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How to link social media spend with business

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Social media isn’t just about sales and return on investment, so marketers should focus on the value of the relationships they build with customers. BIANCA QUINN-DIAVASTOS, from 25AM, shares her insights.

Millions of South Africans today depend on social media to keep in touch with the information and people that matter to them – whether they’re watching the Twitter war between DJ Zinhle and AKA, keeping an eye on running commentary about President Zuma’s state of the nation speech, or simply sharing personal photographs with their friends and families.

More than 36% of South Africa’s people (13 million-plus users) are active on Facebook today, giving just one illustration of social media’s growing reach. In addition to the fact that social media is starting to rival television and radio in terms of its reach, it also drives levels of engagement that make it an exciting platform for speaking to customers.

Yet, despite its prominent role in our customers’ lives, many brands and marketers are struggling to come to grips with how they measure their return on investment from social media campaigns and strategies. Part of the complexity comes from the fact that social isn’t just about audience numbers, circulation, clicks or conversions – it’s also about trust and relationships.

That means we need to measure social media results by quantitative metrics as well as qualitative outcomes. But before deciding which tools to use to measure social media results, marketers should decide what their business objectives are so that they can determine how they will measure the results.

Measuring what matters

Brands that invest in social media – whether we are talking about paid social media ads or owned social media channels – need to decide how they will use it to further sales, marketing and branding objectives. For example, is the aim to nurture customer relationships and improve service? Drive prospects to an e-commerce website? Gain insight into customer needs or build brand awareness?

Once a marketer has decided on the goal, he or she can start thinking about which social media channels are the best fit and decide how to measure success. It’s worth remembering, for example, that Twitter can be a powerful tool for disseminating news and addressing customer service queries, while Facebook can be good for direct marketing.

It’s wise to keep these metrics simple: for example, increase web traffic by five percent, improve share of voice in a topic, or improve SEO rankings for brand keywords. In addition to these hard numbers, remember to look at more qualitative elements such as how well you’re doing in building trust and relationships. These may be harder to measure, but they’ll also have a positive result on the quantitative elements you are tracking.

The tools of the trade

Luckily, marketers have a range of powerful tools today to help measure social media’s business results. You can use Google Analytics to track how your social activity is driving people to your site, as well as which social content is helping to increase engagement with your brand. You can see, for example, how visitors from different social sources behave on your site, which blog and social posts attracted the most traffic and how social media is impacting on your conversion goals.

Most social media platforms – including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn – also offer marketers powerful tools they can use to track user engagement with their content. For example, you can easily see which Twitter posts attracted the most views or retweets. Many social media sites also give you a wealth of demographic information about your followers.

In addition, more and more marketers are using social listening tools such as BrandsEye to get a wider perspective on how their social media efforts are building the company’s brand and reputation.

Social Listening tools can also listen to sources like blogs, forums and news, in addition to social media. They can enable marketers to track their share of voice compared to competitors and customer sentiment about their brands, products, services and campaigns.

And they can also alert brands to specific social media topics and conversations that need their attention. For example, an airline can see if a passenger on a delayed flight is tweeting a complaint, and respond with advice. Making things right at the moment a customer has a problem can build loyalty and create positive sentiment for the brand.

Closing words

Social media isn’t just about sales and direct return on investment, so marketers should focus on the value of the relationships they build with customers. It’s hard to measure trust directly, but one can see it reflected as metrics such as customer survey results, social media sentiment, and sales improve. Social media isn’t a short-term campaign – it is a long term strategy for building customer relationships and growing the business.

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Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets

Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.

Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps. 

Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.

Vodafone Smart Kicka 4

At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.

The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018. 

Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games. 

Nokia 1

Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.

Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer. 

The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past. 

Huawei Y3 (2018)

The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are. 

Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.

Comparing the 3

All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker. 

Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.

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SA gets digital archive

As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive. 

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The southafrica.co.za  site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.

Designed as a nation building,  educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.

The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.

At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.

Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.

“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.

Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island.  The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.

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