Author: Masumi Atul Parmar
Intelligence by: Wan Habibullah
Published: Wednesday, May 12th, 2021
The internet and social media are a blessing, the speed of information and the endless possibilities of its uses has seduced an entire generation to utilize it for their needs and desires. The extent of its reach has particularly put it into the spotlight in Asia in terms of business, especially with the number of population in the globe’s largest continent. But how has it affected Asia thus far? Here’s a brief look at how strong the social media influence is and its usage in Asia.
When it first came, it created a boom. Everyone came aboard and flocked to social media sites as a norm of making new friends and creating camaraderie. Though no one realized the business potential of the tools nor of the future of these sites, especially as the smartphone was about to be patented and released, the Asian market took advantage of it and jumped on the bandwagon. By the time before we entered the 2010s, the potential had come and gone.
Soon after, the level of advertising and companies entering the fray had grown exponentially. The numbers show more than 450 million people across Asia on social media and there were more than 20,000 companies taking part in the initiative. At this stage, social media was becoming a platform to be reckoned with rather than mere entertainment.
The drastic change and introduction led to a new generation of digitized colonization. The ideologies and adaptations are evident as the younger generations are exposed to social media and learned to navigate the digital space from an early age.
One of the main indicators comes in the form of increased users and interactions. In Cambodia, half of the population or about 9.7 million are active on social media, particularly Facebook. The crucial thing about this is the reported ad reaches up to 9.2 million users, practically all the social media users. These numbers may not be impressive compared to other social media platforms, but Facebook has become a dominant source for social commerce in recent years.
Indonesia’s love for social media has particularly come from both the normal channels and on shopping sites as the predicted revenue would be worth $130 billions by 2025. Apart from that, Indonesia’s market has also taken a liking to focusing or doubling its efforts on social commerce as it has increased up to 40% from the past 5 years, with Facebook, Instagram, LINE, and WhatsApp dominating the social market.
At its heart, social media was developed to connect people across countries and landscapes. With the advancement of communications technology, from snail mails to emails and dial phones to mobile phones, it is a natural course for social communications to take the form of social media. This has enabled people to not only keep in touch with loved ones far away especially given the geographic layout of Asia.
While social media interactions and contents revolve mainly around the community, it has also become a platform for businesses to engage with their customers and promote themselves. The early stages saw businesses aggressively pushing out ads and contents just as they would do with traditional marketing, but the market in Asia was young and predominantly like and followed all things of interest without further actions. Another arising concern was negative responses and interactions that emerged. Businesses were not prepared to answer harsh complaints as traditionally they were ignored.
This new form of two-ways communication on social media has prompted businesses to take a new approach to communications style with their audience. Particularly one that is more attentive to the feedback and wants of their audience. As businesses begin to listen to their audience and provide more of what is desired, bonds and affinity begins to develop. Over the decade, Asian businesses that have successfully achieved this find themselves with strong followings and advocates for their brands and products.
Social media has created an open and publicly visible interaction platform for the mass to voice up and be heard. This is no different in Asia compared to the rest of the world. As businesses venture into this field hoping to court potential customers, they have to be increasingly aware of the impression and footprint made especially for those aspiring to expand across the region. The variety of culture, languages, and perception of the Asian people will be another level of challenge altogether for businesses to overcome, one which can be made easier with the right tool and insights.
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