How to approach social media: Guidelines for Brands

Nowadays, nearly everything out there is related to social media in one way or another. This is especially because smartphones are simply everywhere. And what do you do when you are bored? You go on ur phone and start surfing social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Image result for facebook icon                 Image result for instagram icon  Image result for twitter icon

Now, brands are constantly finding ways to try and connect with their customers. According to The Communications Council, brands are increasingly using social media to engage directly in interactive communication with customers. Social media provides the tools to have targeted conversations with customers who can directly drive advocacy and word of mouth on brands. However, not all brands succeed at using social media to the fullest potential. In fact, some might even mess up and make errors that are a big ‘no’ and instead may even drive consumers away. Below are 8 guidelines that The Communications Council have come up with:

  1. Start with a plan – crisis management. In case of any negative responses, a brand must be prepared to have a back-up plan to counter it.
  2. Be transparent. It is important to be open and honest when talking to customers, and not give false representations about yourself and your brand.
  3. Be accurate. If any post has been misrepresented and mistakes have been made, it is essential to get them corrected as soon as possible. If not, someone may save a snap of the error and use it against your brand.
  4. Be professional. Always be as professional as you can when replying consumers, and consider the opinions of others as well though you may think you are correct.
  5. Be fair and respectful. Always respect what others say about your brand, and be cautious when posting comments as they may seem insulting to others and be mindful of are the use of exaggeration, colourful language, derogatory remarks or characterizations.
  6. Be responsible. Always follow the terms, rules and regulations of whichever social media platform you are using to post your content on.
  7. Be smart. Keep in mind everything online is protected by copywright, and respect all laws and regulations in relation to privacy (Privacy Act 1988), spam (Spam Act 2003), and other applicable laws relevant to your client’s industry or products/services (e.g. financial disclosures) when publishing on social media.
  8. Be aware of confidentiality. Ensure that all material and content published is publicly available, and do not release any confidential information that might be dangerous to the brand once the public gets their hands on them.

By abiding by the above guidelines, your brand is set to start reaching out to customers via social media platforms without worry.


Launching your way into the internet – What you need to know about viral marketing

Viral marketing is something every marketer wishes to achieve, regardless whether it is a big or small company they are a part of. But, what exactly is it?

According to  Kaplan, A.M. & Haenlein, M. (2011), viral marketing is the electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) in which some form of marketing message related to a company, brand or product is transmitted in an exponentially growing way, often through the use of social media applications. WOM plays an essential part in triggering something to go viral. Below shows the relationship between the 2:


(source: Kaplan, A.M. & Haenlein, M. (2011). “Two hearts in three-quarter time: How to waltz the social media/viral marketing dance”. Business Horizons, 54, 253-263.)

The easiest way for WOM to spread is through social media. One marketing campaign that managed to successfully use viral marketing is by KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines). The staff made use of social media platforms such as Foursquare and Twitter to check out the profiles of the passengers’. They then surprised them with simple small gifts based on what the staff observed from their profiles. Even though this is such a simple act, but it really brought smiles and made the days of the lucky passengers. This process was done over a few weeks, and it generated more than a million impressions just from Twitter alone, and has resulted in the video going viral which greatly boosted the profile of KLM.

This shows how viral marketing can benefit one company if they are successful at pulling it off, just like how it has benefitted KLM.

However, not all viral marketing campaigns turn out successful. In fact some end up in a flop. Can you think of any campaigns that have failed miserably? Or even other campaigns that have turned out as well as KLM’s?

The Internet of Things (I0T)

The IoT has said to be a development of the internet, where everyday objects have network connectivity which allows them to send and receive data. Paul Saffo, Managing Director of Discern Analytics mentioned that “Most of our devices will be communicating on our behalf—they will be interacting with the physical and virtual worlds more than interacting with us. The devices are going to disappear into what we wear and/or carry.” What he is essentially saying is that wearable technology and devices will be involved in our lives so much it might have a “mind” of its own in the future, where it will have such a tight relationship with us and even be embedded in our bodies in the near future.

According to Jacob Morgan, everything from cellphones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of can be connected as the IoT is a concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). One great example is the Google Glass.

Image result for google glass


Imagine being able to control everything in your home with your head. Sounds too good to be true? Well, Google Glass can make that a reality by using wireless connectivity to control connected devices in your home. Picture arriving home from work, and the door of your house automatically unlocks to let you in as you walk up to it. Inside, your app comes on the glasses screen and you can tune in or change the channel while you fiddle with turning on the connected sprinkler system for your lawn. Neat, huh?


Another example of wearable smart technology is IOFIT.

IOFIT is the world’s first smart shoes that helps golfers quickly and smartly improve their game while having fun.


Developed by Salted Venture, a startup supported by Samsung Electronics, IOFIT is a solution that utilizes a combination of pressure sensors and a coaching app to improve a user’s balance and body posture to enhance one’s fitness routine or golf swing. Imagine being able to know how you should adjust your posture, how to get the perfect swing based on the information being transmitted from the sensors in your shoes to your smartphone device. Now isn’t that convenient?





How A/B Testing can benefit a company

A/B testing has been around for some time, but what exactly is it?

According to an article done by Paras Chopra, the founder of Visual Website Optimizer, the world’s easiest A/B testing tool and is being used by thousands of companies worldwide across 75+ countries, A/B testing is having two versions of a webpage, version A and B. A would be the existing webpage design while B would be the new design a company would want to try out. Website traffic will then be split between the 2 sites, and performance will then be measured. At the end the company will choose the version that performed better.

A/B testing has proven to work and help improve companies’ business performance and increase conversion rates. Below are some examples:

  1. WriteWork

writework1  writework2


WriteWork found that despite high traffic volume on their site, they were seeing little conversions. Using feedback collected from customer surveys, they then deduced it must be the landing page. Unlike the old page on the left, the new page highlighted the benefits to customers, and thus helped reduce bounce rate through A/B testing.


2. Obama08

obama1 obama2


During President Barak Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, the team found out that perhaps a change in web design could boost campaign funding from $10,000 to $10,000,000. They then made use of A/B testing, and tested which visuals would produce the best results. After testing over 24 combinations, the picture on the right was the winning one with emotion from the Obama family picture combined with the Learn More button. This change led to a jump of 40% increase in sign-up rates, and even led to $60 million more of donations to the campaign.


3. Kwik Fit

kwikfit1  kwikfit2


Kwik Fit is a U.K.-based insurance intermediary and relies heavily on its digital presence. They wanted to find a way to increase the number of visitors that land on its landing page to purchase a product from their highest-profiting product line. They then conducted an A/B test that looked at page layout, content and design on its affiliate landing pages. Unlike the picture on the left which was text heavy and hard to pick out key points, the final picture on the right picks out the unique aspects, and is much easier for users to skim through and find out what they need, therefore increasing registration rates by 12% and boosting the number of confirmed purchases by 78%.


From the above examples it is clear how A/B testing can boost a company’s performance, and increase conversion rates. However, not many companies are even aware that such a testing even exists, and hence I feel that much more awareness should be spread about this kind of testing as it definitely will improve the strategies undertaken by a company doing business.



The Lure of Facebook

Social media has been rapidly advancing over the years, with many changes such as the change in social media platforms that people use, from sites such as Friendster in the past to sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram today. One prominent social media site that is being used by millions of people worldwide is Facebook. It was first launched in 2004, and has grown to be one of the most popular social media sites among millions today.

A paper done by Hodis and colleagues, published in the Journal of Marketing Management aptly describes the 4 main segments of Facebook users:


Entertainment Chasers:

  • low levels of creation and consumption
  • mainly use Facebook just to consume entertainment content such as watching videos.

Attention Seekers:

  • high level of creation and low level of consumption
  • mainly use Facebook to create me-centric posts, glamorizing the highlights of their day, geared to generate admiration or even jealousy from their friends.
  • large pool of followers


  • high levels of creation and consumption
  • loves to immerse themselves into the virtual Facebook world to escape/find relief from their real-life problems, and gather moral support from their Facebook friends
  • puts in the effort to post long meaningful posts, and comment meaningful thoughts on their friends’ posts

Connection Seekers:

  • low level of creation and high level of consumption
  • mainly use this platform to enhance their relationships in real life, and make use of Facebook as a hangout place to connect with both new and old friends.
  • usually such connections occur at night or over the weekend


Facebook is an awesome platform for many reasons. Some of which are listed below:

First, it allows users to connect and reach out to various people that have been in and out of their lives, especially past school mates through functions such as Yearbook which allows past alumni of a school to all get connected in such an easy way.

Second, businesses can make use of Facebook by maintaining a Facebook page. There is a low cost involvement other than occasional promotional ads, and not much negative consequences. According to Deluca and Goad, 2011, the shopping behavior of the public is increasingly influenced by social media interactions. As such, by maintaining a social media presence such as the creation of a brand page on Facebook, this will improve customer communications and boost the brand image of the company in the long run.

These are just 2 reasons out of many. Facebook has opened up endless opportunities for people to connect and businesses to build customer relationships. Facebook has indeed revolutionized the world, and it will continue to do so for a long time.

Is social media all that helpful?

Social media indeed plays an integral role in the lives of everyone in the day and age that we live in today. It serves as a platform for communication, both for consumers and businesses. Not only that, but it allows consumers to gather information and do research online. Social media also serves as an added platform for businesses to reach out to their consumers, through gathering feedback online or even additional online promotions exclusive to those that patron their online social media sites. Examples of such sites are Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Despite such benefits, however we must ask ourselves: Is social media all that helpful? Indeed, social media brings to the table a whole new level of communication and information gathering. On the flipside, social media can also damage a company’s reputation and brand name if companies are not careful on how they utilize the media that they put up online. If they are not careful, they may tarnish their own brand name and it would become a declining brand that slowly no one will pay attention to anymore.

GAP and American Apparel

Gap is a prime example of how social media has led to its decline. It started out in 1969 by wealthy California real estate developer Don Fisher  and wife Doris. It started out really successful, and even managed to expand out into many countries such as Canada and Cambodia.

Gap started to face hiccups in the media in 2000 and 2007, where they were accused of exploiting child labour in Cambodia and India.  However, social media only came into play in 2010 where Gap began exploring online options in Canada and the United Kingdom.

The real downfall of Gap on social media was in 2012, where they launched an online advertisement during the period where Hurricane Sandy struck places such as Eastern United States, Bahamas and Eastern Canada. Together with American Apparel, their biggest mistake was launching the ad and tweet:

The above led to a lot of buzz and commotion among the consumers of the 2 brands. This portrayed the image of the 2 companies as insensitive, and that they were using the deaths and disaster as a springboard for further sales and revenue. Consumers even made the following tweets:


This advertisement, I believe, was one of the pitfalls of Gap. It attracted negative attention to itself via the use of social media, as their brand name was tarnished and seen as an insensitive heartless brand that takes advantage of the situation in order to earn more revenue. Another disastrous ad by Gap:


Of course it attracted yet another bulk of bad media towards Gap for not getting their facts straight. This, I believe has in one way or another contributed to the decline of Gap as consumers conclude from the failed ads that they are a brand that is inadequate, inaccurate and insensitive. And this, is how social media does more harm than good to a business.