For brands and agencies in Asia, a social media strategy is no longer seen to be a ‘nice-to-have’, but recognised as a ‘must-have’. As social media usage skyrockets, marketers and agencies are grappling with how the medium is evolving.
A recent survey by Buddy Media titled: ‘The State of Social Media Marketing in Asia-Pacific’ shows that a majority of companies in Asia are now using social media as part of their marketing, and up to 40 per cent of respondents, which includes marketers and agencies, say that their companies have been active in social media for more than two years. (See a gallery of data points from the survey.)
This is a good sign, given that Asia has often been considered behind other markets when it comes to social media marketing.
However, Ken Mandel, managing director for Buddy Media Asia-Pacific, says that there is still a small group of brands and agencies (10 per cent among those surveyed) that have yet to adopt social media in their marketing mix because of limited employee resources. “This is especially so as companies place the responsibility for social media strategies largely on the marketing departments,” he adds.
Ryan Lim, business director at digital marketing company Blugrapes agrees, adding that “there is still a lack of understanding and awareness of the opportunities and pitfalls to marketing on social media, which often leads to an inability to develop a sound strategy”.
In fact, according to the survey, about 77 per cent of those surveyed do not have a social media strategy for mobile, although 29 per cent of these intend to put one in place in the near future.
Of course, a recurring theme is that unclear ROI continues to slow the uptake, as well. But the good news is that metric systems are being developed and are becoming more available to companies. Mandel cites Buddy Media’s ConversionBuddy as one such technology.
So the big question is where are we now? And where are we going? One thing the study shows for sure is that brands will increasingly rely on agencies to provide social media marketing services in the region.
“Most of the big brands have just established a presence and begun building a branded community,” says Lim. “Brands are also beginning to realise that marketing on social media is all about authentic engagement and conversations — instead of great creatives, tactical promotions, or even an attractive contest.”
As brands begin to understand their role in influencing and wooing their customers, rather than dictating to them, the next two to four years “will see brands beginning to heavily invest in engagement planning, relying on the sentiments of the community as a key ROI metric to guide them”, he adds.
The online survey was completed over a one-week period between May 14-21 this year. It includes 125 respondents who represent brands and agencies across a number of industries in 18 countries across Asia.
The article first appeared on Campaign Asia