Social Media Douchebag

A few years ago I sat in on a social media presentation from a well known (in Auckland/NZ) Social Media Expert.

This presenter was invited to review our brands (7 commercial radio stations), make recommendations and give examples for furthering these brands online (followers, engagement, driving traffic to websites).

What we sat through was more “this is Facebook, you can make a page” – as a media company well beyond that, for all of the presenter’s popularity (and many Twitter followers), it was underwhelming. Lacking all preparation and insight.

This is one of the main reasons I cringe when I hear about people who are “great at social media”, “social media gurus”. Being an “emerging” medium, I see too often fear, confusion, intimidation around using social media.

Nerds like me have had Facebook and Twitter accounts since 2006, that’s nearly ten years, I think we can drop the fear of the new.

So what does it take to be really great at helping businesses “further their brand”?

Understanding – the company, it’s resources, people’s skill levels and willingness to participate, the audience, the goals and a variety of tools.

Longevity – educating advocates within the business, scaling down or up to suit available resources of time, money and skill. A plan that stretches beyond a single campaign.

Creativity – using tools in new ways, relevant to the brand and it’s audience.

Sound familiar? Notice I said “further their brand”? This isn’t limited to social media.

Social Media: Websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.

(http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/social-media)

Social media are platforms that use the internet to allow people to interact and connect with each other one to one, or one to many. But they are just another channel for brands to get messages to their audience – like a website, magazine ad, radio ad, billboard. It’s communication, just like any other form of advertising or marketing.

What causes nervousness is the lack of understanding of the tools themselves. Social Media Douchebags know the tools well enough to intimidate those who don’t into believing that because they have thousands of Twitter followers they must be able to craft magic.

Why cringe about being called a “Social Media Expert”? It’s limiting. There is no secret sauce. Marketers should be stepping up, engaging their brains and filling this space, creating throwaway accounts and testing how to use the platform they are interested in, and recognising social media as just another tool.

Every marketer should be a social media expert. Add it to the tool box along with tv spots, radio air time, full page spreads, billboards, and do what you do best – focus on your message, your content, your audience.

Carrot Cake

Delicious nom carrot cake for Lou-face.

The icing makes more than enough for the cake, expect to have extra.

Cake:

  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1-¾ tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ¾ tsp. table salt
  • 5 eggs
  • 2-½ cups lightly packed, finely grated carrots
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)
  • ½ cup raisins (optional)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla essence

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, with the rack in the center. Line the bottoms of 2 9" round cake pans and grease the sides.

In a large bowl (which will contain all the final mixture), beat together the oil, eggs, carrots, brown sugar, vanilla, walnuts and raisins (if using).

Whisk the remaining dry ingredients together in a medium bowl (flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt).

Fold the dry ingredients into the wet until just mix – don’t overmix or the cake will be tough.

Divide the batter between the two cake pans, and place in the oven for approx. 25-30min until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. 

When done, let cool in the pans for 10-15 min then turn out onto a wire cooling rack.

For the frosting:

  • 450g cream cheese, softened
  • 340g butter, softened
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla essence

Beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add the vanilla and icing sugar and beat until fluffy. Set aside at room temperature until the cake has cooled completely to ice it.

Refrigerate the cake for a few hours or days, best served at room temperature or slightly cool. This cake freezes and defrosts well (un-iced).

Isa Chandra’s Vegan Chocolate cake

I’m hosting a cake party next month. I have several friends getting married and this way, they can try my cakes and if they like them – I can do them again for weddings. Otherwise, there are many other brilliant cake makers I’m sure could fill the void 🙂

The important part: Cake Party!

Isa Chandra’s recipe for Chocolate Cake is simple and delicious, I’ve made it several times and it’s definitely of Cake Party standard. I’m planning to pair it with white chocolate buttercream and perhaps a thin layer of white fondant which I might attempt to “quilt”. Ambition, anyone?

Anyway, here’s the link to the wonderful vegan chocolate cake recipe.

I’m really only posting it so I never have to hunt for it again. x

Dairy-free peanut butter milkshake

It’s my blog birthday! 5 years, let’s celebrate with a milkshake. This is for Priya, who had a below-average one from Moustache cookie shop on Monday.

  • 2 cups soy milk (or alternative)
  • 2-3 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 6 ice cubes

Blend the milk, peanut butter, sugar and essence together first. Then add the ice cubes and blend again – if the peanut butter gets too cold right away it clumps up.

Add another ice cube and serve,

I only added sugar because the peanut butter I keep is really salty (no added sugar). You might like to add more milk to your taste.

Also good: adding a scoop of dairy free ice cream (vanilla). 

Must be consumed through a straw, otherwise won’t bring all the boys to to yard.

Vegan, Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookie Recipe

How’s that for a title. Just dripping with SEO.

Anyway, last week I had cookies on the brain and spent some time sifting through internets looking for a recipe. I wanted peanut butter and chocolate, no eggs, no dairy, no gluten. Most recipes used dumb egg replacers, actual eggs or other undesirable too-exotic ingredients and things.

After much reading I tried this combo to a satisfyingly delicious result, fortunately it only made very few cookies because over the course of the week I ate all of them.

Notes on ingredients:

Flour: I used a store brand gluten free flour which is a combination of flours. I think seed based flours would hold up best rather than starchy ones in this recipe but hey, experiment away! I’d be curious to see what happened with rise flour for instance.

Peanut Butter: I love peanut butter with more salt than sugar, and my cookies turned out quite salty, because I added even more salt. This was delicious to me but be wary of this and consider adding no salt at all (if salt is listed before sugar in the ingredients of your peanut butter, you know it has more salt. If neither are listed, your peanut butter is healthier but probably less tasty!).

Oils and milk: coconut oil could be substituted for extra light olive or canola oil, and the milk could be swapped for anything or omitted completely, I just found it helped bind the ingredients.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup desiccated coconut
  • ½ cup gluten free flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 heaped tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (slightly warmed but not melted)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp almond milk
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup dark (vegan) choc chips

Method

Preheat your oven to 170°C and grease or line an oven tray with baking paper.

Combine everything except the chocolate chips and mix well. When all the ingredients are evenly distributed, add the chocolate chips. I found the mixture didn’t stick together particularly awesomely.

Spoon balls of mixture out onto the tray and flatten, I made 9 medium sized cookies and they spread about 15-20% during baking.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges start to brown.