Social Media really does matter!

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I went to  “Social Media Matters”, last Friday at the Four Seasons Hotel in HK. The event was designed with the aim of helping senior corporate decision makers assess the true business value and opportunity of social media. The theme was spot on – businesses today can no longer ignore social media – It really does matter!

Here are my thoughts on the event:

Quality content and speakers. Thomas Crampton from Ogilvy and Jasper Donet of Branded were able to pull strings to get an amazing lineup of speakers including:

  • Joe Chen: Chairman & CEO Renren
  • Gopi Kalayil: Chief Evangelist, Google social for Brands, Google
  • Sir Martin Sorrell, Chairman, Wpp Group (via Google Hangout)
  • Esther Dyson: VC and Digital Visionary, EDventure
  • Terry McBride CEO of Nettwerk Music Group (handles artists such as Coldplay, Avril Lavigne and Sarah McLauchlan)
  • Major social media platforms – LinkedIn, Facebook, G+, Weibo, Twitter, Douban, Youku, Jeipang


The agenda really worked by weaving research facts from researchers illustrating the growth, impact and changing consumer behaviour by Social Media; industry leaders detailing the creative uses and future visions of Social Media; and some agencies/ corporates sharing their experiences, implementation and case studies demonstrated how some organisations are winning success by embedding Social Media into their corporate DNA.

Different insights and perspectives. I really enjoyed the panels as it led to interesting debate and insights. I especially enjoyed the passion of Joanne Ooi, Joe Chen and Wu Sheng Group Senior VP at (his words weren’t lost in translation). It was obvious that the caliber on stage demonstrated why some Chinese/ Asian companies are not just winning online but shaping new commerce and purchase patterns with their fresh thinking, innovative business models and integrated implementations.

The injection of music and celebrity. The performance from GEM followed by the panel “Celebrity and social media” illustrated the point of winning on social media requires dialogue that is interesting, engaging and authentic. Re-live her performance. Terry McBride summed it up – people are interested in “intuition”. Most corporates don’t listen well and fail to provide interesting content that tells a great story.


Energy all the way to the end. It was an exhausting day. There was a lot to get through but it was a testament to the speakers that the room stayed full and buzzing right to the end. People connected during the breaks and the buzz in the room overflowed on to twitter.

Thought leadership not vendor salesmanship. Too many conferences are ruined but tech salesman pushing their wares during the breaks and crammed PowerPoint presentations. The sponsors were essential to the event but did their part to add to the content and conversation rather than hard selling during the breaks. A big cheers to Adobe’s Siva Ganeshanandan for supporting the post event drinks.

Social by design. The usual housekeeping to kick off most conferences is for phones to be switched off. People were encouraged to practice what was being preached. I suggest that you look at Beepmo – a Singaporean app that enables people to connect at events and allow people to view who is in the room and their LinkedIn profiles – a great connecting tool for people to ‘work the room’ during the breaks. This app was used at Next Bank Asia in May. I liked the idea of supplying mobile chargers – more would have been better as being social really saps your smartphone juice pretty fast.

View the Twitter Feed for Social Media Matters under  #SMMAsia

Some memorable quotes of the day were:

Steve Garton – Exec Director, Business Insights, IPSOS

  • “Marketers spend 5% or less of their budgets on social media”

Gopi Kallayil – Chief Evanglist, Google Social for Brands, Google

  • “With 7 billion people and 6 billion phones on the planet – most of us are only a call away from each other”
  • “Our lives happen wherever we are”
  • “1 Million Android phones come online, every day.”
  • On how social is changing people lives Gopi used the case of John Butterill who uses G+ Hangouts so everyone can experience his photo walks. Corey Fisk, a MS sufferer and is bed-ridden, says “It’s the first time, I’m not attached to my body in bed”
  • “Treat social as an adventure and a journey”

Sir Martin Sorrell – CEO, WPP Group

  • “Lawyers prohibit CEOs from engaging in social media.”
  • “ The time is right for businesses to participate in ‘closed’ social networks”
  • On social media and business- “Don’t be frighten, embrace it”

Esther Dyson – Investor, EDventure

  • “Money travels more easily than Culture’
  • “Digital in Asia is less about countries and more about languages”

Steven Goh – CEO, MiG33

  • “The North American case for mobile has nothing to do with the Asian case for mobile.”
  • Chinese people talking about western social networks entering China “I have three social networks, I don’t need another one”

Ken Hung – GM, Weibo Marketing Strategy, Sina

  • “50% of traffic on Weibo is from Mobile”
  • “Businesses are interested and engaging on Weibo. Over 200k have opened Weibo Enterprise accounts”
  • “Use of Weibo in China is more than just the micro blogging”.
  • On Sina to extend beyond China – “Our focus now is on the Chinese consumer. There’s a lot to do, but consumers outside China are already engaging on our platform.”
  • “I don’t like fake followers. We actively identify and delete them”

Dr. Walter Carl – Chief Research Office and Founder, CatThreads

  • “Numbers are critical to Social Media. Get your marketers talking first to finance”

James Kondo – VP Market Development APAC, Twitter

  • “With 140 characters, Asians and Chinese people get more information per tweet. Its like a paragraph in English language”

Jay Oatway – Author and Consultant

  • “We are all in the business of building our own celebrity”

Terry McBride – CEO, Nettwert Music Group

  • “Artists express themselves not selling but sharing music and what they love”
  • “Businesses must communicate their passion and intuition”
  • “Artists connect with emotion and tell stories with real meaning”
  • “Work on something you love”

Joe Chen – Chairman and CEO, Renren

  • “Financial Services is the next wave on Social Media in China.”
  • Renren have just launched a Renren credit card with China Merchant Bank – “6% more usage than standard bank credit cards”.

A great day and really look forward to the next event.

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