• MXit, Leading Social Media in SA

    A study released by technology research organisation World Wide Worx  and online reputation management group Fuseware, has found that nearly a quarter of South Africa’s population actively uses social network, MXit.

    The study also found that Facebook appears to be losing some of its early appeal as the youth turn to BlackBerry’s instant messaging service instead.

    They say currently, MXit remains the most popular site by far, with 10-million active users.

    To read the article titled, “MXit leads the social media charge in SA,” click here.

    Business Day
  • 10 Tips to Give Your Charity A Digital Spring Clean this Spring Day

    Happy Spring Day!

    As we celebrate the packing away of winter clothes, heaters and blankets and look forward to the advent of Spring and warmer weather, isn't it time you gave your charity a much needed digital spring clean? Dust away the cobwebs with these 10 tips we've devised to revitalise your fundraising, both online and offline.

    1. Review your website

    Is your website design tired and your site cluttered? Could you be improving the flow of traffic from the homepage to the key pages that help you achieve your objectives? Could you rework your home page to make it more effective? Can it tell your story better? Maybe you could add some video, a picture gallery or just add social buttons, so people can share your content.

    2. Is your e-mail tired?

    Maybe your e-mail too could benefit from a refresh. Do you have an effective e-mail template? Do your subject lines need revamping? What about your database? Are you still sending e-mail to people who don't exist? Do you give them the opportunity to opt in to your e-mail newsletter or update their details via your website?

    Make sure too that you have an automated e-mail programme that welcomes new supporters too. There are a variety of ways you can keep supporters interested and loyal using e-mail.

    3. What conversations are you having?

    Do you get a lot of feedback when you post on Twitter or Facebook? Do you really have interesting things to say and do you know when to say them? Social media is not a one-way channel. Reinvigorate your pages or feeds by posing interesting questions and get to know your audience better. Post better content - content that is shareable. You'll reap the benefits of traffic and awareness.

    4. Is your database in no man's land?

    Do you have databases in different places? Isn't it time you consolidated and updated them? Not only does this save time and energy but your charity will benefit from having one source of truth. It doesn't matter where or what this database is (OK maybe it does depend what it is, but more about that later), just ensure that you have the data you need for you to create intelligent campaigns and provide brilliant service to your donors. Also de-duplicate your records to get a much more accurate picture of your supporter numbers.

    5. Purge the disinterested

    Do you have inactive donors? Query your database and if you have records for supporters who have never made a donation, never attended an event, haven’t responded to any of your efforts for five years, perhaps it’s time to purge their records and free up some space.

    6. Rotate your team

    Do you have fundraisers who would be better suited to writing content for your website? Could they keep your Facebook page or Twitter feed up-to-date? Or maybe they should be out with people, face-to-face fundraising. Do an audit of your team's strengths and weaknesses and look for opportunities where they could excel.

    7. Get some new links to your website

    There may be a huge opportunity for you to get links from your supporters’ corporate websites or blogs. Do an audit of who they are and what links they can possibly offer you. Then approach them to ask them for specific links to specific pages on your site with specific wording. Make sure you use keywords that are key to your charity. You will benefit from moving up higher in search engine rankings and the increase in traffic to your site that results from this exercise.

    8. What keywords do you want to be found for? Where are the gaps?

    Do you know what people are searching for when it comes to your website? Granted, the majority of keyword searches are brand terms but maybe you could be picking up more traffic around keywords that have high demand and are relevant to content on your site. Look at key themes of your site and try to find keywords with high searches and low competition. Create relevant content on your site to help drive more traffic to these pages. Make sure it's all in line though with your objectives. e.g. jumble sale. Create a page for promoting jumble sales for your charity. Give people clear instructions how they can host a jumble sale and pay the money earned into your charity bank account.

    9. Are you tracking everything online - end to end?

    Do you know how to measure awareness of your charity online? Can you tell whether a specific channel like e-mail or Facebook is driving revenue for your charity? Make sure you have Google Analytics installed on your website and work on a tracking plan to ensure all campaigns and activity on and offline is tracked. This will make the world of difference to your organisation!

    10. Refresh your skillset

    Sometimes charities ask for volunteers to work with them on projects. But maybe they have skills you could be utilising in-house. Ask volunteers to update your database, write content, collect supporter testimonials, film a video and keep audiences updated on social media. Sure they may need a little training, but keeping your charity fresh and relevant doesn't need to be a resourcing headache. Just make sure you always steer them according to the overall fundraising strategy and things won't come undone.


    **Feeling inspired or stuck?**

    Get in touch with us to discuss how we can help you with some of these tasks. Or share some of your ideas in the comments below.

    **About Digital4Good**

    Based in Cape Town, South Africa, Digital4Good helps charities make the most of digital media so that they can embrace digital technologies to engage more with their supporters, increase awareness of their cause as well as achieve their fundraising objectives.

    With many years experience in digital charity fundraising working with top local and international charity brands, we can help you cut through the hype and use the tools that make sense for your charity. We are committed to positive results and ROI for our clients. Changing the world…one pixel at a time.

    Contact us at www.digital4good.com or like us on www.facebook.com/digital4good.


  • Site Launched as Facebook Rival

    Four United States students who launched a new social networking site called ‘Diaspora’ are stressing its ease of use and stricter privacy policy, in a bid to make waves in a field dominated by Facebook.

    The version, which is available to software developers since last week, is giving outsiders an opportunity to work on applications within its framework, ahead of a public launch due at a yet undisclosed later date.

    "This is now a community project and development open to anyone with the technical expertise who shares the vision of a social network that puts users in control," say the founders at the project site: www.joindiaspora.com.

    To read the article titled, “Pro-privacy website launched as Facebook rival,” click here.

    IOL Technology
  • Facebook Launches Panic Button for Child Safety

    Social networking website, Facebook, has agreed to adopt a panic button aimed at improving the online safety of its younger users.

    According to a child protection group, Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), says the launch of button, which follows its long campaign, will allow children and teenagers to report suspicious behaviour and get help, advice and support about staying safe online.

    "We know from speaking to offenders that a visible deterrent could protect young people online," says Jim Gamble, chief executive of CEOP, adding that the button should provide reassurance to parents whose teenagers use the site.

    To read the article titled, “Facebook launches panic button for child safety,” click here.

  • You Can`t Ignore the Mobile Web

    I've had a bit of involvement in the use of cell phones in advocacy and communication campaigns, and for a long time I've believed that most organisations should be taking mobiles much more seriously than they already do.

    But some recent meetings have again brought home to me in a powerful way.

    At the recent Digital Citizens Indaba and Highway Africa Conference at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, I attended a session by Vincent Maher and Nic Haralambous, from Vodacom. As part of their workshop on Social Media in Everyday Life, Vincent Maher presented some eye-opening statistics on the extent to which people are using cell phones to access the Internet.

    All across Africa, in almost every country, Internet usage via cell phone is growing like crazy -- not by 10 or 20 percent, but by several hundred percent, year-on-year. For example, in the top 12 countries, the number of overall page views (on cell phones)  increased by 422% between April 2008 and April 2009. Over a similar period, the number of unique users increased by 169%.

    It's not just richer folks with contracts who are doing this. According to Maher, in South Africa, 90% of data users are on Prepaid. Most are young black men (aged 20-30), and about half are unemployed. 46% access the mobile Internet more than 5 times a day. For the vast majority of these people, their first contact with the Internet was through a mobile phone.

    And don't expect that people who access the Internet via cell phone are going to 'graduate' to using computers. Most of them primarily access the Internet through their phone, and use social networks ONLY on their phone -- for example, Facebook, Vodacom's service, The Grid, and of course, MXIT.

    According to Maher, after being around for about a year, The Grid has 860 000 users in South Africa -- that means it's fast catching up to Facebook, with nearly 1-million users in South Africa.

    But when it comes to social media on phones, the big kid on the block is definitely MXIT. If you don't know it, MXIT is a cellphone-based social network and chat application developed in South Africa. It has caught on like wildfire among South Africa's youth. According to Maher, it has over 12-million users.

    Which brings me to the second meeting that had me sitting up and taking notice. I visited the Impact Centre in Athlone, Cape Town, where Marlon Parker works with a team of people to provide drug counselling to the youth, using MXIT. Parker is a lecturer at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and does this in his spare time. Using a specially-developed computer application, the counsellors sit at their computers at the centre, and from there they're able to counsel young people using text, via MXIT. Counselling hours are at a set time each day. Users can log in to MXIT using the relevant key words, and they're able to stay anonymous. According to Parker, in this way their small team of counsellors is able to assist some 10 000 youngsters across Cape Town.

    Not only are these numbers impressive, but new social media such as MXIT offer something else -- interactivity. With a few exceptions, expensive behaviour-change campaigns in traditional media such as newspapers, radio and TV have generally failed miserably in telling people what they should be doing. But the new media are starting to show results, because they allow a whole different kind of communication and relationship between the participants.

    Parker's small team of volunteers has been able to show impressive results, on a shoestring budget -- they don't get any funding at all. What's more, because they're on MXIT a lot and are constantly chatting to the youth, the counselling team is aware of new trends and developments on the street, long before they've come to the attention of the mainstream media - and even of parents and teachers.

    This post was first published at http://wingseed.wordpress.com

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