Archive for Luty, 2011

Information and guidance key to helping matrics cope

By admin, 1 lutego, 2011, No Comment

More than 22% of the 2500 matric pupils that sought counselling support on MXit were suicidal after receiving the results of their matric exams. 40% of these suicidal learners attributed their depression to being anxious and unsure about their future. This is according to Marlon Parker, who heads up mobile counselling on MXit through Rlabs (Reconstructed Living Labs).

“Our sessions with learners earlier this year confirmed that their main concerns are uncertainty over what to do after failing the examinations, being anxious about the future as well as over being too late to enrol into tertiary education,” says Parker.

A team of 27 trained Rlab volunteers were on high alert after the final matric results were published. On average, around 500 students were counselled on MXit per hour, for 6 hours every day.

Parker, who has already helped close on 110 000 youth on MXit, believes that if steps are put in place to provide matriculants with guidelines that help them prepare for life beyond school, we may go some way to address this situation.

“Information is key for learners and misinformation can often lead to unnecessary pain. There was a learner in Bloemfontein, for example, who committed suicide after receiving her results. Although she failed, she did receive a distinction and would have qualified to write supplementary examinations. This could perhaps have been avoided if more information and access to counselling was available.”

According to the South African Institute of Race Relations, 51% of South African youth between the ages 15 and 24 are unemployed, which is more than double the national unemployment rate of 25%. These figures and reports add to the anxiety that faces school leavers.

“What concerns us is that these events, which appear simple to an adult but which are monumental for teens, can lead to other social ills. A lot of unnecessary pain could be avoided if our learners were better prepared to cope with life after school before receiving the results of their final examinations,” says Parker.

MXit is committed to supporting the services of its counselling partners, especially when results are released. The mobile social network believes that it is imperative to prepare learners to deal with life issues, with how to handle the outcome of their results and dealing with a more alienated life after they have completed the formal schooling system.

Besides the live counselling support from Rlabs and Childline, who also counselled over 1350 youth over December and January alone, MXit has also introduced information for school leavers on its counselling portal, Angel. This includes information on tertiary institutions, bursaries available and jobs offered.

MXit, through its counselling partners Rlabs, Childline and Cell-Life, counsel more than 230 000 South African youth on issues as diverse as HIV/Aids, mental and physical abuse, drug and substance abuse, debt management as well as general counselling related to their well-being.

Matric pass rates: technology can help

By admin, 1 lutego, 2011, No Comment

Whatever you think about the 2010 matric pass rate in South Africa, one thing is certain: we’re not preparing enough young people for a meaningful career beyond school. But while the debate rages, there are some quick and easy things we can be doing to give the Class of 2011 a head start – and right now, technology’s our best chance.

There’s nothing new about delivering rich learning content through computers and the internet. It’s a mechanism that has proven to be effective in a range of contexts, especially workplace education and post-graduate studies. But we’re finding, through years of experience in this field in schools across South Africa and the region, that today’s students respond incredibly well to technology in the classroom.

Let’s make one thing clear. Even as we discuss online content and technology, it must be seen within the context of empowering and augmenting the efforts of teachers. There’s no doubt that committed, engaged teachers remain central to meaningful education and good matric pass rates; they cannot, and will not, be replaced by technology. Technology also doesn’t replace the old-fashioned virtues of discipline and diligence.

Having said that, computers and the internet are a great tool to support learning, especially for a group of young people embarking on the most important school year of their lives.

Our experience shows that providing easily accessible online content and curricula can make a significant difference to pass rates. It enriches existing lessons, overcomes the problem of too few textbooks, gives learners the option of working at their own pace and provides a valuable tool to teachers to drive better learning outcomes.

This doesn’t require one computer per learner. A few computers in every school, that can project content onto the nearest wall, can go a long way towards addressing backlogs and getting learners interested.

Quite simply, learners tend to enjoy online content. It’s one thing learning the theory of something. It’s another watching online how other students tackle the same subjects – and more importantly, how those subjects are applied in the real world. If we can succeed in inspiring our learners, we will empower them.

Cloud computing is a popular buzzword right now, and it holds great promise for education. Essentially, cloud computing is all about providing content and services through the internet (the cloud). With content hosted in the cloud, there is nothing that prevents learners from accessing material from home, if they have a suitable device – and that doesn’t have to be a notebook or a PC. Today, learners can use mobile phones to access and share educational material, with several examples of mobile-based programmes that help learners with subjects like maths and science.

Until now, Intel’s initiatives to support education and learning in South Africa have been teacher-centric, geared to support and equip teachers to use technology effectively in the classroom. Initiatives like this can also help parents and learners themselves play a more active role in education.

Ultimately, our goal is to produce articulate, numerate, literate and capable school leavers. And to do that, we need to empower teachers and learners alike, giving them the tools they need to absorb and apply more information. Technology might not be the silver bullet that will fix the entire education system. But it’s a good start.

IBM Fuels Social Business Adoption with Partner and Academic Skills Initiatives

By admin, 1 lutego, 2011, No Comment

IBM unveiled new programs to help business partners embrace the growing social business market opportunity and to financially reward them for their value to clients.

Over the next three years, the market for worldwide social platforms is expected to triple from $630 million in 2011 to $1.86 billion by 2014, according to market research firm IDC.

In addition, IBM announced new curricula and initiatives to help students prepare for the jobs of the future using social business skills.

The new era of social business opens up the world of possibility that occurs when all of the energy and opportunities that have been generated around consumer-side models, such as Facebook and Twitter, are focused, and brought to bear on business challenges. Becoming a social business means an organisation needs to change its culture, processes and the technology that integrates social collaboration into their business processes.

“Social business plays an instrumental role in building a smarter planet,” said Lillian Barnard, Business Partners Executive, IBM Sub-Saharan Africa . “Our partner and developer communities along with the workforce of the future are crucial to driving client success. These new initiatives will help partners grow their businesses and profit as we prepare the next generation of social business leaders and entrepreneurs, ultimately fueling growth and innovation for our clients.”

To help these business partners succeed in the growing market opportunity around social business, IBM detailed new programs and best practices in front of a record 900 business partners at its annual Lotusphere conference including:

  1. Social Business Authorisation: Provides business partners that demonstrate a mastery of social business skill up to an addition 15 percent sales incentive.
  2. Industry Authorisation: Provides business partners access to industry-focused resources and incentives to help their clients transform into social businesses. Business partners with specific industry authorisation can earn up to 15 percent more financial incentive, and gain access to industry assets such as IBM Cognos Dashboards, IBM Connections social collaboration widgets and research analysis tools to track web traffic and other key measurements.
  3. New Sales tools: Provides assessment training and tools helping business partners express the value of social software. In addition, the tools include first of a kind social “day in the life” demos, presentations, and sales material to assist with client engagements.
  4. New Education: New training resources to help business partners develop and integrate social business solutions for their clients. The Social Business Technical courses are available at no-charge through the 38 worldwide IBM Innovation Centers or by virtual sessions. In addition, a new series of getting started guides and webinars are now available on IBM PartnerWorld to help business partners transform their organisation into a social business.
  5. IBM Software Volume Offerings: Provides business partners marketing and sales tools for 35 software solutions, including five from Lotus that support deals under fifty thousand dollars.

Social Business Skills for Tomorrow’s Workforce

The transformation to a social business also requires skilled employees. From developers to business managers, social business skills are essential for future growth. Today’s students — the entrepreneurs and leaders of the 21st century — must turn their personal understanding of social media into business ready expertise.

To help ensure the future workforce is ready for this new era of social businesses, IBM is delivering new enterprise social software courses now available free of charge to more than 9,000 professors at 4,500 universities participating in IBM’s Academic Initiative around the world. The courses will introduce students to IBM social business technologies, help them gain a better understanding of the needs of a social business and the benefits to organizational change.

IBM is also announcing a new program with business partner Group Business Software to share knowledge around social media and help educate students on the role social business technologies play in enterprise companies. More than 500 business and computer science students from ten Florida area universities will attend a day long social business workshop. This first of its kind program at Lotusphere is designed to expose students to the advancements in IBM social and collaboration technologies and help them identify the skills they need for jobs in the new era of social businesses.

Throughout the workshop, students will hear from industry leaders in social business, preview cutting edge research projects and network with developers, business leaders and researchers from both organizations. Recently, Group Business Software announced a programming contest for Florida area university students. As part of the competition, the students build an application using Web 2.0 technologies and IBM XPages software.

Continuing the dialog around social business, IBM will host a Web-based Social Business Jam from February 8-11, 2011, where thousands of leaders from around the world will pool their knowledge and experiences to examine the next generation of business. Social Business Jam participants will cooperatively explore the value of social technology in business, the mitigation of its risks, and the management system required to drive a social transformation resulting in a blueprint for organizations to help them become a Social Business.

HP Launches new SMB Channel Partner Specialisation for Networking in EMEA

By admin, 1 lutego, 2011, No Comment

HP today introduced its first-ever channel partner specialisation for resellers focused on selling networking products to small- and medium size businesses (SMBs). The specialisation is unique to the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.

The new EMEA SMB Networking program gives channel partners the benefits of better financial incentive programs, focused account management, sales and marketing tools, and eligibility to participate in lead-generation activities. It also gives them preferred access to HP’s EMEA Network Design Centre (ENDC), which provides partners a service to custom-design networks for their end-user clients.

“In a still-recovering economy, small to mid-size businesses continue to look for ways to reduce IT costs, simplify their infrastructure and prepare for growth,” said Theirry Dumont, MEMA Channel Sales and Marketing Manager, HP Networking. “With the help of this new specialisation, HP enables our channel partners to offer SMBs the expanded HP Networking portfolio, while also offering them financial incentives, and access to tailored network design options. ”

Newly accredited partners will be able to help SMBs manage data expansion and improve their ability to grow their own businesses. For qualifying partners, HP Networking offers:

  1. Access to a networking account manager to help grow their business
  2. Free technical support
  3. Free training
  4. Solution information and marketing materials to generate demand
  5. Sales tools and lead generation (varies by country)
  6. Financial incentives
  7. Access to the SMB reference case program

“A collaborative and trusting relationship with an IT vendor is very important, particularly in the networking industry,” said Marcus Mroczkowski, CEO indasys connectivity GmbH, in Stuttgart, Germany. “Working with our HP Partner Account Manager, and in the framework of this SMB networking specialisation, we believe we have the resources and support to achieve a much better perception as a networking specialist amongst both new and existing customers.”

Channel partner recruitment for the new SMB specialisation, which is part of HP’s EMEA Preferred Partner Program (PPP), is now underway across EMEA.

Networking is a key component of HP Converged Infrastructure, which enables the Instant-On Enterprise. In a world of continuous connectivity, the Instant-On Enterprise embeds technology in everything it does to serve customers, employees, partners and citizens with whatever they need, instantly.

Managing the data deluge

By admin, 1 lutego, 2011, No Comment

As transactions multiply exponentially, storage requirements are strained, processing power is driven to new limits, and organisations are flooded with data.

The challenge of coping with the data deluge has forced its way out of the data centre and into the boardroom, says Michael de Andrade, MD of business intelligence (BI) and data management solutions provider EnterpriseWorx.

“It’s no accident that The Economist earlier this year published a special report on managing information,” he says. “Storing data has become a challenge, not to mention mining it for useful information and trends.”

American retail giant Wal-Mart, soon to enter the South African market, handles more than one million customer transactions an hour, feeding databases estimated at more than 2.5 petabytes (1 000 terabytes), while social networking website Facebook hosts more than 40 billion photos, according to The Economist. Google, handling half the world’s Internet searches, answers around 35 000 queries a second, the report states.

International Data Corp estimates that some 1 200 exabytes (1 000 petabytes) of data will be generated this year, giving rise to the term ‘big data’.

“The challenge facing our digital world,” says de Andrade, “is to find out ways of helping businesses to locate and penetrate information nuggets and present them when and where employees need them. Data mining – or business intelligence – has become ever more sophisticated in attempting to achieve this.

“The first step is to improve the accuracy of underlying information. Data integrity is an essential prerequisite for consolidating and integrating data from multiple sources. It’s the only way to ensure that the data is reliable and credible, and gives the company a holistic view of its operations, that is ‘a single version of the truth’.

“Taking bad data and put good-looking graphics and analytic capabilities on top does not make for good business intelligence. Companies need to be clear on their strategic objectives and implement analytical systems in a methodical way. “It’s important to define the long-term objectives of the organisation, decide which business drivers are critical for achieving these, and then derive key performance indicators (KPIs) for measuring progress.”

However, adds de Andrade, organisations must avoid making the mistake of adding more and more key performance areas (KPIs) for monitoring. Instead of being overwhelmed by the volume of data, they should review the key aspects of their business and analyse only the ones that really matter. “That’s the only way to avoid information overload,” he says. “The brain can only process so much. Looking at dozens of KPIs doesn’t help executives run the company. The business may have changed in the past few years, and some KPIs may no longer be relevant. They need to be swept away.

“For example, if a retail strategy is to increase market share, it’s necessary to monitor customer spend, so as to ascertain whether current customers start spending more money, or whether the firm is attracting new customers, or both. It may also be important to measure the company’s rate of growth compared to its competitors. These KPIs then form part of a business intelligence system that measures whether or not the growth strategy is being implemented effectively.

“However difficulties arise when it comes to making sense of unstructured information. Less than 20% of business information is held in a structured format, such as a database, where it can be relatively easily managed and analysed. It’s the 80% of unstructured data that provides the challenge. This data includes photos, e-mails, personal filing systems and information in cyberspace on the Internet.

“The latest analytical tools are able to integrate structured and unstructured data and display massive amounts of information visually in an accessible way. Displaying information visually makes it easier for the brain to grasp complex issues and relationships.

“This makes it possible for organisations to discover crucial relationships buried in huge, complex, dynamic information collections with hard to discern links and use it for forecasts almost in real time, giving them an edge on their competitors.”

Interactive Intelligence Inc. and Elingo (Pty) Ltd sign partnership agreement

By admin, 1 lutego, 2011, No Comment

Elingo (Pty) Ltd has replaced Dimension Data as the South African and African reseller and support services provider for the Interactive Intelligence IP communication suite.

Interactive Intelligence has appointed Elingo (Pty) Ltd as its South African and African support and reseller partner.

“Elingo (Pty) Ltd has been an Elite Partner since 2003 and is one of our most important and strategic channel partners in South Africa,” says Dave Paulding, Interactive Intelligence Regional Sales Director UK, Middle East & Africa. “The company has the most established base of Interactive Intelligence clients in South Africa and their engineers hold extensive product and technical certifications. In implementing the Interactive Intelligence suite the Elingo team have maintained an exceptional level of technical expertise across the entire portfolio. We’re delighted to have them on board.”

“Since 1998, the Interactive Intelligence contract was held by Dimension Data who had partnered with Elingo (Pty) Ltd since 2001 to deliver sales, installation and support services. Elingo formally took over from Dimension Data on 1 October 2010,” says Ian Goss-Ross, Managing Director of Elingo (Pty) Ltd.

Elingo (Pty) Ltd, which focuses its services on multi-media contact centres and enterprise IP telephony, has an extensive customer portfolio which includes direct-to-market insurers, government, motor vehicle manufacturers, direct marketers, pay-TV operators, outsourcers, utility providers, medical aids, casinos and IT suppliers.

“We operate across the entire interaction spectrum of the Interactive Intelligence suite, not just the contact centre space. Our experience in working with Interactive Intelligence technology allows us to develop complex enterprise solutions. Solutions that we deliver include contact centres, workforce management, process automation, IVR, automated/predictive diallers, voice and multi-media recording, quality management, customer satisfaction indexing, unified messaging/communications, multi-media ACD routing, work-flow management and back office telephony. We service small businesses in exactly the same manner as our major blue chip clients, which we believe is an important point of differentiation in the South African market,” says Karl Reed, Sales and Marketing Director of Elingo (Pty) Ltd.

Elingo (Pty) Ltd’s major strengths are its passion for, and experience in working with Interactive Intelligence’s technology as well as its ability to translate business requirements into effective technology solutions. It has the longest standing certified Interactive Intelligence engineers in the region. Combined with a highly personalised approach to customer service, Elingo’s technical credentials have been welcomed by South African businesses, as well as in other countries eager to make the most of the power of the Interactive Intelligence suite.

“We provide our customers with a highly motivated, specialist team that is completely focused on Interactive Intelligence’s products. This is an exciting time for us, and we intend to capitalise on the opportunity to provide an exceptional, focused service to the South African market as well as the rest of Africa. Numerous major deals have been awarded to Elingo (Pty) Ltd since the announcement,” concludes Karl Reed.

“We are very excited by the market’s enthusiasm and support of the change. Our customers’ eagerness to transition with us speaks for itself,” says Ian Goss-Ross.

Softline VIP extends African footprint into Zimbabwe

By admin, 1 lutego, 2011, No Comment

A landmark agreement with Omni Africa, based in Harare, sees Softline VIP, part of Softline and Sage Group plc, a global supplier of business software and related services has increased its footprint into Sub-Saharan Africa by establishing a partner network in Zimbabwe. Omni Africa is well represented in Zimbabwe, making the partnership with Softline VIP a logical next step in giving the payroll operators in Zimbabwe the security of a familiar and established operator that can be approached with confidence.

Softline VIP, recognised as a leader in the Payroll and HR management industry in Africa, released Premier Payroll, an innovative software solution that caters for the African market. It is customised to be country specific taking into account the legislation and required statutory reports that are needed to run payroll and HR management software with confidence. The Zimbabwean suite of products includes regulatory requirements from the Zimbabwean Revenue Services (ZIMRA) as well as the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) that makes the implementation of the product much easier.

Omni Africa is extremely confident with the product, says Gerhard Hartman, National Sales Manager for Softline VIP. “We started the implementation process two months ago to facilitate a smooth transition from their current software to the new management solution. The new system will officially come into effect end of February 2011, carrying the stamp of approval from Omni Africa.”

“The feedback has been very positive with clients finding Softline VIP’s payroll programme to be highly customisable and stable with easy navigation and a logical lay-out. We are currently training users to familiarise them with the product in order to optimise utilisation and to aid the transition process,” says Hartman.

Economic growth in Africa makes the Softline VIP payroll system the ideal solution for small to large corporations that require flexible software with ease of use and stability. Softline VIP is currently operating and expanding services in Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, DRC, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar and Malawi, with Zimbabwe being the newest addition to the operation.

South African communications company still flying below radar

By admin, 1 lutego, 2011, No Comment

Metacom is possibly one of South Africa’s least-known brands: Yet this entrepreneurial technology company has been quietly transforming industrial, commercial and financial communications for nearly ten years. Innovative solutions and excellence in service has allowed Metacom to grow sustainably into the established provider of quality service that it is today.

With a growing customer base as diverse as Eskom and PEP, Metacom dominates a distinctively African niche: The provision of managed robust, reliable, affordable communications wherever needed. “We can manage connectivity to anything, from anywhere, far more cost-effectively than competitive solutions – and we’ve proved it,” says Metacom’s founder and MD Rean van Niekerk.

Metacom began by providing SMS-based industrial communication services over the cellular operators’ GSM networks. It has since evolved into a telecommunications provider in its own right, offering its blue chip clients an end-to-end managed virtual private network communications solutions, integrating all connectivity media, from physical connectivity to satellite.

“Our clients are utilities, retailers and banks for whom robust, reliable communications are absolutely critical,” says Van Niekerk. “We started by building SIM-card based devices for communicating between machinery in the field and central process control systems, but soon realised that the devices alone weren’t enough. We needed to offer our clients completely secure managed virtual private networks that would deliver the data directly where it was needed, reliably and consistently. Most of our virtual private network communication solutions now allows for failover between any number of technologies, including ADSL, GSM, Satellite or Diginet, ensuring maximum uptime for all our customers”

Today, Metacom connects thousands of electricity distribution nodes, retail points of sale and ATMs throughout South and southern Africa. “We believe we have at least one device that’s connected into our network in every single town in South Africa, as well as on many farms and in remote rural areas,” says Van Niekerk.

The company invests heavily in research and development and is always working on five or six new product or technology applications at once, says Van Niekerk. “Most recently we’ve developed a shoebox-sized satellite solution that can literally be installed in an hour once we reach the site. Getting to the site can take a while, though – we’ve recently been deploying this technology in Angola.”

Metacom’s move into Africa has followed customer demand. “We started with some tentative single points in some of the more accessible countries,” says Van Niekerk. “Today we supply seamless connectivity for our customers in nine African countries, and in most of our deployment sites we are the only option available. Yet we can still connect our customers at extremely competitive rates.”

The core of Metacom’s business is its Cape Town-based International Operations Centre (IOC), which monitors and pro-actively supports both its devices in the field and its networks around the clock. “Our goal is to ensure that our devices are online and operational 24 x 7 in order to give our customers peace of mind that their systems are continuously operational. E,” says Van Niekerk. “We take complete ownership of the entire communications chain.”

Another Acer up Mustek’s sleeve

By admin, 1 lutego, 2011, No Comment

Mustek formally announced its distributorship of the Acer range of products in SA at a gala event at the Scarlet Ribbon in Edenvale last Thursday night. Resellers and the media packed the function venue to the rafters to witness the announcement and enjoy the festivities.

Andrada Manu, the newly-appointed Acer Product Manager at Mustek, has an impressive track record with Mustek, having started in the sales division in 1998 and achieving rapid promotion to the position of Product Manager of a number of brands by 2008. Under her management, a number of Distributor of the Year awards have been bestowed on Mustek by vendors. “I am really excited by the opportunities presented by the Acer range”, she said, “Mustek received its first shipment of Acer notebooks in mid January 2011, and doors are already open for business!”

Andrada introduced the management of Acer SA, and comprehensive presentations by Graham Braum, Country Manager – Africa and Levant, and Damien Durrant, Channel Manager, left resellers in no doubt as to Acer’s business objectives and the opportunities presented by the Acer range. Acer made it clear that its primary focus is the Reseller Channel in SA.

“We were extremely satisfied with this event,” said Hein Engelbrecht, MD of Mustek “it was all good – good venue, good food, good entertainment, and a great product”.

Understanding the Social Media Property Revolution

By admin, 1 lutego, 2011, No Comment

South African Estate Agents can learn a lot about how to grow their businesses from a Miami estate agent who posts cocktail-review videos on her website.

Ines Hegedus-Garcia runs a popular property website that covers the Miami property market, but also includes regular Mojito cocktail-review videos that feature Miami restaurants. So, how exactly do cocktail-review videos build an estate agent’s business? The answer lies in Social Media, the phenomenon that has already exploded in the USA and Europe, and that is starting to take root in South Africa as well.

Brush away all the hype and buzzwords and Social Media is really just a new and exciting way for people to connect with each other. The reason it has proved such a hit in the global property sector is because it offers additional ways for estate agents to do what they’ve always done – get involved in their communities and build strong, lasting relationships in their area of operation.

Before South African estate agencies get to Social Media campaigns and tactics, they need to make sure that their basic digital presence caters to a society where Internet use is a fundamental way of life. This is not yet the South African reality, but things are changing, and fast. Uncapped Internet access and better line speeds are shifting the way South Africans use the internet as we speak. With two more large under-sea cables coming online in 2011 and 2012, this trend will accelerate. Africa is on the cusp of an Internet-access revolution and consequently our property professionals are facing the challenge of not only enhancing their listing exposure via portals like Property24.com, but also ensuring that their own websites allow for quick and easy access to property listings and information.

Once a basic digital presence has been effectively established, the next step is generating traffic. Attracting Google or search engine traffic to your website means blogging – creating, in other words, regular, fresh content that is appealing to a niche audience. Get this right and search engines will send regular visitors your way. Many American Estate Agents, for example, blog about their general neighbourhood or area of operation, addressing diverse entertainment, property and lifestyle subjects.

Web traffic raises your profile as an industry professional and can generate meaningful leads, but it’s only one half of the digital equation. The other half is using the Internet to cement the relationships and regional presence that are so crucial to the business. This is where Social Media channels (and Mojito cocktails) come in.

Historically, Real Estate professionals have carried out their marketing within their regional social network. From PTA meetings to church gatherings and golf clubs, good agents are active within their communities because it’s good for business. While many people focus on the Internet’s intrinsic ability to link people across vast distances, the net (and Social Media specifically) is equally powerful in its ability to bind local communities. Beyond Facebook and Twitter, social portals like www.meetup.com (international) and www.cultureclub.co.za (Joburg) are burgeoning because they allow people who live in the same region to share practical, relevant and comprehensive information and experiences. Social Media is, in effect, the community notice board on digital steroids.

Which is why Ines Hegedus – Garcia’s Mojito reviews are an astute digital business tactic, in addition to being funky and fun. Social Media allows estate agents to stay in direct contact with their community and maintain a top-of-mind profile in their area. From saying happy birthday (after a Facebook prompt) or chatting about a friend’s new job to discussing the best restaurant in town, the medium allows the agent to stay up to date and in touch. In addition, Social Media is powerful for property professionals because most people only buy and sell property once every 7 to 10 years. A strong Social Media presence allows estate agents to maintain their community profile over an extended time frame and remain top-of-mind when buy or sell decision-making time rolls around again.

My bet is that very soon we’re going to see savvy South African estate agents following the Social Media trends set in Europe and the USA. They will do this partially because it makes business sense, and partially because getting involved in Social Media is a question of getting involved in the natural evolution of our lifestyles. Professionals who ignore this evolution do so at their own risk.

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