Rs of Social Media – Regular, Relevant, Remarkable and Real

And final piece of advice “take control before someone else does” (and that could be your staff or your customers).


Jochem Koole (@jochemkoole) – Senior social media adviser at Deloitte Netherlands

I feel, most CIOs mainly regard social media as a burden on their (and their department’s) daily work.

This is understandable, since social media enable employees to collaborate with colleagues and customers on the tools and devices of their own choice, while the CIO is responsible for maintaining an existing ICT environment.

However, social media are here to stay. Just like cloud computing, big data, location based services, et cetera. If CIOs are willing to run with this, and restructure their departments, teams, and work to enable a shift from a closed and controlled ICT environment to an open and supportive one, they can reap huge benefits.

IBM decided to lose control, and benefitted greatly: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-ibm-uses-social-media-to-spur-employee-innovation/

Of course, this is a long term investment. It took IBM 5 years. So, now is a good time to start.

Here’s an interesting addition to everything said earlier: “Controlled Private Social Networking”. Might be an opportunity for CIOs – http://www.wwtid.com/2012/10/28/what-exactly-is-social-business-and-what-is-its-future/


Kaveer Beharee (@Kaveerbharath) – Stakeholder and reputation management strategist incorporating King III

New media has added a layer of complexity, both from a governance and risk management perspective.

Chapter 8 of king 3 contains many principles about stakeholder engagement and communication, which in my ad hoc research, companies do not take into account when developing a social media plans.

King requires board accountability, and a clear mandate to management. We also recommend the SE and Risk committees playing a leading role in developing a communication – and by default – a social media strategy.

The way it looks now, companies are scrambling to develop presence on new media. This is wrong. If the board and committees I’ve mentioned above cannot establish how the company can enhance value or mitigate risk using new media, do not develop presence until they can figure it out.

As an aside…..I publicly shame companies on social media when I receive bad service. I cannot emphasize how poorly prepared and scared to death they are, when they are forced to call me….in most cases to beg me to stop. They just do not have a plan.


Jonathan Houston (@Jingo27) – Digital Marketing Manager at Deloitte Technology

Thank you for the opportunity to comment. I think that the comments that have been left before mine pretty much cover all the points that a CIO needs to be aware of when arguing that social media is not a problem they need to be concerned with.

There is one more thing that I feel has not been mentioned. You have alluded to it in saying that your social media strategy needs to be like an ERP implementation. The point I would like to make is that ERP vendors are making significant investment into social media. SAP’s Jam is the latest of these investments that shows how critical “social business” is for enterprises today.

I think the biggest shift needs to come from social media being thought of PURELY as a marketing / sales tool. It is so much more than that. It is a business tool and a source of critical information that needs to be dealt with and analysed to make better business decisions.

Whilst the CIO does not need to be physically involved should they chose not to be; they must not let their organisations suffer from their personal decision. Carrying on from that; whether an organisation is involved in social media or not; they categorically cannot ignore the conversation that is happening about them and their competitors every day!

There is an awesome Forbes article which summarises this topic quite nicely : http://www.forbes.com/sites/oracle/2012/11/06/5-ugly-potholes-on-the-road-to-social-business-excellence/


Nazareen Ebrahim (@NazareenE) – Social Media and Content Manager

I would say to any CIO that

a)     Social media will not die out

b)    It is an imperative portion of marketing and communications in any organisation

c)     It is in the best interest of a CIO to be using some social media platforms in a personal capacity so that they have their own understanding of what social media means and how it works

d)    They will be admired and respected as a leader, by their colleagues and work force, for taking an active interest in, and support of social media communication for their organisation

e)     A CIO has a responsibility to ensure that the reputation of the organisation can be managed in the most decisive manner at all times to maintain a positive identity; disregarding or not paying much attention to social media channels in this instance is like slitting one’s wrists gently but hoping not to bleed

f)     Social media in the post-PC era is about real-time, consistent, authentic communication among brand, consumer, community, influencers and friends; a CIO can only really claim to be leading their organisation in the right direction if they understand the changing nature of our global communications – smart technologies and devices, peer recommendation and the voice that social media has given organisations and their employees.


Jon Hoehler (@JonHoehler) – Manager, Mobile Technologies at Deloitte Digital

A huge challenge for CIOs is around accessing of social media by employees on the enterprises networks. Any organization will block employee’s access to social media sites in order to “improve work rate and productivity”. Employees will use their mobile / personal devices to access social media portals. http://www.silkroad.com/Company/News-and-Media/Press_Releases/2012/10/Social_Survey_Report_Press_Release.html

From a South African perspective, social media portals are extremely popular. South Africa has over 6.5 million registered Facebook users with over 80% of those users using their mobile device to connect to the social network. I would imagine many of those logins are from employees during their working day.

Users will find ways around the systems setup to garden wall them. A challenge to CIOs around the policies around access to social media platforms but that the same time with trust in their employees that they won’t spend their days commenting on their friend’s wedding photographs.

Embracing corporate and employee participation through organization driven platforms using social media elements dove tailed with Gamification theory is a compelling exercise especially with crowd sourcing of information pertaining to the organization.


Cliona – http://www.forgood.co.za/Pages/Home.aspx

I guess for me a good message to any CIO would be that social media is a reality and will grow from strength to strength in the years to come.

However for anyone to buy into the concept of social media across the board it has to be a user friendly approach without getting caught up in complex and long drawn out processes.

I have found that by listening to our users that they have a very good idea of what they want to use within the social media framework and as we carry on applying this to our website our traction and user base in growing. And when you align this to technology you have a win-win scenario.


Adrian Lee (@AdrianLeeSA) – Mobile, Marketing and Business Development

With the dearth of CIOs in the country that are even aware of ‘social media’, they still think it’s something that their teen kids are on.

Firstly, Understand the Channel, each platform serves a different audience type. Twitter is not the same as Facebook is not the same as Pinterest, for example. Somehow there’s always a forced fit when it comes to social media strategy.

Second, Provide Great Content, I use the example of Richard Branson’s twitter handle, which covers topics from new business launches to his own personal leisure pursuits. Look, if the CIO think putting out a dry press release on social media channels will work, he’s dead wrong. You engage with relevant content on the right channels. Depending on their business, some visual platforms will work really well, e.g. Pinterest for a group like Zando’s.

Third, Really Be There. Quoting examples from one of the big 4 local banks who got it disastrously wrong with social media, you can’t set up an official channel and leave it unmanned. Any comments/queries/complaints/praise needs to be responded to in a timely manner (AND state what the response turnaround is). Dedicate the required resources to it and don’t leave it as the part-time role of the digital marketing person.


Melanie Minnaar – (@MelanieMinnaar) – Founder & Owner at multiplicity

First point would be to have a strategy online, not control – that is in conflict with the social nature of the channel. A high-level strategy is necessary to provide a framework that best serves the brands’ intentions.

Point 2: you can’t switch on and off in social media – if you’re not a key influencer in online circles and are absent from one too many conversations with your audience, don’t expect them to rush to serve your crowd-sourcing needs at the drop of a hat. Likewise,

Point 3: you can’t expect your staff to be fully immersed brand advocates in the online social space if their onine presence is managed in the same way as a TV media schedule – living the brand is fully challenged in this new era of communication.

Consistency – as with core brand management principles; the brand must be represented in a consistent manner through all its communication channels, including digital. Your strategy will inform what this consistency should look like to avoid schizophrenic brands in the marketplace.

On crowd-sourcing specifically I refer to The Twitter Blanket Drive which has grown threefold year on year. I’ve made plenty of mistakes over the past 3 years and most of them were when I did not rightfully acknowledge the channel and defaulted to traditional methods of promotion and communication. The biggest lesson is that the essence and nature of the platform is key for the success of any campaign driven in this manner. Otherwise, take out a radio ad.

Final thought: social communication is about people. If you’re not a people’s person then find or hire people who are.


Helen Tonetti (@HelenTonetti) – Social Media Specialist and Marketing Director at Video Expression

Be in context and be human’ is the best advice for social media success

So many businesses forget that Social Media is just like conversations off-line, and in my experience can far too often get hung up on the tools and not focus on the conversations.

The best real world analogy is a meeting with your peers and other industry leaders, all there to discuss an emerging trend and instead of bringing your research along to join in the meeting, you start telling the assembled group about a product offer you have, giving out coupons and keep asking members of the group to give you their details so you can send them the offer.

 When the assembled group tries to focus on the topic that the meeting was set up to address, you put on a sandwich board, take out a megaphone and keep shouting out your message until they ask you to leave.

That’s how so many businesses are still approaching social media, as a platform that has tools that allows them to send out messages, not join in conversations, listen, learn and engage.

 It’s not a one way channel where there’s a sender and many receivers, but it’s the business meeting where everyone is on equal footing to participate in the conversation.

Remember that even though you’re interacting on a computer, you’re expected to act like a human on social media, not like a robot. Make sure your business values line up with human values and then act like that when interacting with your audience.

I trust that you found this advice (and the links provided) of use. Do you have anything to add?

Can you talk the CEO into doing social media?

Here is a great article by Dave Thomas I discovered on ViralBlog which provides good reasons why your CEO should invest in social media.

Can you talk the CEO into doing social media?

You are the chief marketing officer at your company and you have to approach the big man or woman about trying something out. The goal, to get them to sign off on putting major time and effort into a social media campaign.

Yes, the company is doing well overall, but you and others know it could be turning an even bigger return on investment.

The sticking point, however, the CEO is not exactly tripping over themselves to integrate social media into your company’s marketing plan. So, where does that leave you?

As many who do marketing for a living know, one of the main goals of any business is to stay a step ahead of the competition. In your heart of hearts, you feel passionately that your company is missing out on a key area, promoting itself through social media.

For many chief marketing officers, it takes a little extra time and effort to sell the head of the company on all the good things that social media can do for your business. The CEO is oftentimes questioning the true value of social media, saying they have trouble getting a true read on its ROI to the business.

Social Media Continues to Grow for Many Companies

When you find yourself in that position, throw a few of the following statistics at the CEO from the 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report.

Among them:

  • Ninety-four percent of all companies with a marketing department used social media as a portion of their marketing platform;
  • Nearly 60 percent of marketers are devoting what amounts to a full work day to social media marketing development and maintenance;
  • Forty-three percent of people aged 20-29 spend more than 10 hours a week on social media sites;
  • Eighty-five of all companies that have a dedicated social media platform as part of their marketing strategy noted a gain in their market exposure, while 58 percent of businesses that have used social media marketing for more than three years stated seeing an increase in sales over that period.

So, if those numbers still have your company’s CEO questioning the importance of a solid social media effort by your team, share some of these thoughts with them:

Engaging consumers – As more and more shoppers go on-line to browse and shop, not engaging them on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social media platforms is flat out wrong. According to a recent Forrester Research Inc. report, on-line shoppers in the U.S. are forecast to spend $327 billion in 2016, an increase of 45 percent from $226 billion this year and 62 percent from $202 billion in 2011. In 2016, e-retail will account for 9 percent of total retail sales, a jump from 7 percent in both 2012 and 2011, according to the report, “U.S. On-line Retail Forecast, 2011 to 2016,” by Forrester analyst Sucharita Mulpuru. That amounts to a compound annual growth rate of 10.1 percent over the five-year forecast period. With those kind of projections, companies need to be socially engaged;

Avert on-line problems – Another reason your goal as a CMO is to have a solid social media presence for your company is knowing what folks are saying about your business. Are customers turning to Twitter and Facebook to complaint about your products or services? Are they taking to social media venues to disperse unfounded rumors about your company? Lastly, is your competition talking about you in ways that do not truly define your company? Three more reasons to be actively involved in social media;

Be seen as an authority – Finally, a strong social media presence allows your company to be seen as an authority in its particular industry. Consumers are more apt to come to your Facebook and Twitter company pages if you are providing valuable links, authoritative blog posts, informative press releases and more. As your likes and followers increase, you can point to these figures in your brochures and other company promotions, giving you more clout with consumers.

While you will not always be able to sell your company’s top person on social media, your goal as a CMO is to promote it wherever and whenever possible.

By all accounts, social media is not going anywhere anytime soon.

Wouldn’t you rather be the CMO who was in front of the social media train than the one running to keep up with it?

Dave Thomas, who discusses subjects such as installing the right home gutter guards and starting a home business, has more than 20 years of experience as a business writer.