Man About Asia Ep4 : Social Asia

In Asia social media is everywhere, it’s embedded in people’s lives every single day; sometimes in very interesting ways, sometimes in quite bizarre ways.

Continuing the journey of doing business in Asia, we take a crash course in social media in the region, touching on platforms such as Line, WeChat, Weibo and QQ.

In my view the three key take outs are: -

  • Don’t presume your global social media strategy will work locally, it probably won’t;
  • Be inventive about the way you generate ROI for example think micro payments rather than pure advertising;
  • Most importantly go and play, experiment, its hard to have an opinion unless you have experienced the platforms.

The entire episode can we watched here: -

In conjunction with this episode The Drum published the following article

How western brands and agencies can make their social strategies work in Asia

As this Man About Asia episode explains,The social media boom in Asia presents enormous opportunities for marketers. But simply duplicating social strategies that have worked in Europe or the US in Asia will probably lead to failure.

While the likes of Facebook and Twitter do have a presence in Asia, the region is not the exclusive preserve of the western social giants. As Wayne Arnold, MullenLowe Profero CEO and chair of the Marketing Society southeast Asia, puts it:

“For every Silicon Valley [network], there’s a Silicon Dragon — a local equivalent often doing it faster, quicker and smarter than the big Silicon Valley players.”

So with social so heavily engrained in Asia’s culture, how can marketers in the west take the first steps to develop social strategies that translate in Asia?

Continuing our series of vox pops with local experts, we put that question to social specialists familiar with the region to find out what they recommend.

“The first watch out is that there’s no such thing as an ‘Asia social strategy’ per se. Asian countries differ from each other as much as they do with countries in the West. User behaviours and attitudes in Japan differ wildly to those in Myanmar, for example; China has none of the platforms you’d consider for most of the other markets.
If you can afford to do so, be rigorous in researching consumer and platform insights on a country by country basis. In my experience, it’s better to get a couple of your most important markets right than to do a mediocre job in all of them.
Having said that, there are some economies of scale that can be achieved when working on multiple markets. We work on a major airline, hubbing a five-market solution from Beijing. For sure, we run campaigns and content that begin, on a market level, with market-specific insights, but in some cases, especially when it’s ‘brand/product/service-first’, we’re able to create this on a regional or global level, and will only need translations for the relevant languages. Working in this way generates significant cost savings for our client.”
“There is no doubt that Asia presents a massive (and still growing) opportunity to marketers. China alone has more active social media users than Facebook has globally, but many marketers are at a loss when it comes to launching within this lucrative market.
With Facebook and Twitter out of the equation for some Asian markets such as China, even basic decisions such as choosing which platforms to focus on requires thought and planning. It is never a great idea to simply translate a campaign which was successful on Facebook in a European market, migrate it to a platform such as Sina Weibo and hope for the best; the cultural expectations and behaviours of Asian users are distinct and you need to think these through before any activity begins.
You really need to conduct thorough local-market discovery research to ascertain exactly what your target audience looks like as an essential first step. This will provide invaluable understanding of who your intended customers really are, how they use social media to interact with brands and what messaging will actually resonate with them.
In-depth research and planning will not only mean the difference between success and failure in terms of your social KPIs, but will also mitigate the risk of offending and ultimately alienating your intended audience.”

HOST : Wayne Arnold Global CEO MullenLowe Profero, Chairman of Marketing Society Southeast Asia.
In partnership with MullenLowe Profero
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