Monday, August 24, 2009

Malaysian Facebook

Hari ini saya kongsikan sebuah artikel yang diperolehi daripada Pangkalan Data BLIS tentang Facebook.

Saying it online

THE GROWTH OF ONLINE social media has been fast, sizeable and
international. So has its impact. Of the many recent trends that have
challenged existing modes of brand communications, online social
networking stands out as one of the most important.
  In the world of brand-building, there is nothing more compelling than
word-of-mouth. In this sense, informal online networks, which can stretch
up to around 100 on average, tend to be more `prolific'. Experiences, good
or bad, can be shared fast and wide.
  An estimate of between 700,000 and 1.3 million blog posts are made
everyday. Facebook, the world's fastest growing social networking site,
had at the end of last month over 175 million active users globally, 4.9
million of them in Southeast Asia.
  According to Interactive Hub Sdn Bhd, the advertising sales
representative of Facebook in Malaysia, there are currently 1.13 million
active Facebook users in the country, compared with only 760,000 in
October 2008. This means Facebook had on average grown an astounding
100,000 plus every month.
  Some 42% of Malaysian Facebook users log in daily (compared with 51%
globally). On average, Malaysian users spend an average of 21.1 minutes
per usage day on the site (global average: 25 minutes).
  According to Synovate's PAX survey 2008 results released in November
2008, 80% of affluent Malaysians use social networking sites. Friendster
is the most popular social networking site for affluent Malaysians (54%),
followed by Facebook (32%) and Windows Live Spaced. Affluent Malaysians in
this survey are termed as professionals with a combined household income
of RM5,000 and above.
  Following the meteoric rise of Facebook, the figures may have changed
somewhat, but the fact remains that affluent Malaysians do actively
participate in social networking sites.
  Whilst TV, print and other media remain popular for advertisers to get
their messages across, social media offers a wide scope to engage and
interact with the consumer, notes Synovate Malaysia managing director
Steve Murphy.
  `Creating conversations via social media allows marketers and their
target audiences to come closer together. With eight in 10 (affluent)
Malaysians using social media in the past month, this is a golden chance
to build bonds with customers and turn the brand into a wider, deeper
  `Coupled with other online tools such as search, video, blogs and games,
it's an opportunity not to miss in today's tough market. Analogue mindsets
are no longer appropriate,' he says.
  Andreas Vogiatzakis, managing director of media specialist Omnicrom
Media Group (OMG) in Malaysia, notes that social media offer brand owners
the opportunity to gain valuable consumer insights, expand brand
awareness, build brand reputation and loyalty, and more actively engage
the consumer.
  Social media as an advertising platform, he notices, is gaining
acceptance and support, `especially in this year of troubled financial
times, when we have the opportunity to engage with our consumers on a more
"sentimental" level.'
  Local advertisers are increasingly becoming aware of the significance of
social media and the value it brings to their communication mix, notes
Starcom IP Malaysia, the online arm of media specialist Starcom Mediavest
  Starcom IP strategy director Hieu Kau Sern reckons that as more brands
explore social media, their success in creating exciting and engaging
digital campaigns will generate confidence.
  `There is no doubt that with the calibre of our local marketers, social
media will grow from being part of marketing experiments to a vital
marketing strategy component in the future. With social media becoming
increasingly integral to our daily lives, this change is inevitable,' he
  The key to social media is participation, adds Hieu's associate Ang Ker
Loon. He notes that consumers, especially the younger generation, are
increasingly ignoring messages pushed by the traditional `one-way
communication' media and turning to their peers instead.
  `Participation is a very important idea because it produces a kind of
shared stake or responsibility - an ongoing relationship. Consumers today
want to be a part of something bigger, to be able to voice out and be
heard, to make personal contributions; and most of all, to be able to
connect and share with friends and strangers alike in an environment that
thrives on peer acknowledgement and appraisal,' he says.
  As such, it is imperative to treat brand communication via social media
as dialogues.
  `As in any dialogue,' Vogiatzakis stresses, `we should be ready to
follow through and engage ourselves with the consumers who interact with
our platform and create trust. Moreover, we should enable the engaged
consumers to have the freedom of opinion and speech, and we need to be
ready to accept criticism. Just as in any healthy relationship, a
constructive dialogue will enhance our standing with the responding side,
and will elevate our brand image and affinity,' he maintains.
  OMG Malaysia Digital head Danny Chin highlights the need to set goals
and define the target audiences before embarking on any social media
marketing campaign. `Without a clear understanding of what we want to
achieve and who we want to reach, our campaigns will not be focused and
the results may be fragmented and weak,' he warns.
  While social media has its attractions, most marketers are reluctant to
jump on the bandwagon. Their main concern is control.
  Though social media holds a huge potential of how a brand can redefine
customer/user engagement, there is no control over how content is created
(or re-created), distributed, or consumed. Ironically, increasingly more
chatter about a brand is originating from outside the control of the brand
owners, anyway.
  OMG advises marketers thinking of adopting social media to be ready to
create an open and honest dialogue with the participants.
  `Be honest and open - a brand should behave in the same way as a user.
Any brand can successfully use and leverage social media platforms, as
long as there is relevancy, ease of use, and a perceived value, especially
emotional, to the engagement of the consumer. But if there is a mismatch
between the fundamental values of our brand and the context of the social
networking environment, the recipe won't work,' Vogiatzakis offers.
  Starcom IP adds that marketers have to be bold enough to experiment with
social media while taking precautionary measures.
  `They should not treat social media advertising as a silver bullet.
There isn't a sure-fire way of navigating through social media and the
right social media marketing formula can only be achieved with continuous
trial, inventive approaches, and the right support from all-round
integrated communication plans that not only involve social media, but
traditional media components as well, synergistically functioning,' Hieu
      (END) Source : Malaysian Business

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