Archive for 2011

Google+ Pages Contest and Promotion Policies

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It is now the yesterday’s news that Google+ has launched and equivalent product for Facebook brand pages. Companies around the world are flocking around Google+ to create their brand profiles. Already I’ve seen Mobitel and Dialog has already created their Google+ profiles and in time to come we will see more local and international brands joining the race to convince us to add them to our circles. 

But how are they supposed to convince us? It’s not much difficult to guess, an intuitive strategy would be to run a promotion on Google+ to drive more followers to a brand page. We’ve seen this happening on Facebook, and I’ve blogged several times about how badly some brands violate the guidelines set by Facebook for promotions. Could this be happening on Google+ pages as well? 

Before you think of running a promotion for your page on Google+ to attract more followers, be informed that just as that there are policies for running a promotion on Facebook; Google+ has also laid down some ground rules for running contests and promotions on their platform. You can find their official Google_ Pages contest and promotions policies on this page
Friday, November 11, 2011
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Learning Social Media From කජුවත්ත එක්සත් Cricket සමාජය (Kajuwatte Eksath Cricket Samajaya)

කජුවත්ත එක්සත් Cricket සමාජය (Kajuwatte Eksath Cricket Samajaya) is the latest talking point on Facebook. I see at least 10 comics or other funny content shared by my Facebook friends, which links back to කජුවත්ත එක්සත් Cricket සමාජය (Kajuwatte Eksath Cricket Samajaya) Facebook page.

All though I do not have a clue about the guys working behind this title, I must say that they are enjoying some decent amount of ‘Social Media Love’ from Facebook users in Sri Lanka. I believe the name originated from this particular episode of ‘Mobitel Fan Talk’, which was aired during Cricket World Cup 2011.

The page gives us few good social media marketing lessons. Facebook recently introduced a new KPI to measure level of engagement of a Facebook page. This new index measures how many “people are talking about” your Facebook page during past 7 days. Why this number is important? Because, people will talk about your Facebook page (your brand on Facebook) only if you deliver ‘talk worthy content’ on your page. This matrice will significantly improve, if people start sharing the content originally uploaded/posted on your Facebook page. කජුවත්ත එක්සත් Cricket සමාජය (Kajuwatte Eksath Cricket Samajaya) is a prime example of how ‘compelling content’ can encourage engagement. As at the time of writing this post, කජුවත්ත එක්සත් Cricket සමාජය (Kajuwatte Eksath Cricket Samajaya) is having only 14,000 odd “Likes” but 82,000 people are talking about them. A quick look at some the most popular Sri Lankan Facebook pages with over 50,000 ‘Likes’ are struggling to pass the 2,000 mark in the index for ‘people are talkin about’.
Monday, October 31, 2011
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Cheapest Android Smartphones in Sri Lanka: 10 Androids You Can Buy Below Rs. 34,999/-

Looking to buy an Android Smartphone but don’t want to spend a lot of money? Here’s the top 10 Android Smartphones you can buy in Sri Lanka, under Rs. 34,999/-! Yes, that’s if you have a budget of Rs.35,000/- for an Android Smartphone, you still  have 10 options to compare.

Smart phones in Sri Lanka are not still cheap. Still, Rs.35,000/- is quite a big amount of money for an average Sri Lankan, so this give way for cheap Chinese feature phones in the price range of Rs.3,000 to 15,000. Most people go for these cheap ‘look-alike’ Chinese phones, thinking that they are functionally similar to popular smart phone makes like BlackBerry or iPhone. “Every cellular phone which comes with  a QWERTY keyboard is not a BlackBerry”. (Unfortunately, there is a segment of the market in Sri Lanka who believe it’s the same). This is a market education requirement, which need to be addressed by the mobile phone operators in Sri Lanka.

Coming back to the topic of this post, let me list down the top 10 cheapest Android phones in Sri Lanka.

Monday, October 10, 2011
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

You Should Never Adopt Social Media Marketing at Your Company

  1. Your products are having identified bugs but you don’t have a proper plan to fix them
  2. You believe numbers are more important than customers
  3. Your senior managers are overly obsessed with old school thinking of “uniform brand communications” and want you to filter each and every tweet, Facebook update, to qualify a certain checklist of guidelines.
  4. You believe grammar and spelling mistakes on blogs, tweets, and Facebook updates are serious sins.
  5.  You plan to hire a high-end production house to shoot your Youtube videos
  6. You want to take legal actions against a blogger on charges of copyright violations, for uploading your 1994 TV commercial to his Youtube account.
  7. You don’t have time and people to reply comments made by your customers on your Facebook page.
  8. You believe social media is free
Have more thoughts on why you should never adopt Social Media Marketing? Add as comments.

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
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

How Useful Social Media is For a Newly Launched Brand?

Today, I’m going to take one more unanswered questions from the workshop.

QUESTION: Than scanning an existing brand on social networks; what if there is a very new brand coming into the market & how useful will social media be?

I believe this question was asked by someone who found the “social listening” session a little bit irrelevant. Yes, if your brand is a new player in the market, quite obviously you can skip the “social scanning” steps for your brand name. However, you might still find it important to perform a social media scanning for your industry or for your competitors. By monitoring what consumers say about your competitor brands, you can gain some useful business insights.

If your ‘new brand’ is totally a new product (in a blue ocean; rather than in a red ocean), I suggest Social Media is the best platform to launch your product (depending on your target audience of course. If it’s a total new solution for harvesting paddy, forget about using Facebook to market it to farmers in rural villages).
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe
Tag :

How to Use the Facebook Contact Importer Tool for an Existing Fan Page

Just two days passed after another Social Media Marketing workshop in Colombo, and I’m back to blogging to keep a promise I made to the participants of Saturday’s workshop.

Yes, I made a promise to you that I will finish answering all unanswered questions from the audience, by posting my answers as blog posts here. There can be hundreds of others with the same questions as you, so I believe this will be for the benefit of so many other people like you.

I’ve got 11 unanswered questions and in this post, I’m going to tackle one such question.

QUESTION: If my FB page is already set-up, how do I upload my contacts to the page? As per the ‘import contacts’ option, [which appears] while the page is being set up?

Well, I believe the question is about “How to use the Facebook Contact Importer Tool for a Page That Already Been Created?”.

Here is a step by step guide, to find the “Contact Importer” feature on a Facebook page.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

What is This Facebook Subscribe Button?

Facebook recently ‘relaxed’ another level of user privacy on their social network by introducing the whole new ‘Subscribe’ Button on personal profiles.

Facebook Subscribe button allows you to get updates from people who are not in your friends list. You are by default get subscribed to your friends, while having the option of subscribing to non-friends status updates.

The intended usage of this new Facebook Subscribe Button is to allow people to stay in touch with public status updates from the personal profiles of celebrities, journalists and other public figures. I subscribed to Pete Cashmore’s (Mashable) updates this evening, allowing me to read all the publicly shared updates from Pete, on his personal Facebook profile. Earlier, Facebook introduced ‘Profile Migration’ for celebrities and public figures, allowing them to convert their personal Facebook profiles (with thousands of friends) into public figure pages on Facebook. This ended up being a nightmare for most public figures and celebrities who tried the migration option. I believe, this new Facebook Subscribe Button on personal profiles is another feature Facebook introduced to solve the same problem. For example, a celebrity or a public figure now can maintain their own personal Facebook profile (not a fan page) to be in touch with their real-life friends and to be in touch with their fans. All they have to do is activating the subscribe option on their personal Facebook profile for the benefit of the fans. When they update their status, they can choose whether to share it only among their friends, or to share it as a public update.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe
Tag :

7 Most Common Wrong Things Companies Do With Facebook Promotions

My last posting about ‘using Facebook for marketing’ received some valuable feedback, both as comments and direct feedback via email. Many companies, who have been doing this type of promotions, admitted that they were not aware of most of these Facebook promotional guidelines. In most of the cases, freelancers carried out such promotions as outsourced projects.

It is perfectly ok to outsource your Facebook marketing efforts, but someone from your brand team must keep an eye on the way your brand been portrayed on Facebook. For example, violating Facebook promotional guidelines may not cause you legal damages, or your page may not (at least immediately) be banned by Facebook for doing so. However, the negative brand image created by such promotions should of concern for the brand manager. Moreover, the vulnerability of someone else abusing your brand name to conduct fake promotions and spam Facebook users is very high, if you don’t adhere to certain level of quality in your Facebook marketing campaigns.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Social Media Marketing - Full Day Workshop on 24th September 2011

Those of you who keep asking me about when will I conduct a Social Media Marketing workshop; here's a good news.

Epitom Consulting is organizing a full day workshop on Social Media Marketing, and I will be the resource person for the event.  Epitom is a reputed company organizing training workshops in Colombo, and I joined hands with them for adding a range of Social Media and eMarketing related topics for their public workshop calendar.

The workshop planned for 24th September, is an entry level 'boot camp' for Social Media newbies. Our effort is to get more Sri Lankan marketers involved in Social Media, and conduct more engaging evening sessions on more focused topics in the Social Media domain.

Visit Epitom website for more details about the workshop or call them on 0114 37 4280 / 81 for registration inquiries.

Sunday, September 4, 2011
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Sri Lanka Reaches 1 Million Users on Facebook

According to, last night Sri Lanka became the 76th country to reach 1 million users on Facebook. This happened, somewhere during last 48 hours, as the recorded figure stood around 997,600 when I last checked it on Tuesday.

Awesome, isn’t it? But what’s so significant about this?

Having 1 million Facebook users means, one out of every 20 Sri Lankans are now having a Facebook account. This is a penetration of 4.66% into Sri Lanka’s entire population. Keep in mind, the user base is heavily skewed towards the western province and Colombo city in particular where the internet penetration is at highest. A brand which is heavily targeting this demography should start looking at Facebook as a more serious tool to have in their communications toolkit.

A common myth among most Sri Lankan brand managers is, to believe that Facebook is a place where the teenagers hangout. Following graph will show you that, only about 13% of the total Facebook users from Sri Lanka are under the age of 18. A significant majority of 74% of the users are in the age group of 18 to 34. In comparison, a market like Indonesia is having a 27% of users on Facebook, under the age of 18.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Google Plus Understands Your Social Relationships

Last few days I have been sandboxing with this latest ‘Facebook killer’ released by Google. It is a widely known fact that Google is having serious perceptional barriers to overcome at the launch of Google +, due to the blunders, they made in their previous attempts to tap into the social frontier (in other words ‘to kill Facebook’). Everybody knows what happened to Google Wave, and nobody cares what actually is happening with Google Buzz. So, what’s the big deal with Google +?

Besides my negative prejudices about Google’s ability to conquer the ‘social frontier’, I was pleasantly surprised when I spent few hours playing around with the new Google + interface.

Circles Makes Sense

One of the coolest features on Google + is their flagship feature “Circles”. One might argue, this is the same feature as “friends lists” on Facebook, but Google + Circles keep you in better control in managing different social circles you are a part of.

Where did Google + Circles come from? The whole idea behind Google + Circles, links back to the ideas of ‘social graph’ and ‘social clusters’. The social graph of a person, describe how he/she is related to the other human beings on earth, and how they acquired those relationships. Your social graph is a collection of ‘social clusters linked to each other by what it called a ‘weak tie’. A weak tie is a common member of two or more social clusters, who can bring them together at anytime. These weak ties act as a message carriers in between two or more social clusters, that they are a member. 

The world is connected with weak ties between distant social clusters

Sunday, July 3, 2011
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Things You Must Know Before Using Facebook for Marketing

If creating a Facebook page and running an ad to promote it, is everything about Facebook marketing; my grandmother would have made a good social media marketer if she lived in this day. Unfortunately, we see people using Facebook for marketing, as if they are using their grandmother’s wisdom for doing it.

I’ve been telling this over and over again; social media marketing is becoming spoiled day by day, simply because of the lack of integrity, lack of marketing touch, and lack of professionalism among the people who handles this. Not anyone who knows how to set up a Facebook page or a Twitter account is a social media marketer. Marketing is a profession, as well as a well-established body of knowledge. Social Media is only a tool, to execute this vast body of knowledge. However, unfortunately in Sri Lanka (and most places of the world where Social Media is less evolved), the task of running a company’s social media marketing presence, is assigned to the least qualified bunch of people to do that; the techies. This derives from the common myth that “Internet belongs to engineers” (because they created it??). To add fuel to the fire, the average marketing professional in any given company are way too much backward when it comes to dealing with new technology, so the job defaults to the guy who is most comfortable with the media.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Social Media Beyond Just Marketing (Refresh Colombo February 2011 - Video)

Saturday, February 26, 2011
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Make LOVE on Social Media!

It’s Valentine's Day, and isn’t it the right time for your brand to make some LOVE on Social Media? You’ve heard, your customers are already on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare so it’s your turn to catch up with them if you already haven’t. Here’s what you have to do. Make LOVE!

LOVE - Listen, Observe, Voice, Engage

Sunday, February 13, 2011
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

eMarketing for Travel & Tourism Trade - Photos from the Workshop

Workshop Title: eMarketing for Travel & Tourism Trade
Date & Venue: On 12th February 2011, at Galle Face Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Speakers: Suranga Priyashantha & Amitha Amarasinghe
No of Participants: 25 participants from some of the leading hotel chains, boutique hotels, travel agencies and airlines in Sri Lanka

Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

ANNOUNCEMENT: Change of Event Venue

ANNOUNCEMENT: Please note that the venue of eMarketing for Sri Lanka Travel Trade - One Day Workshop has been changed to Gall Face Hotel (Room: Lotus D). Event will commence at 9 am and will go till 5 pm
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Workshop: Internet Marketing for Travel & Tourism Trade. On 12th February 2011

ANNOUNCEMENT: Please note that the venue of eMarketing for Sri Lanka Travel Trade - One Day Workshop has been changed to Gall Face Hotel (Room: Lotus D). Event will commence at 9 am and will go till 5 pm
Travel and Tourism sector is one of the main industries in the world which is being positively impacted by the Internet usage of their customers and online implementations by excising business firms at different stages of their value delivery chains. But the tourism industry in Sri Lanka is still not getting the maximum benefit of these trends due to many reasons and the knowledge gap in the industry on Internet Marketing appears to be one of the top among these reasons. The main objective of this workshop is to narrow this knowledge gap enabling the decision makers and implementers to confidently put their ideas, plans, and strategies into action in the field of eMarketing and eCommerce.

Who Should Attend this Workshop?

CEOs/Directors/MDs/GMs/Senior Managers/Executive Staff who are involved in the decision making and implementation in sales, marketing, advertising, public relations, direct sales, online sales and marketing, online distribution, eCommerce, website management and maintenance or any other type of activity which contribute towards reaching the end customers and/or intermediaries of Hotels, Airlines, Travel agencies , Tour operators and any other business type in the travel and tourism sector.

Workshop Dates and Venue

12th February 2011 (Saturday), from 8.30 am to 5.00 pm at the Auditorium of OLAK Group, T.B.Jayah Mawatha (Darly Road), Colombo 10, Sri Lanka.
ANNOUNCEMENT: Please note that the venue of eMarketing for Sri Lanka Travel Trade - One Day Workshop has been changed to Gall Face Hotel (Room: Lotus D). Event will commence at 9 am and will go till 5 pm

Registration Fee and Procedure
Rs 5,900 per person (Inclusive of lunch, refreshments, stationary and other materials)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Cricket World Cup 2011 Will Become the First Ever ‘Social World Cup’

I still can remember watching the 1992 cricket world cup as a 12-year-old schoolboy. Technology wasn’t no way near what it is today during those days and I remember we talked about the ‘stump vision’ camera as quite an achievement of the history of technology. Most of the matches were not live telecasted here in Sri Lanka as the cost of television rights and satellite downlinks were not justifiable for national TV to go for a full coverage of the tournament. We did not have SMS news alerts or either, to get regular updates about the matches. As a result, we got to know the results of some of the matches Sri Lanka played in the group stage only after watching the 8.00pm newscast on TV. The only person I was able to ‘discuss cricket’ during those days, was my (then) 85 years old grand mother. Yes, my grand mother was a great fan of cricket, so we both sat together to watch the match on TV.

Friday, January 21, 2011
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Coco Veranda – A Sri Lankan Example of a Brand Well Peopleized

coco veranda
If you read my last blog post describing the concept of “peopleizing” a brand, you might come up with the intuitive question “is this possible?”. You might ask, are there brands who have managed to do this already?

As it’s the case with any new concepts, you won’t find dozens of practical examples at the initial stages as the concept itself requires lots more improvements and modifications based on practical insights. However, I can give you a one good practical example from a Sri Lankan café located in Colombo 07000; Coco Veranda.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

Peopleizing Your Brand – Moving Beyond Positioning


Segmenting, Targeting and Positioning had been the long-standing steps of formulating a brand’s entire marketing strategy. Out of these three steps in the strategic marketing decision making process, I believe ‘positioning’ is the most important step which could differentiate your brand from the competition. According to Al Ries and Jack Trout, the pioneering authors who coined the word “positioning” into marketing vocabulary, positioning involves ‘owning a word in the prospect’s mind’. This is such a powerful definition of the word ‘positioning’ in marketing context, as it cleverly summarize how (and why) Apple computers is so strongly positioned as the ‘innovator’ in the industry. It wasn’t just coincidence how Apple became synonymous with ‘innovation’. It was part of their years long strategy, to own the word ‘innovative’ in the minds of prospective computer (and gadget) buyers.

I will not discuss about positioning in detail, as my topic for this post is about ‘moving beyond positioning’. I highly recommend you to read (if you haven’t already) the book “Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind” by Al Ries and Jack Trout, which I believe is the greatest marketing book ever written in the 20th century. Even after 30 years of it’s first publication, most of the points Ries and Trout raised in the book are still valid for this social media era.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe

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