Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin. Which is your favourite? Social Media is the new buzzword in web marketing circles and Singapore seems to be at the tip of the iceberg. We spoke with our Business alumni Joey David Yeo (BBA 2008), and NUS alumni and entrepreneur Rachit Dayal (BComp 2005), on the trends and issues on branding your company and yourself online.
How did you get involved with Web Marketing?
Joey: I was formerly with Spring Singapore promoting web marketing to small and medium enterprises. I could see that it was a good communication channel for SMEs as they could use web marketing and be able to track hits, compared to advertising in newspapers where return on the advertising dollar is difficult to track. At SPRING Singapore, I needed to convince SMEs on the benefits of web marketing, and I could see that some companies were slowly being convince about web marketing and how they could jump on this bandwagon. However, it is important that the companies know what their needs are first. My role then was to educate companies and showcase certain projects to help companies realize that web marketing is relevant to their business.
After SPRING Singapore, I thought about joining a multinational company, but then decided to go with my passion. I have been with Happy Marketer for about a month; and on my first day of work, I was already on a plane to Kuala Lumpur to see a client. Happy Marketer is a 5-man team offering integrated web marketing consultancy services; and the main thing I like about my job is I get to be hands-on, do “everything”, and even help paint the office.
What advise could you give to companies starting to build their Corporate Brand online?
Joey: In web marketing and traditional marketing, the fundamentals are the same. You have to speak to the right audience using the correct communication channels. So if your audience like blogs, then go for blogs. Whichever communication channel you use, you should link it back to your website. Besides optimizing content, the link you include, for example, for a certain promotion you mentioned on twitter, should connect correctly to a “landing” page or else the communication would be unsuccessful. The challenge is being found and giving the right message.
What are the challenges facing companies in web marketing?
Joey: Social media is about consistency. There is a need to be consistent about your branding and sharing. Most companies begin with a spurt of interest and do not engage in regular communication. Or else the focus is soon forgotten. Social media communication is a pretty hefty undertaking. You either have a team to do it or have one person in charge of editorial. The benefits of web marketing are that it can reach many people and spread information quickly. This can also be a disadvantage as what is said in social networks, like something offensive, can spread like wildfire. You have to manage what you say carefully.
Rachit: Rather than keeping websites, search marketing or social media as separate marketing thrusts, they should be integrated together. MNCs today are trying to gel online and offline together to get to their audience. For SMEs, the biggest challenge is resources. Many Singapore companies neglect their websites as the pages still look like they were designed in 1999. Companies need to keep the ‘whole’ view – branding, to being found in search, and to keeping the conversation going.
What is Personal Branding or Self Branding? How is it related to Social Media?
Rachit: A person’s branding in the past was impression-appearance based. Now one of the first things people do after they meet you is go back and google you. So what would they find online? What information is associated with you? Will they find information that is personal or professional? From a personal brand perspective, if you really want to stand out for something, you should be constantly posting interesting information.
So how do you protect your Personal Brand online?
Joey: There is sometimes a “blurring” between what is private and professional. To protect your private life, there needs to be selective sharing. Through the media, the public learns that posting certain types of videos or comments can get you into trouble. The nature of social media is very viral. It can grow out of control.
Rachit: You need to know what the default privacy settings on social networks are. Most of the stuff on Linkedin is private. Twitter is completely public and can be traced back to you. Facebook is by default public with options for making things private. Whatever you do, don’t post anything offensive online. Don’t say anything online that you would not say offline!
How do you monitor your Personal or Corporate Brand online?
Rachit: One basic metric is “page views”, that is how many people saw your profile? Facebook gets the most page views. The other is “mentions”. How many times a brand was mentioned? There are many free tools available online. In Twitter, you can search for any brand and it will show you all the tweets regarding the brand. Use Google Alerts and key in your director’s or company’s name; it will show you a list of mentions on a daily or weekly basis.
Do you market your own Personal Brand online? Are your online Private and Professional Brands distinct from each other?
Joey: For me, web marketing is my passion and I often share information and insights on my own personal profile. Naturally, over time, my friends and contacts would associate me as the go-to person for web marketing ideas and advice. Indirectly, I am branding myself on both levels, personal and professional at the same time. At the end of the day, if your job is your passion, it will show up in the messages you feed to your social profiles.