I know, I owe a life/health update. Next month will be one year post-op so I think I’ll do it then.

Before that, I’m going to Rotorua! My boyfriend/excellent companion James and I are spending a week at the Regal Palms, which sounds suitably fancy and comes with a private tub and on-site mini-golf. The dream.

My problem now is, there is a major lack of authentic content about Rotorua that suits my travel aspirations. 

We’re not BIG adventure tourism people, that stuff is exhaustingly covered online. I’m looking for recommendations of activities (chilled, nice scenery), venues (music? theatre?), and eateries (fine dining, shared/tapas style, quality food)… That people “like us” would do – urbanish NZ’ers, not interested in NZ culture experiences or pre-packaged international level tourism. We want to know this quite cool bit of our own country. We are in Rotorua from the 29th Dec – 4th Jan.

So, things we (mostly I, James is not yet protesting) are interested in so far, perhaps for the benefit of others:

  1. Eat and/or swim at Blue Baths (pictured), deco/spanish style architecture faithfully restored, NZ historical significance. Looks damn cool. If only there was a show on when we are in town.
  2. Bathe and do massage-y pampery stuff at The Polynesian Spa, that’s their buzz
  3. Eat at Mokoia for a fancy night out (fine dining level). I like the look of this place for using NZ “herbs and spices”, which I’m familiar with already, but it’s a nice spin. Aorangi Peak has a better looking restaurant and scenery, but the menu doesn’t seem as interesting to me, or as good for my post-op tummy.
  4. Rotorua Summer Carnival is on from the 26th of December to the 9th of January. I could munch cotton candy and watch some people get sick on carnival rides.
  5. My only other real food lead is “Eat Streat” which was mentioned in the sole “blog” type piece I’ve been able to find of much use from (Massey Uni’s Massive Magazine). I am considering it credible because she’s from Rotorua and recommended an iced chocolate. Legit.
  6. New Years Eve “GLO party” is on lakeside. A “family designed” event with a load of things I am not the least keen for, but fireworks. A nice coffee lounge or chill lakeside bar from which these two not-so-party-keen people can watch the sparkles would be nice!
  7. An hour on an old boat. On a lake, sounds pretty. Lakeland Queen.
  8. The Thursday night may have to be spent wandering the Rotorua Night Market.
  9. Markets? Oh yes, there are also markets on a Saturday morning.

Do you have any other Rotorua Hot Tips? Give me the insiders’ guide!

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.