Nanyang Business School Breakfast Talk – Advent of Social Media: What It Means To Marketing Practitioners
Had a great time playing moderator role organised by one of the world’s leading business school, where topics around social media were debated and how it affects businesses.
Views were exchanged and lessons learnt. I had fun (which is most important)…
1. Sarjit Singh – President of NBSAA
Mr. Andrew Tan, 2nd President of NBSAA
2. Peter Lim, Writer and Media Consultant of Plim HL, Singapore (former Editor-in-Chief of Singapore Press Holdings)
3. Jon Chin, Head Digital Strategy of ClickMedia
4. Nagalaksmi V., Account Manager of Google Adwords Singapore
5. Shalu Wasu, Associate Director of Ogilvy PR Singapore
6. Luke Soon, Principle of SAS Intelligence APAC
7. Dennis Wong, President of MBAAA
8. Bill Lee, MD of SAS Intelligence.
I had the honour to address a wide range of questions as they were raised and answered.
Topics ranging from how social media platform can be utilized in the healthcare industry while taking legal obligations into consideration; how both the ruling party and the opposite parties tap on social media platform to reach out to the voters in the coming general elections in Singapore; etc.
It was great fun and the best part I learnt stuff there!
The YouTubey says it all. Love watching it.
What are your thoughts?
Jeremiah Owyang chats about social media marketing, for businesses and how companies can best engage their online customers..
Two key take away points from this are 1) companies need to understand what is their business objective of using social media? and once they got that figured out, then they have measure it according to that objective stated at the outset and 2) tdudes/dudettes that venture online tend to want to express themselves and interact with others instead of looking out for advertisement (a good insight I might just add).
The question from me, is social media marketing suitable for all companies, are companies just following the band wagon? “Cause everyone is doing it so I must do so as well” I must do so as well.
I feel ultimately it boils down to the company’s objective and its means of competitions and how they view social media (Facebook, Forums, Twitter, Blogs). If the culture of the organization is pretty much conservative and bounded by heaps of regulations perhaps social marketing is not the right platform for them.
Enjoy the YouTube.
Reputational Management: When something negative is said about your brand in the social space: What are you going to do?
I’m sure most of you have seen the viral effects of the Domino Pizza employees having a ‘good’ time at the kitchen and the damage it has caused to Domino Pizza. The clips ‘enjoyed’ a million views before Domino Pizza management was informed of the YouTube clip. This was an instant viral marketing success (well for all the wrong reasons).
This to most companies is a situation where they dread most. However this is something very real and this could happen to any company.
Imagine years of building your baby brand to what it is today take a lot of hard work but it only requires one serious episode to bring it down. Similar to the notion of trust. Trust takes incremental steps to build but when the trust is lost, it drops by leaps and bounds.
Well my view is though one may completely take control of its brands in the online space, one can minimize these negative effects, i.e. control the negative spread of viral marketing.
How you might ask. Here are some tactics I recommend:
1. Craft an internal social media policy for all employees — this would signal to your staff that your actions offline and online concerning your company brand name is made answerable – unfortunately no many companies have one, if you dont, dont you think you should have one soon? After all, research suggests that social media is growing at an exponential rate.
a. Well ideally you would have someone listening in the online space that can inform your company at a moment’s notice.
Well the first one is not really a tactic but a good pre step. Do have one.
2. If it does happen, adopt the “SUN-SET” rule, make sure you quickly respond to this. In the online world, speed is of utmost importance. You need to craft an official respond.
a. If you know who the originator of the spread e.g. it was a blogger, perhaps you could get the blogger to link back to your official response. Most readers appreciate the other side of the story.
b. Well if you don’t (in most cases), do craft a response on your webpage and submit that page to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – yes do some keywords. This would ensure that user would be able to see your response on the first page of Google. Typically most users would click on the official response.
c. Engage Twitter, Twitter has been known for its speed! Use that to your advantage.
As you can see, all these revolves around prompt action. Do not ignore it and do act on it fast.
I’m sure you do not want the Domino Pizza effects happening to your company.
That’s all I can think of for now. But I’m keen to hear what you would do (or have done) to control the negative spread of your brand name.
Do you marry for love or do you marry for money?
I think the question is flawed to begin with, I think it should be to what extent do you marry for love and to what extent do you married for money.
You must be wondering what on earth am I talking about? Read on and you will understand the logic behind it.
A recent article titled “Paid search down?” by econsultancy.com caught my attention and got me thinking. After reading through the article, Being a natural hardcore tweeter decided to tweet it. Within minutes, I have an explosive number of tweeters RTing it (e.g @digitalengage, @BobKeyman). To me it means, this is HOT news and something that resonant with the market.
I felt that this article came at the right time, the time where marketers have been told that the marketing budget is slashed and so forth. So if that is really the case, a simple explanation to this fall in Search Engine Marketing – PPC could very well be attributed to this recession after all one can say we now need to priorities our spending. Gone are the days where we can pay a staggering 5 bucks a click (sheer madness by the way). Following this logic, its does make sense that PPC is going south.
BUT could there be another explanation? Could it be companies are getting smarter, they have in house SEO specialists that have been optimizing their search campaign after all SEO is not that new anymore. After years of experience, they have gotten the SEO skills right i.e. dirtied their hands and all, and as such they don’t really need PPC (that much anyways). They are ranked typically on the first page. So if that is the case, why do they need to embark on a PPC campaign – its such a waste of money (do I hear the CFO suddenly shout – “WOO HOO”) – they are not optimizing their strategy if they engage PPC if we follow this school of thought.
However (yes there is always a however), in my view, well though the figures do show a decline in PPC (according to econsultancy.com), PPC still has its place in the search engine world. Its SPEED, its ability to quickly (or fastest way) get the required amount of traffic to your site, in fact, it can be instantaneous. It allows you to start getting traffic right away, allowing one to build its customer base. But the drawback can be the pricing, the strategy to it is to use less popular key words (lateral ones or long-tailed ones) and as such the PPC cost will fall accordingly – well you need to work on that strategy cause I always believe that Search in itself is a Strategy. Apply this to your SEM/SEO and you could go a fair distance.
I think ultimately, firms have to go right down to their inner self and ask this question before they embark on any execution tools.
Ask themselves this very simple basic question* What is my objective?. Get this right in the beginning and alot of wastage can be minimized and thus develop an effective solution to meet your organization’s communication and strategic marketing goals.
So going back to the introduction of marrying for love and marrying for money, now you should (hopefully) understand why I wrote that. In my view, we digital marketers should ask ourselves this very question, to what extent do we use organic and to what extent do we use PPC? of course this is dependent on your organization’s objective and marketers being accountable for every dollar they spend and measurement results, yes you guess it ROI.
Say this to your CFO and board members, “My strategy is to use as much organic as possible and use PPC as necessary”With this, I foresee you will be able to see some nice smiles on their faces.
Well thats all from me now, I’m keen to hear your views.
*I’m sorry it still amazes me though that a fair number of companies fail to do this and even if they do, they fail to appreciate the magnitudes of tools out there and that “SEARCH in itself is a STRATEGY”
Its been nearly a good three years since VAGSG a forum that is created to serve the Singaporean (and Malaysian) motor enthusiasts. Vagsg has come a long way – from his humble beginning where whenever one posts, one can “FEEL” echos in the forum. HALLLLLLOOOOO…..
Now VAGSG stands strong at around 9000 members where activities have been planned both online and offline to foster growth and of course least but not least CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT – THE word in the marketing arena. VAGSG enjoys a strong return rate and it is a highly interactive forum as well.
How does one do that, the operating philosophy is very simple, just make users create contents (user generated contents) and let the spiders crawl through your web. That’s IT.
Actually thats not just it. I wish it was just that (haha). It was really a painful but challenging journey to make VAGSG what it is today. It is the de facto Audi and VW forum in Singapore.
The planning phase included:
- Differentiate – USP – unique selling proposition. We are an independent forum run by enthusiasts for enthusiasts.
- Excite – By generating fun activities (online and offline), chat about the latest models, modification of the cars etc.
- Connect – this is done via offline ways, the intent is to get the forummers to meet one another and develop relationships and form a TRIBE. Its a long term engagement, encouraging customer loyalty and last by not least advocate positive word of mouth (yes viral again).
Our bounce rate of the forum is very encouraging (very low – I compared it with a fellow local automobile website) and the time spent on the forum is very encouraging.
That’s all from me for now. Will update more when I get the chance on the VAGSG forum story from its humble beginnings to what it is today. The e-strategies involved to drive traffic, attract and retain the forummers (offline and online) and of course will share the web analytics side of it, SEO and SEM as well. What I have learnt.
Lastly VAGSG has an army of supporters who cant wait to tell people about the forum and of course their rides and spread the positive word of mouth – yes its viral again.
Didnt Xerox research show, that is cost 5 times more to attract a new customer than to serve an existing, just let the customer do the job for you afterall your potential customer will trust them more, no? viral baby. The power of WOM.
Many seem to have ignored the fact that the digital space has been around for more than an decade. It is no longer a new media as what the traditional media owners are trying to paint in the corporate world. A new generation of digitally savvy users are now every ready to experiment, explore and participate as a global online community citizen.
This maturing digital community has created a critical mass that is sufficiently large enough for marketing professionals to measure and make inferences on the behavioural aspects of different segments within the community. This is the insight which is sadly not practiced (as much as we would like) in the marketing profession as measuring and analytics is not a discipline which most practicing industry marketeers prefer to engage in (sad but true).
If so, is there a reason why?
Personally, I feel that this lack of discipline will come back to haunt them as the digital space (moving forward) offer the best and most effective means to measure and assess their customers’ preferences. It is only through this insight that the marketing professional can make evolutionary changes to their products and services to match their customers’ changing needs.