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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Introducing the App

Over 85% of the world’s population lives in areas with existing cellular coverage, yet only about 30% of the total population accesses the internet. Affordability and awareness are significant barriers to internet adoption for many and today we are introducing the app to make the internet accessible to more people by providing a set of free basic services. AppWith this app, people can browse a set of useful health, employment and local information services without data charges. By providing free basic services via the app, we hope to bring more people online and help them discover valuable services they might not have otherwise.
The app will be available first to Airtel subscribers in Zambia and we’ll continue to improve the experience and roll it out to other parts of the world.

Through the app, Airtel customers in Zambia will have basic access to:
Airtel customers in Zambia can access these services in the Android app, at, or within the Facebook for Android app.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

How to Use Pinterest for Business

One of the most feared social media platforms, but if your target market is there, there is a pretty good chance that you should be too! So how do you use Pinterest for your business? Here’s some ideas that can make Pinterest a valuable platform for you.
How to Use Pinterest for Business
1. Direct traffic
The great thing about Pinterest is you can use it to direct traffic to your website, a product, or a blog post. With each pin you post or re-pin you can include a link. This link will direct users to your site as soon as they maximize the photo and click it for more information. Include a call to action in the description of your photo that will entice your target to continue on a click-through.
2. Set-up boards
When you start your Pinterest account you should create a few boards that you can re-pin and pin your posts to. Try and think outside the box, and create value so your target will want to follow the entire board! For example: DavidsTea has a board of recipes you can make with their tea. They re-pin from other users who create their own recipes, and also add their own.
It’s important to not skip this step! You don’t want to just be re-pinning and pinning to unrelated boards and not organizing your pins.
3. Timing
Timing is everything with Pinterest. It’s important to not just sign-on to your account, pin and re-pin a million posts at once, and then not log-on for awhile. This will first off annoy the people who were following you, and second off is it ever a good idea to only check a social platform once and awhile? No! Treat Pinterest like you would anything else.
4. Integrate
Add a “pin-it” button on your website so users can easily pin your content right on their own Pinterest. This doesn’t always appeal with all brands and organizations, but especially ones with products, or great visuals that your users will want to share!
5. Descriptions
Many people get caught up with how beautiful or awesome a photo is on Pinterest that they forget about the description. Include your keywords, and make them enticing! You want people to click through to the linked page, and you want people to get context to what they are looking at, even if you may think it’s obvious.
Pinterest is a platform that many find foreign, but in fact it can be a valuable tool, and if used the right way there is huge potential for creativity.
What are some ways you use Pinterest for your business, or what are some great examples of businesses using Pinterest? Let me know in the comments!

Pinterest and Google Plus: Two Peas in a Pod

Cross-platform strategies are an incredibly powerful social media tool. The approach works exceptionally well with Pinterest and Google Plus. I recently did an hour-long live video broadcast with Peg Fitzpatrick and Rebekah Radice to discuss this topic.

Pinterest and Google Plus: Two Peas in a Pod
What follows in today's column is a summary of the top lessons from the show. I'll include a couple of video clips to extract the show highlights so you can get most of the value without having to watch the whole show!

Strengths of Google Plus

Firstly, don't believe the articles that come out from time to time saying that Google Plus is dead, or that Google is abandoning it. It's a live and vibrant network with lots of great discussions going on, and Google is actively releasing new features all the time.
Two of Google's recent major releases include: +Post ads which was released April 16, Google Plus Stories, which was released May 20, and Google My Business, which was released June 11. These are major new features that clearly indicate Google's ongoing commitment to the platform.

Google Plus has some significant advantages over other platforms as well. Here are some of the most important ones:
  1. The Platform Encourages Long Form Content: On Google Plus, it's quite natural to write lengthy posts. It's also pretty common to get long form comments back as well. The result is that the discussion threads can get very involved and result in a lot of fantastic give and take between the participants. If you want an in-depth dialog, Google Plus may just be the best place to get it.
  2. Robust Formatting of Posts: Part of the way that long form content is supported is through more robust post formatting features. This includes the ability to use bold, italics, underline, strikethrough, and emoticons. These features are available to commenters as well, not just in the original post.
  3. Easier to Make New Connections: Google Plus is more open, in that you can directly message people you are not currently connected with. This gives you more avenues to build relationships without having to rely solely on commenting on someone's stuff, and hoping they decide to connect with you.
  4. Impact on Personalized Search: People who follow you will see your content higher in the search results. In addition, if they follow someone else, and that person +1s or shares your content on G+, they will also see it rank higher when they search on relevant terms - often 10 positions higher or more. Properly leveraged, this can have a significant positive SEO impact for your business.
Google Plus is also a great visual social network, with features like full-column-width and multi-column post images, large link images, Auto Awesomized photos and videos, and the new Stories feature that automatically turns your travel or event photos and videos into an interactive album. These visual features are where it intersects with Pinterest!

Strengths of Pinterest

One of the advantages of Pinterest over Google Plus is that on Pinterest, you can save all your most awesome stuff and then find it again easily. People have come up with "hacks" to save favorite posts on Google Plus, but it is not as easy to do, nor is it easy to find them again. On Pinterest, you can have numerous topical boards, and finding an older piece of content you want to share is as easy as visually scanning the right board.

Pinterest pins also seem to have a longer "shelf life" than content on most other social networks. Peg and Rebekah have observed that some pins of theirs that got thousands of repins a long time ago are still getting hundreds of repins today. Pinterest seems to bring content that has received a lot of pins back to the top of peoples' streams again and again.

Getting Started with Pinterest

At about 50 minutes into the show, Peg and Rebekah rattled off nine quick tips for getting a Pinterest campaign going fast. Here is a short video that shows the highlights of that discussion:

Here is a short summary of their main points:
  1. Create 10 boards.
  2. Pin five things to each board.
  3. Write good descriptions for the boards and pins that include keywords.
  4. Connect with and follow 10 people a day.
  5. Pin at least three new things a day.
  6. Tweet at least one of your pins each day.
  7. Add a link to your Pinterest account in your Google Plus profile.
  8. Put a link to your Google Plus profile in your Pinterest profile.
  9. When pinning content from your blog, be sure to add a link to the original post on your blog to the pin description.
As with all social networks, getting started may seem tough, but the above formula should get you moving on Pinterest pretty quickly!

Getting Them to Work Together

There is a tremendous amount of leverage when you can coordinate your efforts between two different social networks. As Google Plus has great visual feature support, it's a natural fit with Pinterest. By being on both networks, you can significantly increase your overall reach. You never know where your prospects are most active. If you reshare your Google Plus content to Pinterest, you have the opportunity to be discovered by Pinterest users who don't use Google Plus, and vice versa.
Here is a short seven-minute video capturing many of the best moments from the show:

Because Pinterest is such a great platform for discovering new content, one useful tactic is to browse Pinterest for something that would be interesting to your Google Plus audience, and then share the pin of that content on Google Plus with a longer form introduction to get a discussion going. Don't forget to link back to the original pin (with something like "Pin this for later!") in your G+ post.
Google Plus and Pinterest also make a nice matchup because Pinterest is generally a lot lower maintenance than Google Plus. When you create something on Google Plus that has a nice image, all you have to do is pin that image to an appropriate Pinterest board. Of course, you will get greater benefits from Pinterest if you're active there, especially in repinning others' pins, but you can do that whenever you have some extra time.
One of the reasons why these platforms work so well together is that you can use the exact same image in both without having to resize the images. You don't have to create a specific image for each of those two, as you do have to do for other platforms such as Twitter or Instagram. This shortens your time in creation and editing mode while extending your reach and effectiveness.
There are now tools such as Canva that allow almost anyone to create images for their online content that will be more sharable and look good on Pinterest and Google Plus. It's critical now to have large format images on your blog posts. That makes the posts more likely to be pinned, and they will grab more attention on Google Plus, as Google Plus is more likely to display the share as a large image post rather than a thumbnail.
Bear in mind that integrating Google Plus and Pinterest will only work well if you are very clear on your own social media marketing strategy. You need to know your purpose for using social media, who your target market is, and what kind of content they crave. Of course, this is good advice for any social media strategy.
Because they consistently integrate content across Google Plus and Pinterest, Peg and Rebekah have seen traffic to their sites skyrocket from both networks. It has created a 1 + 1 = 3 scenario for them. For example, Peg found that she started having good success sharing some of her best pinned images from Pinterest to Google Plus, where those same images also did quite well.
Content curation is one way Pinterest can help you do Google Plus (or really any social network) better. You can store all your best resources on various topics on Pinterest boards. Then when someone on Google Plus asks you for the best resources on a topic, you can just share your relevant Pinterest board with them. This works best if you have created different boards for each major topic area you address.
Another idea is to create a Pinterest board for "My Hottest Google Plus Posts" and pin your most popular posts there. This can make for great reshares on a periodic basis on Google Plus.


There are many ways to get these two great platforms to work together. Once you get started, you may find it quite compelling!
As we have noted, being on more than one platform exposes you to new audiences, and Google Plus and Pinterest make a great pairing. Sharing content back and forth across these platforms can bring you a great deal of leverage, and you may find, as Peg and Rebekah did, that it brings more traffic to your site as well!
This interview was aired as a Google Plus Hangout on Air on The Digital Marketing Excellence Show. You can see the full hour long video here. The video is also time-stamped so you can jump to specific parts of the dialog to sample pieces of it without having to watch the whole show.

Become a Pinterest Warrior: Social Media Marketing on Pinterest [INFOGRAPHIC]

Is Pinterest part of your social media marketing strategy?
Become a Pinterest Warrior: Social Media Marketing on Pinterest [INFOGRAPHIC]Pinterest has 70 million active users worldwide.
The social network also generates more traffic than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined. And when it comes to money per click, Pinterest generates 27 percent more money than Facebook and 400 percent more than Twitter. Because of these numbers, you have no choice but to leverage Pinterest.
And to show you how can you use Pinterest to promote your business, the folks at Emerchantbroker have created a nifty infographic called "How To Become a Pinterest Warrior" that breaks down everything you need to know about the visual based social network - Pinterest.
Here're some key takeaways:

1. Set up your business account

Choose your business type: This will make it easier for people to find you.
Link and verify for your website: So people know this is your official profile and can see your full URL.
Include your location: Especially if you  are a local business.
Upload your profile picture: One that us easily related to your brand.

2. Creating your boards

Begin with 5 - 6 boards with at least 10 pins each.
Use Keywords in your boards titles.

3. Start pinning:

Pinterest is all in the visuals. In order to grow your following, you need to be sharing appealing, high-quality images. For better understanding of the platform, look at what your competitors are sharing and repinning, what's working for them, what isn't, and see what you can replicate and improve upon!

There's more in the full graphic. Take a look.
Become a Pinterest Warrior: Social Media Marketing on Pinterest - #infographic

7 Ways to Make Your Video Stand Out on Pinterest

7 Ways to Make Your Video Stand Out on PinterestPinterest is best known for pinning recipes that never get made, workouts that never get done and thousands of darn good quotes. But it’s also become a great place for marketers to pin videos. Unlike that “1000 push-ups in 10 days” pin, these videos are actually being viewed.
According to a study, video is the most engaging form of visual content on Pinterest, so it’s important that you use it to your business’s advantage. Here are seven genius ways to make your video stand out and drive traffic on Pinterest.
1. Make a Great Thumbnail
The thumbnail is what people will see first and if you don’t use something eye-catching, people might jump right past you. Remember, Pinterest is a visual site, not a text-based site. Try out your thumbnail on others and ask them how engaging they find it.
2. Include “Pin This” Calls to Action
The point of pinning a video to Pinterest is to help it go viral, so make sure you’re encouraging your audience to spread the word. Use annotations on your web site with “pin this” calls to action that will encourage people who watch the video to pin it to their own site. That way, you may reach an audience who wouldn’t have otherwise come to your site.
3. Use the Description Field Wisely
Make sure that you take advantage of Pinterest’s 200-character description field in order to make a full accounting of what goes on in your video. This will optimize the chances that your video is found in a search and increase the likelihood people will actually watch. For instance, if 12 Keys — a Florida alcohol and drug recovery center, wanted to promote a video on rural vs. urban drug use, it would include some of the relevant stats from the video rather than just stating “This video is about rural vs. urban drug use.”
4. Repin Other People’s Videos
This may sound confusing since you’re trying to make your own video go viral, but bear with me. When you repin others’ videos, you’re participating in the social network aspect of Pinterest and not just promoting yourself. Pinterest likes this. The site is more likely to recommend your pins to others and that will help your own video’s potential audience grow.
5. Sponsor a Contest
Yes, contests remain the way to go on Pinterest. They grab attention and they’re a great way to encourage people to look at your content. The social media site has a number of rules you must follow about contests, so make sure that you read them over thoroughly before you try to set up your own. You should encourage people to repin your video as part of the contest, in order to build your reach. Also, make sure the contest is fairly easy to navigate; you’ll lose your potential audience if you make it too complicated.
6. Make Videos Short and Sweet
There’s nothing worse than a video that drones on and on. Remember, in the online world, shorter is better when it comes to video. Don’t take three minutes to say something that could be said in 30 seconds. Instead, work with a tight script and have a clear goal in mind for your video. The sharper your points, the more likely people are to actually retain them.
7. Quality Matters the Most
Above all, make sure your video is high quality. If it looks like someone shot it in the warehouse on their iPhone, no one will want to watch. Spend time making the best video you can before you start promoting it on Pinterest. 

Measuring Your Social Media ROI

Posted on July 30th 2014

Measuring Your Social Media ROI
You’re investing time—which is money—and possibly actual funds on social media. How do you know what ROI (return on investment) you’re getting for these efforts?Is there a way to measure your social media ROI? You won’t know unless you set up tools to help you identify what works, what isn’t working too well, and areas for improvement. Social media ROI is subtler than in advertising. It takes longer to make an impact, but when it does, the payoff can be valuable. Spend some time with a social media expert to learn more about ROI in this paradigm and how to manage it. But before you do this, take a little time to actually see what it looks like.

Social Media ROI – Then And Now

It has only been a few years since social media really began turning heads in terms of actually “needing it” for both small businesses and corporations alike. Conversations around the topic of social media typically consisted of addressing that it is a nice-to-have and establishing a plan to create an online presence for a particular company, brand, product, and/or service across a variety of social media platforms. The caveat to these ideas came with the next follow-up question, which was something along the lines of the following: “How will this make us money?” Answering this question left a lot of marketers, brand managers, and social media gurus scratching their heads to come up with an answer, especially one that could be backed up with cold hard facts. For those responsible for creating and executing any other type of marketing programs, such as an email campaign for example, this question could be easily answered by plugging in data from previous tactics and churning out a ballpark ROI figure. But when it came to social media, and trying to put a ROI dollar figure next to how much $1 from a marketing budget could generate on Facebook, the answer was usually, “I don’t know.” This in turn moved the conversation about social media in the direction of “we know it’s something we need, however, we’re not really sure how to generate and track revenue from it.”

Yes, You Do Need A Social Media Presence

If you worry no one is noticing your tweets or visiting your website, don’t despair because unless you have some kind of monitor in place, you really don’t know for sure. Plus, it takes time and repeated, steady effort to make a dent on social media. It’s unusual to see a strong ROI within three months; six months is more usual. At this point, people following you on Twitter will start retweeting and responding, or Liking a post on your Facebook business page. To stroke ROI, you have to pay attention to the sites you use. This means regularly checking your Facebook page (at least once a day) to respond to questions and comments left on it, and to post something interesting for your visitors to read and hopefully, share on their own pages. Make your page interesting, invite friends to visit and Like it, and you’ll start to those numbers go up. For Twitter, check the tweets you receive a couple of times a day, retweet what’s interesting, and tweet items newsworthy to your followers/customers. Take time to visit the pages of people you follow if they aren’t very active tweeters; they may have something useful for you to share as well.

Use ROI Tools Attached To Your Social Media Accounts

Facebook business pages include two tabs—Activity and Insights—important to study to understand what can make your page useful to customers and potential ones.
  • The Activity tab includes a Notifications list showing links people like, and who they are. This can help identify trends. It also has a link for Messages people send privately (e.g., not posted on the site)The Insights tab graphically shows data on the page’s Likes, the reach your Posts make, and
  • Engagement—the number of Likes, comments, shares, and clicks on a link you provided. Similar data are provided for Posts, including paid ones (advertisements).
Twitter will send weekly stats to your email, but they are pretty basic:
  • Total views you received
  • Number of new followers
  • Number of replies to your tweets
  • Photo clicks
Twitter provides a more robust dashboard detailing activity from ads and promoted tweets. It recently added organic statistics as well. You must sign up on Twitter Ads to get it, but you don’t have to actually purchase anything (at least not for now). You will see graphics showing your tweets, retweets, replies, impressions, and engagements. It also provides analytics on your followers: their interests, location, and who else they follow