February 20, 2013

#BusinessRocks @ #smwsg - Pecha Kua Style...


#BusinessRocks: Mix business with pleasure at this informal networking session where you can relax, have a beer, meet and mingle. "

When I read this, I told myself, THIS session must not be missed! Being a big fan of TED, and a participant speaker at #barcamps back in Mumbai... anything that has to do with the art of concise presentations, that's certainly on my list.

I'm a big fan of it when it comes to presentations and sharing focused insights. Also, it was an opportunity for me to meet, mingle with some interesting folks in Singapore, ones who had the kind of insights that I was really looking for.

It was hosted by Gina Romero,(@gina_romero) who hosts #businessrocks a lot in Singapore. She certainly fits the description of Rock Chick Entrepreneur to the tee. Her energy and passion yesterday truly demonstrated that... :)

The first thing that she got right was to get David Rogers @continualshift as the emcee!!! No wonder they're beer buddies!! They share the same level of energy and enthusiasm for the things they're passionate about.

So what is #BusinessRocks all about??

'It's like TED with Beer!' Well, what more do you want!!! This was something I couldn't resist! Also it was 7 presentations with 7 different topics to highlight an interesting theme...

So I'll also try to do a Pecha Kua Style summary of the presenters giving you an idea of what all the speakers said!

Openness by Carlie Jayne Guy, Research Insights Director, Wearesocial @CarlieJ52

Her presentation was primarily about how Tech geeks have changed the way we live our lives. Her job is to research insights on how these things affect our lives. She made some profound points especailly in this open and connected world and how data means a lot and how we can learn from analyzing that data. Especially with ORM tools of the likes of Radian6, Sysomos, Klout, Pinalytics, SocialBakers and WolframAlpha. Some great platforms to use for insights. To sum up her talk, she gave us her informed opinion on how openness matters and how data can drive your communication...

Inclusivity by Yusef Hamid, Digital Boomerang, @Sir_Rupert_

Next up was Yusef Hamid of Digital Boomerang.. We all are aware of so many cat memes and so many twitter accounts that are created nowadays for our dogs and cats. Yusef Hamid showed us how that is a modern example of people actually getting the best out of the mascots that they have created themselves, especially for their pets. Inclusivity being the main thing... In a funny and humorous way, witty yet trickily performed presentation, Yusef talked about how a Dog can truly be a man's best friend... ;) Now he has some 218 likes... Hopefully he'll get more and be more useful to him, besides the crazy stuff he keeps doing all day...

Transparency by Scott Bales, Moven - @ScottEBales

Scott comes from the banking industry and we all know how banking and secrecy are so closely tied in. He on the other hand is the guy who wants to change the (banking) world with transparency. A key question he asked was 'Is social end of secrecy?? From the banking industry perspective, maybe it should be... no? One thing he got spot on was, this

Transparency removes FUD (Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt) True that Scott, True that...

Collaboration by Andrew Chow, IdeasAndrew - @IdeasAndrew

The difference being personal and being personable! Yes that is what kicked off Andrew, the birthday boy's talk! His key thought was about how collaboration can instigate a difference, a difference that Social has actually been meant for! Collaboration certainly adds to a much higher value to you and your brand and that is something which is easier in today's world with being social and being able to collaborate. He certainly enchanted the audience with his thoughts on how collaboration can make a difference to the thoughts and to personalize the way brands / people on social think. And he certainly got everyone's attention when he distributed free copies of his book Social Media 247... :)

Co-creation by Jamshed Wadia, Intel - @JamshedWadia

Along the same lines of Collaboration, co-creation is equally important in today's day and age, especially with brands who are primarily dependent on getting great insights and are on the constant look out to reinnovate, much like Intel! An apt topic for Jamshed Wadia of Intel to speak about... He shared with us various case studies which represented how co-creation transformed the way brands changed the thinking of consumers and empowered them even further. And of course, being an Indian, I felt mighty proud that @hellomehippo case study about (Hippo Chips Not Available? Tweet Us) campaign that he shared insights of. Thoroughly interesting and captivating presentation leading us to the importance of co-creation.

Networked power by Kristine Lauria - @KrissyMo

Kristine Lauria was all about (NETWORKING) But not just about networking to SHOUT your message across, but to actually get to listen and to enhance your brand, converse and most importantly realize how all that transforms into successful relationships. Always be asking, How can I help you, pay it forward and try to make that difference, giving back to the community. She laid stress on How social is all about connecting to other people and not about YOU!!! And that's again highlighting the key of how Social's about WE and not ME!!!

Agility by Christel Quek (Havas Media) - @ladyxtel

The last speaker of the evening was a very popular Chrsitel Quek. Didn't know she was voted amongst the top digital influencers!! Quite a good feeling to have met her after the session and in fact I liked the style of her presentations too... I'm a big fan of the art of story telling and analogies. Which is exactly what she used in her presentation. She talked about 7 tips which would help bring agility to your brand and your personal communication on Social! One interesting analogy was that of the Water snake, being blind and partially deaf, how it relies on its other senses to be able to survive and capture its prey! Some of her case studies were also truly interesting, especially the Applebee's and Superbowl case studies that she shared. Not the ones that were successful, but the ones that didn't quite resonate with their audiences and how we can learn from them.

This was quite a good event packed of sessions with the tempo that made this session interesting... Kudos to Gina and her team and of course to all the speakers who really did a good job of sharing their insights in the best 'Pecha Kua' style they could...

While we got a lot of value add and insight from this session, it had a fitting end with a serious and a very passionate, from the bottom of her heart closing by Gina for her Athena Network! Really interesting and truly her passion showed out when she spoke about it with a lump in her throat if you will...

And last but not least, something I truly wanted to do, catch up with my twitter friend @farah_sidek... To add to that, I also happened to meet @eskimon the Social Media Maestro of Singapore and his entire team of  WeAreSocial Singapore  That team has got some energy!!! WOW!!! :)

A word about Plan Athena:

It's Asia Pacific's leading community for female executives and entrepreneurs. A social enterprise it aims to reach women of all socio-economic profiles through training and skills development.

The overarching aim is to empower women to fulfill their right to have choices, opportunities and access to resources – all of which improve their sense of self-worth and ability to influence society and the economy.

So this week, Diageo have offered a prize of $10,000 to a Singapore project that supports their initiative and The Athena Network is one of the 3 shortlisted companies competing for the $10,000 prize.

P.S If you guys want to help her win $10,000 to help empower those women across Asia Pacific, you can do your bit... Check this out:

In a gist, here's what you need to do to help out!

1. Tweet #planwAthena as much as possible every day for the next 5 days.
2. Help us to spread the word! Please ask your friends to join in!
3. Be sure to include our HASHTAG: #planwAthena

Srinivas has been a communications professional for over 10 years, and has been blogging since 2005. He has worked with the likes of Social Wavelength, now Mirum India, (A JWT Group Company) for four years and now Heads Learning and Development & Analytics at Social Kinnect: A Digital Marketing Agency in Mumbai. His passion for Advertising, Creativity, Social & Digital Marketing helps make a difference for the brands they work with. 

#smwsgchange - Change the world with a hashtag

This was one of the first actual sessions of #SMWSG. After the keynote at the Raffles Hotel, I headed here to find out what this session was about entirely. It was meant to be an inspiring panel discussion on how brands and individuals could make a difference in a genuine way through social media. So in essence the core discussion of the panel was to explore the concept of social media for social good, with first hand stories from companies doing just this.

It started off briskly with the round of introductions on what each and every person supported and what they did in their capacity of changing the world through social good.

The buzzword here of course was #crowdfunding and the panel experts were more or less folks from the field, (either a company which did crowdfunding or an association / organization which had a meaning for changing the world with some social good.)

The first speaker to share his insights was Robin Low, who shared about a very essential problem while working for the Japan Tsunami relief. He faced a problem where women who were part of the efforts or at the distraught areas, were unable to participate in helping out because they didn't have tampons. And how Robin Low drove people coming in via Tokyo or from Airports to buy as many tampons as they could and he'd reimburse them. Very simple problem, but dire straits call for dire measures we guess.

Another interesting insight that I could recall from the discussion was that of the founder Kevin Strazberger, he portrayed the importance and relevance of how Crowd funding is all about finding the niche and getting your target demographics right and then building that interest. Cause anything else is about the huge noise that's created. And we can't get anywhere when there's noise and clutter, that's for sure...

Dorjee Sun who is the CEO of Carbon Conservation and is passionate about forests, carbon, community development, conservation and climate change shared his insights on the Carbon Conservation’s work that covers energy efficiency, renewable energy, plantations and projects that incentivize the preservation of tropical rainforests by helping forest owners and local communities generate alternative revenues through the carbon finance market. His stress was more on the fact that in today's world we need to use and empower ourselves to make that change as much as possible and organizations should use and empower the crowd to build and source as many resources as possible. Social is the new ball game especially when it comes to crowd funding.

Overall the session was really great, there were a few debates, humble back and forth agreements, disagreements... which was quite fun to be part of...

I also asked the question to the panel of how #Kickstarter model could probably be as effective for Social Good as it is for the consumerism that is being driven because of so much commercialization and economic disdain that we are part of. To which Jason Aspes of Newton Circus said, that it could be possible, it's workable and not done yet... But how successful it could be, we all have to wait and watch.

Overall it was quite a good session, got great insights especially the discussions helped me to realize and understand that, Doing Social Good is far more challenging in today's world than using or adopting Social For consumeristic opportunities.

I'd heard how difficult it is from Beth Kanter's talk on a podcast by Mitch Joel, and that again resonated with me after I attended the session.

But it is certainly not difficult... I end this blog with this thought, something I read from Betty Lim's website... ( I met her at the event for a brief moment.

Walk the thought from 'Me to We' Isn't that what crowd funding and Changing the world together is all about?

Srinivas has been a communications professional for over 10 years, and has been blogging since 2005. He has worked with the likes of Social Wavelength, now Mirum India, (A JWT Group Company) for four years and now Heads Learning and Development & Analytics at Social Kinnect: A Digital Marketing Agency in Mumbai. His passion for Advertising, Creativity, Social & Digital Marketing helps make a difference for the brands they work with. 

February 19, 2013

#SMWSG - Social Media Week Singapore - Keynote


Social Media Week Singapore began with great fanfare and truly amazing discussions yesterday. I was all excited to hear @damiencummings of Samsung Digital, Asia present his keynote along with Laura Berkovich of Google!

Certainly similar to their combination in the business space, both speakers from Samsung and Google held the audience by presenting very key specs of information and most importantly to highlight what's the crux of the social media space in today's world. Thought I've researched a bit before coming to the event, about the market in Singapore, I may not be the best person to comment on how their presentation related to the scenario out here.

However was interested in knowing attributes that they presented from an overall global perspective. And from my past experience with working on various brands and in the social web space since 2009 I'd certainly relate to a lot of issues that they highlighted and how the Social Era of business is changing everything we see, especially with the expansion of Social/Digital/Mobile!

Also how brands are shifting their trajectory by being more personal to users is what I've always enjoyed to see. Glad to see so much of advocacy of that phenomenon showcased by both Laura and Damien.

Laura Berkovich of Google laid an important case on how 'Peer Reccomendation' and Communities are the key in today's Social Media scenario. How it is important that Social Search is becoming the key for people to connect and know or discover each other. More important is the smaller world that is giving opportunities of connecting with each other. She also shared with us insights on how she connected with an astronaut in Japan via Google Hangout and how Barrack Obama connected through Google+ with his

While of course all these aspects are making the world smaller and connecting is about being more open and connected, there were certain questions that raised concerns in my mind as well as others when they were asked by the audience. To which however, Laura said that she herself is a private person and that you have complete control over privacy via whatever sites that you do share your content on. So my concern of course was 'How Social Networking sites set privacy to a default share with all than giving custom options and how they are hidden out there somewhere...'

I also asked a question to Laura about how Social Search is going to affect / impact brands especially with Google+ and FGS coming into effect. To which her response was 'How people googled earlier and there wasn't any Social elements coming forth.' Today if people search for content, they expect everything to be out there for their perusal. How peer recommendation will impact most brands as well in this aspect.

Totally loved Damien's insights on how people like to connect with people rather than brands. Also how people are connected via social networks online and just have about 107 friends who they may not even meet actually. Key insights from his session were about how brands have to change their approach on Social Media and why it's all the more important to talk to people via their passion points and not just talk about your product. A key that we've always been NOT doing... At least not so much until 2012... in India...

Post the session I had a chat with Damien Cummings and had a bit more insights on what he had to say. One thing I relate to and agree with is the fact that Social was something that always existed right from the time of IRC, or in fact way before that maybe... But what's relevant today is how people are using social to connect with people and not brands so much. He also shared with me how brands would be more receptive by people if there's a face to it and a more human connection... To add to that I feel we have to Build our own community and stick to a niche, even if we are a brand, if we interest the passion points and share that occasional update that interests your community, then fair enough. Overall it was a great discussion and personally I'm glad I went to this session and #SMWSG kicked off in style...

I must commend AKA Asia and #SMWSG for thoroughly prepared and well co-ordinated start to the event, and especially for giving us the Nokia powered, Social Media Week App.

Some of the tweets for this event, in case you want more insights.

Srinivas has been a communications professional for over 10 years, and has been blogging since 2005. He has worked with the likes of Social Wavelength, now Mirum India, (A JWT Group Company) for four years and now Heads Learning and Development & Analytics at Social Kinnect: A Digital Marketing Agency in Mumbai. His passion for Advertising, Creativity, Social & Digital Marketing helps make a difference for the brands they work with. 

February 13, 2013

Guidelines for live tweeting an event

The original Article was written by me on Social Samosa here

Live Tweeting an event? What’s the ‘BIG’ deal?
How many times have you or your team done this?
And how often have you asked this question to yourself?
“What guidelines do I follow exactly for Live Tweeting this event?”

One of the most important aspects I’ve  realized starting from 2010, till today is that there’s nothing that has  changed about the concept or for that matter the fundamental principles  of what the activity actually entails for a brand.
What has changed however is the approach of the consumers / attitude of thetwitter users to such activities or approaches by brands!

Why? Simple, Twitter and its audience  is evolving. And when that happens, no matter how concrete the  fundamentals are, it’s always beneficial to shift your approach, for  ‘The Times They are a changing…’

The first time I actually ‘live  tweeted’ an event was for one of my technology clients back in 2010. And  after that I’ve done a several dozen of them. And amazingly not a lot  has changed in the basic fundamentals, but there has been a lot of  learning on how people perceive these events and how  consumer behaviour has shifted trends and what you could exploit to  ensure the overall event is really meaningful for the brand rather than  just a stream of updates the hogging limelight on your followers  Timeline.

For most of the part, brands adopt a  very functional and as simple approach as ‘Get the updates of the event  out!’ To the people who couldn’t attend the event. So it shouldn’t be  ‘Rocket Science’ now should it?

But today if asked or given the assignment, I don’t/won’t just randomly decide to go for an event because:

“I’m the expert on A. Tweeting Fast B. Being Responsive C. Being good with use of technology…”

These are really not the reasons why a  specific person should go to ‘Live Tweet’ an event. What’s important is  we understand what this activity does for the brand and how will it add  value for the brand via Social Web and how it actually matters to its  audience and its consumers.

The reason I decided to write this post  is because, usually I’m the Go-To Guy for live tweeting events for  brands at work! And many a times, live tweeting associates itself with  loads of challenges, last minute problems and co-ordination with  clients.

So sharing my learning in a  comprehensive way for everyone to learn from it. Mostly my insights from  the mistakes I’ve made or the learning that I have acquired from live  tweeting events for various brands across different verticals.

So the first Question:Why to Live Tweet an Event?

Is this what you say to yourself

1. To ensure that #brandhashtag / #eventhashtag gets visibility across City, India, World?
2. To get more RTs, Mentions and Buzz across the twitterverse for your brand?
3. To ensure that brands start getting insights on what people are talking about the brand?

Here’s what I say


Cause before you think from a brands perspective, FIRST THINK OF YOUR CONSUMER!

What questions should you ask?
1. How does this help the brand in its overall communication strategy?
2. What is the value addition created by live tweeting this event?
3. Does it ensure live updates (with real insight) of the event go out to your twitter followers? (Not just who’s come on stage or who’s talking, but what do they really mean when they are saying this and that.)
4. Lastly how does it help your brand  in this age of ‘connection economy’ especially to take your brand  forward on building inbound rather than outbound connections?

Now that we’ve got that out of the way…

What should I do to prepare for Live Tweeting the event?

So Live tweeting doesn’t start on the  day of the event! When you actually decide to figure out what the event  is going to be all about? Your ‘Live 
Tweeting’ starts right there.

1. Research about the event before Tweeting: 

This also means researching on what the  brand is all about. Who are is target audience? What exactly does the  brand aim to achieve through this event. You need to understand what  kind of audience the brand will attract and what kind of content and  tonality will appeal to those users / audience.
Essentially always good to have the  person who’s working on the brand to actually live tweet or if you are  going in for someone who’s privy to the platform, then it’s best if you  gave him/her a detailed brief about the brand and the event. Also ensure  that you create enough awareness before the event and people are  already aware of the event!

The content you’ve been posting about the event then should be consistent with what you’ll be posting at the event.

Key Points:
  • Read about the brand, Industry.
  • Identify Top Influencers, people related to the brand (If they’re on twitter)
  • Create list of people attending the event. (No need to follow them via the handle, add them to the list)
  • Know who the speakers at the event are and add them / follow them. Try to get their agenda.
  • Ensure that you know the venue, the people, the agenda and the background of the event!

2. Technology never fails! People and Processes Do!

A lot of times at such events, we end  up not providing the relevant coverage or the actual insightful and  value added tweets especially because we realize that there’s no/minimal  network coverage. (A lot of Hotels have jammers and your internet  dongles won’t work.)

They may ask you to buy their  exorbitantly priced Wi-Fi cards, for which you run around last minute  behind clients / events team or your own company’s finance team to get  cash voucher etc. approved. Some places don’t or may not have charging  points placed at the right places for you to settle down.
Cameras don’t work last minute or  batteries fail you. It’s like Mr. Murphy was just lurching around the  corner to get you. What you need to understand is that it’s not the  technology that’s failing you it’s just the people and the processes. So  be weary of that fact and prepare in advance

Key Points:
  • Ensure you have checked about the WiFi and sorted out that issue before hand.
  • As a backup try to get two dongles or an android phone with 3G to tether a Wifi Hotspot
  • Carry your cameras with extra batteries, memory card, card reader, USB cable etc.
  • In case you have an extra battery for your mobile phone it’s a bonus. Else carry your charger!
  • You can live tweet via mobile phones as well. Works best especially when/if your laptop dies.

3. #HashTags matter the most!

This one’s relatively simple and a lot  of you might already be doing this. But it’s imperative that you decide  what hashtag will suit your brands event and more importantly how easy  it is for users to add even if they want to manually. Don’t create overtly long hashtags that are just confusing or too drab for users to type in if they don’t  find it. A lot of them might be using mobile devices to tweet. So  realize how important the #hashtag is especially if they want to search for other conversations and interact with the users, including you.

Key Points:
  • Create a simple hashtag
  • Create a hashtag that is easy for your users to type manually
  • Create a hashtag that will elicit resonance and more shelf life in general.
  • Great idea to include a hashtag that’ll go with the event as well as specific issue / topic.

4. GIVE Insights on what the updates mean to your users:

It’s important to put thought into what  tweet goes out and how purposeful they are in the context of the event.  It’s very easy to just give updates on what’s happening live, like say a  commentary of things that are happening as we speak so to say. But  what’s more important is that how well it is impacting the resonance of the communication that the brand has to do with its users, for its users.

If I were to be at home and I realize  that the updates that are going out via brands are just ‘Things  Happening’ at the event then I’d really be put off! RT some interesting  tweets by others, give them the credit that they deserve. They’d feel  great about it too.

Key Points:
  • Don’t just live tweet what the speaker is doing / or talking about.
  • Talk about what his message is. Reach out to the people with the core message.

5. Most Important: Listen. Think. Converse

Many a times where you are at an event,  your first instinct is to BE FAST! TWEET IMMEDIATELY! But hey, resist  that urge! Its okay if your tweet doesn’t go out immediately after the  Speaker has quoted something. Hold off for a while. Listen to what  he/she’s actually trying to say. Understand the core message and then  think about how it could be creatively put across to make purposeful content for your users.

And also, try to figure out if anyone  else has already talked about it. Converse with them. Elicit an opinion  if possible. Stick to valuable messages and forget the unimportant  messages. You don’t need to spam your followers! If there are issues that people are talking about, talk to them, help them find a solution.

If you think you can go help them personally, go DO that! Imagine this; you being a brand evangelist are actually getting to help out via response got on twitter at the venue.

E.g. If people aren’t able to get WiFi,  See streaming of videos on the screen in a multi hall event etc. Get  the right people from your client end or your team to go help them out.  And then respond to them on twitter! This really creates value add to  the participating member who by the way also happen to be on twitter…  Very good if you interact with the attendees.

6. Google before you Tweet! (Stay away from the itchy trigger finger)

Again a syndrome caused by  hypochondriac behavior that kind of sets in to your mind; no matter how  many live tweeting events have you covered! 

Every tweet has to go out  NOW NOW NOW! This is what your mind keeps thinking. The best way to  approach it

A lot of times, you may miss out on speaker’s names. If its there on the brand website,  go there and refer to it. If you aren’t sure, of who he/she is or have  missed listening to the name being announced… ask someone nearby. And if  you find his name on the website, Google him up, most likely you’ll get  his images!

If he quotes something, use it. If you  aren’t sure what exactly it is, try to find out if it’s there on the  web? If you want to state some facts or some data that he/she is using,  then use Google before you tweet. Give the appropriate sources /  credits.

7. Photos are good! But it’s Live Tweeting & not Live Instagramming!

General tendencies as a beginner,  Twitpic every damn person, photo heck even what food is served at the  event or what the chairs or the set up looks like!!! Well, it is okay to  tweet the venue at the beginning (maybe to give an idea of what kind of  turn out does the event have) but it’s absolutely not OK to just about  include a photo in each and every tweet of yours. Be careful that you  don’t really make it a habit.

8. Look for Foursquare Check-Ins

Great way to respond to users on twitter who’ve checked in. Good way to start conversations with the people who’ve come  to attend. Of course it’s imperative that you go beyond just welcoming  them. It’s great if you continue the conversation thread as much as  possible. But most importantly make that connection with them. Let them  actually be dazzled, out of the blue especially after they’ve checked in and are caught unaware! WOW them!

9. Tweetdeck / - Tools that really help!

One of the key elements in this event is that there are a bunch of things you would have to keep a track of. For example

1. Search strings on what people are conversing.
2. Search for your brands @handle or @mentions essentially.
3. Search for relevant keywords that people are tweeting esp. where they may have forgotten to add hashtag.
4. List of people who already are attending the event.
5. List of your influencers who are from this field and probably are following the event.

It becomes easier if you use tools like  Tweetdeck or to track all these conversations and of course  interact / converse / RT them.

10. Post Event follow-up!

Ensure that your post event follow up  is good. In fact start thinking about the

Post event follow-up right at  the mid way through the event. Try to get insights / feedback from users  at the event or from your twitter. Some testimonials or feedback of  things that could have been better would be great value add for your  product / brand or the event itself.

It always helps to take a dipstick when  you’re half way through the event. If possible DM your new followers  who followed you at the event. See if you can get a sound byte or some  quotes from them about the event and what they liked / what could be  better.

Key Points
  • Summarize happenings of the event
  • Get quotes / bytes from event participants
  • Write a Blog summarizing and giving insights about the day that panned out!

Overall it is important that when you  look at live tweeting, you put yourself in the shoes of ‘Event  participant, Users who could not attend the event, or followers / people  who are your target audience and want more insights about the event /  brand. I’m sure there are few more pointers that some of you could share  based on your experiences too!

Do let me know what they are? Could be great to add them up as well! What say?

Srinivas has been a communications professional for over 10 years, and has been blogging since 2005. He has worked with the likes of Social Wavelength, now Mirum India, (A JWT Group Company) for four years and now Heads Learning and Development & Analytics at Social Kinnect: A Digital Marketing Agency in Mumbai. His passion for Advertising, Creativity, Social & Digital Marketing helps make a difference for the brands they work with.