Monday 27 April 2015

How To Search For Old Posts On Google+

I am writing this short post because I have noticed a growing number of people who constantly complain about Google+'s search feature.   

Yes, some folks actually do complain about the Google+ search feature!!! Here's a recent one, in a discussion on Mike Allton's post on G+ 

Yeah, wow! I know!
I find it pretty amazing as well!!!

So anyway, I decided to share this simple tutorial on how to make use of the Google+ search feature to find posts that are 3 days old or those that are 3 years old. 

But let me quickly point out to those who actually compare with Facebook, that first of all, even though I have really come to like G+, I am not one of those people who get combative in favour of G+ against Facebook or any other network. To be honest, I couldn't care less what side ends up winning the Fan Wars; Just like I couldn't care less who "eventually won" the iOS vs. Android Fan Wars, and all of those shenanigans.

By the way, if you are African, and you are new to Google+, please take a look at this post. You might also want to look at my ZMOT article if you are a social media marketer or other digital marketer of sorts. 


So having said all that let me now clarify the unnecessary Facebook/G+ comparison:

I know without a doubt that the Facebook search feature is by far the most wretched of all social network search features. i.e. their desktop search on Facebook (I don't use Facebook on smartphones, but I guess if it sucks on desktop, then surely it must also..........). 

I am willing to bet that what those folks mean by "easily finding previous posts on Facebook", is that they merely go through their notifications to find old posts. 

And yes indeed, Google+ purges notifications after you have treated them (i.e. visited the post you are being notified about). 

So this poses a problem to a user who probably has a reason to return to a post he/she had been engaging with, but is not currently getting any attention (and therefore not triggering any new notifications).
To solve this problem from the perspective a Facebook user is pretty simple:

Simply click on your Notifications icon on your Google+ and scroll down to select "Previously read" at the bottom, and voila!!! 
You are just as you were on Facebook! 

Google+ Ninjas Be Finding Sh*t All Day.....

So now I want to talk to you about becoming much more of a "finder" than you could have ever dreamed of being on Facebook or any other social network:

Say you want to find some very interesting and very heated argument you had about Tesla Motors and Solar City on some guy's post that you don't even know or follow, and it happened sometime in 2013. 

Please! Attempt to tell me you have a prayer of finding such on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn?!

Now let me show you how to do it:

Searching is about strings or keywords (for now). So in the G+ search bar, you would need to remember certain keywords (the more unique they are the better).

You could pick [Tesla]; you could pick [SolarCity]; you could pick [name of poster] (if you remember their name - especially if he had some unique name like Wolfgang Bohemian or something. lol ). 
It could also help if some term like [Lithium-Ion] or [fossil-fuel] was repeated by you are some others within the comments. Then finally you would need to add [your name], but only if you participated in the comments of the post. So 3 to 5 keywords should take you to that post with ease. Try it!

Here's an example from how I found the post I mentioned earlier:

This next example is one where I hadn't engaged on the post. It only flashed by on my stream, and I came back the next day to look for it. And voila!

Again, let me say you can try it with this very post (i.e. the one attached to this article > Here <  )

If you want to find this post 4 years from now, simply go to G+ search and type [Rotimi Orims] + [Google+ Facebook Search] + [Your name].
If you are not following me, and you did not comment on it, then try it this way:
[Rotimi Orims] + [Google+ Facebook Search] + [the name of the person who surfaced it into your stream] (they either liked it or commented on it).
Or you may add the term [Search Africa] in it as well.

The idea is that, if the post was memorable enough to make you want to take another look at it, then surely if you tried a bit harder, you would remember some keywords and terms that were used in it or in its comments!
And you would find it easily......on Google+

By the way, if you want to become a Ninja-Shogun-Samurai Google+ searcher (Translated: If you want to learn more useful tips) then you can turn to this resource here

Thanks for reading.

If you have anything to add to this (and I am sure there is much to add) please feel free to do so. Also feel free to ask any questions about anything you like. You would also find I am quite open to harsh criticism and interrogation, if that's what you prefer. ;)

Tuesday 21 April 2015

What Is ZMOT To A Nigerian?

ZMOT is a four letter acronym for a marketing concept developed at Google by Jim Lecinski. It stands for the Zero Moment Of Truth

In digital marketing, a ZMOT is the most crucial stage in a shopper's decision making life cycle, and it presents tremendous opportunities for marketers who are serious about taking the lead in their industries in this new digital age.

However, to the average Nigerian business person, this may not mean much right now. But I am willing to bet that it would mean a great deal to many of you in the next 3 to 5 years. Especially if the country continues to grow and develop at this rate.


In a marketer's hypothesis of a customer's path to a purchase, the ZMOT is the stage that comes immediately after the potential shopper receives a stimulus (advertisement, or other form of initial proposition) and before a decision is made at the store.  

Before the dawn of the digital age, stimulus was believed to play a decent role in the customer's mind to get him to a store. Advertisements are expected to grab your attention and sell you an idea. This is called the stimulus stage, and it usually comes long before a decision is taken at the store shelf.  

This decision stage is called the First Moment Of Truth (or FMOT). A stage where wise marketers who realize they cannot rely completely on the message in the initial stimulus to get you to make the purchase.  So by doing some additional promotion in this Shelf stage (the packaging of the product, in-store advertising, etc) marketers want to influence your decision at the point of purchase (like a store).
If this is done right, marketers could even "steal" the customer that was brought in by a competitor's stimulus. 

After check out at the counter the customer takes the product or service (after a deal or contract has been made), and uses it. This is the Experience Stage and the amount of satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) that the customer gets with the product is aptly called the Second Moment Of Truth.



Meanwhile, the Zero Moment Of Truth comes after the Stimulus stage, but before the First Moment Of Truth. It became a recognizable phenomenon as the world got more and more transformed by the internet and mobile phones. 
And there is more than enough evidence to show that it is playing an increasing role on how modern day shoppers make their final decision at the counter. The most crucial role in many cases.

Consider someone who enters a shop to ask for Product XYZ, with serial number 123, with accessories ABC. 
Such a case is that of someone who did his homework well before going to the store, right? That is how to understand the ZMOT.

To make it simple:
The ZMOT phenomenon is a new way we behave;  like when you argue with a friend about who the top goal scorer in LaLiga is. A long time ago, such arguments often ended with guys making bets. 
These days, few young men are confident enough to take these bets, because they know that the other guy would get the answer within a second of bringing out their smartphone.

And many of us have extended this "swift answer mentality" to our shopping behavior as well. 

So the ZMOT is not only a concept, or a moment in time; it is a whole new mentality. A new and increasingly frequent destination we go to before we make a purchase.

In the new digital age, people no longer easily buy the B.S. of advertisements as they used to (pardon my expression). They want to investigate and learn more about the service or product. And this is simply because it is getting easier and easier for them to do so these days. Technology is changing the way the market behaves and you have no choice but to adjust to it. That is if you wish to remain in business for a long time.


Now I know some of you have heard about SEO (or Search Engine Optimization). While many more of you know a little bit about Online Advertising and how it is more target & intent oriented than the kind of advertising that you have in the real world.
Some of you might also be lucky to have learned a few things about Web Analytics, so you know that it is profitable for you to analyze how people interact with your website. And you all probably know more about Social Media Marketing and the fact that people are getting more and more advanced at using social networks (like Google+ and Facebook) as marketing and sales platforms.

But now, try to think of the ZMOT as an angle or an approach through which you pilot your business to greater success.  It's a method that often ties those other digital activities together in one powerful strategy. 

Imagine that you are managing a store in Ikeja that sells a particularly rare beauty product (XYZ).
Then imagine a woman who lives in Surulere and who wants that product XYZ really badly.
But now imagine that some creepy sales-rep from another beauty company is at her house trying to sell her an alternative product ABF.

So while she reluctantly thinks about buying this crappy product ABF, she thought to share on her Twitter, Facebook and Google+ profiles, a post asking her friends, "Does anyone know anywhere in Lagos where I can get rare cream XYZ?"

What kind of strategy would you adopt in engaging this kind of ready customer at the Zero Moment Of Truth?
You have to start thinking along those lines from now.
Not just launching digital campaigns for the sake of "needing to go digital with your marketing". 

Some more examples are:

  • A cocoa farmer searching on Google for the most appropriate fertilizers. 
  • An Abuja-based couple browsing for affordable hotels in Calabar for their honeymoon, and suddenly discovering that one of their friends has left a 5-star rating and an online review for an affordable guest house there.
  • Or....Surprisingly making up your mind to buy an iPhone4 instead of the Blackberry Z10 you had previously planned to buy, after searching the term "Best Smartphone for business in Nigeria" and finding a very compelling blog article where someone was comparing a number of smartphones. 
In these examples, the suppliers or providers of fertilizer, or hotels and guest houses in Calabar, and of Androids and Blackberry phones can do something to give their own businesses the advantage. They don't have to rely on luck.

It requires a ZMOT strategy…Or it requires that you actually know how the digital realm works and how it shapes user behaviour.

So it is more about having a certain mentality than it is about being a super computer genius, wizard or guru. Or any of those other meaningless tags that people throw around these days. 

I would also say that it is more about adapting traditional marketing principles than it is about IT proficiency. I mean, you can always get computer geeks working for you, while you coordinate them. But not everyone really understands what Ogilvy meant when he said "To be interesting, be interested".


Here is something that I discovered while eavesdropping on a conversation between two ZMOT-minded professionals:
In answering a question about understanding where their customers were in their shopping life cycle, and what were the right messages to meet them at each point, Laurie Tucker (the Marketing Executive of Fedex) captured the essence of a ZMOT-minded strategy here; and I am slightly paraphrasing what she said:

"We've put up about 150 videos on our YouTube Channel to say, 'how do you use Fedex?'….But at another level we start to understand how our customers respond to our content, and we begin to grade them based on their engagement with us. We look for look-alikes; Test; Repeat; Repeat again; and then (we) begin to get sophisticated….So I start to think about this and realize that marketing is the new sales!"

Now, if you didn't get that, it is only because you are perhaps really new to digital marketing concepts in general. But please note that all I really need you to take away from what she said here is really just one word…


The marketer here (Laurie Tucker) gained a level of awareness by constantly engaging her customers at their ZMOTs. She is clearly rewired for the new digital age, and quite frankly the company she works for would reap the rewards of this.
ZMOT mindedness would do this for you as well.

As a Nigerian, you can surely testify to the increasing usage of mobile phones by all and sundry to browse the internet, and you know how often you hear people say, "google It!" nowadays.
This is our present reality. And the future will surely see it increase in this direction. If you are in business, you should be thinking of how to take advantage of this by now.

Thank you.

Did my article do anything for you?
Please let me know what you think?
Do you disagree or agree with anything? I look forward to hearing from you….

Find me on LinkedIn as well.

Monday 20 April 2015

Clean Water Can Boost Africa's Economies

"There is a causal relationship between access to water supply and higher income levels"
This quote came from a W.H.O. report by M. Sanctuary, H. Tropp and A. Berntell.

They found that, "Poor countries with improved access to clean water and sanitation services enjoyed annual average growth of 3.7%." While those without improved access averaged per capita GDP growth of only 0.1%".

I am glad that you are reading this article to learn more (I guess) about the new wave of events and happenings in the economic future of Africa. 

Hopefully, you got here from a link from my previous post about why Africans, most of all (and not just foreigners) need to invest more effort and resources in Africa. 

In that article, I talked about the benefits of staying up to date with discussions at the World Economic Forum on Africa as well as the US-Africa Business Forum hosted by Barack Obama and moderated by Bill Clinton.

In this one, I will address an issue that was raised by author & futurist Chris Lang, who felt it was an important issue to consider where ever there is development. 
The issue of access to clean water.

It Is About Access And Cleanliness!

I live in a private estate (in Lagos, Nigeria) where there are still a few undeveloped pieces of property. And like most people in my country, I actually supply my own water and provide most of the electricity that I use. 
I have a borehole and a pumping machine to pump water into a large tank that is suspended above my roof (Most people who live in suburbs and urban areas in Lagos have the same kind of arrangement).

I personally choose not drink the water from my borehole (I buy my drinking water) even though some of my neighbors say it is safe and do not even bother filtering it. Anyway, every now and then when there are constructions going on close by, the workers come to me to ask to fetch water for their work, and they sometimes drink directly from the tap in my backyard. 

I always warn them that the water has not been tested or verified to be good for drinking but they don't care. They often say that they've drank water that is visibly scary looking, and not clear like mine.

Now on the other hand, you could probably use any kind of dirty water to mix your cement for construction, but it still helps a great deal to have immediate access to that water wherever you're working. Also, being able to easily get the water you want when you want it, and not having to get medical treatment for consuming it is indeed an economic advantage to the society at large.

Think about it! 
There would be less burden on our already overburdened hospital systems in Africa because of easy access to clean water.  Medical attention and resources can then be focused on other challenges like malaria. 

Common diseases that are transmitted through dirty water

Humanitarian & Philanthropic Efforts

The image above is very scary isn't it?
Of course it is!

Former UN Sec Gen, Kofi Annan, said: 
"We shall not defeat the diseases that plague the developing world until we have also won the battle for safe drinking water, sanitation, and basic health care."
Hollywood actor, Matt Damon and Gary White founded in 2009, and this is a non-profit that provides access to drinking water and sanitation in developing countries all over the world.

I mention them here because of their method:

1. Forge partnerships with local change agents.
2. Involve the local community at every stage.
3. Select appropriate technology for particular environment.
4. Integrate with health & hygiene education.

Sometimes some people criticize celebrities for  humanitarian work in Africa and other underdeveloped regions, arguing that they seek some kind of "vain" glory. My response to that would be to ask those who benefit from these efforts if they share such a shallow sentiment. 

Another person I really must mention is the young Canadian, Ryan Hreljac who began his Ryan's Well cause when he was only 7 years old. 
The story is so moving because not only was young Ryan able to raise enough money (by doing extra chores) to start a trend that eventually grew into a life changing foundation, he also made a friend in Uganda at the same time.

7 year old Ryan Hreljac looking on as a
 borehole is being constructed in Uganda,
thanks to funds he helped to raise
Jimmy Akana walked miles to fetch dirty water that his family used for drinking, cooking and bathing. The efforts of Ryan's Well Foundation helped his village tremendously. And even when Jimmy lost his parents (under very horrible circumstances) at a very tender age, Ryan's family stepped in and offered him their home in Canada. 

Jimmy Akana and Canadian Ryan Hreljac became friends
when Ryan visited Uganda to inspect his first well.
A remarkable story if you ask me.....

But now I want you to ask yourself, what can we do MORE, in Africa, to improve on the improvements in the accessibility of our people to clean water?

(Pardon me for a moment, but I feel like posting a number of photos here right now. :-) )

Jimmy attended high school with Ryan in Canada.
And in 2012, he graduated from
St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia.

Today, Jimmy Akana Hreljac is also helping with the foundation
by speaking publicly to create awareness of the foundation. 

Africa Has To Fix Africa

Ryan and many foreigners have done their best, and we are indeed grateful. But now it is time to challenge our governments: It is time to fix things!

Now I know that there is clearly a lot of misconception about Africa in the perceptions of the global community at large, thanks to the foreign press. 

While a few foreigners still assume that we live in a wide open safari with hyena packs running around, and our babies are perpetually starving to death; others are taken by the shallow depictions by foreign media which have a tendency to regurgitate only images like this one: 

By the way, our own governments prefer to focus on images like this one  :

But that is not what is important here now. What is important is that for development to be beneficial to any society, it must be inclusive.
There is no point having some scattered portions of Africa developing into futuristic utopia's, while most other parts are neglected by the government, to suffer a perpetual lack of electricity and access to clean water. 

I want you to take a look at the data gathered by the WHO and UNICEF back in 2012, when they announced that the world had already met its Millennium Development Goal on access to clean drinking water which targeted 2015.

However a large part of Africa hasn't quite gotten there yet. But the good news is that a lot of effort has been made all round Africa, and there is reason to be confident that these goals could be met a little later than 2015.

Here are a few numbers:

Data summary for a select few African countries...

The WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) water supply improvements - summarized by The Guardian (UK)
Country2010 National Water Total Improved (x1000)2010 National Water Total Improved (%)1990 National Water Total Improved (x1000)1990 National Water Total Improved (%)
Nigeria              92,581                                 58                               46,131                              47

Zambia              7,937                                   61                              3,852                                 49

S/Leone            3,225                                   55                              1,520                                 38

Togo                  3,694                                   61                              1,794                                 49

Uganda             23,929                                 72                               7,667                                43

Kenya                23,762                                 59                              10,259                               44

S/Africa             45,792                                  91                              30,411                               83

DRCongo          29,891                                  45                             16,211                               45
Ghana               20,894                                  86                              7,913                                53

In truth, all of the African countries listed did somewhat well, when you compare the levels of access from 20 years before. Countries like Nigeria did reasonably well over the past 20 years, but Ghana and Uganda did way better....relative to their population!

Again, these figures represent the increase in improved access to clean drinking water which has been found to be both correlative and causative of economic growth.

The point I am trying to bring out in this particular case is that the data shows that there is indeed progress. It can also drive more progress as the knowledge of the successes of some African nations would inspire/challenge others to work harder, in my opinion.

By the way, I believe I must also point out a thing or two about the Grand Inga Dam Project (which I will be writing a whole article on at a later date) that seeks to provide much electric power to Africa, and (by extension) enhance economic growth.

I believe there is a need to consider some possible negative effects on the water in the DRC (Democratic Republic Of Congo) where the dam is to be built. Dealing with this now can save us a lot of wasted lives and resources later.
You may stick with this blog to read about that and more. Just scroll down the right side bar (below my photograph) to join the blog list (I don't usually post more than twice a month, so I won't drown you in my posts). 

In the final analysis, I would say Africa is largely on the right path in terms of democracy, trade, and recent economic policies. What we need now is to keep our children alive, healthy, and enlightened, so they can help build our continent into it's true wealthy self, and not the shadow of it that it is today.