When it comes to the legal side…social media, anyone?

A reputation that took decades to build can be threatened by a single event
Picture credit: Miles Mathis

It is strikingly evident that social media offers enormous marketing opportunities for business to directly interact with customers. But after Advertising Standards Bureau has ruled that the usage of social media such as Facebook fanpage, can be regarded as a “marketing communication tool” when used by an advertiser, thus all the comments and user-generated contents displayed on specific platform should be censored by the advertisers:

The Board considered that the Facebook site of an advertiser is a marketing communication tool over which the advertiser has a reasonable degree of control and could be considered to draw the attention of a segment of the public to a product in a manner calculated to promote or oppose directly or indirectly that product .

Comparing with the extra time and staff spending on monitoring the contents generated by users and their friends, is it still worth investing on social media for business?

Complaint related to inappropriate user comments on Smirnoff”s Facebook page has raised serious concern of social media policy

Furthermore, there exist more legal risks when organization participates in social media. As a beverage manufacturer, Smirnoff has successful built up a strong fan base on Facebook through launching several interesting online events. However, their lack of moderating inappropriate comments generated by their “fans” on their Facebook page has caused them a severe outcome which even led to the ruling conducted by ASB mentioned above.

Besides the legal risk of defamation, Smirnoff may also need to take those concerns into account while engaging in social media:

• Risk of Confidential information loss or disclosure:

While many employees like to tweet about their job during or after working hours, the company needs to regulate and train their employees when posting job-related contents through social media platform.

• Risk of wrongful dismissal:

Job-related inappropriate comments made by employees on social media platform, even under personal accounts, can grant employers legal right to conduct a termination of employment.

Fair Work Commissioner Bissett:

“Posting comments about an employer on a website (Facebook) that can be seen by an uncontrollable number of people is no longer a private matter but a public comment…A Facebook posting, while initially undertaken outside working hours, does not stop once work recommences. It remains on Facebook…for anyone with permission to access the site to see…It would be foolish of employees to think they may say as they wish on their Facebook page with total immunity from any consequences. “

• Risk of Trade mark infringement:

Another Smirnoff Australia? Organizations shall make sure that their trademarked names have been reserved on social media to avoid confusion

When typing in “Smirnoff Australia Facebook” in Google search engine, this page even ranks higher than the official Facebook page of Smirnoff. Organization shall make sure that their trademarked names have been reserved on social media platform to prevent from being used to disseminate misleading or deceptive information.

• Risk of Defamation: (As illustrated above)

There was a complaint in relation to the official Facebook fanpage of Smirnoff Vodka Australia which has raised concern about user generated inappropriate contents, such as sexism, racism, discrimination or vilification, obscenity, and depiction of irresponsible drinking. After Advertising Standards Bureau effectively ruled that Diageo, Smirnoff’s parent company, is responsible for monitoring all the comments and activities on its Facebook page, it may pose another issue: do users need to take responsibility for the contents generated by them?

It is also interesting to see how companies deal with negative comments from customers. Is it the best policy to delete all negative feedback, like Westpac did? (Case study picked up by Karen) Or should company take the transparent approach in social media policy and never delete any comments?

“We have never deleted a single comment from the Kogan Facebook, Twitter, blog or YouTube pages,” Kogan Technologies founder Ruslan Kogan told StartupSmartin October last year.

My suggestions of social media policy for organization:

1. Clearly state social media policy and effective breach penalty
2. Clarify an effective plan in response to break out3. Get more staffs involved in the role of moderating contents posted on organization’s socialmedia platforms

4. “Care” (from Seth Godin) about your customers and employees.

5. Leverage between the benefit and risk of transparency on social media.


1. Using social media? Know your legal risks-by Alexandra Cain

2. Social media ruling in Smirnoff case sends shudders throughout Australia

3. Social media poses problems for beverage maker

4. Smirnoff controversy prompts Facebook comments warning


What Enterprise2.0 has brought to Citibank

Web2.0 tools open up opportunities for business to interact directly with customers through implement appropriate social media strategies. Socail media such as Twitter, Facebook and Yelp also provide similar potential and resources for small business owners to compete with larger enterprises. Even finacial institutes catch the trend and utilize socail media as a direct channel to disseminate message to their customers.

Citigroup has long adopted Twitter to distribute organization news, upcoming events and market updates; together with blog, Facebook fanpage and Youtube, the website of Citigroup is like a web2.0 platform, connecting to miscellaneous channels for users to interact with the company.

Citi has integrated a few social media to the website

CitiGroup applies different marketing strategies for different platforms to attract attention from customers. While they use Youtube
to deliver speaking from executives about market news and commercial videos about organization’s insight, they post breaking news and provoke interesting discussion on Twitter and Facebook.

Citi uses Twitter to distribute news and upcoming events

Citigroup has successfully achieved desired outcome through adopting the concept of Enterprise2.0:

1. Productivity and efficiency:

Through the news posts and users engagement on socail media, Citigroup has boosted productivity by receiving and monitoring users’ feedback and comments on their distrubuting content, and further improve the product. At the meanwhile, using socail media to disseminate messages enhances the efficiency of information delivering, comparing with traditional channels such as TV or newspaper advertisements, it enable the business to communicate with customers more effectively.

2. Staff engagement & knowledge sharing:

Citigroup’s Global Transaction Services unit is in charge of monitoring outlets of respective social media, to collect data from user feedback about potential direction to improve the products. Besides, Citi has employed a social networking based intranet since 2005, and in 2009 the cooperation adopted Citi2.0, which is a sharepoint-based platform, for improving the efficiency of collaboration and knowledge sharing. And it features idea generation function which encourages ideas created, voted on, and refined by the community of global employee.

3. Enhance reputation:

Citi utilizes numerous social media to directly reach and interact with end-users, through real-time information updates and news distribution, customers can gain thorough idea about the market and the company, and build up strong connection or even loyalty with it.

But even web2.0 tools give enterprise abundant opportunites to engage with their customers, it brings hidden dangers as well:

1. Security

Citibank suffered a major information security crisis in 2011 while around 360000 customer’s financial data have been exposed through a large-scale cooperation hacking. Security experts have addressed that Citi should not have embedded bank account numbers directly in the URL. While according to Harvey Koeppel, CIO of Global Consumer Group, Citigroup, “Financial service has a risk-averse nature”, the exposurer of customer data may have tremedous negative impact on customer retention and reliability of organization.

2. Loss of Control & Impact on Reputation

According to Customer Service Scoreboard, Citi has only 10 positive comments out of 286 total submitted comments, furthermore, there are 3 negative comments from employee which are seriously against the banking service of Citi. Despite the reliability of whether it is submitted from “real Citi employee”, the comments will impose a brutal impact on customer retention and loyalty.

So what can Citi do?

1. Focus on Diversity:Apply different socail media and platforms with specified strategies for different countries. Some of the regional websites of Citi have not employed any Web2.0 tools to facilitate their engagement with customers.2. Enhance the security to recover customer retention:It is very crucial to guarantee customer high information security since no one will like to risk exposure of financial statement. Since the apporach which the hackers applied to hack into Citibank’s website is quite simple, which reveals even worse concern about reliability of Citi.

3. Encourage active users engagement on social media:

Citi has many customers like the fanpage but only a few talk about it

It is easy to have customer like your fanpage while what shall be taken into concern of Enterprise2.0 is how to encourage customers to actively participate in the discussion, and be willing to recommend this product to their acquaintance, thus to improve retetion and attract more potential customers.

American Express Open has illustrated great examples of how to successfully get your customers talk about your products and further bring more customers in. Focusing on what customers would be interested in and providing them with appropriate contents and service are the key to keep customer stay, instead of using socail media to disseminate repeating commercial advertisements.


1. Seize the Conversation

2. Banks use Web 2.0 to increase customer retention

3. How Citigroup hackers broke door using banks website

4. How Citigroup uses social media in its quarterly reporting

5. Building Citi’s social media presence-Citi Blog

Boost your business with the concept of enterprise 2.0

Through appropriate and effective utilization of web2.0 tools, business owners can generate enormous revenue by a considerably small amount of expense, comparing to traditional advertising, and the latter might not even productive.

While a lot of companies started to dip their toes into this emerging environment of social media, not so many can make good examples of successfully promoting the brand and products, and increasing customer retention.

So what’s the reason? It might not be easy to answer such a question. But through the case study of success instances might give us some insight about how to cleverly utilize social media to reach desired outcome.

Increase customer retention, and get referral

-American Express OPEN on Facebook Page

American Express OPEN facebook page demonstrates a good way to encourage participation

Through the strategic collaboration with Facebook, American Express has created one active forum for small business owners and managers to interact with each other by sharing successful stories and competing for the prize. Their fan page on Facebook has effectively attracted enormous number of users through the following great features that align well with the business models outlined in Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams’s book, Wikinomics, :

1.      Peering: Encourage ongoing engagement from customers

Through regularly posting inspiring quotes and interesting word games such as “fill in the blank”, Amex effectively encourages customers to participate and leave their comments. While the majority of active participants are small business owners, the fan page is an ideal platform for them to get exposure and interact with potential business partners or competitors.

Amex successfully encourages ongoing engagement from users


2.      Acting Globally: Make a win-win situation

Amex regularly launches contests called “Big Break” for small business owners to win the prize of fund and marketing support. While the participants try their best to encourage their customers to vote, it indirectly increases the exposure of Amex and helps to accumulate fan base.

Amex offers a range of useful social media tools and tips

3.      Being Open & Sharing: Effectively establish strategic partnership

Small business users can find a lot of useful strategies and tools for integrating their business with social media through Amex’s Page, together with their integrated partnership with major social media such as Facebook and Twitter, customers can further benefit from rewards like free advertisements opportunities on Facebook.

strategic partnership among Amex and Twitter

Make your customers actively participate in the community by cleverly encouraging discussion and thoughts sharing. There are many famous fan pages which have huge amount of users “Like” them, but only a few active users are “talking about them”. When the customers are willingly engaging in the community, the potential retention (customers keep purchasing the products) and referral (customers recommend the products to their acquaintance) may be expected.

Maximize the benefit of Open Innovation

-Millennium Pharmaceuticals

Millennium Pharmaceuticals started as a young company providing the service as Contract Research Organizations (CROs) to supply information or analysis of biological compounds to pharmaceutical manufacturers. While CROs have no control over the knowledge which they generate from work, Millennium jumped to a new business model, by which Millennium retains all the ownership of intellectual property and can license to other companies or use in another market.

Through this approach, the potential value of intellectual property would not be limited to specific firm and thus can encourage productivity and collaboration in the whole industry.


1.      Peering & Sharing: Open innovation encourage knowledge sharing

By retaining the ownership of intellectual property (IP), Millennium can fully utilize the value of it and further encourage the sharing of knowledge among potential customers or competitors.

 2.      Being Open:

Under the model of open innovation, the intellectual property is no longer kept in core business but can be applied to different target markets. Millennium has created a win-win situation for both pharmaceutical manufacturers and itself by unleashing the value of intellectual property and enhancing positive collaboration.

The potential value of intellectual property can be boosted through sharing and collaborating. While the larger pharmaceutical firms can acquire the desired intellectual property at a lower cost, Millennium retains the freedom of utilizing specific intellectual property to generate extra revenue.



1. How American Express Grows Its Massive Social Media Presence

2. American Express® Social Media

3. How American Express Found Its Social Media Groove

4. 3 Things American Express Can Teach You About Social Media

From Huffington Post to My 7 Blogging Strategies

My 7 Blogging Strategies

My 7 Blogging Strategies

Got inspired by The Hoffington Post

Browsing my favourite blogs is one of my must-do of a day. Normally I spend about 5 minutes choosing several interesting new articles from Google reader and then read through and sometimes leave my comments. Recently I started to follow some bloggers on The HuffingtonPost since the viewpoints they share and illustrate often hit, and somehow inspire and encourage me to think and respond.

The Huffington Post was founded by Arianna Huffington in May 2005 as a left-leaning commentary blog. It has successfully built up an active community which includes a core group of bloggers from celebrities, scholars, politicians and numerous specialists, interacting and co-creating the contents with huge amounts of readers, contributing more than one million comments made every month.

    What interests me most

      is the concept of curation.


Web 2.0 results in the vast amount of information and contents generated by users while the trend in web3.0 would be the data-content curation, the process of gathering, selecting and extracting huge amount of information contents on the Internet, and presenting in a useful and organized manner.

The Huffington Post fully utilizes the advantage of user-generated contents through applying reliable curation process to produce SEO-friendly outcomes which not only attract huge amount of readers but also facilitate building up the interactive community.

    Everyone wants to tell a story

The idea of Off-the-bus reporter is another interesting success of The Huffington Post, by which the concept of Web2.0 is perfectly practiced through the fact that every audience can participate in the process of knowledge/information creation and dissemination. The contribution and interaction between users and curators thus reveal a fact that, users not only like to read stories, they want to tell stories as well. How to build up and maintain the active community is the key to a successful blog.

    So now…the strategies

The purpose of my blog is to practice content curation through the research of enterprise 2.0 related materials, and further experiment on building up an active community which encourage co-contribute to this blog. Inspired by The Huffington Post and other successful blogs, I would like to apply following strategies on blogging:

1. Choose Target Audience

Clarifying the target audience is very important since it helps to determine the blog contents and build up specific readership. Once the target audience is chosen, make sure the articles and contents are in accordance with the expectation and requirement of target audience.

2. Curation

Through wide reading and research, then combine with my personal opinions to generate and extract interesting and meaningful contents which can invite further discussion or reflection.

3. Short & Concise Content

Effectively convey the idea with short and concise sentences, together with charts or pictures clearly expressed and presented in the manner which makes it easier for reader to comprehend.

4. Utilize Social Media

In Web3.0, user-generated contents could be synchronously updated and disseminated through different platforms such as FacebookTwitterPlurkDigg, etc. Through the integration of sharing function it allows the content to be seen through numerous channels.

5. Listen to my Audience

Applying web analytics tools such as Google AnalyticsSite Meter to help me understand what exactly interests the audience and further emphasis on the specific content which is more SEO friendly and at the meanwhile invites readers to comment.

6. Monitor Blogosphere

An active blogging community can be achieved through establishing connection with similar blogs and groups. Regularly and actively share or comment on related blogs will facilitate exposing your blog, building up blog traffic, and further creating an blogging community.

7. Encourage Call-to-Action

The exact call to action that I would like the users to respond can be simply defined as commenting or sharing the contents of my blog. So how to write inspiring and interesting articles with my curation from other readings is very essential for building up and maintaining readership.

It can also be an opportunity for me to practice my critical and independent thinking upon materials related to Enterprise 2.0.What I would like to focus on is the trend and interesting idea related to Web3.0 and Enterprise 2.0, and I will adjust my blogging strategies in responding to the outcomes with time.

Please feel free to leave your comments which I believe will actively inspire both of us. 🙂


1. 5 Social Media Marketing Myths: Busted! 

2. Design: 10 techniques for an effective ‘call to action’

3. How to Develop a Blogging Strategy