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Saturday, 28 May 2011

Social media and networking


Guy Clapperton (pic), the author of ‘This is Social Media: tweet, blog, link and post your way to business success’ was recently in Kuala Lumpur to promote his updated book.

First published in 2009, this version offers new insights on using the social media as an efficient and measurable way for people to market their business.

Organisations, whether larger or small, are using social media and social networking to build robust communities of followers, to stay ahead of the competition and increase profits.

For business owners who want access to social networking tactics and reach new customers, Guy has simple, practical and real life examples for them.

SBW: What made you decide to write a book on social media?
 GC: Well, I freelance in the UK for The Guardian and The Times and I have been writing on small businesses and technology for many years. Back in 2007 to 2008, I felt I needed to get my brain around what was happening in the world of social media. There was none. My brain got into gear. There was no book on this subject, and this was something I was familiar with. I wrote to John Wiley Publications, and got a meeting with the director! They subsequently passed the book to Capstone Publishing, and thats how it all started.

What are some of the new developments included in your updated book since the first was published in 2009?
Well, I got a critic who mentioned that I was too dismissive about web designers in my first book. That could have been true. So, I wrote a little bit more on web designers this time around. I also expanded on Foursquare, which is one of the first social networks that really took advantage of mobile networks from the start.

What is different in your book compared with other social media books?
Buy my book because the other books are all Americans! (Laughs) Anyway, my book uses a common sense approach and incorporates lots of business and budgeting strategies. You know what’s in it for a business, how you can get involved, and how to incorporate social networking into your business plan.

What are some of the developments in social media that will shape our future moving forward?
Mobile social media is going to become very important. Imagine someone standing outside your business premises and then asking on Twitter quickly whether a few thousand people know anything good or bad about it. That’s going to be important.

Do you think Malaysian or Asian companies in general, have yet to fully leverage on the benefits of social media? What are the simple things they can do to use social media to enhance their businesses?
Clearly, having been here only a couple of days I’m no expert in Malaysian businesses. Several which are international as well as Asian - LG Electronics, Samsung and others - have done well and I understand AirAsia has been a very strong performer in social media. If they’re starting now I think the best thing to do is to find which social media their clients use and start marketing on those.

Do you think that social media should be one of the ways for companies to market their products? Will companies that refuse to use social media be left behind?
It’s certainly going to be part of the mix. Companies that refuse social media can have different reasons. They might have found their customers aren’t interested, which would be a good reason for not spending time on it. I’d certainly recommend looking again in a couple of years if you don’t think social media is right for your business at the moment - the customer is changing.

What are some of the misconceptions about social media?
People underestimate the cost incurred, they think that there is no need to pay. They don’t value the time. Hey, you’ve got to pay the guy monitoring your media traffic.

Also, social media works well only if done correctly and properly. You need to find out what the customer wants and target the right group of customers rather than sending a mass message to everyone. Also, people won’t be actively seeking you out - you need to get the message out.

You’re writing another book “This is Social Commerce” to be launched by year end. What was the inspiration for that? How different will it be from your current book?
It’s a continuation in many ways. The first book is the introduction, the second develops the theme a little, talks to more businesses in depth and looks at some of the opportunities which have arisen only because social media has made them possible.

Was it always your dream to publish your own book? How exhilarating was it, to see your books on the shelves?
I’ve wanted to be an author ever since I was a child and finding the book on the shelves was as magical as I’d hoped. Finding a big picture of me standing next to it in the MPH Megatore was a bit of a shock!

Will you ever consider writing fiction some time in the future?
I’d love to but to be honest I’m not sure that’s where my talent lie. My current publisher doesn’t publish fiction so I’d have to start all over again. And I do like what I do for a living at the moment - trying to go into another field might set me up for a fall.