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5 reasons travel industry marketers are embracing bloggers

18 November 2015 · By Alvin Lim

Earlier in October, I was invited by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to attend the first Travel Bloggers Exchange in Asia (TBEX Asia), hosted in Bangkok, Thailand.

I was the sole invited blogger representing Singapore, along with a group of about 50 other bloggers from around the world.

The first TBEX was hosted in Spain back in 2012. It then moved from Europe to North America and finally to Asia this year. Next year, it will be hosted in the Philippines, another Southeast Asia country.

The event is touted as the world’s largest gathering of travel bloggers, writers, new media content creators, and social media-savvy travel industry professionals, providing everyone an opportunity to network with industry people from across the globe.

Why are travel marketers looking so keenly at engaging with bloggers? When I first started blogging in 2007, I would never have imagined myself being invited to such an event with all expenses paid – or the fact that such a global trade event targeted at ...


What the rise of Internet-only news sites means for media advertising

22 September 2015 · By Alvin Lim

The 2015 Singapore presidential rally speech as published by free online news source.

Singapore recently had its general election on September 11, 2015. I am one of those news junkies who will read election news from every source I can find online. What amazed me with this year’s election compared to the previous one in 2011 was the multitude of free online news sources available this time round.

In Singapore’s regulated media landscape (Singapore is ranked 150 on the 2014 Press Freedom Index, even lower than countries like Russia and Myanmar), it is amazing how these Internet-only news sites are thriving and continue to sprout like mushrooms.

Journalistic values aside, what is the impact for news publishers and advertisers?

There are two media giants in Singapore: Singapore Press Holdings, which owns all the newspapers except for one, lots of ...


In response to “10 things I have always wanted to say to PR folks”

02 June 2015 · By Alvin Lim

Some of my friends in the public relations field seemed pretty riled up over this article on The Business Times, a Singapore newspaper focused on financial news. The article is titled “The 10 things I have always wanted to say to PR folks” and lists, among other things, questions like why PR practitioners even exist.

To each his own, but here’s my viewpoint as a blogger/non-mainstream journalist/social influencer/whatever-you-want-call-online-content-publishers:

Dear PR,

  1. Have you considered working with bloggers instead if you find some journalists to be too ...

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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


Mix click-bait, SEO headlines for best Web traffic

17 December 2014 · By Alvin Lim

I have been running my personal content site,, 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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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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