Saturday, December 17, 2011

#SMRT Social Media Crisis -- no end in sight

With the breakdown in SMRT trains, 3 times this week, the public was increasingly angry as it comes after the announcement and price increase for Taxis in Singapore.

This week, Circle Line was down, and on 15 Dec, the NS Line is badly disrupted and it created a crisis where power was out, ventilation was cut off, and someone had to break a window for air.

Then it comes the memes.

Clearly at this point, people are concerned and unhappy. On a few articles, thousands of people voiced their unhappiness. However, the state media and the communications department started to make stories which enraged the public more.

‘Train disruptions unacceptable and unforgivable’

The credibility of State Controlled Media -- Straitstimes is also questioned.
The Straits Times reports factually – not

The news title keeps changing on Straitstimes.
Singaporeans confident of MRT despite Thursday's MRT breakdown

The media also tries to cover things up with the "Extra income fiasco"
Yahoo! News 1 The Straits Times 0 Either that or the ST reporter is not trying too hard.

This is the photo which enraged many Singaporeans too.

Next comes the #PRFAIL from the communications department.

MRT breakdown: Don't break the windows, says SMRT
One frustrated commuter used a fire extinguisher to smash the glass on the door.
He should not have done so but considering the situation, he will not be penalised, SMRT officials said.

This is official statement from SMRT where a train stuck for hours in a tunnel without ventilation, and when passengers find it hard to breathe, a man smashed the windows to let air in, and SMRT was "considering" the possibility of pressing charges. -- WHAT KIND OF RESPONSE IS THIS?

The state controlled media also penalized Hossan Leong for sharing information on the incident which he read on tweets on Radio, informing the public that the MRT may be down and asking them to seek alternative transportation methods.

And this led to the awkard moment on TV.

So not only had the PR team of SMRT fail to handle the crisis, it seem to enrage the public more.

Unfortunately for SMRT, the worst is not over as the trains broke down today again.

So did the bus ferrying the passengers.

How can SMRT restore confidence and happiness in passengers?

It seemed like in their monopolistic market they are in, they do not really care as shown in their attitude and response. Will the government step in? I do not think so as well as it was quite clear that PTC and the Minister of Transport is one of them.

There is a Facebook Page to share your experience on the MRT

I am not sure if they are interested in solving the problems, but there is a crisis growing, and people are not getting satisfaction.

-- Robin Low

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Social Media is about Long Term Engagement (Singapore)

March 2011, in Singapore, Nicole Seah is the most influential blogger in Singapore. During the elections, Lee Kuan Yew had the support of many influential bloggers including Xia Xue, who apparently could not manage her emotions when Nicole Seah, a relatively young lady was seen as more influential than her, decided to help boost Lee Kuan Yew's Facebook popularity.

Along with many other bloggers who were invited to meet the PAP group, Lee Kuan Yew's Facebook Page was boosted till he has more fans than Nicole Seah in May 2011.

However, it is very clear that if you do not engage anyone, like Lee Kuan Yew, no matter how much you pay for people to follow you, you are still not influential! Number of followers does not equal to engagement and influence.

Today, 6 months later, Nicole Seah does have more followers than Lee Kuan Yew.

"Engage or Die." -- Brian Solis.

--Robin Low

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Increasing visibility on Social Media

I've often been questioned by companies who were using social media, but simply failing to yield any success or even views, and I'm going to share some general tips on increasing visibility on the various platforms.

1) Tags.

On of the main reasons why people can't find your pictures or videos is "not tagging". On YouTube, and Flickr, a good description with the right keywords and catchy title of the video or image makes a big difference.

2) Hashtags.

On Twitter, I find that many people actually search hashtags for topics they are interested in, and it does help gain visibility. Furthermore, hashtags sort of make the tweet stand out in the newsfeeds and lets people know the focus of the tweet. An great #Example will be this.


I've found this method very useful on Facebook and Twitter. By sharing information on Facebook or Twitter, the inclusion of capital letters to emphasize the USEFULNESS and READABILITY is very useful, and it does increase the chances of your link attached getting clicked on.

4) RT and Share information

Not all information you post need to be from your business. People tend to follow you on Twitter or Facebook because you are giving value. If there are good articles or information that you think your fans or follower would like to know, just share it.

5) Start discussion with influential people on Facebook and Twitter.

The conversations which should add to the discussion will let others know how interesting you are and hopefully win some followers.

6) Create a business Page on Facebook and Google+

Profiles on Facebook have a 5000 friend limit and Pages does allow you to see engagement data. Same thing on Google+. Adding fans into your circles can help expand the reach of your content.

7) Tag others in your post on Google+, Facebook and Twitter

It not only points their attention to your post, you may get more engagement when they respond.

8) Ask questions to try to get response.

Social media is 2 way engagement. Look at ways to generate a response from your fans or followers. Interact and engage in meaningful conversations.

9) Answer questions you know the answer of.

On your feeds, if you know the answer of something, just be helpful and answer it. It can happen on Twitter, simply by searching relevant terms used in your industry, on Quora by looking for questions you know answers of, and on LinkedIn Answers -- be friendly and helpful by answering questions.

10) Provide value (or free stuff)

Give people a reason why they should follow your business. If could be updated news, tips or even a free ebook a month, etc.

I hope these tips work.

There is also another  article from Hubspot which I find interesting and relevant. -> 20-ways-to-increase-content-visibility

I hope this is helpful. Feel free to follow me on Twitter @dmediaacademy

-- Robin Low

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Men can fix everything

I've seen this email getting forwarded many times, so I'm going to share the contents of it to free up your inbox.



-- Robin Low

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Business Schools should focus more on communications.

In most universities, the communications department which trains students in Public Relations, Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs tend to be in a different department.

Business schools have courses which never cover much on public relations or any form of public engagement. Often, the mindsets of the people in Arts and Social Science (Communications School for many universities) and Business School is very different. The students and much of the lecturers alike have very different ideas on businesses. Generally, an Arts graduate would focus on activism, ethics and some may even believe that big corporations are evil. On the other hand, a business student would believe that one would need to create a lot of networth to be influential and create change. They are not wrong, but most of the time, they will both benefit when they understand their different fields.

Today, the biggest businesses are no longer the giant oil companies or property developers. Instead, the Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter are so valuable now, and they are essentially, communications company (or manufacture tools for communications). Creating, using and understand the new ways which corporations communicate or create awareness, crisis management and engage the media and the public are pretty much a very important skill any business person should have.

In fact, I feel that for a social entrepreneur, perhaps it would be more suitable for him to go to a communications school as gathering support, changing mindsets through soft power is something you probably will not learn in business school. When you have a social cause, attracting other supporters to help with the business planning will not be hard if you can communicate your ideas to them. And a good news pitch can create a lot of awareness and allow the social business to be noticed.

-- Robin Low

Monday, November 7, 2011

Google+ now open to celebrities and businesses.

Today, Google's social networking service Google Plus (Google+) is now open for businesses. Facebook had a great advantage over Google+ -- Facebook Pages. The new feature, called Google + Pages, marks a long-awaited policy change for the company, finally allowing other businesses and brands to be able to openly creating Google Plus profile pages and adding other Google Plus users to their “circles” (that’s Google Plus’s version of Friends and Followers).

Until now, Plus was open only to individuals. Google says more than 40 million people have Plus profiles. Facebook has more than 800 million users. In addition to companies, celebrities and sports teams will be able to set up Google Plus pages just as they can on Facebook.

If you have a business and want a presence on Google+, hurry up and add your mark on Google+

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Internet Trololo

When I am calling for accountability and transparency, or when I voice that I do not agree with certain government policies, I am called names.

When I agree with some of the policies of the government, or when I think certain corporation should be given a chance or the demands of people online are unreasonable, I get called this.

But this is the Internet. Trololo lives in the Internet. I love the Internet as I can find a diverse set of opinions, some of which I agree with. Some may call it the Wild west, and some people hide behind their annoymous veils, however, I feel that to be credible and build trust, most people online use their REAL identities. I would not bother explaining or arguing with an online Troll, just out there to seek controversies for the sake of an argument.

As for large organizations or the government, engaging with the public online -- taking in the good and the bad -- is just part of the job. Learning about the concerns of the people should be an important part of decision making and perhaps before making an unpopular decision, some explanation on the reason would be good. Yes, it does take more effort, but you gain more supporters in the end, it is branding, and it is for the long run.

-- Robin Low

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New engagement for the future.

MICA’s new agendum for cyber control?

It seems like Singapore is a very progressive country, trying to be #1 in a lot of things. It has achieved a lot in the past, but the government's need to control conversations and all forms of media.

I feel that for Singapore’s online environment, open public engagement is key. Trying to control conversation, censorship and other forms of heavy handed legislation will often fail or see even more negative results.

People can always use faux identities and with different groups seeding false information as legislation causes paranoia. Transparency should be encouraged, and this can only be done if the government is willing to be transparent.

Training on Internet safety should be replaced with personal branding, and users should understand that it is more important for them to engage with a real identity to build credibility. Many forward thinking organizations are crowdsourcing for ideas and -- solutions, why should the government not follow these good examples.

-- Robin Low

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Nikon #statusfail

When engagement of photographers is not done with photographers, the language and tone will cause an otherwise successful interaction to fail, and if it continues, the fan base will be lost!

Know your audience before you post.

-- Robin Low

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Some popular pics

Some popular pics that are being shared on Facebook and Twitter


-- Robin Low