Friday, April 25, 2014

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Crisis Communications: Can the Singapore Government do no Right?

If you follow social media, you will be forgiven if you believe that the Singapore government can do no right. Any policy announced, no matter how well intentioned, will find its critics and be slammed by "netizens". While most are rants, some couch themselves as academics offering empirical proof that our government's policies are deliberately flawed to benefit the self-serving interests of our Ministers. What these "netizens" will have you believe is that they represent the majority. Just look at the recent backlash against the National Environment Agency's (NEA) licensing requirement for tissue sellers.

As a crisis communications consultant specializing in social media, I firmly believe that social media amplifies sentiments but does not create it. Thus, the unhappiness expressed by these netizens exists and is real. However, having said that, I must caution that while social media does offer a hint at stakeholder sentiments, how representative it is of the entire population cannot be easily inferred. This is because there will always be that percentage of Internet Trolls who are out to stir emotions.

The challenge for the Government is how to filter out the "noise" so as to know what are the true ground sentiments. One simple, but effective, technique that I teach companies (who have embarked on a social media presence) is to monitor and measure social media engagements so as to establish thresholds. Once a "base" level of trolling activities has been identified, social media managers can then confidently ignore the noise and have a trigger point at which they will know that a response is necessary.

As long as social media exists, trolling will be a part of it. Companies and politicians with social media presence must accept that they will be targets and not be distracted by the actions of trolls. In my opinion, while it may appear that the Singapore government can do no right, I believe this is just a perception which can only be verified once the thresholds have been identified.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Petition to Close STOMP - More Form than Substance

CW Fong & Associates' Principal Consultant, Justin Fong, was on Al Jazeera's Stream earlier this morning speaking on the topic of closing STOMP.

This issue arose because a netizen named Robin Li felt that STOMP was an undesirable social media platform as it was promoting public shaming and started a petition to have it closed.

Being a social media consultancy that specializes in reputation management issues, we are often times defending our clients' online (and "real" world) reputation against false and malicious attacks. As much as we loathe the irresponsible use of social media platforms like STOMP, we firmly oppose the petition on the following grounds:

Do not throw the baby out with the bath water. Sure there are many instances of public shaming on STOMP. But this exists on practically every type of social media platforms. Closing STOMP will not solve the problem as another platform will take its place. Calling for the closure of STOMP because it promotes public shaming is like calling for a ban on car sales as it causes accidents. The platform is not the issue. How people use it is.

Social Media amplifies, it does not create. One of the biggest obstacles companies face when deciding on whether to have a social media presence is the question of "what if I don't like what I hear". As I always tell my clients, whether you have a social media presence or not, people are taking about you on social media. Denying the problem does not make it go away. Not hearing the negative feedback does not change the facts. While STOMP's stories are mostly negative, it does provide a good barometer of public sentiments. Just like if there is a trend of customer complaints about poor product quality, then there must be an issue over quality control. In the same light, if there are numerous complaints about anti-social behavior, then there is more that can be done to educate people. In short, Social Media does not create the issues, it just amplifies them.

Can't put the genie back in the bottle. Much as the supporters of the petition would like, I am afraid that you can't put the genie back in the bottle. The amorphous and ubiquitous nature of the world wide web means that people will increasingly develop and post their own contents on the web. If supporters of the petition think by closing STOMP people will suddenly become more civil or society will change, they are delusional. Even if just 0.1% of netizens are trolls, that means in a population of 5 million, there are 5,000 people out there causing trouble. To me, the answer lies not in stopping the trolls as this is impossible. The answer lies in educating the other 99.9% on how to differentiate truth from fiction. Like it or not, social media is here to stay.

In short, while the petition by Robin Li is initiated and supported with good intentions, we believe that it is a knee-jerk reaction that is more form than substance. Perhaps the one good thing that has come out of this petition, is that there is an ongoing discussion on the need for responsible use of social media.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

SG Social Media Guru: Social Media Consultants in Singapore - CW Fong & Associates

Profile of Singapore leading social media consultancy

Who we are? Leading Singapore-based management consultancy specializing in social media, social media marketing, crisis communications and reputation management.

What we do? Help SMEs communicate via leveraging on social media and traditional media tools like content marketing, social media platforms, SEO, Website Design, Logo Design, News Release, …

Where we do our work? Real World and Cyberspace. Mainstream Media, Facebook, Twitter, Yelp!, blogs, …

When we do our work? At any phase of the client’s business - we do retainers, one-off campaigns, training workshops and turnkey projects of any scale.

Why choose us? Because we know what we are doing! Using only an idea, a computer with internet connection, and our frameworks, we have established and successfully monetized 3 blogs (SG Wedding Guru, SG Tutors and SG Corporate Training). SG Social Media Guru (our professional blog) is also on Google Page 1 for the keyword phrases “social media marketing consultant singapore”, “top social media consultants in singapore”, “social media trainer singapore”, “crisis communications training singapore”, and “reputation management Singapore".

Our Portfolio (Past and Existing Clients and Workshop Participants): Yeo Hiap Seng (M) Sdn Bhd, Symrise Singapore, DSM, National Health Group, Philips Securities, Queenstown Primary School, Autodesk Asia Pte Ltd, Ministry of Defence, Singapore Police Force, National Kidney Foundation, National Youth Council, CWT Limited, GuMaJia, Kharactorz, Ascendant Assets, Arbinger SEA, IASO Skin Care, BAHASAGURU, Club Glassy, Pub Casablanca, VChat123, Laguna Lang Co., HIE55, Actions for Earth, IE Singapore, Fitness Training and Sports Academy (FiTSA), International Association of Facilitators (IAF), Asian Arts Festival 2014, …

Our Contact: For a no-obligation discussion on how we can help you increase sales and profitability or manage your online reputation, email our Principal Consultant via Justin[a]

Friday, April 4, 2014

SG Social Media Guru: How to select a good social media consultant

Let's face the facts. Social media consultants are now a dime a dozen. Anybody, and literally everybody, who has ever managed a Facebook page is now calling himself a social media consultant. Unfortunately, while they may be stretching the truth, they are not lying. This is because social media is designed to be easy to use. Thus, anybody who has dedicated some time to managing a social media account and executing a "campaign" can rightly claim to be an expert.

With such low barriers to entry, how then does a company select a social media consultant for a project? To help, we can offer companies the following three criteria to consider ...

See Social Media is a Platform. At SG Social Media Guru, we believe that social media is just a platform for communications. As such, it is a means to an ends. Just as a company will not hire a graphic designer to manage their PR campaign, companies should not hire social media experts to drive sales and marketing. Thus, the first criteria companies should consider when hiring a social media consultants is to look for someone who is not only conversant with social media, but someone who has strong marketing and business experience.

Own their Own Channels. As the saying goes, those who can do, while those who can't teach. It is no different in the social media world. Consultants who have developed their Own channels not only demonstrate that they can deliver results, but these channels also gives their clients an immediate social media base to tap on. SG Social Media Guru has seen many consultants claim to be SEO experts, but you can't find their own websites on Google or Yahoo! Page 1. If they can't do it for themselves, how can they do it for you? This is thus the second criteria that companies should consider. Companies should only hire social media consultants who have their own successful channels.

Charge Reasonable Rates. While this may seem biased, we always advise clients to avoid cheap solutions. You may not believe us, but it is the truth. Even though social media platforms may be free to use, it unfortunately takes time and experience to use these platforms well. So if a social media consultancy charges you ridiculously low rates, you can be assured that you will get low quality work. This is because quality work can never be obtained at cheap prices. This is exactly what they mean by getting monkeys by paying peanuts. Thus, the third criteria that companies should consider is to avoid low cost solutions.

In short, companies looking to hire a social media consultant should only consider hiring a consultant that is (a) experienced in building businesses; (b) owns and operates his own successful social media channels; and (c) charges reasonable fees. By following these three criteria, companies will increase their chances of engaging a good social media consultant.

Victim of Online Vigilantism in Singapore - What should you do?

Over the weekend, a sales manager became the latest victim of online vigilantism in Singapore. He was on his way to trading in his BMW 5 S...