Browsing articles in "Event"
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?


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.


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.


Nov 11, 2011

We are off to the Tech City UK Entrepreneurs Festival

Some weeks ago we got an awesome mail from The Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship about the Tech City UK Entrepreneurship Festival, where they asked if we’d be interested in attending. After screams of delight and much excitement, we politely and calmly replied ‘It looks interesting, please send more info’.

Tech City UK Entrepreneurship Festival

Situated in the heart of London’s East End, Tech City is the hub for tech startups and medium sized innovative companies. This festival forms part of the Global Entrepreneurship Week, where over 300 startups and tech companies from across the globe will come together to share, learn and be inspired. .

It takes place from the 14th to the 19th of November. That’s this coming Monday.

The first two days of the festival are a boot camp with over 50 top entrepreneurs, where they mentor the companies in attendance and connect them with investment opportunities.

The Tech City UK Entrepreneurs Festival culminates with the Top 20 Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs and Investors presenting their insights.

The inside scoop and what you want

The festival is open for delegates to pose questions to the over 60 speakers, and we thought you may want to know a thing or two. So, here’s the deal we’ll be Tweeting live from the event and can pose your questions to some of the speakers.

What would you like to know?

Have a look at our Tweets on @WordStarters and @Mongezi. Send us some of your own questions and what you may want us to capture while we are there.