Viewing posts from : September 2018



September 18 / Uncategorized

Facebook recruits CNN, Fox News and Buzzfeed for Facebook Watch

In an effort to foster community and further curb the spread of fake news on the platform, Facebook has announced that it would be utilising resources from established news networks in a slew of new programmes planned for its video-on-demand service, Facebook Watch.

Facebook Watch launched in the US in the second half of 2017, and while the service is still only available to US-based Facebook users, there are plans to expand it to the United Kingdom later this year.

Earlier this month, Facebook announced that it would introduce US news programmes hosted by CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Shepard Smith of Fox News and Jorge Ramos of Univision, with Buzzfeed News and Vox also partnering with the social media network in some other planned programmes.

With Facebook Watch, Facebook aims to promote community between creators and users by incorporating polls and other interactive features in order to engage its users, while also providing quality and trusted news content.

Speaking to Reuters, Facebook’s head of global news partnerships, Campbell Brown, said, “We tried to assemble a diverse set of partners who are already doing quality news who are also really adept at engaging the audience.”

Facebook deliberately chose news outlets that traditionally have audiences whose views vary widely, and hopes that a varied, albeit trustworthy stream of news would reduce the amount of fake news stories, hoaxes and sensationalism that has plagued the social media giant of late.

There are also plans for programmes produced by Advance Publications’ Alabama Media Group, and Walt Disney Company-owned ABC News, as well as by the websites ATTN: and Mic. More outlets are expected to be announced in the future.

Facebook Watch features a number of daily and more irregular programmes, and Facebook wants its users to start interacting with the news and coming back for it every day, instead of just passively consuming news.

Said Brown: “What Watch is about is intentional viewing. That means news is likely to be a good fit because people come back to news every day. They want to get a daily update.”

This article was written by The Social Media Company for www.smartcom.co.za

September 17 / Uncategorized

5 basic rules to consider if you want to use online marketing for your startup

You have decided to start your own business, either as a full time project or as a sideline initiative to add to your income streams. Your products or services are ready to be bought, you, and or your team, knows exactly what needs to be done, and you have pushed all your sweat, tears and savings into this venture. Only one thing is missing – customers.

There are a million different ways to get the word out there about your business and what you offer. Do not listen to anyone who tries to tell you that there is only one sure way to market your business. The truth is, some of the marketing methods available are slightly more effective than others, some work better for certain audiences, some are more expensive, and some are more time consuming – but there are options. In the end, only you will know what will work best for your business and target audience.

Digital marketing has become the most popular of these buzzwords in the last decade. Back in the day, printing your first business cards made your business feel legit, today, launching a Facebook page is the new business card.

Digital marketing is such a broad subject that we could not possibly cover every aspect of it in one article. Listed below is a sample of the most important factors you should keep in mind if you are just starting out and want to use digital media to market your small business.

1. Consider all the platforms

There are so many digital platforms, tools and methods that fall under the ‘digital marketing’ umbrella. When you start planning your online strategy, make sure to familiarise yourself with as many of them as possible.

Digital marketing for small businesses includes, but is not limited to:

– Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.
– Social media advertising opportunities like Facebook or Twitter ads.
– Your website.
– Other websites that offers advertising opportunities (like Counting Coins 😉 ).
– Mobile Apps
– Online advertising (PPC) like Google AdWords.
– Your digital newsletter.
– Blogs

This list is endless, and it is thus important to find what will work best for your unique business.

2. Before you do anything, ask why and who

This is probably the biggest mistake that most startups make. You hear about all these incredible resources offered by the internet, and you cannot wait to get on board with all of them. Do not lose that enthusiasm, but before you jump on every passing wagon, make sure you know what you are trying to achieve.

Although online marketing is often cheaper and more easily accessible than traditional forms of advertising, the same rules still apply. What are you trying to achieve? Do you want to increase your sales, do you want to use digital platforms as a means of communicating with your existing customers? Or do you simply want to create brand awareness? Some businesses only need their online campaigns to generate leads, while others need the entire sales process to take place online.

Similar to any other form of advertising, you also need to know who you are targeting. Clearly defining your goals and understanding your target audience will help you to pick the best digital platforms for your business.

3. Nothing in life is free

This is one of the big drawcards of digital marketing – it does not cost anything to create a Facebook or Twitter profile for your business, and you can even get a decent following without spending any money. There are also plenty of free tools available to create and manage your own newsletters. Even building a website or app is much easier and more affordable than it used to be.

That does, however, not mean that any of these are for free. Marketing your small business online may be more affordable than paying for a large billboard, but it takes much more time and effort to get results.

Whether you develop a website for your business or decide to only focus on social media, it is highly time consuming. One of the benefits of the internet for businesses is the fact that it gives everyone the same platform to reach potential customers. At the same time, it also means that you are competing with many more businesses – and not only those in your direct area.

If you create a Twitter profile for example, you will have to tweet at least a number of times every single day if you want to see any benefits.

A good idea might be to not try and do everything at once. Perhaps choose one or two platforms and try to perfect these first.

4. Find one central point that all efforts lead too

As a small business with limited resources, it is wise to decide on one central point where you convert people into customers or leads. For most businesses, this central point will be their website. If you do not have money or expertise for a website yet, you could use your Facebook page as the central point.

All your marketing initiatives should then aim to drive people towards this platform. If your website is your central point where customers can sign up for your product or service, then any other marketing you do should drive customers towards your website.

You will thus use your newsletter, online ads, social media etc., to lead people towards your site.

5. Try to “capture” your audience

Having a great website is brilliant, but unfortunately you can only communicate with potential customers when they decide to return to your site. To overcome this problem, you need to find at least one platform on which you can initiate the conversation.

This is where something like newsletters comes in very handy. If you encourage people to sign up for your newsletter, they basically give you permission to communicate with them. It is important to note that people should sign up for this.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to marketing your new business, but if you follow these tips you will be off to a very good start.

September 13 / Digital Marketing

Your online competitors are not equal to your offline competition

When launching a website for your business or joining a social media platform like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, an important consideration is the activity of your online competitors. This is not unlike how you would go about things when opening a brick and mortar business.

During the initial meetings between The Social Media Company and a new client, we always ask the client to list their competitors. We then conduct some research and compile a competitors list of our own. The two lists rarely, if ever, look the same.

For starters, the list compiled by our research team is almost always longer.

Why is this?

This is often one of the most challenging digital marketing aspects for businesses new to social media or the internet in general.

Let’s break it down…

An example

The businesses used in the example are real, respected, South African businesses. We are not affiliated with either of them, and while there are many other factors to consider, they will help to explain this scenario.

In the “real world”, Vodacom and Edgars have very little in common. Most people would not consider them competitors at all. For one, they don’t even operate in the same industry. Vodacom is a telecoms network, while Edgars a clothing department store. However, in the online space they do compete.

This is how…

Differentiators only matter once a person is already on your website or social media profile.
While Edgars is well-known as a clothing retailer, in recent years they’ve also started selling cellphones, tablets and even laptops. The offering, however, differs from Vodacom in the sense that Edgars only sells cash devices with prepaid SIM cards and thus do not offer monthly contracts.

Offline, these two businesses do not directly compete. In fact, the cellphones sold by Edgars are often supplied by Vodacom and come with a Vodacom SIM card. If anything, they are business partners and not competitors.

Nevertheless, they are competing for the same audience and the same clicks in the online realm. They both feature devices on their website and post about their cellphone deals on social media.

Words really matter on the internet

If you search for anything on the internet, you use words. You might, for example, type the following phrase into Google: “Samsung J1 for sale”. Google will then collect all the websites that contain those words or similar phrases. It also sorts all the results into an order it deems most relevant.

Since Vodacom features the words Samsung J1 on their website, they will be a part of the results, and so will Edgars, since they, too, have the words Samsung J1 on their site.

What other sites might be included in the results when you search this phrase? Perhaps other networks like MTN, Smartcom, Takealot, Gumtree, or FNB?

The results might even include a news site like MyBroadband and a cellphone repair shop which don’t sell Samsung J1s, but simply repair them.

This not only impacts your search engine rankings but also paid advertising.
When you run any paid advertising campaigns online, like Facebook ads, you are also competing with businesses you might not necessarily regard as competitors. A local veterinarian and a local pet shelter might both run an ad that includes the phrase: “Help to save cats”. While these two businesses do not offer the same service, the internet hardly knows the difference. Chances are they are also both targeting people who love cats.

This competition will affect the cost of your ad campaigns.

Location is more and less important online

Location, location, location. Offline, location is everything. Someone is most likely to shop at your business if your store or office is conveniently located. In other words, someone is most likely to shop at your business if it is, for example, easy to reach, located close by, located at a visible and busy spot in the mall and so on.

The internet has gotten very smart, and it mostly tries to provide its users with local options. Thus, it is important to make sure that the internet knows where you are based. With that said, the internet does allow people to shop for products and services outside of their direct environment.

This presents both opportunities and challenges for businesses. A candlemaker from Parys can sell their products over the internet to customers in Johannesburg. At the same time, a candlemaker from Johannesburg can also compete for customers in Parys.

On social media both businesses might be competing for the same likes and attention from the same audience, even though they are situated in different towns.

Think outside the box

When considering your competitors online, whether for SEO purposes, paid advertising campaigns or content creation, it is important to think further than you would with traditional marketing.

One way of minimising online competition is to find ways in which you can collaborate with business partners and businesses targeting similar audiences.

The internet is here to make friends, not enemies. It is called social media for a reason.