In today’s world of information overload and instant access to news and views from around the world, geographical boundaries and time zones seem to have little relevance. From a personal perspective, people are reconnecting with one another. At the same time, everyone is talking about social media and the power it offers to consumers to talk about their experiences with companies, brands, products, etc. And with blogs and online forums gaining more and more prominence as credible sources of information, it becomes important for businesses to listen in and participate in these discussions.

Ms Donna Imson and QI/ QNet Delegates at the event.

QNet, as a prominent e-commerce company with a global customer base spread far and wide, has always strived to find innovative methods to communicate and engage with our customers. Sometimes, a customer service email or phone call can do only so much. We have found out through our interactions with our customers on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and our blog that we connect better, faster, and at a completely different level with them.

Recently, the city of Kuala Lumpur hosted the Asian Bloggers and Social Media conference at the Berjaya Times Square Hotel, which saw nearly 500 bloggers and social media enthusiasts gather for two days for a great lineup of speakers from various digital media.

QNet was the official e-commerce partner of this conference, and a delegation from QNet’s communication and marketing teams attended the two-day conference. Some of the key topics discussed included law and ethics in cyberspace; managing a brand’s online reputation; profit-making on the world’s leading blogging platform, WordPress; the differences between a journalist and a blogger; and the importance of developing social media strategies and objectives for one’s brand before jumping into the social media scene.

QNet Executive Chairperson Ms Donna Imson was one of the speakers at this event, and her topic was very relevant to QNet’s business – Social Media Conversations: How to gain trust and form relationship with your community.

Ms Donna Imson, giving her insights about social media.

What set her apart from the rest of the speakers who were all experts in some form of new media was her candid confession that she was the least qualified to be speaking at a social media conference. “I am not an expert in social media. In fact, it was my daughter who helped me open my Facebook and Twitter accounts and what I have learnt about social media is completely organic…through trial and error.”

She pointed out that the network marketing business was a high-touch business. People need to gain trust, which doesn’t happen overnight. It takes weeks and months of personal meetings before people trust you and the online channel is no different.

From her personal experience with interactions on social media platforms, she has found that the best way to engage with people is to communicate your values in a simple and authentic way. One of the early lessons she learnt was that there is no such thing as a public versus private persona on the Internet! The lines simply cannot be drawn and that was one of the reasons she decided to open up her private Facebook account to business partners and customers of QNet, in addition to family and friends.

Ms Donna Imson receiving a token of appreciation from Tun Dr Mahathir.

Ms Imson spoke about QNet’s various social media outreach programs and how we have managed to create a community within a community. “It’s about finding that right balance between high-touch and high-tech that helps us connect with our customers. Today, when someone throws up a questions or brings up an issues on one of our online forums, even before the company can respond to it, other customers jump in to answer or help with the query.”

The former Prime Minister of Malaysia Tun Dr Mahathir
The former Prime Minister of Malaysia Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is addressing the keynote at the event.

The keynote address at the conference was delivered by the 4th prime minister of Malaysia Tun Dr Mahathir, himself a prominent blogger. He gave some thought-provoking ideas on how to stay relevant by using the medium as an engagement tool to develop a relationship with the audience. Other prominent speakers included Dato’ Seri Tony Fernandes of Air Asia, prominent Indian blogger and novelist Amit Varma of India Uncut, popular Malaysian Blogger and Journalist Niki Cheong, and social media specialist Rob Angeles from the Philippines.