Last May, the Edelman Digital APAC team delivered one of the first regional visuals about the status of social media across the region. For years we’ve produced a whole range of regional IP (including our yearly digital trends deck) – a space that has become increasingly cluttered with data and ‘infographs’ from different sources.
That’s why this year, my regional team felt it would be useful not only to provide a quantitative update on individual markets (see below), but some local context and a look ahead for the rest of the year around what marketers and communicators are likely to see in the fast moving world of social.
After posting an update from 13 key regional markets, I’ll wrap up with the region-wide insights for the rest of 2012. Right, let’s start at the top of the region, with the latest from Edelman’s Digital lead for Japan Alex Erasmus:
Japan: Social/Mobile Starting to Move Fast
If 2011 was the year Japan first noticed the power of social media, then 2012 surely has to be the year we see more investment and creativity. Only a handful of major Japanese brands currently have a social media presence and even less post frequently and with engaging content.
It’s still popular for companies to hire a third party ‘brand voice’ on social platforms, especially Facebook. While this can certainly be effective in a country where consumers need to be given ‘permission’ to buy a product, companies need to think more about differentiating themselves.
In addition, mobile usage of Facebook and Twitter has been relatively low (especially compared to the local mobile gaming platforms), but this appears to be shifting and brands should be aware of this when considering their digital media plan for the rest of 2012 and beyond. Contact Alex if you’d like more detail into the latest from Japan.
The second of the Edelman Digital APAC market overviews comes from Malaysia – a fascinating and sophisticated digital/social environment – often (wrongly) glossed over.
The use of social media in the 2008 Malaysian General Election was a landmark event felt across the entire region. As digital market lead Karen Hoh explains, given high social adoption and usage, there will be much to be learnt by tracking developments for the rest of the year.
Malaysia: Passion, Pins and Politics Driving Social
- For the second half of 2012, we foresee a bigger spike in the growth of Twitter, especially in view of the coming general elections (GE) for the country. As we had observed in the 2008 GE, much of the success of the opposition party was driven primarily through social networks, giving them the clear advantage in garnering the public’s support and votes. Since that election, we’ve observed the exponential growth of social channels such as Twitter and Facebook, that have become key platforms for political activism and citizen reporting.
- Other key trends we are observing, is the growth of Pinterest. Pinterest is fast defining the way consumers share their interests online; especially displaying a new social behaviour called “pinning.” Pinning either a design they saw on a website, or pinning and sharing a fashion style they prefer, it’s a new way of keeping track of items or products that they want to go back to, or keep track of. The idea of “pinning” has since penetrated the way Facebook has changed its interface, so that it allows brands to pin wall posts on top of their page.
- Our advice for brands is to pay attention on how fans share their passions on the issues or topics they like, and leverage that to their advantage. So new platforms, such as Pinterest, are worth exploring for a new campaign or to promote a brand or product or issue.
Korean politicians are also leveraging social media in a big way in advance of elections later this year. However, according to my colleague Erik Cornelius it is the (continued) fast rise of social media marketing (esp. Facebook and Twitter) that remains the trend to watch for the rest of 2012.
I remember working with the team to launch our first client Facebook brand page in Korea at the beginning of 2011. At that time we wondered how sustainable the engagement of a community could be – there is no question any more.
South Korea: Social Media Marketing Breaks Out
2012 has been a breakout year for brands on social media in Korea. They’ve proven that they can draw large numbers of fans by engaging people directly and offering something of value – whether that’s improved customer service (SK Telecom), access to offline events (Restylane), interesting information (Swiss Pavilion) or a sense of community (RIM).
There are also a growing number of Korea-specific apps that tap into social media or, in the case of the near-ubiquitous Kakao Talk messenger app, replicate many of the features of a social network on a mobile-only platform. KaKao Talk is going global and their “Brand Talk” service allows brands to promote themselves via Kakao Talk. Daum’s MyPeople is also pushing to gain market share in an already competitive market.
More than half of all Koreans now carry smartphones – making apps, websites and advertising delivered via mobile a very, very hot area for the rest of 2012.
Image credit: PlanetObserver