Category Archives: Social Media

Effective Use of Social Media – Strategy 2013 – 2014

Which social media is effective for brand awareness, which for education, which for making sales? The various options available, gosh, aren’t we spoilt for choices…Read here on what was trending for 2013.

Let’s do some serious thinking now. We want the most effective social media to use for our intention. Owning a business page on social media is not the end of the marketing story.

What do you want viewers to do on the page? How do you get more visitors to that page?

Let’s reflect on what most people are doing: They have a website, and then link that website to their Facebook page, Twitter page and Linkedin page.

Then, visitors will have to choose: predicting what they have on mind,

“I often log into Facebook, so liking the Facebook page is a good idea.

I have a twitter account, but I seldom go through my tweets, because my complete list of friends are on Facebook.

My Linkedin page is for finding a job, or getting a person to fill a job. So I don’t think I will need to look at the company’s Linkedin page.”

Now, the pattern is so clear. That if you have given the 3 options to your audience, they will most probably choose to connect via Facebook first.

Give them a reason why they should click on Twitter or Linkedin, or even Pinterest. Perhaps you have some awesome materials there that your users must see there.

I think Zuckerberg will be smiling at my next sentence:

Facebook is my first choice of social media. It has all the right ingredients for engagement.

Why I Use Facebook?

For sharing useful content – most of the Facebook posts are curated content (someone copied the link/image from somewhere). The most effective strategy is to make your own content. So people will have no choice but to like your page to get future updates of the content.

The Facebook interface seems to have nicely chunked spaces for the posts. So, it kind of have some psychological effect on us via a neat display of content.

For getting quick response on a situation – within 2-3 minutes, someone reads your post and may fire a comment. For sharing of life’s moments – it seems like everyone’s habit to instantly post about something special going on in his or her life, on Facebook.

Twitter will be my second choice. Plainly due to the character limits and the shortlinks. It can be a bit frustrating to see a twit with an attached image, but you can’t see the image directly unless you click on the shortlink. I am not sure if it’s just me, but I guess I am already spoilt by facebook’s feature of attached images already automatically shown in the post.

Why I Use Twitter?

Basically, to spread announcements, as an additional layer on top of facebook. Sometimes, I use it to also discover conversations, using the search hashtags plus keywords. The best thing I really love Twitter for is the fact that I can engage in any conversation without the need to “Request add friend”.

But again, how many genuine relationships can you make with total strangers? That brings me back to my roots, which are my Facebook friends/likes. Basically, because I know why they are my friends, and I know what makes my friends happy. It’s easy to monitor on the Facebook page administrator interface, via the number of likes and comments, what kinds of posts are found to be useful for my friends, and what are not useful.

Wait…a good idea for using Twitter will be for short messages or short advice / words-of-wisdom kind. That basically means, a sentence that makes sense can be seen as a tweet without having the reader to click, unless they want to find out more information about the tweet.

Why I Use LinkedIn?

Linkedin to me is elegance and professionalism. Where all serious topics are discussed in a politically correct tone. No swearing allowed. 🙂 I seriously mean it. And no wacky images and articles please. My time on LinkedIn is precious – it is for a purely business conversation.

Oh, of course, Linkedin is the best professional reference to have. Articles found here are from the experts and enthusiasts themselves, hence they are original. Join the professional networks and get started to find out the trends in your industry. There are many entrepeneurs and experts, exchanging thoughts and ideas. Be polite and professional and they will reciprocate with the same too.

For the entrepeneurs, what better way to learn about the trade from the experts? It’s certainly alright to ask for views and opinions. But be careful not to ask a question that already have the answer screaming at you.

For the experts, what better way to use (or showcase) your skills than to help the newbies? This way, you are creating your brand awareness too.

These three social media sites are already saturating my online social time, which I plan to keep to just 2 hours per day.

I would also like to engage in customers offline, and on a more personal level, via personal email or messages. So that means another 0.5 hour to 1 hour. Oh maybe more. That is what social means anyway. You take care of the people around you. Anything you do should be in the spirit of the community.

Hey, don’t forget Quora too. Think opinions. Maybe enjoy some quiet moments over a cuppa to ponder on Quora?

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When Social Media Gets Bullsh**ty

Laugh…

Ok, let me start the discussion on this very sensitive topic. For a newbie like me, I am not in a position to discuss this. But I think I can say just a little something.

Yesterday, I was reading up a post on Google+ and found an article on why social media is bullsh**.

The author said that social media success stories are fabricated and are not accurate, because these are always backed by a lot of investments, or endorsements by celebrities who already have a ready audience.

For the ordinary people, it is tough to make it big on social media except for a few rare content creations.

I do agree with the part on huge investments behind social media. And I do agree that marketing gurus are sharing tips actually to make money. They have a right to earn a living too. But whatever that they have preached must be true and effective. As a strong value that I have emphasized at the introduction of this blog, every teacher is responsible for whatever they have taught.

It is a reckless act to share something which you picked from somewhere on the Internet, without making sure the accuracy or facts in it.

Huge social media agencies should not let money get in the way of delivering useful and true content. Newbies like me look up to such organisations as experts in the field and would most likely adopt whatever tips recommended by them. We don’t even know if a piece of content is fabricated and is done basically to get some media hype.

So, what I’ve learnt from the Social Media is Bullsh** article is that to be successful online, we should not blindly follow gurus. We have to make our own judgement as to what will work for us, and execute our plan.

Online age (how long you have been registered on a site) will not be a relevant factor. So do social status, or how big or small your organisation is. It is you and your goals – your pure intentions and your realistic goals (short term and long term).

By the way, it’s Social Media Week Singapore! Great events to liven up the week coming up.

Eyeing for Candy – The Web Is Still Hungry

Now, every ads provider wants to customise ads based on the user’s behavior and interest.

I remembered attending AdTech 2012 where I was awestruck by the technology of being able to target users by their interest coupled with friends’  or connections’ interests. Targeting smaller circles which are themed around a specific interest, and having many of these circles to power search results.

The circles then grow like mushrooms, and the conclusion of this technology is that the target reach of a search query will keep growing as the smaller circles grow.

Now, I see this technology picking up speed.

Google believes remarketing with display ads will benefit marketers a lot. But if the user clears the cookies every day, then remarketing can’t work.

Facebook feeds itself with recommendations which are strong tools to tilt items into your virtual pushcarts.

So this is no longer about you getting what you need from information on the Web.

Can you tell what this trend will lead to?

IMHO, I think this will bring about a stronger surge of marketing power, but users in general, will need to make more effort to choose what really is important for themselves. Not letting the Web shape your interest.

This is simply because we need to remember that an increasing number of ads that we are looking at are coming from our friend’s or connection’s interest too and may not be really the most relevant to what you need the most. In one word, biased.

On another aspect, these ads that are not relevant to you, but are “recommended” by your friends or by a cookie that you picked somewhere. Yes, they might get you to check them out. But at the end of the day, you find yourself wasting your time diverting from your original intention. I call it the “online temptation”, the power that keeps you browsing more than you should be.

The Web is hungry for online behavior data, online preference data, etc. We feed it each time we click on a link, each time we scroll down a page, and worse, each time we register on a website and enter our details.

As a user being exposed to a similar ad that appears too often, I feel the same way as being pushed by a salesman to purchase, when I actually do not want the item sold, and I do not have time for the sales presentation at all.

Now, this is the thing that irritates me about getting on YouTube to show my daughter her favourite videos, and my baby starts yelling each time she doesn’t see her video starting, but some other strange video (ads that you can skip after xxx seconds) starts rolling.

I hope not to let my kids grow up to be shaped by the Web ads. Buying what their friends buy, especially when the purchase is just a short-term craze and will not make the society grow morally stronger.

I rather my kids be shown snippets of advice or survival tips, or channels that foster efforts to conserve the Earth, or to help the poor and suffering. Even adults need these too, don’t you agree? Google won’t welcome this of course. They are living on the money from their Ads.

Yes, I am a marketer. I help others make that important purchase, but one of my daily goals is also not let my ads get into the view of the non-target audience. That is why, I hope Google will allow more search query data to be visible so that I can continue to build my keyword list and the negative keywords list. This way, I can help the Web regurgitate the right ads to the right users.

Social Media Marketing in 2013 – Trend & Forecast

Another day of analysis and discovery.

OK, today’s lesson is about facebook ads. Yup!

For many months, I have been neglecting the facebook ad, but now, it’s time to ‘face’ it.

Why? Look at these graphs that I got from Google Trends:

Image

And here is a quick look at what is on the minds of the marketers now…Yes, SEO still rules, and the developing countries are catching up in interest.Image

Of course, the next force to reckon with is the social marketing wave. Strategies have to take place now, and be reviewed frequently. As many experts say, we need to be AGILE in marketing.

Now is definitely NOT the time to just focus on ROI from Google ads alone. It is time to let the customers play their part in marketing your products. HUH?

Yes, via Facebook Ads and recommendations…and “so-and-so also likes this page”.  I actually did some behavioural predictions earlier.

Recommendations are the best of referrals. So facebook played the game really well. You can’t recommend much on Google Ads, unless you are logged on Google Plus.

But then again…who will click on a facebook ad if it is not a business-to-consumer ad, but a business-to-business ad?

Well, the fact that now some authorities banned the use of facebook during office hours make it a little hard. Unless you are using facebook solely for business during office hours.

Samsung has made it big on social media via facebook ads. I guess it comes with the type of product you are selling.

There is more to learn now about what works for facebook ads. Back to research mode.

Top 5 Online Behaviour of the 30 Somethings – 2013 Predictions

The online behaviour in 2013 can be summarised in just one word: real-time. People expect to get information and feedback fast. Time and redundant content are the worst enemies.
  1. More online forum participations for different interest groups, Facebook pages “likes” e.g. IT, lifestyle related, problem sharing
  2. More blogging and catchy visual content
  3. More YouTube views, for instant entertainment and for seeking extra knowledge e.g. “how- tos”
  4. More online conferences, meet-ups, e.g google hangouts as people can brainstorm ideas while being on different parts of the world.
  5. Increased e-commerce, perhaps facebook and pinterest will benefit marketers more than ever.

What platform and interface will meet the general online needs of this generation? Who will fall through the cracks? Any known hazards for too much social online?

Is Your Social Media Becoming Schizophrenic?

Personal Or Business role in social media? What is the ideal balance between these two roles? Will social media be a mess of personal posts and business interest in the future as more business pages are being set up in social media channels?

I have been pretty mixed about social media lately when social media is now steered towards branding/promotions. An effort must be made to maintain the delicate balance of the social media ‘mental processing state’, so that the majority of users will not be put off by the promotional ads and irrelevant status updates.

At the end of the day, users need social media to bring a sparkle in their eyes, not an eye sore. The magnet of social media lies in the ‘heart’ of the collective posts.

Ugly Encounters With Social Media in 2012

1. Business pages that are trying too hard, posting frequently on a product/service that is not new, or an article that is not of interest to you.
E.g the same old picture of the product every week.

2. Friends sharing a meaningless post just to win a contest
E.g. An uninspiring product image posted incessantly by your contacts who were serious about winning

3. Posts that are disconnected from humility and kindness
E.g. Complaining or showing off instead of counting your blessings

Memorable Moments With Social Media in 2012

1. Real life stories of kindness
E.g. The taxi driver who worked beyond his duty to drive an elderly woman around the places she wanted to visit, not realising he had fulfilled her last wishes before she died.

2. Posts encouraging cooperation and donations in the cause of helping an ill or needy person
E.g. Selling products via social media and using the money from the sales to help support the hefty hospital bills of an ill baby who needed a major surgery

3. Articles that teach you to lead a smarter life
E.g. How do you save from your salary, and how do you spend less time in managing daily tasks

What Most of Your Posts & Ads Should Include in 2013

1. Humility and sensitivity (No bragging)

2. Sincerity and thoughtfulness (Not an act done for the sake of getting into the limelight)

3. Life lessons (No one can get enough of this, and they can be life-changing.)

Growing Old with Social Media – The Social Network for Senior Citizens

How do you see yourself using social media as you grow old into your 50s and beyond? Many things I suppose, as we are now already so actively using it. But how can our parents benefit from it, as a tool that will help them through their golden years?

Recently I have been putting a lot of thought into what my parents are going through… Age-related illness, loneliness as their kids move out and build their own families, difficulty catching up with technology and the evolving smartphones, missing their grandchildren, and their own siblings but having limited capacity to travel…

My parents can only use text messaging or dial to contact others. Although they know what facebook is, they are not sure about how to use it, and usually view it only when I showed them interesting posts, or updates from family members.

I see facebook as a great tool for sharing family updates, important announcements and useful resources, but how do we make it user-friendly for the present senior citizens who need these benefits but are short of the technical knowhow.

Would there be an easier platform to enable such powerful interaction? I mean ‘powerful’ because as we age, we need more interaction and assistance, as our mental and physical capabilities shrink. And social media has a great potential in filling the gap.

Criteria for a senior citizen’s social network interface:

1. Easy registration
2. Free, installed app in smartphones
3. Configured to easily add immediate and extended family members. One touch contact. Will be great if the contact can be linked to the dial feature.
4. A list of important links plus contacts of various resources related to health treatments and medical issues, home care
5. A list of interesting links, pages or forums related to craft, hobbies, spiritual articles, entertainment
6. A ready list of government forms, links that will be relevant for retirement needs and health insurance claims
7. A list of volunteers / certified health practitioners nearby who can help during an emergency

A commendable effort by Microsoft and their partnering teams:
http://seniornet.org/blog/virtual-senior-center-enhances-lives-of-homebound-seniors/

If anyone has more suggestions, feel free to add it through the comment box. I hope this interface will become a reality.

Mindmaps – Crazy Messy Cool Infographics

A few days ago, fate has brought me back to the days of endless revision for major exams (O Levels, A levels & Uni Exams in Singapore), stress-filled days of hope and praying for miracles. I stumbled upon the saviour of my school days: the proven effective, yet always under-utilised because it is “messy and awkward looking” – the Mindmap.

For the young lady S who said “messy” and had her parents to fire me, I hope she is doing as good or better than the other young girl N who has made her parents proud after seriously using the Mindmap as a core function in her study routine. N was my student, among the rare few who trusted my teaching method. And she did a couple of really messy but good Mindmaps.

The more messy your Mindmap, the better and more useful it becomes.

I am not an Accredited Learning Instructor with Tony Buzan (though some day, perhaps) but I am speaking from the experience of a not-so-smart student who believes in constant self-improvement and regular use of Mindmaps to aid her learning process. Who didn’t have to work as hard as if she would have without building the Mindmaps.

No matter how complex a topic is, the Mindmap just sorts it out nice and smooth. Why? Because it mimics how your brain naturally works! It can even amplify your neural capacities, fluffing up your grey matter by re-inforcing the links that get degenerated as age catches up.

Dear friends, unless you are a prodigy, or even if you are, do not underestimate the messiness of Mindmaps. Try making one for a serious presentation or exam study, and be enlightened! This is not a paid advertisement. 🙂

Dear Parents of all races, this is the shortcut for your child’s success in learning. Find more tips here on how to maximise the brain’s potential in doing revision.

Dear Educators and Thought Leaders, you know what to do. Here is a simple sample Mindmap use -for starters.

The software that I was so looking for since 1993, MindMap, finally found it 2 days ago. Go google for iMindmap. A recommendation for marketers: get rid of the lists of specs or product benefits – convert them to Product Mindmaps., if you want to stand out. If you are not convinced, do challenge me with your questions. I will be at your disposal.

Keeping Up with Social Media

I am amazed with the incredible speed of social media, the rate it is growing in users, monitoring tools as well as apps.

Here and now, I am typing from the wordpress app, after the procrastination, perhaps more of bureaucratic tasks I was inundated with. The discovery of apps like this, always made me say, “why didn’t I do this earlier?”

Oh, there is always a stepping stone. And the force of social media, is something to reckon with.

I was really inspired by someone who said:
If everyone’s doing and thinking the same way, then someone is not thinking.

And being fed with all the information, you choose which one that suits your own thinking. Cut through the clutter, don’t be trapped by dogma.

Now, it’s time to sit back and look at social media with your own original, creative perspective. What’s in it for you?

Explainer – Get It Through Video

I watch YouTube every day, no not those videos. Educational videos, exercise videos, music videos and sometimes, inspirational videos, funny videos… These videos have subtly changed my life.

It’s perfectly normal to like videos, because videos are the best way to learn and teach anything via social media. You quickly learn something from a video many times faster than reading from a Webpage or only listening to an audio or a person.

With video, you can have a person speaking about an idea, while you view examples of what the person is talking about streamed in the video.

With good video shots and smart interplay of text, music and vocals, you can achieve maximum impact from the very short explainer video.

You not only help your users save time, but you also entertain them!

One fantastic explainer video from the list handpicked by Danyl Bosomworth, co-founder of Smart Insights and Managing Director of First 10 Digital.