Facebook Bade Farewell to Explore Feed & Welcomed Closer Together

Facebook Bade Farewell to Explore Feed & Welcomed Closer Together

On the 1st of March 2018, Facebook announced the end of its disastrous Explore Feed experiment, after harsh criticism from users and journalists. October 2017 saw the worldwide launch of an alternative News Feed, named Explore Feed, a feature previously exclusive to Facebook’s app. It aimed to encourage users to stumble upon content that might interest them. When News Feed focuses on posts from family, friends, Liked and Followed pages, Explore Feed displayed content pertaining to a user’s interests.

news_feed

The content on Explore Feed wasn’t entirely random, as it included items that a user had previously shown interest in, or that were popular among their friends. With this update, Facebook aimed to increase the spending time of online users. In fact, this social media giant regularly introduces new features as alternatives to News Feed. However, most users never veer from News Feed to actually discover such features.

An unexpected update

Surprisingly, in an isolated experiment rolled out in six countries, namely, Sri Lanka, Guatemala, Slovakia, Serbia, Bolivia, and Cambodia, a different variant of Explore Feed was implemented. All content other than posts from friends and family was displayed under this experimental feed. Consequently, blindsiding businesses and news organizations in test countries, and leading to a massive rise in misinformation regarding test product.

Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s head of News Feed, shared through a blog that Their social networking platform frequently tests design changes, new features, and ranking updates. Doing so allows them to understand how Facebook can be transformed for everyone’s benefit. Some changes including Live video, GIFs, and Reactions garner positive feedback and become available to all users. Conversely, some experiments like Explore Feed fail to generate a positive response, or do not meet user requirements and are therefore discarded permanently.

facebook explore feed

According to Mosseri, Explore Feed was launched on a trial basis. Since, surveys and feedback revealed that users wanted to see more updates from family and friends. Subsequently, leading to the conceptualization of two separate feeds, one strictly dedicated to posts from loved ones and the other for updates from Pages.

Facebook operated under the assumption that this change would prioritize a user social interactions. As posts from media, brands, and businesses would no longer feature in News Feed. Post-launch surveys, however, indicated that users were unhappy with this new system. Two feeds hampered chances of connecting with friends and further inconvenienced users when important information was missed, Mosseri added. Therefore, after five months its launch, Facebook pulled the plug on Explore Feed.

Experiment after-effects on Facebook Pages and associated businesses

Critics condemned this Explore Feed experiment labeling it an Orwellian move that significantly increased the circulation of misinformation. Filip Stuhárik, a Slovakian journalist, opined that Facebook seemed unfazed by current happenings in its test countries and disregarded consequences. Using CrowdTangle data he showcased how professional journalists were negatively affected when fake news channels flourished.

Mosseri accepted this criticism because Facebook abruptly changed the social media landscape in six countries without considering its impact on business. Additionally, stakeholders’ input was not heeded and test subjects weren’t adequately informed about this new product. He assured that methods of evaluating countries for test products and communicating about them will be modified. Being the world’s largest social media network, Facebook faces immense scrutiny and pressure from governments and users to create less addictive services to curb the dissemination of false news.

Explore Feed’s failure can also be attributed to the choice of test countries. A majority of users in these countries never explore Facebook’s other features, therefore, the removal of brands, publisher and Page content from News Feed has only reduced organic traffic to businesses.

Stuhárik tweeted that he was pleased with Facebook’s acknowledgment of mistakes and decision to end said experiment. He hopes future experiments will be conducted keeping in mind the current situation of a test country.

According to him, owing to this experiment news media websites stopped relying on Facebook for organic traffic. He predicted that traffic is expected to reduce significantly in the future. Since News Feed will emphasize posts from family and friends over media outlets. Thereby, forcing established businesses to reconsider life after Facebook, and formulate creative ideas to improve traffic and retain loyal audiences.

Cambodian media outlets were also pleased to hear this experiment was called off. Since Facebook has emerged as a prominent platform for political news in the country. Cambodian Prime Minister, Hun Sen, who is up for re-election in July, forced traditional and independent media to shut down, especially for criticizing his government. Hence, Facebook became the sole source of news for Cambodian users, although in light of said update viewership plummeted up to 40%.

It wasn’t just the general users who lost access to reliable news sources, but businesses and other organizations suffered similar losses. For instance, had Cambodian entrepreneur In Vichet launched his online business ‘Little Fashion’ at the beginning of this year instead of 2010, it would have run aground. Since Facebook would have pushed all content from organizations and companies into its Explore Feed.

‘Little Fashion’ an online shopping outlet gained a huge local clientele through Facebook’s News Feed in its initial years. Currently, it is among Cambodia’s most successful e-commerce ventures. Vichet believes that had this update been rolled out a few years ago, it would have proved disastrous for his business. Sellers who depend on this platform for boosting sales and marketing might suffer greatly with any changes to the current News Feed system, he added.

The Cambodian economy is fragile and using them as test subjects when they are not evolved on social media is robbing them of their few opportunities. It has been observed by digital marketing firms that Cambodian businesses using Facebook for marketing were unaware for a month or two during the test phase that their outreach had declined by 60%. Facebook claims that these countries were chosen because there were no other tests being run on them. However, most critics remarked that the political and economic conditions of a country must be considered before conducting experiments that impact business practices.

Latest News Feed updates

Although such experimentation deeply affected the aforementioned countries, only social media managers who understood its full impact were alarmed. Before calling off this test, Facebook hinted that no plans of making Explore Feed global were underway. Simultaneously, they announced another update for News Feed, known as ‘Closer Together’, to address the original problem that ended in an appalling experiment.

This update streamlines News Feed content so a user only sees posts from loved ones and content published by businesses, which have specifically paid for a place on the main feed. Following this update, Cambodian businesses and NGOs that relied on said social media platform have had to make drastic changes in terms of techniques to retain audiences.

https://www.facebook.com/facebook/videos/10156988765141729/

The latest update will emphasize person-to-person engagement while limiting person-to-page engagement. This watered down version of Explore Feed will compel the page managers to modify their techniques and comply with the current algorithm. Facebook knows that to some extent users demand relevant Page content in their News Feed. Therefore, chances of charging for a Page-free News Feed are slim to none.

Over the years Facebook has transformed appreciably so it has been used. Therefore, despite their best efforts to increase interpersonal engagement, messaging apps are currently irreplaceable in this niche.

 

Read More

20 Fastest Growing Startups In Sri Lanka you need to know about

Sri Lanka is no Silicon Valley, but in the recent years, we happen to see a lot of startups in the environment. There are even events that help young generations to focus on innovative startups to develop this ecosystem. According to SLASSCOM’s survey report, there are 225 entrepreneurs in with 75% of them are just between the age of 25-35. It is also noticeable that such startups have influenced the economy pattern of the nation in a positive way as well. Not to mention, the revenue of such entrepreneurs is above LKR150M.

With 18 investors in the country, many entrepreneurs are coming up with their innovative ideas that lead them to the business of that innovations as well. It is also to be told that according to the Budget proposal by the Sri Lankan government for the year 2017, it is clearly shown that the government wants more startups around the country, especially in North and East. And that is partly why they have decided to get 200% Capital Allowances for Northern Province Investors, and 100% Capital Allowance for Eastern Province Investors.

It is not only about the role these startups play in the economy but also about the progress the following startups have seen in their milestones and achievements. Although there are successful startups, I think startups that have recently set their foot into it need some recognition among the locals.

I have chosen 20 of the startups in Sri Lanka among the 100s of the startups that are fast growing and that need to be encouraged in the market to innovate and achieve more.

 1. PickMe

PickMe is the Sri Lankan version of Uber. Being intrigued by the technology behind Uber, Jiffry Zulfer, the founder of PickMe, worked on to know more about GPS and GIS system. Along with the knowledge of the technology and good business mind, Jiffry and two other worked together in bringing the similar concept for the locals. But the process of bringing the product to live was hard. Jiffry and the team had to work on the concept, convincing the investors and being something new, something unique on what Uber didn’t have then. Moreover, the team wanted to revolutionze the tuk tuk system in Sri Lanka. The features of PickMe was what that interested the people here, and  The assistance of Google Maps and GPS system made things easier to calculate the fare as well. Since Uber is pretty late in Sri Lanka, it is currently a “PickMe Vs Uber” that is taking over the taxi industry in Sri Lanka.

A map with various shades of grey. Great for a website with a really dark theme.

2. Takas.lk

Takas.lk is a product of a young man who dared to oppose his family to achieve what he wants. Being a psychology student in the US, Lahiru Pathmal quit his studies and came back home to start this online portal, Takas with others  Dilendra Wimalasekara and Murtaza Moosajee. Since he wouldn’t get a job from any of the corporate companies on the island, he decided to get his dream company born. Takas is a platform that will get electronics orders in their portal to be delivered to the doorstep. Since there are warranties for the goods bought and the sources of goods are from the reputed stores which the customers find quite supportive.

Sri Lanka's Largest Online Shopping Store Takas.lk

3. 24/7 Techies.com

The man behind the tech support startup is Dilendra Wimalasekere who decided to provide an online portal to those in needs with technical supports in handling the latest technology. Dilendra stepped into this technology sector back in 1996 through his first company Eureka Technology Partners. Following that, he began 24/7 Techies as an online tech support which is also a part of Eureka Technologies. Right now, the company is an “accredited partner of Cisco and VMware.”

24/7Computer Tech Support for Microsoft Windows and MAC

4. Liveroom

Liveroom is an Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality platform development for those who wants their imagination turned into reality. Sameera Nilupul and Chameera Wijebandara were at the university when they developed this product as their final project. Finishing their Graduation they established it into a business through the money they have collected from their family and friends. The Liveroom is basically to make sure that you never buy a bad product!

LiveRoom - Never Make Another Bad Purchase

5. Senzmate.com

Johnirajh Antoncrisis and Jeyjenthan Tharmakulasingam are two outputs of the University of Moratuwa, who are actually from Jaffna. They have grown up seeing continuous climatic change especially drought which made them think of using their passion in electronics to assist the farmers during drought. Their first product was an automated sprinkler system called Digital Irrigation Automation (DIA) which would detect the environment and water the plants according to the environment. Following their innovation, they decided to build more similar products which enterprises and business would use. That was the birth of this startup, Senzmate– an IoT-based startup in Sri Lanka.

SenzMate is a Sri Lankan based IoT (Internet of Things) Solution company which provides end to end IoT and M2M solutions for innovative enterprise applications

6. Erbenlab

Unlike the other famous startups of Silicon Valley which began with garages, the story of Erbenlab began from Sachira Fernando’s bedroom. Sachira, who started coding since the age of 10, has set up a forum site, ElaKiri.com, with his friends and started it as an e-mag. And in 2009, it was ranked as the 11th site that got more traffic. At that time, there are was no Facebook event, but the site has been covering and running events.

The fun forum site gradually brought up this idea, Cloudsense ERP. Sachira decided to give up on WordPress and started on cloud computing which also focused on Sri Lankan IoT Market. This project is based on the artificial intelligent cloud-based application system development which will be a resource management and planning system for the SMEs. It is notable that this product represented Sri Lanka for the 4Y4N 2016 at Barcelona, and was recognized by AWWARDS.

And then there is NicNac, one of their online product. Running errands in cities can be sometimes annoying and frustrating. NicNac allows you to order anything ranging from laundry to medical, most importantly the license recovery. NicNac is going to purchase (get them) for you with some delivery cost. Everything you have ordered will be at your doorstep, simple as that.

Erbenlab - Mobile Solutions | Mobile Application Developers | Mobile Commerce | iPhone, iPad & Android Development

7. BusSeat.lk

BusSeat is a product of Prasanth.The product’s prototype was first launched at Yarl Geek Challenge season 3. Their product was later invested by Lankan Angel Investors and turned into a startup. It is the potential and the dedication of the team that got recognized by the right people through the right platform to get it into the niche. What busSeat.lk does is that they give the customers and bus owners a common online platform to sell and buy bus tickets. The customer could buy tickets online through the online payment gateway or as direct cash and in return to confirm the booking, a text message with the details of the seats booked by the user will be sent. They have also developed a mobile app for the bus owners to get easy access to the seats booked online to make the manual booking easier.

BusSeat.lk : Online Bus Ticket Booking Service Sri Lanka

8. Trackme

Trackme is another local startup that is built to track everything connected online as the user wants. The devices that are integrated with their systems can be connected and tracked through the available GPS system. Interestingly, their services are extended broadly according to the users’ need. The app is available for mobile and PC as well with the Trackme Features like “Real time location details” and fall detection. The idea is to make sure that loved ones are safe!

TrackMe | Free GPS Tracking Service

9. Emojot.

Emojis have taken over everywhere. Wouldn’t it be better to collect user’s feedback through emoji, rather than typing paragraphs of comments? In 2014, Emojot was founded by Shahani Markus, Manjula Dissanayake, Andun S. L. Gunewardena and Sachintha Rajith which will allow the users to express their feeling about an event. This is a duplex system that gives a real-time update to the contexts.

Emojot successfully closes Series of Seed funding round of $ 1 million from Asian and US investors. Emojot team also participated in the RISE conference that took place in Hong Kong July 31 – August 1. They got to participate in that conference because their product is the only platform for now that can ‘analyze streaming of crowd perception to meaningfully respond to targeted client segments in real-time.’

Emojot - Emote the perception

10. OMAK Technologies

How long are we to have the same routine whenever we go to a hotel or restaurant to eat? Ehantha Sirisena wanted to bring a change in the experience the customer and owner of restaurants. The result was OMAK Technologies. This startup focuses on giving the best to the diner and the owner of the restaurant. The main service is done through getting the total hotel management that is from ordering a food to getting the bill, digitized. The company provides its services through the packages like OMAK POS 360, which helps the hotels in boosting their sales and revenue and building an effective and efficient customer relationship. And then there is Reztguru that handles the reservation and online ordering. OMAK technologies is a solution for those hotel and restuarant owners who want to provide a digitized services.

OMAK Technologies - Restaurant Management | POS | Mobile Apps | Web Applications

11. LayUp

It is time to revolutionize the way of learning. LayUp is the new version of e-learning that implies the “Engaged Education Methodology” as an agile 3-step learning methodology. The cloud computing system allows the ones with the access to study from anywhere and collaborate anytime. Layup being the brainchild by Sheran Corera, has won the best startup award of Seedstar Colombo, 2016. And the startup will be competing for the Seedstars Summit in Switzerland in March 2017 for $1 million in equity investment. 

LayUp - The learning driven social platform

12. HypeHash

Not everyone knows about the trending topic on social media. Trends are usually decided through the hashtags. Hyperhash is the ‘world’s first trending hashtag based merchandise platform’ where users can find the sales related trends and this gets the sellers and buyers get collaborated. The platform has 1,100 designers and sellers  from the world while the number of fans collaborating through this platform is almost 2,130. Being a Seed-star Colombo winner, the startup is the product of Ravihans Wetakepotha. The interesting startup has also been recognized through AngelHack and the team behind the startup is about to fly to the Silicon Valley’s investor pitch!

HYPEHASH

13. Katha, now known as ShortKast

Mahen Ratnayake and Mudith Uswatta are the men behind this interesting app called Katha. It is a social media app that allows its users to share or collaborate with their followers through voice casts instead of texting,and it is actually a different way of podcasting.

The journey of Katha began on 2013 by the above said youngsters for “HSBC Youth Entrepreneurship Awards.” It is during this award selection, Mahen and Mudith became friends and started working on this app for Colombo Hackathon. They became one of the winners and the judges who were from Lankan Angel networks got them into Venture Engines as well. Handshaking with Lankan angel networks, they started planning and building the app with the guidance of the investors. With the beta testing of the app in 2015, a few months later Katha came official to the wide world. And recently they have modified Katha and renamed it as ShortKast with the fully different app. An app built with the lessons learned from Katha. And its beta version is only available on Martket for now.

Katha: Podcasting and Audio Messaging reimagined

14. Quickee

There is nothing annoying like going into a supermarket during the rush hours, or when it is really late. As a solution to such problem comes in Quickee.lk. Ashan Whittall and Mariam Moosa are the minds behind Quickee.lk that was launched back in 2013 (and got revamped recently.) The idea of Quickee is to deliver goods you need at your doorstep. They provide their services until 3 in the morning so that you don’t have to worry about your safety in getting into a supermarket to get goods.  All you have to do is buzz them and hand them the list of things you need and they’ll get everything you need to your door.

 Quickee Delivery Solutions (Private) Ltd

15. Trekurious This Startup Permanently Closed.

Replacing a tour guide is not an easy task, says Rukmankan Sivaloganathan and Dilendra Wimalasekere out of their experience in 2012. The result of his tour experience was Trekurious.com. Through Trekurious a tourist in Sri Lanka could find better places to dine at and to get better experiences through activities that can be done in Sri Lanka. Interestingly, you can purchase locally made gift items and book the needed experiences at Sri Lanka. You can make your vacation experiences more interesting and valuable through Trekurious that has also established its branch in Bombay.

Trekurious - What's On The Menu Today

16. Creately ( Startup now emerged as Corporate Company )

Cinergrix is a Sri Lankan company registered in Australia which is a brainchild of Chandika Jayasundra. In 2008, Cinergrix launched their software, Creately which is a diagramming tool. The concept of Creately is to give a web-based diagramming tool for those in needs of making diagrams like the flow chart. Back then it was built by a bunch coders from Borella who were into hacking. Chandika has been named in Echelon Magazine’s 40 under 40, a list of some of 2014’s biggest “risk takers and rule breakers”. Not to mention that his partner in crime, Hiraash was also very fond into technology. It is both their effort and hard-work that brought a team behind which Creately was built by. Within a year it came to a hit and is being used by the very well known companies like PayPal, Ebay, Amazon, IBM, Nat Geo, Google, Adobe, and even NASA.
 

Creately – Online Diagramming and Design | diGIT Magazine Sri Lanka

17. PayHere 

With the emergence of several eCommerce platforms, there is a need for Sri Lankans to have a proper online transaction method. With no PayPal available in SriLanka, Dhanika who is the founder of Bhasha has brought Payhere as a solution to the above said problem. Bhasha wants to localize all software for Sri Lankans. And Payhere is going to act in the way how PayPal function to the world. Dhanika Perera calls it a “comprehensive solution for online payment barriers in Sri Lanka, offering Online Payment Accepting facilities to Sri Lankan Online Merchants in a convenient & affordable way, with a mission to Empower Sri Lankan eCommerce Industry.” It basically provides a platform for online payment facilities to the ones in Sri Lanka. In Spite of the charge for every transaction, you are free of charge to set up an account on Payhere, unlike the local banks. For those who worry that there is no PayPal in Sri Lanka, here is your answer. 

PayHere - Digital Payments Platform of Sri Lanka

18. ShoutOut

Wanted to stay connected to the customers, and want their real time feedback? ShoutOut is one of the solutions that is available to the local merchants to collaborate with their customers and feel more engaged than the usual collaboration. It is a data-driven collaborating platform that connects you to the customer through real-time connections and automated messages to the clients. The product is the dream of Tharindu Dassanayake who badly wanted to give the best of the best services to the customers.

Data Driven SMS/Email Communication Platform

19. Kadira.io

Lots of web app developing companies develop web apps through Meteor Real Time web framework. But when it comes to fixing such web application, most of the web app developers struggle. Kadira.io, the brainchild of Arunoda Susiripala is a solution to such technical issues with Meteor development. It is a Meteor Error tracking system that is transparent to the meteor based app developers that show what exactly is happening with the framework.

Kadira.io

20. Law| Envoy

Law | Envoy is a product of  Damith Amarakoon and Kalinga Gunawardana. It is a cloud-based intelligence program that helps lawyers and other legal officers with research and various other professional practices. This doesn’t stop with getting all lawyers in a platform, but also works on helping the organizations with legal decision making through massive of information.

LawEnvoy | Empowered Lawyering

Conclusion.

All the above said 20 startups are still budding ones, but fast budding ones. It is notable that such startups are innovation and most of them are IT based startups. With the gradually increasing internet penetration rate, it is interesting to see these companies already onto using www as a platform to monetize their innovations. I personally feel that such immense of interest shown into innovations and startups should be appreciable for the broad view of the founders of their market.  

There are several other local startups I might have happened to miss while writing. If you find something missing, why not let us know them through the comment box below so that our reader know more of them.

 

Read More

Freelancer Vs Entrepreneur Vs Businessman. Which type are you?

“I have an idea and going to get into a startup.”  “I don’t have to go somewhere else for work; I can take over my dad’s business.” “I am interested in working on my own.”

These are a few conversations we happen to come across in our daily lives. We see youngsters dreaming about the way of making money, and we wait to see some succeeding and another failing in one way or another.

Why do a few succeed while others’ dreams vanish into a “poof”?

I think it is because of what and how we define every future vision or the ways to make ourselves wealthy.

There are lots of definitions which are going or are waiting to, describe who we are in this life journey and every part of our life.

Talking about every particle of life in a blog is impossible. Therefore, I am going to take you on tour around the part of life where we turn to make money to determine our lives and the lives of the individuals who are us.

The top way to earn money, these days, is to get into a business. But there are different roles in this business world, and this blog focuses on the top three options: freelancer, entrepreneur, and business-minded person.

Let’s look at what their lifestyle is like, and you can, in the end, choose who you want to be.

Freelancer for the beginning

According to the definitions provided widely, a freelancer is a self-employed individual who works on several assignments as he or she prefers. But, being self-employed doesn’t mean that you are a freelancer because it is a  life with several attributes and attitudes of yours.

So what does it look like to be a freelancer?

Firstly, If you are a freelancer, you are an independent worker. You are not going to work under someone, or going to take orders from anyone but you. Freelancing is going to be your world, and you are going to rule yourself. Therefore, you can choose your clients and your work location. Your clients are going to be short-term ones and your working locations can constantly be changing. You can work from your room, coffee table, a cafe or from your vacation spot. Your workplace is not going to be restricted to a 5 feet cabin. Also, you determine how much you are going to get paid for a task to be done. Every extra work you do for your client doesn’t have to be free, and you can be demanding a few $$$ for that.

Freelancer Vs Entrepreneur

Most of the freelancers are work-oriented, and as I have already mentioned, their life revolves around freelancing. There will be a thirst for money induced through the multi-tasks that fill your bank accounts. This attitude of yours will be driving you away from your family, friend circle, and society. It also means that you are going to be alone on this journey. Plus, your work sticks to the deadlines of your several commitments for several different clients. Unless you are good at finishing your projects before the deadline, you are going to suffocate without fun and travel.

The Final thing about being a freelancer is, it wouldn’t give you recognition in your society. It is mainly because of job insecurity. You will have projects today at your hand, but your future projects are never sure. You might or might not have projects in your hand. You might be rich through freelancing, but people would still question the lasting of your money.

And making money isn’t everything, is it?

That is the general lifestyle of a freelancer. But, the lifestyle of a business person is going to be entirely different. If you are a freelancer who thinks that you are a business person, let me guide you into the lifestyle of a business person.

How does the life of a business person look like?

Like the freelancer, the business person is going to be independent too. Again, you are the boss of the company, and you are the decision-makers. You can decide your clients and colleagues. Since most of your time will be shared with your business and your company, it provides all the possibilities for you to learn, and enhance your business. Plus, all the rewards of the company will come unto you, which will eventually give you recognition in your community.

But, the lives of a business person is not easy as it seems. Most the business minded individuals enter the industrial world with existing ideas. Either they take up an existing company, or an idea. Working on an existing idea means, you have to compete with the existing champions and keep up the hard work to stay on the top.

Most business individuals would want to do this for the sake of profit and scared of losing what they have invested. It is mostly about money. Avoiding taking risks or trying new chances, you would only want to focus on what you could do instead of the risks.

Business Person's life

And, your business mind will enforce you to think of the possibilities where you can invest your money, rather than risking taking with that money.

Your mindset is going to see competition seriously and will make you want to win the race. You would want to think of all the possibilities to beat your competitors.

This would also mean that you are going to get everything you could from your employee’s skills. The relationship between you and your employee will be a more boss-employee relationship, than a friendly one.

You can be a better Business person now, but life is not all about business, is it? Still, you can try to be a mixture of a business-minded entrepreneur. But wouldn’t you want to know what it looks like to be an entrepreneur?

What is it like to be an entrepreneur?

If I ask you to name a few entrepreneurs, you would start from Mark Zuckerberg, our Facebook Boy, and go on to Walt Disney.

What makes them so special and recognizable in the world?

From the biographies, autobiographies, and interviews I happen to come across these game-changers, they live a unique life.

Let’s have a look at Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook guy; he came up with the idea that has shaken the social media world and almost the digital world. If you look into his story, he and his team came up with the idea that involved their skills. This idea and skills put together eventually turned into a startup that is now a big company providing a job for thousands of co-workers.

It is how most entrepreneurs start their journey. They turn into one who wants to change the world in some way, and they use their ideas and skills to work on it.

Although the foundation of such startups will be laid by one man, or a few individuals who worked on the idea, the company, its tasks, and its future are mostly automated and the workload is shared among the staffs.

Elon Musk

Most of the entrepreneurs are “start then, and there” type and they are risk-takers. Most of the famous entrepreneurs’ risk taking actions began in dropping out of school or colleges. Since they are instant decision-makers, they know that it is better to give a try and either succeed or learn a lesson, than to regret it later in life.

An entrepreneur is a very much good at managing his/her time for his/her office life and his/her personal life. It is because they have their tasks automated and shared among their staffs so that the entrepreneur is not struggling alone like a freelancer.

Naturally, entrepreneurs are leaders. They believe in working, collaborating, and bringing the best out of their colleagues. The boss-employee relationship is taboo, and it is mostly”all colleagues are equal” type of relationship. Entrepreneurs are good at taking care of their co-workers as a parent caring for his or her children, which would make the staffs feel comfortable in the workplace and out of the workplace. Also, an entrepreneur is always willing to share his or her knowledge with colleagues and be more transparent.

In a few words, an entrepreneur is an entrepreneur, manager, risk-taker, a parent to his colleagues, and inspiration in the office.

Summing-up

No job is easy. Let it be a freelancer, an entrepreneur, or a business person you have to face quite a lot of struggles. If you are a freelancer, you can be self-employed and rich. Still, you would have to worry about being not recognized among your circles and not spending enough time to spend with your family and environment. Being a business person, you will have your company and professional network. Still, you’re going to miss your personal life. Although an entrepreneur at the beginning has to struggle, gradually you will learn to manage your official and personal life. Since you are teaching everyone around you to walk beside you rather than follow you, you would have a positive environment around you.

In this Freelancer Vs Entrepreneur Vs business person race, you are to decide who you are. So decide what you want to be: a freelancer, an entrepreneur, or a business person.

Also, I have only given an overall view of the lifestyles of the freelancers, entrepreneurs, and business guys. You might be one of them I have spoken of, or you might have happened to work with them, hence let your thoughts and experiences flow in our comment box.

Read More

Will Workplace by Facebook Takedown Slack?

If you are annoyed by sending emails to your staffs to converse, collaborate and get tasks done, Workplace by Facebook is your solution at hand.

workplace by facebook

Workplace by Facebook is a software that was launched yesterday (10.10.2016) with 1K clients already on board. We are already familiar to collaborating software like Slack and Britrix24 which we use at work to keep in touch with our other colleagues. Now with Workplace by Facebook, we will be stepping into another dimension which will be similar to the Facebook we use for our personal use.

Enterprises normally don’t prefer its staffs using Facebook during the working hours. With Workplace, I think, it is going to be different. Here your senior officers are going to get you use Facebook’s Workplace since it is going to be a tool to be used for your office.

Although the mission of the Workplace is similar to Facebook – Connecting people – here it will be connecting you with your colleagues. While Facebook connects people with personal life, this software will be connecting different audience like your colleagues who you might not have even met, but are connected to the company network. So this is going to be a similar platform with different purpose like collaborating and connecting with your colleagues.

[blockquote photo=”” author=”” ] People do their best work when they have more knowledge of what’s going on at their company, and people work together better when they understand their colleagues. – Mark Zuckerberg  [/blockquote]

According to Julien Codorniou, the director of the project, since Facebook is not a new platform, enterprises doesn’t need to get its staffs trained to use it. 

The Workplace is going to be a competitor to Slack because of its primary feature – getting the colleagues collaborate in one platform. But, Workplace seems to overtake its competitor through its additional features like making the distant colleagues get accustomed to the company culture and make them feel that they are at the office virtually.

Since there are companies with branches around the world, like the automatic translation we see on Facebook, we can get an auto translation on this Workplace Platform too. So far they have covered like 100 languages, and they are working on the other languages.

Pricing. Since enterprises are the target of this product, this software doesn’t come for free. Not free, but cost-effective, I would say.

Slack has both free and a standard package. Still, the free pack doesn’t allow a permanent storage of conversations and shared files, while the standard package which costs $6.67 per user per month allows you with unlimited conversation storage.

But you can begin Workplace with 3 Month Free-Trail-Period, but from then on it charges $3 per user for companies with 1,000 monthly active users or low, $2 per user for companies with 1,001 – 10,000 monthly active users and $1 per user for companies with 10,000+ monthly active users.

Comparing to the features Workplace provides us, it is quite cost-effective. In this expense, you can have unlimited file storage, live streaming, monitoring tools and most importantly secured connections.

Workplace by Facebook

Expense and the features of Workplace

Conclusion

While Slack and other collaborative software should be worrying about bringing similar or advanced features of Facebook’s Workplace, it is going to be an email-killer. You wouldn’t be hereafter worried about file storage or in need to send documents over email fearing that your storage would be deleted over time.

But what Facebook wants is to bring a better change in the company style, its company culture and how every colleague works with each other.

Prime One Global has registered to get this Workplace, and once we start collaborating through the software, let me get back to you with the feedback. Meanwhile, if you are already using the software, feel free to let your thoughts on how it would bring down Slack and be an email-killer.

Read More

What is so special about our company culture?

Everyone says that it is not easy to bring a Silicon Valley-like culture in a small country like Sri Lanka. It is quite true too. In a multicultural country like Sri Lanka, bringing a total Western setup of startups and companies is quite hard.

The barriers in bringing Westernized tech startups are:

  1. Existing Culture. Sri Lanka is a diverse country where certain cultures are strict about the ways of being in an office and running a company. And some cultures think that bringing up some setups like in GOOGLE might be a threat to the existing culture. Also, it is quite expensive, and no business will like to have expenses at “unnecessary” setups.
  2. Safety If you have seen the office at the Silicon, they allow you to work anytime from the office. It has more freedom to be spent. But this is quite difficult to implement because of the environment over here. In other words, this depends on the society we live among.
  3. Knowledge Comparing to the world, our knowledge of businesses and the tech world are average for we are still learning things, while the world has grown up constantly changing. IF we are to bring such culture, we need human resources that are willing to learn and are fast at it.

Although bringing the whole Silicon Valley culture is impossible, we could try to give similar culture with Sri Lankan Taste. What I mean by Silicon Valley culture with Sri Lankan taste is making the workspace more comfortable to the staffs.

Prime One Global Internet Solution is one of the digital marketing company in Sri Lanka. Unlike the other marketing companies, this small enterprise works from an unusual location, Vavuniya.

While all the IT based startups work from the commercial city, Colombo, choosing a city in the North, especially during the ethnic conflict. The very most reason would be the safety for them to not choose a place from North, and then there is economical instability. Even after the war, there aren’t many startups raising from North.

Extremeseo_logo

Once the conflict is over, Prime One Global started to pay more attention on the staffs and their well-being as well. But it had some instability.We needed some lessons and feedbacks to bring such scenario. Constant complaints and feedbacks from the environment helped us. Yes. To be honest, we were not perfect at the beginning. But we learned and started to evolve according to the need to keep the company environment more Colleague-friendly. And that was the “kind-of-Silicon-Valley” Penetration into the Prime One Global Office Culture.

[divider height=”2″ line=”1″]

Our Current Head Quarters 

Extremeseo_head_office

Located in Vavuniya, our HQ is a house turned into an office. Although it is not situated in the heart of Vavuniya, it is just a kilometer away from the local transport providers.

This house holds a family that is our team behind the hard work of Prime One Global. The office is fully furnished and is capable of holding all the staffs. There is no such “cabin-for-all” setup here. The workspace is designed in a way to allow the colleagues to collaborate and work together as a team.

[divider height=”2″ line=”1″]

Awards and Achievements

In the eight-year journey of Prime One Global, we have seen ups and downs. There have even been instances where we thought we are almost done, but we never gave up. Our dictionary has never come across the word “Giving up.” This attitude of our has paid us with a few recognition and awards. Prime One Global has been one of the enterprises to be awarded Readers Choice Awards on 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. In 2013, we were chosen to win the APEA entrepreneurship awards for the year.

Awards

[divider height=”2″ line=”1″]

Inspiration is in the office

Luckily, we don’t have to look out of the company for inspirations. The founder of the company, Mr. Sharanyan Sharma, himself is an inspiration to the staffs at the office. His Success story is very well known among the staffs and the entrepreneurs in the country. And, he would acknowledge his colleagues as the pillars of the success he and the company have attained. He thinks it is his duty to take care of his every staff and their well-being.

[divider height=”2″ line=”1″]

Staffs

The company that started with five staffs, and now has around 40+ in-house staffs, and a few virtual staffs. And these in-house colleagues are mainly recruited from the institutions like NAITA, Vocational Training Academy, and the technical college. Although we look into certain qualifications like the public examination results and passes in English, what matters more is your willingness to learn during your work period with us.

Does this remind you of something? Well, this attitude reminds me of the movie, “The Internship,” when  Chetty, the head of Interns, speaks of the willingness to learn, and the googliness that is important for every colleague to shine out in a company like Google.

And this is what Prime One Global looks into its staffs too.

extreme members

By the beginning of the internship, interns will be paired with the senior staffs to be trained. So, at first, all you have to do is look, ask and learn. Once the trainer is happy with your learning in the trained sector, you will be starting to work with the team. By the end of the internship, if you might be chosen to work with us permanently only if you are giving better performance and willing to learn more according to the trend in the Digital World.

While that is our expectation with our interns, we expect our permanent staffs too, to maintain a passion for the job they have chosen for, and willingness to learn as they progress with us in the journey. According to us, every staff – Let it be the intern or a management colleague – is important for they are the knights of this unique family of ours. And we care about every individual at the office and try as far as we could to keep them happy and comfortable.

 

[divider height=”2″ line=”1″]

Salary

Salary is normally paid during the middle of a month. This happens due to the delay in getting the Customer Fee. Since Paypal is not still available in Sri Lanka, we have to ask our clients to send the fee to Paypal, which will get through 2Checkout and when it reaches Sri Lanka and 2Checkout realizes the Pay around 12th of a month which would allow us to pay our colleagues around 15th of a Month.

Looking into the salary range, it varies from 10K to 90K. The basic salary for an intern is 10K. The salary pack for the interns with basic skills in the Digital Marketing varies from 15K to 45K, and the management staffs’ earning between from 60K to 90K.

[divider height=”2″ line=”1″]

Insurance Cover and No- Interest Loan

Although our staffs look us as their second family, they have a family of their own. It is common in North to have a young breadwinner. Our colleagues’ and their family matters to us. Therefore, we got all our permanent staffs insured with Life Insurance that is worth 500K.

Depending on our permanent staffs’ requirement, we provide them with no-interest loans that ensure that the needs of the staffs are met. Although it is unusual for a private enterprise to offer such allowances, we care about our colleagues and their lifestyle.  

[divider height=”2″ line=”1″]

Routine

Our office is time is similar to the every other office on the island. We start at half past eight, and yes, punctuality is very much important. As a colleague, you would have to follow some rules, no matter how much freedom you can have while working with us.

The routine is simple and work-oriented most of the time. Still, work is not only what done at the office. Here we also want the staffs to improve their personal skills like public speaking, doing presentations and storytelling. The way finishing a task is important, sharing knowledge, and developing one’s ability is important at Prime One Global. These sessions happen once in every week for half an hour.

Although the staffs sometimes complain about handling tasks and developing personal skills are hard, it depends on their time-management in handling both.

Our company doesn’t provide much environment for relaxing, I mean like the nap pods or game sector in Google. We still lack enough place to provide such facilities to our staffs, yet we have recreational spots to play carrom, chess, and badminton in our workspace. Also, the conference hall on the balcony has a pleasant view that could allow you to spend some time alone with nature.

Breakfast. You can have breakfast with our colleagues, and it is provided by the company with limited choices. Of course, you can’t expect westernized food. And, no we don’t provide the traditional Tamil foods. Being concerned about the health of our staffs, the food offered mostly steamed Bengal gram, green gram, and black grams. And, then there is bread and noodles available if you’re hungry in between your tasks.

 Working hours are usually 8 hours during the week, and 5 hours on Saturdays. You can sometimes choose to work from home, only if you are ill or unable to be at the office due to some valid reasons. Other activities like reading books are restricted to an extent unless it is work oriented. Well, as I have said earlier, you cannot expect a total freedom like in Google. And the job here doesn’t allow you much to pay attention to spending time in such ways.

 

There is a necessity for our staffs to collaborate with our clients during the night time since most of the clients are from abroad and the timezone differs. To make it easy for our staffs, we provide them with laptops and Smartphones. Also, based on the staffs’ job role and his/her living, we provide them means of transport to help them reach the office on time.

[divider height=”2″ line=”1″]

Outings

Twice a year, we get to travel around with our colleagues (at the company’s expense.) Spending some quality of time with partners would help them develop a bond of friendship is what we believe in. As I have written above, Prime One Global is like a family. Sometimes, workload doesn’t allow the staffs to collaborate well. So, by the end of massive projects, we would take our colleagues somewhere out of place, to enjoy traveling, get them out of the work stress, and develop bonds. Not to mention, to help them reboot their mind and creativity. After all, that is the major thing traveling does to a human being.

“You are taking me back to that awesome day, Yathu,” started Dilan, our Head of Operations, when I first approached him to share his feelings regarding the One-Day Trip Prime One Global went on 26th of December, 2015. “It is an evergreen memory. We decided to go on a one-day trip since all the staffs couldn’t come for 3-4 day trip. We visited the Hill country during that trip, and the bus we hired for the staffs was full of fun and excitement. It was more like school trips we went during schooling. We visited Nuwara Eliya, Hatton, and Kandy in a day (since all the places fall on the way)” he described what he stored in his memory.

“During the visit to Nuwara Eliya Lake, we were asked to take risks, like boating. It sounded risky for me because that was the first time for me to go on a speedboat ride. So, I asked my colleague, Thuva, to join me. We were pretty scared when began the ride, but after awhile we got the courage to ride it recklessly and end up getting chidings from the guy who rented us the boat,” he laughs as he recalls it. “ Actually, it is this trip which stimulated me to be a risk taker and be adventurous in life,”  he concluded.

Office tour celebration

[divider height=”2″ line=”1″]

New Offices

While we have our HQ located in Vavuniya, we have extended a branch at Colombo. Our new office at Colombo was started with our 8th Anniversary. This office is located in the East Tower at the World Trade Center, Colombo. Also, we are looking forward to extending one of our branches to Kolkata, as well.

Our new Ofiice at colombo

[divider height=”2″ line=”1″]

Our hopes for the future

Prime One Global is nowhere near Google to provide its staffs with every single provisions and space to be comfortable, but it, as ever, wants to ensure the colleagues are happy, healthy and comfortable within and outside the office. A happy colleague provides better results to the clients than the stressed one, is what we believe. We are still pretty behind in providing all our staffs with the total comfortable zone, yet we are hoping to give them a better one in the near future.

Our goals for our new branch are high since it is located in the commercial city of Sri Lanka. There is a need to look into every aspect of our colleagues there to keep them happy and comfortable.

Office chirstmas Celebration

That is all I could say about our company culture, for now. To be honest, certain feelings and experiences you get cannot be expressed by words. They are meant to be experienced and felt. Just like the feel it gives you while traveling, this journey with Prime One Global is supposed to be felt.

Read More

Google Trips – The Best Travel Friend You Need

Last August, I was in Kandy, one of the tourist attraction sites in Sri Lanka. It was when I happened to come across a couple from Australia. It was their first time in Sri Lanka, and they were looking a place where they could buy a local SIM card so that they could access the online travel guides when they travel around the country.

I can see them bit annoyed about not getting proper Wi-Fi at the Hotel, and thinking of the extra cost in having a local SIM card.

Even if they have a SIM card, not every part of Sri Lanka has proper internet signals.

With the overall internet penetration rate of 29.3% in Sri Lanka, traveling with no data and without tour guides is pretty annoying. Poor internet penetration is not only a trouble in Sri Lanka but in many countries with tourist attraction sites.

Breaking the trend that you have to the internet to get access to online tour guides, Google has launched Google Trips.

What is Google Trips?

Google is expanding its Kingdom in the travel sector. As a part of its expansion, it has launched a travel app, last Monday (19th September 2016), called Google Trips which would act as a trip planner and a tour guide whenever and wherever you are traveling.


If this is a part of Google, then it does need the internet connection, doesn’t it? This would be your question.
But the answer is, no.
This time, Google has designed it in the way where the user can access it offline.

What can you do with this app?

If you are a fan of making sudden trips, I would suggest you have this app in your hands.

Once you have the app, all you have to do is log in into it through your mail. Once you have logged into the mail, it would look into your mail for your pre-planned trips.

If there are no plans, or if you have planned to go on a trip after downloading the app, you can search for the place you want to go in.

Trip with Google Trips

You can check the place through the tab “Things to do.” This feature suggests you about the top spots you can visit in the place you have looked up for. Also, if you have any preferences on what you want to do during the tour, like hiking and visiting a museum, you can look up through the search button.

Traveling and sightseeing mean hunger. Since you are visiting a new place, you might want to look into a better place for food. Then there is the button “Food and Drink” where you can look into the restaurants nearby with better reviews.

Although it appears as if it is collecting more data about your travel, it make most of the suggestions like where you can find food, and better places to enjoy.

Your Google Trips Here

If you are sure that you want to visit the place, you can then click onto the ” Create a trip” which would allow you to mark your dates for the journey.

The best part is, you can download every detail you want to do during the trip. From your hotel or flight reservation to the places you want to go, you can have it downloaded in your mobile. And this downloaded data is what you can use when you don’t have the internet connection, or when you don’t want to use the internet to save battery (like me).

Since this acts more like a trip planner, you can mark the places you want to visit during the itinerary. Once a schedule for the day is over, the app will notify you about the next plan for the day.

More comforting is the “magic wand.” No, this is neither Hogwarts nor the Marauder’s Map. Here, Google uses a “magic wand” that would let you know about the nearby places you might want to check into. It is notable that this feature works only if you manage to “turn on” your location, and have cellular data.

This Google Trip is going to be your travel partner even if it is offline. With the trip planning features, it is going to be a competitor to Concor’s  TripIT, while Airbnb is trying to add this feature to its already existing setup.

It is also noticeable that the app still provides only the Panora view of the places-to-see, and has not yet tried into 360 views. In my point of view, it would be much more tough for the competitors like TripIT to compete, if Google is many steps ahead in ruling the travel-tech world, by using the very much advanced features.

Google trips's guide

With the launch of the app, I have installed it on my mobile, and I am finding it very useful for trip planning and to find a nearby place for food. If you are one of the users, how do you feel about the app, and what features would you like to have in the app?

Feel free to let your thoughts flow in the comment box.

Read More

Taking Our 8th Anniversary Celebration to the World

“It was an awesome day,” “I wish the day never came to an end” were some of the comment I happen to hear from my colleagues by the end of our 8th-anniversary celebration. If you are one of those who wants to know how we celebrated our 8th year of the journey, I am sure you would want to read this post. 

Before I start talking about what happened on 17th of September, let me take you to the previous day of the event.

Anniversary celebration began two days before the actual day, by sending the invitation to everyone through letter posts and the Facebook Event Page. The excitement among the colleagues is visible through the posts they’ve written on the event page itself.

Since the previous day, 16th of September was a public holiday in Sri Lanka, for the Full Moon, our colleagues began decorating the office on the previous day itself. While the decorating team was working on their tasks, other members who were responsible for the programmes were rehearsing.

Also, on that day (16.09.2016) we decided to support 16 students who have lost their relations in the civil war. Through the organization called Thamizh Virutcham we donated stationeries to those students.

Both, rehearsing and decorating, are not easy as thought. Every bit of decoration has to be perfect as planned, and the programmes have to be scheduled perfectly so that it doesn’t clash with other plans on the agenda.
The day wrapped up only when the task assignees were satisfied with the decoration and the programmes for the next day.

17th of September

The excitement began. To be honest, it was not only us, staffs, who were excited about this celebration but our former colleagues too.

Sharanyan Sharma, our Founder, inaugurated the event by lighting the oil lamp, which is a ritual here in Sri Lanka. Following the lighting the lamp rituals, we had to go through a welcome speech which then led us to the main part of the event.

Cake Cutting_Event

What is an anniversary celebration without cakes? Thanks to the decoration team that has chosen a fantastic, or rather a beautiful, cake design. It was not only an icing cake but fruits and sweets were a part of the decoration too. The Cake cutting was the main event on the agenda (or at least I think it is). Sharanyan Sharma, our Founder, cute the beautifully decorated cake.

“Unbelievable! How time flies. It only feels like yesterday when I was walking down an old apartment corridor on a mission to rent a small, dusty room, which would later give birth to such a beautiful company – Prime One Global. It only feels like yesterday! But, it’s been Eight Years. Eight beautiful, incredible, challenging years,” shared the Chairman of the company, Mr Sharanyan Sharma, in his speech. Furthermore, he spoke about the obstacles he had to overcome in establishing this brand, Prime One Global LLC, as one of the largest digital marketing company in Sri Lanka.

The most interesting part of his speech was when he announced about the new branch which is opened in Colombo World Trade Center. And the another surprise is the announcement about the Calcutta office which is to be opened in near future.

Following the speech of our Chairman, our previous CEOs, Mr Kugathasan and Mr Nivethan shared their thoughts about the company and wishes for the enterprise.

These speeches were followed by the address of our current CEO, Mr Kokulakrishnan. And then, the company history was shared in a speech by the co-founder of the company, Mrs Pratheepa Sharanyan.

Reader, I can hear your mind. No. The event wasn’t full of speeches. There were girls brought from Baratha Narthanaalaya (a local institute for Bharatha dance) who brought colours to the event by their dances. There were different age group of students from the institution who danced to various songs.

With the colourful dances, there was a break for lunch.

[divider height=”2″ line=”1″]

It is usual to take a nap once after lunch. Knowing that, we decided not to let any audience fall asleep. The first event after lunch was a musical performance by our colleague, Umasuthan, who used his fingers to bring fantastic music. Although young, his sound knowledge in playing ‘Miruthangam’ (a musical instrument like a drum) amazed the crowd, and everyone was on the tip of the seat eagerly watching him play it.

We had two dramas performed by our staffs. One of the dramas was by the girls’ squad of our company who demonstrated what would happen if officers from an IT company happen to work in a restaurant. That was quite a comic drama, which made the crowd die in laughter.

“How life shatters down because of one’s carelessness in driving a bike without the helmet” was the theme of the second drama by our staffs. The best part is the actors don’t speak their moral but display what happens by one’s carelessness.

Anniversary_Event in our office

As a final event of the day, we decided to have two teams of the whole staff on stage. A team has to perform what the opposite team asks for, and that resulted in both the team doing a fashion show walk.

Want to see more about the celebration? Check into of photo album on our Facebook. Although the event wrapped up with fun and excitement, new goals are set for the new year.

 

Read More

Facebook Blueprint’s New Credentials for Social Media Marketers.

“Do you want to be a professional in Social Media Marketing?” is one of the phrases I come across more often when I check the websites of the institutions for Digital marketing courses. Even though many follow such degrees, social media marketing is not done effectively, as I have said in my last post.

Most of the marketers and companies want to stand out in the crowd, yet they are not sure how they could. While some struggle to use Facebook products, most of the others fail in campaigning their products.

It looks like Facebook thought the same. The effect of Facebook’s worry is this platform “Facebook Blueprint” with the tagline “Plan to do great things.” Having launched in 2015 March, and 18 months later, it has 1 Million course enrollment.

Facebook Blueprint

 

What is Facebook Blueprint Certification?

It is a program by Facebook to enrich knowledge on Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram advertising. Interestingly, here you don’t only study and take an exam, but here you get trained. This Facebook Blueprint is a solution with individual courses and self-directed learning paths to most Social Media Marketers.

So, this is like a blueprint to Facebook and the apps it owns.

This Certificate provides two credentials:

  1. Facebook Certified Planning Professional that targets digital media marketers who successfully have done Facebook Ad Campaigns.
  2. Facebook Certified Buying Professional that targets the professionals at ‘creating and buying Facebook advertisements for maximum impact.’

 

What one could expect from this e-learning?

Like Facebook, this e-learning is free of charge. All you need is a Facebook account. Once you sign into, you can look into the modules. Here you would be educated on how to use Facebook and its products effectively, create better and creative ad campaigns, and how to measure your campaign reach and optimize it.

No matter what your role is in the advertising industry, Blueprint Certification can give you the edge you need – Facebook Blueprint

One of the best features I happen to notice about Blueprint is that you can learn it at your pace. No one is going to rush you or put you under pressure unless it is you.

Once you think you have learned enough, you can try out the “Practice exams” before settling for the final exams.

And, once you pass the exam, you will get your certificate, which can be used on your virtual marketing platforms.

Why should you try Facebook Blueprint?

The foremost reason is IT IS FACEBOOK. Aren’t we all pretty crazy about the platform, Facebook, itself? Although it is one of the social media platforms, it is the most popular social platform with 1.71 billion users.

Let it be the global or the local audience (3 million Sri Lankans), Facebook has a reach.

Local institutions do teach about Social Media Marketing, and of course, Facebook campaigns. But… Yes, there is a but. Wouldn’t learning from the platform creators be entirely different from what the learners teach? At Blueprint, they would be guiding you through every product of theirs and how the marketers could raise a ‘great’ advertisement campaign.

The foremost reason is IT IS FACEBOOK

Another reason why you might want to get this certificate is that it is a new Standard recognition to the marketers. The certificates aren’t going to stop with giving you an identification for Facebook marketers. It is going to be your recognition for your skills in the following fields:

  • Facebook Advertising
  • Instagram Advertising
  • Messenger Advertising
  • Buying and Planning on Facebook properties
  • Facebook Analytics and Reporting

And once you get your certificate, it is going to be a digitally verified badge that would help you stand out in the virtual world of marketing.

Apart from every other feature I have mentioned above, Blueprint live is another feature of this e-learning process. This session is unique because it is an interactive one.  Experts at Facebook conducts this workshop, and it is an ideal way of learning for marketers with 5-6 years of digital marketing experience and/or 1-2 years of Facebook-specific experience.

Although the team has conducted many workshops around the world, they are planning to take it to every possible city they could.

Finally, the coolest reason to try this is that it is all FREE. It is not only free of cost but also it gives you the freedom to choose the course and time to learn it.

Out of curiosity, I have signed myself into the learning process. If you are one of those marketers who has enrolled in Facebook Blueprint, let us have your feedback on the e-learning process. 

Read More

What Should You Do to Take the Lead in Social Media Marketing?

It has turned out into a habit for many to fall asleep on Facebook and wake up on Twitter, and it is one of my habits too.  While some use Social Media as a hobby, others tend to make money through it. But in the process of marketing, how far do the Sri Lankan brands do Social Media marketing? 

Three reasons made me write this post. Firstly, it is the  Social Bakers’ statistics about the leading social media profiles and pages. According to that statistics, I noticed that it is mostly Sri Lankan entertaining sites like Hiru TV and celebrity profiles that are being followed by most of the Lankans, and the local brands don’t top on that overall list. To know further, I checked into the overall profile reach, and I found out that there are brands like Coca-Cola in the top ten. “So why couldn’t the local commercial sites get more fans than the local entertaining sites in social media?” was the only mind voice of mine.   

Secondly, while writing about Digital Marketing in my last post, I happen to notice that most of the local marketers think Social Media Marketing is digital marketing, while it is not. And what Sri Lankans think of social network marketing is posting something about their product on famous social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter and boosting them would attract more users.

Thirdly, in my last post, a user commented on what he felt about social media marketing. The one who commented said that some of these pop-up adverts on social media are more annoying than helping us pick the product or even to check the website about the product. The result of all these reasons is the post.

If new to social media marketing, know why you should do it.

 

With an internet penetration rate of 29.3% in Sri Lanka, the per cent of active social media users has reached 14% of the population. With the entry of smartphones, most of them use social network platforms on mobile. An overall view suggests that the most frequently used social media platforms, especially on mobile by the locals, are Facebook (94.17%), Twitter(2.62%), Pinterest(0.67%), Google Plus, YouTube, Tumblr, and LinkedIn. This usage rate is the reason for one to make use of social media effectively if he/she is into promoting products and services.

Unlike the traditional marketing methods, this social media marketing allows the marketers to interact with the target audience. Through this relationship, a marketer can analyze the preferences of the users and change his way of marketing according to those wish lists of overall consumers. Plus, it is the portal to get a direct and quick response from the customers, and for the customers to know about products.

Guess what? Social media marketing improvises the brand’s loyalty because of the crowd one has on such platforms. Such loyalty is build up through the brand’s engagement with its audience on the platform they use.

Social media marketing in srilanka

One might have a website, but the traffic the site gets is limited. This social networking is a portal to attract more diverse users to the site one owns. The more one is active on social media, the more the page or profile attract the audience.

Another plus is that the platform, Social Media, is free. Let it be Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, every platform is open. But, social media marketing tools are not free. There is little cost when using such tools, yet the tools are cheaper when compared to the marketing trends used earlier.

Are you unsure where you fail?


The Biggest Mistakes We See Companies make when they first hit Twitter is to think about it as a channel to push out information.

– Tim O’Rellly & Sarah Milstein 

 

Most of the marketers kicked off into this social media marketing because they thought it is a cool thing to do, and they entered the virtual world with no objectives. This irresponsibility, I would say, has led them nowhere actually. The reality is that having a thousand followers isn’t the only thing about social media marketing because one cannot make money out of it. What one as a marketer has to do on Social networking platform is entirely different. After an analysis of where marketers fail, let’s look into how one could overcome such failures as well.

Social media marketing failure

  1. How often do you update your pages?
    Most of the local companies have created a Facebook page, Brand’s Twitter and Instagram, but how often do you update your account? While the media sites and celebrities of Sri Lanka frequently update their page to make fans stick with them, brands fail. Regular updates are quite important to show off the followers that the page is still active and worth following.
  2. About what do you post?
    From a user point of view, local marketers seem to focus on posting only about what they sell. But when a new follower check into their social media page, how would he/she feel when he/she sees that everything shared are links to the site? Pretty boring right?
  3. As a marketer, do you monitor your social media sites?
    Like the first reason mentioned here as a failure, most of us don’t take social media severe enough to follow it closely. We fail to hit hard with the fact that social media is one of the leading platforms to “catch” audience and customers if used in the right way.
  4. Are you on the right platform?
    Everyone wants to have an account on popular social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. But, think. What if your site is not relevant to be on either of those stages, but on stages like LinkedIn and Instagram? Creating a profile on all the social media platform can be stressful when thinking of maintaining them all.
  5. Unsure of when and to which post “boost” option should be used.
    The boost option is to attract new followers. Where our marketers make a mistake is, not choosing the right audience, and not thinking of the alternates like “promoting a post.” But what most of the marketers sometimes do is, boost almost every post they publish which would cost them more than they have allocated.

A few handy suggestions to overcome failures

 

Publish great content — content that teaches people something, entertains them, makes them think or, in some other way, adds value to their lives.

– Brian Boland 

 

  1. Keep the profile updated.
    It is very much important to stay active on your page (even more than you are on your profile, maybe). Even if there are days when you couldn’t be updated, maintain a regularity or make use of “scheduled posts.”
  2. Publish random posts.
    Don’t stop with publishing about your product; share something you found interesting from other profiles. If you are on Twitter, retweet some tweets from your followers, and let it be something interesting (and that may or may not have to do anything with your product.)
    Publish Random Post
  3. Keep an eye on your social media sites.
    There are tools like Buffer that would not only help you analyze your social media reach, but would also assist you with scheduling your posts for a different social media platform.
  4. Choose the right social media platform.
    Marketing is not seeking publicity. It is promoting your brand and product to potential clients. Therefore there is no need for you to choose the popular social media platform, but the right one. Know your audience, and know about the platforms available to stick with your followers.
  5. Know your content and choose.
    Boosting a post is an option that could be worth enough if you know to handle it. Maybe it is time to stop boosting almost all the post you have shared, and to choose the right one. If you are someone who had made the above-said mistake, start with your “EverGreen posts.” Keep in mind that the “boost” option is to attract new followers, so when boosting let it be a better post. And, do not choose the boost option to make a post reach your “target audience.” Either you could you “promote your post” option for such activities.
Tips and Trick to make the lead in it

 

  • Use hashtags.
    If you are still trying to attract “like-minded” clients, use Hashtags (#) in your posts. Not all the platforms are going to allow you to use hashtags, yet popular platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram do allow you. Hashtags allow you to engage as a community.
  • Maintain a community.
    Always remember the primary goal of being on social media: to create a network. Just by posting links from your website, or about your product wouldn’t help you. Talk to your audience, and listen to their thoughts. Create a poll, or make them review your product. Use your creative team to make users get engaged with your social media accounts.
  • Do some “re-marketing.”
    There are always some posts that would bring a new audience, maybe because it turned “trendy” recently. Such posts can be re-marketed with relevant hashtags of the “trending” subject.
  • Use images, videos, and GIFS.
    These are known as visual content marketing. I happen to see most of our local marketers using their Television ad promos as Video sharing on Facebook and Twitter. People who watch your ad on TV and Facebook can quickly get bored of seeing the same promotion. Try to do some new uploads. And make sure that your uploads convey your message as well as has a CTA.

Tip and Tricks for social media marketing 2016

  • Write according to the platform
    It is general to post contents on social media, but some platforms are good enough for longer posts while some are not. For example, Twitter doesn’t allow more than 140 characters, so your contents should be catchy and short. While Google plus encourages long timeline conversations more when compared to Facebook. Know your social media platform very well and change your content according to that.
  • Marketing plan
    If you are a starter in doing marketing in social media, make sure you have a plan. Have a SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) framework when planning your social media marketing.

 

As a follower of some local brands, I happened to notice how such brands handle their social media. I have covered only a few, yet essential suggestion to the local marketers. If you are a consumer, let us know how you feel about social media marketing and advertising. And if you are a marketer, feel free to share your thoughts on handling social media. Let your thoughts flow in the comment box below.

Adieu.

Read More

What has the Internet done to the Sri Lankan Marketing Industry?

As a Sri Lankan, I have spent more time on TV and radio during the civil war. If there is a program on a TV  for 30 minutes, 10-15 minutes would be allocated for advertisements, in other words, promoting brands and products. Sometimes, they used to attract me quite well, but then such ads interrupt my favorite TV or radio shows.  It was after the civil war I got introduced to the internet and social media. My gradual attraction to the internet made me realize that the brands I have seen on TV are more often seen over there too.  I couldn’t understand why I see this. And I wanted to know why, which made me read about it further. I learned that it is the new trend called Digital Marketing. Wait! If Digital Marketing in Sri Lanka is new, then what was the old pattern? I wanted to know it. What I found out as a result of my curiosity is presented below. 

Marketing trends in Sri Lanka

Marketers in Sri Lanka quite well understand how much their internet marketing techniques are dragging the users towards the brand. But the freshers don’t. Marketing and the Internet have got along more often these days than they have been in the earlier stages of digital marketing in Sri Lanka. The record of InternetLiveStats shows that the “internet penetration” rate was 8.8% in 2009 (the year the civil war ended). But, the stats drove up after 2010,  and the recent report announces that the penetration rate has reached 29.3%. This improvement puts Sri Lanka in 57th place among the 201 countries in 2015, according to the InternetLiveStats. Sri Lanka is still a developing in the field of e-commerce. But with the surge of internet penetration, the digital marketing ecosystem is growing too.

[divider height=”3″ line=”1″]

What was marketing like during the Civil War?

Due to civil war, (before 2009) the internet access was pretty down. The locals used traditional marketing methods like printing and broadcasting about products and brands as their marketing strategies. Although it was costly(when compared to the cost of digital marketing now), they had to make use of it, while the world was developing in digital marketing.

Printed media was one of the primary source used for marketing and advertising. The marketers focused on commercializing their products and brands through newspaper advertising, magazines, and leaflets given randomly or during events like an exhibition. Also, to attract the travelers, marketing through huge banners on empty lands was another trend of the time in Marketing.

The next traditional method of marketing was broadcasting or telecasting the promotions. Here more frequently marketers used the celebrities, like cricket players and local cinema stars, to promote their new products or brand. The number of TV watchers and radio listeners were high at that time, at least to get know the conflict updates, which also helped the marketers in promotions to advertise their products.  

Remember when you had to fill up a coupon when you did quite a  big shopping at a shopping mall or supermarket? Mobile number and address are the details you had to fill in such coupon. Ever got promotion notifications from them later? Well, the shopping centers and supermarkets were handling it as another technique to send promotions to its customers. Marketers also dealt with cold calling to convince customers about the products.

Final method was that some companies employed sale representatives. While cold calling was an another way to promote beyond boundaries, sales rep of areas had to take samples of the brands to doorsteps of everyone in the particular range. And, these were all used as marketing methods before  Digital Marketing started to penetrate into Sri Lanka.

[divider height=”3″ line=”1″]

What influence does digital marketing have in Sri Lanka?

The end of Civil War made several opportunities open to the marketers. As the statics above has shown about the internet penetration in Sri Lanka, marketers have started to take advantage of it. Online advertising started parallel to the advertising and marketing through the simplex mode. Some websites started rising, and marketers began to realize the worth of online marketing. Still, only a very few people engaged in that new pattern, maybe because it was the beginning of the era of digital marketing.

For the start, the companies have only been looking to posting ad banners on the websites. For them, it was like posting an advertisement on newspaper. But the actual substance started to click as they began to get to know more about it. Then the companies began to move on to other marketing platforms available on the internet. Also, this new marketing world provided new entrepreneurs an idea. Bang! It gave a few individuals an idea on starting a digital marketing agency.

[divider height=”3″ line=”1″]

Why should the Marketers focus on it?

Firstly, the Sri Lankan marketers would fall for its uniqueness: duplex. Digital Marketing helps the marketers analyze the effect their skills have on customers. This uniqueness helps them adapt according to the user experience. It also helps them to get real-time reviews from the product users, like Cinnamon Air for example, which would attract other customers towards their product.

[blockquote photo=”” author=”” ] Instead of one-way interruption, Web marketing is about delivering useful content at just the precise moment that a buyer needs it.- D.M. Scott, author New Rules of Marketing and PR [/blockquote]

Digital marketing is wide open; this is another possibility. How open is it? Digital marketing is wide open around the world. With the e-commerce sites like Amazon and eBay, imagine how one would be able to know about them, without marketing it online? Like you wouldn’t bother about getting to know it if such sites have been advertised or sold on the traditional method of marketing: through printed media or TV and radio. One-click check-ins have made it very easier and simple. This feature of digital marketing is quite supportive to the enterprises that are focusing on global market, attracting international customers.

Digital Marketing is quite cost effective. When compared to the cost of traditional marketing methods, online marketing is pretty cheap. This online marketing would more likely replace some of the traditional methods like cold calling, advertising on television and radio. Although there is still some attention to the simplex mode of marketing, the number has reduced when compared to the ‘during the war’ stats.

Traditional marketing Vs Digital Marketing

[divider height=”3″ line=”1″]

What type of Digital Marketing trends do the local companies handle?

Although there are several methods like the website, social media marketing, PPC, video marketing, email marketing, remarketing, the local marketers only managed to catch up with a few. Mainly, the website, social media marketing, PPC, and SMS marketing.

There are around 20 digital marketing companies in Sri Lanka which delivers Search, Social, Local and complete e-Commerce strategies to the global brands through an online platform, which includes Prime One Global LLC, Loops Solutions, Orix marketing and others. And according to Mike Berry has foreseen in 2012, the marketing trends in the year 2016 in the digital commercialization of Sri Lanka has grown.

The objective of the content and PPC marketing is to rank the company’s site on the top, or near the top lists while been searched. Since the company’s site would be quite new, or haven’t been in the required state for the search engine to display it while being searched, the digital marketing companies would polish it up for it to be ranked. According to the ranks, the company’s brand and the product get promoted. Also, PPC is another method where the companies ‘buy visits’ through the advertisements on search engines and on other sites.

While these two techniques are on the top in digital marketing environment of Sri Lanka, there is another big world for marketers waiting — the world quite big and equal to the Internet — social media. With the landing of smartphones, Sri Lankans spend more time on the social media (and the internet). Readme and Loop Solution conducted a survey in 2013, in which 58% of respondents access Facebook and Twitter through mobile. Almost 71% of the local respondents answered that the marketing done through social media has been quite effective than the traditional media marketing. Also, 49% of the respondents said that they watch TV less than one hour daily, while only 28% of them read the newspaper daily.

 

 

The survey on Social Media Marketing conducted by Readme and Loops solutions. Source: Readme.lk”

[divider height=”1″ line=”1″]

 Also, according to the survey 85% of them answered that they have been following local brands. Also, marketing through Facebook has influenced 79% of the users to purchase the products. This force has made marketers focus more on social media marketing than on the other methods available.

The latest trend the marketers are focusing on is SMS Marketing. Since the number of mobile phones users is quite high, rather than cold calling, dropping a text about their product or brand is getting trendy these days. And, most of the companies focus on making much out of this growing style of marketing in Sri Lanka.

[divider height=”3″ line=”1″]

How has social media marketing influenced the users of Sri Lanka on the local brand?

 

The Sri Lankan brands that has got more attraction through Facebook

The local brands that has got more audience through Facebook. Source: Social Media.lk

 

Fastest-growing-brands-in-Sr Lanka

The local brands that are growing fast on Facebook. Source: Social Media.lk

 

 

The Sri Lankan brands that have largest audience on Twitter

The brands that have the largest audience on Twitter. Source: Social Media.lk

 

The Sri Lankan brands that are attracting more audience on Twitter.

The brands that are attracting more audience on Twitter. Source: Social Media.lk

 

[divider height=”5″ line=”1″]
What should the Marketers focus on for the future?

There are many other digital marketing activities which our marketers need to focus. Digital Marketing trends like Remarketing, Google Tag Manager, email marketing and so on are not very actively used among the local marketers. Since the industry is still developing one, we could expect the marketers to get into this trend in future.  Within the short period, Sri Lanka has got adapted to the digital marketing world. There is a long way to go because this digital world is changing day by day. If focused on the newly turning up digital marketing environment as well, the prospect of the domestic market to be a part of the global market would be rising. If the marketers are already focusing on the global market, it is advisable to concentrate on the broad range of social media. Social media doesn’t stop with Facebook and Twitter but extends to Snapchat, Instagram and so on. So focus on the rest of the available global platforms that would attract the global users. 

There would be constant updates about the growth of Sri Lanka’s digital marketing, so don’t forget to keep an eye on our blog. Also, feel free to catch us in a comment about the digital marketing in Sri Lanka.

Read More