Will Mobile Blogging be the Next Level?

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I’m no trendsetter. Because that would mean that a large group of people follow me and my tutorials. I’m more prone to influence a small group of people successfully. I’m still to figure out how to scale that. For now, I’m finding decent success doing one-on-one consultations.

The secret to great content.

What I am trying to get my customers to do is to create as much original, native and live content as possible. Ever since I won that award for my publishing blog, I have been of the opinion that the best traction for the growth of a blog, and eventually a brand, is being visible and involved in your industry.

Let’s say I don’t just want to be a blogger, but an influential one, I have to be seen, be involved and embedded in the forefront of the culture and development of my industry. How do you do that?

Well, it’s simple in stategy and very hard work when it comes to excecution. The simplicity of the strategy is hustling the hardest. Being the most involved, testing, formulating theories and establishing your own brand that becomes your stamp.

So, the secret to great content is then live blogging.

Using your mobile device.

I’m personally not very fond of carrying 5 mobile devices with me. I’m busy typing this up on my Samsung S4 and it works for me, because the vast choices of mobile apps available to do certain things is amazing. And if no such app exists, it’s pretty easy and affordable to have one made.

So my challenge when it comes to producing content is the time it takes to produce it. And this is a challenge for many of my clients. Before I started with this post, I thought about the many times I’m waiting for a meeting to commence, or I’m stuck in traffic, or we’re waiting for my son to fall asleep. These times make up a large portion of the day. Hours. Hours that I cannot spend in front of my pc. So the solution is the times in between.

What happens in between?

Well, capture your business as it happens. Let’s say you are a travel consultant and you travel for experience, or just for fun, you can capture your journey as it happens. Write a diary, take photos, shoot videos… all from your mobile device.

This all becomes the content with which you market your business, your travel experience, or even the destination you’re travelling to. Mobile technology and the various social media platforms enables us to capture our lives as it happens.

An author could share his new book endeavour: How is the book progressing, how he get’s he cover done, when he’s done with the book, the people who influences the book (say he did interviews for it – in which case he would post teasers, not the actual interview), the book launch, his speech, then his tour, book signings, talks on the subject etc. This is then the story that he tells as the books journey is happening.

The future of marketing.

Look, I may be presumtuous, thinking that I’m teaching you something new. You may be doing this already. If you’re not, this is the future of marketing yourself. Showing the world you are practicing what you preach. It is providing a value proposition to the world in showing your worth to future customers. This proposition is made so that when it comes to your prospective customers having to make a purchase decision, because you have educated them on the problem that you solve, they don’t think twice about doing business with you.

Is it practical?

This post has to be a testimony to that fact. Yes, it took me an hour to write this post, but I did that inbetween spending time with my son, changing his diaper, cleaning the floor, explaining to my wife what I’m doing in writing this post, all while mostly lying on the couch, underneath a blanket as exibited in the image above.

The tools I used is the WordPress app, my mobile phone and some time. That’s about it. And you’ll be seeing more of these happen, as I write them as I am inspired. Because inspirstion for valuable pieces of content doesn’t come when it is convenient, but mobile devices and apps are convenient, and merging the two makes for a great medium.

My name is Ivin Viljoen, and I’m an online marketing consultant :)

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11 Steps to Launching a New Brand on Social Media.

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At the beginning of this year I went on an exciting journey to launch a new personal brand. Although the brand is still in its infant stages, it has already garnered favorable results for me personally.

In this article I want to share with the you how I launched this new brand and what the results are up to this point.

How to launch a new brand on social media.

Step 1 – Choose your brand name.

In this case I had previously thought of a name, but at that stage the time was not favourable for me to launch thenew brand. The brand is an outdoor and lifestyle brand that focuses on South Africa’s favourite pastime – Braaing. Not only is it a great pastime, but it’s something I’m very passionate about.

I set out to find the best way for the brand to represent everything to do with braaing. I wanted to find the best charcoal brands, the best way to make a fire, the best braai equipment, the best meat cuts and where to get them. This practice of finding the best and hidden secrets within a culture is called ‘hacking’. Don’t try and Google the definition, you won’t find the meaning I am referring to.

As a result I settled on Braaihacker. It was plain and simple, and it explained exactly what the brand was about.

Time spent: 3 Months.

Step 2 – Set up a Twitter account.

It may seem that I’m explaining this to you a bit topsy–turvy, but this is literally how I went about this. I already had the brand name, and now wanted to ‘test’ the affinity of the brand concept and name. Best way I knew how to do this was using Twitter.

Here are a few keys to setting up a proper Twitter account:

Choose an easy, marketable username – Too often people just choose a normal username, but on Twitter it pays being creative and thoughtful, as what you call yourself will extend to marketing your business.

Let me share some thoughts here:

With this brand, Braaihacker, the username is self-explanatory. But when I went on to launching a brand that had to do with labour law, I thought “How do I construct a twitter handle about law that will create a conversation?”. And so WHM Labour Law Advisors became @labourchat. The username evokes conversation and explain what the platform will be used for.

A descriptive, playful bio – Here I was upfront with my intentions: I wanted to launch a show on Youtube and I was looking for collaborators. So, when I interact with people and they went to check out my bio, they know what I’m all about.

Remember to also link to your website in the bio as it gives people a place to go for more information.

A profile image/avatar that represents your brand – Here you will eventually post your logo, but that will only be done later on. In my case, at that stage, I just placed a picture of a steak on the grill. The optimum size for this image is 48X48.

A profile banner representative of your brand – In this case I played around with many different ones, but I didn’t compromise by using high resolution stock images. I ended up using a kettle braai in a park.

Time spent: 2-3 days.

Step 3 – Use Twitter what it is designed to do.

Start conversations. My mentor calls Twitter a virtual cocktail party, and you should treat it as such. Do you get annoyed with those individuals that just talk about themselves and work the room to close a sale? Of course you do. Twitter works the same.

You should go to a cocktail party to network, to get to know people, to provide value to the platform, and to be someone people want to spend time with.

The question is: How do you do that on Twitter?

The best way to build valuable relationships on Twitter is by being interesting and interested in others. I achieved this by simply searching for the work braai in Twitter’s provided search box. By doing this I could see what people were talking about.

Some people posted photos of how they prepared their meat and what their favourite pairings are, while others just posted images of their fires. There were so many things to respond to that I literally spent hours tweeting and talking to people about braaing. I asked questions about what they braaied, where they were braaing etc. I showed interest, and this is a great way to build your following. Asking great, sensible questions led to people finding out what I am about, and following me that way.

Being interesting was about sharing my own fires, meat preparation, etc. I also started posting braai memes and cartoons, so there was a good balance of different content on my feed.

Time Spent: 2-3 months.

Step 4 – Get a logo designed.

Now it was time for me to create something that was going to help people recognise my brand and assist them in making a connection with the brand. WhenI was around 200 followers deep, I decided to get ‘my community’ involved. Yeah, that’s your community. And Twitter is the best way to build one fast, outside of perhaps Facebook groups, as both platforms are designed to give a conversation momentum.

I solicited the services of 3 designers, two of which were still amateurs, but I struck gold with one particular designer which not only designed the logo at an affordable rate, but also gave me 4 great designs to choose from.

Then it was up to ‘my community’ to assist in choosing the best logo. I asked the designer to put all 4 designs into one image so I can use it like that.

I then posted the individual logo designs on Twitter, and asked my community to tell me which one they liked most. I got good feedback overall, but overwhelming feedback by the way of a positive response for one specifically.

I then posted the logo on my Facebook profile timeline and asked people for feedback. The response was also overwhelmingly favourable toward one design.

Finally, I went to a marketing network I’m part of and showed them my new designs. As soon as I got feedback from them I knew which logo to use.

Time spent: 1 – 2 weeks.

Step 5- Open and optimize a Youtube account.

This was an essential step in my process because the plan was to eventually have a Youtube show online. So I set up the Youtube account using a branded Google account and did what was necessary for brand recognition:

Upload your logo – essential for brand recognition;

Upload channel art – an extension of your brand’s personality and can serve as marketing tool;

Create and upload a fan finder video – This video shares your value proposition and why should people subscribe to your channel. Make a good case and people will subscribe. The more subscribers you have, the more your video views will increase. This then translates to website traffic, calls to action and eventual sales.

Time spent: 2 – 3 hours.

Step 6 – Create your first video.

It was important for me to do the best video I could, because this would be my entry into the marketplace and to share my value proposition with my market.

So, I created a video on how to start a great braai fire on a budget only using newspaper. Luckily I had an awesome hack that I could show or teach people.

I had no real production budget, so besides the actual materials I used to make the fire, I simply used my Samsung S3 camera for the recording. The picture quality and sounds was actually pretty decent, so it went off without a hitch. For full disclosure, I did already own a proper editing program, but there are some free tools you can download online that can yield favourable results.

I then added some elements to my video to help grow and promote my brand:

  • An introduction to the brand and what the video was about.
  • A subscription call to action at the end.
  • A custom/branded thumbnail for the video.

Time spent: 1 day.

Step 7 – Set up a Facebook page.

The process here is very similar to setting up a Twitter account, with regards to a profile image/logo, a timeline cover image and a proper bio. What is very important before you start marketing your page (or any social platform for that matter, including a blog), is to ‘seed’ it with content. Ten individual pieces of content should do. Post memes, tips, did you knows, etc.

Then, after everything is set up you can create awareness quickly in the following ways:

Use your Facebook page’s ‘Build Audience’ function and click on ‘Invite Friends’. If your new brand is something that people know you’re passionate about, they’ll like the page without question. Having seeded content on it already give people a reason to browse and see where your thoughts are at this stage.

The ‘Promote Page’ function is part of Facebook’s advertising platform, and for a few Rands, you can reach a certain demographic in a location.

The real juice is in my next step.

Step 8 – Building awareness using Facebook Groups.

This particular method takes a lot of time, but if the effort is put in it will yield great rewards for a new brand.

Firstly, you have to go and look for local community groups. Join them and start becoming a valuable member to the platforms. You can do that by answering questions, connecting with people and generally helping out. As you grow your portfolio, it’s going to be impossible to keep this up, so try focus on participating in groups in your immediate surroundings or an area you know well.

As you use the groups, you’ll see Facebook makes suggestions of groups you may want to join. See if they’re relevant to what you want to achieve and join them. Now, it’s time to market.

Your first question should be: How do I market on social media? And the WRONG answer is ‘selling’ or ‘posting ads’. I have closed a lot of business deals, and built a great fan base for many brands by using the following strategy:

Get a couple very valuable tips together that people can use that won’t take away from your bottom line. If you’re genuine and your value proposition is good, people will like your page, if that was your objective, or they will click your link. Post your tips on all the groups that is relevant to your market.

Step 9 – Test your audience.

Let’s be honest, we’re not doing all of this for just fun. We want to eventually do some business, right? So this is how I tested my new braai brand.

I wanted to know if I can make money from my audience. Since the logo was a success, I had some t-shirts made. I posted my design on Twitter and Facebook and showed it to my immediate network and family. I sold around 25 of what I called a ‘limited’ edition. I know it’s not a lot, but I knew my audience was willing and able to spend money on my brand.

Step 10 – Build a website.

This is one of the last things you do, because you don’t want to invest in a design if you don’t know your brand and concept works. I went all out with mine, equipping it with the capability to deliver my videos, podcasts, blog posts, show testimonials and even a shop where I could eventually list products.

This step is important because you want a ‘home’ for your brand where people can get all your info. All your social profiles will also be represented here.

Step 11 – Get Social.

By ‘Get Social’ I mean, get out there. There are several ways I did this:

Connect with influencers.

I looked at who were the biggest braai personalities that have influence. I also looked at social media interactive audiences, prominent brands in the media and product developers. So, I approached a couple people.

I first approached Braaiboy and told him I’d like to offer my services, and he actually let me take his place at his stand, braaing wors for his customers while he was doing a stunt braaing underwater. This wasn’t a co-branding exercise, but it helped me meet some people and interact with them on social media as a rapport had been established.

I also used Twitter to secure a future video with Barry Hilton, who subsequently is also a influencer in the braai culture.

Get involved with events.

I had been approached by a brand to talk about working together with them. I told them about my show, but they didn’t bite. I did however manage to pitch them a charity opportunity on which we worked together.

This afforded me a lot of legs for my social media efforts, as a great video came out of it and I believe it laid the foundation for future work.

Cover competitions.

I had the opportunity to be part of a first of its kind competition in South Africa, which had to do with smoking meat. I was invited to cover the event via social media. Obviously I was very honoured, and I recieved a lot of content out of it: 3 video interviews, lots of social media mentions and a big photo album.

Take away point:

Social events DRIVE social media. So if you want your brand to become influential and grow, participate in events: host them, cover them, participate in them – it’s a great way to get a lot of traction for your new brand.

Social media is all about being ‘seen’. If you’re struggling to get your brand off the ground, get involved in a cause or create a cause. It’s one of the best ways to build a big, successful social profile.

Results?

The question is, 6 months down the line, how is the brand doing? To put my results next to a big brand with a big budget wouldn’t be fair. But I am proud of this brand and what it has achieved.

Let’s look at some milestones:

  • 464 targeted Twitter followers that are fans (After 5500+ Tweets).
  • 610 video views on my first video without any ads or promotion.
  • 263 Facebook Page likes.

That’s all good and well for a brand with no budget and that used a lot of elbow grease. But what about the brand influence? This is what I’m most proud of.

An online store recently watched a video review I did on a product. I actually gave it a 3\5 rating, but the company still approached the manufacturer and listed his product on their store. They cited my video review as the reason they approached them. So, even though this doesn’t mean much for the brands income straight away, I know I can build on the momentum of this brand and expect great success for it in the future.

In Conclusion.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have a big budget or you think your brand is too small. Social media is a big marketing monster and can give any campaign or brand a big boost. All you need is creativity and lots of hustle.

Your Turn.

If you had ONE question you could ask me, what would it be (try and keep it related to the post, please) :)

Image courtesy of JeffBullas.

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How Charly’s Bakery Can Increase their Massive Business Potential.

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I’m really passionate of what I do. And as helping people is part of it, one  may ask the question:

What about signing new business?

Valid point. And as much as I LOVE signing new business (I just signed the Capital Hotel School and Training Center yesterday), a part of my marketing is giving free consultations. Or doing short pilot campaigns before signing huge deals.

To my case study.

I offered Charly’s Bakery some help but have yet to hear from them.

 

Amidst the controversy around  the Oscar Pretorius case, the big media’s interest into it, a Twitter  trend emerged that was tagged #OscarMedia. My mentor Gary VaynerChuck wrote this once all over the internet:

Ride the hashtag, don’ t create it.

My opinion is that someone created the hashtag, and so although I think much of what Gary says is profound, this one doesn’t make sense to me. But when it comes to riding the hashtag , let’s get to Charly ‘s Bakery.

imagesCharly’s Bakery is a cute little store near the Castle of Good Hope, in close proximity to Sea Point. Being from jet setting Cape Town, they are pretty clued up on social media. So this post is not about doing it, or doing it wrong  (well, not exactly), it’s more about doing better with what you have and maximizing your potential.

About the trend and their failure.

I mentioned the #OscarMedia trend yesterday and if you’ve been paying attention to Twitter the last couple days, you’re sure  to have noticed it. Being the analyst and  hacker that I am, I looked around. At the time I was looking, I caught a Tweet which Twitter highlighted and their social media fail.

And please understand me,  this is not a fail because I say so, it’s a fail be cause that’s how it was perceived by the SA  Twitter community. Their Tweet has since been deleted, so I can’t post the tweet, but below is the image and the below that the Tweet they sent out.

2014-02-26 09-43-29 AM

Not sure if these are in good taste, but they sure taste good. Our #OscarMedia Meme cookies.

If you follow a text book, this is good. If you start considering things like context, timing and sensitivity, it becomes an issue. Such an issue that it is still spoken of long after it as first Tweeted and has the making of an international case study.

Here are some arguments for the Tweet:

  • It seems clever at first.
  • The memes already existed.
  • They created a piece of content to be relevant.

Charly’s Bakery did everything what a good social media campaign or  effort should be about, but it didn’t  work. It was poorly received and Charly’s Bakery obviously feels terrible about it. I think, and I’m sorry to say this Jacqui (owner), but I think you guys feel this way because the Tweet went pear shaped. Had it been well received, you would have  chalked this one up as a win for your company and it ‘s marketing.

Sadly it didn’t work out this way. The tweet failed miserably, not because of the tweet itself, but because of the content. Memes are usually intended to be malicious, and so perhaps using them wasn’t so clever.

What may have worked better.

The gesture and the tweet wasn’t the problem. The problem also wasn’t the cupcakes. The problem was the content. The memes they chose weren’t very tasteful. They were  actually tasteless (no pun intended). Perhaps what they could have  done is make their own memes. There are sites like MemeGenerator that could assist with the creation, but it could even be created inhouse taking Oscar images off the internet and using Phixr to do the wording.

Some post-mortem tweets.

 

Remorse aside, this ONE tweet damaged the reputation of Charly’s Bakery. They’re referring to the ‘good’ work they do, with for instance @TheStreetStore and others. I actually checked them out, and the concept is brilliant.

What is Charly’s Bakery to do?

Let’s look the Charly’s Bakery Facebook account. 2014-02-26 10-17-02 AMThey Facebook account is great in the following ways:

  • They post their creations in their timeline sharing what they do.
  • You can see their creations are brilliant and unique.
  • They post almost everyday.
  • They get lots of comments and likes.

Can’t give much critique except for marketing advise.

  • All due respect to the father of this nation, perhaps a new timeline is appropriate. Something like an image from their work with The Street Store. Social consciousness and responsibility is a big thing.
  • Make better use of your  tabs/apps, perhaps an email list, a webinar teaching how a great cake makes an impact on people’s special days. The importance and psychology of the wedding cake and how to choose the right design and supplier.
  • Respond and interact with your fans on the Oscar issue.  They’ re disappointed, talk to them about it. Don’t leave it.  you keep on tweeting and posting about how sorry you are and about ‘owning it’. Rather post an image of a cupcake you made with Reevas face on it and saying you’re sorry. Post an update  on what you’ve learned from the situation. Being sincere and naked will do you well, you’re fans will soon forgive you.
  • Place your website link in your About section, so you can  drive traffic to it. AFTER fixing your website (more on that later).

Let’s look at their Twitter account. 2014-02-26 10-44-56 AMSo, when I open the account, what social media is concerned and their great potential, let me speak about what I see.

  • The Twitter background looks great. Not much to say there. It ties in with their theme and corporate colors, which is embedded in everything they do: from their displays, their store facade etc.
  • Their tagline: ‘Mucking Afazing Cakes’. This is just me, but this could be better. But it’s also embedded in their marketing and materials that it cannot really be changed. If I was them, I would make a move to, in the next few months, phase this out and get something more appropriate in. Once again, my personal opinion.
  • You may notice in the bio that they post their images on Flickr.  Guys, get off right now. Flickr is no longer a relevant image platform.  Migrate all your content over to Pinterest, create boards specific to different products: Cupakes, cakes, store, specials etc. Then create a community board where your fans can also create/bake and post their stuff on. Give them a weekly task and you may even host competitions. You may even find some new talent this way. Also, get on Instagram. Because you can’t backdate your images, start posting  your new creations, like you do on Facebook, and then some vintage ones, from your Flickr account. Use hashtags, build your following and interact.

Besides all of the above, and the blunder they made yesterday, their account and activity is pretty solid. Just some small tweaks I would do:

  • From what I can tell, since yesterday they have been responding. What I would like to see more, is digging into their 19.1+k followers and building relationships with them.
  • Make interest Twitter lists and monitor and read them.
  • See who’s making cakes themselves and compliment them (if  it’s worthy), you could maybe make someone’s day.
  • See who is having their birthday soon. Bake them a mini cake AFTER doing research and see who/what they like and craft a creation after that. Send i t for free. This is one of the greatest marketing things you can do and  you can work it into your marketing cost or budget.
  • With regards to damage control, follow the courtcase (be there on ground zero if you can) and tweet commentary that’s sensitive, showing that you’re not insensitive and that you’re human, and that your ‘mistake’ was truly a mistake.
  • Don’t disappear after this blunder. Pick yourself up and go again. The #OscarMedia hashtag is still going, so still stay involved. You rode the hashtag, ride it ’till it dies out on the beach.

But with 19 thousand followers, I can only add to their apparent success so far.

Let’s look at their website:

2014-02-26 11-13-45 AM

This is a WordPress website, so it has tons of potential, so I’m just going to highlight some thoughts  regarding website  design and marketing tools.

  • Spruce up your design. With your amazing product and your great local  brand, there’s a lot you can do.
  • Add sliders showcasing the different products you have.
  • Install a proper blog and make it part of your home page presentation.
  • Write and post proper blog posts, as often as you can.
  • Have a call- to-action on the home page, for instance, a place where people can order.
  • Give away a free report and build leads.
  • Fuse your social media into your website, encouraging activity and interaction – not drawing traffic away from your website.
  • Re -purpose your testimonial page and install such a widget in your  sidebar or even footer.
  • The site isn’t up to their social media standard, so having such an awesome Twitter account, I wouldn’t put my website link there until it’s fixed.

Those are just ‘some’ of the thought I have regarding their website. But, like doing the right things in social media and STILL  failing, you can also build a website the right way and still be wrong.

Some final tips.

I had some more thoughts regarding their online marketing while I was writing this post. They didn’t fit in anywhere, so I thought of writing this separate section to address or add them:

  • A part of their marketing strategy, once again correct, is using images. I would, instead of posting product images, rather post images of birthday boys/girls and their expressions when they see the amazing cakes Charly’s bake first. I would then create a split image with the respondents face on the one side, and the cake image on the other side. This would be great marketing. And then monitor your social  media responses (which they’re not doing effectively), because a lot of it could mean business.
  •  Bake an ‘apology’ cake. I’d do it today. The topic is still pretty hot and still fresh, so turn this into a positive as soon as you can.

The following may be a little more about offline marketing.

  • When it comes to The Street Store, place bins inside the store, place them also in stores of supportive industries and market yourselves like this.
  • Promote your social media accounts in store with banners, especially your new Instagram, and Pinterest accounts. Drive promos and comps through them. Remember to give lots of value first.
  • Balance your marketing, among the hastags with other events: Bake ‘I Love You Mom’ cupcakes for Mothers day.  Better yet, sell packages with ingredients and a basic recipe where children can bake them WITH their moms.  This will be much more valuable.  Bake ‘love muffins’ for Valentines Day. Bake cupcakes for breast cancer month and perhaps put them in ‘bra’s’ with a clever message?
  • With all the great content and marketing, there are no clear call to actions (if any), if someone wants to order something. Doing so much work on social media and the opportunity to turn this ‘blunder’ around, I can’t imagine any business is coming from it all, being a brick and mortar business and they’re ‘reaching’ the whole country.

Finally, some commentary on the Twitter debacle:

 

 

 

 

 

In hindsight.

This post was simply to give Charly’s Bakery some advise and guidance on their campaign. But I do commend them on working  it, being active, relevant, and like  the tweet states below: ‘Taking chances as a small brand’

If someone who knows Jacqui, or people involved with their marketing want me to help and craft their campaigns, or even manage them, they can call me at 084 8644 618.

Your Turn.

What is your thoughts of Charly’s Bakery’s #OscarMedia tweet and the response to it? What do you think of the critique and ideas I shared with them? Weigh in below.

Credits:

Fabzilicious.org for the image of Charly’s Bakery.

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