Hunt on for social and digital media experts |
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Hunt on for social and digital media experts

Published on Friday, 02 Sep 2011
Online shopping fuels consumers’ urge to buy.
Photo: The New York Times

Social and digital media platforms have revolutionised the way companies do business and reach out to their customers.

The benefits of this new media landscape are colossal, according to Geoffrey Wu, director of communications at Integrated Hospitality Management (IHM), a local food and beverage group that owns and operates three restaurants and an organic farm.

"First, the response you get from customers is almost immediate, and it's free. If you can cleverly make use of these platforms you can really achieve maximum results. More importantly, as a company, we can have direct interpersonal communication with customers," Wu says.

As head of communications with IHM, Wu says that apart from doing regular public relations work, he also has to manage 10 online accounts across Facebook, Twitter and Weibo, promoting the group's restaurant outlets and farm.

Although he spends at least 25 per cent of the time managing these accounts daily, Wu thinks the pay-off is definitely worthwhile.

"The online platform has no doubt become a very core channel in terms of sales and marketing promotions and e-commerce and it is certainly gaining momentum by the day," he continues.

By contrast, Wu says traditional media such as commercial advertisements are more limited.

"Advertisements are often very one dimensional, conveying only one message and in one direction only. But online social media channels allow us to have two-way communications with [existing] and potential customers. What we see is what we get, it's very direct and real and it's multi-dimensional and multi-layered," he adds.

Social and online media may well have broken down the wall to communication - and on numerous levels - but Wu says traditional channels are still needed as the two complement one another.

"They go hand in hand to create a synergy. Social media is becoming extremely popular in connecting people, spreading messages and widening the communication network, but to be successful on the online platforms, you may also need the support of the traditional channels. So we can't definitely say that online channels will usurp traditional media."

Having the skills and knowledge in social and digital media is definitely a big plus for people in sales and marketing these days.

But Wu, a previous employee at one of Hong Kong's most prestigious hotel groups, says there is only a limited supply of talent today.

"It is, of course, something you can study and learn. But it takes time for you to hone your skills. So, dedication and personal investment such as spending a lot of time online, networking and getting to know the online community are vital in building your ability to become increasingly new-media savvy," Wu concludes.

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