We have seen how social media continues to move forward as businesses and organisations around the world increasingly embrace its value and integrate new media platforms into their traditional media plans for greater success. It is hard to ignore the impact of social media and its benefits, as many have jumped on the bandwagon and attained great achievements.
One raving testimonial of success through social media is Wong Fu Productions, an independent film-making company that rose to fame through YouTube. 2 of the 3 American Chinese boys behind Wong Fu Productions were here in Singapore as part of their tour and I had the opportunity to meet them at “Social Media Unveiled”, an event co-organised by the People’s Association (PA) Industry Guru Series by the PA-PMET Division and presented by Soul Manna Live.
Wesley Chan and Philip Wang are only 27 years old but they have achieved internationally acclaimed fame through their videos on YouTube – I just took a peek at their YouTube channel and at this very moment (2 Mar 2012, 10:23am) they have 1,103,129 subscribers with a collection of 150,281,940 video views.
Held at the NTUC Auditorium on Monday evening, MG (NS) Chan Chun Sing, Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, and Minister of State for Information, Communication and the Arts, graced the event and was also part of the speakers’ panel.
Minister Chan’s opening address warmed up the 100 over guests gathered in the auditorium for an evening of learning, before Wesley Chan and Philip Wang took the stage to introduce themselves and share their experiences. Ted Fu, the third member behind Wong Fu Productions, was unable to make it unfortunately. They met in school and with a common interest to produce videos, their little film projects eventually led to the world-famous brand it is today. It is amazing to see how YouTube has propelled them to make a professional living out of producing free videos online.
Joining Minister Chan, Wesley and Philip on the global Google Plus panel were David Choi, Korean American musician and YouTube video producer based in Los Angeles; Richard Frias, COE and founder of next generation talent management and production company Mighty Fresh; and Wai Hong Fong, an Australian who started the online retailer OZHut.
The session was facilitated by Singaporean blogger Nicholas Khoo, who fielded questions from the floor to the panel. Here are some interesting learning points from the session:
1. Social media is not enough to be a marketing plan on its own, but is a definite must of a marketing plan.
Minister Chan: Social media is a channel for people to connect regardless of stone age or the internet age. People are now comfortable with this new channel, where you can just do a simple video and reach out to millions instantaneously.
Wesley: However, it is not enough to just have social media. It is a way to direct people to what you want them to pay attention to, just one item on the checklist for your promotion plan but a very essential one.
2. Content is very important for social media, especially when you are reaching out to millions. Focus on making good content for the right reasons.
Philip: First, you need to have something to say and a genuine want to share with people. Next you think of how you want to get it out. On YouTube, there are lots of videos being uploaded every second (like 28 hours worth of videos every second) and everyone is shouting at the same time. Is your product standing out? Focus on making good content before sending it out and don’t do it just because you want to get popular. If we were to start right now, it would be hard. We have been working at making Wong Fu work since 2003, it takes time and you don’t just get this overnight.
3. Stand for something that is good and what you believe in. Do not abuse the power of social media by soliciting for attention the wrong way.
Minister Chan: Reputation built through social media channels is hard to build but easy to lose. It takes time to really build the brand. Stand for something that is good and don’t attract attention for silly stuff which gets you famous for a while and then everyone goes away and someone else does sillier stuff to take away the attention from you. Don’t change the brand just to suit the trend; consistency is important.
4. Social media has thinned the lines of personal space, hence it is important to be true to yourself. Do not be something you are not.
Minister Chan: As a public figure, I do try to segregate my personal role from my professional capacity but I must be prepared that what I share (with a close friend even) might become public one day. Your close friends today may not be your close friends tomorrow. Hence, it is vital to stay true to yourself and don’t live a different persona. If you are caught living a lie, the damage is huge. Be comfortable with what you share, mean what you say and say what you mean.
Philip: Social media gives a platform but you got to be really authentic and not try to be something you are not. Don’t get attention the wrong way and have integrity.
In conclusion, social media is a new way to reach out to people fast and wide, enabling us to be in contact at any time of any day in any part of the world. Social media has brought the world closer in more ways than one and people can communicate with each other and collaborate without even meeting. Social media has transcended geographical barriers and formed new communities never possible before, but while there are opportunities, there are also challenges such as confirmation bias.
Networking continued after the session with wines and good food, while Wesley and Philip took some time to mingle with guests and address questions directly.
Thank you Soulmannalive and the PMET Division of PA for the hard work in putting this social media seminar together!
Such events provide great networking opportunities, especially for the PMETs – I bumped into old friends whom I haven’t seen for years and also made new friends!
Social media serves as a boundless avenue for us to remain in touch even after the event closes, so to those who attended this event, stay connected on the PMET Network Facebook page.
More photos of the event here.