A spectacular double rainbow quite literally stopped the traffic in Sydney this afternoon.

Another Social Media meltdown takes place here in Sydney and this time it’s over a stunning rainbow that lit up the sky on Wednesday. My little snap was featured on the Daily Telegraph and you can check out the other pics and read more by following the link below.

 

Source: A glorious Sydney sunset stops traffic thanks to rainbows and golden clouds

You will hear the term Influencer being used over and over again if you work in PR and Marketing. As a reminder, “influencers are Individuals who have the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of their (real or perceived) authority, knowledge, position, or relationship.”

What really makes you an Influencer?

1. So you have 76,000 followers on twitter and you definitely think you have what it takes to influence others. How many of your followers are actually real? Do they care about what you are talking about? Really? Ask yourself this question before bigging yourself up to others. We are all obsessed with pretty pictures and online numbers but when it comes down to it, what does this really mean?.

2. Do you talk about things for the sake of generating attention or are you actually passionate about what you preach. I think we are all guilty of writing about a ‘trending topic’ because we know it will get us more hits on the website, rather than highlighting something we truly believe in. You can still hold influence within a community if you only have 500 followers on twitter or a small following on your facebook fan page. If people are passionate about what you say and do, they will listen and be influenced by you.

3.Seeing the results is the real deal. If you have published an article or a video on behalf of a brand and people have interacted with it or shown some kind of interest, you are responsible for having an effect on behaviour and influencing others. However, if you try this again a few weeks later and nobody engages with you, then i’m afraid the influencer badge has to be passed on.

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4. Is your ego bigger than the moon? This is something I come across quite often and I don’t mind saying it. Some people are influencers and they really do play on it. Showing off like a kid who has got the candy just isn’t cool. People are probably happier to do business with someone who is more likeable + a lesser following! Real influencers know they are lucky to be in a position of authority and respect others.

5. Do you speak to a blogger because an organisation has told you to and then once the deal is done, you never go back? I think a real influencer maintains strong relationships with those who they are genuinely interested in. It becomes more about a long relationships than a quick win.

I really respect those who are doing it the right way but this is just my opinion. Any thoughts?

 

I never really thought about the little things that can make blogging hard work, until I set off on my travels and tried to stick to a content plan. Anything is possible on-line and it easy to keep connected but it’s worth thinking about a few factors that may restrict the blogging process.

WIFI Connection
The internet connection in other counties can be  temperamental at times and not quite like the ‘high speed’ we are used to in the UK.  It takes a little more patience to get things published and keeping on top of WordPress updates can prove challenging.

Time Difference
The time can be an issue if the difference is significantly more or less. Posting in an evening means that a UK audience may not be able to view it until the day after. It doesn’t cause a huge problem but it is worth pushing social promotion at the best times for your viewers.

Keeping Connected
If your visitors are predominately coming from the UK, it is important to try and keep up to date with them and tune into what has been published in magazines and newspapers before it hits other parts of the world.  Remember where you started and how important these people are.

Weather
It is harder to stay inside when the glorious sun is shining through the windows and tempting us to leave all tasks and dance outside. Learn to discipline yourself again and say no to drinks in the park until you have completed everything (easier said than done, I know).

Language and Tone
In other countries the language and use of slang can be very different and it is easy to pick this up. For example, crisps become ‘chips’ and pints become ‘scooners’. Sticking to your usual writing style should be key! Why would you change now?

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Apologies for silence on the blog over the last few months. I have been far too busy exploring parts of the world and meeting some extremely friendly and interesting people. This is the one chance I have had to write and I am currently on an overnight sleeper train to Chiang Mai from Bangkok, Thailand.

SriLanka was the first destination I stopped at en route to Sydney from the UK and as well as it being a beautiful country, it was interesting to witness development taking place rapidly as the country prepares for more tourism after the war, ending in 2008.

I stayed in various places around SriLanka including Colombo, Galle, Ella, Mirissa Beach, the cultural capital of Kandy, Polonnaruwa and the famous fishing village that appeared on Rick Stein’s documentary, Negombo. Combining friendly homestays and family run guest houses there were plenty of options when it came to selecting accommodation.  I soon started to notice TripAdvisor signs outside a selection of hostels and guest houses, along with lonely planet recommendations above handpicked restaurants which obviously made them stand out. Every time I stayed in a place for a couple of nights, TripAdvisor was mentioned in conversation by the proprietor and the excitement of positive reviews became apparent. This made me think about the importance of social media in a country encouraging more tourism.

Mahesh – Whale and Dolphin Tours

Mirissa beach was a great place to visit for typical beach life and amazingly good value seafood in the evening – straight from the ocean and onto the plate! Whilst staying here, I ventured out on a boat over the rough Indian Ocean to spot dolphins and whales in their natural habitat. The tours were starting to become very popular from Marissa beach as local fishermen had reported sightings of Killer whales, Great whales and Bryde whales which made this an exciting trip for travellers.

There was no guarantee that you would see anything on these trips but we were lucky enough to see dolphins, whales and a cheeky sea turtle. As both organised tourist boats and private boats were leaving from the same destination, competition for sales between ticket touts became obvious. This is when I got talking to Mahesh, who looked after our accommodation and booked us onto the tour. He was very keen to show me his Facebook fan page and seemed highly excited when I said I would write a review and upload my video of the dolphins to share with others. Mahesh was also in the early stages of creating a website to advertise the tours and it was great to see how enthusiastic about the plans he was.

Video of the beautiful Dolphins

 

Negombo- New Villa Looking For Exposure

The Villa Kapuru was a little more luxurious and slightly more expensive than previous rooms I had stayed in but because it was the last stop before a flight to Bangkok , a little relaxation was needed. The villa offered a boutique experience with authentic personal décor in each one of the 12 rooms, a TV, WIFI and a soothing swimming pool. I had actually seen this Villa advertised on Agoda and I booked before arriving.

TripAdvisor and Agoda rule the roost right now among backpackers in Sri Lanka (or at least among those with a wifi connection!), and it is amazing how many travellers pre book their accommodation instead of rocking up to a guest house. I must admit, I found this a lot easier and less time consuming.

When speaking to the owner of this villa, Nikala Kapuru, he was keen for honest feedback as he wanted to improve the service and provide a more luxurious offering. This was a personal way of involving his customers and something that would probably not happen in the UK where social media is more commonly used.  I found it inspiring to hear his story and how much effort had gone into building the business.

I  came to the simple conclusion that most travellers will look for certain factors when using social apps whilst on the move.

  1. High review score
  2. Check the location
  3. Compare the price
  4. Facilities – usually wifi, A/C, pool and TV

Then this is pretty much it for the decision process before clicking- book. Does it also mean that these reviews take the fun out of travelling and people are missing a few gems? Or has it simply made things easier?

We landed in Mumbai on Sunday Morning and it has been none stop since day one! I will be bringing you a more in depth roundup at the end of the week but I just wanted to cover a few of the main points so far. Firstly Mumbai is an amazing city, full of energy, vibrant colours, TASTY food and extremely friendly people. As Mumbai is a diverse country, the level of poverty here can be overwhelming and it has definitely made me open my eyes, engage my brain and find out more about politics and culture. That said, people seem happy with what they have and make the most of sharing food, laughing together and caring for family members. Which is what ‘social’ stands for in my opinion. I have never felt this welcome in a country before.

SOCIAL MEDIA WEEK

The opening events consisted of an introduction from the SMW organisers, including Ben Scheim, Director of Social Media Week and Alex Oberberg Head of Markets Engagement for Nokia, who also set up the brilliant Nokia connects competition, to make this possible for us. We then listened to various talks from influential members in the Digital and Social sphere.

Kalyan Varma
Kalyan Varma is a wildlife photographer, filmmaker and explorer focusing on environmental issues in India. He freelances and has worked with some great publications, including the environmental NGOs and television channels like National Geographic and BBC.
Kaylan talked about how he decided to follow his dream of becoming a wildlife photographer and how Social Media helped him to get a lucky break with the BBC and now his photography continues to be shared amongst thousands of fans.

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Picture taken at NCPA Art Gallery, Mumbai

He made a very good point, referring to Led zeppelin (a favourite of his) and how something becomes memorable when you listen to it over and over again. “The more you consume.. the more you remember and connect with it”. You can take a look at his work over at www.kalyanvarma.net.

Max Hegerman : Managing Director of Edelman Digital, India
Max has worked in advertising, marketing, branding and communications for over twenty years, planning for brands like Saturn, Nike, Oakley and Pizza Hut. He has been working in Mumbai for five years. Max summed social media up in one sentence , “It’s about creating stories, how we communicate and curate content is essential to business growth.” He talked about how targeted campaigns are even being set up in rural India in attempt to communicate with the wider public.

“Everyone has a desire to share, we take photos before we even eat these days and it is our eyes and ears that really matter.” Max Hegerman

Alex Cambell: Director of Enterprise sales IMImobile
Reach your consumers in the right channels and think about how relevant your content is. Alex took us through some great examples including the memorable Olympic Games campaign and how effective social media was for their communication strategy. Twitter didn’t exist when London received the news about being able to host the 2012 Olympics! Then in 2012 the digital sphere had changed as Facebook, for one, became a major platform for all to use. A live twitter stream was shown via an Xbox which demonstrated how technology could be embraced and used in this way,  broadcast on the BBC.

Conversation needs to be managed  as complaints are now live within social networks and not over the telephone,  so they can cause further problems in the public eye. Follow ups should take place to ensure a relationship is held with that person and the customer remains satisfied.

Summary

Be inclusive
Know your audience
Stay relevant
Plan
Back it up

DAY 2
Today there was a discussion about the role of social media in politics which raised a lot of interesting discussion around how this is being used powerfully but also, what implications it brings. The panel included Priti Gandhi, head of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) communication, Mayank Gandhi, head for the Aam Admi Party, Priyanka Chaturvedi, national spokesperson for the All India Congress Committee and Gul Panag, actor and activist and Dilip Chalil, secretary Congress.
In an honest and open fashion, the panel discussed the importance of social media but also the impact of what a new medium can have on their parties, referring to the overall communication process. From twitter trolls to risky hashtags, questions were raised and answered and it was interesting to hear how things are changing online in India and what effect this is having and will continue to have on the economy.

“Close to 60 million new voters have been enrolled for the 2014 election, of whom 17.6 million are 18-19-year-old first-timers”.

I managed to get this very short but extremely exciting interview with Priti Gandhi (@MrsGandhi). You may need to turn up the volume as I didn’t have a mic handy!

I must add that the featured image was taken by myself whist visiting the Gateway of India. It is stunning and definitely worth a visit!

I have always wanted to go to Social Media Week in London but due to a busy work schedule, I have never had the chance to visit.  Winning a place as a #SMW reporter in Mumbai would be a dream come true. As you can tell from my blog, I love everything about Social Media and Online PR and I even presented a dissertation on the subject of Advertising in Social Spaces back in 2009. My day to day job involves a lot of social networking and successful outreach to bloggers is something I pride myself on. I recently received praise for being an influential PR Pro dominating Social Media.

The Power of Social

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This opportunity would give me the chance to share my knowledge and learn from others in the industry. I am often told that I spend too much time on my phone and given the chance to try out a Nokia Lumia 1020, would only give me more of an excuse! You will definitely see a lot of blogging, tweeting and Instagram footage.

Mumbai is a place that I have always wanted to visit as the hustle and bustle of this city really draws me in. Being a 26 year old female with a lot of fire in my belly, an adventure like this would be amazing.

  If I get to go here….

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I will be this excited!

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 and I promise I will capture the best moments…

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to bring you images as lovely as this pony stood in a field.

photo-3 (2)[Taken with my own mobile phone]

 

Find me on twitter @onlineprpixie

Read more about this competition here

 

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