BizTech

Business and Technology News from NUS

Month: November 2019

Optimising Social Media for Tech Startups

For businesses, having a strong presence on social media networks is now sort of equal to being present at all. The importance of marketing through social media may be backed up by the following numbers. Facebook has 2.45 billion monthly active users, YouTube – 1.9 billion, Instagram – a billion, and Twitter – 550 million. That’s quite an audience for any startup.

As a small business owner, you can benefit from social media in several ways. You’ll be able to promote your brand to a wider audience which gives a potential sales uplift, deepen your engagement with customers and develop loyal followership, decrease marketing costs, and more. One of the effective methods to strengthen your business by improving its recognition using social media would be to buy Twitter followers. Here are 7 things you can do to make the most out of your startup’s social media presence.

1. Create a Social Media Marketing Plan.

Just like starting a new business requires developing a plan, creating an account for your startup requires a strategic plan, too. What should you focus on?

  • Determine your goals. Is it building awareness? Generating sales? A combination of both?
  • Determine your target audience – their age, interest, income, etc. Plan how to interact with them. To know more about your followers, deep dive into social media analytics.
  • Find someone who will run your accounts. Make sure this person is aware of your objectives and the company’s message. If you are going to manage your social networks on your own, use some social media manager, such as HootSuite or Ping.fm. It will make it easier and faster as you’ll be able to manage all of your accounts on one site.

2. Create and Stick to Your Brand Image on Multiple Social Channels.

A common mistake of those who make a few social pages for their brand is being inconsistent and creating different images on different accounts. Successful branding makes your company recognizable. So, across all social networks you should use:

  • the same username
  • the same profile photo
  • the same cover photo
  • the same short description of your brand.

This way, there is no second-guessing whether it’s your brand when a follower sees your profile picture in their search results or your update in their news feed.

3. Create Visually Attractive Content.

According to Forbes, content marketing gets three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less. But with millions of photos uploaded daily on every network, you should make efforts to provide media that catches the eye of your target audience.

And don’t forget to post videos. After watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online.

So, your content should be visually engaging, quality, and creative. And don’t forget about aesthetics. Look how the posts on CocaCola’s Instagram account match.

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4. Harness the Power of the Hashtag.

Why use hashtags? They create engagement and increase the number of clicks, likes, and reposts.

Come up with the branded hashtags. It may be your company’s name and slogan. For a contest or giveaway, you can use special hashtags.

If you run a business with a local audience base, hashtag your city or town name to attract local customers. You can add location account tags into your bio space. This will narrow down your audience to local and help to attract the people who are most likely to make a purchase.

5. Encourage Engagement.

Instead of focusing on the number of followers, try to find people who are interested, loyal and engaged. They are more likely to repost your content, like your posts, and become customers. Social media should, after all, be social.

How to encourage interaction? Make your social wall interesting by posting content that people want to read, ask questions and take responses from the visitors, repost and comment on other users’ posts.

6. Collaborate with Social Media Influencers.

Since your brand is new and people have never heard of it before, it may feel somewhat risky buying from you. But if some popular Instagrammer says: “Hey guys, I’ve got this incredible thing from “brand name” the other day, you should check them out!”, chances are that many of their followers will actually check out. What are these chances?

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7. Run Contests and Sweepstakes.

Running a referral contest helps you generate high social engagement as participants share your social media giveaway with family and friends.

Running a hashtag contest or giveaway allows you to more accurately measure your engagement. Pair this strategy with a photo contest, and you’ll get the photos with a unique campaign hashtag that you can upload to an entry gallery.

With so many effective growth hacking strategies for your startup to try, you’ll improve your outreach and build a loyal customer base. Just be patient.

 

In Global Movements for Women’s Rights, Technological Literacy is Key

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Women’s fight for equality has been a hard and difficult road, and not always straightforward. The suffragette movement in the west began over 100 years ago, but women all over the world are still fighting, in some measure, for equality, for equity, or for equal representation. In the past several years a global movement seems to have coalesced and its pace accelerated, especially with impetus from the #MeToo tag, allowing women to share their stories, connect, and form international communities in unprecedented ways, all thanks to the internet.

Technology, specifically new methods of communication, have completely changed both the global conversation itself and the way that conversation is held in every corner of civilization. More than ever, women are using the interconnectedness of technology to network with each other and build strength through community in order to protect each other and shed light on their struggle – but unequal access to or knowledge of technology still leaves the door open for the possibility to create new victims, rather than empower existing ones.

On the surface, progress looks good, if occasionally halting. Powerful men are losing status and livelihood because of evil acts they’ve committed, some ongoing for years or even decades.  People are organizing and demonstrating and making positive change happen, single steps at a time. Those with more sophisticated pop-culture memories may remember an infamous email circulated by a Google employee in 2017 that assaulted the company’s increasing “PC” culture and made many demonstrably false claims about how women function in the workplace, and what they deserve to be compensated with in return. Google fired the employee, and women responded with wry fatigue, a total lack of surprise.

Fast forward to the following year – the end of 2018 saw a massive walkout of tens of thousands of google employees all over the world to protest sexual harassment policy and the “golden parachute” severance package given to a former executive accused of sexual harassment himself. The environment may not have changed much, but the attitudes have – women are taking control. The effects are seen even more drastically in developing countries, where women increasingly have less to lose by speaking up and more to lose by remaining silent. In Sudan, women have transformed facebook groups for local gossip into a massive protest network as part of a much larger protest effort against the government. The current regime is accused of humanitarian abuses, attacking and killing protestors, and the like. Beforehand, networks of women-only Facebook groups existed for women to chat and gossip about daily life, but as the national protest movement has grown, women have appropriated these groups to share personal information and photographs of individual police and government agents who have perpetrated crimes against civilians, using the information to harass and otherwise retaliate against them.

This tactic of singling out offenders, individualizing and removing their mob identity, has been an incredibly successful tool in a more general sense for a nascent movement focused on accountability for offenders and justice for their victims. There is, however, another secret: Facebook has been blocked by the Sudanese government, and these women access the groups through a Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection. In this light, a pattern emerges. In many authoritarian countries, social media is both the nexus through which protests and reactionary events are organized, and also the first internet or communications services to be axed by a government in fear of a larger popular uprising. Given that women’s rights are human rights, the parallels should be obvious. However, the same gendered roadblocks that push women away from tech can create a profound weakness for privacy and security of women everywhere, while depriving them of an indispensable tool.

Neither is this a layman’s sexist assumption – women use the internet more than men, but are less likely to use internet security tools, preferring instead to simply refrain from posting personal information or more tightly controlling their online friend groups. Technology has traditionally been seen as a “boy’s club,” and there are plenty of barriers, both immediate and systematic, for women to overcome, and this is likely partially why women tend to disproportionately shy away from more technologically sophisticated methods of protecting themselves. Hopefully, this will change as culture shifts towards a more egalitarian gender balance, but until then, women can remain vulnerable.

Even famous or powerful women can be just as, if not more vulnerable, than those of lower socioeconomic status when it comes to online privacy. An infamous hack in 2014 exposed thousands of celebrities’ personal photos stored on iCloud, many of an explicit nature. Overnight the privacy of dozens, if not hundreds of women was violated with very little effort. While this act may not appear overtly violent, the kind of psychological damage and irreparable spread of personally identifiable information involved certainly qualifies it as such. And yet, a ‘hack’ it was not: victims were targets of a phishing attack, where a seemingly innocent email encourages the victim to clink on a dangerous link and expose themselves to malicious code that can be used to steal their data – the same kind of attack used to target Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016. According to Apple engineers, the attack could have been prevented through the use of fairly simple two-factor authentication.

The aim here is not to blame the victims – far from it. There are sophisticated and fundamentally important tools in the world of internet security that can not only help protect women from violations of privacy and security, but can be used proactively to gain ground in the fight for the rights to safety, equality, and dignity. There are plenty of ways to find out more about the importance of tools like VPNs, identity verification and data encryption, the important thing is to spread awareness and encourage people to make use of it. More equal access to the internet means more power and self-determination for women, especially in developing countries.

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