Friday, May 26, 2017

Social Media Marketing Tip: The Importance of Powerful Headlines

Headlines are everything! In the online world, where netizens' attention is measured in split seconds, having an attractive headline makes all the difference between whether your contents gets read, or it is ignored.

It is because of this that successful social media influencers spend as much, if not more, time on developing the headline for their content. For example, the following is a headline I would use for this same article on Facebook. 

"They laughed when I said I'd improve my online engagement 1000% with this one simple tip. But when I became an influencer, they begged me for my secret!"

If you came across a headline like that on Facebook, I am certain you will very likely click on the link to read more. A title like the one I used for this blog would not get the same interest on Facebook. (In case you are wondering, the title for the blog was chosen for SEO purposes). Given the literally thousands of messages a typical online user gets, unless the headline intrigues the reader, nothing will happen. 

Successful headlines are those that pique the interest of the reader and baits them to find out more. A simple guide is what I term the mini-skirt rule - be long enough to cover the essential points, but short enough to excite.

In the event that you are a noob to this, fret not. There are many online tools that you can turn to to help you generate strong headlines. Use them for as you start out, and I am certain that you will become an expert in no time. One that I particularly like is the Free Headline Generator offered by Internet Marketing Course. It is simple to use and the sample results are quite intriguing.

top social media marketing tip

Good luck! 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Digital Strategy: Establishing a Social Media Presence

One of the most common question we get asked is how does a company develop a sustainable social media presence. Most CEOs are aware that their company needs to be online. The hesitation comes when they worry whether they will have enough content to sustain the presence. After all, it is better not to be found online, then to be found with an outdated page.

To answer this question, we always tell CEOs and CMOs that having a social media platform does not mean that you must be continually selling. A bit of self-reflection will tell you that if you continually sell to your social media base, your platform will not take off as no one likes a Facebook page to be constantly sold to.

This is where the concept of content mix come in. Whether you manage a website, a Facebook Fan Page or an Instagram account, your content should aim to educate, inform, and entertain. This is very much like what newspapers used to do before the advent of social media.

social media content mix

The first category of contents would be to educate your social media base. Contents in this category would include training information on how to use your product or service. Here listicles are extremely popular and are often widely shared. Additional educational contents would be information about specific aspects about your product or service. If we use the example of a bridal boutique, educational contents can be about how various cuts favour different body types, or how lace can be used to accentuate different parts of the gown or even the history and meaning behind the Chinese Tea Ceremony. Educating your social media base also has the added advantage of positioning your company as a thought-leader in the industry – which is always a good thing.

Next, besides the occasional product pitch (which we believe should be approximately 10% of all your content), in order to attract and retain followers, your platform must seek to inform followers about happenings in both the industry and the country in which your business is based. Again using the example of a bridal studio in Singapore, you can share the latest trends in gown material and design. And, being based in Singapore, you can also share relevant information that brides to be would be interested in like new banquet services offered by hotels or even renovation tips for HDBs.

The third category of contents would be to entertain your social media base. Everybody appreciates a good laugh, and jokes, memes and infographics will serve to lighten the “mood” of the page. Contents in this category should seek to amuse, delight, fascinate and enthral. For a bridal platform, this can include love quotes, unique or funny ways of proposing, amusing incidences at weddings or even touching stories about how love overcame challenges. The greater the emotional pull, the better the content.

In short, as a digital strategy, successful social media platforms adopt a content mix that accomplishes three things - educate, inform and entertain their users. Keeping these 3 categories in mind will not only help you build a successful platform, it will also make it easy to find and develop contents for your social media channels.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

WINNING USP: Dominate Your Market by Finding Your Unfair Advantage

WINNING USP: Dominate Your Market by Finding Your Unfair Advantage 


We are often told that in order to succeed in business, a company must have a compelling brand. It is therefore easy to believe that if you spend money on building a brand, your business will succeed.

What many do not realize is that before a brand can succeed, the business must first fulfill a market need. Just as there are many companies that have succeeded based on building a strong brand, there are just as many companies that have failed despite of their strong brands.

The main factor that determines a company’s success or failure can be traced to the lack of, or having a poor, Unique Selling Proposition (USP). The USP is what makes a company different (usually better) than its competitors. The USP is what makes the company stand out from the rest of the market and this focus on differentiation is the most important strategic activity companies must constantly find and refine.

Who Should Take This Course

This course ‘Winning USP – Dominate your Market’ aims to help business owners and entrepreneurs understand the concept of USP and how to develop it.  After completing this course, your company will not only survive but thrive.

The training outcome for this course is to provide you with an in-depth understanding of the 6 elements of a strong USP. Specifically, you be able to identify the weakness in your current USP and then to be able to create a strong one for your business.

This course has been divided into the following 4 sections:

Section 1, you will understand the importance of USP.
Section 2, we will debunk the myths about USP
Section 3, I teach you the 6 elements of a strong USP
Section 4, I will share with you my thoughts on how USP Drives Branding.

What You Will Learn

At the end of this course, you will be able to assess the strength of your company's USP and develop a USP that will help your dominate your market.

Sign Up at Udemy Course - Satisfaction Guaranteed or your Money Back. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

How I Built a 18,000 Strong Facebook Fan Page for $500

Let’s face it, the conundrum facing social media marketers is that you need traffic to get likes to get traffic. Even the best content posted on a page that has no critical mass of followers will go nowhere. It is the proverbial tree falling in a forest with no one to hear and hence not making any noise.

Typically, social media marketers will rely on paying for Facebook ads to gain followers. On average, FB page ads for followers will set you back about $0.20 per like. Therefore, building a fan base of 18,000 will therefore cost approximately $3,600.

So how did I do it for less than $500?

While this might sound cliched, but it is nonetheless true. I focused on developing quality content. But, that is only half the story. Besides focusing on the quality of my contents, I also leveraged on FB’s post boost feature.

As we already know, reach is important for gaining followers. The best way to amplify your content, is to work with influencers to share it on their pages. A share from an influencer not only gives you reach, but it is also an indirect endorsement of your page. In the social media world, this is priceless. Unfortunately, unless you are best of friends with a pool of influencers, working with them is not cheap.

This is where FB’s boost feature comes into the picture. Depending on your budget, each boost can cost you as little as $5. Facebook also allows you to choose who you want the post to reach. There is no fixed "reach per dollar" spent as FB has their own algorithm to determine the cost per impression. Naturally, the less popular your page, the higher the cost.
best way to use FB boost

Before you jump on the bandwagon and boost every post you have, you need to remember that boosting a post will only increase its reach. Reach will only translate into followers if people find your page interesting. In short, the quality of contents.

Boosting a quality post will on average gain you 5 to 10 times the number of followers compared to a page ad. Thus, where a $5 budget spent on a page ad will get you 25 likes, a $5 post boost can reap you an average of 100. This is why experienced Facebook marketers shun page ads and focus almost exclusively on boosting posts. Additionally, if you have tried using page ads before, you will observe that a significant percentage of the followers gained appear dubious.

My 3-Step Approach

Firstly, when building a FB page, understand that people like FB pages to be kept informed, to be educated on topics that interest them and to be entertained. This is the basic premise of any successful FB page. Your page can choose to do one of the three, or all of the three together. The eventual content mix depends on how you want to position your page.

Secondly, focus on quality content. This is where many social media marketers get it wrong. Quality content on social media refers to contents that will generate interactions. While a well written article is good, being well written alone will not make it go viral. The article needs to strike an emotional cord, be trending, make the person sharing it look good and/ or offer practical value. In a nutshell, the content must comprise the elements in our STEP Framework.

Thirdly, boost posts that have traction. Even though the post may comprise one or all 4 elements of the STEP Framework, it is impossible to know what will go viral. Thus, to ensure that your budget is well spent, only boost those posts that have initial traction. It will take time, but once you have gained a sense of your audience, you will be able to pretty much tell which post will have traction and hence boost those.

There you have it

Facebook is an excellent marketing platform. Unlike websites where people pull information by searching for it on Google, Facebook pushes information to the followers of your page. So whether you are selling a product or service, or building a channel for affiliate marketing, it will not cost you an arm and a leg to build a strong Facebook page if you follow the 3-Step Approach I have shared here.

Good luck!


Do like Social Media Academy SG and PM me if you have any questions.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Crisis Communications: Megan’s Worse Nightmare Came True

Like many Singaporean Millennial, Megan was tired of the corporate life. She had graduated top of her class from NUS and was a successful in-house counsel at a MNC. The long hours, demanding bosses and rigid corporate structure stifled her and Megan felt like her life was over only as it had just begun.

One late night, while hunched over a stack of files, Megan cracked. Life had to be more than this! Humans were not put on this earth to work endless (and thankless hours) on things that will likely not matter in years to come. With the courage born out of the instinct to survive, Megan decided there and then to quit her job and to pursue her childhood dream of opening a café.

Soon, putting her corporate knowledge and experience to good use, Megan had opened her own little café in the heart of Orchard Road. Things were going great. Business was not booming, but it was still profitable and putting money into her pocket. In fact, if you asked Megan, she would say that the café was at its optimal point - Megan was not too busy and could sit back and smell the roses. The best part of all, Megan was marching to her own drum beat. She was her own boss with no one telling her what to do.

Being a millennial, Megan knew the dangers of social media. She had naturally heard of (and at points been a part of) social media “attacks” against businesses over poor service, alleged slights to consumers and even the occasional unethical behaviour. But never once did it occur to Megan that she would be the target of such an attack. After all, she was running a legitimate business and bad things always happen to someone else.

All that changed the week of April 2017. It had been a typical day of business and everything was humming along perfectly. Megan noticed, but did not really pay attention to a bunch of students that entered her café. They bought their drinks and, like typical Singapore students, brought out their text-books and started studying. Megan thought nothing about it. It was normal …. and just so Singapore.

What happened next could only have come out of a movie or a very bad dream. As the café was getting busy, Megan needed seats for customers that were streaming in. As the students had been sitting in the café for over 3 hours purchasing just 3 drinks between the 5 of them, Megan decided to approach the students to give up their seats for paying customers.

The students’ reaction was extremely negative. Instead of being considerate and freeing up the seats for paying customers, the students refused to leave claiming that it is their right to stay as long as they wanted. Even as Megan tried to explain that they are more than welcome to come back later, they were indignant and threaten Megan that they will post negative reviews on all their social media accounts telling their friends not to patronize Megan’s café. Left with no choice, Megan let them be. Unfortunately, this was not the end of the story.

The students posted negative reviews about Megan’s café on their social media accounts. They even went on Yelp, FourSquares and on numerous blogs to defame (for lack of a better word) Megan’s café. Megan did not know what to do and soon, as word got around, Megan’s business began to suffer.

Thinking that it would be best to remain quiet and hope for the storm to pass, Megan decided not to respond. After all, responding would only bring more attention to the negative online mention.
Sadly, perception is reality and as the negative reviews took on a life of their own, Megan’s silence did not help and within months, business was so badly affected that Megan had to close her café.


Like Megan, many business owners do not realize the dangers of social media. Or, perhaps they do, but the 'it will not happen to me' mentality is strong. As the above true story shows, knowing how to handle a social media crisis is no longer a good to have. In today’s era of smart phones, knowing how to handle a social media crisis is a must have.

This online crisis communication course on Udemy is designed for people who are responsible for the social media accounts of their organization i.e. business owners, PR professionals and brand managers. At the end of the course, participants will be able to identify a potential crisis, assess it impact on the organization and take the necessary actions to deal with the crisis. Don’t be like Megan. Be prepared. 

Click here to take the course now - a small investment to protect your business.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Crisis Communications: Using Social Media to Measure Effectiveness

In crisis communications, one important matrix that we always watch is the online reaction to the incident. Social media's immediacy provides crisis managers with real-time feedback on public sentiments towards the organization and the organization's efforts to deal with the crisis. Unfortunately, while social media is uncensored and hence provides the raw public emotions, social media's anonymity also allows trolls and stakeholders with agendas to manipulate the situation. Thus, while we use social media as a measurement of effectiveness, getting an accurate assessment of public sentiments will require users to categorize and weight comments according to the site or Facebook pages they are found on.

In Singapore, fans of sites like TR Emeritus (TRE), The Independent Singapore (TISG) and All Singapore Stuff (ASS) are known to be anti-establishment and hence their comments are generally biased towards negativity. Similarly, fans of sites like Fabrications About the PAP, Lovely Singapore and Singapore Matters are known to be pro-establishment and their comments are also biased. It is also well known that these sites are populated with numerous fake accounts and this not only skews sentiments, but also the perceived intensity of the sentiments.

It is therefore important that any social media monitoring matrix take these factors into consideration and adjust for it. At CW Fong & Associates, we use the following matrix to provide an accurate assessment of sentiments during a crisis. Our matrix comprising sites that are anti-establishment, neutral and pro-establishment with an adjustment factor of -50% for biased sites. In addition to those that we have mentioned above, the neutral sites we monitor are shown below:

TR Emeritus
The Independent Singapore
All Singapore Stuff

Fabrications about the PAP
Lovely Singapore
Singapore Matters

Not everything on social media is real. Organizations who monitor social media for sentiments cannot treat all online reactions the same. To do so, will result in a flawed assessment, which will then lead to a flawed crisis management response. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Crisis Communications: Veron Tay, Cedric Chow and Novel Learning Centre

Veron Tay, Cedric Chow and Novel Learning Centre

In today’s era of smartphone and social media, we all live in “glass houses”. Every single act we do can be, and usually is, filmed by someone. In this perfect information environment that we live in, no incident will go unreported. And, if you do something as socially unacceptable as verbally and physically abusing one of society’s vulnerable, be prepared for the wrath of society.

The Toa Payoh hawker centre incident involving Veron Tay and Cedric Chow is an important reminder for Singaporeans. Not only that we should always be on our best behaviour in public, but that we also need to know what to do if we let our guard down and do something unthinkable.

In the case of Veron and Cedric, both we believe are business owners (Novel Learning Centre), the impact will be more significant. Considering that they are in the education business, public anger over their behavior and how it might influence the children under their charge will undoubtedly hit their business.

What Veron and Cedric should have done was to get ahead of the media cycle. Once the incident went viral, instead of hiding and hoping that they would not be recognized, they should have stepped forward to acknowledge the incident and apologize for the errors of their ways. It would most definitely not be a pleasant feeling, but it would have gone a long way reduce public anger as it would have shown remorse.

Additionally, to demonstrate their sincerity, Veron and Cedric could have reached out to the old man, apologised unreservedly and offered contrition by offering to send him for a short vacation in Hong Kong. While these actions would not appease every netizen, it would most certainty appease the majority.

In short, if you are caught doing something socially unacceptable: (a) get ahead of the media cycle; (b) apologize if it is your fault; and (c) offer contrition to demonstrate sincerity of your apology.

crisis communications plan veron tay


To learn how to manage a crisis, take our online crisis communications workshop on Udemy, or follow us on Facebook at Social Media Academy Singapore for the latest tips on crisis communications.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Crisis Communications Like a Pro - Gary Lim of Yeo Keng Nam Chicken Rice

When Gary Lim, boss of Yeo Keng Nam Traditional Hainanese Chicken Rice, boarded a taxi after a night out with his friends, he did not expect things to turn sour. Allegedly intoxicated, Lim was caught on video goading a taxi driver saying the driver did not accomplish great things. The video went viral and Lim and his business suffered when Singaporeans, indignant over his behavior, flamed him and his business.

crisis communications Yeo Keng Nam chicken rice

Lim has today sought to make amends by personally calling the taxi driver to apologize and, in a form of contrition, offered 200 free packets of Chicken Rice to taxi drivers on Tuesday (May 5) between 3 – 5pm. Lim’s handling of this crisis is nothing but impressive.

In crisis communications, we advocate to our clients that if they were responsible for the incident, it is always important to quickly accept responsibility and to offer contrition. An apology is after all mere words and does little to allay stakeholder anger.

In the case of Mr Lim, he carried out crisis communications like a pro. We wonder who consulted with him?


To learn how to manage a crisis, take our online crisis communications workshop on Udemy, or follow us on Facebook at Social Media Academy Singapore for the latest tips on crisis communications.

Friday, April 14, 2017

United Airlines PR Crisis: Oscar Munoz vs Dr David Dao

Dr David Dao's violent removal from an overbooked flight (UA3411) prompted a response from United's CEO Oscar Munoz. Unfortunately, while we can criticize Munoz's initial response as grossly inappropriate, we have the benefit of hindsight. The dilemma facing Munoz in the hours immediately after the incident is not uncommon. CEOs have to decide whether to show support for their staff or throw them under the bus? In essence, Munoz had to decide how to address the concerns of the multiple stakeholders. 

To his credit, Munoz tried to balance the needs of the various stakeholders. He sent an "internal email" citing support for his staff while publicly taking a middle of the road position about the forced removal of Dr Dao. However, Munoz failed to realize that in a social media enabled world, there is no separation of information. His internal email was leaked and his well intentioned show of support for United's employees fanned the flames of brewing crisis.

If there is one lesson to takeaway from this crisis, is that balancing the communication needs of multiple stakeholders will be increasingly challenging in the era of social media. CEOs facing a crisis need to understand that "internal" employee communications can and will leak. In our opinion, showing support for his employees did not require Munoz to state Dao was "belligerent and disruptive". As United's employees would be primarily concerned about the fair treatment of their colleagues, Munoz could have easily addressed this by promising a thorough and independent investigation into the matter and that all parties involved (employee and customer) would be treated fairly and in accordance with company policies and the law.

united PR crisis oscar munoz


To learn how to manage a crisis, take our online crisis communications workshop on Udemy, or follow us on Facebook at Social Media Academy Singapore for the latest tips on crisis communications.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Online Crisis Communications Course - Review

Social Media has fundamentally changed the information environment in which we operate.  Crisis communications strategies that do not reflect this new environment are at best ineffective, and at worse, disastrous.  This course is designed for Business Owners, Brand Managers and PR Professionals who are responsible for the reputation and brand of their company.

At the end of this online course, participants will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to successfully identify a social media crisis, assess its impact on the organization and know the necessary steps to take to deal with the crisis. The course will also cover the impact of social media on PR and Branding, help participants understand the characteristics of a crisis, know the 5 essential elements of an effective crisis communications plan and use the SCAER Framework (a decision making tool for managing negative online mentions).
Course Review (5 Star Rating)
online course review crisis communications

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Distraction as a Crisis Communications Tactic - Doing a Trump

When it comes to crisis communications, US President Donald Trump is the master.  Time and again during his candidacy, and now during his presidency, Trump has been able to survive attacks that would have ended the political careers of lesser people.
From accusations of groping women to business lawsuits, from misuse of funds to accusations that he colluded with Russia to win the election, each time Donald J Trump has been able to escape by using the tactic of distraction.  In each of these incidents, besides denying them, Trump also went on the offensive and gave stakeholders something else to focus on.  In some of these instances, the focus was redirected to someone else, while others it remained with him but was redirected to a related but irrelevant issue.
For example, in the case of groping women, instead of the attention being focused on the criminal nature of the allegation (which if proven would have ended with him being arrested, Trump skillfully redirected the issue to become one of him being a lout. This distraction worked as it was first unexpected and the shift was so subtle that the general public would not notice the nudge.  Once the lout narrative took off, it would have been impossible to bring attention back to the initial allegation of criminal conduct.
crisis communications trump distraction tactic
Crisis communicators interested in using the distraction tactic must understand the following:
Firstly, the distraction must be "bigger" than the immediate issue.  This is intuitive.  If the distraction is not significant, media and stakeholder attention would not shift.  This Trump did brilliantly when he accused his predecessor Barack Obama of having ordered a wire-tap on him when Trump's Attorney General (AG) was on the ropes regarding allegations that he had conspired with the Russians.
Secondly, the distraction needs to be something that stakeholders can relate emotionally to.  Trump understands people.  If the distraction does not trigger an emotional response from the general public, there will be no traction and attention will not be diverted.  Once again, Trump's accusation of a wire-tap by a former president did the trick.  The mere thought of such an act angered people (never mind if there is no supporting evidence).  An analysis of the news today (2 days after Trump's accusation) will prove that media attention is no longer on his AG, but it is now about Trump's accusations against Obama.
And thirdly, a distraction tactic would only work if it is pushed on social media.  Today, more often than not, social media drives news.  Having a clear line of attack and distinct messages allows Trump supporters to jump on the band-wagon to push his agenda.  Trump's preference for Twitter is understandable as the platform is immediate, it allows his supporters to retweet it and there is no intermediary (like journalists) who will do fact checks.
In short, Donald J Trump has literally mastered the crisis communications tactic of distraction.  For those keen to use this tactic, just bear in mind that you will need the above 3 conditions to successful execute a distraction.

Friday, March 3, 2017

SG Media Consultant Reveals His Facebook Marketing Secret

When launching a social media campaign, one of the biggest challenge in Facebook Marketing is to generate sufficient initial reach to get the campaign off the ground. A campaign may be the best in the world, but if no one sees or hears about it, it might as well not exist.
One secret that successful social media marketers use is to leverage on Facebook Groups. Given that Groups are formed around a common interest and that most have group sizes in excess of 10,000, Facebook marketers can readily leverage on relevant Groups to share their campaigns to create the initial buzz. Additionally, as people in these Groups are usually passionate about the topic, if the campaign is relevant, there is a very high chance of eliciting interactions.
Facebook Marketers should however be careful not spamm the Group. In other words, do not join a group and immediate share your campaign. Doing so, will usually lead to being kicked-out and the possible damage to the business' reputation. The best way to use Facebook Groups for marketing is to join the Group, establish some credibility by sharing relevant contents over a period of time and before sharing your campaigns. In short, Groups need to cultivated before they can be used for marketing purposes.
So the next time you want to launch a social media marketing campaign, consider which FB Group you can leverage on.
facebook marketing secrets

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

[REVEALED] The Secret to Designing an Effective Facebook Marketing Campaign

The secret to designing an effective Facebook marketing campaign is to understand how its algorithm works. While FB's algorithm is a closely guarded secret, Facebook's mission statement gives us a hint.
"Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them."
If we look at what FB is trying to do, their goal is to help people (friends and families) share and express what matters. With this as the guide, and from our own research, FB's algorithm is designed to show our connections what is relevant to them. How FB determines what is relevant would be to use data like your viewing habits (what you look at and for how long) and your interactions (reaction, share and comment).
While FB 'likes' are still indicators of relevance, their value has dropped as studies have shown that likes do not accurately reflect relevance. FB therefore now gives more weight to interactions like shares, tags and comments.
If we understand how FB weights each interaction, a Facebook Marketing Campaign that focuses on getting people to 'like' a picture or post, will not rate very highly on relevance. The chance of it showing up on fan's newsfeed will therefore be low and it will take a great deal of effort (and ad money) to gain reach. However, if your Marketing Campaign leverages on how FB rates relevance, designing a contest to get participants to share or tag their friends will increase relevance and this will in turn enhance reach.
One successful campaign that CW Fong & Associates ran that leveraged on tagging was a "Pay It Forward" Contest. In this contest, participants were asked to tag a friend whom they wanted to appreciate. Those tagged were then automatically included into a lucky draw where they could win a prize from the organizer. As the contest leveraged on what FB rated as relevant, the contest achieved significant reach and new page likes for the client.
top facebook marketing campaign ideas
While there are no silver bullets, the secret to designing an effective Facebook Marketing Campaign is understanding and leveraging on FB's algorithm.
If you found this blog post useful, follow us on Social Media Academy SG.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Social Media Campaign Idea For F&B That Will Blow Your Mind

Social media has become an important marketing tool for small businesses. It is low cost, easy to do and, if it goes viral, it will literally put a business on the map. The challenge however is to develop a campaign that can go viral.
One of the most successful campaign that CW Fong & Associates has run for a Singapore client is our Snap, Share and Save promotion for a restaurant. This campaign is well suited for F&B businesses and when we first ran it for a client, the client reported an increase of 20% in sales revenue.

top social media contest idea for restaurants

The concept is simple ... after dinner, when the customer is presented with his bill, he will be offered the option to Snap, Share and Save. If the customer decides to do a selfie (or a wefie) in the restaurant, share it on his social media account, the customer will be presented with a coupon for $5 or $10 off his next meal. Of course to ensure that the name of the restaurant is publicized in the pic, a nice wall should be provided for the customer to take the snap.

This promotion works well as it leverages on the word of mouth effect. Never mind that the customer was enticed to do it, what matters is that the customer's network sees it. Additionally, the coupon will also encourage the customer to make a repeat visit to the business.
For more social media contest ideas, FOLLOW us on Social Media Academy Singapore.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

5 Things You Should Know Before Hiring A Social Media Consultant

One thing we always tell our clients is that everybody knows social media, but not everybody knows social media. Social media's ease makes it a business with practically no barriers to entry. Literally anyone with a social media account (with some followers) can claim to be a social media consultant.

top social media consultant singapore
 When we first started in this line close to 10 years ago, there were few so called experts. Nowadays, everyone is an expert and they are trying to earn more from their knowledge. Understandably business owners are confused and don't know who to hire. The following are 5 things you need to know about the social media consultant before hiring their services.
  • Claims to Be An Expert. If any consultant tells you they are an expert in social media and knows everything about it, end your conversation there. The truth of the matter is that no one is can be a true expert in social media because social media is rapidly evolving on a daily basis and it is impossible to know everything. Anyone claiming to be an expert clearly doesn't know social media.
  • Practitioner or Academic. The next thing to ask your potential social media consultant is whether he is an academic (instructor) or a practitioner. Riding on the demand for social media services, many courses have appeared. Unfortunately most of these instructors are what we call academics. They read a lot about social media, and can tell you all the theories. But few of them have actually run a successful social media campaign. While being an academic is not wrong, businesses should hire consultants with real world experiences.
  • Currency and Continual Learning. The third thing you need to consider is whether they are current. Current in terms of whether they are working on clients accounts, and how they continually upgrade their skills and knowledge to remain at the cutting edge. The former is important as a social media company that is not serving a client rapidly becomes obsolete. For the latter, as mentioned earlier, social media continually evolves and a good social media consultancy invests in continual training for their team.
  • How You Found Them. The fourth thing to consider is how you found the consultancy. Of course word of mouth is best, but did you find them via social media. We often find it strange when a social media company advertise via services via main stream media. If they were really good in social media, there would be no need for this.
  • Payment Scheme - FREE. Wow! This offer is indeed too good to be true. And you know what they say about offers that are too good to be true. Being a social media consultant is a business. Businesses need money to survive. If a social media consultant offers to work with your company for free, there must be something really wrong with them. In the same light, good is not cheap. If the market rate is $3,000 per month and the consultant offers to do it for considerably less, we do think you should think again.
Hiring a social media consultant has increasingly become more confusing. While it is possible for businesses to do their own social media marketing, as consultants ourselves, we believe that consultants do bring value to the business owner. Just keep in mind the above 5 things the next time you are thinking of hiring a social media consultant and you should get value for your money.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Ultimate Revelation Of Crisis Communications

It always surprises us how businesses, even top brands, can mess up their crisis communications. While social media has definitely changed the information environment, the fundamentals of dealing with a crisis has essentially remained unchanged. Many companies fail as they do not recognise this fact and over-complicate their response during a crisis. 

In the new information environment, aside from requiring a faster response, the 5 essential elements of an effective crisis communications remains as ....
  • being OPEN
  • providing TIMELY information
  • being TRUTHFUL
  • communicating BROADLY
  • having a SOCIAL MEDIA presence
If we look at the 5 elements mentioned above, we can see that crisis communications is about getting the right information to the right stakeholder at the right time. While this may seem complicated, it is not. Stakeholders are people just like you and me, and effective crisis communications is simply about telling our side of the story.

The only thing that has changed over the years is the platform used. In the past, crisis communicators rely on intermediaries like main stream media, newspapers ads and press conferences to communicate with their stakeholders. Today, even though crisis communicators still rely on intermediaries, crisis communicators now have additional social media channels like company websites, Facebook page, YouTube videos and even Google Adwords.

As mentioned earlier, aside from the speed needed to deal with a crisis in today's new information environment, everything else remains the same. In short, crisis communications today is not significantly different from crisis communications in the past. What worked then, still works today as we are dealing with people.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Crisis Communications: Scoot's Customer Service Social Media Mistake

Scoot's 'funny' response to passenger's complaint falls short, draws ire of netizens.

In what is a classic case of a customer service social media faux pas, a light-hearted attempt to address a customer's complaint has back-fired.

A customer, named Candy, had posted a photo of her actual in-flight meal alongside the menu, which shows a much more appetizing image of the food. Candy lamented that the actual meal looked nothing like the photo, and that she had paid $18 for it.

customer service mistake scoot social media

Instead of addressing the customer's complaint, Scoot responded by saying, "Hi Candy, we're sorry that our food in person looks nothing like it did in picture. You know what they say.... #Selfies always look better." This response, however, did nothing to ease the situation, and actually made things worse. The response annoyed most netizens, who said that the attempt at humour fell flat. They also added that the complaint itself was not properly addressed in the response.

One of the cardinal rules in dealing with an unhappy customer is to acknowledge their anger. Minimizing it will only fuel further their anger and make matters worse. We are pretty certain that none of Scoot's employees would have said anything similar if they were facing Candy face to face. We are therefore surprised that would not do so online.

At CW Fong & Associates, we teach our clients that the rules of customer service (and in this case service recovery) do not change just because the complaint happens on social media. On the contrary, the amplification of social media makes it all the more important that a customer's complaint is addressed promptly and correctly.

In short, when dealing with an online service complaint, do what you would do if you are facing the complaint in person.


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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Crisis Communications: NParks Tembusu Tree Incident

[Crisis Communications] Tembusu Tree Incident
To allay public fears over the safety of large trees in Singapore, and to diffuse their responsibility for the recent incident, NParks issued a statement that trees in Singapore were inspected based on "international standards".
This is a standard approach used by most organizations and, in most instances, it would work. For NParks, it didn't and there were flamed by netizens. The use of "international standards" works for others as the average citizen will know of and accept that there are international standards for things like rail safety, food safety, etc. However, not many average citizens know of the existence of an international standards for tree inspection. They therefore reacted with skepticism and saw it as PR Speak.
Personally, our first reaction when I saw it on the news was to ask if there is even such a thing as an international standard for tree inspection.
Learning Point: While we can and should adapt best practices to manage a crisis, we must however contextualize it to our own situation.
nparks statement tembusu international standards


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Friday, February 10, 2017

Online Course: Managing Social Media Crisis

Social Media has fundamentally changed the information environment in which we operate. Crisis communications strategies that do not reflect this new environment are at best ineffective, and at worse, disastrous.  This course is designed for Business Owners, Brand Managers and PR Professionals who are responsible for the reputation and brand of their company.

At the end of this online workshop, participants will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to successfully identify a social media crisis, assess its impact on the organization and know the necessary steps to take to deal with the crisis. The course will also cover the impact of social media on PR and Branding, help participants understand the characteristics of a crisis, know the 5 essential elements of an effective crisis communications plan and use the SCAER Framework (a decision making tool for managing negative online mentions).
Use our link to sign-up at the promotional rate of only USD10 (Usual Price: USD30) - Online Social Media Crisis Course
online social media courses

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Crisis Communications: Where do you rebut negative online mentions

In recent years, the social media landscape has changed. Increasingly we find FB pages and websites dedicated to the exclusive propagation of one message at the expense of the truth. Singapore is not spared and anti-establishment Facebook pages and websites like All Singapore Stuff (ASS) and Temasek Review Emeritus (TRE) exist and have large followings. These are echo chambers where any call for objectivity or correction of misinformation are vehemently shouted-down.

So what is an organization to do when such platforms distort the truth and paints you in a bad light?

Some social media experts advocate that you should not give these platforms credibility by responding on their platform. These experts also believe that by responding on their platform, you open yourself up to further distortions and smears. What these experts advocate is to counter the misinformation using your own social media accounts.

This, we believe is wrong. Like it or not, the misinformation on these platforms will remain there for all to see. Yes, while it is an echo chamber and your response will be slammed, responding on their platform will get your side of the story out and this may correct the misperception that the 'neutrals' on these platforms have about your organization.

At CW Fong & Associates, one of the cardinal rules we have about countering negative deliberate attacks, is that the rebuttal must be present on the same platform that is propagating the falsehoods. Not being present on that platform only serves to perpetuate the falsehood and fuels the misperceptions people will have about your organization.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Crisis Communications: Characteristics of a Crisis

Knowing the characteristics or the anatomy of a crisis is important as it will enable you to know when to take the necessary steps to mitigate it. The worse thing that can happen is for an organization to be in a crisis, not know it and continue with business as usual. Then by the time the organization realizes it is in a crisis, it will be in full crisis mode. As a general rule, the sooner an organization addresses a crisis, the better the chance of containing its impact.
A crisis typically has four main characteristics.

anatomy characteristics of a crisis

Firstly, there is volatility. What this means is that public reaction towards the issue can fluctuate significantly. It can be a case of one moment no one is talking about it, and the next the organization is being flamed by thousands of netizens. Issues that affect an organization that does not have the possibility of this dynamic range of reaction is not considered a crisis. This is because slow burn issues can be managed via normal business processes.
The second characteristic is uncertainty. When we talk about uncertainty, we are talking about the unpredictability of the issue. In other words, no one knows what trajectory it will take. One minute, public reaction towards the issue could be about the incident, the next minute the focus could switch to the owner of the organization or even some past incident. In short, there is no clear direction in which the issue is heading and this then becomes a crisis as the organization will not be able to anticipate and address the issues effectively.
The third characteristic is complexity. Here, multiple forces act on and confound the issue. Making matters worse, would be the lack of a cause-and-effect chain or confusion surrounding the issue. This complexity, similar to uncertainty, affects that organization’s ability to respond and hence puts the organization on the defensive and in crisis mode as it scrambles to resolve the issue and to get ahead of the narrative.
The fourth characteristic of a crisis is ambiguity. Ambiguity refers to the situation where an issue can be viewed from multiple perspectives and take on multiple meaning. This potential for misinterpretation once again acts against the organization as it then becomes difficult for the organization to manage the issue.
In summary, an organization is usually thrust into a crisis when an issue has the four characteristics of volatility, complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity. I must however add, that depending on that nature of the issue, having one or more of these characteristics alone is sufficient to put an organization into a crisis.


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