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Kung Hei Fat Choi

Kung Hei Fat Choi, Happy New Year

Social: Media vs. Networking. What is What?

Social Media and Networking are online. Both involve friending / connecting, liking, sharing, posting, profiles… the list of similarities can go on and on. But where they differ and where the grey area ends and distinct lines are drawn varies.

This question reminds me of one that I was asked in a class at uni, studying critical thinking. It goes like this:

Can you describe a duck?
Can you describe a cat?
Now, can you tell someone who has never seen either, how they can tell the difference when they are placed side by side?

And then…
Can you describe a cat?
Can you describe a dog?
Now, can you tell someone who has never seen either, how they can tell the difference when they are placed side by side?

Social Media and Social Networking can easily be popped into this thinking exercise. It is quite easy to tell you what social media is and how it differs from traditional media, just as it is easy to tell you what social networking is and how it differs from traditional networking, but contrast the two and then tell the difference – not so easy now, is it?

Both are online. Both involve friending/connecting, liking, sharing, posting, profiles… the list of similarities can go on and on. But where they differ and where the grey area ends and distinct lines are drawn varies. I have read a great number of articles and this is what I conclude: It is about intent. Your goal. What are you trying to get from the platform and in what capacity are you using it? I truly believe that a single platform can be Social Media for one person or business and Social Networking for another.

The intent of Social Media is One-to-Many, while
the intent of Social Networking is One-to-One.

What does this mean?

Sure, some platforms are purely Social Media; YouTube and Vimeo for example, where the video qualifies it as media and the functionalities to comment, share, and like, qualify it as social. But it stands alone, no matter who publishes the content, the video is there. Pure. Social. Media.

A chat room, on the other hand, would be strictly social networking (admittedly and generally speaking not quality or safe networking, but pure networking nonetheless) where people speak to one another and engage in conversation.

But hybrid products such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and the like allow you to make them what you will – they bend and mold themselves to your intent.

Example A: Ashton Kutcher, the most famous Twitterer of all time. His Twitter account is Social Media – a way to promote and bolster fame by making him socially accessible. Giving him a public voice. Twitter is his microphone. He is speaking at you, not actually to you. Like a presenter or a politician. He is not engaging with all 16.6 million followers. He does not want to. He couldn’t. Is he connecting with Hollywood directors, relying on his twitter connection to score an audition? Using twitter to collaborate with other artists on new projects? Nope.

Example B: Adam Rifkin, LinkedIn Super Networker, self-described as Undercaffeinated and Overconnected. Don’t know him? Type “Adam” in the search box and he is #3. He has more than 3,000 connections, can connect with more than 15 million people through his personal network, and has 23,973 followers. Adam uses his LinkedIn account to connect with people, present himself as an expert in his field, and communicate with people directly. He has written a great article about how to be a Power Networker, but what I find most poignant is, “A good rule of thumb is to connect with at least 1 and up to 3 people every day. More than 3 means you’re not connecting deeply enough.”

Do you see the difference? It doesn’t mean that you have to make a solid decision and only use networks in a single way. The platforms are hybrids and your strategy can be too. What is important is that you can understand and define the nuances of your social activities so that you can reconcile them against the performance indicators of your strategy/campaign – and get the most out of your efforts!

Example C: A restaurant creates a Facebook page. They utilize the page to promote a seasonal menu, daily specials and events, contests and updates, (Media) etc. But, the manager of the restaurant also takes a moment each day to communicate directly with 2 patrons, from wishing them a happy birthday, responding to a complaint in the public forum, or open conversations about ideas for new menu items (Networking). A hybrid plan.

Get it? Good.

Hong Kong Singapore Virtual Assistant

If you want a hand creating the right strategy for you or your business, call us today and set up a Strategy Session or Personal Workshop.

Does Banner Advertising Work?

Banner advertising can be an effective method to promote both your business and brand awareness if all the necessary factors are met.  I can advise however, adding an unprofessional looking banner to an unrelated website in order to advertise your services will meet none of these requirements, and be a total waste of your efforts.

In order to meet the continuity of your branding requirements, make sure the banner or banners encompass the logo, colour and overall feel of your website.  If you do not have the necessary graphic skills to create a professional looking banner then it is certainly worth paying the money to have someone create them for you.  Obvious home-made banners will not inspire confidence in those interested in your product or service and will lessen your CTR (click through rate) effectiveness.  Opt for packages which offer a variety of designs in a range of shapes and sizes so you are prepared when sourcing your ad placement.

The second most important factor for an effective banner advertising program is advertising relevance.  If you are promoting a website aimed at women then it is pointless advertising on a website which attracts men and vice versa.  Know your target audience and find websites which attract that audience.  Alternatively advertise on websites in which your target audience may visit in order to find the service or product you are promoting.

Weighing in the cost of the advertising will help you make decisions about the effectiveness of the advertising you do, although this information is only generally discovered after the event.  However, it will help you plan any future advertising promotions from that point forward.  Smaller websites may charge less and be more suitable for start up businesses not particularly concerned with the number of visitors who may view the site.  Businesses looking to expand their customer base may have to dig deeper into their pocket to place banners on more popular sites in order to reach a wider target audience.

Research, patience and a little trial and error will pave the way to a better understanding of banner advertising and ultimately create a program which works for you.


Part 1: What is Banner Advertising?

​Banner advertising is a form of advertising on the Internet and entails embedding an advertisement into a web page. The purpose of banner advertising is usually to increase awareness of the advertiser’s brand, service or product – just like an advertisement in a magazine. A banner advertisement is usually linked to the advertiser’s website or web page.

We have all seen banner advertising and probably been generally annoyed by it at times – or perhaps you simply tune it out. I have heard time and time again, “I don’t know why anyone ever places a banner ad anymore; I just ignore them.” or “I’ve never clicked one.” Well, I’ll tell you why – statistically, they still work. Also, with new algorithms continually being developed, you have probably noticed that the ads that are being delivered to your screen are now more relevant and engaging than ever before, they are working better than ever before! You have probably seen it most noticeably on facebook (and maybe been a bit creeped out by it)… you do a quick airfare search for a weekend getaway. By some presumably psychic-code-driven connection, your feed is instantly filled with hotel ads at the desired location. Spooky? Nope. Targeted.

Fact is, regardless of your personal feelings about banner advertising, they aren’t going anywhere, and if you run a small business/SME – banners will offer you a lot of bang for your buck, in more ways than one.

This article is the first of five, so stay tuned and check back in for updates.

Part 1: What is Banner Advertising? (this article)
Part 2: Does Banner Advertising Work?
Part 3: Banner Advertising Knowledge Centre – understanding the basics of an advertising conversation (Coming Soon!)
Part 4: Buying Space: How to Make Banner Advertising Work for You (Coming Soon!)
Part 5: Selling Space: How to Put Banner Advertising to Work for You (Coming Soon!)

The Importance of File Management

File management is an important topic for any office environment and was touched upon recently in our article discussing 8 Tips to Office Management. As this is something which is imperative to an effective office, it is important to broach the subject of electronic and paper files in more detail.

Electronic Files

Many people fail to realise that having even a simple filing system on their computer will save time when referencing or creating similar documents for their business purposes. The simplest way to distinguish between files is to separate personal and business related documents and to have a standard method of saving each individual document for ease.

An effective way to set this up is to jot down the proposed system on paper to ascertain what will work best for your organisation. Try to keep the process as simple as possible without resorting to multi-level folders within folders which can become messy and time consuming. Whether you choose to file by year, client or specific title such as invoice or receipts is dependent on the type of business you run.

It is also imperative to have some kind of system for filing email messages within your email system. As business owners rely more and more on electronic mail, it is important to be able to quickly locate any important email for the information or documentation attached.

Archiving will also become necessary at some point and the same points will apply. Make sure you label and file the discs accordingly for easy retrieval.

Paper Files

Once you have determined the breakdown for your paper filing system, it is important to establish the type of system you are going to use.

Are you going to implement a filing system within a filing cabinet? Or do you prefer using a folder for the management of your documentation? It may be necessary to combine a quick desk system for day to day use and a filing cabinet for storage which does not have to be accessed as regularly. Again, make sure whatever system you use facilitates quick and easy document retrieval.

The most important factor when setting up a filing system, whether paper or electronic, is to remember the K.I.S. or K.I.S.S. principle which maintains that “Keeping It Simple” will often lead to a less complicated and time-saving system.


Relationship Marketing Is Not Always Easy


Relationship marketing is not necessarily easy.  There is quite a lot of behind the scenes work which must be done by an organisation to effortlessly create contacts via a ripple effect.  Struggling to get it done however is optional.

With the Summer upon us, there may be space in your diary to take the opportunity to review your relationship marketing plans.  And a plan you will need in order to truly utilise all the methods available.  Trying to do your marketing by a piece meal approach will not enable you to effectively forge ahead encapsulating all the methods and approaches available.  Without the aforementioned plan you will be purely treading water rather than moving forward in a positive manner.

If you are new to business you are essentially working with a clean slate.  If you have been operational for a while, then it is important to analyse what you’ve done over the past 12 months in terms of your marketing approach.  What worked?  What didn’t?  Was there something that you attempted that could be improved upon?  Ignoring your prior efforts is wasted information that you could be using to your own advantage.

It is always important to look at the contacts you have at your fingertips and try to use those to the best of your ability before you move forward to seek out new methods.  This is both a time saving and money saving approach.  Take time to reach out to your current clients and colleagues, work on the relationships and nurture them to your advantage.  Building upon your current relationships will be more beneficial to your business in the long term as it means repeat business and positive word of mouth about your products or your services.

Once this is achieved you can then look to target new contacts with a focussed marketing plan while at the same time avoiding blanketing non-interested parties with information about your business.

Here are a couple of quick pointers to remember to help you along the way:

  • Make sure you know exactly what your client requires
  • Keep in touch with both past clients and prospective clients
  • Maintain your professionalism at all times
  • Be adaptable in order to best assist the needs of your clients

Here’s to a great Summer with an abundance of opportunities and the flexibility and means to grow your business.

Hong Kong Singapore Virtual Assistant Nicole Graham

Image Credit: Luke Chesser

Find and Replace Text

Microsoft Word

Have you ever written a report and afterward realised that you have mis-spelt a word throughout the document? As an example, you could have typed their instead of there. I know I have… and if you have, no fear… you do not have to manually go through the report and find each word. Microsoft Word and most other word processing software has a very helpful feature named ‘Find and Replace’.

Our computer tip is to show you how to use Find and Replace in Microsoft Word.

  1. Ensure that you are at the beginning of your document
  2. Click on the Home tab
  3. On the far right of the Home ribbon, click on the Replace button
  4. Type in the Find box, the word you wish to find
  5. Type in the Replace box, the word you want to add to your document
  6. Click on the Find Next button, then the Replace button OR Replace All

If you found this tip helpful, please let us know.

Happy Computing!

Dannielle Lake | Administration Assistant | Singapore

The Importance of Formatting and Structuring

The Importance of Formatting and Structure

The formatting of a document is important regardless of the type of industry you are in but many people are still unaware of the simple basics. If you have had a formal education you may be more mindful of the standards that your university or particular industry requires, however there is no denying that correct formatting will create a greater initial and lasting impression of your work.

An incorrectly formatted bio or proposal may mean that regardless of whether you have the skills for the project, you may be ignored purely on the basis of how you look – remember first impressions count. If a project has gone to tender, organisations could be looking at a large number of proposals and in order to save time, evaluators will immediately sort through applicants based on the cover letter and ease of format alone. If your proposal is not clearly or uniformly laid out, a letter of regret may soon be heading your way.

Organisation is crucial when focusing on the layout of a document or documents. Make sure that each thought is represented by individual paragraphs and that uniform margins are used throughout.

Verify that differing fonts have not been used in one document and that the size of the font is consistent throughout. The font size of course may be larger on headings or subheadings and if this is the case, make sure that this is true from one end to the other. Do not alter the colour of the font unnecessarily. This detracts from the professionalism of the document and while it may appeal to some in more creative industries, many will view “pink” text in a negative light.

Whether your pitching for a small or large project is important you take the time to check the consistency of the formatting before you submit or send the document.

Nicole Graham | Business Mentor and Consultant | Hong Kong

Another Six Blogging Tips

Business Blogging Tips

In our last post we discussed shared six blogging tips to get you started and maintaining motivation to write is one of the hardest aspects about blogging.  Here are another six tips which you can utilise to help make regular blog writing easier which will ultimately assist your desire your write.

1.  Maintain Focus

It is important to stay focussed on your writing and one great way is to write up a schedule to fit in with your lifestyle and your blogging plans.  If you blog twice a week then schedule three sessions during your week to write your posts leaving one extra session to refine your posts as necessary.  Try to schedule them during your quieter moments or when the kids are asleep avoiding times when you may not be at your best to write.

2.  Stay Ahead

To stay motivated it is best to write ahead – by a week or two – scheduling your posts as you go.  Finding the motivation to write when your post is due or if you are sick or overtired will add untold pressure to your writing and the quality will ultimately be affected.  Take advantage of periods when words are flowing freely and use this time to write more than one post scheduling ahead for later use.

3.  Be Prepared

One thing which really helps me is to think ahead about subjects I want or need to write about.  Coming up with the subject of the post can often be the hardest part of the battle.  Once you have that pre-arranged then the words can follow.

4.  Research Your Field

Research will also help – read other blogs or sites similar to that of yours to get ideas.  A post on a similar subject may just inspire you to write about something which had previously escaped your attention.

5.  Use Your Audience

Do not be afraid to reach out to your readers and ask for advice to help you move ahead.  Ask them what they would like to read – they may have some questions which you could consider answering in your posts or they may need help with a particular aspect which could inspire a post or even a series of posts.  Reach out to your readership using Facebook, Twitter and your blog to widen your research avenues.

6.  Minimise distractions

Distractions need to be minimised when writing – it is important that your mobile phone is switched off and all social networking sites and emails are closed.  Keep background noise to a minimum and turn off the television.  Trying to write while multi-tasking with your social life or in the middle of your favourite television program will not help one iota.

Writing like anything else requires a discipline of sorts however at the same time keep it as flexible and fun as possible.  Good luck!

Virtual Assistant, Hong Kong, Singapore

Free Online Advertising? What? Where?


I am sure by now I have your attention.  Free advertising does exist if you know where to look.  If you visit many websites and check out their costs for advertising you will find that some charge an extraordinary amount for a link or a mention and your advertising dollars can quickly run into the thousands before you blink an eyelid.

Brand awareness is important for your organisation – particularly online – and there are many free avenues in which you can utilise to your advantage.

Business Directories

Free directories do exist and it is worth searching for these in and around your business field and submitting your details to the site.  The information you can submit will depend on the type of directory it is but at the very least they usually allow your business name, website link and some summary text about your organisation.  They may even ask for address details, logos and images which of course will all go a long way in promoting your business.


If you don’t blog then start.  This is a great way to create information about your site and get immediate links to your site.  Search engines love a good blog and will create a number of links to your site within a short period of time.  If you do blog look out for free blog directories and take advantage of these.

Article Marketing

Article marketing is another great way to get your name, experience and knowledge to a wider audience.  Article directories will usually allow you to add your company information and links to the author box.

Press Release Submission

Similarly, submit press releases to free press release websites.  If they are noteworthy, then you may also find that they are duplicated or referenced on other sites creating additional links to benefit your business.

Social Networking

Social networking is also a great way to increase your advertising power.  Whether you are a member of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or an online forum – all of these methods allow you to backlink to your main website while at the same time gaining trust from your readers and followers.

What are you waiting for?  My tip – don’t spend unnecessary marketing dollars until you have taken advantage of all the free methods available to you in the first instance.

Hong Kong Singapore Virtual Assistant Nicole Graham

Image Credit: Damian Zaleski

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