Social Media

Blogging

How To Double Your Instagram Following


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INSTAGRAM PHOTO STORY TIPS

  • When was the photo taken?
  • What were you doing during the picture? After? Before?
  • What did the object taste or feel like?
  • Does it remind you of something that other people can relate to? Elaborate on that idea [just a little bit].

1. I started networking within Instagram itself through the use of popular hashtags. Last week some companies + magazines have found me this way!

2. Provide a little narrative background for pictures.  I’m not suggesting you write an entire blog post but use thoughtful words to further your connection with viewers and tell the story behind the image.

3. It’s a great way to make an announcement.  Think business cards, work specials, new blog posts, upcoming events, important dates, cool behind-the-scenes stuff, product reviews.

4. Get out there and start a conversation.  I click on every user who likes my photos.  Follow them back if you can, and stay active in their feed through likes and comments.

5. Lump your social media tasks with Gramblr, an application that lets you upload photos to Instagram from your desktop.

6. You can add your feed to Hootsuite and save time catching up with everyone’s photos.

7. Cross-promote. Post your instagram photo on Facebook or Twitter with a catchy phrase to entice readers to click over.

8. The key to getting your following off the ground is engaging with the people who already follow you.  The more your are out there in the Instagram-sphere the more likely new followers will run into you and click over. Especially if your comment provides extra value to the original photo. Tag your photos with related keywords. My personal approach to Instagram is to provide unique information that is mostly exclusive to Instagram itself.  As you can see I have a live feed on my sidebar that offers my regular readers a preview of things they have not seen.

If you want to drive traffic to your blog from Instagram remind your viewers that there is a link in your profile [write in those words “link in profile” within the description] and only show the first or last step of the project.  Think of the photos as an appetizer to your main course ( the blog post).  I honestly don’t receive tons of direct traffic from Instagram itself.  (Keep in mind—people might be manually typing the URL address in.) However it’s a fabulous platform to bring awareness to your brand.  There’s something very powerful about constantly reminding people you’re there, and making great content as well!

9.  If you’re posting a “preview” of a blog post you can always add a comment later on, letting your followers know that its #OnTheBlog.

10. Be consistent and persistent.  Don’t worry about it too much.  It’s not the health of your children or the engine of your car.  It’s just Instagram. My best advice when you’re feeling down about your growth is to keep your head down and work. You’ll see results over time!

11. Use Padgram to add hashtags to your post.  You’ll want to use this convenient app because it suggests hashtags as you’re typing.  I found #instafood and #thatsDarling this way!

Blogging

How Do You Keep People Coming Back?


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Building a brand is a funny thing. You want people to get the clearest understanding of who you are, but often you over complicate the process. My experience has taught me it’s really not that hard. Keeping things absolutely simple is key. If your business is online, it’s especially important to make your product easy to use for the user. Successful branding hinges on people coming back for more (products, information, entertainment). This means you need to become a habit for them. A habit is defined as: “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.” In his book on building habit-forming products, Nir Eyal (a Stanford lecturer + author) shares a perspective on how to think about building products people want to use. It’s called the Fogg Behavioural Model and was created by Stanford computer scientist, B. J. Fogg:

The Fogg Behaviour Model illustrates that the best path to get more people using your product is to make your product easier to use. If you make your product simpler, you increase the probability of your customers crossing the “Activation Threshold” + performing the behaviour.

Nir notes,

“Influencing behaviour by reducing the effort required to perform an action is more effective than increasing someone’s desire to do it. Make your product so simple that users already know how to use it, and you’ve got a winner.”

Remember this when you’re working on your next project. Keep it simple + you’re guaranteed to make your product, a habit.

❤ My Work, Modelling

Knitwear Shoot for BaliBali in Camps Bay, Cape Town!


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Headshots in Camps Bay

We did a fabulous shoot recently in Camps Bay for BaliBali Fashion Boutique, Cape Town. I think the beaches in Cape Town are gorgeous! We are working on their marketing posters for the Lifestyle Centre in Kloof Street as well as for new brochures + digital advertising. I’ve designed + launched all their social media platforms and our new “Hippi Chic” campaign is looking good! Summer is here! (Please note all these pics are copyright. If you want to use any of these photos, get in touch with me here).

Camps Bay Cape Town

Cape Town Camps Bay

Camps Bay Cape Town

Camps Bay Cape Town
Camps Bay Cape Town

Blogging

20 Ways To Get Serious About Blogging


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1. Think long & hard about your blog categories

Your categories are the main sections or “magazine columns” that you feature on your blog. Your categories can be a drop down menu on your sidebar. They should be simple and logical. Use hierarchies to organise your ideas better. Try think of a catchy angle for them so you peak your viewer’s interest and stand out from the rest.

2. Design your site as simple as possible

Keep your design simple and appealing. Make it intuitive and well-structured. People should intuitively know how to navigate your space. Make pages along the top for sections you want to highlight. Use a category drop down menu and a follow widget wouldn’t hurt. If there are other platforms you want your viewers to know about, include those widgets also. A direct link to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram invites viewers to connect with you.

3. Operate it like a real magazine

Decide on your target audience just like Cosmo or House and Garden does. This means deciding:

+ Who you want to appeal to (age group, gender, interests)

+ What your content will be (which topics you choose)

+ How involved you’ll get in your articles (short, long, lots of resources)

Plan out each piece well. It’s always a good idea to think about a catchy title and invest time into each piece. Edit and format your posts and add great designs to them. Write in a natural tone and keep it simple. Decide on your intentions with each post. Publish often (weekly is great). If your favourite magazine missed a few issues, you’d eventually find a replacement.

4. Share each post into infinity

You write and publish something once, but who’s to say you can’t share that post once per month on Twitter, a couple times a year on Facebook or every other month on Google+? Pinterest is a lovely fresh platform with a constant stream of ideas. It’s a great way to advertise your blog. Make a board dedicated to your blog and pin your stuff to it! It will make it easier for people to find you and re-pin your stuff. Due to the “timeline” nature of most social media platforms, if you only share something once, it will only be seen by a small percent of your followers. It’s also a good idea to make an advert with your heading and URL on for sharing purposes.

5. Make sure you know what  your audience wants and needs

Your readers/clients have specific questions, desires and needs. You can start to figure out these needs by putting yourself in their shoes. What would you want to read about if you were them, visiting your blog? What tools can make things simpler for your viewers? Why do they come to your blog? Read more about figuring this out here.

6. Post frequently + consistently, with quality as your best friend

Remember to keep your material current and up-to-date. Try cater for a blog audience while maintaining your brand goals and sanity. This is, of course, if you are operating your blog like a business.

7. Invest in your blog

The things you spend money on are the things you want to get value out of. The things you spend money on are the important things that you care about. The best things in life are free, but some of the things that help you create your best life cost money. Invest in marketing your blog online or elsewhere if you want the traffic that will get you money in the long run.

8. Format your posts to be read by busy, lazy humans

This means short titles, bullet points and headings. Also, it means blog posts which aren’t too long.

9. Create a content calendar

….One that includes suggested post dates and categories. Editorial Calendar WordPress plugin is great because I like a visual representation of when I should post. Without a calendar and some type of plan, you’ll get around to that one post about that one thing on the 10th of NeverEver.

10. Add in promotion & maintenance tasks

Sponsored blogging (getting paid to publish promotional stuff) must be scheduled into your usual blogging routine. A lot of the time, clients/sponsors need a date for publishing. It’s good to plan ahead so you can give them an exact date.

11. Establish a writing routine that gives you time to think

Creative people are always thinking. Sometimes I have great ideas that pop into my head which I jot down. When I get around to writing a post, I’m always excited to publish it straight away. But I’ve learnt that it’s better to save the draft and give it an ‘incubation’ period in your head. Trust me, you’ll think of different things to add over a period of just 24 hours which will add value to your post.

12. Be you. We won’t like you if you’re being someone else

Enjoy your own space online. Add photos of your life. Write the way you would speak in real life. See how you do this in my post Find Your Voice Online.

13. Get high quality photos of yourself

It’s a good idea to have quality photos of yourself. These will come in handy for your “about” page, as well as any articles you write where you have personal experience. Allow your readers to connect with you! Keep a professional flavour by getting nice photos taken. It’s good for you and will be a plus for the photographer. There’s power in collaboration!

14. Audit your blog regularly

That post you wrote three months ago? It totally needs a link to the post you published earlier this week because they’re heavily related and your readers will be happy to have guided/quick access to both. Always keep in mind that no matter what order you write things in, any post or page on your website has the potential to be the first post a visitor sees. P.S. Blog audits are also a great way to make sure you’ve included your affiliate links and product/service links in all the organic ways possible.

15. Check your grammar

Make sure to double-check your articles.

16. Be available + interactive

No one likes a person who never responds to anything. Granted, you may be so “big time” that you can’t get to every blog comment or tweet, but none of them? I’ll accept that when you become the President of the United States. Even then, you can hire some people to help you out!

17. Pay attention to the questions your readers ask

There may be a new blog post you’ve written, a new eBook you can sell, a problem you can fix or a service you can offer that is lingering in questions from readers. Cultivate community around your blog so people feel they are in a safe space where they are supported and encouraged. Grow a family around your blog. You do this by being attentive to your readers.

18. Guest post like a champ

Once you have a healthy collection of quality content to lead people back to, pitch to some sites that fit your brand (or that are frequented by your ideal readers) to do a guest post. Think about larger online magazines and websites as well. These guest posting opportunities will help you build relationships and will lead new readers back to your site.

19. Accept guest posts like a champ

If someone else is willing to say some valuable and entertaining stuff on your blog, let them. Make sure each post fits your blog, fits your readers, and is the type of quality content you want your blog to be known for. Make sure to promote your guest authors and show them love. They will likely spread the word of their guest post, which can potentially give you lots of new readers.

20. Stay focused

We creatives like shiny new projects and get distracted easily. When you have lots of ideas racing through your head, stop and focus your energy on one thing at a time. Make a list. Lists are great.

Photo: Death To The Stock Photo

❤ My Work, Social Media Marketing + PR

Rotary Club of Algoa Bay Social Media PR + Marketing


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Rotary Blogger South Africa

Skybok enjoyed creating this fresh new blog for The Rotary Club of Algoa Bay. Good causes always need good websites. Join them on Facebook here. The Rotary Family Health Days 2015 will be held in the heart of Zwide Township at Ubuntu. It was incredible to hear Bill Clinton travelled there last year. It’s the home of the Ubuntu Education Fund. The RFHD are 3 days of free health care for the community. Skybok shot and produced the Algoa Bay Rotary Club’s video profile recently, as well as their soup kitchen for Madiba Day at Provincial Hospital.

Rotary at Ubuntu Education Centre South Africa

Blogging

Finding Your Voice Online


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1. Speak like you do in real life, online.

Communicate to your virtual audience in the same way as you would talk to the one person in the world who you feel most comfortable with. Why? Because that’s who you really are. That’s the way you talk, those are the things you say. So just type in the same way you would talk to this person in real life and that is your “voice” online.

2. Find a comfortable way of writing to communicate your thoughts online.

What things interest you? What things make you smile? What do you really think/value/believe in/feel? What do you find amusing or not so amusing? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google+ and the countless other realms are only conduits for you to reflect your inner spirit in a cyber realm. There’s no one else like you! Embrace that. You surely want the expression of you across all your platforms to be accurate, don’t you? That way there’s no mixed signals with the people you care about. On top of writing about your interests, you need to write so people won’t get bored.

How to write with ease and make your posts effective:

  1. Use simple language
  2. Use short sentences
  3. Use bullet points
  4. Use metaphors
  5. Write many drafts of your article/status updates/posts before publishing them
  6. Use photos
  7. Practice using your “voice” in everyday stuff. Really look at how you write text messages, respond to comments on public platforms and in e-mails. Get to know how you express yourself and keep it congruent with your online platforms
  8. Respond kindly to all comments/e-mails/tweets and virtual interactions
  9. Do regular audits of your old blog posts, status updates and posts.
  10. Encourage your audience to approach you!

3. Constantly look for inspiration.

I love Pinterest, music, other blogs and everyday things that are happening to me! I use these as catalysts for articles and updates/posts because they mean something to me and chances are they will be relevant to my audience, too.

4. Keep up to date with your goals.

This involves “thinking on purpose sessions” as Joyce Meyer instructs. And wine. These are fun brainstorming sessions I would suggest having with yourself at least once a week to brainstorm new topics/angles for what your audience would like to read.

5. Get up-to-speed with your field of ‘expertise’.

If your blog is topical (deals with a specific field), get up to speed on current happenings and events so you can offer something valuable and relevant to your desired audience.

6. Be Passionate about what you are writing about.

Because it all begins there.

7. Hone your intention.

Is it to help, enlighten, entertain, inform, discuss?

8. When using your voice online, run the “Digital Presence” Four-Way Test

(my personal adaptation of the Rotary Four-Way Test)

+ Is it the Truth? Do you believe in what you are saying… really? Are you saying it with comfort and ease; expressing your honest personal and creative views?

+ Is it Fair to all concerned? Think about whether your audience will feel repelled or energized. Think what makes you feel repelled from other people when they post stuff. Then don’t post that kind of stuff. The aim is always to make sure your audience feels better after having read your stuff than they did before they read it (life lesson in general)

+ Will it build Goodwill & Better Friendships? Will people reading your material feel like they can comment and interact with you? Would they want to have a coffee with you in real life?

+ Will it be Beneficial to all Concerned? Is what you are saying helpful to your audience?

9. Things you want to aim for with your blogging/social presence in general:

Credibility 

Your readers respect that you have a fair share of experience in life/your field and can truly give them good insight and guidance to help them.This is especially true if you’re running your blog as a business (for profit)

Authenticity

Your readers feel you are being transparent and open with them. You are being the ‘you’ who you are in real life

Mutual Respect

Your readers will honour you if you honour them. They will interact with you if you take the time to respond to them and visit their portals.

Visual Appeal

Your readers are human beings and need to feel visually engaged in what you are writing about. Make sure to include photos and infograms (don’t know what an infogram is? I didn’t either. But now I love them. I have a collection of them on Pinterest here.) Include a couple personal pictures also so your readers feel connected with you. Keep it exciting!

Sustainability

Don’t start something you can’t finish. Keep the creative energy flowing. Keep the content high quality and truly ‘you’. Continue sharing and embracing the beauty of others who you have learnt from. Link back!!

Photo: Death to the Stock Photo

❤ My Work, Blog, Modelling, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Stay Port Elizabeth: City Lodge Courtyard Hotel


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Tamika-Court-Yard-Hotel-3
Lobby area

About

The Courtyard Hotel in Port Elizabeth has 91 suites and studios and it’s located 8 minutes from the CBD and 10 minutes from the Airport. It offers stunning views of Algoa Bay + is a 5 minute walk from one of Port Elizabeth’s premier attraction, The Boardwalk Hotel & Casino.

Where?

Port Elizabeth, South Africa

My Opinion

City Lodge Hotel Group has a beautiful thing going here. The Courtyard Hotel was pretty on the eye, well-run and inviting. The staff were all very capable of making me feel safe, organised and welcome. They truly aimed to give me the best service and insight into the city’s tourist attractions for my convenience and pleasure. I had two dedicated receptionists – Pretty and Roniqu- who were cheerful and professional. A special mention must also be made to Matthews and Thabisa.

City Lodge
Standard bedroom

I found the room very clean and spacious. A large bathroom offering a bath and shower greeted me, as well as a self-catering kitchenette with coffee and tea making facilities. This was beyond my expectations for a standard room. I enjoyed the full DSTV bouquet and the balcony, overlooking Port Elizabeth’s gorgeous ocean. A thrilling sunrise greeted me when I woke up from a cold South African winter’s night – Thank goodness for the air conditioner to warm me up. I was also pleased with the cosy bed and the extra blanket.

The complimentary drinks and snacks at the fireplace in the hotel’s lounge relaxed me after I arrived to check in following a busy day! Complimentary hot snacks and drinks – alcoholic and non-alcoholic – are available to guests every night between 5pm and 7pm. The sight of their large, well-furnished lobby and seating area was a sight for sore eyes. I loved the modern feel of the whole hotel. I particularly remember how sweet the air smelt when I caught sight of their clean, blue pool overlooking the salty PE sea.

Breakfast offered a delectable selection for guests. There was an extensive buffet for both Continental and full English options. Here’s a tip: Try ordering a white omelette – the chef prepares it superbly.

If you like your Internet access, The Courtyard Hotel offers 60 minutes complimentary Wif-Fi daily. If you’re a health fundi, they also have a gym! For business travel, make sure to use their conference room.

Day Excursions/Activities

Port Elizabeth has a lot to offer the tourist. A day trip to Kragga Kamma Game Park can be organised by the hotel. For R185 you can do a 2-hour safari and the hotel can organise transport for you. If you like wildlife, my other suggestions are:

The Boma Reptile World

SAMREC

Seaview Predator Park

African Dawn Wildlife Sanctuary in Jeffrey’s Bay (about 1 hour outside of Port Elizabeth)

Again, the hotel offers a “kind-cierge” which organises day trips for you.

For an experience at sea, I recommend Jester Cruises. They offer 90 minute cruises through the bay at R150 on Saturdays and Sundays between 3pm and 4:30pm. On Wednesday and Saturday evenings, their braai cruises are R100 more per person and run from 6:30pm-10pm.

The Spa

If you’re anything like me, you would enjoy a true African Spa experience. I visited the Africology Spa – a 5 minute walk from the hotel. The hotel can organise a shuttle for you. This spa experience is definitely a must for the tourist if you need some pampering. I enjoyed a cleansing 35 minute “Majestic Spa Awakening” therapeutic massage. It treated my neck, shoulders and scalp. My therapist, Zola, is a true asset to her craft. Her massage ability is heaven-sent and her God-given ability will leave you asleep on the bed. Enjoy this for R400. During this month of July, they are offering a “Madiba” special, which includes an extra 20 minute foot massage. The spa also offers Hydrotherapy, Grooming Packages and Skin Wraps. For an added R150, enjoy a sauna, hydro-bath or steam therapy. End off your experience with a cup of mint tea in their relaxation room.

Africology Spa
Cute details at Africology Spa
Bloggers South Africa
Tea

Related Links

Other Tourist Spots in Port Elizabeth

Sun International’s Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment World

Bridge Street Brewery

Mangiamo Restaurant 

Bocadillos Bakery and Coffee Shop

PE is also famous for its “Stanley Street” which can be compared to the Camps Bay strip in Cape Town. No ocean, but many pretty bars and restaurants. (Hint: Make sure to get a taste of craft beer at the Beeryard in the evening. A small tasting tray is only R25!)

Three restaurants I love in this street are Charlie SuperstarFor The Love of Wine and Salt.

Thank you City Lodge! And thank you to my photographer Kevin Ruth.

My Photos

Bloggers South Africa
A beautiful pool
City Lodge South Africa
View of the beach
Bloggers South Africa
Friendly staff
My Life in Africa

June Greetings


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Skybok

This past couple months has been very busy. On the Skybok front, we filmed a few awesome places to add to our database of online video profiles. Scoot over to our blog here and read about them. This includes work not only showcasing places here in Cape Town, but also work done at the Durban Travel Indaba. Read about it and see pictures here. I’ve done some voice work at my favourite studio, West Beach Studio, which is run by music producer Frank Smuts who also happens to be one of South Africa’s top triathletes! I did an awesome interview with Grootbos Nature Reserve who recently hosted me to blog about their 5-star luxury resort. Check out the interview here and read my article on the place here. Concurrent to that, I did an interview for HotelsCheap.org on what to expect when travelling to South Africa – read the interview here. On the PR / Social Media Management side of things, the RetroAfrika Bioscope has received some stunning news regarding their digitally remastered 1980’s South African film Joe Bullet; that it’s to be premiered at the Durban International Film Festival in July this year. Check out their press received here and their gallery of behind-the-scenes at the Waterfront Film Studios here. Up in Johannesburg, The Art Meets Fashion event took place at Constitution Hill and showcased some stunning work by local fashion designers and artists, following in the footsteps of its partner event up in New York. Read about my involvement as an ambassador for this cause here. International collaborations to strengthen ties between South Africa and the rest of the world in order to move us forward in the global arena in any and all creative spheres is something I feel passionately about. I feel we have a pool of undiscovered talent here. Modelling wise, I did a great hair shoot with Sarah Keogh who is an asset to her craft and always produces strong images. I’m looking forward to the BWA Awards (Business Women’s Association of South Africa) in which I’m a finalist in the category of “Emerging Entrepreneur” and whose ceremony is at The Crystal Towers here in Cape Town this week. On the blogging front, an exciting enterprise coming up is a campaign I’m taking part of with City Lodge Hotel Group, where there is talk of sponsoring me to travel to their hotels around the country and blog. Looking forward to a busy month ahead with lots of different projects! Hopefully I can provide you with some entertaining stories 😉

What have you been up to? Are you in the film industry here in SA? 

Skybok

Skybok