Should Companies Restrict Employees Use of Social Media?

I recently met a university batch mate of mine, who is now in the field of HR. While discussing where we are and what we do now, eventually it opened up for a very fruitful discussion on the topic of role of social media in the field of HRM. 



My friend complained social networks as a productivity killer and something, which all companies should get rid of at all costs. This did not surprise me at all, as this used to be the same sentiment I noticed from all HR professionals I meet. In fact, it is not an opinion limited to HR professionals, but also a common belief among most of the senior level executives in many companies I know. Surprisingly enough, these executives somehow agree with me more often than not, about the value of social media as a marketing communications channel. They never show any doubts about using Facebook and Twitter for brand building, customer care or lead generation. They are always very keen in learning more about social media as a marketing tool.
Friday, May 1, 2015
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Five Trusted Ways You Can Help Nepal Earthquake Victims Online

If you are like me, who is saddened by the natural disaster in Nepal and looking for ways you can help the victims, here are five trusted charities you can do online donations.


Help Nepal Network is a local charity network in Nepal operating since 1999. After the disaster strike, they have opened a PayPal donation link on their home page through which you can make a donation starting from US$1.Click here to donate.


Oxfam America has opened an online donation link as well, through which you can make monetary contributions to relief efforts they are rolling out in Nepal. Click here to donate.


Save The Children charity organization has opened an online donation link too. Click here to contribute to Nepal Earthquake victims through Save the Children


UNICEF as an agency of United Nation is a trusted source you may use to make donations starting from US$50. Please click here to accesstheir donation link.


Care International has put up an online donation option on their home page. Simply visit their home page on care.org and fill the donation form.

Yesterday Sri Lanka embassy in Nepal established a hotline for any inquiries about Sri Lankans in Nepal. Call 0097 79851020057 to access this hotline.

A friend on Facebook shared this message. Apparently, Sri Lanka government is looking for volunteers to participate in Sri Lankan help mission in Nepal which is already in operation.
“Volunteer doctors, nurses and paramedics needed. [Please share] Prime Minister's Office of Sri Lanka is coordinating the logistics of flying out urgent help to the victims of the earthquake in Katmandu. If you are any of the above medical professionals willing to volunteer please call 071 249 248”
This morning it was reported that the first emergency rescue team of 44 soldiers &4 Doctors, aboard an SLAF flight leaves for Nepal.




Please update in the comments section any other methods people may help the earthquake victims in Nepal.


Sunday, April 26, 2015
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

HTC Desire 620G Review – Good Value for Money with Few Minor Bugs

Last month I switched my mobile phone from Samsung to HTC. This was after using two different Samsung devices and a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 as my tablet (still using it) for three consecutive years since I switched from HTC WildFire to Samsung S-Duos 1 in 2012. This time I bought the HTC Desire 620G, which was officially launched in December last year. Here is my small review about what I experienced and what to expect.

First of all, it’s an Android 4.4.4 (KitKat) device with dual SIM capability. When selecting a smartphone, dual SIM capability has become a mandatory requirement for me as I have to carry around my official phone number (paid by my employer) and the personal one I use for last 10 years. It’s a headache to carry around two phones and it’s too expensive to maintain two different smartphones as well. 
I am not going to talk about the technical specs of the phone as everything can be easily accessed on GSMArena.com. Let me focus more on the usability and other key features.
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

How Do I Change the Name of My Facebook Fan Page? (After Reaching 200 Fans)

The name of your Facebook fan page cannot change once it reaches 200 fans (likes). This is what we all know about changing names of Facebook fan pages. However what if you genuinely want to change the name of your Facebook fan page due to various reasons, including but not limiting to things like a small typo in your page name, or change of business names?

There can be several such legitimate reasons why someone would want to change the name of their Facebook fan page. In my career I have faced this questions multiple times from my clients; ‘How to change the name of my Facebook fan page after it reaches 200 fans?’ or ‘can I change the name of my Facebook fan page?’ I used to say this is not possible, unless you get hold of someone at Facebook directly to do this.

However, lately Facebook has enabled a new option which allows page admins to change the name of their Facebook fan pages. Good news right? Now hear the bad news (read on, I have another good news after this). As of today (21st April 2015), this feature is only rolled out for page admins residing in USA, Canada and a very limited list of other countries. If you are a Facebook fan page admin based in Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan or any other Asian country you will not be able to access this facility through your admin panel.

Let’s get to the other good news. I managed to get the name of my blog’s Facebook fan page changed! As you already know, I’m based out of Colombo Sri Lanka but still I managed to get this done. Facebook fan page of my blog used to be “Amis Space – Marketing 2.0” but if you check the fan page now, you will see the page name is now changed to “Amitha Amarasinghe”.
How did I do this? How did I change the Facebook fan page name after reaching more than 200 fans (1,450 to be precise)?


There is a small workaround which I am happy to share with you, but I will only share the trick with those of you who are really interested knowing it. If you practically have a requirement to change the name of a Facebook fan page, all you have to do is dropping me a tweet on @Amisampath. If you are not on Twitter, the second method is to leave a comment or a wall post on my Facebook fan page. If all these two methods are not working for you, the last option (least preferred for me) is to dropping me an email to the address encoded in “Contact Me” tab on this blog. I’m very slow to respond emails, so first two options would probably work faster.

NOTE: I'm not going to charge you a service fee or anything for sharing this work around. You may find this same method elsewhere on the internet. My past experience is, once you share something like those too often on too many sites, 'someone' will introduce a fix for that workaround. That's the reason why I don't want this to be published publicly on my blog.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

How Credible is Brand Finance Lanka Ltd’s List of Sri Lankan Superbrands?


Recently I stumbled upon  this article on Daily FT containing a list of ‘Sri Lanka’s superbrands of the year’. The list was published by a company named Brand Finance Lanka Ltd., the local subsidiary of Brand Finance PLC who claims to be the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy.
On their website they say, the reports they publish are used for various business needs such as technical valuations for accounting, tax and legal purposes, valuations in support of commercial transactions (acquisitions, divestments, licensing and joint ventures) involving different forms of intellectual property and valuations as part of a wider mandate to deliver value-based marketing strategy and tracking, thereby bridging the gap between marketing and finance.

All are valid reasons why the corporate world should access and trust their reports. However, reading through the article on Daily FT I found this interesting list published by them with the title “Strongest Digital Marketing Brands in Sri Lanka”.


Managing Director of the company which published this report comments on the achievements of Kapruka and Dialog.
“Think Kapruka. And it requires a sustained and long term commitment to ensure it continues to generate value. Think Dialog. Taking the long view is key to building brands because of the time it takes to nurture and develop them.”
All this expert commentary is made about a list they composed using Facebook likes! I have no doubts Kapuka is a great local brand which made a massive progress as a dot com business. Dialog, we all can agree is one of the best case studies of how to build a strong brand. But is “Facebook Likes” the only factor Brand Finance Lanka Ltd could think of as proof to validate the success of Kapruka and Dialog?

To compile a list of ‘Strongest Digital Marketing Brands’ a research agency must use better credible criteria than Facebook fan count. Even a grade 10 schoolboy can put up a list like that using the free version of SocialBakers analytics. Is that the quality the corporate world can expect from a world renowned brand valuation consultancy?

Ok, assuming that Facebook like count is a strong enough criteria to put up a list like this, now let’s dig deeper into the fan count reported for few of the brands in top 5 brands published in Brand Finance Lanka’s list of ‘Strongest Digital Marketing Brands in Sri Lanka’.


Click to enlarge

From what we can see on this SocialBakers analysis of Dilmah fan base, majority of their fans are from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Cambodia and Egypt. Dilmah being a global brand targeting multiple markets is reasonable to have more non-Sri Lankan fans on their global fan page. However, my little knowledge about Ceylon tea tells me the market for Ceylon tea is largely from countries like Russia, Ukraine, Egypt, UK and Australia. Maybe Dilmah’s international markets are different, and ironically their most popular markets seems to be the same list of countries which are famous for Facebook “Like Farms” as exposed on this YouTube video.

That’s about Dilmah and let’s now look at a comparatively a more local brand. I don’t think we have any ambiguity about Mobitel’s target markets.


Click to Enlarge

According to this analysis, looks like 28% of Mobitel’s fans are non-Sri Lankans, quite significant amount for a brand predominantly targeting Sri Lanka. If it was 10% we would have concluded it’s by accident, but 28% fans from countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India seems to be something which Mobitel did by choice.

About a year ago a blogger named ‘Veritasium’ published this video titled ‘Facebook Fraud’.


In this video (which was watched by over 3 million people since uploading) he explains how freelancers based in third world countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, Egypt, Philippines, Turkey, India and of course Sri Lanka are making money by selling fake likes to brands world over. Go to Fiverr.com and you will find dozens of freelancers who would offer you 10,000 likes for anything you have on Facebook for an investment of just US$5.

Maybe the brands listed on Brand Finance Lanka Ltd.’s list have not purchased fake likes from these like farms. But there’s another side to it. They would have most probably targeted their legitimate Facebook ads campaigns to one or more of these geographies. When you set your Facebook ads goal to “more likes for my page” and let Facebook decide where to target your ads, the Facebook ads algorithm will automatically deliver your ads to the users who are most biased to click “Like” button on anything they see on Facebook (based on past behavior).  Unfortunately, the fake FB accounts from that third world like farms are doing only one job from morning to night; clicking on “like” buttons. Automatically, your FB ads campaigns now get targeted to the FB accounts created for like farms and they will click on your ad and like your page, just to make sure that there have “variety” in the things that they like (to fool the Facebook system, to show that they are not only liking content from certain FB pages only). In the end, your page will accumulate thousands of fake likes from these farms. If your aim is to achieve that one KPI of hitting X number of fans before your competitor does the same; yes this is an easy tactic to impress your CEO.

It’s obvious that the people who composed the list of ‘Strongest Digital Marketing Brands in Sri Lanka’ at Brand Finance Lanka Ltd, has no clue about this reality about Facebook likes. It’s ok to be ignorant about something but it’s not cool to assume rest of the country is ignorant about it too and that’s exactly what BFL did. They would have thought, nobody will suspect the credibility of our list and simply went ahead and published a report without proper substance.

Bigger issue here is something else. It’s clear Brand Finance Lanka did a low quality job in selecting the strongest digital marketing brands in Sri Lanka. Then, how can we believe their other lists? What if all their other lists too lacking a mix of credible criteria to evaluate the brand worth? What if those lists too are done in a hurry, by just looking at surface level criteria? Should the corporate world base their business decisions on such a substandard list of superbrands? Where is the credibility?



Thursday, April 16, 2015
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

What Turns a Situation into a Social Media Crisis?

We all can agree on the fact that Social Media is not like traditional media, but when it comes to sensitive conversations about a brand on Social Media we quickly tend to forget this truth. Moment you see someone talks negatively about a brand, the first question most managers ask is “can we do something to stop this guy?”

“Do something” is a very popular way of briefing agencies, especially in the field of Social Media Marketing. Just like a wife goes out of her mind when she sees a cockroach in the kitchen and shout at the husband “do something!”, the client goes all crazy when they see these negative (sarcastic) posts appearing on social media, and shout at the agency “do something!”. I’ve seen on many occasions, this lack of patience to understand a situation before responding, turns harmless situations into fearful crisis’ for a brand.
Friday, April 10, 2015
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Festival of Media Asia Pacific 2015 - Post Event Thoughts

Google Singapore managing director Joanna Flint (center)
 taking a group selfie with her selfie stick. 
I am back in Sri Lanka after attending the Festival of Media Asia conference which happened in Singapore last week. I’m sure some of you would have followed me on Twitter for all the live updates and pictures from the event.

I wanted to do daily sum-up posts here but it was too tempting for me to get some time off after the conference to go and explore the Lion City :-). I had to make maximum out of my time in Singapore, so I didn’t want to be stuck in a hotel room and update my blog after the conference is over.
All in all, it was two days with highly concentrated high quality content on latest trends in media and communication. Selection of speakers for the event was excellent, and timing of sessions, the order of activities was organized in such a way that participants would never be bored by being there for two days.
Saturday, March 28, 2015
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe
Tag :

TWITTER LAUNCHES #YPL INTERNSHIP PROGRAM AT FOMA15

Official website of Festival of #FOMA15 announced today that Twitter has teamed up with the Festival of Media Asia Pacific, Power98FM and Starcom MediaVest Group to launch #YPL (Young Promising Leaders Program), a competition where five internships are up for grabs at Twitter.

The #YPL program promotes the mission of supporting young talent deserving of developmental opportunities with a view of spotting, nurturing and training the next generation of leaders in Singapore. Candidates are invited to enter the first stage of the competition by submitting a pitch via a Tweet (text, photo, video) on why they should be selected, along with three Vines of supporting endorsements.

 Finalists will be invited to make presentations at the Festival of Media Asia Pacific conference, where the public will be asked to vote and tweet for their favourite candidates. The five winners will be announced at the Festival's awards gala dinner ceremony on the evening of Tuesday 24 March 2015 at the Capella Singapore Hotel.

 Check out the details of #YPL program on FOMA website here.
Thursday, March 5, 2015
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

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