Tools to Spread Word of Mouth

This was originally posted on the WordStart blog.

In October, the Enterprise Technology Show Africa organisers invited us to share some ways to spread the word. There are many tools on offer in the market and here, as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, we share three of our favorite ones.

When working on building buzz for your product or organisation, you have to be clear on what the objective is. You may want to generate the word on mouth on your Facebook page, through contact with bloggers or by understanding customer conversations and sentiment, then contributing.

The tools in a nutshell:

  1. Shortstack is an easy-to-use Facebook application tool. It allows to run competitions with user-generated voting and content. We regularly use it for various purposes. Create a free account and try it out.
  2. Grouphigh combines SEO and social search to enable you to engage with the blogger community that you are interested in interacting with. You are then able to think through how you would like to position your content on various platforms and you understand what those blogs are interested in. Have a look at the 30-day free trial or request a demo to engage blogs for you PR and Marketing.
  3. Traackr takes influence beyond blogs and helps you find brand advocates by topic of interest and helps you build your influencer engagement efforts. Have a look at their plan options

Below, have a look at the presentation.

What are some of the tools that you use?

Win a free ticket to the Tshwane Entrepreneurship Week #TNEW

I was invited to speak at the Tshwane Entrepreneurship Week, which happens from 27 to 31 August 2012. And of course, I wanted to spread the love.

 

Here’s the deal, I have one ticket to give away here and another one over at WordStart. There’ll be one more spot ticket given away on Twitter. Before we go any further, I’ll announce the winner on Tuesday 14 August. The tickets are valued at R750, per day.

If you win this one, you get to pick a day from Monday to Friday. The only day that’s excluded is Wednesday, 29 August.

The conference has an awesome line-up of speakers.

Here are some of the people you’ll hear from:

On Monday (27 August 2012)

Douglas Kruger, an author and four time Southern African Public Speaking Champion

Magdalene Moonsamy, COO of the NYDA (National Youth Development Agency)

Tuesday (28 August 2012)

Abbey Mokgwatsane, CEO of Ogilvy – South Africa and once

Brenda Roopai, CEO and Founder of City Of Choice Tours

Wednesday (29 August 2012) is free during the day, but Dr Trevor Manuel will be presenting in the evening and they have limited tickets on sale.

Thursday (30 August 2012)

Ndwakhulu Mukhufhi, GM for incubation at the Innovation Hub

Zadok Olinga, Engineer and Entrepreneur

Friday (31 August 2012)

Khaya Dlanga, whose talk is entitled ‘Social Media: The Next Generation’.

Olga Meshoe, Senior Consultant at Transcend Corporate Advisors. She was also the youngest and only black chairperson of a subcommittee of the South African Securitisation Forum.

And, of course I also speak on Friday. The talk is about how some of the world’s most successful, some small and unknown, startups defied the rules to make it big.

How to score a ticket:

  1.  Tell me why you, or someone you nominate deserves the ticket – as a comment below.
  2.  Share this post on Twitter and add a by @Mongezi just so I pick it up.
  3. If you nominate yourself, ask a friend to come post a comment supporting your self nomination.
  4. As part of your comment, also tell me which day you’d like to check out. The details and full conference are here.
  5. Check back on 14 August to see if you’ve won.

You can also check out WordStart, where we’ll give away one more ticket over the next few days. If you would like to know more about the Tshwane Entrepreneurship Week, check out their website here or their Tweets, and tell a friend about it.

Easy, right?

WordStart is looking for a young sales rockstar

[Originally posted at WordStart]

WordStart is in search of a rockstar to join us, someone who can close deals and get large companies signing new campaigns. If Glengarry Glen Ross’s “coffee is for closers!” grabs you half as much as it does us, then you may be the person we are looking for.


About WordStart

We are a word of mouth startup, with a growing community of young upwardly mobile and savvy South Africans. We get cool brands and products talked about by influencers, through blogs and social media platforms. We also track and measure conversations for our clients.

We recently WordStarted Gareth Cliff’s book, which reached over 105 000 people through conversation and became a bestseller in 2011.

What we have

In the first year, we developed the business from an idea, to an early stage startup that is still at proof of concept. Now we are working on growth and that’s where you come in.

As part of our team you get:

  • Social media and campaign strategy.
  • Access to a network of early adopters and influencers.
  • Awesome internal campaigns that connect you with some of the coolest experiences ever.
  • Exposure through popular and industry specific platforms.
  • A constant flow of campaign ideas.

We are in search of a sales director who will be involved in early campaign ideation, setup our sales management and create new networks.

Stuff you need to know before taking the leap:

The first prize for us is the ability to learn and adapt rapidly.

  • You will facilitate access to networks, clients and agencies to collaborate with.
  • Sell campaign ideas and pitch for new business.
  • You need to think on your feet and be able to brainstorm campaign ideas.
  • Manage deal flow for new and existing campaigns.
  • You have basic social media knowledge.
  • Someone who can confidently ask for the dough.

Does this sound like sound like you, or someone you know? If so, make that call. Put that coffee down!

 

That Elusive Dream Client

So, you wake up one morning with an idea to start your business and having high profile clients call you up all the time. Days become weeks, they turn to months and you haven’t had access to that dream client.

What now? You’ve tried everything you know how and exhausted your network calling everyone who knows someone. And still. Nothing!

Being the enterprising mind that makes things happen, of course, you are nowhere near giving in. That first morning with that ‘great idea’ starts to fade.

One of many things can happen, and 2 of them are:

a. Offer some pro bono work to the dream client

What I relearned again this morning was – Free work means you put your branding next to it. This is instant access to the client for more work at a later stage. It also associates you with them, in which case your credibility is built and they add to your references.

b. Compete for the client as everyone else with references

Well……this is actually a no brainer, especially if your business is highly conceptual and aims to compete against established market equivalents. Without a “credible” background, seeing that you are still a startup, it is difficult convince clients that you are worth working with. Make that damn near impossible.

Most companies that we target have a template according which they measure service providers. And if there is one thing that frustrates me more than people working from templates, it’s people who discredit your work without thorough understanding. Then rejecting you, because you don’t their template requirements.

Proving you are confident about your concept and breaking through the red tape of template workers, may mean doing free work. At least where I am now.

What are your ideas around breaking into the market and getting that dream client? Better yet, how did you get through to that client?

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Image by: annais on Flickr

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Chilli Cheese Fries and unusual buzz

Tasha's Chilli Cheese Fries

Some days you get so busy, lunch becomes a distant reflection. Except those days when you actually put everything down. You leave the office and go sit somewhere.  Even then, little do you expect lunch itself to make it into your conversation.

What’s for lunch?

So we went to a little restaurant called Tasha’s with a colleague. The intention was to have their Belgian Chocolate Cake – more about that later. While looking through the menu, we opted for their Chilli Cheese Fries.

The waitress returned a few minutes later with a box, which we didn’t suspect was ours. The fries were – “chips with all the yumminess of pasta” as Victoria – my colleague put it.

Conversation starter


Everything we spoke about prior ended, in almost, an instant while were having the “chips with all the yumminess of pasta”.

Tasha’s became part of our conversation from then on. Companies that create buzz are the bold ones. Ones that, apart from the status quo with its established rules, do things differently.

Because you are adding personality to your offer, you wont be liked everyone. But those who do, may just care enough to talk about you.

I recommended we go there for their, earlier mentioned, Belgian Chocolate – which may just be the only place in Johannesburg that has it.

So there, I would go back to Tasha’s and recommend you do too.

Introducing WordStart

So . . . about 2 months ago I decided to work something that, at the time, seemed simple enough. A lot of the projects I worked on over the years had one thing in common – building movements behind a single idea.

After working with a few people, being the recipient of a stern talking to from my mentor and attending grueling 12-week business bootcamp. A new startup is ready to be unveiled.

We can venture into dialogue about creating an offer, business models and what it takes to cut it as an entrepreneur.  But we wont. . . . Instead, the one thing that is still missing for most businesses is conversation behind their products.

Introducing WordStart

After the bootcamp, aching everywhere and rethinking things – WordStart came to the fore. This is the newbie, my latest startup, the change.

Drumroll please . . . . WordStart is a word of mouth agency that connects young African influencers with the latest and coolest products to seed word of mouth.

We are now ready unleash this newbie to the world and let people interact with the community, share their ideas and let us know what they want to sample. We all love new things (well most of us), and being the first to talk about them. That’s what WordStart is all about.

Come join us on Facebook and Twitter. And take a look at our video, you may be one of the bright young WordStarters we are looking for. More details will follow next week.