Browsing articles in "Social Community"

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.

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.


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.