Tag Archives: Blogging

#Worklikeanetwork

I’ve been spending a bit of time with my Yammer colleagues recently, and there are two philosophies I really love about this team of inspired people. The first is “let’s change the world together” – yes please, I love that and I’m in. The second is encouraging all people to #worklikeanetwork. I absolutely couldn’t agree more and think this is an area everyone in Asia needs to be focusing on as we move towards a digital future. No matter your role, it’s relevant.

What does #worklikeanetwork mean? Microsoft defines it this way:

“It takes a network of people to serve a network of customers. Microsoft connects people and information across familiar applications, so your company can listen, adapt, and grow at the speed of a networked world.”

In fact, this YouTube flick really brings #worklikeanetwork to life

The truth is, this way of working is so tantalizingly close, I can taste it and I’m excited about it. It’s just waiting for all of us to get on board and embrace it. The technology is certainly ready.

I am well into this game, because I naturally work out loud, love sharing great information, love participating, and adore all of the information and opinions I have access to since social media changed all of our lives forever. I am a communicator and a sharer, so this new world is a dream come true for me.

When I think of the idea of #worklikeanetwork, it’s about participating across all of your social pillars, and that goes for your professional interactions as well – because social offers amazing opportunities to be really transformative in how we all approach our work and career aspirations today.

The struggle in Asia is that very few people are really understanding and applying this to their everyday work, taking into account the cultural challenges we face as well. Equally, many do not understand their role in their companies’ success within the context of how they participate, nor how their employer benefits from their participation – it’s a two-way street. Please read “Role of Personal Branding in Innovation” – specifically focusing on the typical organization versus the future organization. This is a very worthwhile read.

In Asia, many of us are active on social networks, but not enough are actively engaging from a professional point of view – we’re just too passive and missing opportunities to boot. If you read the above article (and many more on the topic) this is about building YOUR personal brand – an investment I sincerely believe will impact future career opportunities. Think about it, if you stand side-by-side with a candidate of equal measure and one of you is active, the other not, who does the new employer choose? It’s going to be that straight forward right?

Therefore, I encourage everyone to get out there and get noisy. But do it with thought, otherwise you’ll be swamped or make a silly mistake that will go against you – there are plenty of examples.

Before you make the decision to get going, I encourage you to ask yourself four questions:

  1. Who am I in the business world?
  2. What do I stand for? What does my company stand for?
  3. Am I more than one thing?
  4. What can I commit to?

Alternatively, this Forbes article – “3 Critical Questions To Ask Yourself Before Building Your Personal Brand” – encourages you to ask yourself:

  1. What makes me great?
  2. What makes me unique?
  3. What makes me compelling?

I like these questions, and believe I answered them for myself long ago. To give you some context, five years ago I decided to segment my personal brand. Firstly, I am a professional communicator (who loves content marketing, social media/business, communications, and inspirational business), BUT I’m also a Mum and I am Andrea the woman – the sort who likes dirty jokes and enjoys a good argument about religion, feminism… well you name it.

Each of these segments is me, but do they need to cross-over into each other and become part of my professional profile as well? I don’t think so, so I separated myself – as much as one can. My three profiles have a blog, as well as various social media channels dedicated to each “brand.” I don’t believe everyone needs to segment themselves like I have – some people can be who they are across all of their channels – but if you need to segment yourself, it’s definitely worth considering. Then work out who you are and what you stand for.

The final point, of my four points above, is what can I commit to? I love social and I am all over it. It’s not easy keeping up and I certainly don’t do as much as I want to do, but it’s a priority for me so I am more active than most. To give you a feel, here’s my active social channels – although SlideShare is more about reading and sharing than participating right now…

Personal Branding
Yes, it’s rather busy keeping up.

But what can you do? Is Twitter all you’ve got in you? Focus on that. LinkedIn? Facebook? Google+? Make your decisions based on what you can manage and grow from there, but don’t be half-baked across multiple platforms. You may as well not play at all.

There’s a lot I can say here, but here are my top eight tips if you’re not doing enough and want to do more:

  1. Define your voice and what you stand for. Additionally, if you want to do something else in the future, it’s good to build your credibility in that field long before you start looking for work or launching a new business. Say you’re a programmer today and want to be a florist in the future – start a blog on flowers right now and build a social channel dedicated to floristry. You’ll have credibility before you start and it’ll be much easier when the time comes
  2. Be realistic about what you can do and commit to it! Commitment is such a big priority in this area and not being consistent will kill you. This is a patience game, so if you are half baked, it will take a lot longer to get results and that can also be shocking for your confidence
  3. Support your brand. If you are working for a company, you get a lot of benefits being associated with its brand. When I ran my own business, it was much harder to get attention. With Microsoft beside my name, more people sit up and take notice. So share your companies news and information – just aim for one a day if you can’t do more
  4. Find sites in your field and share content every day. I’ve written about this before and it’s the easiest way to get going. As a simple rule, follow 1-5 great publications or blogs (I follow up to 10) that really resonate with you and your personal brand, then if you like it, share it. Copy the author if you can – this increases your reach/ability to build your network. The important part here – ADD YOUR OPINION. Don’t just share links. Inspire me to read it and tell me why I should. I’ll appreciate your insight
  5. Support colleagues and people you admire by sharing their work – because we’re still not doing this in Asia and I have been saying it for years (Like It Share It). You have a role to play in helping others build their personal brand, just as they have a role in helping you build yours. Don’t wait until you need something – a new job, a promotion, a referral, support for your new blog (I get asked to support new blogs all the time) – do it now. In fact, if you like this blog and think it will be great for your community, why not share it? I’d sure appreciate it
  6. Include three hashtags with everything – this is so simple and so important, but it’s a habit you need to develop if you’re not doing it yet. It’s important because it connects you to audiences beyond your immediate community and that means you build a stronger network. For example, if you want to reach new sectors and don’t have the connections, #tags can get you in there, so do your research on what hashtags those targets follow and use them – three is good standard practice
  7. Join, create and participate in groups – LinkedIn, Tweet chats, Google hang-outs, whatever suits you. This isn’t easy and it can be time consuming, so choose one to get started and get active. If one doesn’t exist in your community, create one – easy peasy
  8. Be kind and be careful. Never judge or criticize anyone or anything – Anton Casey is a recent example of how it can all unravel very quickly. We also had another Former Miss Singapore in the media spot light this last week, after making insensitive comments on Facebook. It didn’t cause quite as much of a stir as Mr. Casey, but nobody wants that glare. My suggestion for professional criticism is be constructive – especially when someone is creating something you haven’t got the courage to do. Blogging, as an example, is not easy. It’s hard to put yourself out there in the world, so go easy on us

The one thing I’d love to see everyone in Asia embracing is the idea that we are all a Personal Brand. To stand out in this digital future – developing, nurturing, protecting, and valuing your personal brand is critical to success. We all need to make sure our personal brand stands for something remarkable if we want to excel – that’s the world we live in now. Also understand your personal brand’s value within the context of your employer, because it goes both ways. Truly innovative companies of the future will really value those with a strong and credible personal brand.

Facebook logo

Does this get a thumbs up?

With all that said, I certainly don’t have all of the answers and I haven’t got it all right – it’s a constant work in progress. But I’d LOVE to hear thoughts and feedback from my peers in this great region? Any insight on what you think professionals in Asia can do to nurture their personal brands?

It would be wonderful to see us all harnessing the great digital platforms available today – both internally and externally – so we can all gain the amazing benefits that #worklikeanetwork delivers.

I’m definitely in. Are you?

Cheers
Andrea

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Jo Malone London and Coach. Two Brands, One Winner

Jo MaloneI have a very sweet and thoughtful husband. He makes me work really hard at birthdays and Christmas to ensure I – at least – equal his thoughtfulness in the gift-giving department. I’m a lucky gal. For Christmas, he designed my very own perfume at Jo Malone London and he got an absolute winner. It is the perfect fragrance and I wear it every day.

Steve told me (after I opened it) that he had an absolutely fabulous experience at Jo Malone London and is keen to take me there so I can experience it as well. A good endorsement for a brand – especially in Asia where it can be a bit hit and miss.

However, following his Christmas shopping foray, he also received a handwritten letter thanking him for his custom. Now I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember the last time a commercial exchange resulted in something so personal. And guess what? Steve and I are both delighted.

Jo Malone

Customer service excellence from Jo Malone

On the other hand, I wrote to Coach in 2013 following the Bangladeshi building collapse that resulted in more than a thousand deaths. A friend challenged me to understand where my ‘brand of choice’ sourced its products after I blogged about a new handbag purchase. I’ve been a Coach fan ever since I lived in Boston in the late 90s, when I first discovered it.

It’s simple, elegant and perfectly suits my style.

Getting back to Bangladesh. This disaster upset and infuriated me. But the thing that angered me most was big global brands – who have been benefiting from low cost labor in these countries for decades – standing back and washing their hands of it, or worse, pulling out all together.

Apparently, rather than fixing the problem or taking some responsibility, they think it’s better not to be associated with it at all. I personally believe that global companies have a responsibility for the quality of their products, as well as the safety of the humans making these products. This counts if the products are made in-house, outsourced once, twice or a thousand times. Ignorance is not an excuse – not today.

CoachNow it’s very important to mention that I do not know if Coach is making its products in Bangladesh, because when I emailed Coach HQ to ask where the individual products were made, I got a reply suggesting I speak to the Singapore helpline. I replied that this was not a question the Singapore helpline could handle and asked HQ for a response to my very simple question.

I never got a response, but worse, Coach Singapore has added me to its marketing list. I now get both SMS and eDMs from Coach on a regular basis, however since this incident, every time I receive marketing outreach it absolutely infuriates me. It infuriates me because they did not answer my question yet believe I will continue to be interested in its products?

I’ve been loyal to the Coach brand for more than 15 years, but now they have lost me and I will not buy Coach again. That is what happens when a brand does not listen to a customer and answer the customer’s question. That is what happens when a brand does not distinguish between the types of communication a customer sends in. Coach did not identify that this specific request was not an opportunity for marketing. Coach did not recognize that a loyal customer had some very valid concerns and wanted it addressed. Coach got it wrong.

This is the world we live in now. I’ve had a bad experience and I’m writing about it. I’ve also had an excellent experience and I’m writing about it.

Therefore, has what I’ve written influence your attitude towards either brand? Would you walk into the next Jo Malone London store to see if they delighted you as well? Or would you bypass the next Coach store based on what I said? I’m curious to know.

It doesn’t take much to lose a customer these days, but it’s not about single customer losses anymore. One voice can impact thousands, or can it? Perhaps it’s only the Kardashians who have that sort of power?

What do you think?

Cheers

Andrea

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Does Klout Have Clout?

I love Klout. I love the idea of it and know that – over time – it’s going to be a cracking part of our digital and professional lives. However, right now, it’s not great for me. The clash is I’m seeing Klout referenced more and more to measure a person’s influence in business (which includes whether someone is employable), but I am wondering if it is really an accurate reflection of a person’s clout today?

KloutA challenge I had recently was my Klout score actually went down by an average of seven points after taking on a full-time role. If anything, I thought it would have gone up – particularly as I’m working for a global company, engaging more broadly on social media, and sharing a lot of information which is gaining significantly more shares/retweets/etc… than when I worked for myself. Suffice to say, I definitely feel I have more ‘Klout’ these days.

But my challenge continues. At the moment, Klout measures my impact based on my personal Facebook page, one Twitter handle @AndreaTEdwards, my Google+ page and my LinkedIn page. With that said, it doesn’t appear to capture all of this activity and I don’t know how to change that… probably un-tech-savvy-me’s fault!

However, I also have:

  • Two additional Twitter handles
  • Three additional Facebook pages (along with my personal page)
  • Two WordPress blogs
  • One Blogger blog
  • A YouTube account
  • A slightly inactive SlideShare account
  • and I’m active on Pinterest

There are many more social channels people are active on (and I have more accounts I’m not active on) but of my 17 social media “assets” only four are being measured (to a certain extent) to ascertain my Klout. Therefore, it’s just not an accurate reflection of what I’m doing right now, which is a shame, because I’d love to know my real Klout score.

Of course, it takes a whole lot of effort for the developers working on the backend of Klout to integrate all of these channels – I get that – but I am definitely looking forward to the day it happens.

So right now I have to ask the question – is it a valuable measurement tool to ascertain a professionals’ clout? Maybe I’m just missing something? Would love to know your thoughts.

Cheers

Andrea

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52 Tips on Content and Community From the Top New Media Experts

If you are in a marketing, communications, digital media, or any other role within the marketing mix, I can recommend downloading this eBook entitled “The New Media Rat Pack – 52 Tips on Content & Community From the Top New Media Experts.

52 Tips on Content and Community from the Top New Media Experts

Launched by Top Rank Marketing in advance of NMX 2013 (formerly BlogWorld) – an event that was held in Vegas early January 2013 – it’s a worthwhile read. Essentially it’s a top level overview of all of the new (and some old) marketing solutions available today, and includes commentary from 52 of the world’s experts in this field. It’s not deep content, and the focus (including the research) tends to be focused on the US, however by reviewing each of the sections, it gives you the opportunity to assess what is of interest to you, and then you can dig deep.

I think a lot of marketing folk in Asia Pacific could benefit from this eBook and the ideas shared, as in many areas, we remain in our infancy in regards to embracing the real business opportunities these solutions offer. B2B or B2C – it is relevant for both.

The topics covered include:

  • Branding
  • Blogging
  • Social Media
  • New Media Law – everyone needs to understand this!
  • Mobile
  • Content Marketing
  • Video
  • Podcasting
  • Websites

One of the great aspects of the book is the research shared. As I said, much is US focused, but here are the highlights that stood out for me.

Branding

Highlights

  • 95% of consumers now use at least one social network
  • 44% more likely to purchase based on positive brand exposure
  • 44% consumers more likely to recommend the brand to a friend

Source IDG Group

Blogging

Highlights

  • 92% of companies who blog several times per day have acquired a customer from their blog
  • The average budget spent on company blogs and social media increased from 9% in 2009, to 21% in 2012

Source HubSpot

  • Over 65% of business blogs haven’t been updated in a year or more
  • 81% of businesses agree having a blog is useful or critical to their business
  • But less than 35% blog more frequently than once per month

Source Jeffbulla.com

Social Media

“Social media is helping brands build trust, loyalty, and brand recognition.”

Highlights

  • 92% of global consumers say they trust earned media above all other forms of advertising
  • 58% of [respondents] trust [the] message on company Websites
  • 50% find content in emails they consented to receive to be credible

Source Nielsen

Mobile

In Asia Pacific, mobile penetration is significantly higher than the rest of the world, so this is a core focus area for marketers moving forward in this region – a mobile marketing strategy must be a top priority. Check out this blog “Tablet Strategies for Content Marketing” based on the IDG Connect white paper entitled “iPad for Business Survey 2012” I published last year to get an idea of the figures in AP.

Highlights

  • The average response time to an email is 90 minutes. The average response time to a text message is 90 seconds
  • 61% of people said that if they tried to access a website that wasn’t optimized for mobile, they would visit the website of a competitor
  • 1 out of every 8 smartphone users will search for better pricing on a product or service while at the store

Source Social Media Tips

Content Marketing

A subject after my own heart, this chapter covers four key areas:

  1. Blogs
  2. Social channels
  3. Press Releases
  4. Email marketing

However it also extends to mobile apps, events, gamification and more.

Top quote – “92% of US adults read content online, spending more than seven hours per week looking for content.”

Highlights

Top B2B Content Marketing Tactics:

  • 87% – social media
  • 83% – articles
  • 78% – eNewsletters
  • 77% – blogs
  • 71% – case studies

Source Content Marketing Institute

Top Goals for Content Marketing:

  • 51% – lead generation
  • 38% – brand awareness
  • 34% – thought leadership
  • 77% – sales
  • 71% – customer acquisition

Source BtoB Research Highlights 2012

And an important point to remember

“83% of all learning is visual,” John Meyer, Lemon.ly

Video

“Americans viewed nearly 11 billion video ads in October 2012”

Highlights

  • 70% of B2B content marketers use videos
  • Use of video has risen from 52% in 2011 to 70% in 2012
  • 58% rate videos as the most effective content marketing tactic

Source Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs

Podcasting

Highlights

  • The podcasting audience has migrated from early adopters to more mainstream media consumers
  • Podcast consumers prefer content on their desktop, but mobile phone media consumption is surging
  • Those consuming podcasts index [was] very high for social networking

Source Edison Research

Websites

The only statistic worth noting here is this:

“97% of websites fail at user experience, according to Forrester Research.”

97%!

“A great website design must cater to the needs of the user.”

Further Highlights

9 common ecommerce Website usability issues:

  1. No cost estimate before checkout
  2. Too much info for registration
  3. Missing auto-fill on forms
  4. Absent left rail filter
  5. No instruction for input format
  6. Poorly optimized search
  7. Messy top navigation
  8. No user reviews
  9. Registration required to purchase

Source measuringusability.com

There you go. If nothing else and you don’t read the eBook, the stats could provide useful information if you need to sell the advantages of any of these ideas to your bosses.

Like I said, this book doesn’t go into great depth – as that is not its goal. Its goal was to tantalize the reader into attending an event, and if I was in the US, it would have worked. But it does give a broad-view of the new marketing solutions available today and the core focus areas for anyone in marketing. Furthermore, I enjoyed another aspect of the book – it consistently linked the story back to the original Rat Pack of the 1960s – a group of entertainers most of us know and love to this day – which made it a delightful read as well.

I thought my peers in Asia Pacific would appreciate being aware this book is available and hope the above homework I’ve done helps as well. Let me know what you think if you read it?

Cheers

Andrea

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Content Marketing in Asia Pacific Slow to Evolve

I’ve been a bit slow off the mark this New Year and hope everyone is already blazing into 2013. I haven’t been idle on my break however, as I’ve spent a lot of time assessing where my experience and value fits in the region. I’ve done this to understand how I can achieve more of my professional goals and make a real contribution in Asia Pacific.

One area I’ve been thinking a lot about over the last month is where Asia Pacific is in regards to readiness for content marketing? My conclusion is – not very far along at all. Everyone is talking about the need to do more content – launching a blog, creating more long-form-high-value content, etc… but not many are actually executing. As a person who has built a business around this field, it has obviously been frustrating.

However, one conclusion seems clear. The significant challenge faced in Asia is a shortage of skills and knowledge. Content marketing (or Inbound Marketing) is a new way of thinking about marketing. It’s got nothing to do with what a company wants to tell the world and everything to do with what the customer needs to know to help them be more successful in whatever field they are in – right across the board.

Content Marketing Asia Pacific

Essentially, content marketing is a requirement for businesses to become publishing houses for their customers, which means presenting stories that will make their customers more successful, and by default, loyal. This is not a new thing, with some of the global giants committed to the story telling path – Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Red BullSAP, Cisco, Intel, HSBC, and more. Here’s a blog on the Inc. 500 fastest growing companies and the content marketing focus.

It’s a dramatic change in mindset and we have a long way to go in Asia Pacific – but it‘s a very worthwhile path for organisations to take, and in the age of social media, it’s also vital. To address this challenge, the most important asset a company needs internally is someone who can manage an effective content marketing campaign – and that’s what we don’t have. We have people who’ve done marketing or PR the old way, but new marketing requires a complete change in mind set. Check out Hubspot’s “8 Ready Made Job Descriptions to Recruit an All Star Marketing Team.

The most important skill this person needs? The ability to understand customers – what drives them, what information they need, their buying cycle, their pain points, what they care about, and so on. If you don’t understand what motivates and drives customers, the effort will be wasted – and it is a lot of effort.

Once you have the person who has this important skill and understanding of customers, they need to drive content creation across the organisation – whether it’s internal creation or outsourcing it to professionals. Insourcing or outsourcing is both do-able, (although check out this Hubspot blog on insourcing versus outsourcing) but it is an internal and talented communications professional, who has a real understanding of your customers, that is best suited to drive this function.

Content Marketing Asia PacificThe sort of activities they’ll manage include creating the content publishing schedule, defining the educational themes to wrap your stories around, managing the writers and digital content creators, launching and managing the corporate blog, positively inspiring internal customer-facing champions  to contribute to the campaign, running brain-storming workshops with executives and sales, finding content everywhere in the organisation and re-purposing it, capturing and building out stories shared over innocent conversations during coffee breaks, and so on. That is the difference between everyone in Asia wanting to do content marketing, and actually doing it successfully – a single person who really gets that core understanding of customers and of course, they have to be an excellent communicator and story teller as well.

I’m seeing a lot of companies in Asia start and fail, which is a shame because it makes them tentative to try again. But get that person on board who can really make this happen, and then we’ll see some magic. I can’t wait because I know that time is coming.

What do you think is lacking in Asia that is contributing to such limited success in content marketing? Or do you know of any local success stories that are worth sharing?

Cheers

Andrea

PS I’ve included a bunch of links here to previous SAJE blogs, as well as industry blogs on the topic. I share great articles across the spectrum of content marketing on the SAJE Facebook page – like it if you’re interested in this topic. We’re just sharing here, nothing for sale.

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2012 in review

This is one of the many reasons why WordPress is cool – I just received this report. If you’re thinking of launching a blog in 2013, WordPress is a great place to start.

Happy New Year

Andrea

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 33,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 8 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

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Start-ups Asia Pacific – 7 Ideas to Get Media Coverage

Startup.comI’ve just read this great article How To Get Media Coverage For Your Start-up: A Complete Guide by Leo Widrich, co-founder of Buffer. One of the things I’ve noticed, having worked with start-ups in the US, EMEA and Asia Pacific, is companies’ in this region do not dedicate the same amount of budget or time to this process as the international competition. For example, when I worked in the US at the end of the 90s/early 00s, a start-up typically spent US$25-35,000/month just on its PR agency. How many start-ups in Asia Pacific are even spending $5K? I appreciate that time and money are of the essence with start-ups, but to become a truly global player – as many of the companies I’ve met want to be – or even a dominant regional player, investing in some level of content marketing can make all the difference.

The other challenge with start-ups in Asia Pacific is finding and attracting the right talent. It’s not just a skills-gap (although that is a strong reason), but culturally, start-ups do not appeal in this region – for a number of reasons. Therefore, perhaps making a bigger publicity splash can also help address the people challenge – because it will certainly appeal to potential employees’ egos? It’s something to keep in mind.

The article covers seven areas:

  1. Have your own start-up blog, learn to tell stories
  2. How to get to know writers via Twitter and Facebook
  3. Do your best to avoid the Alexias and Sarah Lacys
  4. The art and timing of sending that pitch off and getting in touch with reporters
  5. A story about your start-up is written and published now what?
  6. Four completely different types of stories you can pitch
  7. How to make getting covered a habit, not an accident

I think this is a great, straight-forward, common-sense article and many start-ups in Asia Pacific can benefit from it. Also, as Leo Widrich suggests, just do one thing at a time and build from there.

Start-ups Asia PacificHowever, having helped a number of start-ups get a corporate blog off the ground, can I please suggest that if you start this, you KEEP IT GOING no matter what? The start-stop-start-stop activity I have seen around blogging is frustrating for me – because I know what it is costing a company – and the budget is always the reason cited. If you can’t afford to outsource this, find someone within your organisation who has a flair for content and get them on the case. However, the best approach is to find the budget to bring in a professional who can get you going in the right direction – defining the stories your business needs to be telling your customers – and this professional can train your internal team to maintain it. You never know, you might find an internal content champion you didn’t know existed. Whatever happens, just keep it going!

I KNOW it’s hard, I KNOW you’re wearing multiple hats, but I also KNOW it’s vital for your business to succeed!

What do you think? Do you agree that start-ups in Asia Pacific could benefit from this information? And any thoughts on why you don’t think start-ups are culturally attractive in this region?

Cheers

Andrea

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Asia Pacific Social Media Stats – Australia, China, India and Japan

It’s a pretty-much well proven fact that the world has changed and marketers must focus on where their audiences are interacting and work to influence them within that environment – yes?

The stats tell the story…

  • Nearly 80% of Internet users conduct product research online
  • There are more than 10 billion online searches a month
  • 50% of Internet users read blogs
  • 64% of Facebook users are fans of at least one company
  • 70% of links clicked are organic – i.e. not paid
  • Companies that blog get 55% more Website visitors
  • 57% of businesses have acquired a customer through their company blog

Source HubSpot

This week HubSpot released an ebook – ’62 Social Media Tips From Around the World’ (you can get it here) which highlights popular channels and trends in markets across the world, but for Asia Pacific they focused on four – Australia, China, India and Japan. It would obviously be great to see this information for every country in Asia Pacific, but the four markets are interesting never-the-less – including the sort of information that resonates. In Brazil it’s all about video, whereas in India, they love photos and games. Therefore we must know our audience, what’s appropriate, what’s not and it is definitely much more than just translating content – as you can see in this blog on marketing to the billion+ Muslims in Asia.

Here’s a snap shot of HubSpots findings:

 Australia Social media statistics Australia

  • Top social networks – Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter
  • Focus on endorsements as 71% of Aussies “read other consumers opinions and discussions about brands online”
  • 24% of Aussies use social media to make purchasing decisions, and don’t forget to optimize for mobile as 26% are on mobile devices (although that isn’t as high as the rest of the region)
  • Post at night – and remember time zones – as one in five Australians are online between 6-10pm
  • But know what makes them tick – Australians are quick to cease engagement if you get it wrong

China Social media statistics China

  • Top social networks – Qzone, Tencent Weibo and Sina Weibo – China is not a country that welcomes non-Chinese social media platforms
  • Encourage user-generated content – “Chinese users are three times more likely than Americans to make a purchasing decision based on user-generated content on social networks, such as blog posts or comments”
  • I’d add, work hard to understand what is politically and socially acceptable

India Social media statistics India

  • Top social networks – Facebook, LinkedIn and Orkut
  • Night-time is primetime, between 6-10pm
  • Indians love games, apps and photos – so leverage this trend in your marketing outreach
  • “Together Facebook and Orkut cater to about 90% of Indian social media users”

Japan Social media statistics Japan

  • Top social networks – Facebook, Twitter and Mixi
  • Interestingly, it wasn’t until after the earthquake in March 2011 that Facebook and Twitter started to really gain a foothold in Japan – with Mixi dominant before this – and even though penetration is currently low (10%), both are growing rapidly
  • The Japanese use Yahoo rather than Google+, so it’s not recommended as a priority for this market

United States social media statisticsBy comparison, here are some highlights from the US – trends I believe many businesses in Asia will seek to follow, because that is what usually happens here:

  • Top social networks – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Use YouTube to entertain and engage your audience – also great for SEO as it’s owned by Google
  • LinkedIn is better for B2B, while Facebook and Twitter are better for B2C
  • Post content to G+ for SEO
  • Engage on Quora – “browse questions to identify needs and answer them to position your company as an industry thought leader.” If you haven’t done it yet, I do recommend getting on Quora and having a play around with it. I’ve only managed to answer one question – regarding a cure for a hang-over – but ended up getting pummelled because people thought I was encouraging drinking, sigh. I just recommended milk thistle before and after!

It would be great to get this information for all of Asia, but it’s good knowledge to keep in mind. Today we have to plan more strategically on how to approach each market based on where the audiences are, and design our tactics around how content is consumed.

Any other recommendations/advice for the major growth markets in South East Asia – Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines?

Alternatively, are you seeing something different working in these four highlighted markets?

Cheers

Andrea

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Your Personal Professional Profile is Vital

In today’s social world, one thing I’m not seeing enough of in Asia Pacific is people investing in their own personal professional profile in social media-land. I certainly have some connections that do a fantastic job at this – consistently focused on building their profile as experts in whatever field they are in – and I hope to be considered amongst this gang in my own personal investment in the medium. However, I have to say, the majority of professionals I know in Asia Pacific do not do a good job here – still approaching social media in voyeuristic fashion.  I am curious about this, because why aren’t people taking care of themselves? Are they shy? Don’t know where to start? Overwhelmed? Don’t understand the importance of the investment for their career potential? What is it?

Professional social media profile

The idea for this blog came to me recently when I was speaking with a lovely young lady who is the daughter of a friend. At 24, she’s incredibly bright and talented, has a very successful career already, and has some big goals and clear ideas she’s working towards. So I said: now is the time to get going on building your professional social media profile – make it known who you are and what you represent in your industry. She responded that she’s already doing social media for her employer, running the Website upgrade project, etc, etc, etc… BUT this wasn’t what I was talking about. I was talking about her, and that has nothing to do with her employer at all. Let’s face it, long term employees are rare these days and employment security more-so.

We’ve all got to take care of ourselves, and in the future, what you do in social media will count a lot. Therefore, for young people just starting out this is a massive opportunity, but it’s equally important for those a little longer in the tooth.

A first step

Do a Google search on yourself – are you on the front page? If you’re not, you need to be, although if you have a name like Dan Brown you might struggle. I appear on the front page, along with an American actress and another lady of the same name who recently killed herself – a sad story. But if I search for Andrea Edwards SAJE or Andrea Edwards content marketing, I own the first page. You’ve got to get to that point, because future employers will search for your presence.

Next divide your presence on social media into professional and personal. Facebook is my personal space, where I connect with people I’m close to. I share anything here because it’s my community and people know me. LinkedIn is totally professional, Google+ is a mish-mash for its SEO, Twitter isn’t my hot spot but I still have three handles, and my Pinterest account is getting more attention, with a SAJE board, as well as lots of other personal boards. As such, if someone wanted to check me out online to “know me” from a professional point of view, it’s all there and it could go for or against me, but being true to myself remains a priority.

It’s definitely important to segment yourself and be conscious of what you share and where you share it – for example it’s not wise to bitch about your boss on LinkedIn, save that for Facebook if you must. Segmenting your personal and professional presence is necessary today – especially if you’re in a conservative industry.

Now you’ve done this, what can you do to build your own professional profile? Easy…

  • Launch a blog – I’ve got to start with the obvious because it is so powerful! Blogs are not easy for some, but it is one of the BEST ways to establish yourself as a person of knowledge and worth in your field, whether you’re a musician, scientist, marketer, or brain surgeon – it doesn’t matter. Aim to write something once a week minimum and you can write detailed blogs (like mine typically are), or go for a more Seth Godin short-sweet-sharer-of-wisdom-kind-of-blog. How you blog is up to you and your growth in readers will tell you if you’re getting it right. So what do you share? Well, what do you care about? Get a focus, come up with some content ideas on what you’d like to do and get going. You don’t even need to share your blog straight away if you’re feeling shy. But get going, build your confidence and you’ll have a great career tool behind you I promise. With blogging, remember:
    • Create a blog theme on the career path you want to follow, so if that’s not what you’re currently doing, that’s OK – it will help you get on the path you want
    • You do have something to say – everyone has something to say – so spend a couple of weeks observing your professional life, your thoughts, your frustrations, when people respond positively to what you say, etc… – this will help you get direction
    • Be positive. Criticism can be positioned positively too, but there’s no need to be critical and you won’t succeed if you are
    • Unless you’re in a gossip industry – aka Perez Hilton – don’t bother with unnecessary gossip, unless that is the career path you want to take, and if so, gossip away
    • Can’t write? Do video logs or VLogs, or take photos and put a couple of sentences under each. If you’re an artist, photograph your art and write a small explanation with the image. A designer the same. Many people are trying to define the blogging “rules,” but think of a blog as your space to share your knowledge in whatever way works for you. Also define the rules yourself, because the reality is, much of what will be possible in the future isn’t even known yet
    • Find bloggers in your field and look for inspiration. If there are none, start your own revolution because your “competition” will soon be looking to you for inspiration

I could go on and on, but every professional has something to say – seriously – so create your own online presence and get cracking.

However, blogging is a massive investment in time, thoughts and emotions, which not everyone has the inclination to do, so here’s some easier ways that won’t take as much effort.

  • Share knowledge – as a simple rule, follow five great publications or blogs that really resonate with you and every time you read something you agree with, share it on your social media channels – LinkedIn, Facebook, G+, Twitter, etc… If you don’t agree with an opinion, that is equally valid to share, just keep the criticism sweet and explain why you don’t agree – this will gain respect. I follow Hubspot, Content Marketing Institute, Jeff Bullas Blog, Eloqua, and Forbes as a general rule. There are others, but these are my top five that I share on a regular basis. By doing this, I am establishing myself as a B2B content marketing expert. Trust me, if nothing else on this list, you can do this
  • Support your mates – one of the most important things you can do to build your profile and lend a helping hand as well, is support your friends who are active on social media – especially bloggers. I wrote a blog about this recently, because business people in Asia Pacific are not as supportive of each other as professionals in other regions, especially North America. There are so many talented people in this region, sharing awesome information, so why not support them and build your profile too? A final important point here – if you help others, they will help you when you go public
  • LinkedIn Groups – if you’re like me, you’re probably swamped with LinkedIn Group emails. I find it hard to manage all of them, but my suggestion is target two groups that really hit the spot with you and participate in the discussions. This will help to build your reputation within a targeted community that reflects your career aspirations. Additionally, if there is no relevant group in your sector, why not create one? As a side note: LinkedIn has changed a lot recently, and you can do a lot more now to elevate your own profile and your colleagues. It’s worth investing the time in
  • Twitter discussions – I’m not a great Twitter user – it just doesn’t jive with me, but I use it to an extent and know I could use it a lot more. My suggestion is do more than me, join the conversation, and maybe join two Tweetchats a week on a regular basis. Tweetchats are another way to build your profile (and following) within a targeted community
  • Google+ chats – the same goes for Google+ chats or “Hangouts” although, again, I am not doing this, but you can’t do everything
  • Support your competition – I know right? But this is a really cool thing to do, because let’s face it – it’s all coopetition these days anyway. If someone from a competitor company shares something really terrific, why not praise the content and share it? They could be your boss one day or a future employee on your team

Just a few ideas, but I was inspired to share these thoughts because I don’t think people are taking care of their professional careers in the way they can these days. The reality is, if you don’t do this, others will and when it comes down to the top five candidates for a job, the person who has invested in their personal professional social media profile is going to win, because that’s the world we live in today.

What other suggestions do you have about enhancing your digital professional profile? I’d love to hear some more, because this is only scratching the surface.

And finally, just take care of yourself OK? That’s the main thing I wanted to get across here.

Cheers

Andrea

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How a Different Approach to Blogging can set Asian Subsidiaries Free

I’ve recently had two discussions with friends working within subsidiaries of global IT companies – and both have been pretty interesting. The one thing that was top of mind? They are frustrated by their lack of ability to influence the global discussion taking place online, because the content is being completely controlled by US headquarters. This means they are not able to influence how their company interacts with regional customers – and this is obviously not good in the ‘social age.’ Everyone needs their piece of this pie – the ability to pull customers to them so they can engage directly – especially with the increasing ROI seen from content marketing (or inbound marketing).

For anyone working in a subsidiary, this is not a new issue. In fact, it’s been an issue since the Web became the norm. However, there’s a solution, and I believe Asian subs of global companies can really benefit here – and that, of course, is through blogging.

But I’m referring to blogging in a different way to how it is generally discussed; because it is my prediction that blogging is set to evolve and change dramatically. I believe blogging is merely a platform for the distribution of customer-centric and relevant content, and the appropriate content for your blog is much broader than the advice you’re probably getting.

I advise all of my customers to use their blogging platform more extensively – as a medium for all communication – as opposed to just distributing blogs the way it is being defined by the social media ‘gods.’ The blogging platform, quite simply, enables companies to distribute customer-centric content very simply (without relying on Webmasters), and is no longer just about sharing opinions – although this is definitely an important aspect. I could certainly be wrong, but if companies keep the content customer-centric at all times, this approach makes so much sense to me, and becomes a much more valuable tool for business. A broader approach might also spur more take-up in Asia – which I’d love to see as well. Great opportunities are being missed in this region!

The reality is, if you get the content wrong and make it too “you” focused, you will lose readers, and ultimately, customers. If you get it right – based on my suggestions below – no matter how big or small you are, you are going to fly.

The steps regional businesses can take to set up a blogging platform THEY control, includes:

  1. Choose a blogging platform that works for your business – I recommend WordPress for professional-looking blogs – but there are lots to choose from and adapt
  2. Have your blog designed to look like the global HQ Website
  3. The tabs on your blog page should be linked directly to the Corporate Website. This ensures readers feel your blog is part of the global Website – which is important for a global company. Additionally, the global site should also include a tab to your page
  4. Don’t forget to set up specific regional links or sub-pages – such as customer successes, press releases and educational content like white papers. You can do these as tabs on top, or in a side-bar on the blog, taking your readers deeper into your regional content
  5. Title your blog News & Views or Opinions & News or News & Thoughts – or whatever resonates – as opposed to just Blog (I actually predict the word blog will disappear). The benefit of including News in the title is you’re telling readers the content will cover multiple things, not just blogs. This is important for setting expectations

Now you’re set up with a Blog/Website you can control, here’s how I suggest you utilize this space:

  • Company blogs – on any topic relevant to your customers, whether it is a problem you solve or not. Consider yourself a publishing house, and your goal is to provide valuable information to your readers to help them be more successful, and your content can be on any topic or issue relevant to them and your company/sector. Do not mention what you offer or try to sell them anything, because they will not come back to your site if you do. Your primary role is education, entertainment and inspiration. If they become loyal to you because of the quality of content you provide, they have a higher chance of researching your products and the sales will come
  • Executive blogs – you might have willing bloggers or it might be like pulling teeth getting participation. If you have executives with great ideas who won’t/can’t make time, capture their ideas whenever they speak and write a blog on their behalf, ask them to review and approve – sending it out in their name. Do whatever it takes to capture the genius in your company and get it down in words. Another option is a VLog – if they’re speaking anyway, record it, or set up a quiet space where execs can do quick VLogs. An executive blog should feature any great thinkers in your company, especially those in customer facing roles – the ones who know the customer issues
  • Blogs from your entire team – who’s already blogging within your company? Is it relevant to your business? Or is it more personal? There may be a surprising number of bloggers in your company already – know who they are and what they’re blogging about. At least include them on your blogroll if the content is appropriate to your corporate image
  • Guest blogs – there is a lot of blogging activity going on in every industry, and if someone is writing blogs that are relevant to your audience, republish and share this content on your site. The blogger will appreciate the extra exposure, your readers will appreciate the insight, and it’s an extra steady stream of content for you
  • Customer-facing presentations – whether your executives are speaking in front of 10 customers or 1,000 customers – RECORD IT! It doesn’t have to be 100% professional quality, but do the best you can afford to do. The reality is – a lot of small cameras do a great job today, just make sure you can see and hear the speaker.  With the video and audio recording, you can do multiple things:
    • Write a short blog talking about the presentation, what it covers and why it’s worth spending the time to watch/listen to it
    • Upload the video onto your company YouTube page and link to the blog – make sure you insert so viewers can watch from your blog page (YouTube links are also great for SEO)
    • If the presentation is VERY long, do a shorter highlights version – also uploaded on YouTube – giving your audience the choice of the longer or shorter version
    • Post a downloadable Podcast, so your audience can download and listen to it at a time convenient to them. Podcasts are expected to take off in Asia – see this article for background 
    • Upload the PPT on SlideShare and include in the blog – some people prefer this format for information digestion
    • And finally, if one of your executives does a really great presentation on a hot topic, give the recording and PPT to a writer that understands this topic, get them to capture the essence of the presentation and build out the discussion. Then you’ll have a classy mini-whitepaper/opinion document to share a couple of weeks later – also on your blog – which is “authored” by the speaker an a great sales tool – nice right?
  • Global press releases – any time a global announcement is issued, write a short blog on why customers in your region will be interested in this news. Include a link to the press release on the corporate Website. Remember, what you write here has to be all about the benefits your customers will experience because of this announcement. Propsects can get the company positioning from the press release if they’re interested in delving further
  • Whitepapers – whether authored internally, sponsored whitepapers or partner whitepapers, any great whitepaper content can be blogged about, with a link to the downloadable document on your site – including a form for their information. This blog needs to discuss why it is worth their time to download – what’s in it for them? You have an opportunity to get prospects excited and increase the chances of your whitepaper being downloaded, which means more leads for your sales team
  • Customer success stories – every company has success stories to share, and when you have a freshly published story, promote it through your blog – “we just wanted to share a customer success story from blank company who experienced business benefit one, business benefit two, and business benefit three after adopting XYZ.” It doesn’t have to say much, just focus on how a customer reaped great business benefits, or solved a problem because of your solution. PLEASE make sure your customer success stories are business benefits/problem solving focused and NOT about your technology/solution if you really want results – pretty please?
  • Regarding customers – if you are enabling customers to do something remarkable in the world – say providing a technology in remote areas that is saving lives – video it in action! And in the case of saving lives, interview the doctors, nurses, patients, or whoever is involved and showcase your work with feedback from those most impacted. Yes it’s a little bit expensive to do this well, but think of the benefits of showcasing your company as one that really makes a difference? There’s also a great opportunity to go viral if you pull on heart strings. Again this story can also be written up, featured as an advertorial, as a customer success story, as a blog, etc – there really are multiple ways to utilize great content – and all of them are great social media content
  • Published articles – any time your company is featured in the media, write a mini-blog summarizing the story and include a link to the story – this is good SEO. Alternatively, get permission from the publisher to publish the article in full on your site
  • TV appearances – when executives are featured on TV, the clip should be up on your site with a brief blog talking about the interview and focus of discussion
  • Employees – let’s not forget the most important people in your company – is anyone doing anything really amazing? Competing in iron man competitions, running for charity, doing amazing humanitarian work, rescuing animals, or helping kids to read? Find out who is doing this remarkable work and video them in action (if they’re happy with that) or take some photos and tell the story – people love feel-good stories and it’s a lovely way to honour your employees. The same goes for charitable, environmental, etc.. stories your company as a whole supports – how are you making a difference?
  • More on employees – if you are in a people business – and let’s face it most of us are – do an employee feature every week – employees from all walks of life, across multiple countries – and honour them in a lovely way. Define a creative list of questions you do for all of these interviews so you have a common feel to the interviews, but be fun and creative – some companies that do this are boring! And again, both employee ideas are great social media fodder
  • Q&A/FAQ – a really important opportunity – Q&As/FAQs are gold dust for content ideas. What are the main comments and questions your company is asked – in any forum? Answer these questions in blog posts. It is great practise blogging around questions/comments your readers contribute and helps pump up the editorial calendar to boot. Keep track of discussions in relevant social media groups – such as LinkedIn – and answer those questions as well
  • Search words – once you get going, you’ll see which search words attract people to your site. As an example from my blog – messaging, mission and vision statements attract high traffic to my site, so I write blogs around these topics if I feel inspired. But these terms are obviously not popular search words, so I’ve naturally gained high SEO for this topic. Alternatively the blog you’re reading right now on blogging will not show up in my search terms as much, and that is because the competition is fierce – everyone is writing on blogging. I’ll still write on the topic – because I’m passionate about it – but to really gain a profile, I need to spend a bit of money with Google if I want to get higher in search. There are many tools to understand search words, SEO, etc.. and this recent article provides great insight to maximize your investment. The important reason to understand this element from a content perspective, is focus on the content your readers are interested in

Other thoughts, ideas and benefits…

  • To gain maximum benefits – your blog should offer easy access to all high-value content in your market – a one-stop shop for everything your customers need
  • If you create a high-value site for customers and prospects, this is a great tool for sales, BDM and marketing to push out to customers
  • By having your own ‘site’, you can see who is commenting, making sure the appropriate person in the region responds, as well as keeping close track of trends and issues. BUT make sure you respond! Remember today is about creating opportunities for two-way dialogue
  • It’s also a great lead generation tool – especially if readers are required to supply certain contact information when downloading a high value document – such as a whitepaper
  • Don’t make customers provide information for everything. Give most away for “free” and when you deliver something outstanding, include a form. HubSpot are a great example of how to do this, as well as providing terrific guidance on content marketing.

Right, ooops! This was going to be a really short blog, but as I got into it, more and more ideas tumbled out – and there’s many more rattling around… Therefore, if you got this far, thanks I really appreciate it.

I could keep going with ideas, because this is only a start, but to conclude, remember:

  • Make sure all content is focused on the customer – don’t tell, share, educate, entertain and inspire
  • Include a picture for significantly higher attention and better social media sharing
  • Keep it short and sweet if you can – but that’s not a fast rule in my opinion, as you can see with this blog :). However my regular readers know I write long blogs, so they typically come back to read blogs of interest when they have time. That’s my style, it doesn’t have to be yours
  • Ensure the quality of writing or production is as good as you can afford
  • Be creative in how you approach blogging because it’s a new world and YOU CAN define it. The amount of times I’ve been asked to create a Seth Godin-inspired blog on behalf of a customer… why? It’s been done already – do something different, because copy-cat does not make anyone a champion. In my opinion, the apparent “rules” are suppressing this medium and creating a lot of fear. As long as the focus is right – i.e. on the customer – you can’t lose
  • Be PATIENT! It really does take time to build your profile/credibility before turning that into wins. But you’ve got to do your bit and that is a commitment to consistently sharing brilliant content

As you can probably tell, I believe there are many more ways we can be utilizing the blogging platform to enhance our inbound marketing efforts, AND it’s a way to set companies’ free when bound by headquarter control. The tools are available for companies to relieve this frustration and I just don’t know why more companies aren’t jumping on the bandwagon in Asia? Perhaps it’s the intimidation caused by the very idea of launching a blog? If so, maybe these ideas will inspire a different approach?

I don’t know everything about anything, so what have I missed? Any more great ideas? And do you think my prediction on the future of blogging as a platform is right?

Cheers

Andrea

PS: if you can think of anyone you think might enjoy reading this post, we’d sure appreciate you sharing it!

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