Tag: thehouseofmargaux

How To Get Your Kids To Cook Almond Cookies

This weekend, how about having fun baking with your kids? You don’t need to enroll yourself and your kids to a children’s baking class to experience the joys of baking together. You can do this right in the comfort of your own home, by yourself, with this easy does it recipe as your guide.

Then, you can also, maybe, make a video of the same just like what I did in the video that my kids and I prepared, to show you how you can bake your own Almond Cookies with the little ones lending a hand.  For that, you will need a camera. A tripod will be nice to have too.

To start your good times in the kitchen, all you need to know is what’s outlined below.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups Flour

1 cup Sugar

1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

a pinch of Salt

1 Medium-Sized Egg, beaten

2 teaspoons Almond Extract

1/2 lb Butter

Whole and unsalted almonds

Aluminum trays, not greased

To prepare the batter:

1. Mix all the dry ingredients first.

2. Blend in your beaten egg.

3. Add the almond extract.

4. Incorporate the butter well into the mixture.

5. Drop a spoonful of the mixture onto your tray to form rows. Leave enough space for your cookies to expand.

6. Press one almond or two on top of each formed mixture.

01.001To cook:

Pre-heat your oven for 15 minutes on 350 F. Then bake each tray for about 15 minutes at the same temperature. Do not cover with foil. Transfer your cookies on to a screen and allow to cool to give it time to harden.

No fuss baking, right? It’s just the perfect activity that you and your kids can do on rainy days when it’s impossible to have a good time outdoors. Take the fun to the kitchen. I promise you, those bagets (kids) will be more than happy to help out.

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Top 5 Reasons Why You Must Teach Your Children Filipino

Okay, so after all these years, I’ve really had it with Filipinos who don’t know how to speak in Filipino. As Philippines celebrates Independence Day, and with more Filipino kids not even capable of understanding or speaking in Filipino, I think it is high time to make a case for our mother tongue.

A Parent-Inflicted Child Disability?

Well, we’re not talking about a disease but, a crippled sense of culture. No, we’re not even going to talk about their sense of history (not yet, anyway but, I will soon), we’re just going to tackle more about children whose parents don’t teach them how to speak in Filipino. I don’t mean to be critical of how these moms and dads are raising their kids but, it has become very disturbing why these kids, being raised by Filipino parents, living in the Philippines, and attending regular Philippine schools are only being taught English.

Where my children attend school, kids like my son who know, live and breathe Filipino, are already finding the fact that majority of their classmates cannot even understand the language, absurd.  A friend of mine who teaches in the same school has also been complaining about their students who are making their profession doubly hard by parents who aren’t teaching their children Filipino.

As I wonder why these parents put their children in such an awful situation, I can only think of 5 reasons why every Filipino child “needs” to learn to speak and understand Filipino:


Reason No. 1: They live in the Philippines.  In case you missed, Filipino is the national language. If you’ve been to southern provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao or, have been colleagues with people who were raised in these areas, they would sometimes even hesitate to converse with you in Filipino because of the regional accent. They probably wouldn’t talk to your son or daughter who only speaks in English, although they will perfectly understand what he or she is saying.

In short, you are gravely depriving your children of the opportunity to connect, socialize, and collaborate with his or her own countrymen.

Reason No. 2: Filipino is part of the educational system. There is, in fact, a compulsory subject in school which is “Filipino”.  Your child is guaranteed to fail it if he or she hasn’t been taught how to speak and understand the language.

My son who is in Intermediate School tells me that some of his classmates don’t even know what the meaning of very common words like, “paaralan (school)” or “tumatakbo (running)” is. He says, “kawawa naman (how pitiful)”.  Whenever they have drills or exams, the teacher has to translate every word to these children every time.  Indeed, it is a pitiful situation, isn’t it? Besides, children who perfectly understand Filipino have to put up with the burden of spending more than enough time on one topic to accommodate their classmate’s “parent-inflicted disability”.

Reason No. 3: It’s best that they are capable of communicating in both Filipino and English. Our culture has very deep links with the English language. Even today, older people who were taught in the American system of education back in the days when American soldiers and missionaries taught in public schools would beat a college student when speaking in English.

Too much Tagalog is not the reason why our English is of a poorer quality now than it was about two or three generations ago. Still, we are the Number 1 destination for voice-based back office operations (including call centers) because we are very adaptable when it comes to learning, not only English, but also other foreign languages in general. Those people who are thriving in the industry grew up in an educational system that had both Filipino and English in the curriculum — they didn’t have to be taught English exclusively since birth to speak the language well.

Reason No. 4: Filipino is a uniquely beautiful language. If you know your history well, you must know that Filipino (once called, “Tagalog”) is a hodgepodge of many local dialects and foreign languages woven into a meaningful system of communication. It has a unique brand where not every word can find a proper English equivalent.

To this day, we still use words with origins that can be traced back to the Sanskrit, Chinese, Bahasa, Español, and, yes, even English. If there is “American English” and “British English”, we have “Taglish (Tagalog and English)” which, more and more people, even our institutions, including the media, have learned to embrace over the years.

The regional dialects are just as beautiful. If you have the chance to teach your children Ilocano, Visayan, Chavacano or, something else, you should. People appreciate it when you take time and exert effort to learn to converse in their dialect. Your child will be able to more easily connect with others.

Reason No. 5: Your child is Filipino. Don’t you want him or her to love and appreciate our Filipino heritage? Even my relatives who grew up in the US and friends with Filipino parents who grew up elsewhere understand Filipino, most of them can even engage in ordinary day-to-day conversations in Filipino. It will be a shame for your children not to know how to speak it most especially when you are raising them in the Philippines.

Our Filipino language is alive and continues to evolve. As Filipinos, it is our responsibility to keep our heritage alive. Part of that responsibility is to make sure that we enrich our national language and make sure it develops further. It is one of the most important links that connects us to each other, and, as parents, it is our responsibility to our country to make sure that our children treasure it as well.

If you are raising your children to embrace Filipino as their own, Hooray! Otherwise, I hope you give it another thought. It’s not too late for them to learn.

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Touring the Oldest Chinatown

Thinking about what you can do differently with your family or with the gang this weekend? How about taking a trip to the “oldest Chinatown ever built outside of China? It’s right here at the heart of Manila — Binondo.

Binondo holds a special place in my heart. While everybody wanted a piece of Ortigas and Makati, Binondo is where I landed my first job. I put together training modules for one of the banks in the area, received a lame paycheck for doing that but, my cravings and tummy were satisfied all the time. Simple life — those were the days, indeed!

How To Tour Binondo

My everyday Binondo life happened some two decades ago but, I keep coming back  for the good memories but, most of all, for the good food and the cheap buys.  Here’s how you can most out of a Saturday or Sunday trip to Binondo.

First Stop: Sincerity Restaurant

Drive to Sincerity on Yuchenco St. about 10 or 10:30 am. There’s a good chance you can get parked in the vicinity on weekends.  The place gets packed easily around lunch hours and you want to be done with yours before everybody else comes in. Tour groups also frequently book the place so expect the place to be cramped.

What to order: Don’t miss the Sincerity Fried Chicken, half (Php 160) will be good for 2 adults while a full order (Php 320) will be good for 4. It’s fried chicken like you’ve never tasted one before. The chicken is spiced with ginger, soft on the inside, crispy on the outside. Ask for a kikiam sauce to dip in your chicken. Best enjoyed with bare hands. Always order the Sincerity Fried Rice to go with it. It will have tasty chinese sausage and eggs in it. Order extra. Make it Kikiam (Php 55) and Oyster Omelet (small at Php 240, big at Php 300).

Second Stop: Binondo Church

Walk to Ongpin towards the park to reach the church. The original facade of the church was built in the 1500s. Successive foreign invasions brought down the structure several times. This is also the church where San Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino saint, was said to have trained as a missionary.

Although only the Bell Tower remains from the church’s original construction, being inside the church gives you some sense of history of the Binondo that was. It’s always good to find time to praise and reflect.

Third Stop: Marketing at Ongpin

From Binondo Church, walk towards Ongpin or Carvajal (which is a few steps away though several stores on this side street are not open on weekends). Go ahead and cross that bridge. Lines of jewelry shops and Chinese pharmacy will be on the side buildings as vendors park their carts on the side streets.

THOM_Broccoli

Help yourself to the best and finest quality of fresh vegetables and fruits. The only limitation really is how much weight you can bear. Last time I was here in February, a week after the Chinese New Year, I got 3 flowers (1 small, 2 big) of broccoli for Php 100. Help yourself to fruits in season too.

Fourth Stop: More Pasalubong Shopping

Walk back towards the church, you’ll find a grocery store there where you can buy dried meat (pork jerky) per gram, similar to the Bee Heng Chiang you love to pack when you’re coming in from Singapore. Across the street, make a stop at Café Mezzanine for a cup of coffee, and maybe fill up again with snacks. This café is run by the firemen of Binondo.

Just beside it is Eng Bee Tin where you can get your hopia, siopao, siomai, and tikoy to take home. I personally find Eng Bee Tin hopia too sweet though so, I head over to Holland which is nearer Sincerity Restaurant or, to Polland along Quentin Paredes St. instead. We also like buying our Oolong Tea here which we find good for enhancing digestion following a heavy meal.

Fifth and Sixth Stops: Lucky Chinatown Mall and 168

You can’t leave Binondo just yet! It’s time for thrift shopping! If you drove to Binondo, it’s time to claim your car and drive to Lucky Chinatown Mall. You’ll find several shops here both similar and unique from your ordinary SM or Ayala Mall. Ask where the bargain shops are and you can start from there.

THOM_Lucky_Chinatown

If you don’t mind braving huge crowds, walk to the back of Lucky Chinatown Mall towards 168. It’s a building full of everything from toys to clothes to housewares sold at retail and wholesale prices. You’ll find something for everyone here.

When you’re tired shopping, take a break. I recommend Ho Bing near the bridge way inside Lucky Chinatown Mall which serves refreshing Korean deserts that are the equivalent of our local halo-halo. Don’t get 1 order for everyone. Share because the servings are huge! I’d say 1 order is good for up to 3 adults.  Recommended orders: Caramel Coffee which comes with jellies, Mango Cheese, and Strawberry. This store is not unique to Binondo but, it’s a good way to refresh before you drive home because, chances are, you won’t be craving for hot coffee after sweating it out shopping.

Other recommendations

You should also try jewelry shopping along Ongpin. Walk the entire street which should end you in Plaza Sta. Cruz (LRT-Carriedo Station). Visit the Sta. Cruz Church, the original structure of which was first built in the 17th century. I’m not sure if there is any part of the church that remains from the original structure though.

From there, you can walk back to Binondo by taking Escolta — the original Central Business District of Manila — one of the most historic places in Manila where the first local Chinese businesses trace their roots, where several scenes from local classic films were shot, and one of the first few theaters and cinemas in the country were built. It also used to be known for its posh shops and shoe stores. You’ll find several buildings originally constructed at the turn of the century still standing, including Regina Building and Roman R. Santos.

Beef with Thai Yellow Curry Sauce and Thai Fresh Spring Rolls

I love Asian cooking above all, I must say, and Thai cooking happens to capture my wild appetite for great food. For those times when I feel like my tastebuds need a serious switch from the usual to something more extraordinary, the blend of spices and fresh herbs of Thai cooking pleasantly exceeds my requirements.

I used to frequent this popular local Thai Bistro whenever my cravings are making me salivate for curry and fresh spring rolls. Since it’s been a while that I’ve gotten around my blog, I feel like making it up to you by sharing two Thai dishes — Thai Curry and Fresh Spring Rolls —  that I have just recently had the courage to cook on regular basis at home. Oh, but I should warn you that it may not be as authentic if that’s what you’re looking for. To put it more succinctly, these two Thai dishes are adjusted for my Filipino tastebuds.

Let’s get on with it!

First Recipe: Beef with Thai Yellow Curry Sauce

THOM_Thai_Yellow_Curry

Ingredients:

1/2 kilogram Beef Kenchie, diced (I recommend it for being tender but choose a portion that does not have too much tendons or, you can use any part of beef that you want)

deSiam (brand) Thai Yellow / Green / Red Curry Sauce (in order of sweetness to chilliness; I personally love yellow although I’d it any of these haha!)

Suree (brand) Thai Coconut Milk (optional; you won’t really need to do anything else with your deSiam curry but, if you need a little bit more sauce or natural sweetness in there, use this rather than adding water or sugar to your dish)

Mint or Basil Leaves (Don’t cook this dish without either of these! It won’t taste the same. Use both if you want to.)

Red and Green Bell Peppers, cut squarely

*Optional vegetables to add: Baby Eggplants, Young Corn (Check your deSiam, it might already have that in there already but, because those veggies have been soaked in the curry for a long time, they taste different. I take them out then, replace with fresh veggies.)

Ginger (a considerably big portion of it), peeled and cut squarely and pounded

Garlic, peeled and pounded

Salt and Pepper

Several pieces of Chili Peppers (What’s a Thai dish without them? Cut, if that’s how hot you want your dish to be. If the kids will be eating, just drop them in whole. Cut them up on your plate later.)

To cook this yummy Thai dish:

1. Heat pan. Add oil. Saute your garlic. Once brown, add in ginger and let it sweat.

2. Drop your beef. Salt and pepper. Give everything a nice toss. Put on the lid. Let your beef sweat off those juices. Start with high heat but, once boiling, adjust to medium heat to tenderize that beef and keep the outer surfaces from getting toasted. Add water occasionally to simmer.

3. Once your beef is tender, add your bell peppers and vegetables.

4. Allow some of that water to evaporate before adding in your deSiam Curry Sauce. Boil then, bring down to low heat to allow those flavors to be absorbed by your meat. I like mine dry so, towards the end, I open the lid and just allow those fluids to evaporate.

5. Taste and use your Suree Thai Coconut Milk at this point if you want more sweetness and more sauce in your curry. (Next time, you can even use this to boil your meat and veggies with because you’ll know exactly how much you’ll need with your deSiam.)

6. Add your mint or basil to taste. If you haven’t tried using these in cooked dishes before, just add a few because there’s a chance you might not like how it tastes.

7. Add your Chili Peppers.

8. Bring to a boil. Serve hot.

Second Recipe: Thai Fresh Spring Rolls

THOM_Thai_Spring_Rolls

Ingredients:

1/2 kilogram Medium-Sized Shrimps, sauteed, head removed, and body cut in half (lengthwise)

500 grams, Good Life (brand) Sotanghon, soaked and boiled

Cucumber, peeled and cut in lengthwise pieces

Celery Stalks, peeled and cut in lengthwise pieces

Carrots, peeled and cut in lengthwise pieces

Mint leaves

Thai Rice Paper (I’ve used the Real Thai and the Fat and Thin brands. The former breaks easily and may not be ideal if you’re doing this for the first time. Fat and Thin holds up better.)

For the Peanut Sauce:

1 small bottle of creamy Peanut Butter (I’ve used Lily’s and it tastes fine but, the problem is it will not incorporate well even after you’ve taken out the oil and boiled it with the other ingredients. So, let me know if you happen to try it with another brand of peanut butter that will hold up better as a peanut sauce)

1 can, Suree Thai Coconut Milk

2 tbsp, Grated Ginger

*Optional: You can always use a Thai Peanut Sauce if you can find one, of course!

To make the Peanut  Sauce:

1. Heat the Suree Thai Coconut Milk in a sauce pan. Bring to boil in low heat.

2. Add grated ginger.

3. Add Lily’s Peanut Butter devoid of the oil that sets on top.

4. Blend everything together. Keep your sauce from burning by mixing constantly.

5. Once sauce thickens, transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.

To make your rolls.

1. Follow the instructions indicated on your rice paper.

2. Quickly assemble your shrimp, cut vegetable ingredients, and sotanghon over it, leaving about a fourth at the bottom to fold later.

3. Fold the bottom end then, roll. If you know how to make Lumpia Shanghai, this should be easy, except you have to work faster or your rice paper will break. It takes a while to get used to wrapping your rolls but, you’ll get the hang of it.

4. Refrigerate. Serve chilled.

Enjoy with your family and friends — always the best way to savor Asian dishes.

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What makes you happy?

His Holiness The Dalai Lama and American Psychiatrist Howard C. Cutler wrote “The Art of Happiness” in 1998. Cutler wrote about the central message of The Dalai Lama’s teachings about happiness that, “happiness is possible—in fact, we can train in happiness in much the same way that we train in any other skill”. That makes happiness a choice.

Another central theme of this piece of writing is that compassion leads to happiness.  In the words of Cutler, “There is an inextricable link between one’s personal happiness and kindness, compassion, and caring for others. And this is a two-way street: increased happiness leads to greater compassion, and increased compassion leads to greater happiness.”

Money, spending and happiness

Many of us who toil away our days — noses on our computer screens and leaving barely enough for sleep — tend to think that money will take away our miseries. In many ways it will because more income means being able to buy more things that make life convenient, including better healthcare coverage.  However, in the long run, happiness plateaus even with money literally piling up on your desk.

According to two studies headed by Elizabeth Dunn, how you spend your money, and not how much you have, ultimately determines how happy you will be.

In one study, Dunn and her team sampled Americans and asked how each were spending on four categories: bills and expenses, gifts for themselves, gifts for others, and charitable donations.  Those who spent more on the latter two, which were used to measure “prosocial spending”, were found to be happier. There was no relationship observed between happiness and the first two spending categories.

In an extensive review of literature available on these subjects, Dunn and her team advised that consumers must:

(1) buy more experiences and fewer material goods

(2) use their money to benefit others rather than themselves

(3) buy many small pleasures rather than fewer large ones

(4) eschew extended warranties and other forms of overpriced insurance

(5) delay consumption

(6) consider how peripheral features of their purchases may affect their day-to-day lives

(7) beware of comparison shopping

(8) pay close attention to the happiness of others

Happiness and aging

Robert Waldinger of the Harvard University reported on a study on health and aging that took 75 years to complete.  The study included 237 college students and 332 youth from the inner city Boston area. He and his team followed their lives until most have died, measuring factors pertaining to physical and mental health, financial standing, psychological wellness, life satisfaction, and social relationships. These factors were repeatedly measured over the years. Their partners were also included in the study.

Below, are two major study findings:

1. Those who were more sociable and were able to build intimate, close-knit personal relationships with family, friends and people in their communities lived longer and happier compared to those who were introverted.

2. Those who had fulfilling intimate relationships, most especially pertaining to happy marriages, were happier and healthier throughout their lives.

Are you happy?

It sounds like it’s as simple as taking a few minutes of personal reflection for you to be able to answer, doesn’t it?  However, it can be complicated for many who live complicated lives.  Perhaps, that’s where happiness takes a beating, and perhaps that’s where you can start.  How can you simplify your life? It’s good to think about your future but, how about thinking about your “now”?

References:

BSTAN-ʼDZIN-RGYA-MTSHO, & Cutler, H. C. (1998). The art of happiness: a handbook for living. New York, Riverhead Books.

Dunn, Elizabeth, et.al. “If Money Doesn’t Make You Happy Then You Probably Aren’t Spending It Right” Link: https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/danielgilbert/files/if-money-doesnt-make-you-happy.nov-12-20101.pdf Accessed on: 20 Mar 2017

Dunn, Elizabeth, et.al. (2008). “Spending money on others promotes happiness.” Link: http://ggsc-web02.ist.berkeley.edu/images/application_uploads/norton-spendingmoney.pdf  Accessed on: 20 Mar 2017

Waldinger, Robert (2015).  “What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness” Study was first published in the Journal of American Psychiatry Association. Link:  https://www.ted.com/talks/robert_waldinger_what_makes_a_good_life_lessons_from_the_longest_study_on_happiness  Accessed on: 20 Mar 2017

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The most empowering firsts for women

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we might fear less.” — These words were spoken by Marie Curie, the Polish scientist credited for the discovery of two elements, polonium and radium, which became instrumental in the development of x-rays and cancer therapy. Her thirst for higher knowledge brought her to Paris because, as a woman, she was not allowed to attend the university. In 1903, she became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize (Physics) and the first person to win a second Nobel Prize (Chemistry) — the only person by far to win the prestigious award in two different branches of natural science.

Five inventions and landmark policies that empowered women the most

The road to success indeed was not easy for us, women, to pursue. Other than our sheer commitment and dedication, there were also five major changes that allowed us more time to think about what we want, go after our wildest dreams, and be respected for doing so.

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1. Modern contraceptives.  It was not until the use of diaphragms and condoms in the 1800s that birth rates started to decline. At the same time, women married and had children at a latter age. Modern contraception allowed women to delay pregnancy under the principles of birth control, which was earlier termed “voluntary motherhood”.

In the US, Margaret Sanger established the first birth control clinic and was arrested several times for doing so as it was then prohibited under the Law. In France, the 192o Birth Law likewise prohibited access to birth control. It was not until the 1960s to early 1970s when prohibitive laws were reversed, favoring the wider distribution of birth control pills and devices.

2. Equality in the workplace. Before equality and non-discrimination in the workplace became a norm in modern societies, women were forced into slavery, some work for less compensation doing the same work as their male counterparts who earned more for the same level of effort, and women could not take on higher posts because they were not allowed to attend institutions of higher learning.

The founding of institutions that advanced women’s rights, such as the National Women’s Trade Union League in the US, then later, international institutions that advanced workers’ rights, most especially the International Labour Organization of the United Nations, set the standards for women to be able to access decent forms of employment that did not discriminate based on their gender. The subsequent attendance of women to earn university and post-graduate degrees later allowed them to move up to become leaders in their respective organizations.

3. The right to vote.  In the US, women’s right to vote was not granted until 1920. In the Philippines, following Independence and consistent with the 1935 Constitution, women were granted this right. Beyond being given the responsibility of choosing a leader, women could freely express their opinions. Soon after, women also pursued election for political office.

4. Trousers by Coco Chanel.  Trousers have been worn by women throughout ancient times but, it was Coco Chanel who popularized the use of trousers in modern societies, following the war. Chanel made trousers fashionable, and it became a style staple for working women. Trousers allowed women the freedom of movement. She was once quoted as saying in reference to pants, ”I gave women a sense of freedom. I gave them back their bodies: bodies that were drenched in sweat, due to fashion’s finery, lace, corsets, underclothes, padding.”

5.  Participation in the Olympics.  Though the exact date when women were allowed to join the world games is still widely debated, it wasn’t until 1900 in Paris when Olympic events, particularly in croquet, were opened to women.

A toast to women: International Women’s Day

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we celebrate the contributions of women to the world: from creating humble homes, raising respectable children, serving in wars and changing the course of history, women were in the midst of it all. Women worked behind the scenes, and were forced to exert more effort to become successful in their chosen fields because, in many parts of the world, women faced discrimination, many still do today.

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How to use Snapchat for your business

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Follow thehouseofmargaux.com on Snapchat. Take a screenshot of this snapcode. Go to your Snapchat account. Click the ghost icon on the upper lefthand corner of your screen to take you to your home page. Click Add Friends -> Add by Snapcode -> Select the image you took of the snapcode above.

Five years ago, Snapchat founders, Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy (who is Fil-Am, by the way, and is listed by Forbes magazine to be worth US $1.8 billion) and Reggie Brown, then students at Stanford University in California, experimented with a new platform that provided users more privacy than Facebook. Early in 2017, Snapchat became a publicly registered company with a declared value totalling US $3 billion.

“Snap Inc. is a camera company,” the company website reads. In reality, it’s a communication platform that is not yet quite as popular as Facebook is for networking, and much less known for business purposes.  Philippines ranks 6th on the most number of active users on Facebook; that is, 60 million Filipinos on Facebook out of the total 1.7 billion users worldwide. Still, here, we will tell you why your brand needs to be on Snapchat right now.

Social media use in the Philippines

Based on the report, “Digital in 2016” from We Are Social, Filipinos spend the most amount of time on social media clocking in 04:17.  Other important statistics that you must consider which were also highlighted in the report:

  • Philippines has 58 per cent Internet penetration rate, and second highest growth of Internet users (27 per cent ) next to Indonesia (51 per cent) in 2016
  • 38 per cent of Filipino Internet users use mobile devices to access the Internet
  • 58 per cent of Filipinos are active on social media, including 12 million new users in 2016
  • 38 per cent of Filipinos participate in e-Commerce (Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand each has between 50 to 60 per cent e-Commerce participation)

The profitable side of Snapchat

SnapChat is far from the robust analytics available on Facebook or Google which allow you to make an analysis of your audience and customers. Plus, messages disappear by default, depending on your settings.  Frankly, the most compelling reason for your business to be on Snapchat right now is because Snapchat is the latest, most fun thing to do on social media at the moment, and it is in your best interest to have your presence felt on the platform right now to join in the fun — and sell more.

So, how can you effectively use it for your business? Here are at least five ways:

1. Create Snapcodes to support your branding and promotions efforts. Snapcode works like a QR code or a barcode. It carries your unique data.  Here are three ways by which you can take advantage of this Snapchat feature:

  • When you register on SnapChat, register using your business credentials, that is, email and mobile number. It will then create a Snapchat account for your business with a matching snapcode. Go ahead and snap your company logo or yourself if you are your own brand (such as if you’re running a blogging service).
  • Create a snapcode for your website. Go to Settings —> Snapcode —> Create snapcode. Type in your web address then generate your snapcode. Take a screenshot and start sharing.
  • Create a snapcode for a special promo that you are running for a limited period.

You can put your Snapchat snapcode account on your website and other social media accounts to let your clients know that they may also follow you on Snapchat. Post your website’s snapcode on your social media accounts, including on Instagram, to invite your followers to view your website. Use these on your business cards. If you have a physical store, print and post.

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Snapcode for the houseofmargaux.com Take a snap and Snapchat will open the website instantly from the Snapchat app.

2. Use Snapchat to drive campaigns.  On this platform, you only have roughly 10 seconds or less to make an impression, deliver information and make your call to action.  Run a brand campaign that asks users to, for instance, take a snap beside your product or logo. Make it worthwhile for them to engage by giving away prizes, at least for top entries.

3. Offer your Snapchat space for a fee. If you have a mass following on Snapchat or, if you’re on your way there, you can lure in brands to collaborate with you. Negotiate for a fee — as usual, in cash or in kind — to feature a brand, service or product on your Snapchat account. Just keep in mind that your biggest asset online is your reputation so you better be careful which brands you are collaborating with. Also, be transparent with your followers. Let them know if a product or service that you are featuring is sponsored.

4. Create geofilters for your events.  One of the more exciting new features on SnapChat is geofilters. You can use this feature if you are running a public event, such as a concert or a mall-wide sale. Create a unique geofilter for your event. Visit the snapchat website for guidelines and submission requirements.

5. Sell products and services. People are starting to use Snapchat to sell but there are quite a number of improvements required on the platform to make transactions easy, that includes enabling secure online payments. You can still snap on what you’re selling to drive them to your website, Facebook, Amazon or eBay store.

Anyway, the best use of Snapchat when it comes to selling your products and services is by creating coupons or flash sale announcements that your followers can snap and present in store.

Ready. Set. Snap! Alright, hold on. You need to download Snapchat on your mobile first. Enjoy!

References:

Kemp, Simon. “Digital in 2016” We Are Social. Link: https://www.slideshare.net/wearesocialsg/digital-in-2016?next_slideshow=1  Accessed on: 7 Mar 2017

Vinton, Kate. “The World’s Youngest Billionaires 2016: 66 Under 40” Forbes Link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/katevinton/2016/03/01/the-worlds-youngest-billionaires-2016-66-under-40/#79531ecc4440  Accessed on: 7 Mar 2017