10 questions for Havas Media’s global social marketing manager Christel Quek

Christel QuekMumbrella was in Singapore today and caught up with one of the rising stars of the social media scene, Christel Quek, global social marketing manager at Havas Media.

Mumbrella Asia editor Robin Hicks talked to Quek about how Singapore’s new rules for online news reporting will affect the blogosphere, the most common social media bloopers and how to get taken seriously as a 23 year-old.

Who is the most powerful person in social media?

Tough to choose. In Asia, Miguel Bernas, the director of digital marketing at SingTel. In the US, Michael Brito SVP of social business strategy at Edelman and Mitch Joel, the author of CTRL ALT Delete. They’re all brilliant at tackling real-world business problems by making them more social.

What’s the biggest story in social media right now?

The future of Facebook. If they don’t come up with new products, they will fall further behind Google. But you can’t change the course of the Titanic quickly, and the question is can Facebook change quickly enough?

There’s also a big issue about how brands behave on Facebook. People don’t want to talk to brands on Facebook. They want to share experiences with their friends, not with a washing machine or a printer. Brands need to stop getting excited about vanity metrics. There’s no such thing as social media ROI if brands do not consider marketing and business objectives.

What are your social media consumption habits?

When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is check my consolidate dashboard, which has all my feeds from Harvard Business Review and Mashable, to Tech Crunch, The Verge and Fast Company. In one hour, I sift through the content and sort out the relevant stuff that I find interesting, then get on Twitter. Twitter like my morning coffee. But I do need time to be disconnected, some down time is very important to me.

If you weren’t in social media, what would you be doing?

A passion of mine is to look at tech start ups and identify those with high growth potential. I’ve also thought of being a journalist.

What’s the best social media campaign to date?

Nike+ FuelbandIt’s not a social media campaign per se, but one brand that has shown how technology, insight and integration can converge is Nike, through the Nike+ Fuelband. Nike has tapped into a consumer lifestyle and amplified the message through a variety of channels. It has shown that fitness is not just about athletes, it’s for everyone.

Social media is about social and being where the user is.

What’s the most common mistake brands make in social media?

Not admitting when they’re wrong. It’s the worst thing you can do. A small social media issue can quickly escalate into a crisis by deleting comments and even scolding the consumer. And consumers won’t forgive you for that.

What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Be authentic. Generate a lot of content. And don’t forget where you came from. It’s very easy to get conceited in this business. It’s easy to think that just because you have 20,000 Twitter followers [Quek has 15,000] you have made it. Most important of all is to help people along the way.

Quek at AdTech

Quek at AdTech

What do you make of the MDA rules on online news reporting? Bad news for bloggers?

I think it’s worrying. The rules encroach on what would otherwise be a very diverse blogosphere in Singapore. Putting a monetary bond on people who are popular online is restrictive. The internet was created to facilitate the sharing of information. This is democratic principle, and the new rules in Singapore go against that principle.

You are 23 years old. How do you get people to take you seriously?

It’s not easy. But it’s not as hard now as it was when I joined Havas at the age of 19. I would say the important thing has been work hard, and to go into situations with an open mind – without a sense of entitlement.

You are in a global role now. Where will you be in five years’ time?

Maybe on the brand side. I’m not sure. We’ll see. Watch this space…


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