Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dealing with Negative Comments and Spam

For many people who have just started social media for their companies, or their own personal blogs, getting negative comments may be a nightmare. And for those who are interested in joining the social media community, this might be their greatest fear that is stopping them from joining.

In my opinion, you do not need to be afraid of negative opinions or comments. Even if you do not have a blog, someone can write bad things about you or your company, and there is nothing you can do about it.

I would say there are a few kinds of negative opinions and comments.

1) SPAM and other unrelated comments.

There are people who would just put up ads or links to their webpages, trying to sell stuff in the comments part of your blogs, Facebook pages or YouTube Video. For these people, I would recommend you simply delete these comments.

2) Negative comments that do not further the conversation from anonymous people.

For many critics, putting comments that belittle people seem to be some form of pleasure for them. If someone tells you, "YOUR BLOG SUCKS", don’t take the bait! Most of the time, these are just bitter people looking for a fight. Just like bullies in a school, all they want is a reaction from you.

I know sometimes ego may get in your way and you want to defend your blog or post, however, fighting with these people may simply be a waste of time. For many of these time wasters, I say "Delete" their posts or simply ignore them.

3) Profanities, vulgarities, defematory and personal attacks

There is no point in arguing with someone who is not civilized. Emotions may get high, and things will only be more personal. For these, I would also suggest you delete them. DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS

4) Genuine feedback of bad service received.

If there are feedback and comments about you or your products and services, you should respond, even if it puts your company in a bad light. Usually, when someone is unhappy enough to put it on a blog or find your blog and comment on it, it must be something significant.

These posts generally will try to list the problem encountered and may give supporting evidences as links. They are trying to address a problem in hopes of a pleasant resolution.

Here are a few steps I would take if I find such comments on my blog.

- Find out exactly what happened? (Ask for examples, time, place and the whole story) This would automatically remove those who try to write on behalf of their friends or other hear say stories which may be untrue.

- Reply as a comment on the blog that investigations will take place and a resolution will be done in xx days. (And do necessary research to check out what happened)

- Find out what you can do in your power to resolve the situation. (If a customer had a bad experience, perhaps a "free service" to invite them to come again, and an apology would change their opinion?)

- Make sure similar problems do not happen again, communicate with the rest of company, and thank the customer for pointing it out. (Admit the mistake, resolve and move on)

- Be transparent. Reply on the same medium the complain is made. This may be a good example of how such bad experience is resolved for other customers. If customer is in the wrong and nothing can be done about it, make sure you have an FAQ so that such mistakes do not occur again.

There is nothing really wrong with bad comments and feedback, you just have to attend to it properly.

-- Robin Low

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

10 Reasons to be on Social Media

After giving several talks and lectures on social media in Singapore and the region, I realize that social media seemed to be still very new in Singapore, especially amongst the Gen-X and baby boomers.

In Singapore, there are more than 1 million Facebook users, and there is a growing importance bloggers and other social media influencers play in our daily lives.

With twitter gaining popularity, the number of users greatly increased after celebrities start to use this social media platform. Micro-blogging is a form of multimedia blogging that allows users to send brief text updates or micromedia such as photos or audio clips and publish them, either to be viewed by anyone or by a restricted group which can be chosen by the user.

With the gaining popularity of mobile social media applications and devices in Singapore, users who were previously using sms-es are starting to get on social media in a big way, participating in Foursquare, updating their Facebook and Twitter Statuses, or viewing videos on YouTube.

Many people want to know why are there so many people getting on social media, and here are some reasons that I can think of.

1) Networking - You can find all sorts of people on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Web 2.0 allows you to build up a strong network of people that share similar interests which you can find in groups. You can sometimes rely on the expertise of these people and as they come from varied backgrounds, having these people in your network is definitely great if you need to seek advice on a topic you do not understand.

2) Updated news - I could not believe how fast some of these news show up on twitter. Being on twitter, the news show up real time and unlike certain newspapers of news source, the current events you get from twitter is varied and may give you a very balanced or skewed new on a certain topic. I found out the winner of the recent F1 race even before the race ends on my live TV - talk about real time report!

3) Friendship - Updating your status or what you are doing can allow you to stay connected with your friends and family. Reading about your friend's tweets and status updates about their newborn lets you stay in touch with them, even when you cannot be there. You can also make new friends, and people with similar interests.

4) Information - You definitely get a lot of information about your industry or interests. You can find almost everything on the web, thanks to search engines, and search engines today are even trying to keep up with the real time content of social media networks. What's even better, you can post a question to your followers and sometimes they will reply you with a link of what you need!

5) Entertainment - There are tons of quotes, jokes and funny picture or video links. Endless entertainment on Facebook and Twitter. You can also follow celebrities and know what they are doing or are planning to do. Its fun!

6) Events and meet ups - Tweetups are getting more and more common, and it is quite funny that many people who are usually not social butterflies, fell more comfortable to come to a "TweetUp" or a twitter event to meet their fellow friends whom they have never met in real life on these events. It is a great way to go out and meet new people. Local events are also getting common on Facebook, and you can search for open events in your area to participate to gt to know more people.

7) Job Search - In this financial crisis, any new source where you can find a job would be a bonus isn't it? Just do a #Jobs or #Job search with #location for more specific jobs on Twitter. There are a few groups on LinkedIn just dedicated for job searches and job openings as well. It is a great place to meet others and possibly, land a new job.

8) Find someone to chat - It is easy to go to a trending topic of interest, find who is talking about it and start a chat. You can always find a friend online on your Facebook page and start a chat if you are bored or just need someone to talk to.

9) Develop Weak Ties - Weak ties can be powerful, but challenging to build across cultures, languages, and preferred sites. Weak ties are powerful because they can give you what close friends and community often cannot (e.g., different ideas, connections, resources, models, etc)

10) Personal Branding - As the information on social media is searchable and for public consumption, your ideas and your values can be shared and you can become a thought leader in your field if you share your thoughts and opinion professionally. Giving your opinion on current topics, sharing your knowledge about your industry can provide good information for people searching for it. Being open to discuss these topics can allow people to discover your passion and brand yourself as an expert, as well as create more awareness for your company and its services.

-- Robin Low

Monday, April 5, 2010

Some PR on Digital Media Academy

We are on the news today.

Singapore companies want to get on social media.

SINGAPORE, Apr 5, 2010 – NUS Extension School offers hands on social media course to train executives to leverage on social media for corporate branding. Unlike short workshops that often leave participants at a loss on how to start, full courses will prepare executives, train them to use the most popular social media tools and develop strategies to leverage them for branding.

Many companies are looking for training to participate in social media. Today in Singapore, there are more than 1 million Facebook users and 3 million Internet users -- getting on social media becomes a necessity to stay in pace with competition.

With more than two-thirds of the population in Singapore using the Internet, and with the use of broadband on mobile phones are on the rise, the number of people in Singapore participating in social media will definitely increase.

Web 2.0 tools have empowered users to create content. With Facebook over 400 million users (February 2010), 55 million people on LinkedIn, 75 million people on Twitter, more than 200 million blogs, and with the help of search engines, Internet users can easily find information they need from other users.

Today, consumers are more immune to advertising. There are more channels on radio and television that every before, and less reader reading the ever more selection of printed media. Consumers are bombarded by so much advertising that they are trained to tuned them off and ignore them, making advertisements less and less effective. Consumers are also getting more informed with plenty of global choices available as information can be readily found on the Internet.

“Customer engagement is key in today’s Web 2.0 world.” Robin Low, a Social Media Trainer at NUS Extention says. “The paradigm has shifted from feeding information to facilitating user created content, making information relevant to your customers. And leveraging word of mouth is key to a company’s success.”

Friday, April 2, 2010

Social Media integration strategy.

After a lot of requests on "how to start social media"

I've decided to make this slide to show you the needs and wants most company have, but still a lot of them do not get the point and spend $$$ to implement a flawed social media presence.

-- Robin Low