Archive for 2010

Google Alerts Optimization (GAO). SEO Alternative for Relevant Website Traffic

Google Alerts Optimization

Have you thought about it? Google Alerts is popularly known to be a method of keeping in touch with latest content on the worldwide web regarding a topic that you are interested in. The other side of the story is, Google Alerts can be effectively used as a method of targeting relevant audiences for the content on your website.

First, if you are not familiar about what Google Alerts are; I recommend you to read this article (later).

Currently there are six types of Google alerts available, namely News, Blogs, Video, Discussions, Realtime and Everything. To start optimizing your site for Google alerts, you need to decide in which specific category your site will fall into. If yours is a news website like a local newspaper, chances are your site getting alerted under “News Alerts” is high. I make an assumption, most of you who are reading this post are bloggers, trying to drive more relevant traffic for your blog. You might already using Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising and Social Media Marketing on Facebook and Twitter to drive more traffic for your blog. I suggest you to start actively using Google Alerts to drive more traffic to your blog.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Six Predictions for Social Media in 2011


If 2010 was the year of social media coming of age, my notion for 2011 is “the year of acceleration”. Certain developments took place in year 2010 proved that social media is not a fad, and it is here to stay. Now it is time for accelerating the trend. However, even throughout the year 2010, I heard some traditional marketers still arguing social media as a fad. Among them were few high profile managers in the telecom industry and few brand managers from multinational FMCG companies. Either they seem not fully convinced about the power of social media as a marketing communications tool, or they may be excessively overwhelmed by the current success they earn with traditional marketing channels. If their predictions to hold true, we have to expect a social media bubble burst in the year 2011, as the dot com bubble burst we experienced in year 2000.

Here are my six predictions for the year 2011.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

The N8 – ‘A Beauty’ … ‘A Beast’

I finally had my hands on this much waited beauty, the Nokia N8. The first handset to sport the new Symbian^3 OS and I've been spending some quality time with this beast over the past three weeks.
I call this a 'beauty' simply because of it's built quality. The anodized aluminium casing gives the handset a classy look. Hardware wise it's a beast - 680MHz processor coupled with a 3D Graphics Hardware Accelerator, built in 16GB of internal memory, 256MB RAM and 512MB ROM, microSD slot for memory expansion of up to 32GB. If I am not mistaken, the N8 has the largest camera sensor ever seen on a mobile phone to-date. And it's world’s first pentaband handset, which means you can use the device globally.

Monday, November 15, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Social Media Marketing Workshop in Colombo - A Major Success!

A big thank you to all those who participated, encouraged us, and tweeted, retweeted about the event. It was a major success by looking at the participant feedback. A job well done Suranga Priyashantha, Sorav Jain, Indika Jayapala and Nadheera Nilupul. To follow the feedback from participants and comments by resource persons, check out the Twitter hash tag #SMMLK

More photos here.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Confusing Your Customer is Not a Strategy

November 4th happened to be the 8th year celebration of my marketing career. It was on November 4th, 2002 I started working at my first job as a marketing internee. After practicing as a professional marketer for last 8 years I have come to realize that there is no better strategy than "keeping it simple”. In today’s highly fragmented and cluttered media environment, getting the attention of the customer is the greatest challenge for any marketer. When you confuse the customer with an over complicated product, you make the job easier for your competitors. Instead of trying to diagnose your over complicated product, they start paying attention to your competitors’ offers.

Take example; Yahoo auctions "was" a more feature rich auction engine than what eBay "is". "was" and "is" within quotes tell the whole story.

Customers come to you with a definite problem. If you don't give them a definite solution, you will definitely lose them next time. Be specific with what’s your offer to the customer. You offer must solve a problem for the customer.

Don’t confuse your customer. It’s not a strategy.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Peopleizing Your Brand - Presentation Materials for the Workshop Session

The Social Media Marketing workshop organized by the eBusiness Academy is happening this weekend at the OLAK Auditorium Colombo 10. Last couple of weeks, I’ve been busy preparing for the event so I hardly have any time to write something on this blog.

So far we have received an overwhelming response for workshop registrations. If you have not registered for the workshop yet, you have three more days to do so. Register yourself on this form, and confirm your participation. You can participate, either as company sponsored participants or self-funded individuals.

For the benefit of those who are coming to the workshop, I have already uploaded all related materials for my session at the workshop to and you can download the ZIP file here. The folder is password protected, and I will share the password with all participants on the event date.

The Outline of My Session

The ZIP file contains following resource files for the workshop session “Peopleizing Your Brand”.

1. Peopleizing Your Brand - How to Create Passionate Raving Fans for Your Brand (PDF printer friendly version of the presentation slides)
2. Social Commerce Statistics (PDF Document)
3. Key Trends in Consumer Attention Economy (PDF Document)
4. The Three Phases of Globalization – An Extract from the Book “The World is Flat” by Thomas Friedman (PDF Document)
5. 7 Things You Should Know About Tweeting for Brands (PowerPoint Slides)
6. Social Media Marketing - Measuring Results (MS Excel Workbook)

I will explain each of these topics plus many more interesting topics, during my presentation. Someone asked me about the meaning of “Peopleizing”. This again, will be discussed in detail during the presentation and for the moment, here is a brief definition of the word, in the context of social media marketing.

“Peopleizing is giving your brand a human personality and networking with target consumers who share the same personality”

See you there on 13th! Let's talk more about 'Peopleizing' in detail.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Marketing Isn't Evenyone's Job [Function]


One of the most commonly misinterpreted management quotes of all time is "Marketing is everyone's job". It is everyone's job, but it is not everyone's 'job function". This essentially means that you have to perform your 'assigned job function' (whether it is finance, R&D, HR or administration) in manner that it creates value for your end customers and making sure the end customer is delighted. Because at the end of the day, it is the end customers' decision to purchase from your company or not; will decide whether you will get paid or not at the end of the month. "Marketing is everyone's job" does not mean that everyone needs to come up with tactical (or strategic) suggestions to 'help' the poor souls in the marketing department, as it is commonly misinterpreted.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Social Media Marketing Workshop in Colombo on 13th November 2010

social media workshop

The biggest Social Media Marketing workshop happening this year in Colombo, will take place on Saturday, 13th November 2010 at OLAK Auditorium TB Jayah Mawatha, Colomobo 10. I’m thrilled to announce that, I will be hosting a session at this event, along with three other sessions conducted by what could be the best Social Media resource panel you can find in the South Asian region.

Facebook & Twitter. Your Customers are There. Are you?” is the theme for this workshop, which will be conducted in two main segments. The first segment (morning session) covers Social Media strategy, while the second segment in the afternoon will cover the social media execution topics.

Here is the agenda for the day. 

Session-1: Social Media – The Next Big Revolution in the World
• From Web 1.0 to Web 2.0: What does it mean for marketers.
• Top 10 reasons why you should use social media for your business
• 6 key elements is formulating a social media marketing strategy

Session – 2: Peopleizing Your Brand - How to Create Passionate Raving Fans for Your Brand
• The greatest marketing crisis of the 21st century.
• Finding the connectors, mavens and salesmen for your brand.
• New challenges for marketers in a socially connected world.
• Moving beyond positioning – Peopleizing your brand.

Session- 3: Activate Your Facebook Marketing Tactics
• Top 10 Facebook Marketing Methods which you should not miss
• Step by step guide for creating a successful business page on Facebook
• Proven tactics to attract and retain fans of your page

Session – 4: Twitter From Business Perspective
• Getting started with Twitter
• 5 ways to create attractive Twitter Profile
• Twitter and Personal Branding

I will be hosting the session 2, titled “Peopleizing Your Brand - How to Create Passionate Raving Fans for Your Brand”. This is part of the “Social Media Strategy” segment, which includes the presentation by Suranga Priyashantha.

The afternoon session is a social media boot camp. You will learn the most important social media execution tactics, both on Facebook and Twitter. The Facebook boot camp session will be conducted by Indika Jayapala of Ribelz eMarketing, and the Twitter boot camp will be conducted by a popular Indian social media trainer, Sorov Jain of EchovMe, Chennai.

All in all, we can guarantee you an event giving you the opportunity of learning the latest in Social Media marketing field. You won’t probably get a chance for participating in a similar workshop this year in Colombo again. Register yourself for the workshop here, before 31st October to get an early bird discounted fee of Rs.4,900/-. Rate applicable for payments after 31st October will be Rs 6000

I’m ready to offer a further discounted price of Rs.4,000/- for 10 regular readers of this blog. If you are interested in taking this opportunity, email me on amitha[at]Amisampath[dot]com. 

Register for the Workshop Here

Registration and Payment Instructions
  • Following form need to be filled separately by each participant.
  • After we receive your registration information, an invoice will be sent with full payment details.
  • Registration Fee – Rs 4900 per head (Valid only for payments made until 31st October 2010). Rate applicable for payments after 31st October will be Rs 6000
  • Cheques need to be written in favour of  “Asia Marketing Associate”
  • For inquiries please contact 0771 539 072

Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

How to Create a Vanity URL for Your Facebook Page

Creating a vanity URL for your Facebook page is easy. First of all, let me explain you what is a vanity URL.

A ‘vanity URL’ on Facebook is a custom user ID for your business page hosted on Facebook. For example, when you create a page for your business on Facebook, the URL of the page will originally look like this.

However, this URL is not so easy to memorize, and therefore it is so hard to share with others. Instead of this URL format, how about having a customized URL like this

Sunday, October 17, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

62% of Sri Lankan Twitter Users Say, Less Than 25% of Their Followers is Real World Friends

twitter Sri Lanka

This was reveled in a survey I did among a sample of 102 Sri Lankan Twitter users. According to the findings, 56 of 102 respondents said they know less than 25% (approx) of their followers personally in real life. Eight of the respondents said almost all their followers are not real life acquaintances. Another 18% of the total respondents said they do not know half of their followers in real life.

The results are significantly different compared to the response I received from Facebook users; where 80% of the respondents (total 335) said almost 100% of their Facebook friends are friends in their real life as well.

Complying to the responses for the above question; 78% of the respondents to Twitter survey said they are using Twitter to “make new friends” as opposed to “keep in touch with friends”. Contrary to this, Facebook 92% of users said they are using Facebook to “keep in touch with friends” as oppose to “make new friends”.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Come to Social Good Day at Refresh Colombo This Thursday

If you are living or working in and around Colombo, I invite you to join hands with us for a very special event called “Social Good Day Colombo” on this coming Thursday. You have used Facebook to keep in touch with your friends, and use Twitter to meet and interact with new friends. You watch Lady Gaga videos on Youtube, you use Wikepedia for researching for your studies. But, have you ever thought that you can use all these social media services, to make much worthier causes? That’s what Social Good Day (SGD) is all about.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

85% of Sri Lankan Brands Never Respond to @ Mentions on Twitter

Few weeks ago, I compiled a list of Sri Lankan brands on Twitter, to monitor their online activities on Twitter. My aim was to observe how effectively these brands are using Twitter as a customer engagement tool, and to spot some common mistakes made by them. Here are some of my observations. When looking at this information, it is obvious; most of these brands on Twitter are actually not quite “getting it right” to begin with.

1. Twitter on Autopilot

Most Sri Lankan brands have synchronized their Twitter account with their Facebook pages or blog RSS. Every time they post something on their Facebook page, it is updated automatically on their Twitter account as well. However, they never bother to check back for any customer reactions for these messages on Twitter. They only bother about the comments they get for the Facebook post, and simply ignore the Twitter feed. This leads to abandoning a segment of customers who are willing to participate in a conversation with their brand and they simply alienated these customers without attending to their feedback to the brand via Twitter.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Please Welcome Our New Pet ‘Twitty, the Twitter Cat’

twitty tweet

Finally, we have a ‘permanent’ cat in our home and guess what; this cat is a social media cat! I tweeted few days ago, asking for help finding a white kitten for my son. Coincidentally during the same time @Roshm found a stray kitten down in Kataragama during a business trip there, and tweeted asking someone to help finding a home for the kitten. The most admired ‘cat specialist’ on Twitter, @Moshanthi was following both of us at that moment, and introduced two of us to come to a negotiation.

At first, there was a problem about the color of the kitten, as my son insisted on a white kitten (“Sudu Poosa – White Cat” is a character from one of his favorite storybooks). We decided not to adopt the grey kitten, thinking that the kid will not like the poor animal. We published an update on “Pets Are Family Too” Facebook page asking someone to volunteer adopting the ‘grey kitten from Kataragama’. Unfortunately, we could not find a home for the poor kitten through that channel as well.

Thursday, September 9, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Social Media is More Than Just “Likes” and “Tweets”


On many occasions, I was puzzled about why people are so much obsessed about the ‘like counts’ and ‘follower counts’ as measures of social media success. Particularly I get this feeling when looking at my Google Reader browser and going through hundreds of stories appearing there from various social media blogs I follow. How many posts we see about certain shortcuts to increase follower counts or likes count?

An interesting discussion took place this evening on Twitter, when someone tweeted saying “A twitter power user is one with over 100 followers and over 1000 tweets”. (This stat said to be coming from a survey, but unfortunately, I could not find any reference to such a survey by Googling for it with different search terms. If you know where to refer for the original survey, please post me a link).

The thinking that anyone over 100 followers and 1000 tweets will automatically qualifies to be a “power user” is part of the ‘bean counter paradigm’ where you try to quantify everything into numbers and generalize it.

Armed with information like this, we all get into the rat race of hunting for more followers and likes on Twitter and Facebook. Companies will throw thousands of dollars on sophisticated tools to automate tweeting, attract followers, and do what ever they can do to become “power tweeters”. In the end, your social media effort becomes merely a managing of a set of tools with the aim of attracting more followers and likes.

But are we really doing the right thing? One mistake most companies are doing is, taking “social media” as a technology subject. Some companies are a little bit better, and they mistake social media to be a marketing subject. But in my opinion (which may be wrong, and which also is supported by many other bloggers as well) social media is not about either technology (no way!) or about marketing. The most important aspect of social media essentially is its “social” element.

Who is a Power User?
Being social means; maintaining meaningful relationships with other members in the society, and mutually benefiting from such relationships. Being socially powerful, (a ‘power user’) means, having an ability to influence other people for behaving in a desired way. Think about socially powerful individuals in real life. Are they influential simply because they have 1,000 friends or because they wrote 10,000 articles to a weekend newspaper which has only a circulation of 1,000 copies? No. There are influential people in our society, who has the ability of convincing other people to behave in a certain desired way by engaging in a meaningful conversation with them. Some people are powerful, because they have close contacts to influential people. (A clerk at the president’s office may be socially influential largely than you or me)

Power users on social media are not different to this. More than the number of followers or tweets, what you have to focus on is their ability to influence followers for behaving in a desired way. The desired actions may be to Re-tweets, @reply, or to click on a link provided in your tweet.

Ability to Influence
Without this ability to influence, it is useless to have thousands of followers or tweeting 10,000 times. This is why I never endorse the cheap tactic of bulk following thousands of people on Twitter, with the hope of some of them start following you back. I have seen some brands, following about 2,000 people but only 100 or 200 are following them back. This doesn’t look good on your credibility. Anyone (with common sense) can guess, the 100 followers you are having are random people you collected through “follow back love”. If you build your follower base with this type of a strategy, you will invariably find it difficult to engage in a conversation with them, no matter if you tweet 1000 times or 10,000 times. So, does that make you a power user?

How to Build Your Twitter Power?
I always recommend you to be selective about who follows you. Define what you stand for on Twitter (Eg: I have defined myself as “Sri Lanka based marketing professional who also loves cricket”). Once you define what you stand for; you have to target followers with the same set of interests. This way, you slowly build up an audience who are receptive for what you tweet. Start with 10 followers; interact with them. Grow it to 50, then 100 and so forth. Never rush for numbers. Most people worry when someone unfollows them. I myself one who get delighted when people unfollow me. Because I know, if someone unfollows me, he/she doesn’t take my tweets as relevant for them. Better let them go, than just keeping for the sake of numbers.

In summary, I believe social media is not about numbers. It’s not about the likes and tweets. It’s all about human relationships, only happening on a different platform. Social media is not about technology. Technology is only an enabler of social media. Stop the obsession for having more “likes” on Facebook or more followers on Twitter. Start talking to people; be nice to them on Facebook, Twitter etc. Never forget to give a genuine thank you for a re-tweet. It’s all about giving and getting. If everyone focuses only on getting; there won’t be anyone to do the giving. Just be human. Be real. That is what social media is all about for me.

Photo Credit:

Originally posted on Like this blog? Get email updates when I post next time, or subscribe to the feed on a reader. Follow me on Twitter @Amisampath Please help improve the quality of this blog. Report any spelling or grammar mistake here
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

How To Organize A Successful Tweetup

successful tweetup

So you want to organize a Tweetup and want to know how to do it right? Organizing a successful Tweetup isn’t easy. Especially because we have very little knowledge about how to deal with different types of individuals who never met in their life before, the task of organizing a successful Tweetup becomes much more difficult. If you are someone having prior experience in organizing successful events, that might be for your advantage when drawing the initial line-up for the Tweetup event. But it’s not a guarantee for success. Tweetups are different and the factors behind their success are different from those of any other type of event.

I had the opportunity of being a part of TweetupSL, a successful Tweetup event concluded recently in Colombo. This was the first time a Tweetup event was held in Colombo, and no one expected it to be such a great success what it turned out to be in the end. As a co-organizer of the Event, I have gathered many insights about how to organize a successful Tweetup event, which I would love to share with you here.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

TweetupSL a Major Success (With Over 100 Tweeple Participating)

It finally happened! TweetupSL, the first ever public Tweetup for Sri Lankan tweeps.

An event which started off as casual meetup for few Sri Lankan Tweeps, quickly turned into a huge event. And it was a major success too. We had around 76 people RSVP, but in the end there were 109 people took part, to be precise.

A big thank goes out the other organizers @Udaraum @Moshanthi @Nazly @rebelinpurple @Mack005 @Milindat and never to forget Shihara and Sarath from @cocoveranda It was simply awesome!

I will later share some of the learning points for organizing a successful Tweetup, but for now will stop right here and share these pictures from the event.


Thursday, August 26, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Anatomy of an Online Brand Community. What Keeps a Brand Community Ticking?

otara gunawardena
FB Profile of Otara Gunawardene

Is it really important for a brand to have a feature rich community website with all the features of Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Flickr, packaged together, in order for you to build a devoted community of fans? Or, can we build a community around our brands even without having a corporate website for our company? What are the elements it requires to build an effective online brand community?

If you believe that, a website is a must have thing and rich features are the key to success in an online brand community; you are doing the mistake of forgetting the all important social aspects of a brand community. An online brand community is much more than a mere collection of rich website features. Beyond that, a community needs more sensitive social elements for holding the members together and to keep them engaged. If these essential social elements are in place, an online brand community can happen anywhere on the web, even without a dedicated community website.

Sunday, August 22, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Just Let Me Talk to a Human Being!

poor customer service

Have you ever experienced the annoying situation, where you have to go through a series of computer enabled IVR options to reach an actual human being, when you call a customer support center of a business you are a customer? Trust me, there is nothing worst a company can do to piss off their customers than sending them through this painful IVR menus.

This morning, I called my mobile operator’s customer support number to get a simple advice on “how do I fix my mobile internet connection settings?”, as I was having trouble in connecting to the internet using my mobile.

Guess what? This is the pain that I had to go through just to reach a ‘human voice’ on the other end.

A recorded welcome message, which take about 20 seconds to greet me, and then a series of IVR options to choose from, each taking about 5 to 10 seconds to play back.

Saturday, August 7, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

How To Track @ Replies on Twitter

@ replies

I was wondering about a way how I can getn an alert when someone @ mention me on Twitter. Ideally, I was looking for a way to get it as a text message, my Twitter handle is @ replied. But when someone @ mention you on Twitter, there's no way for you to get alerted as Twitter doesn't support text alerts for @ mentions. Isn't it really important to be in alert for who is @ mentioning you on Twitter? I remember, when we planned the TweetupSL, we used to @ mention a particular radio station a several times, but they never bothered to reply us. Later I realize, the radio station updates Twitter through Facebook, and they have simply left their Twitter followers unanswered. If you are tweeting for a brand this is a shame to let happen, isn't it?. Your customers are talking to you with @ mentions, but you never even know. Sole purpose of your brand being on social media is lost!

Mashable today posted "5 Free Ways to Never Miss a Twitter @Reply", which I believe is immensely helpful for anyone wishes to use Twitter for marketing communication. Check out the Mashable list here, and I personally recommend Twitstra and which I tested for myself.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

TweetupSL. The First Ever Public Tweetup in Sri Lanka

TweetupSL the first ever tweetup for Sri Lankan tweeps, will take place at Coco Veranda (32, Ward Place, Colombo 07). A big thank goes out to @Udaraumd, @Moshanthi and @Mack005 for take initiative to organize TweetupSL. @Cocoveranda is the venue sponsor for this Tweet up.

As a keen observer of social media for branding and marketing in Sri Lanka, I'm eagerly looking forward for the event. More than that, I'm interested in meeting some of the wonderful people I met over past few months, thanks to Twitter.
Monday, August 2, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Branding: What Matters Most?

personal branding

Branding; whether it is corporate or personal, is an art of managing what people 'think' and 'say' about you or your brand. In that sense, what matters most in branding? Here is my formula.

What matters most is what you think who you are. What matters next is what others say who you are. What matters least is what you 'say' who you are.

Unfortunately, most brands (personal or corporate) go on the exact opposite order of priority. They weight, 'what I say, who I am' as the most important factor in branding. Just look at an average TV commercial you see every day. It is guaranteed to be full of all 'self centric' corporate crap. Then talk (or chat) to an average 'personal brand' you know for quite a sometime. Again, you are most likely to be bombarded by a string of self-centric explanations of 'what I can do, and what I am planning to do'. Does this really matter?

Thursday, July 29, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Google Local Business Results in Colombo?

I finally managed to get the "Animal Clinic in Nugegoda" appearing on a Google map on the Google result page. This is still not the Google's Local business results, as they haven't still included Sri Lanka in their local business service. This result comes from Google's map maker.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

How We Made “Murali” Trending on Twitter

murali takes 800

It was a historic day for Sri Lankan cricket as the veteran off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan reached his 800th wicket in test cricket, most ironically with the last ball he delivered in a test cricket match. Can you expect a more dramatic retirement for a legend like Murali?

Sri Lankan Twitter community gathered around the hash tag #murali ever since last evening, and tweeted to each other about their feelings of the retiring cricket maestro. At one point, someone pointed “Murali” is trending on Twitter! So, we thought this is the best way, we; the Sri Lankan Tweeps can pay tribute to the greatest ever cricketer, the world has ever seen after, Don Bradman.

Thursday, July 22, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

7 Things You Should Do Before Calling the Facebook Police

facrbook sri lanka reported yesterday, “the police women and child’s bureau (Sri Lanka) has received over 50 complaints against the social networking website Facebook”. Below are some extracts of the news story, to set the tone for my today’s post.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Reading Between the Lines of Facebook’s Declaration of War Against Google Search

facebook search war against google revealed the news of “Facebook’s declaration of search war against Google”, creating some interesting arguments between Google fans and Facebook fans.

In my opinion, it is ridiculous to presume that what Facebook means as “search” is the same as what Google is currently offering. It is because of this stereotypical definition of ‘search’ that people tend to take lightly the challenge made by Facebook against Google. Critics of Facebook search ask typical questions like “do Facebook users use FB search as a search engine?” and “is user experience on FB search better than Google?” These are only questions, if you take Facebook’s challenge on from its literal meaning.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Are You Addicted to Negative Self-Talk?

I was reading a parenting guide couple of days ago, on which I learned that children tend to believe negative assessments about themselves from adults, and they develop an inferior self-assessment if you criticize them on a regular basis. For example, a child who gets used to hear “you are weak in math”, or who regularly get lower grades for the subject of math at school, will definitely develop into an adult who actually is weak in solving the simplest of math problems.

When I was thinking alone this line, I tend to realize that this is not only true with children, but also with adults. If we are not asleep, every one of us keeps on talking to someone, every single moment of the day. Just think about it. During the day, you talk to your work colleagues, friends, parents, schoolmates, children and strangers you meet at bank, bus stop, or in a store. If you are not talking to somebody else, you are talking to your self, which psychologists call as “self talking”.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Why Do Online Brand Communities Fail?

why do brand communities fail

One key objective for companies to participate in social media is to create an online community around their brand. Most brands do it right at the initial stage, when spotting the long-term advantages of building a hive of brand evangelists online, but the most common pitfall is at the selection of expected outcomes. Are you expecting a direct monetary benefit (cash/profit) by creating your community? Alternatively, are you just expecting increased brand awareness, which later may (or may not) convert into a monetary outcome? Your choice between these two options remains very important, when you measure the success or failure of your online community. In my opinion, most brand communities do not fail. Instead, they measure the success with a wrong yardstick. In the end, it boils down to a matter of “managing expectations”, rather than measuring the success or failure of the brand community. If you set expectations for one thing, and measure success with another thing; the answer would be crystal clear; you fail.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Are You Limiting the ‘Freedom of Replying’ of Your Customers?

Everyday, we get many emails from companies with the reply path set to “do-not-reply” or “no-reply” email addresses. When I receive emails with reply path set to a ‘do-not-reply’ sender, the frustration about the brand begins, even if I actually don’t want to reply them. To add more to this frustration, they add a few sentences to reiterate same annoying message.

“Note that this is an automated response, and replies to this email will not be viewed”

“If you have any questions, please visit us in the Help Center or join our user community for help”.

“This is an automated message. Replies sent to this address will not be delivered. If you need to contact us, please access ******’s Help Section and click the "Email Support" link to send us an email.”

Technology behind setting up an email server or an auto-responder is not rocket science anymore. It may not virtually cost them any extra penny. But still, these companies continue not to set up a working reply path to their outgoing emails.
Friday, June 4, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

The “Raavan” Factor: Why Amitabh Bachchan Decided to Skip the IIFA in Colombo?

From my childhood, I have heard the legend of Raavana in the Raamayan, which always signified the India-Sri Lanka relationships from the ancient age. But, who would have thought the legendary “Raavan” has a role to play in popular Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan’s decision to skip the forthcoming IIFA Award ceremony in Sri Lanka? Even though Big B is not going to tell you that is the case, I will tell you why I am saying such a thing so confidently. First, read on!
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

6 Mistakes Made by Companies When Doing Social Media Marketing

Observing the way how some companies use social media in their marketing mix, I identified six common mistakes done by most companies.
1. Trying to control the conversation

Admit the hard truth, that social media is different from TV or print advertising, or from any type of conventional marketing channels. You cannot dictate terms to people on social media. Rather than taking a “company – customer” approach, you have to look at it more like a peer-to-peer conversation. You must give enough room for your customer to speak, in the conversation.

2.Expecting people to come to them
No! Just setting up a fan page on Facebook, or creating a Twitter account will not do wonders with your brand on social media. It is not a magnet that attracts your customers. In social media marketing, you have to initiate the conversation and you have to go to where the customer is. Before you expecting your potential customers to follow you on Twitter, you have to follow some of them, monitor their discussions on social media and to see how often they talk about you and your industry. These are the starting points for you to engage your customers with your brand. I know a successful social media marketer, who answers most of the questions on Yahoo answers, which are related to their industry. They are not directly promoting their brand to the Yahoo answers users, but they genuinely help those people to solve their problems. By doing so; they are getting closer to their potential customers, and give those customers a reason to follow the brand closely.

Sunday, May 16, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

How to Create and Manage a Newsletter Using Feedburner

So, you are looking for a free alternative for bulk mail sending services like constant contact, aweber, mail chimp or icontact? You want to send emails to a bulk list of addresses? Did you think about how handy Google’s free Feedburner can be as a reliable bulk email sender? When I mean bulk email sending, I don’t mean the type of mails we receive with “cheap Viagra deals” or any similar spam mailers. I mean, a professional double opt in newsletter sending. I will guide you through how to use Feedburner to send bulk emails, but first let’s learn some of the basics.

Yes, Feedburner can be used as a free newsletter sending software, subject to few limitations. There are pros and cons of using Feedburner as a bulk mail sending tool.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

What Facebook’s New Platform Means for your Customers

Sams Teach Yourself Facebook in 10 Minutes
Mia Dand posted a summery of “What Facebook’s New Platform Means for your Business” which covers the new social features introduced by Facebook. The minute I saw her post's title, it occurred to me “what does it means for your customers?”.
Today I got a call from one of my friends, and he said “your picture is placed on CNN website”. I said “pardon?”. But it took a while for me to realize what has really happened. I visited this page on CNN website yesterday, and clicked on “recommend” button to test this new feature. Later, when my friend visited CNN website to read the news of his interest, he suddenly saw a section  called “friend’s activity”, under which my profile picture is appearing with the social actions I took on CNN website.

Makes perfect sense for CNN as a business isn’t it? CNN (with the help of Facebook) tracked my behavior, and recommended this page, to my friend who happened to visit a different page on CNN.Smart marketing!

Now let’s take look at it from a customer’s point of view.

For my friend, the page I “recommended” actually doesn’t have any relevance. He is from the banking industry, and very little he is interested about what Facebook is up to do next. He doesn't have a tiniest of interest about Facebook or social media marketing. Just because we are “friends” on Facebook, that doesn’t necessarily means we always share the same interests.

Saturday, April 24, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

What Motivates People to Participate in Social Media?

Sometime back, I initiated a discussion thread on the topic “What Motivates People to Be Highly Engaged in a Community?” on Richard Millington’s community site "Commania".  This discussion created one of the liveliest threads on Commania, which brought quite a lot of interesting insights into,what really keep motivating people in actively participating in online communities.

Having an idea of what drives the most active participants in a community is important for a community manager to keep the liveliness of the community. If it is said that only 1% of the users of Social Media, actively contribute for content creation; then, isn’t it important to know what motivates this 1%? If you know the factors driving these people, you can intensify the existence of such factors, and hence increase the level of participation.

I’ve researched several literature written on human motivation, and summarized some of the salient drivers in a self explanatory model.(Click on the image to view it in full size)

Before participating actively in social media, one must have an intention of doing so. Even if you have the intention, sometimes the situational factors can cease you from actively participating in the community.

Your intention to participate can arise from either intrinsic factors or extrinsic factors.

Intrinsic motivation refers to motivation embedded in the action itself (comes within the individual), rather than from external rewards such as money or recognition. Intrinsic motivation comes from the pleasure of completing the task satisfactorily. On the other hand, extrinsic motivation refers to the motivation coming outside the individual. These are external factors such as money or recognition. For example, a person might engage in a certain action because of the monetary benefits that he could gain by completing the action. These rewards provide satisfaction and pleasure, that the action/task itself may not provide.

Personality of an individual plays a major role, whether he/she is motivated mostly by intrinsic factors or by extrinsic factors. A person with a highly extroverted personality, might be more likely to be motivated by factors like recognition, reciprocity, and affiliation, whereas a person with a more introverted personality might not be interested in such factors.

Defining Some of the Concepts in the Model

Altruism (as defined in Wikipedia) is selfless concern for the welfare of others.

Peter Kollock (1999) suggests, a person is motivated to contribute valuable information to the group in the expectation that one will receive useful help and information in return. Indeed, there is evidence that active participants in online communities get more responses faster to questions than unknown participants. He identifies three major reasons for why people actively participate in online communities. 

Anticipated reciprocity., A user is motivated to contribute to the community in the expectation that he will receive useful help and information in return.

Increased recognition., individuals want recognition for their contributions. The desire for prestige is one of the key motivations for individuals’ contributions in an online community.

Sense of efficacy., Individuals may contribute because the act results in a sense that they have had some effect on the community.

Other Resources

This presentation by Trebor Scholz, on the topic “Motivating People to Participate” is one of the most resourceful information I found on the internet about this topic.

Dawn Foster of Fast Wonders blog writes about “What Motivates Participants to Engage in Online Communities”, which I thought as quite comprehensive too.

[Way] back in 2006, Kelly Nuxoll writes about “What Motivates People to Participate in Online Communities?” on

If you have any other helpful resources on this topic, please feel free to leave a comment, or post a link to a related web resource.

Originally posted on Like this blog? Get email updates when I post next time, or subscribe to the feed on a reader. Follow me on Twitter @Amisampath 
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Building Professional Relationships with Social Media

Although I was not one of the first Facebook users, I do consider myself to be an early adopter of social media. With friends spread out all over the US and the world, I started using it from a personal perspective, to keep in touch with people. Then, when I joined Twitter in April of 2008, I started to see how social media is also valuable for business – I figured I would use it to keep up on industry news, raise the profile of my company, and see what other legal marketers were talking about.

While I do use Twitter and other social media channels for all of that, I quickly learned the most important thing about social media: it’s all about relationships. Some people might say that I’m biased to look for that as a theme, because my company, the International Lawyers Network (ILN), is an association of law firms worldwide, and it, too, is all about relationships. But I’ve been especially struck by this theme over the past few months as I’ve traveled to both legal industry and social media conferences.

One of the things that has been drilled into me during law firm client panels since I joined the ILN five and a half years ago is that "clients hire lawyers, not law firms," essentially saying that it's all about relationships. This was backed up again by a client panel I attended while at the Legal Marketing Association’s conference in March, where the panelists talked about how important chemistry is when choosing a lawyer to hire. But this principle doesn't just apply to law firms - everyone makes purchasing decisions based on chemistry. For example, if I'm looking for a new web designer for our group's website, I'm going to want to work with someone I trust, someone who understands my personality and how I work, as well as what I want to communicate through the site. Where will I find those people? My starting point is always my personal and professional networks – I ask other people that I trust in the industry who they’ve worked with and who they think will do a good job by posting a query on our industry listserv, putting a call for help out on Twitter, and even asking my networks through a status update on Facebook and LinkedIn. That gives me a short list to do my research – for that, I’ll go online and Google the companies. I’ll visit their websites and see who their clients are, and then take a look at their clients’ sites to see if they fit in with my company’s style. I’ll check to see if they have a blog so I know what they’re talking about and maybe I’ll even see if they are on Twitter. I’ll look for an individual at each of those companies to connect with online at LinkedIn. And that’s when it comes down to chemistry – who can I work with? Of course, I’ll set up phone calls or meetings if they’re located nearby to talk with them about my project, but checking out their online profiles first can give me insight into the type of culture at the company, the personality of the person, and whether we can work together. You’ll notice that I didn’t mention finding out if they have the appropriate skills – it’s assumed that when I get to my final list, everyone on it will be talented. So the differentiation is about their relationship with me, not their abilities. This process applies both in my personal and my professional life and I've talked to others who feel the same, so when working with my own clients, I always try to think about how I would want to be approached.

If I’m talking to my networks and doing my initial research online, most likely, a lot of other people are doing the same, so I have to ensure that my company’s online profile and relationships are solid. We have a website that’s regularly updated with our member firm news and links to our blog, where I talk about issues in the legal industry that my audience wants to hear about. I don’t just push out news about my company – I’m trying to engage with my audience in each post, to give them something of value, and get them to think about the topic and contribute to the discussion. I use Twitter to point people to my blog, but again, also to engage. I read what people are talking about, ask them questions, pass along their blogs and comment on their posts. Some of these people are now on my list of Facebook friends, where they get an even deeper insight into my personal life and get to know me beyond my professional role. On LinkedIn, I connect with other professionals, both in and out of the ILN and share news with them, participate in our ILN group by starting discussions, asking questions, and providing relevant content. By making myself and my company relevant and valuable to our audience, I raise the profile of the ILN and position the group to be top of mind when someone in that audience needs assistance, either from me or one of our attorneys.

But you don’t need to wait until you need to hire someone or you need someone to hire your company to network and form relationships with people in your own industry. I have gained and continue to gain so much from the relationships I have formed with other talented, passionate people in the legal marketing industry and last month’s conference showed me that very clearly. Social media also played a large role in enhancing my experience at the conference itself, and was best explained by legal marketer, Heather Milligan, in a post on her blog, The Legal Watercooler. By connecting with people through social media channels like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and then taking those relationships offline and meeting my contacts in person, I am able to build friendships that inspire me professionally, support me personally, and give me a collective expertise to draw on among people I already trust.

I came away from the Legal Marketing Association conference and more recently, from Social Fresh Portland, with a lot of good ideas and excitement about future projects thanks to the sessions and the people I interacted with there. But overwhelmingly for me, my greatest takeaway has been about the relationships - whether you're connecting online through social media, in person at a conference or cocktail party, or over the phone, it's all about engaging people and finding that right chemistry. Not only can it lead to business (and it doesn't have to), but it enhances my life in many other intangible ways.

This is a guest post by Lindsay Griffiths. Lindsay is a marketer and an events planner for the International Lawyers Network; an association of 91 high-quality, full-service law firms with over 5,000 lawyers worldwide.  She is officially a runner, and blogs about her running career at "Run Lindsay Run". You can contact Lindsay by tweeting her @ LindsayGriffith
 (If you wish to publish a guest post on Ami’s Space; drop me an email at amitha@ this domain)

Related Books on Amazon
Invisible Bridges: Building Professional Relationships for Results

Saturday, April 17, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

25% Of Search Results On Google For The World’s Top 20 Brands, Link To User Generated Content

SES magazine (June 2009) featured an interesting article titled “Turning Blogs and User-generated Content Into Search Engine Results” (by Chris Aarons, Andru Edwards, & Xavier Lanier), which reveals a rather shocking statistic for many conventional brand managers. As stated in this article, according to MarketingVox and Nielsen BuzzMetrics, “More than 25 percent of search results on Google for the world’s 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content.”

This is going to be bad news for the brand managers, who believe they are in the center of the universe and they control everything about the brand that they manage. Apparently, it’s not you who is going to decide at least 25% of the things said about your brand on Google search results. Your customers; both happy and frustrated, will add at least 25% of the content appearing in these Google search engine result pages (SERPs). Yes; this includes the lot you have frustrated with your last brand blunder!

Saturday, April 10, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Facebook Language Change PDF - Leaked Document

Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Dialog Launches “Twitter Via Text” in Sri Lanka

Today, Dialog Telekom (@dialogtelekom) the Sri Lanka's largest mobile communication operator announced the news of introducing Twitter via Text service to Sri Lanka for the first time. With this, Sri Lanka becomes only the third country in the Asian region, to support Twitter via SMS, after India and Indonesia. This is expected to be a huge boost for the popularity of micro-blogging concept in Sri Lanka, with millions of Dialog customers are now being able to tweet form their mobile.

Twitter in Sri Lanka, is not as much as popular like Facebook, who dominates the social networking in the country. Most Sri Lankans use, Facebook status as a micro-blogging tool while only a fraction of the market have signed up with Twitter. Businesses too, have identified Facebook as a handy marketing tool, but Twitter marketing in Sri Lanka is still in its infancy stage.

How to activate Twitter via Text in Sri Lanka?

From your Dialog mobile, type START and send a text message to 40404. You will receive a confirmation, requesting you to reply with your Twitter username (if you already have an account) or reply with SIGNUP, to create a new Twitter account. Once you tweet your username to Dialog, they will reply asking you to reply with your password. If the password is correct, they'll request you to confirm by replying with OK, to use your mobile number with Twitter. 

Once the above steps are followed, you are now all set on Twitter SMS. You can now tweet, by simply sending text messages to o manage your Twitter via SMS; go to "Devices" in your Twitter home page.

Related Readings:
Twitter Marketing: An Hour a Day
Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time
Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

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