Getting Back To Blogging – This Is My Challenge!

Hello there my readers,

It has been a while since I’ve posted on this blog due to way too many things that are going on in my life that I really haven’t had the time to make a note of them except for posting on Facebook and LinkedIn!

 

Passport to Digital Citizenship with Angelo Fernando

photo credits: Prasad Perera

Last week I met Angelo Fernando along with some of my oldest friends on social media. He conducted Sri Lanka’s first ever social media webinar series from Arizona, USA in collaboration with the US Embassy and the American Center. It was a 6-day training called “Passport to Digital Citizenship”.

This meet-up reminded me how important blogging was for me during the earliest part of my career and how it took me to places like Google HQ in mountain view, Facebook HQ, and Twitter, to name a few. And let’s not forget the unforgettable meeting with Hilary Clinton, back when she was the Secretary of State during Obama time.

So, I made a decision that I will change things around. On one hand, I’m going to make it a point to be active on this blog and to keep you updated on the latest news and activities on the social media sphere as well as the local business scene, along with what I’m getting up to in that sense. On the other hand, I want to share with you insights to what I learn through my experience in the industry, in order to educate my readers on what’s good, what’s current and what’s cool.

In terms of events, actually, there have been quite a LOT of things that happened this year and much more waiting to happen so to speak lol. So allow me to quickly capture some of the key events from 2018 via my Facebook feed. Here they are in reverse chronological order;

 

Instagram Collaborator Forum 2018 by Cyaniq Social

The Instagram Collaborator Forum 2018 was held at the Galle Face Hotel and was organized by Cyaniq Social. The event saw a gathering of those who were already popular Instagrammers, IG influencers, IG content creators and those interested in knowing what Cyaniq Social was going to do with all those people :D

 

Womenwill Lead Workshop

I’m sure most of you peeps know I’m the co-manager of GBG Colombo. So Google launched this entirely new program called #Womenwill all over the world via Google Business Groups and other Google partners to educate, train and empower women entrepreneurs.

This was the first workshop we conducted in Sri Lanka. More to come! Check out the details of the launch event further down the post.

 

#EskimiTalks

So these peeps from Eskimi have this pretty cool advertising platform that is purported to be fancier than Facebook Ads and Google AdWords combined. I’m yet to take it for a test ride. When I do, I’ll let you know if it’s worth it.

They conducted #EskimiTalks where they invited industry leaders and clients to share their expertise and experience in using their extensive mobile ad platform. Their model is different as in they carry out what you call Programmatic Advertising. I’ll write another post on them in time to come.

 

Meeting with Rajat from Facebook

So, everyone knows that Facebook rushed down to Colombo to speak to the local authorities when the whole social media blackout was full on. According to some of the Facebook folks I spoke to, at a different time and place, Facebook has had an interest in Sri Lanka for a couple of years and they now want to work with Srilankan authorities and community leaders to help local businesses reap the benefits from their platform. Check out details of their first training in Sri Lanka further down this post.

So right after this first training event, we spoke to Rajat Arora, Facebook’s Policy Programs Manager – India & South Asia and a few of us met him for a chat. He was super friendly and had great plans for the country and the business community. Looking forward to a lot of things :)

 

Boost Your Business with Facebook

This was the first training event Facebook conducted in Sri Lanka and it was carried out under the name Boost Your Business with Facebook. I first heard about this at the VFL event (which you can read further down the post) when I first met Rajat. He made the announcement there while speaking to the entrepreneurs at the event.

There were a number of government representatives too at the event who spoke to the audience which was 99% entrepreneurs and agency folk. Let me not go into how the audience received their talks. But let’s just say that Naushad and I asked the authorities WHEN they were going to open PayPal to receive money in Sri Lanka and they put the ball on ICTA court. I will just shake my head.

Anyways, on to more positive things… Facebook did a swell training on how the network can benefit entrepreneurs including their ads platform. They also pledged to train 10,000 entrepreneurs with similar programs throughout the country, mainly with ICTA. The “Sri Lanka Go Digital – Empowered Businesses Program” that was held in Matara last week was one such event.

 

Startup Weekend Colombo

Although I couldn’t attend on the last day due to getting ill suddenly, Startup Weekend Colombo was a promising event in terms of early-stage startups.

Although it had a smaller crowd than I expected, it was pretty well organized and the teams were given a lot of guidance, mentorship and some existing entrepreneurs shared their stories, their successes and failures with the teams as well.

Startup Weekend events will continue to happen throughout the island. Hopefully, events such as this will help the ecosystem positively as purported.

 

Venture Frontier Lanka Startup Boot Camp

This took place right before Startup Weekend Colombo. Yes, I took time off from work to help out both these events because I’m glad they are doing a lot of work to support and uplift the local entrepreneurs. I got to meet some great folks that were part of VFL and some amazing speakers from all over the world like Jim BagnolaChris Doering, Tilak Dissanayake, Jon CayzerRajat Arora from Facebook whom we met later and many more.

 

Google I/O Extended 2018

There were TWO Google I/O Extended events in Sri Lanka this year as well. Each of them was supposed to have an attendance of around 2000 – 3000. Such is the popularity of Google and related tech as evident. We attended the one organized by Mobitel Sri Lanka.

This was probably the largest gathering I spoke to in a long while. Sajini and I did an introduction to Google communities in Sri Lanka, how to join and benefit from them. If you missed the event, check out the last media, it’s a live feed from the entire event.

 

Womenwill Launch Event in Sri Lanka

I wrote above on the first WW workshop. #Womenwill was launched in Sri Lanka back in April. We were planning on launching it in March, in line with Women’s Day but with the whole social media blackout, we had to postpone it until April.

The launch was a huge success and there was a lot of media attention on it. The audience was also very interesting, ranging from late teens to 50+.

Also, yours truly is the Womenwill Lead for Sri Lanka and that’s pretty cool right there ;)

 

Social Media Marketing World 2018

I was totally looking forward to attending SMMW this year too. Although I was unable to attend the SMMW 2018 this year I did the smart thing and bought the virtual ticket.

If there’s ONE social media global conference that you would like to go for next year, I would totally recommend SMMW 2019.

 

Get Your Business Listed on Google & Learn how to Make the Most of Google Maps for Your Business – GMB Workshop

This was the first GBG Colombo event for 2018. We had just signed up about 10 new volunteers to our team and this event was a popular one with a full house at Business Hubs Colpetty.

Thilina suddenly became ill and we had Amalan taking his place for the evening for the first time. We had a great response to the event and we hope to run a couple of more GMB events this year.

 

GBG Colombo Volunteer Training

Organising events and workshops AND do the training for GBG Colombo is no small task. Although we get most of the content directly from Google, we have to do the implementation when it comes to the actual training to suit the audience and the local scene. So towards the end of last year, our small team of 5 took a call to get some new blood into the team.

In December last year, we did a post on the GBG Colombo Facebook page, asking interested parties to sign up as volunteers to organize GBG Colombo events. We had an overwhelming response.

We picked about 15 individuals and did initial one-on-one interviews. Then we did a volunteer training event for who was selected. The training day was great fun! The volunteers got a bunch of the coolest swag and the training of a lifetime on how GBG operates around the world, what it takes to be a GBG member and insights into Google.

We’re not a great team working on a lot of projects this year!

 

Facebook for Business by Neo@Ogilvy

Neo@Ogilvy organized a superb training session with Kushagra Sagar – Business Development Lead, SMB South Asia at Facebook. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a public event but I was fortunate enough to attend this awesome training session focussing on the effective use of Facebook (mainly ads) for business and marketing.

 

Spike Night

I did a lightning talk at this event on getting your business location verified on Google.

Usually you would have to wait for 3-4 weeks for the elusive post card from Google to verify your business. Not anymore! I’m (so far) Sri Lanka’s only Google My Business Trusted Verifier (GMB TV) who can instantly verify your business location.

There are a number of criteria to follow though, such as the business owner or a rep personally attends the verification, providing a copy of the business registratoin and a utility bill to verify the address. But the whole thing can be done in just 5 minutes. If you want to know more, please get in touch with me or GBG Colombo on Facebook (gbgcolombo@gmail.com).

Also, you can read this third-party blog post on GMB TV.


I think that’s about it for the year so far.

 

What’s Next?

But it ain’t over till it’s over. The next immediate thing I’m working on with the GBG Colombo team is a YouTube event! Possibly two, who knows! This one is turning out to be super exciting! More on it later ;)

If you are a YouTube content creator or just starting out on YouTube, get in touch with us at GBG Colombo via the Facebook Page. Registrations will be up soon for content creators and participants so check back on the GBG Colombo page.

9 Key Takeaways From The First Keynote At Social Media Marketing World 2017

social media marketing world 2017

I just got back from attending one of the biggest social media marketing conferences on the planet Social Media Marketing World 2017; a couple of weeks ago. I must confess that I’ve been dying to attend this conference for the past 4 years and I finally made it this year! Also, according to them, I’m the first Srilankan to attend this massive conference, so YAY for that!

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The event comes on top of probably every blog post out there that tells you which are the best SM conferences to attend this year. The event takes place in the beautiful city of San Diego, California every year. SMMW17 website says that some of the recognized brands that attended this year’s conference include Apple, Cisco, CBS Interactive, IBM, Deloitte, Hilton, Humana, Macy’s, Mayo Clinic, McDonald’s, ReMax, Reuters, Sprint, Toyota, the United Way, UPS, WalMart; to name a few. It also says that people from Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and other platforms also attended.

120+ Sessions in 3 Days – Totally Worth It

social-media-marketing-influencers-smmw17-speakers

The 3 days of the conference was packed with 120+ sessions. These included 4 Keynotes, multiple sessions on  Content Marketing, Corporate Social, Measurement & Analytics, Social Strategy, Social Customer Service as well as Tactical sessions on the major social networking platforms. They also included multiple Workshops and’a Creator Series’on the topics of Live Video, Blogging, Podcasting, Video & YouTube.

If these details make you kinda wish that you too could have had the opportunity to attend the best social media marketing conference of the year, you still have the chance to catch up on all of these sessions with the virtual ticket to the SMMW17 conference which is still available at the time of publishing this blog post. You can purchase it here at a cost of $697. And no, I’m not getting a cut out of this! lol, I just think it was truly worth it.

If you’re also interested, next year’s conference will be held on February 28th, March 1st, and March 2nd and the tickets are already available at a discounted price  Also, next year they will have two different ticket categories – All access ticket and Creator ticket. If you ask me, would I be going again? Absolutely!

Key Takeaways

SMMW17 Mike Stelzner

On this post, I really would like to share the key takeaways from the first keynote of the event – Social Media Marketing in 2017: What the Newest Research Reveals By Michael Stelzner. Mike is the founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner, founder of the Social Media Marketing Society, and author of the books Launch and Writing White Papers. He also hosts the weekly Social Media Marketing podcast and the Social Media Marketing Talk show.

During his keynote, Mike revealed the hottest trends in social media based on the brand new research they did with the participation of over 5,700 marketers from all over the world. This survey is the 9th edition of their annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report.

The most interesting insight from this survey is that Facebook is the most important social network for marketers as. 62% of those who took the survey have revealed that Facebook is still the most important social media marketing platform for them. Back in 2016, only 55% have said the same thing.

Also, Facebook is updating the News Feed algorithm and marketers are finding it difficult to get around it. In fact, 54% of marketers who took part in the survey had agreed that Facebook’s algorithm has decreased their News Feed exposure in the last 12 months. Only 4% have disagreed with this while  42% were actually clueless about this.

Facebook is Running Out on Ad Space?

Not so long ago, Recode published an article that Facebook says it’s running out of places in the News Feed to show people ads. The consequence of this would obviously be that it’s going to be more and more difficult for marketers to get their content in front of their audience organically.

What is also interesting is that based on the survey, 42% of marketers who’ve said they were uncertain if Facebook’s algorithm has decreased their News Feed exposure, have also said that they post 7 times a day on their Facebook page. Also, 74% of the same audience had said they will be INCREASING their post frequency in future.

Meanwhile, out of the 54% who’ve said they DID see a decrease in their News Feed exposure – are currently posting 8 times per day on their Facebook page and 64% have said they plan on increasing their post frequency as well! Is this the right thing to do?

Less is More for Facebook Algorithm

Mike says, increasing your post frequency is NOT the answer to this and that with the Facebook algorithm – less is more.

Mike’s Advice to Marketers

So what should you as a marketer do, to beat Facebook’s algorithm game and get your content in front of your audience? Here’s Mike’s advice in a nutshell:

  1. Number 1 key to beating Facebook’s algorithm game right now is with Live Video
  2. Refocus on community development. Influencer marketing anyone? In general, as a brand, be helpful to your community and customers
  3. Stop worrying about the big numbers. They won’t make much of a difference
  4. DO advertise on Facebook. But only do so with highly targeted ads so that you don’t have to spend a fortune on them
  5. Instagram is HOT. And you need to get on it! However, you need to work on your content game
  6. Your content must be visual
  7. Messaging is the future. You need to learn how to, in terms of bots and ads
  8. Create Amazing Content (Yes, content is STILL King! LOL)
  9. Make blogging part of your content creation

Details of the Keynote

http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/smmworld/agenda/

If you’d like to know details of this keynote, in terms of market insights along with why these are important steps and exactly what you can do as a marketer to include these key points in your social media marketing game this year; let me know and I’ll do another post on the details.

I’d also love to know what YOU think about the above steps and if you would actually implement them in your action plan this year. If so, which of them would be most important to you and why? Do share your thoughts with me in comments below. Also, if you disagree with these ideas or have any questions with regard to them, I’d love to hear from you!

Loops is Looking – for awesome Digital Marketers!

digital marketer vacancy

 

I’m sure all of you know that I’ve been working for Loops Solutions for the past 5 years as Head of Digital Marketing. As we’re expanding our team and are looking to hire a couple of Digital Marketers, I thought it would be a good idea to put down all details that someone who’s interested would like to know, and share this post. So, basically we’re looking for Digital Marketers with at least 1 year’s experience on a full-time basis and the following are all the additional details.

 

The Skills

We’re looking for awesome folks who have the following skills already under their belt.

  • Creative writing and out of the box thinking
  • Excellent writing skills in English
  • A good understanding of social media and how the main platforms work
  • Strategic thinking and the ability to come up with really cool campaign ideas
  • Taking ownership of your brand and seeing an activity through to the end successfully

 

Key Responsibilities

If you’re picked for this post, you’ll be given the responsibility of managing the entire digital marketing for a few amazing brands. Here’s what you’ll be doing:

  • Coming up with content strategies and activities for each brand
  • Daily updates and housekeeping on each of the social media channels for your brands
  • Brand listening and crisis management
  • Recommendation of ad strategies for various online and offline activities
  • Meeting KPIs and creating reports for the work you’ve carried out, periodically

While we expect you to have a fair understanding of each of the main responsibilities above, we would be giving you in-house training so that we get you up to speed on these things!

 

About the Company…

Loops Solutions is one of the leading digital agencies in Sri Lanka and has a wide variety of clients both in Sri Lanka and abroad. Our digital marketing team has collectively won many awards and recognition for our awesome campaigns and other activities on the digital sphere. Working at Loops is fun, chilled out and you’ll never hate Mondays, EVER. If you’ve always wanted to go BIG in social media and put your creativity to the test with big brand names and award winning campaigns, Loops is where you should be!

Send your CV and LinkedIn profile link to me – indu@loops.lk

Indulekha Nanayakkara
Head of Digital Marketing at Loops Solutions

If you’ve got more questions, just type in comments below and I’ll reply with details.

Growth hacking talks for Startups with Google business groups Colombo (gbg - colombo)

Growth Hacking Talks by GBG Colombo

Growth hacking talks for Startups with Google business groups Colombo (gbg - colombo)
I’m sure most of you have heard about Google Business Groups (GBG Colombo) somewhere down the line. I’m writing today, about the latest thing they’re up to – a series of seminar/workshops called “Growth Hacking Talks” that are ideal for small business startups in Sri Lanka. Read on…

The Growth Hacking Talks sessions are designed with vital information and activities from the training and workshop conducted exclusively for the GBG organizing teams, conducted by Jon Yongfook  based on his popular eBook Growth Hacking Handbook, back in February this year. These sessions and activities focus on highly effective tips and tricks for growing a startup from zero, to over a million users (well, hopefully!)

Growth Hacking Talks are essentially hands-on sessions and in addition, these sessions will cover a host of topics including the use of Google Apps, Maps and various other Google products and services that are highly recommended for startups. These training programs are ideal for small biz startups that have already launched or are launch-ready. If you’re part of such an outfit, you can register up to 4 attendees for each startup. The training sessions will kick off from the first week of April 2016 and participants are encouraged to register as early as possible, in order to proceed with the selection process for the limited seating event.
Growth hacking talks for Startups with Google business groups Colombo (gbg - colombo)
Another amazing opportunity would be that startups that register for Growth Hacking Talks will also be eligible to enter the Google Business Stories Challenge 2016, which is a global event hosted by Google with participants from over 100 countries world wide.
For more information about this program, email GBG Colombo at  gbgsrilanka@gmail.com

Google Sponsored Competition for Businesses in Sri Lanka

gbg success stories for google competition

Here’s some great news for those of you who run your own business. If you’re running a start up, a small or medium business AND have been using Google products or tools to improve your business; you just might be eligible for the Google sponsored “Success Stories” competition that is held on a global scale.

 

What is “Success Stories”?

Are you using Google to do extraordinary things? Has technology enabled you to start new ventures, grow your business or affect the lives of those around you in a positive way? Then, Google Business Groups – an outreach initiative of Google – would love to hear from you. You can share your story for a chance to win $5,000 for your business. GBG in Colombo is conducting a global program to recognize start up businesses. If your business is in any of the following sectors and has benefited from using Google products, you will be eligible to submit your “success story” through GBG Colombo:

1) NGOs
2) Businesses in music/sports/entertainment
3) Technology related businesses

There is a prize money of $5,000 to be won for selected stories and your stories maybe featured in the next Google I/O as well.

For more information and updates, visit the Google stories page and the GBG Sri Lanka G+ page.

 

Your Last Chance!

You know what the best news is? If you come over to Coco Veranda this Saturday, 23rd August; you can meet the GBG Colombo team and register your business for this global competition on site. Entries close by end of August, so this would be the last chance for your submissions so DON’T MISS IT!!

And, in case you’re unable to make it, just fill this form online and submit – http://goo.gl/WXM1D9

Oh, and don’t forget to tell your friends and family if you think their business is eligible for this. See you at Coco!

 

disclaimer:

I’m co-manager for GBG Colombo.

Become A Google Trainer in Sri Lanka

Google Business Group – Colombo (better known as GBG Colombo) is organizing something really interesting! They are planning on a series of Google training workshops in Sri Lanka. But for now, they are looking for “trainers” and they are calling out for those who are good at public speaking and in general training others.

Trainer_flyer 1

Basically GBG Colombo will train these “trainers” and those people will then help GBG Colombo to help train their members and the rest of the public on Google products. This will be done free of charge in all aspects and will definitely be a great opportunity for those who love to learn more about Google products!

Here’s the official flyer for more details. And remember, the deadline is Sunday, 23rd Feb – just 2 days more! If you need further information you can email gbgcolombo@gmail.com

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To receive the latest updates and future event details, follow the official GBG Srilanka Pages:
Google+ : http://goo.gl/BB0H0q
Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/GBGsrilanka

To join the GBG Colombo community and meet like-minded people, go here:
Google+ Community: http://goo.gl/HXapxD
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/GBGcolombo

Follow GBG Colombo Twitter: http://twitter.com/GBGcolombo

The WordPress New Year Surprise!

Hi Everyone!

This is my first blog post for 2014 and this one is going to be a little different :)

I was really busy as the new year began and renewing this website completely slipped my mind, despite the fact that I had set reminder alarms at 1-week, 3-days and 1-day prior to expiration. About a week after expiration I realized the site had expired! Since I don’t use a credit card (let’s not discuss my reservations here! lol), I asked my ever-so-helpful boss if he could renew the site for me. After attempting to pay several times, he told me the site kept giving him an error message every time. So the next day while in office, I asked 2 colleagues to help me make the payment with 2 different credit cards and the site kept giving me an error message that I’m trying to make a payment from an unsupported country!

I was completely distressed and asked a few others who came back with the same issue. With no where else to turn, I resorted to WordPress support and raised a private ticket on the issue. They replied and we conversed back and forth a few days with no clear solution. Then today, I saw the site had been renewed. The funny thing was that no one I knew were able to make a payment. Curious, I checked the support message thread and saw a reply from the WordPress staff member I was corresponding with, that they had not only paid the $18 site renewal fee but also the $80 redemption penalty – because they knew I had been having difficulty to make the transaction and during which the website had already gone into redemption. So they’ve decided to save it for me!

I’m still in complete surprise and almost in tears with happiness! And decided to dedicate my first blog post for 2014 to WordPress. Thank you guys! Your support rocks!! <3