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[STORIFIED] Social Media: Where is Africa? #SMDayAfrica

Yes! Digital and social media is growing globally, but where is Africa on the social media map?

This was the focus of the first session – “Social Media: Where is Africa?” of the maiden Social Media Day Africa celebration.

If you missed the session, here is a storified version of the TweetChat with Social Media Consultant, Chioma  Chuka; Winner, #SMAA Twitter Handle of Year Award, Jimi Tewe and the African Media Initiative, AMI. The session was moderated by #SMAA’s Startup of the Year Winner, AdForumCo.

ENJOY…Social Media: Where is Africa? #SMDayAfrica

Tayo Elegbede
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Africa Rebooting

We all know Africa is a continent full of innovation. Now policy makers at all levels must put this strength, along with scientific and technical development, at the centre of economic strategies. Fortunately, the African Union has recently adopted a strategy that seeks to do exactly that.

Strong demand for raw materials, especially by China, and a growth in consumption by an expanding middle class has driven Africa’s growth in the past decade. Seeking sustainability, policymakers are shifting their attention from raw materials to an economic outlook that is driven by technological innovation.

The 10-year Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA-2024) recently adopted by the African Union (AU) embodies this vision. Its mission is to “accelerate Africa’s transition to an innovation-led, knowledge-based economy.” The strategy is part of the longer-term Agenda 2063 – the AU’s development vision and action plan.

Acting strategically

The strategy takes into account Africa’s current level of development and its persistent challenges. It seeks to deploy science, technology and innovation to address six key challenges. These include building infrastructure, eliminating hunger, improving human development, protecting the environment, enhancing social cohesion and spreading prosperity.

These priorities have been extensively discussed and are not new. What is different is the determination of African leaders to leverage existing and new technologies to address them in ways that are sustainable and inclusive.

STISA-2024 builds on a series of previous efforts to leverage science and technology for development. Most of the previous efforts assumed a linear relationship between research, development, demonstration and deployment. As a result, much of the policy emphasis was on allocating at least 1% of GDP to research and development (R&D).

Africa still values the importance of research, but no longer considers this linear view to be viable. Based on experiences in the rapid adoption of mobile phones, the continent is now looking into combining R&D with leveraging existing technologies and using them to create new enterprises. This approach provides Africa with a more hopeful future for tapping into an exponentially-growing global knowledge reservoir.

The plan also includes seeing innovation emerge as a result of interactions between government, academia, business and civil society. For example, South Africa has become a major player in the world wine market through interactions between private producers, research institutes, universities and government. Similarly, the emergence of the mobile money transfer industry in Kenya was a result of interactions between government, business, development organisations and the research community.

STISA-2024 has identified four strategic actions that reflect the continent’s statement of development while accommodating differences among states. These are investing in infrastructure development, building human competence, incubating and growing enterprises, and providing an enabling environment for innovation.

Infrastructure development

Africa has identified two critical areas of infrastructure development that have a direct impact on innovation. The first is physical infrastructure and the associated institutional and legal arrangements. Africa needs nearly $93 billion annually over the next decade to meet its infrastructure needs, according to the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Such projects are inherently technological and provide a basis for accumulating scientific and technical capacity. But being able to do so requires procurement procedures that emphasise the domestication of the associated technologies and knowledge.

The design and implementation of such projects involves expertise in mechanical, civil, electrical and chemical engineering, among other fields. Africa’s design of infrastructure will, therefore, need to be directly linked to the creation of engineering capabilities. Egypt, Kenya and Ghana have recently created universities that focus on telecommunications technologies.

The second area involves the creation of research infrastructure, especially laboratories. Many of these can be directly linked to infrastructure projects, but others need to be set up at universities and research institutes. Engineering projects can be used to acquire equipment needed for scientific research.

Technical competence

African countries will need significantly to expand the availability of quality postgraduate education, and in particular programmes that lead to doctoral qualifications. Achieving this requires a systematic and coordinated approach to human capital development by popularising science and technology. More will need to be done to bring research, teaching and commercialisation under more coordinated management. In much of Africa, research is carried out in national research institutes that do not teach, and universities offer educational programmes with little research capacity or funding. This situation will need to change.

A typical response to such inefficiency is to call for increases in university research funding. An additional approach is to add teaching functions to research institutes to create a new generation of innovation universities. Another path is to encourage the creation of new research universities under technology-oriented businesses, as is being done in Tanzania and Ethiopia.

Entrepreneurship

Enterprises — whether public or private — are the primary vehicle for turning knowledge into goods and services. They are, therefore, the primary driver of economic transformation. It is also in enterprises that technological capabilities accumulate. These capabilities are the fuel for competitiveness.

Africa is investing in enterprise development. But the growing awareness of technical knowledge and entrepreneurship will require forging close connections between business and academia. Other ways to spur entrepreneurship include using universities as incubators for new companies. Creating this role for educational establishments will require reforms to redefine the missions of some universities.

As businesses grow, they demand more technical knowledge. Some of this can be generated internally. Focusing on the scaling up of business, therefore, increases a country’s knowledge base.  As firms grow, they also produce new technical knowledge that makes them suitable locations for training future generations.

Universities serve as incubators of businesses. Enterprises also act as midwives of new knowledge-based universities. Africa can learn from South Korea, which has considerable experience in supporting enterprises to create universities. Some African enterprises have internal training programmes that could be upgraded to the level of university-level courses.

Enabling environment

The approaches outlined above demand greater creativity and flexibility from African policy makers. Enlightened leadership is required with heads of state or government acting as innovation champions. In addition to providing coordinated policies that fit specific purposes, African countries will need to create policy environments that nurture innovation.

Fostering a culture of innovation requires continuous policy adjustment. This process is best achieved with the support of effective Offices of Science and Innovation Advice for heads of state and government. So far, no African country has a statutory Office of Science and Innovation Advice. Their creation should be a priority in the early stages of the implementation of STISA-2024.

Getting it done

STISA-2024 will be implemented over four phases at continental, regional and national levels, through flagship programmes that reflect local priorities, needs and capabilities. The strategies outlined above make it possible for countries to leverage their regular investments in infrastructure, education and entrepreneurship to support innovation.

The first task is therefore exploring how to integrate innovation into ongoing activities. Making innovation a routine aspect of existing activities involves considerably less additional financial investment than other routes.

The main task facing Africa is identifying opportunities for innovation in existing programmes. New and additional resources are important. But they are not as critical as using local resources to leverage international cooperation. In the final analysis, making Africa an innovation-driven economy will require creativity and imagination. There is no shortage of these two intrinsic assets.

Source: NewAfricanMagazine

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Africa’s Mobile Phone Penetration To Rise 79% By 2020

mobile africa

 

Mobile phone penetration is sub Saharan Africa is expected to increase to 79% by 2020 according to a new study by Frost & Sullivan. In addition, mobile broadband connections on the continent are expected to quadruple from its 2012 mark to reach over 160 millionby 2016.

The introduction of affordable smartphones, specifically designed for the African market, has improved the market scenario, ” said Frost & Sullivan Information and Communication Technologies Industry analyst Joanita Roos.This uptrend reflects the gradual change in consumer habits, as they gain their first Internet experience through a mobile device,” he added.

Africa’s mobile market presents significant opportunities for telecommunication companies, device vendors and app developers.

According to the study, with telecommunications market maturing, and mobile phones taking on the role of service delivery platforms, the region is proving to be extremely lucrative for players in the mobile ecosystem. The continent will continue to be the fastest growing region globally in mobile telephony over the next seven years.

Source: Cp-Africa

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Social media over the holidays: Five tips to manage your brand

distraction

By Erin Carson

Very little is ‘business as usual’ during the holidays. Here’s how your brand can continue to thrive on social media this December.
Social media doesn’t go on vacation.
That sentence might be the most common warning from social media professionals when considering the challenges of running social media during the holidays.
Sometimes that means thanking your lucky stars IHOP has free Wi-Fi, as Atlanta-based communications consultant Alicia Mitchell did, while on a drive from Atlanta to Oklahoma City with her family over Thanksgiving.
“I got my laptop out of the car, came back inside and did some scheduling while my family was still eating,” she said.
The holidays can be a tricky time for social media marketers. On one hand, the year is winding down and people are checking out physically and mentally. On the other, it can be one of the busiest times, especially if your brand has a product to promote.
“I know that people want to take this time off and want to enjoy the holidays, but unfortunately, social media and digital media is a 24/7 gig and it really doesn’t lend itself to a week out of the office or even two days out of the office,” said Gartner analyst Jennifer Polk.
Fortunately, there are a few ways to make sure the holidays run smoothly, even if unplugging isn’t an option — which it probably isn’t. Our condolences.
These five tips can help.
1. Don’t just set it and forget it
“Most social media managers realize that being available on nights, weekends, and holidays comes with the territory. There are simply jobs in the world that require this,” said Emily Harris, content marketing manager at Rockhouse Partners.
The upside, though, is that you don’t have to be tied to your desk, she said.
That means you’ve at least got some convenience on your side because you cannot walk away from social. Social media professionals still still have to check in and make sure everything is running smoothly, even if the temptation not to is strong.
“Make sure the post went out, the links worked, that the pictures are right, and that no one is taking your message the wrong way. It’s not a huge commitment to sneak glances at your phone every once in awhile, and if worse comes to worse, you’ll be glad you did,” Harris said.
It might not even be enough to check in once a day. News breaks so quickly, the media landscape from one hour to the next could render your scheduled tweets or posts at best, irrelevant, and at worst, offensive, Polk said.
Harris also advised using a tool with notifications for cases where there’s a sudden uptick in social activity, for example. “You could either miss out on huge opportunities or let a mess get a lot worse on social if no one’s home,” she said.
2. Have a staffing plan, get protocol in place
Content-wise, plan as much as you can (while still being mindful that you may need to readjust on the fly).
Also plan for staffing.
One of the best things about vacations is they fight burn out. If possible, don’t leave social all to one person. Split up responsibilities so everyone feels like they’re getting a little time off.
“You maybe the only person in the office. The people that you normally go to for answers may be out on vacation. The second and third point of contact may be hard to get a hold of,” she said.
If your brand will be divvying up responsibilities for social, that may mean bringing in other team members from inside or outside marketing to assist. Running and monitoring social may not be what they typically do. Make sure you have the resources to hand off to them outlining not only content strategy, but what to do if something goes wrong, and who to call, or even what to do if one of the brand’s influencers tweets them on Christmas Eve. (Hint: answer them.)
This is also true for brands working with agencies. Even the best agencies, Polk said, will want some guidance and feedback before making an unplanned move.
3. Don’t neglect service
For many brands, the holidays mean sales. Though, Polk said, it’s important to remember the holidays are also a prime time for customer service.
“You’re going to see a ramp up in terms of the numbers of customers that are coming into your store and coming on to your site,” Polk said, “Any time you see an influx of more customers, naturally you see an influx of more issues and those issues are going to land on your Facebook page, they’re going to land on Twitter, they’re going to land wherever people think they can get some type of resolution.”
Make sure you’re monitoring and responding appropriately.
4. Keep your cheer in check
While it’s fine to be festive, make sure your social media presence isn’t drenched in peppermint and garland through December.
“The holiday spirit is infectious, but that doesn’t mean that it makes sense for every brand on every channel. Dramatic changes in brand voice for the sake of seasonal cheer, is more confusing than effective,” said Anna Julow Roolf, director of social media accounts for BLASTmedia.
This is another good opportunity to question whether what you’re doing on social is helping you meet your business objectives. If not, rethink it, and be judicious about the Santa jokes.
5. Don’t assume everyone’s offline
Really, what this boils down to is maintaining your brand’s consistency.
It’s appealing to think that no one is on social media because they’re with family and friends but, according to Esker Customer Programs and Media Relations Coordinator, Kayln Lewis, social media tends to spike when people are out of the office.
“The spikes would occur when you would expect them to — in the mornings when users are enjoying the news or a cup of coffee and in the evenings as they are watching the 4th re-run of ‘A Christmas Story’ and winding down for bed,” she said. If anything, it’s a good time to figure out when followers are online, and strategize around those times.

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Strategies: 5 keys to holiday social media success

distraction
By Rhonda Abrams

Do you have customers who’ve liked your small business on Facebook? Followed you on Twitter? Pinned you on Pinterest? Are clients and prospects connected to you on LinkedIn? Then the holidays are the perfect time for you to post, tweet, pin and connect right back.
When it comes to holiday marketing, social media is the small-business powerhouse in 2014.

If you’ve been working on your social media activities, you have a built-in following to leverage throughout this all-important holiday season. Even if you’ve been slow to get on the social media bandwagon, the holidays give you the perfect reason to increase your social media activities.

Social media is a powerful tool for deepening relationships exactly when you want customers to remember you most.
1. Create meaningful content.
The key to success with any social media marketing is creating content that resonates with your followers. If you have something to share that’s funny or inspirational — or even pictures of cute animals — your followers are likely to hit the “share” button, getting your name and message out to their friends. But not many small businesses can manage to create viral content. Don’t worry. Even if all you post are updates on discounts, new products or services, or even holiday hours, if your customers are interested in that information, it will catch their attention.
Keep these tips in mind when crafting your posts:
•Be brief.
•Use active language.
•Ask questions: “Is this on your wish list?”
•Encourage shares with wording like: “Share it if you want it!”
•Link to a page on your website.
2. Use pictures.
Data show that pictures significantly increase interaction on every social media platform. So find photos or videos to accompany every Facebook or Pinterest post and many of your Twitter and LinkedIn posts. And, of course, if you use Instagram, you’ll be using pictures continually. Take photos yourself, or find inexpensive pictures from one of the many stock photography sites.
3. Be efficient.
Your time is always valuable, but it’s even more in demand during the busy holiday season. So use a social media management tool, such as Hootsuite (www.hootsuite.com), to pre-post and schedule all your social media activities. From the Hootsuite dashboard, you can write posts for Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, WordPress and other sites.
4. Choose the best platform.
You can be overwhelmed with the number of social media platforms out there, so choose the one or two best social media sites for your business, and stick with those. Where are your customers or clients? What about your prospects? For most B2C (business-to-consumer) companies, I think Facebook works the best. It’s the most powerful in terms of narrowly targeting exactly the kind of customers you want to reach. If you’re going for a B2B (business-to-business) clientele, LinkedIn might be your best bet.
5. Post at the right time and the right amount.
How much you should post depends on your small business and your audience, but as a general rule, post weekdays, midday, Eastern time. Post to Facebook three to five times a week, on LinkedIn once a week, on Twitter a few times a day.
To help you plan your holiday social media strategy, download my free worksheet, “My Holiday Social Media Strategy.” You can find it and other helpful worksheets and advice in my “2014 Small Business Holiday Success Guide.” Download it at planningshop.com/solution-center/.
You might feel overwhelmed by social media, but I want you to relax and just do it! While I do think you should take time to craft great posts, I also don’t want you to worry so much about being perfect that you never start.
So after you finish reading this column, I want you to do something right away: Take out your phone, take a photo of something you want to sell or a picture of something at your place of business, and post it on the social media site you’ve chosen. If you’re on Facebook, you might also want to spend a few dollars boosting your post so it reaches more people. The important thing is to get started, right now, while the holiday season is in full swing.

Source: PoughKeepsieJournal

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Bring A Little Tech Etiquette To Your Holiday Festivities

Social media relationships

Have you ever found yourself wondering if it was appropriate to check your work email during a holiday party? Do you feel guilty about entertaining your kids with technology during the busy holiday season?

In a recent survey commissioned by Microsoft, Americans shared their anxieties and concerns about holiday technology. Luckily for you, you’re not the only one sending your thank you notes via text and even better, most people think it’s completely acceptable.

Still wondering about holiday tech etiquette? Here are some tips to help guide you this season.

1. Don’t fret, you aren’t the only one checking your phone at the holiday table. If you find yourself sneaking a peek at your phone during the family holiday dinner, you’re not alone. Forty-one percent of Americans admit to checking their phone secretly under the holiday table, according to the survey. But phone checkers beware: while a majority of Americans feel it’s completely appropriate to check social media during holiday gatherings, only 34 percent approve of people looking at work email. If the dings of incoming emails are too enticing, use a digital personal assistant like Cortana to set quiet hours on your phone so incoming calls go straight to voicemail and all notifications are silenced.
2. Go ahead, take a holiday selfie. You’ll be in good company. According to the survey, 75 percent of American parents are likely to post to social media during a holiday gathering, so whether it’s a video of your aunt’s unique approach to mashing potatoes or pictures of the annual neighborhood Thanksgiving football game, share away.
3. Don’t stress about keeping the kids entertained. When traveling for the holidays, 72 percent of parents use technology to entertain their kids. And don’t feel guilty about letting them watch or play what they want. Only 7 percent of parents restrict kids to educational shows, movies and games compared to 40 percent who aren’t worried as much about the content, as long as it keeps kids busy in the car or on the plane.
4. Happy holidays, world. If you’re in the mood to spread holiday cheer to everyone on your contact list, pen and paper aren’t your only option. Although according to the survey, 43 percent of people still send cards via traditional mail, more than half of Americans are OK with sending mass holiday well wishes via text message. So it’s OK to forget the stamps and hit send instead to share the joy this year.
5. Use tech to make thank yous more personal. If you’re not into writing thank-you notes the old-fashioned way, consider sending a quick video message using Skype or Qik instead. That way the gift giver can see and hear how much you appreciate the gift. You can also share a story or two about everything the family has been doing this holiday season.
You have enough to think about during the holidays. Don’t let technology etiquette add extra stress. So, go ahead and post a holiday selfie. You won’t be the only one.

Source: District Chronicles

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Common Sense Social Media Advice To Memorize Right Away

Social media on Smartphone

By Adrian Cruce

Social media, just like any other form of promotion, has positives and negatives but common sense is vital if you want to get great results. Whenever talking about social media we need to be aware of reputation and of the fact that branding is a huge part of everything that we do.
Joining social networks automatically means that a profile becomes public. That profile can be personal or connected to a brand. No matter what the case is, relevance stands out as highly important and you should never be fooled by the apparent convenience that we see.
In order to help you out, here are some simple, common sense social networking tips to employ at all times. They will be paramount in your promotion efforts.
Everything Starts With Your Target Audience
The very first SEO tip I highlighted on the blog of the company I do consulting work for was connected to identifying your audience and how important that is. This is important for any type of profile you have and the reason why the social profile was created. You need to know who you talk to in order to entertain, inform, provoke controversy or make a sale.
Identifying your target audience leads to understanding where the audience can be found. People naturally use some social networks. Not all the people you want to reach will be present on Facebook. Some may have Twitter, Google Plus or Pinterest accounts, among others.
Only Join The Social Media Websites That Count!
As soon as you know your audience, you will understand what social networks you need to join. Keep in mind that there are options ranging from less used Stumble Upon and YouTube to highly popular Twitter and Facebook. Only join those networks that are frequented by your audience.
As a simple example, let’s consider Pinterest. If you have a blog that talks about food and gives visitors access to many recipes, you will want to join Pinterest since thousands of people that are looking for recipes use the network every day. If you sell protein supplements, you will not want to join Pinterest since it will not be useful.
Never Forget About Security
Since there are large companies that own the social networks, we do not think about security but that is something that we have to consider since all the posts that we publish on the internet will be visible for years. This can lead towards reputation, career or relationship problems in the future.
When talking about security, we do not necessarily mean passwords or data theft. We mean everything that is connected to the identity of the company/brand that is represented. Whenever thinking about information links, it is the followers and friends that can cause problems. There are many companies that will analyze the social networking profiles and blogs of employees. You should do the same. Never post anything that compromises the online presence or reflects badly on you as an individual or a brand you represent.
Auto Posting Can Cause Problems
As time passes, you do end up using auto posting because of the fact that it helps you to gain time. This is not a bad idea since it will help you but you need to never neglect using manual posting. I say this because it will add a personal feeling that is visible. You may believe that nobody realizes that the posts are automatically posted by many actually do. Always use unique snippets since they are attention getting. Use unique wording since this is always more personal and all followers/fans want to see a personal connection. Also, use words that actually work on the social media sites you use them on.
Use Different Snippets For Different Networks
This is something that often happens as people tend to believe that different fans exist on different social platforms. In many cases this is incorrect. If you post the exact same links, photos and snippets to all the social media sites, you end up with duplicate content and people are not given a real reason why they would follow you on different channels. Invest more time in your campaigns and always keep things different. Your engagement will automatically grow!
Only Promote High Quality Content
Sometimes you just come across some content and you share it. Do not do this! Take that extra time to analyze the content that you share. Make sure that it is of a really high quality. There are many studies that confirmed the fact that online readers just skim blogs and click buttons instead of reading all that is offered. That is why you have to ALWAYS be extremely selective where content is promoted and how you promote it.
Conclusions
We can say that the bottom line is that you actually need to allow enough time for the social networking profiles to grow. A simple rule of thumb is that if you do not love the content that you think about sharing, the audience will most likely feel the same. Being selective about what networks you use and what you post will help you a lot more than you believe now, no matter how much extra time you spend on this!

Source: Tech Cocktail

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Breaking Tradition! Using Crowdsourcing As Part Of Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

social media and marketing

social media and marketing

By Greg Maher

Tradition definition: ‘A way of thinking, behaving, or doing something that has been used by people in a particular group, family, society etc. for a long time.’ In many societies tradition as an expression of identity and a way of passing down beliefs to next generation. Traditions can be part of and re-enforces society’s beliefs and values. Traditions are often be conservative and not flexible to adapt to changes in a belief system.

Take marketing for example. Traditional marketing methods focus on a push system where a brand amplifies its message on their customers without being able to measure feedback. The relationship between brand and consumer is a one way system. Therefore people’s relationship with a brand is platonic and valueless to both brand and customer. The traditional push marketing system is still trying to adapt to the changing environment and create new ways to build devoted relationship with the customer.

Social media marketing offers businesses and brands an opportunity to create a community of consumers where a new form of relationship is strong, loyal, and adds value to both parties. Creating engagement and conversations provides an environment whereby the brand can adapt to changing consumer demands. Social media marketing also creates a situation where we can measure campaigns in real time and provide vital qualitative data that can be enacted to ensure a brands survival and development.

From a traditional marketing perspective, the same scenario does not arise. It’s hard to measure the effectiveness of campaigns and also have a strong two way relationship between brand and consumer. In addition the qualitative data from traditional marketing research is usually skewed and inaccurate because consumers don’t have that same level of devotion and empowerment they get as part of a social media community.

Social media is a great marketing platform to empower and engage with your brand community. Relating to them on a human level and empowering them creates a situation where a brand can attain information which can lead to robust and successful marketing in the future.

Crowdsourcing is the new market research and allows a level of co-operation between brand and consumer that derives significant value. Crowdsouring is defined as a ‘process of needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from large sums of people and especially online communities.’

Using crowdsourcing as part of your social media marketing allows your community to contribute new ideas, test new products, how to improve existing services/products, etc. In addition it acts as a mechanism to build a bond between customer and brand.
Examples of companies using Crowdsourcing on social media successfully.

• Nissan Project 370Z
Nissan leveraged its strong brand community and heritage by getting people involved in the design process. Time framed within an eight week period, Nissan gave their community a choice of car to restore, parts to use, colors to paint etc. Nissan videotaped the progress of the projects and displayed it to their fans. Throughout the process they encouraged engagement, votes and feedback. The winner was selected from the community and drive the new car at the annual Z convention in Tennessee. The project helped to build Nissan’s social media reach and their community.

• Lego Ideas
Lego ideas is an online crowdsourcing platform. Groups or communities can go online to contribute new ideas and designs. They utilize social media by encouraging their fans communities to offer support and vote on winning designs. The design that receives 10,000 votes wins the design contest. The winning design becomes part of the new product development process and the winner receives 1% of net sales.

Why Use Crowdsourcing?

• Generate New Ideas
Ask your social media community to help and be part of a project to generate new product ideas or help in creating a marketing campaign. Offer incentives.
• Brand Personalization
The brand is no longer an entity that relies on push marketing tactics. From a social media perspective relate to your community on a human level and ensure that they are driving brand awareness and future direction.
• Market Research
Utilizing effective crowdsourcing can provide strong qualitative and quantitative results to give products that existing and new customers want. The closer people are to the brand the more compelled they feel to give quality feedback which can increase the probability of a new products success.
• Test New Products
Before launching a new product, crowdsourcing can prove an effective method of testing a new product. The insights from crowdsourcing can help with tweaking a products attributes and increase the new products chances of success after launching.
• Improving Existing Products And Service
Most products and services stagnate over a lifecycle and over time will lose market share to competitors. Crowdsourcing offers a brand/business an opportunity to improve upon its existing products and services, creating a competitive advantage.

If you want to build a strong and successful brand in the future its fundamental that you involve your social media community as part of that process. If you want to create or test new products ask your community for their opinions on how to improve or what ideas they want to generate. Empowering your social media community helps to build reach and most importantly, brand awareness. The strengthening of the bonds between customer and brand through a crowdsourcing process, ensures the survival, adaptability, and growth of a brand for years to come. Break with tradition and give the power to the people!

Source: Business2Community

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Want to break up with social media? Don’t!

By Amanda Jesnoewski

social media breakup

Dear Social Media,
I’ve been unliking you for a while. I can’t believe how low your reach has stooped and I’m tired of your gold digging ways. I’m afraid we just can’t selfie anymore.

#breakingup #itsnotmeitsyou

It’s the break up letter so many want to write. With so many changes, low reach and a push towards paid advertising, many people are fantasising about breaking up with their social media accounts.
But before you act on your desires, it might be worth making some changes first.
1. Switch platforms
Not all social media platforms work for all businesses and industries, if you are struggling with one, keep a presence there but put more effort into another. Look at the audience you are targeting and determine what social media platforms they are using most.
2. Set realistic expectations
The truth is social media won’t always result in instant sales. It should be just one channel you use to market your business, and it should have a distinct purpose – like building your list.
Keep in mind that to many of your followers, you are a faceless business, to build their trust in you, rapport needs to be established and value needs to be given and this can take time.
So instead of seeing it as a sales channel, think of it as another touch point with your customers and potential customers. Unlike a newsletter that may go out monthly, or a blog that may go out weekly, your social media followers have given you permission to be in touch with them daily – sometimes multiple times daily allowing you to build trust, credibility and rapport quicker.
3. Mix it up!
The same messaging and approach, won’t always work. Social media audiences change very quickly, so do their needs, wants and life stages. To stay relevant you need to be constantly changing and innovating too. Frequently test and measure to see what works best and don’t be afraid to mix up your content.
4. Plan ahead
Use the insights available to you. Work out who your audience is, what posts they interact on and what time they are online or respond best. Then write more of it – and write it ahead of time.
A lot of time can be wasted and a lot of stress felt, in the brainstorming and writing of status updates on a daily basis. By theming content and writing a month ahead, you can save yourself significant time and frustration.
5. Delegate or outsource it
If social media is really giving you grief, get someone else to do it before giving up entirely. Whether you delegate it in-house, or outsource it entirely, sometimes a fresh perspective and personality can be just what you need to engage your followers and bring back your social media joy.

Source: Women’s Agenda

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How Recruiters Are Using Social Media—and What It Means for You

social media useBy Caroline Ceniza-Levine

The job market is improving.

Online recruiting platform Jobvite recently surveyed more than 1,800 HR professionals across industries, and found that a whopping 69% of recruiters expect hiring to become more competitive in the next 12 months.

So if you have put off your job search, now is the time to jump in. Employers anticipating competition will be more attentive to candidates and more aggressive with offers. As a job seeker, you will have more leverage.

The catch is that you have to find the job postings first—and that, the survey found, will require you to be on social media.

Here are three key insights from Jobvite’s survey and the implications for job seekers:

The Insight: 73% of employers plan to increase their spending on social media recruiting and referrals ranked a close second in where employers would put their recruiting dollars.

What It Means For You: If employers are spending on social and referrals, then job seekers need to be networking both online and offline. Look at the time and attention you place on finding jobs. How much of it is spent updating your social profile, staying active with your status and comments, and networking offline in live meetings and informational interviews?

These should comprise the vast majority of your job-search time.
Employers did not cite job postings in the top five of where they will increase their budget so job seekers should not prioritize this avenue.

The Insight: 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn, followed by Facebook at 66%. But 79% have hired candidates found on LinkedIn v. 26% for Facebook.

What It Means For You: If you are overwhelmed at the thought of staying active on social, take comfort in this statistic that shows you can put the lion’s share of your attention on LinkedIn and capture the lion’s share of employers’ efforts.

Make sure your profile is complete: photo, headline, summary, skills, detailed job history, and any additional items to showcase your expertise (e.g., video, publications). Join Groups so you can stay abreast of trends and more easily network.
Update your status so you can stay connected with your entire network on a regular basis.

Finally, make sure your LinkedIn profile is connected to an email you check regularly. As a recruiter, I use LinkedIn frequently and hear back from too many candidates several weeks after my initial message with an apologetic, “I never check my LinkedIn….”
Job seekers, you can set your LinkedIn updates to forward to your email of choice so there is no excuse not to read your updates and messages!

The Insight: 93% of recruiters will review a candidate’s social profile before making a decision and 55% of recruiters have reconsidered a candidate based on what they saw on social media.
What It Means For You: You absolutely need to stay on top of your digital footprint.

Google yourself to see what employers see. Set a Google Alert on your name so you check what is on the internet about you on a regular basis.

Additionally, staying active on social media—posting related to your industry or knowledge area on Twitter and keeping your profile active on LinkedIn—will help you populate the internet with positive information about you and help improve your brand.

Source: Time

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