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December 22, 2011

Oversharing is not honesty

Just today I came across Pamela Mayer's TED talk on How To Spot A Liar. Apart from taking away some interesting tips, this one quote made an impact on me- "Oversharing is not honesty".

I suppose each one of us has to deal with friends who overshare on social networks or may be we are one of those people who overshare but add this aspect to brand marketing on social networks and the picture isn't any different.

Some brands are downright annoying with auto news feeds crowding your stream/timeline. These can be updates from Twitter that are duplicated on Facebook (vice/versa), retweets/reshared material from other sources (usually big news items) that most of us have already read, frequent irrelevant updates etc. 

Social media has blessed humanity with its amazing function of bringing the world closer but at the same time it is notorious for making people believe that transparency=sharing+over sharing+manic sharing! There's information everywhere you look, endless loops of conversations that can make it impossible for a person to judge the intentions, the integrity behind words. As I have understood from Pamela Mayer's talk, this then means that we are adding to the lie, as honesty somehow does get lost behind this noisy information bombarded around every second.

Respectable businesses understand that honesty is indeed the best policy, so why not take this same approach online? 

If you google this simple question-"Why do people unlike brand pages?", you get taken to a bunch of articles all explaining the same issue i.e. "Frequent updates", "Irrelevant updates", "No updates"!  Search Engine Watch has some information from a DDB Paris and OpinionWay research carried out recently that provides a look at some of the reasons that drive fans to unfollow brands.

Social media is built on our need to relate as a collective. I personally think that overshared information somehow takes the seriousness away, the process starts to appear mechanical as opposed to emotional. I don't know how to judge the ethical values of a business that chooses to constantly throw information at me, it makes me feel as though I have no value as a consumer. If social engagement is the motive, I don't see that happening with oversharing.

Furthermore, another issue that pops out of oversharing is the one of auto feeds i.e. automation versus optimization. From looking at my Facebook stream, I've assumed most businesses post information that they probably don't even read. I stumbled upon this explanation by the brilliant Jure Klepic (@jkcallas) where in he highlights the process of optimizing auto posting. He stresses on the importance of using an application like BufferApp, where one can read the posts and then time them to be delivered for when the readers are most likely to be active thereby getting the greatest value from the content. 

May be this proves that social media cannot be taken lightly. You can't just hire a student to work part-time as your social media expert to populate your page, nor can you dump this activity in the hands of an outside agency and forget about it. Keeping a track of your progress is important from day 1 whether social media is practiced in-house or on contract. I always believe, what works for me in life is trial and error. It is definitely hard to find that balance between what will work for you and your fans but if done with honesty and sincerity, you will end up gaining some true supporters. 

Although the world will never be an ideal place, this rapid technological revolution needs support from a moral society. Building authentic relationships requires authentic transparency that comes from a place of honesty.

December 15, 2011

Importance of an online newsroom

Almost every PR professional knows the importance of content distribution and in a society accelerated forward via technology, reaching out to the journalists has become a lot simpler. Any business, whether small or large can benefit from the presence of a robust multi-channel content strategy. Online Newsrooms play an important role in not only increasing your brand’s search value but also provide a direct connection between the media and you.

What is an online newsroom?

Image via 
It is an online media repository that contains all the information journalists require when they work on a story. This information includes a company profile, executive bios, press releases, latest news, multi-media and contact information. What used to constitute the paper press kits has now been replaced by resources in the online newsroom. By narrowing down the time spent by journalist to receive desired information and ensuring quick follow ups, online newsrooms are a cost-effective way for businesses to make information available 24/7. Prospective customers, potential investors, employees, can all benefit from this same information. Online newsrooms have also become centre points for corporate crisis management. (Example: Toyota via

Important elements of an online newsroom

  • ·      Company profile
  • ·      Executive bios
  • ·      Direct contact details (Good to include contacts based on expertise as well)
  • ·      Press releases in a chronological order
  • ·      Links to recent articles published by media
  • ·      Frequently Asked Questions
  • ·      Search feature (Media specific)
  • ·      Financial information that could interest stakeholders, investors.
  • ·      If resources permit, handle real-time enquiries via iChat
  • ·      Upcoming events, calendar
  • ·      Awards won
  • ·      Charity/Corporate Responsibility/Sustainability ventures
  • ·      Links to social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn)
  • ·      White-papers, presentations, company blog
  • ·      RSS
  • ·      High resolution images that can be downloaded
  • ·      Multimedia like YouTube/Flickr, Podcasts
  • ·      Twitter/Facebook integration to display latest social media feeds

Best practices for an online newsroom

Search Engine Optimised content

Content within an online newsroom must be search engine optimised. If a journalist types in your ‘brand name’ followed by ‘news’, they should be able to access pages from your newsroom. Rely on keyword tools and closely monitor your analytics to produce search engine optimised content.


Prominent links to the corporate newsroom must be placed on the brand website.

Complicated newsroom architecture should be avoided. The most common issue journalists face is when the PR contact cannot be found. An online newsroom should be user-friendly.

Newsrooms should have a simple, easy to recall URL. Example:;; etc.


Really Simple Syndication- Ensure your online newsroom is RSS enabled. It is a well-known fact that people prefer to subscribe to your RSS feed than email.

Content should be easily sharable across all social networks.

Apart from being an information portal, online newsrooms do alternate as a soft-selling medium but cannot be considered as a replacement for hardcore public relations. There are plenty free and paid tools available online that can make your task of managing an online newsroom fairly simple. For small businesses, online newsrooms are definitely cost-effective, these pages don’t need to be glamorous, all they need is the right content. In return, investment of resources in an online newsroom also ensures the expansion of your online presence.

Lastly, don’t forget to UPDATE!

Few of my favourite newsrooms are:

Intel -This is one of the best ones out there. Being a massive brand, they have a ton of information to offer yet everything is easily accessible.

Starbucks -Simple layout with a couple links to their communities. Starbucks' online newsroom just like Intel's caters not only to the media but the customers too.

H&M -H&M has a newsroom that is quite different. I like the innovative social media newsroom feature. Their investor relations page is quite in-depth featuring a five-year summary. Great example of how they are balancing the profession and fun-social side at the same time.

October 09, 2011

Should you invest in a mobile app?

Ever-growing market share of smartphones has given birth to the pressing need to adapt to these changes and use customized approaches to reach your market.

If you are contemplating whether or not your business should invest in a mobile app, the following considerations should assist in helping you make the right decision.

Why do you want to invest in an app?

The standard answer would be to raise brand awareness.

When it comes to transforming your marketing activities with the assistance of digital media, answers can't be black or white. Strategic marketing requires that you assess every aspect of your marketing plan, including the most important aspect, the goal. This goal might be the same across various businesses but the methodology that works for one might not be as effective for another.

Known fact is that without engagement your brand will not be able to create the impact you desire. Mobile apps are known to raise brand awareness, only when they create engagement. Quite similar to establishing your brand on Facebook, building an app should not be just about raising brand awareness, it should be one of the elements that make up your final goal but should not be your sole goal. A further reality check explains that social media engagement doesn't require a user to download your app, invest time in studying the functionality and then actually use it! Moving forward, the likelihood that a user will continue using your app diminishes over time. Pinch Media's study shows that over the period of one month, the number of users who will continue using your app will drop down to mere 5%!

For certain brands, distribution of app is an extension of the services that are already in high demand. For example: Brands dealing with news/entertainment media or events. When followers are chasing after you (think Starbucks), talking about you without you having to create much of a stir, your app is bound to retain all that customer loyalty! In this scenario, the app evolves to become yet another medium for anytime-anywhere engagement and in the process provide the user with an even more customized service. On another hand, there are the others, not so popular businesses in whose case, simple distribution of an app to raise brand awareness has an extremely low probability of working out.

Even Free apps are known to go unnoticed. The Pinch Media study shows that within this highly competitive app market, it takes a lot to get listed in the Top 100 on the iTunes apps store. Last run estimation shows that on an average, a free app would require 5000 downloads within a 24 hour period, to make it into the Top 100 alone! Over the sampled period of 6 months, number of downloads required for free apps to enter the Top 25 list has increased from 10,000 to 20,000 downloads requirement. High competition has resulted in more entry barriers, there by disregarding the assumption that distribution of a free app will help you widen your reach.

Figuring this need for developing and distributing apps is not enough, strategizing and devising a plan to weigh your options and conclude whether or not you should invest in apps should be the primary concern.

I've created a list of questions, you could add more to these...

1. Do you have mobile presence?

If Yes, then is there something exciting you can offer with an app that you can't on your mobile website? Surely, there is the biggest consideration of connectivity, mobile websites require the use of internet, an app will be available anytime-anywhere despite internet connectivity issues. Secondly, what do your website analytics say? Do you have a comparatively larger volume of people viewing your website on their phones? Furthermore, what do the demographics say? If your demographic is made up of younger people, they are more likely to invest time in apps. Study of these demographics will give you a better idea on what people are looking to get from your app.

If your answer is No and you don't have a mobile optimized website, the first step to take before building an app is to develop a mobile friendly site. If you check your analytics, you will notice that the number of people visiting your website via mobile phones should have gone up already, owing to the rise in smartphone usage as explained on  (On a side-note, you can test your mobile website performance on This should give you an idea of how your website appears on different phones.)

2. If mobile presence is not enough and you are still contemplating investing in an app, figure out what kind of an app would you want?

There can be two kinds of apps, a free app for advertising or a paid app from which you could generate revenue. Majority of businesses offering apps are distributing them for free, the revenues generated from paid apps are usually quite low considering most apps are sold at a very minimal price of between $2-$4.

3. What will your app do?

An app should reflect something about the business. Having an app that does not resonate with your business policy can create a negative impact. focuses on some great App Store Stats for Aug, 2011 which shows that on average 20,000 apps are submitted each month. How easy is it for your app to disappear in this crowd?

Defining a purpose for your app is the critical step. Will your app make ordering/booking your product easy? Will it provide the user with hands on information like a product manual/faqs tool? Will your app provide guilt free entertainment, like a game? Your app could do so much and so little depending on the creative input.

This is a good read on how bad apps can hurt brand names.

4. What platform will you focus on?

Once again, based on your analytics overview you will get an idea of which platforms are mostly used to view your website. Is the number of iPhone users significantly higher than other platforms? Will concentrating on an iPhone app be enough? Most important platforms according to are iOS, Android and Blackberry but only within the US. These statics can differ as you study different geographical locations across the globe with Symbian being popular within Asian countries.

Moreover, designing for tablets is different than designing for mobile phones. Here is a good read on the key design differences by Josh Clark.

5. Cost and ROI?

How much is this app going to cost? Based on the quality of the app, this price can range anywhere from the DIY-$0 to $25,000 or even $100,000 for high end apps.

Back to ROI and valuing the reach, for per dollar invested, how many people will your app reach? Mashable has a brilliant report on how you can reach a larger number of people for your $1 via investment in mobile webb than mobile apps!

With the figures looking such a dismay, should one not invest in an app? The answer to this question is, yet again in the gray! How long will it be until your competitor transforms their marketing efforts with mobile apps? Having an advantage of being the first will surely help you hold your position firmly. Secondly, mobile app usage will provide you a further insight into your customer's behavior and help understand their relationship with your brand. Finally, don't forget your goal! Think engagement and further conversion.

On a positive note, Google Insights on the term 'apps' for the period of October 2009-October 2011, shows the growth graph focusing on the rise in search for the term. Clicking on the link will display the entire table. The top most related search terms are embedded below the graph.

Image Source:
Hilarious HTC Infographic about Mobile Apps of the Future

August 23, 2011

Using Tumblr for business

Tumblr is a smart and easy-to-use micro-blogging platform. Barely takes 5 minutes to register, select a theme and make a post.

So the question is, 'How can businesses use Tumblr?". Shocking as it may seem, many businesses have been using Tumblr quite regularly. I suppose having presence on an additional social network only helps in widening your reach. 

Importance of blogging to build content

SEO or not, everyone knows the importance of having quality content. Content is what will make or break your online reputation. Having more than a gazillion options to choose from, people will bounce away from your page if your content appears non-informative. The inevitable question remains- How do you grow your content? 

Blogging is an excellent medium to publish quality content and interact with readers at the same time. Whether you are a big brand or just starting out, blogging is a great tool to reach out to a wider audience that is keen on gaining more information. People who read blogs are people who are more inclined towards acquiring information and this information in turn will affect their choices in the most subtle ways. How often do we read something that influences our buying behavior? As someone who enjoys shopping, I am more keen on buying products I have heard of online via blogs. Blogs can be used to review/compare products, provide more information on the products, information about latest industry trends (whats hot and whats not) and so much more. 

If you are looking for a quick yet informative medium to publish your information and at the same time gain followers, you should try Tumblr. Further research into what companies are actually using Tumblr, took me to this source of information. Businesses in varied fields are using Tumblr as a medium to expand their online presence.

Different brands are using their Tumblrs for different purposes. You can concentrate on talking about current service issues like Twitter does or showcase daily activities within your organisation or even share your favourite media! As long as your brand is associated with the content, you are increasing your reach. Tumblr can be used to show the fun side of your organisation or be used as a professional tool to talk about latest industry updates. Either way, it is easy to use, quick to update and in general, looks cool.

A few pointers to note are-

1. It is not a substitute for Twitter or any other social network. 

2. Only take on enough responsibility that you can manage based on human resource available in your organisation. In simple, use Tumblr if you are going to update it regularly. Nothing worse than having a social networking profile that has not been updated in months. This generally has a bad effect on readers and can drive them away from your brand. 

3. Don't duplicate information. If you have posted something on Facebook, don't duplicate the content on Tumblr. That makes no sense. The best plan is to condense your Tumblr activities by concentrating on the objective. Looking at the different business examples posted above, you'll notice that every brand has customised their Tumblr in a unique way based on the design of their social media strategy. 

I personally think, Tumblr can be a great tool for smaller businesses. The lovely themes available for free (and paid) are designed to improve the aesthetics of your content. Looking good is scoring half the point, the rest half will come from the quality of your content. Just like Twitter, you can choose to follow people who interest you. Tumblr offers a variety of categories to choose from, there by helping you build relationships and engage with people. 

August 17, 2011

Sociality (Leeds Digital Festival) 17/08/11

Leeds Digital Festival, 2011 have been organising a series of events with digital focus. I attended the first one in July which was dedicated to SEO (AweSEOme). Being a lover of communication, I have been looking forward to this month's panel on Social Media.

Sociality brought together social media experts across Leeds. A lot of basic to moderate level social media issues were discussed which meant people new to social media had a lot to gain from it. Days like these justify my plan to buy an iPad but having my iPod handy was good. I managed to pick up some key pointers that not only re-established what my amazing team have already taught me but I was introduced to some new tools. 

  • Time frame: Don't be impulsive in making a decision about whether/which social media channel is working for you. Give it a period of at-least 3 months before you go ahead and start making decisions on what your next step should be. Social media campaigns take a while to pick up.
  • Social media momentum: As I mentioned in my previous blog post, social media momentum is the thing you must concentrate on. Traditional media campaigns stick around for approximately 2 months but when it comes to social media, you cannot introduce a campaign and then forget all about your social network. In between campaigns, it is important to concentrate on daily engagement with the audience.
  • Locate your audience: There is no bigger error than wasting your resources targeting a wrong platform. Understanding how your audience behaves and relates to your product is important in making a decision about which platform to choose. 
  • Content flexibility: Some companies struggle when it comes to gaining fans or followers because in simple words, some products are boring! The truth is that people on social networks want to be associated with cooler products, for example, no one wants to like a wood flooring company on Facebook! What will the audience gain from liking your page? People are looking for entertainment and interaction. This does not mean you can't have presence on these networks, it only means you have to get more flexible with your content and get creative. A brilliant example for the brand Cupinol was given. Their Facebook page runs competitions with gifts to give away and generally appears very interactive for a company that is into garden wood care!
  • Content originality: Realistic and original content lets people know that you are an honest company that is serious about what it has to say. This is a brilliant point because as audience, we want to see something that is original and not ripped off from some other website. Posting photos and videos are a great way to establish your uniqueness.
  • Concentrate on smaller campaigns: As I mentioned in my previous post regarding application of Kaizen to social media, a brilliant point of concentrating on smaller goals was brought up. Instead of focusing on the bigger picture, it is important to have smaller realistic social media goals. Always have a plan of how and what you want to achieve with your campaigns and build KPI's accordingly.
  • Keep personal and professional separate: Don't have personal rants on your professional page. People handling social media can sometimes get carried away while discussing some issue and start stating their opinions on the business page, which will look bad for the business! Apparently there have been many instances when this has happened. Always keep personal and professional separate.
  • Non-english speaking global markets: This was my questions, I am interested in learning about global social media strategies and asked the panel what they think is a good strategy to reach an international audience. For example: China, where people don't have access to Facebook or Twitter and English isn't spoken widely. People from the panel who answered my question all agreed that it is essential to have a native speaker on your team. It is definitely difficult to reach an international audience like China but it isn't impossible. Based on which social media channels are being used in individual countries, you can focus on the same strategy but use other channels. I feel I need to research more and address this issue in a new blog post. 
I think I did miss out on some stuff! At one point a lovely-elderly gentleman had a question about what content to post on Twitter. I love seeing the older generation interested in technology! Someone on the panel mentioned that it is best to only mention your brand 1 out of 10 times. The rest 9 times try to talk about something else your audience is interested in, build relationships. Social media is all about engagement not hard sell.

Another key point mentioned was that social media can't be 9-5 job, it is more than that. Once you show up on any social network, it becomes another outlet for client services which means you will get asked questions on a weekend or after 5 pm. You have to be quick to respond which means multiple people need access to your profiles. 

Something I've never heard of before is WildfireApp. It is a campaign management tool and I need to read into it. 

Leeds Digital Festival seems to be shaping up quite nicely. My workmate @amandakou is organising a cool digital event for the festival. Follow her for more information. Too bad I won't be in Leeds then but I hope this trend starts catching up!

Click for more information about the panel and to follow them on Twitter.

August 15, 2011

Social Media Marketing with Kaizen

How often do we see social media campaigns that appear clever, creative and cool? First the social media geeks discover it, pass it around, eventually the non-geeks get enticed into the campaign and its only a matter of time until the campaign life cycle starts dropping down and then there's that dreaded silence. No activity on the social networks!

As we all are aware, it doesn't take too long for people to unlike/unfollow/undo you. For newbies, treading through the waters of social media is almost like dealing with a bi-polar lover. It is easy to find yourself in a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. Apart from absolutely keeping away from sending out 'Hard Sell' messages, you have to ensure not to annoy your fans/followers/readers with robotic nonsense. Your brand has to be a real life person, it can't be a 'friend' because that is getting too personal but it has to play the role of that 'friend of a friend'! 

I am a fan of the British high street brand, Dorothy Perkins, on Facebook. Every now and again they have some offers going on, there's always updates about someone winning something and even though I never visit their Facebook page, I always read their feed updates. I am a fan of 350+ things on Facebook but the first name that comes to my mind when I think of audience engagement and continuous improvement is Dorothy Perkins! 

Kaizen, thats the topic I want to address in this blog post. Can the philosophy of changing for improvement be applied to Social Media Marketing? 

Image from

Kaizen is "... a daily process, the purpose of which goes beyond simple productivity improvement. It is also a process that, when done correctly, humanizes the workplace, eliminates overly hard work and teaches people how to perform experiments on their work using the scientific method and how to learn to spot and eliminate waste in business processes. " 

The five elements of Kaizen are,
1. Teamwork
2. Personal Discipline
3. Improve Morale
4. Quality Circles
5. Suggestions for improvements

Within the context of social media, your readers/fans/followers become your external stakeholders thereby, making their contribution highly essential. How are you affecting their morale and over a prolonged period, as a result of your interaction, has their level of activity improved or diminished? This is just one question that popped up in my mind when I thought of how Kaizen can be applied to social media. 

Of-course every action has a reaction, nature's law that applies to business! To best work with what social media is offering to you as a business, you need to make sure you are truly using what is being offered and not over-looking some aspects. More often than not, companies have a traditional plan and stick to it, with social media, you have to think outside the box. You don't have to be the flashy hipster but being a wall flower won't help either. Customers don't want a dancing monkey but they do want something different, as I mentioned earlier, the customer is your bi-polar lover!

So, how can Kaizen help you?

Start at home

Focus on your internal stakeholders. These are the people that shape your business. The littlest activities they do, stabilize and keep your business alive. Kaizen is about improving in small steps, concentrating on the little issues to tackle the bigger issue. Begin by asking your employees how they would like to see the company's social strategy shape up. It is easy to think you have all the answers until another person walks into the room and throws a curve ball, a point of view you never thought before, that is brilliance of being human, each one of us has something new to add. 

Now move onto what your customers want. You can start by running a campaign to ask your customers for a feed back. People like me love filling feed back forms and I can guarantee, there are plenty like me out there. Get your sales team to do what they do best and bring back those feedback forms. 

Introduction to social media

Run a company wide training session to ensure everyone and anyone is aware of how social media works. It is an important part of our future, things are only going to get more connected. Most people are aware of how social media functions and there's always that little percent who don't like social media (my best friend included here), you still have a majority of your employees who will support your social media campaign. Little by little, every voice, every post on your social network will send a message to the customer that there's some 'engagement' going on!

Keeping up with the momentum

When you view social media from the traditional marketer's point of view, you run a campaign, generate interest and increase ROI. This can apply to some new media channels but not to social networks. Whatever you do, keep the momentum!

Some weeks you might not be able to generate as much interest as you would in other weeks but the moment you start lagging behind on updates, you stop being relevant. You don't have to run offers every day, Starbucks doesn't but it does a great job of engaging with the audience every day on the Facebook page.

Fair enough, Starbucks wouldn't have to post anything engaging and could still generate user content but as a smaller organization you have a better chance of building more genuine and stable relationships. Nothing better than knowing your customer by their name and who doesn't want to be treated special? 

Momentum in this context requires that you review your past decisions and moving forward apply the little changes. You'll learn that some things just aren't working for you, may be you are posting information the readers are not interested in, this is when you go back for creative input to the people who had ideas -your employees+your customers. May be it is time you start talking about more industry relevant information than selling your product. After all, social media can only engage, it is not an aggressive medium for marketing. 

If your outreach is wide and you have quite a few things you want to do with your social media strategy, you can assign a Kaizen event to each individual issue. This should make reviewing and evaluating their effectiveness a lot simple.

As mentioned earlier, Kaizen is very human centric. We as people are funny, each one of us is capable of being that bi-polar lover. You will get overwhelmed when you hear 10 different views on how your social media approach should move forward. This is when the smart people who know their stuff and who you pay, find balance between the ideas and generate an approach that will be best suited to a majority. 

Apart from having an extremely creative Facebook presence, OPI (nail lacquer) have a brilliantly engaging page. Highly interactive and posting discussions that aren't only about selling their products, OPI does a great job of fascinating girls like me!

July 11, 2011

Choosing a blogging platform

Writing is a socially accepted form of getting naked.

As of February, 2011 there were 156 million blogs online. This statistic is shocking indeed! From the late 90s era of LiveJournal and Kiwibox, modern day blogging is a true proof of excellent digital evolution.

Blogs have their own important role to play within the social media mix. As a website that can be updated on the go, blogs are easy to navigate. Blogs can provide an incredible amount of information and allow readers to easily communicate with the author.

As a beginner, choosing the right blogging platform can be a daunting task. Google being its notorious self will offer you quite a few choices and by the time you are done reading reviews, you will probably lose the drive to write. Having written blogs for years I know first hand, how easy it is to get distracted. One minute you have a brilliant idea and want the world to know, the next, that drive has disappeared and you give up.

If you are thinking of starting a blog, points below are something you should consider. A good blogging platform will offer,

  1. Free service
  2. Quick indexation within search engines
  3. Easy usability
  4. Allowing multiple authors to post
  5. Quick interaction with readers
  6. Template variety
  7. Traffic statistics
  8. Personal domain mapping
Image via BlogBloke
Wordpress and Blogger are two highly popular blogging platforms. If you are a newbie to blogging, I suggest choosing either of these two. I personally started off with Wordpress.

Wordpress and Blogger offer similar services but there are pros and cons to both,

  • Free Service (Easy registration)
  • Easy navigation
  • Creation of multiple blogs under same user account
  • Allowing multiple authors
  • Quick indexation within search engines
  • Quick interaction with readers
  • Mobile blogging
  • Option to use basic HTML within blog posts
  • Spam protection
  • Quick comments

  • Wordpress offers a community feel that Blogger doesn't. You log into Wordpress and you are given a display of various blog reads of the day which they call "freshly pressed". I personally think Wordpress ranks higher in terms of doubling up as a social network. Another thing I love about Wordpress is its interface, although Google has recently set up a cleaner looking Blogger which you can access via This should go mainstream soon.

  • Blogger offers customisation of templates for free. If you are a basic or intermediate level designer, that is you know your way around HTML and some CSS, the template options available to you are endless. There are a variety of sources online that offer free blogger templates that usually need a little bit of tweaking. On the other hand, for $30 a year, Wordpress lets you customise your font and tweak designs on available Wordpress templates. You don't need any knowledge of designing to do this. (If you want personalised templates on Wordpress, you have to look at the advanced option of downloading Content Management System and hosting it on your own domain. This is something you can try once you've had some time working your way around basic blogging.)

  • Blogger allows third party scripts. For example, you may want to add a particular social bookmarks tab to your blog, through the site layout option on Blogger, you can add third party scripts. Wordpress does not offer this option. Having said that, Wordpress itself offers some great widgets to play with.

  • Blogger offers free domain mapping where as you have to pay about $12 to do the same on Wordpress. Domain mapping means you can buy your own domain (Wordpress & Blogger allow you an option to go domain shopping) and have the domain redirected to your blog. For example, I have my domain mapped to my wordpress blog.

  • In the case that you have two blogs on two different platforms, Wordpress will allow you to import a blog from a variety of different blogging platforms including Blogger while Blogger will only let you import another Blogger blog.

  • Wordpress allows quick automatic distribution of blog feeds to Facebook, Messenger Connect and Twitter. So far I haven't been able to find a simpler way to do that on Blogger. I am currently using You can use a third party application called Social RSS on Facebook to import your Blogger feeds to your wall.

  • Wordpress has its traffic tracking stats system which is highly keyword centric. Blogger on the other hand offers slightly diverse statistics including a map overlay of where your visitors came from. An advantage of using Blogger is that you can set up your own Google Analytics tracking! To do so within the Wordpress platform, you will have to move into the advanced world of

My personal opinion is that if you don't have any experience with HTML, stick to Wordpress. It is a great platform for new bloggers. If you love designing, want to get out of your comfort zone and learn more, use Blogger! You can do a lot with your Blogger for free. And if you are on an advanced level, try It will offer you a brilliant learning experience on how to build your blog from scratch.

Thanks to @kerenleah for giving me the idea to blog about this ;-) Visit her blog at  

July 08, 2011

3 quick ways to promote your social network online

As a business, presence on social network only makes sense if people can find you and reach out to you. Just building a Facebook Page or creating a Linkedin profile, doesn't mean squat, not to mention, looks rather lame when you're posting updates but there's 5 people who 'like' your page and 3 of them work for the agency that handles your social media!

(Image from IT Sector)

Hiring a social media consultant does not mean a sudden rise in 'followers' or 'likes'. Of-course using a dodgy service like Twiends could assure you a high number of 'followers' within seconds, but such 'followers' are irrelevant to your business. Time and money, whether spent on a social media expert in-house or an outsourced consultant, are still a resource. Therefore, no point wasting it on something from which you aren't going to get any return.

Promoting your online presence on the web is the best way to begin optimisation of your social media. Doing so will help you gather a relevant following. Following simple old school techniques of 'spreading the word' and using some creativity should help you reach out to a larger target audience.

  • Promote on existing channels which are your website, blog or newsletter.

  • Add links to your email signature. This could also include 'confirmation emails'. I've noticed how some a lot of confirmation emails these days have links to their social networks, integrated within the emails.

  • Get your internal and external stakeholders to join in. It is good practice to advice your employees to join your presence online. Suppliers, well-wishers and friends, starting promotion at home base is a great strategy. Make sure you provide updated relevant information through your networks, this will help people notice the sincerity in your efforts. Furthermore, you can use the cross promotional strategy by joining your stakeholders' social networks. If you have good business relations, most likely these people will 'like' or 'follow' you back.

July 06, 2011

Facebook users and action behavior

Couple hours ago I watched Facebook Live. Zuckerberg was talking about Facebook's collaboration with Skype regarding video chat. Whether Facebook is even remotely scared of Google Plus or not is another post but what struck me was Zuckerberg saying that average Facebook users are passive users!

I add people I know, thats just me but apparently most people don't add people as their friends. They wait to be added. More importantly, average users don't want to spend time understanding any of Facebook's configurations. Zuckerberg's point being that Facebook as a network drives users' actions. It is very interesting because now I'm wondering if this same attitude applies when the user lands on a Page instead of a Profile. 

Are people passive or aggressive when it comes to clicking the 'Like' button?
I guess this question can be uncovered by figuring out what exactly is the motive behind 'Liking' a page? I like pages because,
  1. I want to get updates
  2. I want to express brand loyalty
  3. Because people in my network like it
My decision to Like a page is based on the above mentioned motives. Study shows that about 40% users like a page just to let their friends know of their brand affiliation (Social Media Examiner, 2010). Psychologically, it makes sense. There have been times when I've liked a brand just so my friends can see all the cool, quirky stuff I'm into! Reading a personality becomes so easy when you look at the things the user has liked.

Oddly, my most silent/passive friends Like stuff on a regular basis, not as often as I do but they occasionally do like liking stuff!

Just after the Facebook conference, I had a chat with my mom and we randomly got talking about Likes. She was expressing her passion about some news story and how she wants all her friends to like that particular page. It is a bit weird because my mom is the complete opposite of me, a very private person.

I am now assuming that people aren't as private when it comes to Liking pages as they are when it comes to Adding people as Friends. Of-course there is no direct comparison between both these actions as adding someone to your friends list will give this person access to your personal life (even if they only have a Limited view). On the other hand pages don't get that access.

But, how many average users are aware of the fact that there is a Limited View option or that pages can't access your personal information (unless you have installed some app from that page that has access to your information)?!

Then on that note, both these actions can actually be compared considering the fact that an average user is unaware of the above mentioned facts. I guess it is interesting to note that, although a huge amount of Facebook users are passive when it comes to taking actions, clicking on that Like seems to be a fairly aggressive action. I suppose, it all comes down to the fact that Facebook makes us social beings. Somehow, our individuality is lost and we want to be a part of the community.

Now this drives the issue back to the discussion (I'm having with myself!) regarding passivity. Once the user likes a page, do they continue interacting? The most I do is Like Photos on my Liked Pages. On a rare occasion, I'll write something. I personally don't interact because none of the posts I see on any of the Pages that appear in my news-feed are interesting! I'll engage if I find it interesting, I rarely see posts on Pages that call for people to join in. Usually, it is the celebrities or big brands like Starbucks that get super-interactive on Facebook.

Rule # 1 : If you have a Facebook Page, Start Interacting now. More engaging posts=more people opening your page or less people removing you from their news-feed!

People are passive, in-spite of being on a moderate social level, I have to be pulled into a conversation online. Understanding how people share online is essential. As social media grows, Zuckerberg says that more and more people are going to share on a larger scale. There by, making 'interaction' an important aspect to a Facebook Page! As mentioned earlier, users on a network need to be directed, have them move past their passive behavior and get them engaged in interesting conversations. When a user comments on your status update, it gets shown within the user's friends' news feed. Chances are you could have a few more people from within every other (or so!) user's network, Like your page. The key here is to take time out to understand your target market and work on those ice-breakers!