Posts Under: Social Influence

Gary Vaynerchuk in Singapore: 7 Winning Lessons in Social Media

July 16, 2018 Social Influence 1 comment

“The reason entrepreneurship is hard is because you have nobody to blame.”

If you don’t know who Gary Vaynerchuk is, you must’ve been hiding under a rock.

Founder of fast growing marketing agencies Vayner X and VaynerMedia, Gary grew his family’s wine retail business from US$3 million to US$60 million in sales in 5 years, largely through online channels like WineLibraryTV.

What Malaysia Social Media Week Taught Me

July 10, 2018 Social Influence 1 comment

Malaysian Minister YB Syed Saddiq and Xandra Ooi (courtesy of Malaysia Social Media Week)

Malaysia is truly boleh when it comes to social media marketing. That’s what I concluded from the recent Malaysia Social Media Week.

Thanks to an invitation from Andrew Chow, I had the opportunity to rub shoulders and learn from regional luminaries in the social media scene. They include major brands like Gushcloud, Hootsuite,, Twitter, and BFM 89.9, as well as many digital and social media influencers.

So what did I learn from the social media extravaganza held in the spanking new Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC)?

Join me now as I share some of the highlights.

#1 Start With A Cause

First, you’ll need to identify your cause. That is your True North – the life mission and vision which drives you.

Wooing the crowd with his exuberance, charisma and youthful good looks, Malaysia’s youngest minister 26 year old Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (who asks everybody to call him “Bro” rather than the honorific title Yang Berhormat or YB) sets the stage here.

As the Youth and Sports Minister in Malaysia, YB Syed Saddiq is focused on getting young people to “have the guts to speak up and fight for their rights.” The former champion debater and researcher was full of tweetables like “If young people keep quiet, their world will be shaped by others.”

(With 1 million Instagram followers, he is probably Malaysia’s most influential Instagram politican!)

#2 Consistently Deliver Value

On this, well known TV and radio host as well as motivational speaker Xandria Ooi sets the stage. Xandria is well known for her life affirming Facebook videos, many of which have gone viral. Here’s an example of such a video:

At the Summit, she sagely implored us to focus on constantly giving value to our community. This can be as simple as putting a smile on somebody’s face – even with a cat video (like Syed Saddiq)!

“Messages that connect with people will spread. Care more about your message, and create a movement that is staying true to your message.” – Xandria Ooi

Joining Xandria in her clarion call was the dashing Wong Yu Jin, whom we discovered is Xandria’s brother-in-law!

Formerly a hotshot lawyer and investment banker, Yu Jin now devotes his time to helping others to live more healthily, achieve the body they dream of, and enjoy greater success in their lives.

Check out his Facebook videos! They provide many invaluable tips for you to lose weight, improve your physique and live a better life.

#3 Embrace Visual Storytelling

A picture paints a thousand words. A video? Probably a million – especially if you do it live.

Here, I had the privilege of learning from photographer Bosco Lim, doodling entrepreneur Kendrick Ng, Instagram/Snap Chat storyteller Rob Lee, and Nick Tan.

From Bosco, I learned the art and science of smartphone photography. There are lots you can do – adjust brightness/contrast on the fly, use voice activation, shortcuts to unlock camera, turn using your waist (instead of moving your arm) to take stable panorama photos and videos, and more. Here are some of the shortcuts you can consider (via Bosco’s YouTube channel):

From Kendrick, I learned the importance of both Content and Context when you tell a story through doodling. In doing so, consider the following:

  • Craft a good plot
  • Involve your audiences when you do a Facebook Live, eg asking them what you can draw
  • Consider environmental factors like geography, location, society, culture, events, news, timing and seasonality

Here are some examples of Kendrick’s work.

Rob Lee of Relative Links showed us how to master the art of SnapChat and Instagram Storytelling (you can get a copy of his eBook SnapChat for Tourism FREE here), while Nick of Digimatic Creatives wowed the crowd with his team’s amazing 360 camera and streaming capabilities. Here’s a sample taken from last year’s National Day Parade (NDP) 2017 in Singapore.

#4 Listen and Respond

Being alert to what your fans are saying and responding to them is important. Gushcloud Malaysia’s Wan Hou Yin shared that you need to follow these 5 principles in community management:

  1. Be human about it
  2. Give solutions
  3. Prepare Prepare Prepare
  4. Don’t wait to respond
  5. Be genuine

Beyond these, you should develop a way to manage the different types of comments. Here’s a quick guide to consider:

  • Positive Comments: Acknowledge the praise and thank them
  • Constructive Comments: Thank them and accept their feedback
  • Malicious Comments: Try to take it offline asap
  • Trolls: Do not respond to them
  • Spam: Block or delete them after several “warnings”

I love the example he shared about KFC in the UK, and how it responded with a tongue-in-cheek yet apologetic ad when the company ran out of chickens recently. This was a good example of crisis management.

#5 Craft MEMEPO Facebook Content

Do you know Marcus Teoh? Well, the bestselling author or Now Or Never in Malaysia has a cool way of creating engaging content on Facebook.

Using the acronym #MEMEPO, you should craft Facebook content revolving around the following pillars:

  • M: Motivational
  • E: Educational
  • M: Moving/Touching
  • E: Entertaining
  • P: Public Service Announcement
  • O: Opportunity

I think its pretty refreshing to learn how we can market on Facebook using our personal profiles (as opposed to Pages or Groups). However, you do need to be as active as Marcus, who has quite a fan base I must say!

#6 Customise Content for Customer Intent

As one who believes that social media marketing should be part of your digital marketing funnel, I was happy to see a great example being constructed for the travel and hospitality industry by Anton Diaz of Our Awesome Planet.

In his version, travel moments can be divided into four stages:

  • Dreaming Moments: The trigger of wanderlust elicited by a travel video
  • Planning Moments: Yes, the calendar (and the bank book) is out at this stage. Useful blog articles and Trip Advisor reviews come in here
  • Booking Moments: When you’re ready to book your dream holiday, you’ll either do it on a company website (eg a hotel rooms page) or an Online Travel Agency (OTA) like or
  • Experiencing Moments: What do you do when you’re finally in London or Lithuania? You take tonnes of photos and videos and share it on social media of course!

I think its really useful to consider how your content can match each stage of your customer’s buying journey as shown above.

#7 Use Data To Sharpen Strategy

What happens after you’ve shared great content, grown your organic fan base, and got some traction on Facebook?

Well, you use data of course.

Sophie Bell and Winnie Ang of Hootsuite shared a systematic step-by-step process for aligning your social media strategies, tactics, and KPIs to goals. This 5-step process involves…

  1. Choosing Objectives: What do you want to use social media to achieve?
  2. Establishing Benchmarks: How would you define success based on how others have achieved?
  3. Setting Goals: Are there specific social media goals for your business? These should be S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Timely)
  4. Choosing Metrics: Depending on the stage of your customer journey, you can establish different social media metrics.
  5. Strategy and Execution: How to build your strategy and execute on them to achieve success.

I also learned from both Syed Khalid (Bulb Communique) and Praval Singh of Zoho how we can derive valuable insights from data. It was interesting to compare the engagement rates of current Malaysian PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed against former Malaysian PM Dato’ Seri Najib Razak.

It was also cool to learn that blogging isn’t dead, with 90 million posts published on WordPress per day. Rock on bloggers!

Yes, with all the analytics and data available to us, there really are no excuses for us not to conduct social media experiments to validate our strategies and tactics. From bloggers to digital agency owners to politicians, everybody needs to have their eye on what works better (and what doesn’t) in order to improve their game.

#8 Embrace Gamification

I enjoyed the sharing by Christopher Tock of ADAPT Venture on how he used a psychological test to trigger engagement and lead generation for a property development company in Malaysia.

Through asking a series of quiz questions, they were able to find out which type of property could best suit a particular customer.

#9 Reciprocity Rocks (and Generosity Grooves)

OK, this is my own point about social media marketing, aka Gary Vaynerchuk’s Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook principle where you give a lot of value first without asking for the sale.

This principle of influence by Robert Cialdini applies equally across virtually all social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and especially LinkedIn.

During my session, I shared the importance of engaging with your network on a regular basis. This could be as simple as liking their posts and comments to replying to their comment. Doing so could make a significant difference to your engagement rate and fan growth.

#10 Tell Your Personal Story

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, social media is all about storytelling.

Most of the speakers wove some element of storytelling into their presentations, from how award winning blogger Grace Tan got into full-time blogging, how Wong Yu Jin reinvented himself from corporate highflyer experiencing a burnout to fitness superstar, to YB Bro Syed Saddiq regaling his own political journey.

I did the same thing, narrating my own journey and how I pivoted from public officer to digital marketing entrepreneur.

What was common in storytelling is that the plot usually thickens somewhere along the way. There will be conflicts. There will be challenges. However, what’s more important is how you prevail over your difficulties to enjoy the sweet taste of social media success.

Hope that the above points are useful for you. Let me know if you’ve picked up any other lessons.

PS – Sorry if I’ve missed out some of my conference and workshop speakers as I couldn’t attend all the sessions.