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When breaking news destroys trust in the digital age

14 April 2015 · by Alvin Lim

The founding prime minister of Singapore and also the nation’s longest-serving parliamentarian, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, passed away peacefully at the Singapore General Hospital on March 23, 2015, at 3.18 a.m. He was 91.

News on Lee’s admittance to the hospital took place about a week earlier, with the prime minister’s office (PMO) issuing regular updates on an almost daily basis as his health deteriorated. All the local news media agencies and many foreign media agencies were monitoring Lee’s health closely during the period.

Lee is a prominent public figure both locally and in the global arena. Former Presidents of the United States Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush called him a remarkable leader and statesman and one of the brightest and most effective world leaders that I have ever known respectively. 

On March 18, a doctored photograph circulated on the Internet showing the PMO Web site declaring the passing of Lee.

It was later proven to be false. None of the local media jumped the gun on this. But several international news agencies, in their bids to be the first to break the news ...

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The most influential blogger in Asia Pacific

12 February 2015 · by Alvin Lim

A crazy war of words between Singaporean bloggers from two rival blogger management agencies was the top online news story during last Christmas and New Year in 2014. This spilled to the mainstream media, earning several page-one stories.

Yes, while our Malaysian neighbours were concerned with the flood on their eastern coast and the tragic crash of AirAsia flight QZ8501, Singapore was obsessed over bloggers squabbling online.

If you are interested for the full background story, read this post. Or, read this if you would like to go back further to understand the history of blog wars in Singapore.

One of Singapore’s veteran bloggers, Xiaxue, spent a year gathering evidence that allegedly proved ...

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Rock the vote: How media brands can tie messaging to elections with social media

22 January 2015 · by Nadine Kamlow

How can social media be a vehicle to driving more votes and shares in this year’s general election? Is there a way brands can get involved in what is set to be the most social general election ever?

In the United Kingdom, the next general election is in May and the lead up and discussion on social networks is well underway and already trending on Twitter (check out the hashtag #GE2015). The dialogue between politicians and journalists is already underway. And while they carefully cement their social statuses, I expect that advertisers who want to be tactically involved are close behind.

There is more potential than ever this year to get users involved with a campaign, with the Electoral Commission reporting that only 44% of those aged between 18-24 voted in 2010. There is potential to reach a younger audience (the late teens and twenty-something demographic) by driving awareness.

Social media is key to making it part of the dialogue.

Enter Facebook, which ...

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Mix click-bait, SEO headlines for best Web traffic

17 December 2014 · by Alvin Lim

I have been running my personal content site, Alvinology.com, for more than eight years, and I have noticed a shift in referring Web traffic over the past few years.

Increasingly, referral traffic from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter constitutes more than half of all referral traffic, with the rest coming from search.

I believe this is the same for other online news publishers as well,  judging from the Web sites I used to manage at Singapore Press Holdings and News Corp. This is not rocket science and most of us in the media industry know this.

How then, should headlines be written to best ...

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Social selling: truth or myth?

16 November 2014 · by Nadine Kamlow

In the world of marketing, there is always a tendency to over complicate things, especially in the newest disciplines such as social marketing or “social selling.” This post will give you basic advice and dispel some of the myths and clarify the truths of social selling.

Rarely does anyone make a sale purely using social media; it is an invaluable marketing tool but not a sales tool like paid search.

By selling, I don’t mean engaging your fans/followers, communicating with an audience, driving awareness, etc. I mean closing the old school way, driving traffic to your site and ultimately converting the online user to click and purchase giving you a return on your investment!

Myth: By racking up new social media leads, more users engage with your brand and simply make a purchase after seeing a tweet or Facebook post.

In reality, the prospective customer is likely ...

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Dissolving titles that separate digital employees in media companies

15 October 2014 · by Alvin Lim

Why is a journalist who works for a Web site is designated as an “online journalist” while one who works for a print publication is simply designated as a “journalist” within the same media group?

Why is there a need to add terms like “digital,” “new media,” and “online” to designations of those working in the digital side of a media company? Why are there no designations like “print marketing director” or “print magazine editor?”

I had the term “online” and “digital” in my designation for the longest time in my previous jobs. I did not give much thought into it until ...

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Social media success from London Fashion Week

22 September 2014 · by Nadine Kamlow

It is increasingly difficult to achieve organic reach through social media platforms, and, increasingly, most marketing strategies are “paid for” strategies. Often posts in an organic feed are missed in a sea of promoted tweets and sponsored posts, not to mention the snaps of cute babies!

News brands waste no time posting news stories and sports updates as soon as they break, making your personal social media feed more dynamic and busier than ever.

As a brand, you might post an organic update and find that it has little traction regardless of how funny/emotive or visual it is. Why? It is likely that due to over-crowding in the news feed, there simply isn’t enough space.

Another reason could be that brands are trying to engage users at the wrong time of day, which is hard to pull off. As with traditional media, social media posts absolutely have to be relevant, timely, and tactical; dont get to the party too late or you’ll find that it’s already over.

Data published by Ogilvy earlier this year suggests that organic reach by medium to large brands had nose-dived to just 6%, down from ...

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Chinese Web blockades highlight alternative Internet, social media tools

26 August 2014 · by Alvin Lim

I have been based in Nanjing, China, for the past two months, working on the global English content for the official Web site of the Nanjing 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games.

This is also my induction to the Great Internet Firewall of China. Previously, when I traveled to China for work or leisure, the trips were usually no more than a week or so. No Facebook? No Twitter? Fine. It is just a few days. I can live with it.

For two months, this is a problem. You see, Google, Facebook, and Twitter have become so integrated into my daily life — especially Google and its suite of online services ranging from Google Docs to Google Maps to Google Translate and the powerful search engine. They are part of my work tools, improving ...

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5 ways to manage social media in our connected lives

30 July 2014 · by Nadine Kamlow

I originally intended to write this post on the World Cup social media results demonstrating the power of hashtags, fan pages, and the pundits.

In a nutshell: There were millions of interactions.

On second thought, I think the world has already moved on, so I’ll spare you the repetition.

I find myself writing this blog post the day before I fly to Naples, and my holiday preparation has been pushed to the side. Once I land, I fully intend to relax as this is certainly not a business trip. Usually when I travel internationally, I put my iPhone on flight mode, and to check a single e-mail is a sin. I want to be unreachable.

In the last two years, this behaviour has changed dramatically. It is not that I can’t switch off from technology these days, but the way I choose to relax and have fun has changed.

By checking and posting to Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook ...

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Catering to international digital audience requires understanding Web design from East to West

02 July 2014 · by Alvin Lim

Recently, I took on a contract position to work with the Nanjing Youth Olympic Organising Committee, based in Nanjing, China. I’ll be working on the global English Web site for the 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games, to be held August 16-28.

Prior to my arrival in Nanjing two weeks ago, I did a scan of the Web site and the social media assets for Nanjing 2014. This was how the Web site looked:

This is how the Web site looks currently:



Are you able to dissect the differences?

Simply put, the Web layout got simpler and cleaner with each version.

This might not seem like much, but it is a major change for a Chinese Web site. Do a quick scan of some of the top Chinese sites, such as Sohu.com, Taobao.com, and Weibo.com. Then compare them to their equivalents in the English world: Google.com, Amazon.com, and Twitter.com.

The difference is obvious. Chinese audiences prefer ...

...[more]




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