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In social media age, businesses can’t afford to ignore customers online

06 April 2014 · by Nadine Kamlow

I regularly write about the meteoric rise in the use of social media in the last decade. What is most interesting is how humans have demonstrated their capacity for expression by documenting their thoughts, emotions, and opinions on a daily basis — ranging from the momentous to the blatantly pointless.

There are billions of people writing posts accessible by billions, as our collective voices go out across Twitter, Facebook, and other social media vehicles. But does all this expression get us a better brand experience? And, more puzzling, do brands pay attention?

I was recently reading about the government blocks on Twitter and YouTube in Turkey that have been in place since last year; it made me wonder why the Turkish prime minister, as in China, would censor social media.

Is he is doing so purely to boost the world’s perception of his leadership credentials, especially in the run up to the election which took place March 30?

The bans on Twitter and YouTube were accomplished by  implementing a block that causes Internet service providers to intercept Google’s domain name. The PM’s reasoning: Allegedly sensitive information regarding the Syrian crisis — an audio recording between two officials that led to corruption allegations — was leaked online.


The pros and pitfalls of reporting news via social media

11 March 2014 · by Alvin Lim

Singapore’s government recently released its 2014 budget, with a generous healthcare-centric payout for the  country’s “pioneer generation,” i.e. Singaporeans born before 1950 and who became citizens before 1987.

I was following the budget via social media channels Twitter and Facebook, to see what was being shared and reshared and to get a sense of what Singaporeans are most concerned about.

More than 2,900 tweets were posted during the budget speech by Singapore’s finance minister, and “Budget 2014” quickly became the top trending topic on Twitter:

Not surprisingly, most conversations revolved around the increase in alcohol and cigarette taxes, as most of the active users on social networks are unlikely to be in the pioneer-generation group.

Could the newsrooms in Singapore have tried to steer the online conversations to other news topics revolving around the budget?

It is never easy for any newsroom to condense a complex news event like the budget into bite-size, relevant chunks of information for mass audiences. There are lots of numbers to crunch, and there is plenty of information to digest and distill into a few simple graphs and a few paragraph of text.

Social media makes this harder, along with visual journalism. Speed is of the essence, and you are venturing into wild frontiers when sharing real-time news on social channels. There is little room for error, and the repercussions can be fast and furious.

A simple mistake can be shared and reshared millions of times as some kind of running joke, captured online for posterity.


What news companies can learn from breakout start-ups like Spotify

09 February 2014 · by Nadine Kamlow

Some of the most exciting start-ups from the last few years have produced social platforms or apps that many consumers now rely on daily.

What do they all have in common?

  • They were founded by tech geniuses with a hunger to bring something new and exciting to the world.

  • They have a non-traditional, accessible revenue model, such as “freemium.”

  • And they have seamless social functionality that enables them to achieve rapid audience growth, fan recruitment, and promotion.

I want to take you back just two years ago to have a look at one of the winners of The Telegraph’s Start-Up 100 Tech Awards in 2011: Spotify.

The company’s ongoing success since its original launch in 2008 has transformed it from a promising start-up to a global commercial music-streaming service with more than 1,000 employees.

It is hard to imagine a time when we listened to music without Spotify. With millions of songs, instant listening, and only the odd advertisement to listen to, it is fair to say this former start-up helped change the way that we listen to music.  


What was hot online in 2013?

14 January 2014 · by Alvin Lim

Happy New Year everyone!

As 2013 drew to a close a couple of weeks ago, every digital media outlet, from Google to YouTube to Twitter, was sharing its top news lists for 2013.

While I was posting and sharing all these lists on my blog, I tried to fish for a pattern among them.


Multi-tasking consumers offer multitude of advertising opportunities in 2014

01 January 2014 · by Nadine Kamlow

The unassailable global rise of mobile and tablet adoption during the last four years has led to a trend in second-screening, most notably in the United States and United Kingdom.

We already know, from eMarketer, that one in three consumers in the UK are regular tablet users. Also, research from Sparkler (commissioned by Microsoft) tells us a massive 70% of UK families use a second screen while watching television, with the main purpose being to communicate via social media.

The biggest real time response-generating medium remains to television. But with the rise of the second screen, engagement and response levels to TV programmes and advertising are higher than ever.

It is worth noting that, in the UK, many users have always interacted with a second medium before the mobile and tablet phenomenon, which has happened only in the last few years. Does anyone remember the red button?

The benefit of mobile and tablet is that these devices are personalised to the users, allowing them to instantly share their reaction — be it joy or anger — to the TV programme they are watching.

Users’ reactions to a show are amplified to their social networks, where their friends, followers, and other fans are invited to become involved in the experience.

This is an exciting new era for advertisers, who now have the potential to innovate TV ads to make them more social and interactive. The benefit of the growing number of users who have the technology at their fingertips is how easy it is for them to engage.


Strength of blogosphere is also its weakness

03 December 2013 · by Alvin Lim

Is it acceptable for bloggers to ask for sponsorship from brands directly? The same question can be asked of journalists and editorial staff.

The Internet democratises publishing. Using a blog platform or other content management system, anybody from anywhere in the world with Internet access and a computer device can be an editor, a writer, or publisher. Alas, whether you are able to draw a substantial audience is another story altogether.

Recently in Singapore, a self-proclaimed, full-time professional blogger (via her LinkedIn profile) named Janice Leong (Janiqueel), wrote to a local hair salon to get free haircuts. When her request was not granted, she turned nasty on Conrad Chua, the salon manager:

If this woman was a journalist, one phone call from Conrad to her boss would probably have gotten her fired or garnered her severe corporate demerit points for the utter lack of professionalism. However, there lies the problem: Who keep bloggers in check?

The term “bloggers” refers to a loose collection of vastly different individuals, each writing for different purposes with different agendas. There is no central code of ethics on professionalism governing bloggers.


3 ways social media makes for better business

03 November 2013 · by Nadine Kamlow

Almost everyone uses some aspect of social media, whether it’s to share or view content, follow celebrities and brands, or — for some people — to do their jobs.

There is an infinite number of examples of social media gone wrong, and I don’t just mean Miley Cyrus’ outbursts on Twitter. A number of brands have tried to be tactical but ended up with backlash due to insensitive or just plain cheesy social media campaigns.

I actually think it is more useful to focus on the positive ways social media has helped businesses day to day, so I’d like to share some good examples that have caught my eye recently.

Meeting new contacts is less awkward. Before a meeting with a new or potential client, it is now standard practice to search on LinkedIn to learn more about that person and the company he or she works for. It can tell you a lot about that person’s professional life and also help you find some common ground. Having no profile is worse than having an out-of-date profile.

It can be a boon for international business. A friend of mine is a researcher at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and part of the job is to recruit medical staff and patients to take part in medical trials all over the world.


Viral videos are not always boon for business

06 October 2013 · by Alvin Lim

When marketers started making staged, “user-generated” videos and sharing them on YouTube to get them to go viral, it was cute — at first.

Here is a fun example done by Chupa Chups as an April Fool’s joke this year. It depicts the sighting of an alleged lollipop artist in Singapore by a tourist: 

Good stuff? I was tricked, too, but it was all in good humour. Here is the behind-the-scenes clip that “gave the game away.”

A string of copycats followed. Some good, some bad (mostly bad).

If you are just jumping on the bandwagon because all the other brands are doing so, I’m sorry to say you might be too late.

I find this “viral video,” for example, in bad taste:

There is no context, and I feel like I have been taken for a ride by the marketer. The video was supposedly promoting a new brand of chocolates called “Bournville” by chocolate company Cadbury.

Yes, you have more than one million views. But what has this video got to do with your brand?


Singapore Press Holdings bolsters online classifieds with social media blitz

11 September 2013 · by Alvin Lim

A month ago, I was transferred from the editorial team in Singapore Press Holdings to ST701, our online classifieds for the local market, consisting of four main verticals: STProperty, STCars, STJobs, and STClassifieds.

Globally, print classifieds, yellow pages, and directory businesses all have been severely affected by online competitors over the past decade.

I view ST701 as a strong strategic product to fend off competitors. Together with our print older brother, it provides both advertisers and users with a better cross-media classified experience – one sole online competitors cannot offer.

The ST701 team has some impressive results to show, following a series of re-launch and re-branding efforts since the middle of last year:

  • STproperty was re-launched in August 2012. Since that time, it has since clawed its way from relative obscurity to the No. 2 property site in Singapore in terms of absolute traffic.

  • STJobs is at No. 3.

  • In April, SPH acquired the top car site in Singapore, SGCarMart.

Speaker beware: Verbal missteps will take you viral

14 August 2013 · by Alvin Lim

The casualty number so far in Singapore is two valedictorians.

Darren Woo Hon Fai was the valedictorian this year from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) School of Humanities and Social Sciences in Singapore. He made news headlines for his controversial valedictory speech in which he unwittingly poked fun at his fellow graduates from the Chinese division, by suggesting they might not be able to understand English.

Here is a full video of his speech. Watch from the 8:00-minute mark for the highlight:

After reminding everyone to honour thy parents, Darren went on to add these hurtful words: “This is especially so for the Chinese majors who probably have not gotten what I just said in English, ??????????? (Translation: Every parent would want to see his or her child succeed in life). I can speak Mandarin, too.”


About this blog

The Social Media blog examines digital and social media marketing in a news media context.

Meet the bloggers

Nadine Kamlow
Digital Sales Executive
Telegraph Media Group
London, England
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Alvin Lim
Social Media Manager
News Corp.
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