Recently, I was asked by Destiny Magazine to audit the Social Media presence of a local Handbag designer, Lerato Le Thato for the Magazine's Business Clinics section and for Leratho Le Thato to implement the feedback, in her own time.
I love what I do for two reasons 1) in my mind Social Media is the closest marketing medium to branding and brand personality 2) I spend everyday learning about social insights and consumer behaviour.
If you're stuck in a Social Media rut it's time to do an audit. Here are a few tips to guide you in a positive direction:
Put your community first
Many businesses put their social media and community networks on the back burner. From my experience, it's actually the wrong way round. Businesses should invest in their online communities in order to grow them, learn from them and adapt their business offerings to suit the ever changing needs and consumer behaviour.
Don't be fooled
When sourcing a Social Media or community management partner ensure you select an agency that is not only going to manage your social networks but rather a partner (no matter how small or big) that will invest in managing your online reputation. Ensure that partner is passionate about your industry, values and is set on becoming an advocate for your brand.
Try an audit
Sometimes you don't need an expensive social media strategy or app facelift to refurbish your Social Identity. You just need someone to audit your online presence and objectively guide you on what kind of Social Identity you have created knowingly or unknowingly. Whether you're managing one social network or "The Big Five" at the end of the day you need to find a formula that compliments your costs, efforts and time and last but not least interests.
Feel free to email me for one to one social media audit.
The Hospitality industry is distinctly characterized by providing excellent customer service.
I recently heard about an airline that went as far as reviewing their passengers Klout score (potential for online influence). Upon realising one of their passengers score was high the airline proceeded to bump up his seat in anticipation that the passenger would Tweet his extraordinary experience to his networks.
Not everyone can go that far but ultimately, you want your customers to create positive online content for you which will then encourage a sale and further promotion.
Here are some tips....
• Learn from your own personal experiences: With Social Media we need to often think like consumers not like marketers. What makes YOU want to share an amazing holiday experience with others?
• Learn from the best: Monitor review sites like TripAdvisor to witness the power of peer-to-peer based marketing
• Extend your platforms beyond the obvious: Introduce an on-the-go Twitter handle i.e. @Concierge.
• Harness location based loyalty: Utilize geo-location-based mobile platforms like Facebook Places or Foursquare to create buzz and "Check in" popularity.
A year ago our local pizzeria ran a promotion that if you checked into Facebook on arrival and then showed your “check-in” to the waitress you could get a free garlic pita bread. I’ll never forget the night I witnessed a magnitude of Facebook "check-in's" popularise our fairly ordinary local restaurant.
• Be accessible: “on-the-go” user-friendly social plugins allow travellers convenient access to your Hotel, images and features. Add a "Click to Tweet" button on your website to encourage on the spot testimonial.
• Offline/online integration: Use unique marketing platforms such as Restaurant menu’s, door hangers, Hotel information pamphlets, guides etc. to let your customers know you want to hear back from them.
• Incentivise for testimonials: Turn your social media pages into a testimonial forum or guest book. Offer incentives to encourage guests to comment their experience on your social networks, for example:
”Share your experience with us on our fan page and get a FREE water sport activity. Don’t forget to show front desk” OR;
“We’d love to hear from you. Share your experience and get 20% off accommodation at our Sister Lodge….” OR
"Tweet us your favourite game-viewing pic and get 10% off your next game drive, don't forget to show your driver"
Thousands of adults put on their gumboots and braved the ice capped mountains to attend last weekend's annual Wacky Wine Festival and what a party it was.
Below are my weekend highlights:
1) Robertson Winery
Brimming with festive feel the whole weekend, Robertson Winery was an absolute hit!
The RW Chocolate and Wine tasting couldn't have been more tasteful. Hidden in the basement cellar surrounded by ageing bottles of RW MCC stood a long oregon tasting table glittered in red, wine glasses and decadent Tommes chocolate. The RW Gewurztraminer and Turkish Delight chocolate was my favourite pairing.
The RW Sparkling Lounge was superbly done with white leather couches and red carpet glam.
The RW Decor market displayed the latest in ceramic and vintage home furnishings and tasty organic treats. Both myself and my friend Jen walked away with decor delights!
Lastly, the RW 5Km vineyard walk for hospice. Walking through misty vineyards we finally made our way to the look out view point on Paru Farm. On reaching the pinnacle we were welcomed by a burning camp fire, Sparkling wine and a magnificent panoramic view of Robertson.
Well done Robertson Winery!
2) Arabella live camping
Once again Arabella welcomed the masses to their humble abode. Providing mobile showers, toilets and great entertainment.Gareth Cliff looks just as good off air as he sounds on but the most surprising treat of the night was the mobile Pizza truck.
3) Wolfkloof Estate breakfast
Wolfkloof estate offer a farmhouse breakfast with the most spectacular view of the valley literally rolling off the verandah. Featuring Cape Dutch cottages surrounded by gold and red vineyards glistening in the morning dew this is a must try morning breakfast spot.
4) Graham Beck and blues
Once again, Graham Beck Winery made everyone feel like royalty at their Gatsby styled tasting tent. Swing style ballads performed by a number of bands, namely Swing Setters and oysters, bubbly, rustic bird cages and modern lighting set the relaxing mood.
What's it to you?
- Robertson Winery offer chocolate and wine tastings throughout the year. Pop in or pre-book by calling +27 23 626 3059. The mouthwatering pairing really is a match made in heaven and not to be missed.
- Book your Wacky Wine Weekend accommodation now, I'm not kidding.
Generally we think CV when we're about to go through a career change. How many times does that happen in a person's lifetime...once, twice, nine times?
Not only are our careers changing every few years but other parts of our lives are too.
A friend of mine is thinking of getting a new job and will be revising her CV soon. This got me thinking, if we have to check-in on how we feel about our job and skills-set perhaps we should think about our love lives, home and hobbies every few years too. Agree?
I created an Inspiration board for the first time when I turned 30. I have yet to get married, get a dog, have children and go to Sutherland in Winter. Mind you all of those packed into one year was fairly unrealistic. So if you're looking for a change I dare you to take the CV of life challenge, not to get the ultimate job but to suss out your general direction.
CV of life
Name, Surname and Contact details
Personal mission statement
If your achievements and Hobbies refer to the ones you did at school rather than the now then it's time to add some new ones to the list. Go!
- Ideas and Home Magazine are my offline crush! A girl's gotta do, what a girl's gotta do. The June Ideas Mag has a interesting feature on how to Blog 365 days a year! If you're up for the challenge grab yourself the June edition and read through their tips. They also have a fabulous Entrepreneurs feature that will inspire you for days, here.
- Yousemble, DIY Blog and website builder. Fabulous local tool for business-minded people. It's easy to learn and will allow you to create the perfect website for your business. Before you know it you'll be racking your brain for business ideas, just so you can build more.
- Jazz clubs. I love them. Cape Town Magazine, has a superb list including Mahogany Room and The Crypt but my favourite is Alma Cafe. AndUnion generally has a good line up and great for after work drinks.
- Stanford. Quaint town, fabulous feel. 2 hours from Cape Town on the East Coast.
- My Samsung laptop, what would I do without you!
- And lastly my Photo's. These pics are in the lounge of our Woodstock town house. The black framed photo's are done by two good friends of mine, Damien Schumann and Ross Hillier. While the white framed images were taken by my boyfriend while we were on holiday in Namibia. If you ever get the chance to road trip the southern loop of Africa; Namibia, Zambia, Botswana and South Africa, it's highly recommended.
Yesterday, I attended the annual Net Prophet event.
I've been going to Net Prophet for 3 years now and I must say this was the best year yet. The speakers line up was top-notch and the core focus was entrepreneurship resulting in a highly inspirational day.
- Favourite Tweet of the day: "RT @Igy30: @BobSkinstad handing out lottery tickets to everyone at #netprophet... he's the next Oprah!! "
- Favourite surprise event of the day: Dave Ferguson! Anyone know if he offers harmonica lessons?
- Favourite words of the day:Andrew De Wet “If you are 28 and living in a beach house, move out. Get uncomfortable.The reason why it takes so long to be an overnight success is the journey inside: to want it not because of money, but because you’re alive."
I may not be 28 any more but I want to get uncomfortable.
However, I was most inspired by a presentation by Stuart Forrest, "How doing 7 ordinary things can lead to extraordinary results" that I've decided to dedicate today’s Blog on just that.
1. What do you want to be when you grow up?
I was born in 1982, Cape Town South Africa. I was raised by two of the most motivated people I know, my mom and my dad. I studied at Springfield convent school and over the 12 years made better friends then I did good grades.
The first time I asked myself the above question I think I said; an author of a book and a marine biologist. The second time I asked myself that question, I think I said, an entrepreneur and a famous singer. So, at the age of 30 I'm asking myself for a third time, and this time the answer is: an entrepreneur, an author of a book and a famous singer.
I've only managed to become one, but I have the next 30 years to become the other two too!
2. Make friends and share
The same way Stuart made the decision to partner up with Triggerfish I too have partnered up . I'll never forget the day I asked Keri if she wanted to be my Business Partner. Cafe Neo, Sea Point over a cuppa jo. She called me later that afternoon and said yes, we were a team for 4 years.
We may not be business partners today but we're still good friends and there's no one else that can talk business over a glass of wine like Keri and I can. I hope I get another chance to share a business with someone special.
3. Get up and try again
In business I've had to GET UP AND TRY AGAIN just about as many times as I've had to get over a bad relationship #RobynHobsonStyle. In the 4 1/2 years I lived in London and Canada my life looked a little something like this:
- December 2004 finished BA English Media and Writing/Post Grad. Dip Marketing Management (UCT) and resigned from Red Bull South Africa after 3 years as Student Brand Manager.
- March 2005 worked as a horse riding guide in Clayquot Sound, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. Here's where it gets interesting...
- January 2006 moved to small town called Kelowna, BC, Canada (for love). Desperate to get back into marketing I eventually got a job at the only advertising agency in the town. Think Marketing. Inc.
- June 2006 got let-go.
- July 2006 enrolled at the Kelowna College in order to get a "student placement" PR job at the Kelowna rowing club. Evidently, no rowing experience required.
- August 2006 Rowing Club lost government grant and me
- September 2006 worked 5am mornings at a stable yard
- October 2006 worked at a Party store and waitressed at a restaurant
- GET UP AND TRY AGAIN
- November 2006 moved back home and got a freelance job with Ogivly Cape Town
- February 2007 moved back to Kelowna and studied a continued-studies course in Viticulture at the Okanagan College of Agriculture
- May 2007 graduated with a certificate in Viticulture and moved to London (24 hours after graduating)
- June 2007 waitressed in Wimbledon
- July 2007 got a job with Lime Advertising on Nickelodeon Account
- GET UP AND TRY AGAIN
- October 2007 got a job with Barclays Wealth, Brand Project Manager
- July 2008 got let go due to “Lehmans Brothers” recession
- August 2008 travelled around the world
- November 2008 got a job at Nuffield Health, Band Manager
- December 2008 decided to move back to Cape Town for good.
- March 2009 got a job with Ken Forrester Wines, Marketing Manager
- GET UP AND TRY AGAIN
- October 2009 started Chilli Marketing CC
4. Tidy your room every day
Now that certainly sounds familiar! But in business it's so important to believe in your idea and team with a clear conviction. Taking the time to clearly see what and who is in front of you will actually provide a clearer vision of yourself. My sister recently told me I have a fabulous team of writers. Kath and Clair, you really are!
5. Be polite, be honest and say sorry
No one likes saying sorry. Certainly not me but I've said it many a times and for some reason, as scary as it is, the outcome is never as bad as one might think.
In his talk, Stuart mentioned "Be patient and set goals that you can achieve in 20 years" I love that and I can work with that.
6. Ask an adult for help
One forgets how easy it is to pick up a phone! I'm only saying this because when the majority of your communication is via email you often forget there’s an alternative. Confused of a situation and not sure why it happened? Pick up your phone! Concerned about a particular situation and don't know how to put it in writing? Pick up your phone! Oh and ask people for help who know what they are doing
7. Be patient
Probably my biggest weakness, highlighted in 4 year job-list above. Stuart mentioned, "One of the key things to remember when building a company is to be patient with the pace that things are happening at."
It’s now my mantra :-)
Thanks to everyone at Net Prophet for a great day and to all the speakers for taking the time to inspire us. Special thank you to 88mph Africa for the awesome acceleration start -up you are all doing!
Have a great weekend everyone.
Last night I made a pillow. It's not the best pillow I've ever seen, nor is it the worst. But it's pretty unique. I was completely inspired after purchasing some rough cuts from Heart Designs fabric while visiting Greyton two weeks ago.
Not only is the fabric soft to touch it has the most unique design that will get all your travel juices flowing. I met Erna Moolman at the Greyton Saturday morning market (the pancakes are divine). Erna, is a fabric designer by trade and photographer in her spare time but she has cleverly joined her two passions together.
Heart Designs fabric has a collection made up of a selection of photo's printed onto the fabric. The photo's were taken on her road trip up the West Coast of South Africa.
Although my sewing is not up to scratch and sadly there's no way I can actually take the pillow case off the pillow (due to my unique sewing abillities) I love it, just the way it is.
What's it to you?
- Check out more gorgeous fabric styles here.
On Saturday, I surfed (standing up) for the first time. Although, I did have my boyfriend pushing me into the waves and directing me every step of the way I still felt a sense of womanly pride.
Growing up horse riding, I've always had a craving for the "wild wind " in my face, otherwise known as the awe inspiring sense of freedom. I think one gets that with surfing... if you're on top of the board that is, not head-first into a sand bank.
What's in it for you?
Surfing takes a long time to master. It's not just you. Every single surfer out there no matter how "Kelly Slater" they seem to be, experiences plenty of sandbank-dives before they finally get it. So keep trying.
That's my pinch of spice for the day.
Here's a pic to prove that even the most unlikely surfer girl, can do it. (I'm on the left)
I generally run out of creative steam every few days and find myself exploring the streets of Cape Town for interesting new art, shops and general goings-on. You wouldn't believe how many pop-ups and exhibitions have launched in preparation for Design Capital 2014.
Living in Woodstock and working in town does mean you get to utilise all the exciting transport options us Cape Townians have the privilege of using for example; the Table View to CBD Bike track and MyCityBus always get the creative juices flowing.
But today I wanted inspiration from a different source. And I got it.
Today I ventured down to Woodstock Exchange. From cute eatery hubs such as Superette, Honest Choc, Field Office and Starling and Hero Bicycle Cafe to collaborative businesses, tea rooms and Air yoga. this place is not only an exchange of trades but of characters and interests too.
What's in it for you?
- Well if you're looking for Desk Space get hold of 7 days, they have desk space availble including, internet and printing for R1500 per month.
- Looking for some rad artwork and perhaps a jam session? Pop into Ross Hillier Photography
- Apparently there's live Music on the last Friday of every month!
- Bet you've never heard of Ocean Jewels fresh fish and seafood?
- New in town but great for the muso's, Woodstock Academy of Music is a stone throw from the main hub.
There's enough inspiration in this space to keep you going for days.
Here are my favourites!
My sister called this morning. In between her morning catch up she mentioned she recently booked a place in Plettenberg Bay for July break. Like most entrepreneurs, her biggest concern is her business and WiFi availability.
This got me thinking, Chilli planned-holidays are generally in December, when the agency closes down for Christmas and New Year break.
But this morning's phone call got me thinking, while my boyfriend and I save the outdoor adventures for December today, I will research "time out" destinations equipped to handle the most urgent of urgencies.
Quaint but accessible
The historic town of Stanford, an hour from Cape Town, is surprisingly equipped with the best internet access around. Trust me, my parents live there so I've spent many a days-work in the quaint village. For the ultimate "time out" accommodation and internet access see Morton Cottage and neighbouring WiFi hotspot, Coffee Corner. Not to mention, they make the best egg and bacon pot pies in town!
My side of the mountain
Buren Cottage is situated in the horsey heart of Noordhoek, on a pastoral smallholding within earshot of the crashing waves on Noordhoek beach. Not only is the cottage surrounded by majestic mountains and walking distance to white sandy beaches and grazing horses, it's over the mountain from Cape Town should you need to urgently get back to the office. The perfect "time out" without freaking out.
Try something new and feel brand new
Often we're not looking for a getaway but rather something to rejuvenate our souls.
A brisk hike, mountain-bike ride or massage may do the trick but if you're looking for something that feels like you've stepped out of town into the country then check out some of these Country Life Workshops; Honey making, Olive Farming and Bread and Cheese making.
The best way to enjoy some "time out" is to make your technology work for you rather than against you. Having technology around doesn't mean you have to communicate 24/7. It can often be the "safety blanket" you need while away. Get yourself a 3G data card so that you can plugin-in whether it be in a tent, a small town or at the top of a mountain. If you need to, you'll find a way.