The Age of Infographics!!!!!

 

South Africa's Social Media Landscape

 

We are living in a digital world where we are constantly bombarded with a whole lot of information. As a result, we have learned how to tune out all the noise. Let’s face it, most people think data is intrinsically boring. Therefore, it is essential for marketers to present data in a very simplified and engaging manner. One way marketers can achieve this is through the use of infographics.

 

So what are infographics?

 

Infographics are visual presentations of data that utilize the elements of design in order to display content. These elements include content and knowledge elements such as statistics, time frames and facts. They also include visual elements such as a variety of graphics as well as color coding. By making use of these elements, one is able to articulate complex messages to the receiver in a way that enhances their understanding.

 

So as a brand, you may ask WIIFM?

 

Well, we have mentioned that infographics present data in a way that can be easily understood. But wait, there’s more! As a marketer, one of your goals is to immediately capture the attention of your target audience. By using infographics, marketers are able to capture immediate attention as well as allow their target audience to engage with their brand.

 

So what does this mean for a brand such as Hellocomputer?

 

Before HelloComputer decides to have fun and make use of infographics for its digital marketing strategy, it is crucial to consider overall objectives, production capabilities as well as the needs of the audience. In other words, everything has to be aligned.

 

The first step would be to consider the context in which Hellocomputer is operating. This involves asking questions about external factors that are likely to affect the business, both in the present as well as in the future. Once Hellocomputer has performed the situational analysis, it would have to look at the brand’s value proposition. In doing so, Hellocomputer’s ability to identify its customers, their needs as well as its ability to satisfy these needs will be of utmost importance.

Hellocomputer would have to take this further and examine its value proposition. The digital world offers different channels for value creation. However, what is considered valuable depends on Hellocomputer’s target audience. Therefore, Hellocomputer would have to research its customers and gain insight on what they really want and need. This is where value based content such as an engaging infographic becomes a vital tool.

 

In addition, Hellocomputer would have to look at what it wants to achieve as a brand as well as how it will measure such success. Therefore, SMART objectives would have to be established. By doing so, Hellocomputer will be able to make use of the most appropriate tactics such as social media to achieve these objectives. This is so because social media serves as a platform that allows collaboration as well as connection between multiple channels. By making use of the social media platform, Hellocomputer will strategically create awareness of the brand’s story. Social media will allow the brand to directly share content with the target audience as well as receive feedback.

 

Essentially, taking into consideration the changes in South African social media landscape and depending on its target audience, Hellocomputer can build its social media strategy around its website and additional core social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn as well as the up and coming social media platforms such as YouTube and Google+.

 

– Stokes, R. & the Minds of Quirk. 2013. eMarketing: The essential guide to marketing in a digital world. 5th ed. Quirk eMarketing (Pty) Ltd.

Google Me Baby!!!

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Well, before I can say “Google Me Baby” to anyone, I needed to go on a mission and find out what is out there about me, my life in the virtual world. I did not have to go that far, again, thanks Google!!

I found that I do not have a lot of digital footprint. This is mainly because I am a very private person. So when I googled myself, I found that I was on the following sites:

  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • ResearchGate
  • UCT Monday Paper archives
  • Pinterest
  • Facebook

And my way too old Qeep account also appeared (an account that has been dormant for 4 years, I even forgot it existed). I do not even remember the reason I created that account. When I clicked on it some embarrassing teenage texting language style was used, which I thought it was cool at the time because everyone else was using it. At the time, people did not see the use of vowels as that important when texting. To my defense, I was a teenager and I was not aware of online presence or digital footprint =)

The Facebook profile on the other hand, I temporarily deactivated it during my exams in 2012 and I never looked back. I think one of the reasons I decided to remain inactive is that, I became aware of the fact that my digital footprint may influence how potential employers would view me in the future.  I did not want to take any chances.  My friends think that my view on the matter is extreme because there is no way they can survive without Facebook.

However, I decided to create LinkedIn and Twitter profiles. I use these two accounts professionally. I also use them to keep up to date with the latest news and NOT the Kardashians =)

I found two pictures of myself on Google Images, one from the UCT Monday Paper and the other from my LinkedIn profile. The rest of the people on that page I have no idea who they are.

I must admit that my visibility online requires some improvement. I need to be more active online but on a positive light. I will do so through this blog, LinkedIn and Twitter. Since, I made a choice to step in this arena, I will have to make sure that my privacy settings are protected, make sure that I put myself out there, show up, be seen and share my thoughts with the rest of the world.

And when I am ready to say “Google Me Baby” (hopefully it will never come to that, how embarrassing), all the good that I do and the highest expression of myself will be my only digital footprint.

Seth-Godin-xgzhre

Getting in the Arena

So, there I am sitting through an e-Marketing introductory lecture and I am told that one of the requirements for the course is to create a blog. When I heard this, my chest tightened. At that moment I thought I was doomed because I consider myself an introverted person and I would definitely like to have as minimal digital footprint as I can. After a few days, I decided to log on to Vula and go through the instructions on how to set up a blog. The little gremlin inside of me started to speak louder and louder in my ear. Yes people, I have gremlins living inside of me, they usually fight with each other, snatching each other’s weaves off =)  Immediately, fear, self-doubt, uncertainty and anxiety started to kick in.  I thought to myself, what on earth am I going to blog about? What are people going to think of me? Is my work going to be good enough? Am I cut out for this? Am I really going to put myself out there and be vulnerable in front of my peers and those who will stumble on my blog? Am I creative enough to attract readers? I thought to myself, well, this is for academic purposes, therefore I should not care about what other people think. I mean I can deal with academic criticism but social media is a different story. So, I tried to convince myself that this is all going to be over soon, just three e-tivities then I am done with this part of the course.

 

And then I thought of a video I came across last semester while searching for a video on the Art of Possibility by Rosamund and Benjamin Zander. I just typed “vulnerability talk video” and Dr Brené Brown’s videos came up. Thanks Google!!

 

In this video Dr Brené Brown shares a quote from President Theodore Roosevelt’s speech famously known as ‘The Man in the Arena’.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

This sincerely resonated with me. She went on to say that if you want to be in the arena, it is not about winning or losing, it is about showing up. The only certainty you will get when you show up and being seen is that you will have to take some punches and you might break a rib or two. Therefore, you will have to decide then, if courage is your value then you will have to take those punches. Dr Brené Brown states that when you put on an amour before you get into the arena, you shut yourself off. This means when you protect yourself against vulnerability which is a birthplace of fear and self-doubt, you shut yourself off from everything. This includes creativity, trust, empathy and innovation.

 

She goes further and states that when we put ourselves out there, specifically our work, we tend to focus on the critics. In order to protect ourselves, we often say that we do not care what other people think. This can be a struggle because “we are hardwired for connection and when we stop caring about what people think, we lose our capacity for connection. When we become defined by what people think, we lose our capacity to be vulnerable”. So, instead of shutting the critics out, including your biggest critic, yourself, rather reserve seats for them, acknowledge their presence and show up any way.

I am going to be honest, it is scary and daunting, but I am putting myself out there, I’m getting in the arena and daring greatly. So…there goes my first post =)