Business in a modern market

Associate Professor Joanne Lim from the School of Arts and Social Sciences at Monash Malaysia gives insights into communicating in this globalised marketplace.

Ask most Malaysian companies if they are online and most will immediately point you straight towards their websites.

The fundamental challenge we face today is actually a variant of a much older challenge when monarchies reigned supreme: "How do we create a society that supports and values free speech?"

The Internet is in many ways like any other space, where people compete for power and influence.

Worrying about content is key, but if you are a new kid on this block, begin with thinking how to develop an audience, locally and internationally.

When you are on Twitter , for example, people place you on a public list, normally by special interest or geographical location.

Find a source to follow, share their lists. But don't stop there, for what you do with your following will determine how you sustain online interest and buy-in.

There are also apps, like online yellow pages, to get you more audience.

Contrary to the belief that success is determined by popularity, online success is not determined by the number of likes or followers one has, but rather about mobilising meaningful participation. They may like your post or page, but they are yet to try and buy.

If you find audiences are still not up to the quality of your brand, learn to maximise, use search prompts and leverage on the power of quality crowdsourcing.

Now you have an audience, analyse your data - with proper tools, any Malaysian company can do this "before" they post.

Once we invest in these tools, we are able to access readability metrics to ascertain how many truly make sense of the offering.

It's not all about dollars but rather about "sense" - offerings online can inculcate values, drive interculturality, sustain initiatives and instil trust and respect while promoting a product. The winners in this world are all too often brands associated with these core values.

Instagram, Facebook and more can switch up content formats or platforms, and work with different latitudes of success.

Generally, you will find that you can optimise visual exposure when you add some clever links. Simply told, when you analyse your hits on a particular product, you can then add the specifics and details (links) into the posting - links work better that way.

So the golden rule is to draw them in, analyse and then link them with details. Never jump into links just for "links sake".

More importantly, does your viewer know what's in it for them?

"Everyone wants something" is an old cliche - now "Everyone wants something more".

By Dr Joanne Lim, Associate Professor, School of Arts and Social Sciences, Monash University Malaysia.
- The Star, 3 December 2015