Social media – more than just a status update!

Sarah tweeting in Bo Kaap

Previously, I promised to write about the fabulous two days I spent touring with CoZa Cares teachers and I’ve done it on the Tours du Cap blog.

The following two days were spent with Sarah Britten, a social media marketing expert (one of her many talents) from Johannesburg that I’ve known online for about 12 years. We met once, years ago, but I got to know her and her work better through various online media that we both use. When she told me she was coming down for Creative Week and the Loeries I was thrilled that she took up my offer of free touring in return for publicity, and I also arranged a few nights’ accommodation at various places in return for publicity. Win-win!

Social media is now indispensable to promote a business or product but it’s so new and innovative that many people don’t quite understand it. A lot of companies are losing out by not making proper use of it but can’t figure out why profits are sliding. It’s not for all industries but if your clients are end-users you can’t afford to ignore a tool that allows you to engage directly with them.  Strangely enough, of the various people who stood to benefit from our campaign, the only one who didn’t understand it and made no effort to get anything out of it was the youngest person – so it’s not a question of age but rather receptiveness to learning new methods!

The first thing Sarah did when I collected her on day one was to give me one of her paintings. This was a thrilling gift as I’ve been dying to own one but didn’t think I could afford it. I included it in a blog entry about the Nguni Bulls of Solms-Delta. Sarah paints in lipstick and one of her recent projects was a new painting every day for September, Women’s Month, and all proceeds went to charity.

Sarah tweeting while interviewing Shaun, the chef of Fyndraai Restaurant at Solms-Delta

It was fascinating and very informative to see in real-time how social media works, especially Twitter which I haven’t yet used extensively enough. As I drove her around she was tweeting away about everything (including some of my more off-beat comments, yikes) and receiving instant responses, suggestions, retweets, invitations, the workls – our meander got lots of attention, the exact purpose of social media. My Twitter following has already increased, I’ve made some good contacts and it’s not over because she’ll blog about it all on her website, where Tours du Cap is listed and linked as a sponsor, as part of her on-going Creativity project. It’s her belief that if this country doesn’t increase and promote creativity in everything we do and think, we are doomed to continue rewarding mediocrity.

An added bonus for me was that it allowed me to explore more fully certain aspects of where I usually take tourists. In Bo Kaap we went to  a cemetery with the most amazing views in Cape Town. Bo Kaap is definitely my choice for the best views – you can see Table Mountain, the city centre, Table Bay and beyond – what more could you ask for?

I learnt even more about Solms-Delta than I knew already – that visit warrants writing about separately, so watch this space but in the meantime a photo of my divine scallops is in order, just to whet your appetite. The chef, a genius and a big flirt, has learnt to cook with indigenous plants – no mean feat because some are quite bitter so it takes a lot of trial and error to get the ingredients right. And there’s no formal training available for that!

Yummy scallops

Sarah was very interested in the creativity of Mijou Beller of  &Banana and she will wear to the Loeries the brooch Mijou gave her – and tell everyone where she got it from. Mijou makes beautiful things – pop in and have a look next time you’re in Hout Bay and I challenge you to walk out without buying something.

As I type, Sarah is happily ensconced at La Pastorale, a lovely Provencal type guest house in Constantia owned by my good friends Sally and Gilles who are making her stay a great one with good conversation, amusing anecdotes, great wine and warm hospitality,  and she’s telling the Twitter world all about it.

We ended a fun and tiring two days at Backsberg and that’ll be the topic for next time.

About Francoise Armour

I run a small touring company (Tours du Cap) at the bottom of Africa, to show visitors the beauty and vibrant culture of the country I have lived in since my parents brought me here from France as a child. I enjoy taking photos and wish I had learnt to do it properly. I enjoy writing but don't do enough of it. I enjoy walking in the mountains that surround me and I marvel over the views and the flowers and the amazing rock formations. I have a small, cute, clever, black dog of indeterminable breed, named Vida, who reminds me regularly that walking and getting out is not only for when tourists want it.

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A note to all accidental visitors:

I am not a photographer and do not claim to have any particular skills whatsoever in that department. I have enormous respect for those who can see the potential in a scene and can create a great photo. Good photography is an art, in my opinion.

I am just a happy snapper, I have no special lenses or accessories, my camera is very simple and it's usually best to leave the setting on auto.

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