ice challenge

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and the good it is – or isn’t – doing

We’ve heard of #neknominations, #raknominations and #nomakeupselfies, but the latest craze in viral charity drives is #ALSicebucketchallenge. Most of our news feeds are clogged up with posts by celebrities dousing themselves in icy water in the name of a charity to create awareness for different serious afflictions suffered by millions.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is the latest craze in public nominations which calls on individuals to douse themselves with buckets of water containing ice and donate to charity for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Some have also been nominating, dunking and donating in the name of motor neuron disease (MND) and cancer.

What we love most about this particular nomination challenge is that it’s taken the celebrity world by storm. A-list stars from around the globe have been participating and donating to various charities, while posting their classic clips online for the world to see. What’s not to love? If you have a favourite celebrity, you’ll be happy to hear that they’ve participated and donated money to a worthy cause, and if you love to hate a celebrity, you’ll revel in the fact that they experienced momentary discomfort and then donated money for said momentary discomfort. It’s a total win-win.

What we find particularly amazing, however, is how creative celebrities were with their nominations. Here are two of our favourite videos:

Charlie Sheen – seriously, what a legend!

 

Dave Grohl – can this get any better

 

Obviously a movement like this doesn’t come without it’s fair share of criticism. We’re not the biggest fans of passive aggressive guilt trips, but these memes did get us thinking a bit:

And then it dawned on us: it doesn’t matter how pure your intentions are, someone is always going to have a different opinion about what you’re doing or think they have a better way to do whatever you’re intending on doing.

The fact of the matter is that in this day and age of social media and all things digital, the internet has become the most powerful tool for raising awareness and money for any charity or cause. So, let’s keep it that way, because sooner or later we’ll start making a noticeable difference in the world and that would be pretty darn cool.

Downton Abbey beginning credits

Downton Abbey uses publicity faux pas for good

Hot off of the heels of a publicity photo blunder, the cast and crew of Downton Abbey did something amazing to promote the efforts of WaterAid.

The blunder:
A photo of the The Earl and Lady Edith was released for the launch of the latest season of Downton Abbey. However, a similar, uncropped version of the photo made its way onto digital platforms and went totally viral. Why? A plastic bottle of water can clearly be seen in the right hand corner of the photo and for those not familiar with Downton Abbey: it’s a period drama. Plastic water bottles weren’t exactly all the rage back in the time of flapper dresses and dress suits. Oops!

Downton Abbey cast and water-bottle-gate

The Earl and Lady Edith, and the water bottle that started it all. Photo credit: Downton Abbey/Facebook

The fix:
The cast and crew of Downton Abbey came up with a genius plan: why not use the publicity faux pas for good? They teamed together to promote the international charity, WaterAid. They can be seen photographed together sporting naughty faces while all holding plastic bottles of water. The picture was released on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag: #WH2Oops. Such a cheeky bunch.

Downton Abbey cast and water-bottle-gate

Aren’t they just grand? Photo credit: Downton Abbey/Facebook

Visit the WaterAid website to find out more about the tongue in cheek approach to charity and to learn how you can help provide clean and safe water to some of the world’s poorest communities.

Robin Williams

What the internet taught us on the day that Robin Williams died

We woke up to the news that comedic legend, Robin Williams, had passed away due to apparent suicide. We were shocked for a while, then we watched a serious amount of YouTube videos and then we stood in silence while trying to process the reality of the situation: depression had most likely claimed another victim.

Social Media and the Internet are both inundated by posts about Robin Williams’ unexpected death. People are baring their souls on digital platforms to let the world know that they are feeling the loss of this hilarious hero. While loving words of support and condolences are being posted, and motivational memes are shared, a reminder of the darkness of depression settles in. Simply click on any of the #depressionawareness hashtags on Facebook or Twitter and you’ll find a digital world where the call to eradicate the stigma against mental illness is not just strong, it’s desperate. The internet today is telling us to take note of the silent battles people are fighting, to open our eyes to the disease that so many of our favourite individuals are suffering from.

Today, we’d like to take the opportunity to share a few important links for those that need to be heard:
South African Depression and Anxiety Group
SA Federation for Mental Health
Mental Health Information Centre: Southern Africa

Our thoughts and condolences go out to not only the Williams family, but also to every one of our followers that has been affected by or lost someone because of mental illness.

women in social media

Women are owning it on social media

The 9th of August marks National Women’s Day in South Africa and we’d like to give a special shout out to all of those remarkable women doing it for themselves!

Entrepeneur.com‘s nifty infographic shows that the majority of active users on social media are women. Females are playing increasingly bigger roles on the majority of popular digital platforms which tells us that the woman of today is outspoken enough to let us know what she wants. For example:

#mystealthyfreedom
Started by Iranian journalist and writer, Masih Alinejad, the #mystealthyfreedom (or #stealthfreedom) campaign shows Iranian women sharing selfies where they have freed their tresses from their Hijabs. In a country where Facebook is illegal and removing or not wearing a veil or scarf is punishable by law, Alinejad aimed to give Iranian women the opportunity to show themselves for who they really are, and speak out against the restrictions women face in Iran.

#direnkahkaha (#resistlaughter)
The latest in females doing it for themselves is the #direnkahkaha campaign. According to The Guardian, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister, Bülent Arinc, of the Justice and Development party openly stated that: “[A woman] should not laugh loudly in front of all the world and should preserve her decency at all times.” And in response to the sexist remark, women have taken to social media to quite literally laugh at him.

We love that women are showing us how powerful they can be and we’re proud of the amazing South African females doing it for themselves. The strength of the South African women became abundantly clear in the anti-pass law march which took place on 9 August in 1956 and the milestones achieved since then by women in all walks of life are absolutely inspirational.

Which iconic women have inspired you throughout your lives?

cat-ass-trophy

How to not become a meme for bad grammar

Using less than impeccable grammar and language on social media leaves every brand open to scrutiny. It can be the difference between a user following or unfollowing a brand on digital platforms. Also, you don’t want to become one of these memes:

Language and grammar

Here are our tips for making sure you don’t fall prey to the Grammar Nazi’s out there:

  1. Keep your posts short and simple. The more lengthy and complex the post, the more your language skills will be put to the test.
  2. Keep a dictionary close and pay attention to spell check. At the end of the day, you are writing content that represents your brand, make sure that how you deliver your message doesn’t hurt your brand.
  3. Text-speak is a no-no. It doesn’t matter how tempted you are, do not use text-speak.
  4. Use popular abbreviations with caution. If your audience is the type to use “LOL” and you feel that they’ll react to it positively, then by all means, use it. However, be careful not to overuse abbreviations.
  5. Take the time to read your posts twice or even three times. Always.
  6. And finally: keep a proofreader (or someone who knows their “there” from their “they’re) on speed dial. If you are not sure of a sentence, run it by someone who will be.

 

If you need a bit of help with writing content for your digital platforms, contact us or give us a call! Our team is super excited to make sure your brand is being represented in the best way possible.

Social media posts

Social media: should you really be posting that update?

Often we find that brands are updating their social media platforms with information that we simply scroll right past. The posts are either too long winded or simply don’t interest us, and sometimes the posts are clearly not in line with said brands. Our question is: was it worth it?

More often than not, once a brand starts posting generic items that aren’t 100% in line with their following, the audience starts to lose interest. They stop visiting the page and start to care less about whether the brand appears in their news feeds or not. The audience becomes disinterested in what the brand has to say, because said brand didn’t take the time to take to heart what they’ve learnt about their audience. It becomes personal. In fact, every brand should realise that once they’re on any social media platform and have received that first follower, a user has allowed them to become a part of their personal space.

You may have a strict social media strategy in place that states that you simply have to post x amount of updates per day, but sometimes it’s difficult to come up with content that your audience will find relevant to them. This problem leads to the “posting for the sake of posting” issue. Being in this position can be difficult to get out of, so how can you ensure that your brand is always interesting? How can you be the brand that gets a “like” or a retweet every time you post?

Our rules for posting updates are based on these questions:
Is it useful?
Are the followers going to enjoy it?
Is it in line with the brand?
Does it breathe life into the brand?

If a post answers “no” to any of the above, relook and rework it to make sure it ticks all of the boxes. Or simply start over.

It’s best to post something early on in the morning when most users are warming up for their work day, but if it’s taking you too long to compose a relevant post, schedule it in to be released on the next day. And if you still have nothing to post today, try asking your following a question that is relevant to them and that you know they’ll be happy to answer. A top tip for this type of post: your following loves to talk about themselves – they really, really do.

In short: make sure your posts are always relevant to your audience, and if it’s not, ask to know more about them. Practicing this type of ethic on any social media platform has two major benefits: your audience will know you care and you’ll gain more insight into who your following really is.

 

If you’d like to pick our brains for more social media information and tips, feel free to Contact Us.

human-vs-brand-consciousness

Social media scheduling – how can it help you?

There are few things as difficult as managing our own moods. Bad days happen, but how do we keep ourselves in check and maintain the standard set for our digital portfolios? How do we separate our human vices when we have to be so human on social media platforms?

For example: you’ve woken up on the wrong side of the bed, then everything went wrong and you arrive at your computer feeling exasperated, exhausted and awful. The last thing you want to do is be positive and inspiring on Facebook or Twitter. But you have to.

We’ve found that keeping a database of motivational posts and/or predetermining the content that goes out on your social media platforms helps a whole lot. That way you don’t have to think about what your audience is seeing and know that you are delivering the content that they originally came to you for. This is where major social media platforms are key: they have scheduling options that can be used to input a post and only release said posts on a future date. As a rule, our team sits around a table once a week to discuss what we’d like to see go up on each of our pages in the near future and we schedule them in as we go. It takes the pressures of dealing with the battle of brand versus human consciousness out of the equation.

We’d like to take this opportunity to tell each and every single social media manager that we get it. You are only human, but you’re a human that speaks to large audiences every single day of your working life and the stresses that are paired with that are daunting at best. We understand. You are not alone.

If you’re on a number of social media platforms that you’d like to schedule similar releases to simultaneously, or that might not have scheduling functionality, you can always look at using useful tools like the free service called Hootsuite or the paid for service, Sprout Social (which comes with its own nifty reporting tools to boot).

If you’d like to speak to us some more about dealing with these services, or you’d simply like to drop us a line to vent, Contact Us! We’ll always try our best to make sure you’re ready for anything.

Virgin Mobile Meal for a Meal

Could social media solve world hunger?

Could social media solve world hunger? We don’t know, but what Virgin Mobile Australia and OzHarvest are doing is definitely a step in the right direction. Watch the video below to see what we’re on about.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwLMW2Ii-G0]

“I’m very proud to be helping launch #mealforameal, a wonderful new initiative from Virgin Mobile Australia’s partnership with OzHarvest. For every food photo you post to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with the #mealforameal hashtag, we’ll deliver a real meal to someone in need.” – Sir Richard Branson

We can’t help but let our minds run a little wild, though. If this works in Australia, could it be possible that we could form similar partnerships in our own countries? Maybe it’s something that we could’ve looked at for the 2014 Soccer World Cup in Brazil before it even started? This campaign is so inspirational and has definitely tugged at our heart strings. So much so, in fact, that we’re all participating. Each time we post any food pictures, we’re tagging #mealforameal. It may not be applicable to South Africa as of yet, but if you can feed the hungry by literally taking a few seconds to use the hashtag, why not do it?

Instead of sending you to our Contact Us page, we’d rather send you to the Virgin website where you can learn more about this initiative. Check it out when you click here.

social-media-fatigue

Social media fatigue

Users, on any social media platform, go through highs and lows regarding their activity on said platforms. The latter, the slump, can be seen as social media fatigue.

Information is everywhere. We live in the information age. Be it through print advertising or simply scrolling through our Twitter feed, information is everywhere. It’s little wonder that there are days that we all feel we simply need a break. This, obviously, does not bode all too well for brands on social media platforms, but it’s not something we need to worry about. It should, however, play a role in how your brand carries itself even when you can see that your following isn’t as active as it usually is, because you want your brand to be top of mind when any user returns from their social media hiatus.

So, the question is, how can you be the brand that those coming out of a social media funk will look for? The short answer: make sure your digital personality is in line with the audience you are targeting. The more they can relate, the more they’ll look out for what you have to say.

The long answer: make sure that your brand is always relevant in such a way that your followers remain loyal to you. By “relevant” we don’t mean keeping up with trends (however, this is still very important), but also relevant in terms of what your followers like. They like or follow your brand for a reason, so keep them interested, smiling and/or motivated by posting information that appeals to them. So often we find successful brands posting items on platforms just for the sake of posting something that day. The fact remains that if you don’t have anything (nice) to say, don’t say anything at all. On the opposite end of the spectrum, don’t over-post. If you have more than 3 posts you’d like to share with your following, turn to platforms like Twitter and/or Google +, but refrain from posting everything to Facebook.

Striking up a balance when it comes to how often and what you post on your platforms is key here, because you need to keep your following entertained, but you also need to keep in mind that they have most likely already taken in a huge amount of information. What we so often tend to forget is that we’re posting to people. Individuals like you and me who have good and bad days, tired and energetic days, people with different personalities, but with similar interests. The more human a brand becomes on a social media platform, the more any user will be able to relate.

We guess the best way to put it is: deal with social media fatigue by not adding to it.

 

If you like what you see here, take a browse around our site! We also love hearing from our readers, so feel free to contact us with your comments, ideas and/or feedback.

Facebook toys with emotions

Facebook toys with users’ emotions

We read an article on the New York Times site that can cause either an uproar or be interpreted as possibly one of the most powerful studies yet – especially for those of us in the industry of digital media.

In a controversial paper, a Facebook researcher,  Adam D. I. Kramer, led an academic study with two counterparts that led to the altering of 689, 003 randomly selected users’ news feeds to display either predominantly positive or negative posts, and then monitored to see what these users then wrote or shared in their posts. This happened for one week in January 2012 – over 2 years ago!

We can’t help but wonder what this ability to manipulate what audiences see can be used for? If you think about it, seeing only positive posts could result in a happier outlook from users and possibly society as a whole, but the negative side, well, we can’t even begin to imagine what the catastrophic results could be.

You can read the full paper here.

This, to us, is The One Ring To Rule Them All scenario we’ve always wondered about (yes, we’re a bunch of literary nerds), and we can’t help but think of the future that Facebook has planned.

 

We found this absolutely fascinating and would love to hear what you thought of it. We invite you to contact us or comment below with your thoughts.