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I just came across Mr.Lee Odden’s blog posted on December 1st 2010. His blog intrigues me with the headline asking “Will the Real Social Media PR Consultant Please Stand Up?”

The author begins with his search about ‘social media consultant’ on Google and found a huge number of related results. The title seems to be the next coolest job due to the boom of social media age. However, everyone nowadays seems to be able to name themselves being a social media guru. Is it that easy to maneuver social media?

So what a real social media consultant should be? Mr.Odden says that a real social media consultant needs to “know more than how to setup a Twitter or Facebook account. It means knowing customers social behaviors and preferences, social technologies, explicit and implicit social network rules and how to measure outcomes.” I agree with him with no doubt.

I feel a tint of sarcasm reading the blog. Now that social media become a boom of the decade, it seems every business has to jump in ‘because everybody else is doing so’. In Thailand, many companies just hire a young-blood officer to deal with social media without having proper strategic planning.Having a big number of followers in social media doesn’t mean your business would generate a lot of income; and it doesn’t mean everyone who follows you loves your brand.

Your presense in social media is your online reputation, not e-commerce. Pushing sales through social media too much put people off and playing around won’t do you good either.When you decide to include social media as one of your channels for marketing communications, think of what you want to say to the public and what you would like the public to think of you. There’s a Thai saying says that ‘Your own words master who you are’. The ability to master communications on social network is a point that discriminates Social Media consultants from regular users.

Social media is like a cluster of villages and each village has its own culture. In the social media world, there aren’t just Facebook and twitter. You have to know your locals and what’s going on in a particular market. Otherwise, hire a guide.

I’m a PR practitioner who has been in the digital world for 10 years yet I don’t want to call myself a real social media consultant. To me, social media is a vast universe that changes rapidly. Well..I know some particular areas of the universe. Perhaps, I could call myself a social media local guide?

Recently, I have asked myself so many times why a PR person like me is assigned to work on employee engagement. Although tips and advice here are bread and butter for my work, I’m still not confidence if I have what it takes to make an effective campaign for raising employee engagement rate within my organisation.

Facing the unknown, I bring a technique used in the PR world to test the water – consumer audit..or I should call it ‘employee audit’ in this case.

Consumer audit is one of the techniques used in PR to gain a snap shot of what happening within a consumer group. The audit questions ask consumers about their opinions on topics orbiting around a product, service, or buying behavior. Bringing the concept of consumer audit to campaigning for better employee engagement, I come up with ‘Smiley Note’, to measure employee’s attitude. Basically, it a happiness scoring (0-10) that would provide a snap shot of employee satisfaction toward working at the company. The Smiley Note is a small piece of paper containing 3 questions – 1) Please give a score of how happy you are working here, 2) Why?, and 3) any suggestion?, and, of course, a smiley face. Not only will the Smiley Note act as a quick attitude assessment, but also a teaser imprinting the word ‘happiness’ that would trigger staff to think the company might be doing something related to happiness in the workplace. In addition, it will highlight how we can get people on board (with more enthusiasm).

I plan to distribute the Smiley Note next month prior to the usual employee engagement survey. Those who fill the form will get a lollipop as a token of appreciation. Let’s see if I would make it a success :)

I came across a blog via Twittter mentioning 5 websites that developers should stop creating; one of them was a social media platform in competition to Facebook.

I completely disagree with the suggestion. Facebook itself isn’t a new kind of digital innovation. There were Yahoo! friend circle, friendster, bebo, Hi5, orkut, myspace, and many more in competition to Facebook and several of them are older than Facebook. What makes Facebook a digital phenomena isn’t pure luck but the ability to create ‘ meaningful’ online conversation.

However, the word ‘meaningful’ is subjective and the magic of this word can be wore off when the community is overcrowded. Hi5, for example, used to be very popular in Thailand but when it became messy with comment spam for newbies hunting for high rating on their profile, the network wasn’t a place for meaningful conversation anymore.

I have been on Facebook since 2007 and accumulated as many as 800 contacts. I know them all; while a few are public figures I am following, many of them are friends,family, colleague,clients, classmates, online gaming buddies that I have at least a constant conversation with them. Facebook is still my number one platform for social networking but I recently started looking for alternatives too.

So developers, please do challenge Facebook on developing a meaningful social meda channel. Facebook isn’t diamond; they can’t last forever, can they?

As my Chinese friends can not access Facebook due to “The Great Firewall of China” issue, I have reactivated my Myspace account to keep in touch with them. Although I realized shortly after that email worked better. The new look of this aged social network is impressive; Myspace could be the next big thing!
I thought Myspace and Windows Live are the same platform but I guess not because I couldn’t log on using my existing MSN account but was asked to sign up for a brand new one. Although Myspace used to be popular elsewhere,it didn’t beat Hi5 in Thailand and now isn’t in the same league as Facebook either. So when my friend saw me logging on to Myspace, he smirked and said “I thought it was dead!”.

I admire Myspace’s spirit; With the clean and user-friendly appearance combined with Imeem, it provides a cool platform for music lovers and youth marketing. It also has the same popular Facebook games attached. A substitute to Facebook for those who prefer a less crowded place,perhaps? The social network also makes a tie-in ads in “Kick Ass” the movie (it can’t be a natural teenage dialogue as Facebook is now ruling over). Wicked!

Unless I hop for favourite tunes, I’m not really active on Myspace. Still I think it has stepped into the spotlight. With a little more celebrity push, it could steal a niche of music society.

For Thailand, Myspace may have to compete with Gmember, Zezaa, Kapook, the local music communities. The challenge is to fight with local entertainment empires that host their own music communities. Well, MSN is Thailand’s number one instant messaging; myspace won’t have a hard time inviting people joining Myspace.

It’s a contender in this social media competition and I’m clinging on my screen to see how it would fight!

Thailand is currently trapped in a political crisis with people divided into two groups – The Red Shirt and the rest against them. Facebook is now a hot place for gathering supporters and spinning opinions. We are now having a rFacebook  Fan Page Wars themed under a ‘ I’m confident’.  This political spin on Facebook also created a hype of creative statement. It seems Facebook Fan Page has turned into a badge of attitude rather than an active group of people sharing a common interest.

Have you joined any of these??

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Among all games on Facebook platform, Mafia Wars is probably one of the most popular MMORPG games. With over 10 million fans worldwide, the game churns a massive global community.  While some many say there are other games in competition too, I don’t think no other Facebook gaming can beat the communal ambient that Zynga has created.

Speaking from my point of view as a gamer, Mafia Wars’ popularity is due to its theme.  Although it is not a rocket science to complete Mafia Wars tasks, each job has a well-laid story. I’m particularly impressed with its Bangkok job. There are even different kinds of Siamese fighting fish in gambling business area. Obviously, the developer has done a study on Bangkok’s world in the dark. Just like for Farmville, I play it because many of my friends do.

A bit bitter it may seem to me, several great games lose their personalities when they become more commercial. Recently, there was a special task called ‘Unicorn Castle’ in New York job tier inviting players to gather castle pieces. I didn’t feel right about it; which part of it is related to being in an illegal operation? Am I playing Disney Princess Wars? The Unicorn Castle ended and here comes a new heart breaker –Mafia Eggs.

I understand its good intention to keep the community excited with timely seasons of the year. However, there is no need to do so very often as the Mafia story is already exciting. I take pity of Mr.Mafia wearing a bunny cap. What next could he be wearing?

 Mafia Wars could be an interesting channel for marketing , only if it can hold its charisma.

How I would do marketing on it? I’d blog about next time

Edit on April 7,2010

Yes, I did mention of marketing opps on Mafia Wars but currently Mr.Mafia is spaming me with e-mails so I am thinking of breaking up with him.
Our relationship turns a bit messy!!

According to Yahoo! News on March 30,2010, Facebook is likely to replace ‘Become a Fan’ with ‘Like’, claiming it’s a ‘much more natural action’ to connect with a brand.  While the word ‘Like’ gives less of a commitment to declare a person with a brand, I still prefer ‘Become a Fan’ click.

Being a fan of a particular brand, person, or group  gives a connotation of engaging and intensive interest and is also a way to make a statement of one own’s. A picture of me doesn’t tell you my character; but if I make a statement that I’m a ‘fan’ of Banksy, you might be able to guess my attitude and liking while it is more difficult to do so if my statement is just ‘like’.

 

Putting my marketing hat on, the word ‘like’ doesn’t give me a clear picture how a customer feel about a brand ; it isn’t statistically significant either. Preference is subjective but measurable through qualitative analysis. On a Likert scale, I can’t figure out what point the word ‘Like’ would fit! It’d be a nightmare for market researchers to come up with a new definition of this Facebook expression and what it means to evaluating marketing implementation.

 

Let’s just pretend Facebook gives a go on using ‘Like’ button. As a user, I’d demand for other buttons in various degrees of preference such as dislike, like it so much, loath, love, etc. in order to allow me make my own statement. Perhaps, it’d turn like a tag to brands to categorise attitude toward various subjects available on Facebook. Putting back the marketing hat, it’d be so daunting to see hundreds of people ‘dislike’ my brand ( I do think most of us has ‘hate’ fan page. I myself have a collection!). Horrid!

So please Facebook, keep my ‘Become a Fan’ button for peace’s sake.

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