Infographic: Facebook vs. Google, Who is Winning?

Clients often ask us whether to go with Google Plus, Google Adwords or Facebook. Facebook is still more useful in many ways – in South Africa – and reaching out to a brand evangelist or influencer communities requires a holistic strategy that surpasses platforms.

To the question of who is winning who winning the technology and social media war, this infographic from whoishostingthis gives a detailed picture.

Facebook vs. Google


Get social and get paid for it

Yesterday saw the official public launch of IceBreaker, a platform that lets you connect with new people who want to meet online and extend that to in-person connections. In most instances, the social platforms that you use reward you with more connections and the right people’s attention.  You rarely, almost never get anything more than that.

The deal we struck with IceBreaker is about to change that.

 Own your social life

What’s in it for you?

We are looking for 10 people to try out the platform and start their own groups, where you can then meet other groups of people. Whenever you meet with a group, you’ll need 25 points which is the equivalent of R25.

As a WordStarter, and we can only accommodate 10 people, where you’ll get 1000 points for FREE. You can use your points to meet as many groups of people that you and your friends think are worth having an outing with. You can also be part of as many groups as you want.

Your one group of friends may be into indoor activities, others may like outdoor adventures and the other may be into travel or backpacking around the world. The last thing you want to do is force someone who’s terrified of spiders to go camping in the bush. Okay you might, but we don’t encourage it.

Get paid to connect people

We also understand that you are a connector and you should get rewarded for it. You are one of the people who invited your friends to Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter and maybe even Google+. This time, as you invite your friends to join you on IceBreaker and they meet people, we’ll pay you for it.

WordStart has teamed up with IceBreaker so that when a friend of yours gets their first 25 points, you get R25 in cash.

For example: If 100 of your friends meet up with groups of interest to them, IceBreaker will pay you R2 500. Plus you don’t have to do anything other than invite friends using a link that we will send you, which you can share.

Friend rewards

What kind of a friend would you be if you got everything and you didn’t share?

Starting this week, whenever your friends buy their first 25 points, they’ll get another 75 points for free. That means you all get to meet new groups of people together.

Are you in and know some people that may want to get paid, as the first 10, for connecting as well? Send us an email to info [at] and we’ll get you started.

Alternatively, tell us in the comments below and we will get in touch with you.

Nov 21, 2013

Tools to Spread Word of Mouth

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?


Sep 16, 2013

Infographic: Spread the buzz

There are many channels available for brands to market themselves and start conversations. How do you choose one platform over another and cut through the ever increasing noise?

This infographic from 4imprint shares valuable statistics from Twitter, Facebook and how you can harness the buzz.

Word of Mouth Marketing – An infographic by 4imprint

Aug 15, 2013

How do you seed your brand or product to influencers? Q&A with Sarah Britten

The conversations people have on social networks entice brands to want to be part of that space. Companies spend hours and put financial resources into getting talked about by influencers, where the brands may potentially end up on the Top 100 lists of different networks.

If you are putting money into billboards, newspapers and other forms of media, social media seems an obvious box to tick. When seeding your experience to influencers on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, how should you do it? How do people with substantial followers – the ones brands want access to – perceive the brands who want their 140-character spaces?

Enter Sarah Britten who goes by @Anatinus on Twitter and works as a communication strategist. Sarah also spends time creating artworks using lipstick and ranks up there with some South Africa’s most active Twitterati. We asked her about all things related to brand mentions, sharing experiences and how sacred her 140-character space is.

Sarah Britten

WordStart: How do you use social networks, mostly Twitter?

Sarah Britten: I use Twitter to connect with others. So while I know I have over 9 000 followers and many of them are presumably entertained (or irritated!) by what I tweet, my objective is connecting with others and having meaningful conversations. Everything else flows from that.

WordStart: Do brands approach you to talk about them?

Sarah Britten: Occasionally, yes. Usually it’s in the form of an invitation to an event. For example, I attended a Ford launch a couple of weeks ago and naturally I tweeted about my experiences.

WordStart: What, for you, is the best and worst way to get approached by brands?

Sarah Britten: I am fairly relaxed about being approached by brands. That’s perhaps because I work in advertising and write on the side; if I were a journalist I might be more wary. In general, the best way to approach people like me is to work out what we are interested in and passionate about and work from that. If I already care about what you’re doing, it makes it easier for me to tweet about your brand without eroding my own credibility.

WordStart: We heard you were at a meeting once and were typing away on your phone without even looking at it, and you didn’t even lose track of the conversation. Is it true?

Sarah Britten: I’m not that good at multitasking! Autocorrect terrifies me too much to not double check.

WordStart: Would you charge brands to tweet about them? Why? Why not?

Sarah Britten: I know of people who are paid – a lot – to live tweet events, and I’ve done one job in the past where I was paid for my time. But the idea of being paid cash per tweet does not sit well with me – I’d rather attend an interesting event and tweet about that. My followers are valuable to me and I would not want to abuse them by tweeting too much about something that isn’t relevant to them.

WordStart: In instances when a brand pays you talk about them, would that influence what you say about the brand and/or product experience?

Sarah Britten: It’s very difficult not to let that influence you, because you’re performing a service when a client pays you and you have to eat (going Paleo is expensive, what with all those nuts). I have a policy with clients: I never tweet negative comments if they are paying me. It’s just simpler that way. So I make that clear, that they are a paying client, and then my followers can draw their own conclusions.

WordStart: If any marketers were listening, what would you tell them about the approach they use for you to mention them, or to get mentioned by others in your network and end up on your timeline?

Sarah Britten: Do interesting things. Create social objects for us. Social connection needs a starting point, so the best way for brands to get talked about is to create those focal points and allow conversation to flow from there. (Never try to control conversation too much – this is PR more than paid advertising.)

WordStart: We know you are speaking at TEDx Johannesburg on 15 August, tell us a little about  your talk.

Sarah Britten - TEDx

Sarah Britten: My talk was quite literally inspired by a tweet. I had linked to a lipstick painting inspired by the Twitter egg; someone asked about the chicken, and it grew from there. The story brings together the theme of genes and memes – the egg as both a store of genetic material and a powerful symbol throughout history – and winds this in with my experience as someone who does not have children, but who creates ideas for a living. The core theme is randomness and creativity, and how we never know what will lead from one thing to another.

With an estimated 135 000 people signing up on Twitter, 58 million tweets per day and about 819 million active monthly users on Facebook, it makes sense that every brand wants a piece of the action. Have a look at Sarah Britten’s art here and catch her on Twitter for more updates. Her presentation at TEDx Johannesburg will be streamed and we’ll also tweet the action. Login here to catch the whole TEDx Johannesburg. What are your thoughts engaging customers in the age of social and being part of the conversation?


Build a Global Brand Advocate Movement: Insights from Martin Bjergegaard

Over the past few months, we have been doing more research into collaborations and how to make them work effectively. Some of our findings led us to Martin Bjergegaard, or did Google lead them to us. Anyway, that’s just detail. Martin Bjergegaard is  a serial entrepreneur, co-author of Winning Without Losing and the co-founder of various successful global companies.

He co-founded Rainmaking which is a company factory and a startup accelerator known as Startup Bootcamp. One of the key similarities among the companies, as well as Winning Without Losing, is that behind all these initiative are movements of people who spread the causes. He and his co-founders find a message that people care about, create a movement and let that movement with the core team leading from behind.

I was interested in how he builds these brands and whether he finds people who care about the causes and initiatives first, then they proceed to build.

WordStart: When you co-founded Rainmaking and later Startup Bootcamp – which now has 500+ mentors and investors – did you start out wanting to get people to spread the initiatives by themselves? Or did the spread occur without you planning it that way?

Martin B: I think that spread happens when you find something people truly care about. And when your format is inclusive, meaning that you basically allow everyone to take part in some way. Of our projects, the three that receive the most global attention are; Startup Bootcamp, Winning Without Losing and our latest initiative, the Rainmaking Loft – which is a big co-working hub in London. People like these projects, I believe, because they can take part in the movement. Some of our other businesses are more traditional, in the sense that we sell a product and charge a price. These can become very profitable, but less of a worldwide movement. We like to have both kinds of projects and to let them benefit from each other.

WordStart: When people connect with and end up being advocates for your cause, do you know and understand why they do it? How do you leverage that to get more people to spread the word for you?

Martin B: Basically, we just try to be helpful. People can have many different interests or angles when they get in touch. I just try to figure out how to help them best through a connection, advice or an idea. I think it is very simple; if you deliver value to others they will want to help you too. They will spread the message you evangelize and thus become part of the movement. If you don’t help or inspire the people who connect with you, they will look somewhere else.

WordStart: What are some of the most effective tools you use to collaborate across borders? How and why these tools?

Martin B: Mostly Skype, Dropbox, Google Docs and Podio.

Podio is a Danish startup that has moved on to become a huge success story and a global brand. On Podio, you can have a virtual office and collaborate really efficiently – even if your team is spread out all over the world.

We also use Asana and HipChat . We also use Doodle, Yammer and WordPress. Simplicity, efficiency and user-friendliness are the key criteria when we choose in the tools we use.

WordStart: How do you test the effectiveness of your message? What do you do when and if it doesn’t appeal to people after you’ve started marketing that message or product?

Martin B: We had our fair share of absolute failures. Only we don’t see it is failures, rather just as learning and feedback experiences.

The key is, as you say, to test. We test everything. That includes a new feature, a new team member, a new marketing message and a new partnership. It is almost always possible to take small steps, test the waters, and then go full speed ahead – only when you know that what you are doing resonates with the market. Big companies often carefully plan a campaign, carry it out at full steam and lose millions. As a startup you need to work smarter, leaner and more flexible than that.

Martin Bjergegaard will be in South Africa launching his book Winning Without Losing in Johannesburg – on 9 July and in Cape Town on – on 12 July. We have collaborated with them to kickstart their South African movement. Would you like to join us and win these shiny new books?

Apart from considering ourselves as a bit of a startup, we love starting things (hence our name) and we love startups. Yes, we love startups. There you have it, that four-letter ‘L’word.

As a startup working towards making an impact in your industry and the world, you want to read and know as much as possible. We’ve got your back. We have some copies of Winning Without Losing to give away.

Share your thoughts on Twitter about what it means to collaborate effectively, or to build what you love in business and life without losing either one. Make it less than a 100 characters, add @WordStarters and #wwl_jhb. We’ll let you know if you’ve won on Monday. If you are joining us at Jozi Hub, you get bonus points with a signed copy of your shiny new book and awesome pictures taken by Vimage Media.


Jun 11, 2013

WordStart on KayaFM with Stevie B: Our perpetual start-up journey

On 29 May, we were invited by KayaFM to talk about what we do and how we get the word started for brands. They had seen this feature on Entrepreneur Magazine.

Stevie B, the KayaFM host of KayaFM Bizz, asked our MD, Mongezi Mtati about:

  • Our marketing model and the overwhelmingly high costs for getting a startup out there.
  • Where we are going with the business and who we employ.
  • How make our money

The reality is, we see ourselves as a perpetual startup and with that, we don’t rest on what we know. We make decisions quickly and execute on them just as quickly. We don’t have a long queue of things waiting in our ‘To Do’ list.

Here are some quick ways to start the buzz about your business:

1. Share knowledge and build a platform

In his book APE (Author Publisher Entrepreneur), Guy Kawasaki talks about building a platform and shares insights from using Google+, Twitter, Facebook and niche platforms.

What are those niche platforms for your business? They can be industry and non-industry related.

Go share knowledge and add value.

2. Help your peers

We tend to overlook the people around us when we build a business, after all it requires single mindedness. Peer to peer word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools you can create and we specialize in making this connections. Start where you are.

Stevie B asked about our findings and insights in building a business. This is something South Africa and the world are is search of. It doesn’t have to be something as enormous as running a fund. Find a way to assist someone where you are.

Ready! Go!

3. Collaborate

We collaborate on certain projects and find that to add value in the business as a whole. It also enables us to market as a collective and reach people that our network doesn’t normally spread to.

About that interview on KayaFM in Johannesburg, please have a listen below and tell us what you think.

Seven online community building lessons: Our findings from Social Jozi

In November 2012, we took on the challenge of building a common interest community for people who want to explore Gauteng. The basic idea behind Social Jozi is; solve the problem of people constantly going into shopping malls while their bucket-lists, of things to do around them, kept getting bigger.

We collaborated as with other creative teams from Momu, AFROmedia, Crayonsky Giant and, of course us, WordStart. This meant we had access to multiple skill sets from the start. After four months and five events, more creative teams expressed an interest in building the community. We then collaborated with Shigo Creatives and Lorato Tshenkeng.

The solution? Start Social Jozi, a common interest community that has at least one outdoor event every month; create an easy going environment for people to share culture; and create original content as part of the process. It sounded easy enough and fun enough. Six months in, the community continues to grow and here are some lessons we picked up along the way:


1. Find the common interest

The key was to find something that people wanted to engage with and it became evident that people want to meet people. As simple and basic as that is, it remains true. The second part was to get people to engage with their surroundings through interesting activities that we tend to overlook and narrow that down to outdoor activities.

As the community grows, we are realizing that inasmuch we all want to be out there playing and meeting people, not all the activities will appeal to everyone in the community.


2. Community building and the art of Content Marketing

“It all began with a plan” is how this sentence was meant to start, and it did. We created a content plan and strategy that we stuck to from the beginning and this includes finding activities and content that the community gravitates towards. This is not necessarily pictures of kittens, which we like as much as the next guy.

We are finding that more people on Facebook are likely to share content than they are on Google+ and Twitter, as such, most of our attention goes to Facebook where most of the community is.

Soon after we began, in March to be precise, we were called by PiE Magazine who wanted to feature the community as a social alternative in Johannesburg. As an experiential community, they either had to do a shoot at one of our events, or we should have done a high quality shoot before the piece. This was the least expected content, on our part, to come in useful for interviews and we had collaborated with Vimage Media, a team of photographers and visual media specialists. (More about collaboration later.) The images were used as original content about the community.

PiE Mag - May 2013 issue


3. Collaborate

In the case of Social Jozi, we realized that there are far too many activities that people would be interested in. We stumbled upon adventures and events that we knew would require a much larger community to plan – from inception to hosting – so we collaborate with the organizers and teams to give our community access to more activities.


Vimage Media

Our two most successful collaborations to-date are with Vimage Media who sponsor our photography and the guys from Pure Rush who run some of South Africa’s top extreme sporting activities. It enables us to host a close-knit social explorer and adventurer community while creating original visual content that can be used at a later stage.


4. What matters to you might not matter to the community

This tends to be quite a tough one to swallow, because when you build a community you assume you know what’s right and you make the “rules”, then you soon realize that you don’t. Letting go of control for the community  to participate was hard for us, and it continues to be, that’s when the results start to show themselves.

The Social Jozi community is interested in events and activities that we did not expect and where the community goes, we facilitate the process. When you see yourself as the facilitator of a movement or community, growth starts to happen because the people themselves make the “rules” and it begins to self-organize.


5. Don’t chase the numbers, connect with people

When you build a community the idea of increasing numbers rapidly is very tempting, with Facebook promoted posts being as little as ZAR96.00 (approximately US$9.00) you can reach out to more people easier. Google Adwords and other options are also quite affordable.


Promoting posts on Facebook

The mission is to realize what people are interested in, as pointed out earlier. Once you know what it is – content and activities of interest – leverage that to increase engagement and connect with people.


6. Build a platform that spreads itself beyond you

In a recent study by Syncapse, it was revealed that the value of a Facebook “like” is  $174.17 which is far less than the mere $9, cited I earlier, to promote an update per day. That alone can be tempting if engagement isn’t an important factor, for you, in the community you are building.

We opted to build a platform where Social Jozi community connects with us, each other and the activities that are of interest to everyone. In this way, the community owns the platform and engages with it.


7. Influencers appear from the least expected places

When we started, the idea was to build it and identify influencers, potential brand evangelists and early adopters from the start. We identified the early adopters whom we thought would take an interest in Social Jozi and its activities. At the time, we had overlooked that some of those people would come from some of the least expected places.

In the past six months, Social Jozi has been adopted by people with a keen interest in its growth and activities. These are people who want to see the community grow, the ones who attend every single event and evangelize the cause. They are the ones we focus on, because they the people who are likely to tell us when we lose our bearing.

Who are some of the interesting communities that you follow? Tell us in the comments how you find them to be and why you love them.


Sep 10, 2012

Win a Free ticket to The Internet Show: A Web and Mobile Conference

WordStart got an opportunity to attend the two day Internet Show which is dubbed ” the only internet business show for digital marketing and online business”. It kicks off tomorrow (11 September 2012) at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg.

I’ll be speaking on Day 2 at the Content Management World. Naturally, because we know that you know someone who might want to attend – here’s your chance to win a prize valued at over R9 000.


The will give you access to:

  1. Cloud Computing World Africa 2012 - day conference that explores strategy and opportunity for cloud computing customers and their technology partners.
  2. Social Media World Africa 2012
  3. Digital Advertising  World Africa 2012
  4. E Commerce and Payments  World Africa 2012
  5. Content Management  World Africa 2012


2 Things get the ticket

  1. Tweet this post and CC @WordStarters, or share it on Facebook and CC this WordStart page.
  2. Write a short punchy comment below telling us why you want it.
  3. We’ll send you an email at 4:30pm the latest to let you know if you’ve won.

See you tomorrow.


WordStart is looking for a young sales rockstar

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!

Contact: Mongezi on mo at or on 083 757 3163.