Social Media Marketing In Asia

Stephanie Phua

So social media is changing the way we market. We are told countless numbers of times to listen in on the public, to micro-manage two way conversations, to talk to and create a loyal fan base. But how? And more importantly, how do we do this in our region? We all know that there isn’t an umbrella solution that we can implement in every market – each country has its distinct culture, lifestyle, politics, language, media structure and media usage to say the least. Along with this comes different uptakes of social media. Successful implementation requires a good understanding and grasp of your different target audiences.

The following is a very brief run through the social media landscapes of the key players in Asia:

Country

Main Language of Communication Key Takeaways Top Sites (Alexa.com)
China Mandarin
  • High Internet penetration, usage amongst middle class is growing
  • Government tends to clamp down on Western technological influencers, but replicas of popular western social media sites have emerged. Chinese users also prefer to use a Chinese-language interface, thus home-grown social media sites enjoy popularity
Baidu.com
QQ.com
taobao.com
Google.com.hk
sina.com.cn
Taiwan Hokkien, Mandarin
  • High Internet penetration, with a fast growing mobile penetration
  • Citizen journalism is popular due to dissatisfaction in traditional news sources.
  • Many star bloggers that have large followings
Yahoo
Wretch.cc
Facebook
Google
YouTube
India Hindi, English
  • Over 20 million Indians use the Internet everyday
  • Usage includes socializing, entertainment, finding matrimonial matchesv and professional advancement
  • Majority of users are educated, affluent and English speaking Indians
Google
Yahoo
Facebook
YouTube
Blogger
Hong Kong Cantonese, Mandarin, English
  • High Internet and broadband penetration, highly affluent and engaged Internet population
  • A large majority has faith in word-of-mouth recommendations, and this explains the popularity of discussion boards
Yahoo
Facebook
YouTube
Google
Discuss.com.hk
Singapore English
  • High broadband penetration, heavy online engagement
  • Highest smartphone penetration rate in South East Asia, at 77%.
  • English being the lingua franca has made Singapore a tech-savvy nation very open to Western influence
Facebook
Google
Yahoo
YouTube
Blogger
Malaysia Bahasa Melayu, English
  • Tough censorship laws, thus people turn to the Internet to air their views
  • Low broadband penetration, limiting rich media outreach efforts
  • Popularity in social media can largely be attributed to political engagement
Facebook
Google
Yahoo
YouTube
Blogger
The Philippines Filipino, English
  • Filipinos are one of the most involved people in social networking sites, largely because of their culture which values friends. More likely to upload photos, videos and share links.
  • Many aspiring stars leverage on YouTube to try to get noticed

 

Facebook
Yahoo
Google
YouTube
Blogger
Indonesia Bahasa Indonesia
  • Government is cautious about foreign investors, thus hampering growth in Internet broadband
  • Social networking sites largely used by youths
  • Forums are popular for discussions surrounding more serious topics such as technology, current affairs and religion

 

Facebook
Google
Yahoo
Blogger
Kaskus.us
Thailand Thai
  • Majority of the Internet users are working adults and students in key cities.
  • Low broadband penetration.
  • High demand for breaking news, especially regarding politics
  • Politics also has a large part to play in the growth of social media, with Thaksin having a strong presence on social platforms

 

Google
Facebook
Windows Live
YouTube
Hi5
Japan Japanese
  • The Japanese enjoy pervasive broadband and mobile Internet access.
  • Traditional emphasis on personal relationships make social networking popular; however, online relationships are usually within one to two degrees of separation
  • Avid bloggers

 

Yahoo
Google
FC2.com
YouTube
Ameblo.jp

[Information aggregated from the following sources – they’re all pretty good reads:
http://www.marketing-interactive.com/news/20677
http://metrics.admob.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/AdMob-Mobile-Metrics-SEAsia-Q409.pdf
http://www.kas.de/wf/doc/kas_19254-544-2-30.pdf
http://www.slideshare.net/totallyguan/asia-social-media-report-2008-can-brands-have-a-social-life]

Websites such as Google, Yahoo, Facebook and YouTube might be common popular sites amongst all the markets (with the exception of China) – however, the different platforms start emerging further down each country’s list of top sites.

comscore

Source: ComScore

A study by ComScore showed that audiences preferred to consume content in their native languages. Differences in languages alone also dictate major differences: In terms of SEO and SEM, different keywords might suffice, and in social networking, social networks important to each locale (besides Facebook) would also differ in each country. The dominance of the local language in countries such as Japan, Korea and China correspond to a dominance of homegrown social networks, such as Mixi, Cyworld and QQ.

Because of the anonymity factor and a general trust in word-of-mouth, discussion boards are also popular in Asian countries, and each country has its own specific forums, with unique topics that are popular. Of course, the nature of conversations that take place on social networks differs as well, as this is dictated by the unique cultures within each country.

That said, with the nature of technology, major changes can take place in the blink of an eye – thus it is also important to constantly keep tabs on the developments and current fads in each country.

The bottomline is, if you’re constantly educating yourself with information on the net, it’s easy to grasp the generic concepts when it comes to executing a social media campaign – however, it’s important to understand the nuances of each country that you’re working in, especially in a multi-faceted region such as Asia.

I’m sure we didn’t cover all bases here, so feel free to share any other additional insights you might have on the social media scene in Asia!

2 Comments. Leave new

Fabulous read, thanks a ton for the posting.

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