Facebook, Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media

Social Media Strategy: Keep It Custom

The other day I found a Social Media agency bio that claimed being able to increase a fan base from 1k to 100k in the space of a few months which naturally made me throw up, but then I realised just how many agencies get big bucks based on bold (but not impossible) claims like this. I ranted on Twitter for a little while and reached the conclusion that South African brands and businesses need to be educated on what Social Media is, what it can do and what they should consider a success so that people aren’t being conned out of their money anymore.

Most brands and businesses in SA are still largely traditional, and are thus taken for a good old ride by agencies who will present them with a standard Social Media offering awash with buzzwords and bullshit statistics. More often than not, these agencies will convince client that Social Media is all about reach (maybe a little footsie talk about engagement too) and ultimately, they’ll get a nice fat sum to work with.

But that’s not how any of this works in my opinion.

Sit down with you client, acquaint yourself with their business, what their inspiration is, their goals and exactly what they expect to get out of Social Media. And then customise your strategy, target according to their desired audience, work your ass off so that their ROI is meaningful, so that their brand is positively affected by your work.

Establish whether they are local, regional or national, who they want to reach and where, then apply your knowledge of the industry, of influencers and the tone the business needs to take on. Social Media is so far past the point of every brand being witty and clever and sarcastic, it’s a way to reach consumers and fans on a human level beyond the theatrics we’ve become so used to.

Keep in mind that the nature of content differs from brand to brand and then requires optimisation from platform to platform, don’t be a doos and put a hardware business on tumblr, not unless it’s owned by top-knotted beardos who listen to Vance Joy.

Are they an international publication? Let them get reach, engagement and a kick ass CTR.

Are they a family run bakery? Help them engage with their customers, promote their yummies and reach new fans who are able (read: in the area) to visit.

Ain’t nothing standard about Social people, if it isn’t custom, it isn’t working.

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Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media, South African Fashion

What The Luminance Store Loan Did

Look, this story has been doing its rounds for a while now, how irresponsible the NEF was in granting the funds etc etc, but the truth is, the SA Fashion Media Industry did very little to speak out against it. This meant that little old ignorant me, had no idea which boutique the news was on about until a little while ago.

Here’s the problem with the new-school fashion media in SA (and by new-school, i’m referring to GRAZIA, and the countless fashion blogs that push for an elitist Fashion Industry in SA):

The average upcoming fashion designer needs around R200k (maximum) to manufacture and market a line of their own, the NEF loan of R34.1 million could have helped 170 designers (or any other worthy small business owners) realize their dreams.

The SA Fashion Media industry blatantly ignored this glaring fact, preferring to take to their instagram accounts (do note that a bad image looks worse in a shitty filter), their blogs and hashtags to promote the huge step forward for South Africa.

And this really is the problem with the fashion industry in general, we organize our fashion weeks pretending that Cape Town is Milan and Jozi is NYC, when really, we’re just a tiny country. Our Fashion Weeks are tainted by trends introduced on European runways, and our main concern is to make foreign luxury goods available instead of encouraging (yes, that means financially helping) SA designers towards building a World Class luxury goods industry in this beautiful place.

But no, nevermind, we’d much rather open up another store in Hyde Park, even though 2A (which stocks everything from Louboutin to Carven), Max Mara, Nicci (Vivienne Westwood and other high street brands), Burberry (SA flagship store), Pringle and countless others in the same mall do the same damn job.

R34.1 million people. We gave it to one lady. When we could have given it to 170 people.

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Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media, South African Fashion, Twitter

South African Fashion PR: Nothing But Mediocre

This is a piece I wrote a while back about the SA Fashion Industry.. enjoy.

 

Why South Africa? Why? Why would you make a client pay for services that do nothing to grow their label, expand their brand’s reach or showcase what makes their brand’s product The Best?

This is my bone to pick with South African Fashion PR agencies, if your client isn’t blowing up, you aren’t doing enough.

PR in fashion is not just about maintaining good relations with your consumers, it isn’t about merely representing your client when an opportunity arises. The goal of PR is to pursue opportunities that will benefit your client’s image, extend their consumer base and put them above their competition, so why oh why, are there so many talented designers in SA who are represented in the most mediocre manner?

Like, dude, what’s with David Tlale’s PR girl? Her tweets (or severe lack thereof) compounded with glaring PR white noise shocked me in the time leading up to NYFW. The country should have been on their toes for at least a month before Fashion Week, the twitter-sphere should have been on fire with congrats and motivation and most importantly, Tlale Traffic! But we heard nothing. WHY? Two tweets a day just isn’t enough for a designer of that caliber.

It isn’t just David Tlale’s twitter rep though, it seems like our designers have no presence outside of Fashion Week, something that needs to change and fast.

We don’t see nearly enough campaigns from our designers, we don’t see nearly enough interaction between local labels and consumers. We aren’t forced to take notice of the upcoming powerhouses because their representatives act as though they should only do something worthwhile if approached. Where’s the initiative? People, you get paid to initiate great things for your clients, so what are you getting paid for?

I do take my hat off for designers who understand that a fan-base goes far beyond being a Diva and engage with their consumers on social media, most notably, Thula Sindi and Gavin Rajah, it gives me hope that SA designers will pull themselves out of this elitist hell-hole and get to know the people they dress.

A final word to the wise PR agents.

Make an effort.

Your number one priority as a PR agent should be to see your client be successful beyond measure. Let your clients’ victory trump how much you charge and not vice-versa.

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Facebook, Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media, Twitter

Pop-Up Social Media Agencies (Bleh)

So you’re a go-getter? Cool.

And you’ve tweeted for a number of labels? Nice.

Does that make you an agency all by your lonesome?

Funkmercedes

Now before anyone attempts to accuse me of being bitter, let me explain why pretending to be an agency when it’s really just you and your buddy working from home is bad.

1. You’ve reeled your clients in by pretending to have the resources of a credible agency, but when your client expects a brilliant campaign from you, you’ll end up sounding like a swindler.

scarfacedone_1452860i (1)

2. Social Media Marketing is about a lot more than pushing out brand appropriate tweets and posts, and when a (smart-ish) client requests Analytic Reports from you, they don’t want an Edgerank Image and raw insights from Facebook either. Merely graphing a bunch of shit up doesn’t count as good Analytic Skills. Social Media Marketing is about analyzing trends, layering your stats to draw correlations between content, timing, date importance, tone and context (to be brief), and then, to be able to show your findings to your client in a way that’s easy for them to understand.

Does the other half of your supposed agency know this? Do your clients know that they’re paying between R4-7k a month (if not more) so you can tweet as you please with no direction or attention to what works and what doesn’t?

If it’s just you and a friend landing clients, kudos, but then call yourselves a team of freelancers, don’t dupe your clients, because when you fuck up on a campaign that’s important to them, your name will be so tainted in the industry that you won’t land another client or job again.

Want to know what a brilliant little agency looks like? Look no further than these pint-sized PR genii.

homepage-photo (1)

Small Girls PR

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Marketing, Public Relations

Pinterest vs TheFancy: The Death of Social Elitism

 

When you’ve learnt about Advertising & Marketing in the post-Millennial frenzy that was defined by touching the brands that were marketed to be unattainable, it’s easy to think that Social Media should work the same way.

And funny enough, there are reasons to think that way too.

But Social Media has shifted from being run by Elitists, to being held up by consumers who are demanding that their needs be met by personable engines. For the first time, companies that want to stick around for the next recession have had to start building their brands around what their consumers want and not what they want their consumers to fall for.

This power-shift from Brand to Consumer has made itself striking in the e-commerce based Social Media engines like TheFancy and Pinterest, but what’s interesting is how the age-old theory of Elitist Marketing Wins was disproved, and by housewives nonetheless.

TheFancy was geared to be a success from the get-go, founded by a good friend of Kanye West (which I’m ashamed to say, how I stumbled upon it), and endorsed by the likes of Coco Rocha, Ashton Kutcher and a Yoko Ono looking woman (or man, I’m not entirely sure), but it’s content was where it should have steamed ahead.

Coco Rocha

TheFancy offers products and packages that you really won’t find anywhere else, niche gadgets and tools that are perfect for gift giving, not to mention fun to “Fancy”, but TheFancy‘s allure was also it’s downfall.

My humble Infographic explains it all.

My Infographic

 

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Facebook, Marketing, Public Relations, Twitter

To The Personable Mass Psychologists

Lots of people tell me that my job isn’t really a job, that I don’t actually ‘work’, that Digital Marketing is just a bunch of geeks fiddling around at their keyboards. So here’s what Social Media does, and why you need people who, quite frankly, know their shit, if you want your brand to go anywhere worthwhile.

I’m talking about The Pass On Effect of Social Media, as explained for people who think that Social Media Marketing is a joke and unworthy of a job title.

Let’s say you own a Nokia 3310, you eat a Red Velvet Cupcake (in the time BH: Before Hipster which therefore makes them unpretentious) and you love it so much that you write about it in your journal. At your next book club, you tell your 5 best friends about the bakery, and they tell 5 of their friends so that within a week, 25 potential customers are drawn to the bakery.

That’s how Marketing is meant to work.

It’s called Word of Mouth and when you use these tactics on Social Media, it’s the same concept as the Cupcake Scenario, only magnified significantly. Instead of 5 women at book club, you can tweet something at hundreds of people, who can retweet it to hundreds more, expanding your reach as a brand within minutes.

But here’s why you have to give kudos to Social Media Marketers, good Marketing takes exceptional content, and even more exceptional timing.

Anyone can schedule a tweet, but knowing which times will attract the most views by your chosen demographic, the text:visual content ratio that your target market responds to, the key words to initiate interaction and tailoring your posts and tweets accordingly is not something any keyboard junkie can do. We’re in the business of making Mass Psychology look friendly, it isn’t numbers or big terms, but instinct and opportunity recognition.

So count this as a shout out to the Digital Marketers who do more for their brands than just tweet and post, but interact, associate and network, in order to set their clients apart from the millions of robots putting up mediocre content. We see you. And we appreciate.

**by ‘we’ I mean me, along with my alter-ego Portia Menendez who is an illegal immigrant living in the US in T.S. Elliot’s poems. #NotaTrueStory

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Facebook, Marketing, Public Relations, Twitter

The Battle of Reach vs Engagement

It’s an internal war that countless Social Media Managers battle with, whether your focus should revolve around the Reach of your posts and tweets, or whether you should judge the success of your strategy based on the level of engagement it attracts and initiates.

So what should you get your knickers in a bunch about anyway?

I thought the answer was simple, Engagement trumps Reach every time, but I still find myself looking at the Reach stats underneath every Facebook post, regardless of whether it has 10 comments in 15 minutes. A reach of less than 50 scares the pants off me, and it all boils down to your purpose as a strategist.

Unless you’re managing a big brand like, let’s say, Blackberry, your purpose is to grow the Reach of a brand, to build it’s following, to sway more people in favor of your client, so should it really make you blush when you engage with a loyal fan base when in essence, your activity is redundant?

Well actually, it should make you blush, it should make you swoon, because while you may hook your clients with the words “i can double your fan base”, what you also mean to say is that you’ll maintain the good relationship with the brand’s current consumer support base while drawing in new fans.

Ding Ding Ding. So who wins the battle, Reach or Engagement?

I say both, because a wors roll is not a wors roll without a roll (Engagement) and Championship Boerewors (Reach). Now, who’s hungry..

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