Tag Archive for: social media

Pace your social media strategy

12 Jul
July 12, 2010

That is of course, if you have one in the first place.

There is often confusion in the “strategy” and the “plan”. Let’s think of it this way, do you remember the “forest theory” as stated in the book, Seven habits of highly effective people? Don’t fail to see the forest because of the trees. More often than not, we are so engrossed in trying to “cut down the trees” that we don’t realise we have been bulldozing in the wrong forest all these while. So think of the strategy as “the forest” and plan as “the tree”. Hence, a move such as creating a facebook page is not a strategy, it is an execution that is part of the plan. So each time you are excite by an execution, take a step back and review what is your strategy. We know that in business, we are often restricted by budgets and resources. So keeping tabs and checking back regularly will ensure that these resources and money are put into best use and not in clearing a wrong forest at the end of the day.

So once you have your strategy in place, you start drawing out your plans, which may include building of properties, content etc. While you are eagerly trying to grow your fans and having fun with the social media hype, please pause and make sure you have done the following :

  • Study your consumer behaviours… not solely on your site/page but on your competitors’ as well. Who are your target audience? When are they logging on? What are they interested in? If you have a social media consultant, please seek his/her advice. If you have engaged him/her based on their experience/capabilities, trust that they may have a few good advice for you.
  • What, when, where?… On a day-to-day basis, your brand may be filled with an wide array of products, events and promotions and you want everything to be on your social platforms – all at once. Well, think again. Look back at your strategy, think about your objectives and target audience. In the end, you don’t want your page to look like another bazaar in a flea market. So don’t rush to have everything dumped into your social platforms. Decide what, when and where.

The reason I have entitled this blog post “Pace your social media strategy” is because I have observed some “spamming” from some brands. Not literally but rightfully so in the eyes of the consumer. Pacing is VERY important and the steps above will help you understand how you should pace your strategy. Let me cite you an example…

Brand A wants to build a sustainable community on Facebook, and to use it as a platform to promote the USPs of their premium product targeted at 24 – 35. However, aside from that they also have many overlapping campaigns with different objectives running at the same time. So while they are sharing resources and lifestyle topics around the primary product focus, they are also flooding the page with a brand campaign, a sponsorship campaign, as well as a hip event targeted at the youths between 14 to 21. As the bulk of the work is aplenty, there are multiple agencies handling the different pieces and posting at their own pace. Unfortunately, it caused an influx of Youtube video posts on the event over a weekend that takes the fan page by storm without warning or build-up towards it. And on the conversational side, another agency is trying to talk about World Cup. And in between those event posts, there’s news about their sponsorship efforts which targets at a very different group of users.

Now think… if you are a fan on the page. Would you continue to “like” it?

A question may be appearing in your mind at this time, “But then… shouldn’t a sustainable strategy means that I do not separate my brand into multiple pages?” Yes indeed that should be the ideal. Then, how can you make the efforts seem more receptive to your audience while you are trying to promote different things at the same time?

  1. Objective > Strategy > Plan: You may not be able to do everything on the same platform. But really, WHAT are you trying to do? Build fans? Build brand equity? Build product awareness? What is it? With that mind, you will know how to pick and choose from the bulk of your content.
  2. Pace it, time it: Different group of audience may have different usage behaviours. By posting relevant content to relevant audience at a time where you can maximise eyeballs, you are likely to see better success for your efforts. At the same time, analyse the trends of your fans consumption for content, do you start losing them when you post more often or less often? What is their tipping point?
  3. What they like and not what you like: Many of us can be disillusioned in the type of content that will appeal to our community. Listen and observe when they tend to reply more often, what kind of content gets better traction. Test waters and ask for feedback.

It is common for brands to start flooding their fan pages with everything when the strategy is not clear. There is no direction on what the content should be building towards or where the end destination should be. There is also no way to plot a content strategy out of all the information on the table. My experience working with some clients are that many a times, they are more concerned with themselves than their target audience. They are concerned if they are posting it quick enough or accurately enough and not if their target audience are reading it or are interested to read it. And in this instance, the momentum is inconsistent which is likely to grow into a broadcasting platform for them to rave about themselves.

As the saying goes, more haste less speed. To create a sustainable community for long-term brand benefits, pause for a moment and think about where you are heading. Pace your footsteps as you would as you embark on a marathon, so that you can complete this long and tough race to reach the finishing line in victory.

How-to : Social Media for Businesses (Original text from MyPaper Interview)

21 Jun
June 21, 2010

The text below are the original replies from my interview with MyPaper. As I think some of the points that are being covered may be useful to some readers, hence I’ve uploaded the original text herein for your reference. Will be translating an English version shortly for the reading pleasure of the larger community. Cheers!

以下是接受《我报》采访时所提供的原文。因为觉得其中有一些内容对于某些读者或许会有所用处于是便全文上载于此供诸位分享。

问:许多新加坡企业都在Facebook和Twitter上,但他们不宜顶了解如何测量其有效性或者如何正确地管理这些账户。您对此有何见解?

答:我首要问这些企业的问题是,“你们为何选择上Facebook或Twitter?”许多企业在踊跃响应社群媒体风潮的号召时都未先设立商业意向或可持续性发展战略。这往往都是注定失败的前兆。若你不先设定目的地,你又怎么会知道应往哪个方向前进呢?社群媒体虽然对大多数企业来说都是一个不错的平台,但是Facebook或Twitter并非是最适合你公司或品牌的最佳平台。在莽撞地投入社群媒体之前,企业都应先采取一些基本的数码景观分析 (digital landscape analysis),制定一套包括了商业意向的营销方案,列出一些意图达成的关键绩效指标才开始进行执行。

问:为什么评估有效性和投资回报率对于在社群媒体上的企业如此重要?

答:基本上,效用与回报率对于任何商业的投资都是重要的评估指标。社群媒体自然也不例外。若企业已经决定要将人力物力投资在这个领域上,那么无论投资的大小,便自然需要相当的回报才能取得利益上的平衡。

问:一间公司应如何评估自己的社群媒体投资回报率?您是否可以针对Facebook和Twitter对此给于更深入的解释?

答:我认为回报必须分为短期和长期来设定。社群媒体真正有价值的并非在于直销,而更多的是在建立与扩展品牌资产上。但是我们必须从短期的观察去不断调整策略才能取得长期的回报。 短期的关键绩效指标可能包括:消费者心理分析 (consumer sentiments)、流量(traffic)、曝光率(impressions)、所获报道(earned coverage)、外来连接(back-links)、跟随者或粉丝数量的增长(increase in followers or fans)、潜在顾客开发流程(lead generation) 等。 长期投资回报率则可以从:品牌资产、销售、整体消费者心理的增长、竞争对手的分析等方面去断定策略的成功与否。企业可在总体的营销时间表上加入以社群媒体所执行的各项活动,讨论的话题或重要事项然后再与同期的销售成绩作个对照,从而了解如何取得真正的有效性。 Facebook在本地来说目前是最受欢迎的社群平台。建立了Fan Page之后,所有的管理员都可以检查由Facebook所提供的Insights。当中会提供你一些基本资料,比如每日的粉丝增长率,媒体资源下载率,地里统计等。它可提供你一些有用的数据,帮助你监察与调整策略的持续性。 而Twitter来说,培养高质量的跟随者相当重要。你的直接影响力,间接影响力与发言的曝光率将是主宰效用的重要指标。 但是无论如何,在社群媒体上最珍贵的并非数据。许多企业都埋头于利用数据统计来决定社群媒体的有效率。其实那不是最准确的。社群媒体更应立志的是将每个消费者都培养成自己的品牌代言人。于是有品质的会话,有影响力的拥护者,积极乐观的消费者心理才是社群媒体真正的魅力。

问:你可以提出3 – 5项企业在探索社群媒体的途中常见的失误吗?

答:

  1. 企业一般都不将社群媒体列入全年的营销战略中,而仅把它视为一项短期手段。这是不正确的,社群媒体应是个长期战略。
  2. 企业往往都将社群媒体的执行工作交由初级职员或实习生管理。这是大大不可。社群媒体关系到了品牌与产品定位和主要信息,公关危机处理等。而这些一般都不是初级职员所能够完全懂得或承担得起的。因此最好是训练经理级或者聘请一位专门人士代为执行。
  3. 在踏上社群媒体平台前没有设立商业意向或关键绩效指标。这点以上谈过了。
  4. 公司内部并无官方社群媒体政策(social media policy)。
  5. 在应对网上社群的问答与危机上并未先前设定跨部门流程。这极为关键,因社群媒体通常牵涉到不同部门的责任范围,因此需要各部门主管取得共识并积极合作。

Nosing at the Sony Ericsson Media Event

19 Jun
June 19, 2010

My dear friends at Waggener Edstrom kindly invited me to the Sony Ericsson Media Event. Not knowing what to expect (although I did smell a new phone), I went to the event held at Marina Bay Sands on the afternoon of 16 June. Sony Ericsson has chosen not to take part in CommunicAsia this year, but to piggyback on the biggest IT exhibition-conference in the region to create a number of fringe events around it. One is this media event, and the other, a showcase by Sony Ericsson’s APAC digital ambassador,  popular Korean girl-band, The Wonder Girls.

I also took this opportunity to speak with Steve Walker, Head of Global Product Marketing for Sony Ericsson to get some of his ideas on their social media strategy for the region. Although I hadn’t managed to dig any deep insights from him in the short 10 minute conversation (together with 2 other media), the interview might provide you with some idea on Sony Ericsson’s direction in the digital arena. Some of Sony Ericsson’s global digital success includes a viral video to market the X1, the W595 Darkside campaign, the Extra Man campaign for 2010 Fifa World Cup, and the C95 Online Photographic Competition, just to name a few.

Sony Ericsson has taken some very interesting plunge into social media as a global effort. With Sony Ericsson’s re-brand to align with Sony’s global tagline ofmake.believe, there is a lot of potential to expand on this and create new interesting campaigns & outreach. I for one, love the limitless possibilities of this tagline concept (See Jayden’s blog as an example on their blogger approach. Less the fact that they actually advocate PAYING for coverage of course). I’m definitely looking forward to more localised campaigns that will excite the local online community.

Before we touched further on the SE event, I would first like to make a comment on the venue. Marina Bay Sands so does not live up to its name. Not only the venue is hardly ready to be opened, the premium proposition of Sands Vegas is totally not felt in this location. We may be looking at something less than a white elephant, but rather, one which we are likely to refer as the empty vessel. The management will have a lot of work to do to up its standards.


(APAC Overview by Hirokazu Ishizuka, Corporate Vice President and Head of APAC region)


(left to right : Mike Foong, Chester Chen & Joe Teh)

It was all in all a simple affair, there was a surprisingly good turn-out from the invited bloggers. My best guess is many of them have lined up activities for CommunicAsia on the same day so they do not have to apply for too many days of leave away from work. It was good to meet familiar faces like @MikeFoong, @JamCanSing@DK, @amsie and also finally met @JoeTeh, @triplez82 for the first time.


(left to right : Amelia Wong, ME & DK)

The event was to launch a entire series of new phones from the Xperia series, new walkman phones and an eco-friendly no-frills handset. You can read more about the phone’s specifications from Justin Lee’s coverage here.


(
Above, brand new X8)

(Thanks to Justin on the clarification on the correct model names) The Xperia X8 was the highlight of the evening, the more affordable and smaller twin of the X10, the X8 comes in a number of colourful gradient casings to choose from. But the one that really impressed me was the Xperia10 Mini, which is a very smart design, targeted to fill the missing link between a small and handy but smart phone. This design should suit ladies very well, the light-weight and sleek looking design is also perfect as an accessory to be hung from the neck. Mobile social networking is fast moving towards the mass market and is no longer a gadget for the geek. However, not everyone is ready to carry around a bulky phone and the Xperia10 Mini may just be the solution for this group of people.

Best entertainment phone or not, I do not know. But it is certainly the stylish phone that Sony Ericsson has always positioned their products to be, making it the most accessible phone for the new kid on the block. I was initially unconvinced by the way the interface works and how it connects with the contacts on the phone. However, after an introduction and demo by Justin, I changed my mind and may just consider the X10 Mini if I ever need a smaller smart phone. The only challenge is that I’ve never used Sony Ericsson before and am skeptical about the brand & product.

Interview @ CommunicAsia 2010 – Social media & its place

16 Jun
June 16, 2010

I was touring CommunicAsia together with @skribe and managed to meet up with a few new found friends from Twitter, some who are exhibiting at this grand annual information technology event. We were caught by @stsanto from Getit Comms, who invited us for an interview with @B2Bento, to share some of our take on social media and marketing on virtual worlds. Here are the full recording of our interviews.

The Problem With “Social Media”.

17 Mar
March 17, 2010

Over client trainings and some chats with friends who are less social media savvy, I realised a common misconception on the term “Social Media”. So that brings us back to the fundamental question of what exactly IS “Social Media”? And what’s the problem with this term?

As quoted from Wikipedia,

Social media can be said to have three components;

  1. Concept (art, information, or meme).
  2. Media (physical, electronic, or verbal).
  3. Social interface (intimate direct, community engagement, social viral, electronic broadcast or syndication, or other physical media such as print).

In a definition given by Brian Solis as a result of ongoing discussions between some of the industry’s best practitioners, including Doc Searls, Stowe Boyd, Robert Scoble, Jay Rosen, Chris Heuer, Jeremiah Owyang, Shel Israel, Chris Shipley, Deb Schultz, JD Lasica, et al. They conclude that…

Social Media is the democratization of information, transforming people from content readers into publishers. It is the shift from a broadcast mechanism, one-to-many, to a many-to-many model, rooted in conversations between authors, people, and peers.

In simple concepts, if… (as taken from Wikipedia)

  • Print media is communications delivered via paper or canvas
  • Published media is any media made available to the public
  • Digital Media is electronic media used to store, transmit, and receive digitized information

Then simply to say… social media can be defined as

Communications delivered through Social Channels

But of course, that is streamlining it to a very basic idea. The nature of social media works distinctively different from many other types of media. However, I would like to bring your attention to the two main keywords I see in the statement above. That is Communications and Social. The two words suggest 1) Listening & Talking and also 2) Engaging. Which more or less sums up the most important but most commonly overlooked aspects in Social Media.


So What is the Problem with “Social Media”?

As social media is largely dependent on the use of technology, hence many folks commonly interpret it by the technological platforms in which these communications sit on.

I have probably heard this a thousand times.

Q : What is Social Media?
A : Oh! Facebook and Twitter?

While this answer is not technically wrong, many people miss out the importance of “engagement”. So when I try to explain how conversations are being carried out, I may be returned with either one of the following reaction.

A: Oh! You mean spamming?
B : But what do you talk about?

Brands aside, when further explained to individuals on the great potential social media can do for their personal profiles, the responses are usually

A : But I have nothing to say about myself.
B : But I don’t want anyone to know about me.

Don’t be mistaken, I don’t mean privacy is wrong. In fact, the more active you are on social media, the more caution you should take on your privacy status. What I am saying is there is a common misunderstanding of what exactly social media is all about. It isn’t about platforms or technology alone, it is also not about being egoistic and exposing your privacy to the world.  Last but not least, it is not about a group of people gossiping on the internet space. Sure, there are bound to be times of casual conversations, but those conversations do not reign over the actual sharing of great ideas and resources.

The other common misunderstanding is that “media” indicates a connection with “journalism”. Well, I will blame it on the commonly coined term, “citizen journalism”.  This term has been used to describe the trend of breaking news on Twitter, the convenience of allowing the public to send photo stories to online tabloids like “Stomp” in Singapore. The ability for anyone to write articles, shoot photos  and host their own shows online. This has created a lot of skepticism for many people, especially traditional folks; irking at the fact that news from the internet is now a job of any tom, dick or harry. That concept alone puts people off.

The problem with social media is… people have all kinds of weird perception of this term. It is an overly-used and overly-hyped (and of course, overly-rated) term that actually serves no purpose except in describing the nature of this medium. Think about this… 20 years ago, you could live without email at work and things still click. But 2 decades later today, if your email server went down for an hour at work, you are likely to be screaming your head off at the technician. Social media will become a way of life that is indispensable in the same way. It is simply a natural evolution of technology that provides us with another communication platform. It makes our world smaller by connecting people from different corners of the globe. It facilitates all the social activities you would previously have to meet up in person to execute. There is no rocket science in the idea of social media. Don’t be intimidated by big words like these.

The Two Cs to SOCIAL

My simple explanation to social media can essentially be broken into two keywords. Communication and Conversations.

Communication

  • Verbal (written) communication: Conversations through messages, status updates, voice chats etc.
  • Non-verbal communication: Sharing photos, videos, games, virtual goods etc.
  • Real-time: One of the uniqueness of social media is the ability for real-time interactions to take place.

Conversations

  • Dialogue : Two-persons conversation.
  • Multi-way: Conversations from multiple sources/directions involving many participants at the same time.
  • Communication Platforms : Photo/Video sharing sites (eg. Youtube), blogs (like this), social networking sites (eg. Facebook). These sites may house communication tools like sending messages, status updates, poking, send a gift, social games, photo gallery etc.

I hope that clears the air for many people who are overwhelmed by what social media is all about. Whatever platforms that spring up, be it Facebook or Twitter or Foursquare. They are but tools that help facilitate human’s desire for communication. Our lifestyles has evolved, but not so much has changed in our need to share our lives with one another. The only difference? It just became easier.

My Social Media Lessons in 2009

23 Dec
December 23, 2009

Social media has made a significant difference to my life and career path in 2009. It opened doors and windows to unknown possibilities and a brand new horizon, to people and places where I’ve not imagined myself to meet and be.

If you are still new to social media, perhaps upon reading this post, you may find that it’s not so hard to comprehend after all. It is basically a relatively newer platform that humans use to communicate with one another. And many rules of life remains the same.


Social Media is like Life


  1. Start with the end in mind : Before you embark on a journey, you always decide a destination. Even if you don’t already, you are always in search of one. Social media is a lot like life, you need to know where you want to go and find the route to reach that destination along the way.
  2. Stop and look (listen) : Don’t be too hasty in trying to reach your destination or make achievements. Take small steps and make it a point to stop and look (listen) at your surroundings. You could find yourself discovering beautiful sceneries and observations you would otherwise have missed if you traveled on the highways. Listen to what people are talking about and make conversations to the most unlikely suspects. You would be rewarded with gifts of pleasant surprises along the way.
  3. Sincerity wins the day : Wherever you go in life, whichever agenda you may have, whatever you want to do, the basics of communication lies in the word “sincerity”. Lacking this in your heart and you risk closing many opportunities. Whether for your personal brand or for your clients, make it a point not to try too hard in selling. Be sincere in knowing the community and learn to be a part of that culture. Sincerity will lead you to some of the most amazing ends of the rainbows.


And life is grateful, for it will give you back what you have given

A lot like life, you will reap the returns from social media in relative to the contributions in which you have made. You may not be expecting it in the same form as you have given, but those rewards will be translated and distributed to you in various ways and you will see many of these turning into long-term benefits or life-changing events.


A new job in Social Media

Some of the unexpected rewards that was bestowed upon me includes a new job – as a digital PR strategist. In case you do not know, I am currently working for an international PR agency, leading digital efforts in the Singapore office whilst supporting my regional director in many of his projects. I have always wanted to explore public relations as an extension to my marketing knowledge but had procrastinated those plans when I found myself in a comfortable position with my last company.

However, the law of attraction was probably working for me when my an opportunity with my current employer knocked on the door. I was flattered to be recommended by a fellow tweep (one who tweets) who had not met me prior to putting my name in for the job.  It is a wonder how social media has change the way we network in the business world forever. “Knowing someone” today does not require you to put a physical face to a name. However, the level of trust you can build in an online acquaintance will be a tricky issue that we each have to tackle with ourselves. Then again, knowing someone in person don’t mean you know the person either.

Since taking on this new position, I’ve had a chance to put my skills and knowledge into good test with various international clients and with some desirable results that has proved to be very valuable case studies for my company and myself. I’ll share more with everyone at another appropriate time.


Life-transforming friends

Many friendships sprout by coincidences and when you least expect it. When the internet began to find popularity in the 90s, it created a new platform for people to make friends and expand their social circle. The evolution of social media has made this more evident than ever, allowing active interactions across platforms beyond simply chat. Each of these are designed for different purposes, from corporate social networking to challenging your friends on mini games. Everyone is bound to find something that fits their interest. This has made communications online a lot more conducive and effective than before.

And as life would have it, some of the most important people you are destined to meet are not conveniently sitting next to you. But by heaps of coincidences, you find them among the millions on the world wide web. Whether is it making new friends or getting in touch with old ones, social media has facilitated this so we no longer have the excuse of “saying we are too busy”.

Looking back, this year has indeed been a fascinating one for me personally. I’ve met some of the most amazing people in my life and some whom I’ve made steadfast friends with. Of these, I know a few will last a long way into the future.


A wealth of knowledge

The largest library I know today is not the one sitting in the city central. It is the one that sits within my browser. The internet is the world’s largest and greatest library of resources. I am sure no one can debate that with me. However, social media has changed the way we obtain those information and knowledge. Information used to be passive (web 1.0) and requires the user to actively find it. However, with the introduction of social media, information today is now fed to us in many different ways through RSS, Twitter, friends’ links, video clips etc. It floods our screens from every direction, cluttering our tiny brains. Sometimes, this overwhelming influx of knowledge can even be intimidating. But we take less effort today to locate and store resources, as well as making interesting finds that are out of our knowledge range. This helps expand our worldview and perspectives.

I feel almost deprived of knowledge when I am away from my social media platforms for too long and often when I hop back on again, I found myself trying very hard to grasp the crazy amount of new information that has been released in the past 24 hours. That is just how fast information travels today. REAL-TIME. Everything in your print is now “yester-news”.

However, from another point of view, I do agree that the dependence on technology just makes us more geeky than ever. So do balance that with some good ole travels. Nothing beats the real experience, for a journey of a thousand mile starts with a single step.


My personal sentiments

Many people around me are unable to understand how am I able to make a living out of Facebook and Twitter. What they are seeing are only the platforms, but they have failed to understand the nature of human’s desire to communicate and interact. It baffles my family on how I was able to find strange encounters online. Obviously they didn’t believe I had jobs looking for me just because I talk a lot on Twitter. Which, they obviously have no idea what is Twitter despite reading so much about it in the papers.

Social media is an overly used and overly hyped term in my opinion. It is simply but communications and dissemination of information. Something really simple, but branded with a unique terminology that differentiates it from the rest of the “traditional” channels.

Social media is not something I do to look hip or cool.  It is simply a way of life I have chosen that happens to work perfectly well for me. I can travel miles everyday while seated at my desk. I venture into unknown waters and meet interesting people, as if I am transported into “Alice in the Wonderland” or “Wizard of Oz” each single day. Sometimes I meet with the Queen of Hearts, while others, I may bump into the Tin Man or Scarecrow. But each revealing a little about myself.

Social media beyond my job, is a journey of discovering others and unraveling myself.


Beyond personal experiences

In the next chapter of Social Media Lessons in 2009, I will share some of the prominent cases of social media locally and in the region that has created waves and changes. There are many lessons to be learned from social media this year, lessons which businesses should take serious learnings from especially those to do with digital crisis management. Governments around the world has also taken social media a lot more seriously than before as they see the dire situations it can potentially put them in. Consider the move in which China has imposed an embargo on all major foreign social media platforms within the country.

2010 will see major shifts in the landscape with many big players vying hard to be the commanding power. Lots to touch on, but till then, it’s time to return to the Yellow Brick Road.

The Invasion of Digital Media

15 Dec
December 15, 2009

Hello my friends, the following article was written for the Chinese papers in Singapore but was never published due to sensitivity in comparison between traditional and digital media. Hence I am posting it herein for your reference. Will try to translate an English copy soon for the greater audience.

Thanks!

数字媒体的侵略 (September 19, 2009)

许多品牌和商家在经济不景的2009年都纷纷缩紧荷包,减少广告和营销开支。为了迎合消费市场,各家使出了浑身解数,在有限的资源下舒展预算。而其中,把部分营销转移至网络线上成为了普遍的策略。

利用线上平台直接与消费者进行交流不仅省下了透过传统媒体传达信息的广告费用,且能够为品牌树立更亲民的形象定位。在今年初的一项调查显示,24%的新加坡人表示拥有网络存在性的品牌能够“显著地引起他们的兴趣”。

无论是网络广告、数字公关、线上活动等,在费用与持续性上相对之下都比传统管道来得经济一些。亚洲拥有全球41%的网络用户,而本地的宽带网渗透率更超越了102%。在所有本地用户当中,就有74%积极参与社交网络(social network)的交流。是属于全球百分点最高之一的城市。在这种种趋势的推动下,不难理解品牌和商家们为何提高了网上的活动范围而渐渐将视野分散至数字媒体(digital media)。

happy it's here!

《宝洁 – 护舒宝》(P&G Whisper) 近来就利用了Facebook社区在本地首次展开数字运动(digital movement),鼓励妇女以正面态度看待生理变化和月经这个羞涩的课题。连同为此运动特别设计的迷你网站(http://www.happyitshere.com),以可爱的插画和轻松的语调,《护舒宝》成功地在一个月之内团结了超过3,000名妇女参与这个社群。此频道大受妇女欢迎,许多人都乐意大方地,毫无忌讳地公开讨论生理状态和经历。这有效地建立了一个妇女们能够寻找共鸣和强系的群体。从短期的分析来看,在全无产品促销与个人利益的推使下,这在本地可以算是相当成功的例子。但是单凭持续对话的这样一个方式是否能够长期引起消费者的兴趣就不晓而知了。或许在强调真实性和诚意的当儿,品牌依然不得以而必须考虑到消费者利益和关注的事项。在整个运动的伸展计划上需要持续的努力和不断植入更多的新元素。

My Fairprice

近期也在探索Facebook的企业更包括了《职总平价合作社》(http://www.facebook.com/thatsmyfairprice)。据报道了解,他们在短短3小时内就聚集了超过1,000名粉丝的加入。唯一不同的是,他们积极地利用这个平台进行线上比赛和促销活动。《职总平价合作社》是本地家喻户晓的商家,而目前为止在Facebook上的新加坡用户已超过110万人次。选择大力运用社交网络促进与消费群的关系,并且加强商标信誉是最适当不过了。但是,许多企业都轻视了长远计划和持续性。通常都交由广告、公关或整合营销公司处理,但这只能是短暂之计。品牌和商家必须意识到数字策略应是一项内部政策。需要专门人士的照料才能够在一段延长的时间得到预期的成绩。

另外一间颇有远见的机构便是《星和电信》(Starhub Mobile)。在3间电信公司当中,只有《星和》勇于冒险跳上Twitter(@StarhubCares)这项微博(micro-blogging)服务。他们利用这平台与消费族群建立深远的关系,并同时为公司增添了多一条顾客关系管理频道(customer relationship management channel)。这允许他们在第一时间对于顾客的负面反馈做出直接的回应。也很有可能在长期内减少了危机处理所需的时间和柜台职员的负担。在某种程度上甚至能够为公司减少资源上的开支。但是根据经济报章,The Business Times近期关于Twitter的报道,《第一通信》(MobileOne)似乎对此平台仍心有余悸,目前正在观望状态。除了电信公司以外,有一些其它的企业非常适合运用类似Twitter这种微博平台与顾客直接对话。这包括了零售银行业,旅游业,科技产品等。只是目前还未发现有哪间本地银行愿意做出这样的尝试。

HP Space

除了以上例子,还有一间值得一提的机构就是《HP惠普公司》。数字媒体在HP并不是一项短期营销手段而是完整地融入在他们的环球商业战略中,成为重要的公关策略之一。HP的每一条产品零售线都拥有自己专署的网络社交平台。各个产品线独自建立有用的线上人脉,透过这些直接管道收集民调,与消费者进行紧密的交流,在产品或营销运动推行时便能够事半功倍,有效地吸引影响者(influencer)的关注并且间接利用口碑行销(word-of-mouth marketing)手段将信息传播开来。其中,《HP改变世界》的企业社会责任(Corporate Social Responsibility)推广活动 是最突出的例子之一。HP展示了整个团体上下对于数字媒体拥有共同认识的重要性。介入社交网络,在数字空间占有一席之地并不是营销部门或公关部门单独承担的责任,而是全体同仁应有的共同努力和意识。

参与种种网络社区的交流,在我看来绝对是利多与弊。我们亚洲社会的商业文化相对较为保守,对许多新茂的科技与手段都更为谨慎。这并没有什么不好的。但当世界因为网络社群变得更整合,消费者的需要越来越高,企业必须不断地以光速求新求变才可能符合这新新人类的苛求。

数字媒体绝对不是一种潮流趋向。我们的日常生活和工作环境早已经和网络世界融为一体。所谓的现实与虚拟不再是两个空间,而是同时平行前进的一个大世界。但是更重要的是,企业必须要了解到无论是哪一个平台,无论是用什么方式,都必须是一个整合战略。根本无须分歧传统媒体和数字媒体的优异。因为这一个大环境里,需要双方的相辅相成才能够有效地将主要信息和项目宗旨进行到底。应从各角度去了解传播信息,而非过于重视一方而忽视了另一个平台的重要性。

回到根本,无论是什么管道,无论世界如何进化,人与人之间需要的是更多细心聆听和真诚对话。而社交网络提供给我们的恰好只是这回到人类基本的平台。

每一个正在蓬勃发展的机构都应将数字战略列入企划考量当中。这不再是短期减少部分营销开支的课题。这种环球趋势将会延续下去。若你不参与,你将会险遭淘汰。

[此文章仅代表作者个人的观点而非所任职机构。]