Thursday, October 2, 2014

Passionate Entrepreneur Shares Six Best Practices in Social Media

On Monday, September 15, 2014, from 2pm to 4pm, Mr Andrew Chow (above, right) shared with  the Entrepreneur Club on how startups can leverage on social media platforms to market a company more effectively.

Andrew was a researcher for Ministry of Defence from 1987 to 1993. He has dabbled in many different businesses since then. In 1994, he became the managing director of Ideamart Pte Ltd. He also co-founded of Table for Six (LLP), a premium boutique dating agency for singles who are looking for long-term meaningful relationships.

In the last five years, he has been giving talks on marketing, social media, public relations, branding and entrepreneurship. He is a passionate social media and public relations strategist, entrepreneur, and author of the book Social Media 247. He is fondly referred to as "ideasandrew" in social media.

He has also published three other books - Romancing the Media for Business, 88 Essential Secrets for Achieving Greater Success at Work, and How to Manage Negative Comments on Social Media.

“Social Media is a platform. Any place that people gather is a platform. In order to have platforms, you must have people with connections to start a conversation. Through asking questions, people will share content with one another.  It is also important to have good content,” said Andrew.

Andrew also shared with us the six social media best practices.

The first is being able to share. He believes we shouldn’t be afraid to share, and we should share our best knowledge with others and also sell our expertise. He believes knowledge is nothing, and expertise is more useful.

Secondly, Andrew believes that we shouldn’t outsource our own platforms to any other agency. We should manage our social media engagement ourselves because it is our responsibility to have a better understanding of what our customers want.

Thirdly, is the need for collaboration, and not competition. Andrew believes there is a need to collaborate with people so that they may also eventually acknowledge and reward you for your ideas. If you want to find partners, he believes in finding partners with a sizeable social media presence in order to leverage on people’s network.

The fourth thing Andrew believes in is being innovative. In social media, an ordinary status post can turn into something big when people start commenting on it. You have to do your best to create an interesting social media environment for your fans.

Andrew also believes that social media is not a 9am to 5pm job, it is a 24/7 job. He believes that social media is used round the clock, and if you want your social network to be worldwide, it has to be available 24/7. The tone of the posts also have to be authentic and less formal.

The sixth and last practice Andrew believes in is listening more than you talk. Pay attention to what people say, and don’t assume you know your target user well.

Here are some of his tips on how to generate good content:
- The content must be purposeful. It must be able to educate, entertain and engage people. If your content doesn’t serve any purpose, it fails.
- Good content is very addictive, it means many people will come back over and over again to view your posts.
- Good content is about being concise, and not long-winded.
- Lastly, if you cannot make people feel, think and act, your content is meaningless.

We were fortunate to have the opportunity to interview him to find out more!

How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing? 
Personal branding. Personal branding is so powerful. People may not care about the name of a company, but they will care if the founder is someone well known. The company resonates with the founder. If a boss in is a perfectionist, you will learn to become a perfectionist. If your boss is very creative, after a while you will also become more creative, all this relates to the personal branding of the founder. So it is important to build your own personal branding.

What if some of us don’t know what we want to do, how do we build our personal branding? 
Find a mentor who knows your weaknesses and strengths to guide you. Next, find coaches to sharpen your performance. Lastly, find a group of like-minded people with similar experiences to come together regularly to update each other on what is going on in the industry.

What are the challenges you faced and the toughest decision you had to make in the last few years? 
The toughest decision for me is to give up on my business. It means to sell off everything including materials and giving up your warehouse place and your customers. It is painful because you know that you no longer can be committed.

One challenge I faced was finding the right timing for my business. The fifth year of your business should be your best year, and your breakthrough should always come in the third year. If after five years, there still no breakthrough, it time to call it quits.

What motivates you to become an entrepreneur?
My father motivates me. At seven years old, I was already earning some money for family expenses. My father was a shoe maker and I grew up in a factory. So I wanted to learn how to do business and how to sustain it.

What is your ultimate dream?
I hope to create a system that will generate cash without being physically present, and to help more people in need.

As an entrepreneur, you must have a very intense schedule. How do you juggle your work, family and social life?
As an entrepreneur, you don’t have a fixed working time. I will try to work minimally while staying online. Family time is family time, you don’t have to think about work. If you keep thinking about work, your family will know your mind is not there.

What have you learnt through your experiences?  
Don’t start a business too early. Please look for people who have passion for your industry and are willing to work for you first. Secondly, you will not know how every employee feels. If you don’t know how to manage people well, your staff will resign. You have to focus on human capital and look at the psychology and motivation of your employees.

Words of wisdom from Mr Andrew Chow!  Thank you for your time.

By Tay Jia Min, Year 2, Diploma in Electrical Engineering with Eco-Design 

Jia Min is doing her Diploma in Electrical Engineering with Eco- Design. Other than reading novels and watching television shows, she also enjoys folding origami and listening to music during her free time.

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