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ASIA-PACIFIC CORPORATE SOCIAL MEDIA STUDY

2011 HOW ASIAN COMPANIES ARE ENGAGING STAKEHOLDERS ONLINE


Š Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific, 2011. All rights reserved This study is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific is the leading consultancy for organisations communicating in Asia-Pacific and internationally. With a presence in the region dating back to 1973, Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific today includes 34 offices and affiliates in 16 countries integrated seamlessly into a global network operating in 98 countries. Our evidence-based approach to communications provides our clients with effective, data-driven programs delivered through multiple channels and focused on tangible, measurable results. Our team of more than 700 professionals offers a powerful combination of local knowledge, sector expertise and global communications reach. For more information, please visit burson-marsteller.asia.


CONTENTS T

A

B

L

E

O

F

2 3 4 6 13 15

Introducton Executive Summary Methodology Corporate Use of Social Media A Case for Open Digital Leadership Use of Social Media by Market

17

Australia China

18

Hong Kong

19

India

20

Indonesia

21

Japan

22

Malaysia

23

Philippines

24

Singapore

25

South Korea

26

Taiwan

27

Thailand

9 2 33 34 35

Approach to Corporate Social Media & Next Steps Company-Market Index Further Reading Acknowledgements & Contacts

16


INTRODUCTION

W

To reach and persuade stakeholders today, it is not just the vocabulary and tone of corporate marketing that must evolve. More important, companies must adopt a mindset that puts listening and acting genuinely and transparently front and centre. And they must understand how to deal with negative feedback expressed publicly that could resonate and escalate.

hen we conducted Burson-Marsteller’s first annual Corporate Social Media Study in 2010, it was striking that Asian companies were eyeing social media tentatively, even skeptically, fearful of what might happen should someone post something negative on their online front-door. This year, despite many more firms dipping their toes in the social swirl, it is clear that Asian firms remain Bob Pickard reluctant to get involved in open online discussions, in part because they tend to be highly conscious of their image and fearful of publicly losing face, in part as they realize – correctly – that committing to social media is not something to be done lightly. Let’s face it, social media isn’t for every occasion. Using the web to lobby governments accustomed to hammering out deals in smoke-filled rooms will probably miss its target, and may simply alienate officials. The business media remain a more credible source of information, news and analysis than Sina Weibo or YouTube for board directors. Most senior decision-makers are uncomfortable with the concept of blogging on industry issues and having to defend difficult or controversial decisions openly. But for most audiences, the Internet and social media are indispensible to their working and personal lives, for talking, sharing ideas, meeting new people, conducting research and making decisions. If you’re under 30 you’re unlikely to pick up a newspaper – news is consumed in bite-sized chunks between stretches of work, networking and gaming.

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When the upside is a greater ability to reach and influence corporate stakeholders of all types, and the downside is appearing disinterested or irrelevant, companies have little option but to participate on social platforms. I hope you enjoy this study. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, feel free to post them to our Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/bursonmarsteller.asia We’d love to hear from you. Sincerely,

Bob Pickard President & CEO Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific bob.pickard@bm.com @bobpickard


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Social media is now a key channel for corporate marketing and communications across Asia • Top Asian companies are placing greater emphasis on deploying social media channels for corporate marketing and communications, with 81% of firms covered - double the number across Asia in 20101 and almost on a par with 84% of Fortune 100 companies2 - now using branded social media channels. • South Korean and Chinese companies are most active in their use of social media for corporate marketing, especially to domestic audiences. However, many companies also view social media as a means to build awareness amongst international stakeholders. • While few top Asian companies have no corporate presence or voice in social media, firms in Taiwan and Singapore continue to use social media sparingly, a reflection of their conservative business cultures.

Corporate social media strategies remain shortterm and piecemeal • Despite corporate marketing taking advantage of an ever greater array of social media platforms, over half of these branded accounts are ‘inactive’. The great majority of social media channels are used primarily for product marketing campaigns, which are rarely updated after the campaign has ended. • Few Asian companies have set up social media channels specifically for corporate marketing or communications purposes, with most opting to piggy-back on consumer channels. While this one-size-fits-all approach enables firms to reach an established community quickly, it also means that it can prove more difficult over time to segment users and target them with relevant corporate news and information.

Continued corporate focus on pushing information, rather than stakeholder engagement • Social media provides companies with an opportunity to use content and dialogue to drive user interest, sharing and advocacy. However, most firms are making little effort to engage audiences in corporate-related discussions, preferring instead to push content at users in a manner consistent with ‘traditional’ public relations and marketing. • The most popular use of social media for corporate purposes across Asia is to reinforce and extend ongoing media and influencer outreach. Engaging core stakeholders on ‘softer’ topics such as Corporate Social Responsibility or Thought Leadership as a means of stimulating questions or feedback take a back seat. • In a similar vein, other than in South Korea and China, very few Asian firms use overtly two-way communications channels such as corporate blogs for corporate marketing purposes, despite their value in helping explain complex topics. Micro-blogs are the preferred standalone corporate marketing channel.

Corporate digital storytelling remains in its infancy • While video is hugely popular on the Internet, the great majority of company video sharing channels are product marketing vehicles. Corporate use of video in Asia is mostly limited to illustrating good social deeds and some leadership communications. • Accordingly, companies are missing a significant opportunity to bring alive their activities in ways that audiences can relate to and might want to share with others.

• Most firms are failing to promote their social profiles through their websites, implying that they continue to regard their efforts as pilots and remain wary of negative discussions ‘over-spilling’ on to their core owned assets.

1

Asia-Pacific Corporate Social Media Study 2010, Burson-Marsteller – October 2010

2

Global Social Media Check-Up, Burson-Marsteller – February 2011

CORPORATE SOCIAL MEDIA REPORT 2011 | 


METHODOLOGY

T

his study assesses corporate marketing and communications activity on top social media channels by 120 of Asia’s leading companies. Companies were selected from the Wall Street Journal Asia 200 Index of Asia’s leading companies as determined by executives and professionals across Asia-Pacific. The top 10 companies per country were selected. A full list of companies surveyed is available on page 33 of this study. The countries studied were: Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. Corporate marketing is defined as: Media and Influencer Relations; Corporate Social Responsibility; Thought Leadership; Leadership Communications; Crisis and Issues Management; Recruitment Marketing. Social media channels analysed comprised the top social networks, micro-blogs, video sharing and corporate blogging platforms per country – hosted on third party platforms and/ or website-based. Data was collected in July 2011 by Burson-Marsteller’s AsiaPacific digital and research teams. Accounts were considered ‘active’ if they had at least one post by the company on or between July 1st and 15th, 2011.

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ASIA-PACIFIC CORPORATE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA

CORPORATE SOCIAL MEDIA REPORT 2011 | 


CORPORATE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA

S

ocial media has been a buzz phrase for some time now, yet its impact and its relevance remain questioned. For some, these new channels are a byword for disruption and loss of control, for others it’s a wonderful opportunity to expand cost-efficiently into new customer segments and markets and to build real interest and loyalty in one’s brand.

The growing challenge of reputation management Accelerated information flows make it much harder for companies to manage their reputations. With journalists, bloggers and other opinion-formers assiduously tracking micro-blogs for breaking news and combing discussion boards for story ideas, companies must approach the Internet as a core tool to track topics and issues relevant to them and as a channel to build relationships with existing and new influencers.

Consumers are pointing the way forward, taking to microblogs, social networks, mobile social applications and other tools with ease and often breathtaking enthusiasm. Social media of different types now dominate Inter net use, Social media are a with Facebook leading online time in Australasia, Hong Kong and across a crucial part of the new swathe of Southeast and South Asia, weaponry for NGOs, while domestic players such as Tencent, Naver, FC2 and Wretch are hugely activists and disgruntled popular across North Asia3.

customers

Asia is shaping the Internet and social media in terms of technology and behaviour. Sina’s Weibo (micro-blog) platform is considerably more technically sophisticated than Twitter. Asian-based social networks and online gaming platforms introduced virtual currencies and online transactions long before their western counterparts. Smartphones are already near saturation point in Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore. One of the most conspicuous aspects of social media in Asia is its highly contributory culture. According to Forrester Research, Koreans and Chinese are the most active creators of online content in the world4, uploading vast quantities of video, photographs, and blog posts every day. Indonesians love to share news and updates using Twitter. Clearly, organisations looking to target consumers, especially the under 30s, must now incorporate social media into their marketing mix or miss their target. It is equally clear that the Internet and social media are now critical tools to communicate with corporate stakeholders.

3

Asia-Pacific Social Media Infographics, Burson-Marsteller – August 2011

4

Consumer Social Technographics, Forrester

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In parallel, it is clear that NGOs and activists, as well as disgruntled customers and local communities, have become much more adept at using the many low-cost channels and tools at their disposal to share their experiences, voice their opinions, organize campaigns and raise funds. Social media are a crucial part of their new weaponry.

In addition, large and especially publicly-listed companies are under pressure to become more transparent and accountable, in part due to government intervention, in part due to increased stakeholder and consumer expectations of good behavior, and in part due to ever greater demands for information and dialogue. This raises the question as to how organisations should structure themselves to participate with the multiplicity of stakeholders actively using social media. Most organisations are struggling with questions such whether engagement should be handled centrally or locally. Who are the appropriate spokespeople? What are the skills and tools required? How to measure success? Who pays?


How companies are responding Social media provide an opportunity for organisations to increase awareness of their activities and to build interest, trust and advocacy amongst their stakeholders. That they can also do this direct with their audience and by-pass conventional gatekeepers is also an attractive proposition. Yet enthusiasm amongst companies in Asia has been muted. Last year’s Asia-Pacific Corporate Social Media Study5 by Burson-Marsteller identified that top Asian companies had largely been hesitant to use branded social media channels to communicate with corporate audiences. This hesitancy is also evident in more recent research 6 showing that most companies believe they are poorly prepared for crises that emerge and spread online, despite believing that digital has made them more vulnerable and made responding to a crisis more challenging.

Figure 1: Number of social media channels with corporate activity - 2011

Research for this year’s study shows that more top Asian companies are using branded social media channels for corporate marketing and communications, with 81% of firms covered (Figure 1) - double the number across Asia in 20107 and almost on a par with the 84% of Fortune 100 companies8 - now using branded social media channels. It is clear that Asian companies are also leveraging a greater number of the channels at their disposal, with just under a third using three social media channels or more, compared to only 3% in 2010. Conversely, only 19% of firms are not using any form of branded channel for corporate purposes – a significant increase on the 60% identified in 2010.

Number of social media channels with corporate activity - 2010

Number of company social media channels used solely or in part for corporate communications & marketing purposes

5

Asia-Pacific Corporate Social Media Study 2010 – Burson-Marsteller, October 2010

6

Reputation In The Cloud Era: Digital Crisis Communications Study – Burson-Marsteller, June 2011

7

Asia-Pacific Corporate Social Media Study 2010 – Burson-Marsteller, October 2010

8

Global Social Media Check-Up, Burson-Marsteller – February 2011

CORPORATE SOCIAL MEDIA REPORT 2011 | 


Preferred social media channels Social networks are proving the most popular social channel for corporate marketing and communications (Figure 2). This might be regarded as surprising, given that Facebook – the top social network across much of Asia-Pacific – tends to be regarded more as a consumer marketing channel. Yet many Asian firms have opted to focus their activities on a single branded profile that is used for both consumer and corporate marketing. In our experience, the principal reason for this is that social networks were mostly first used by firms looking to increase awareness and buzz about their products or services. Corporate teams then piggy-back on these established channels, often in addition to advising on messaging and governance. It is also true that many firms have started (and continue to start) their official social network presence without considering carefully their target audiences and objectives. In this ‘me too’ scenario, companies develop a channel in the corporate name and see how it evolves based on a combination of its popularity, user feedback, resources and content available. Less surprising is the fact that Asian companies are deploying micro-blogs for corporate purposes. Twitter, the weibos (‘micro-blogs’) in China or me2day in South Korea tend to be seen more as influencer networks of journalists, bloggers and brand advocates, while also being used by media outlets and publishers to extend their online presence. Given the relative ease of resourcing micro-blogs and their search engine-friendliness, firms are more likely to set up a dedicated corporate channel that serves a broad range

of purposes. Asian companies are also starting to develop standalone profiles for product brands and specific corporate functions, notably recruitment. Micro-blogs are also popular as they are typically seen as an additional information ‘push’ tool, enabling broader dissemination of content and messages across the Internet and, increasingly, to mobile devices. Better still (from a corporate perspective), there seems little need to engage in sustained discussions – for most Asian companies the main forum for dialogue is face-to-face. This reluctance to enter into public dialogue is testament to a widespread conservative business culture; it also means there is less chance of firms losing face in front of others. Hence also the general lack of enthusiasm for corporate blogs, where conversation is expected – even if it actually tends to be limited (in many instances, almost non-existent). And while video sharing platforms rarely attract significant levels of corporate-related discussions, they remain in the minority across much of the region, despite the very high popularity of online video in most markets. For many firms in Asia, the slick corporate paean to superior leadership and products remains the video of choice rather than the more ‘genuine’, on the ground feel that is now commonplace amongst Western companies.

Local differences The use of social media for corporate marketing and communications is by no means consistent across AsiaPacific; some markets are very aggressive, the majority are active if cautious, a few remain highly conservative.

Figure 2: Top corporate social media channels used for corporate marketing & communications 30%

28%

18%

20%

12% 9%

12% 8%

2011 2010

2011 2010

2011 2010

2011 2010

Micro-blogs

Social Networks

Corporate Blogs

Video Sharing

Active (at least one post during the period July 1-15, 2011) use of company social media channels for corporate purposes

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Figure 3: Corporate social media channels by market - 2011 Australia

90%

China

80%

Hong Kong

70%

70%

Indonesia

40%

20%

70%

South Korea

90%

Malaysia

80%

Philippines

50% 30%

50%

10%

70%

50%

Japan

50%

90%

60%

India

Singapore

50%

30% 20%

40%

30%

40%

70% 70%

90%

100% 40%

30%

10%

30%

20%

60% 80%

40%

n Micro-blogs

50%

n Social Networks Taiwan

20%

40%

Thailand

30%

n Corporate Blogs

70%

90%

10%

70%

n Video Sharing

Percentage of companies using the four major social media channel types across Asia-Pacific in 2011

Figure 4: Corporate social media channels by market – 2010 Australia

30%

China

20%

Hong Kong

20%

10% 20% 30%

India

30%

Indonesia

30%

50%

10%10%

30%

20% 10%

40%

Japan 10%10%10% South Korea

50%

Malaysia

100% 20%

Philippines

30%

40%

20%

10%10%

n Micro-blogs

Singapore 10%10%

n Social Networks Taiwan 10% Thailand

20%

n Corporate Blogs 40%

10%

n Video Sharing

Percentage of companies using the four major social media channel types across Asia-Pacific in 2010

CORPORATE SOCIAL MEDIA REPORT 2011 | 


On the whole, north Asian firms are the more aggressive users of social media. Often focused on managing costs, they view social platforms as a cost-effective route to build short-term market share in their domestic markets. And for both established and emerging players in China, Japan and South Korea expanding into foreign markets, social media is now a critical component of the marketing mix to reach both corporate audiences and consumers. Leading north Asian companies are also more likely to use video, though this tends to be more a reflection of their impressive broadband networks than their desire to use video, graphics and other visual formats to tell their corporate story. Compared to last year, Australian and Indian firms are placing greater emphasis on social media, especially in their use of micro-blogs and, to a lesser extent, social networks. In both markets, journalists, activists and business decision-makers are actively using Twitter, which are seen as central to the evolving online reputational ecosystems. By contrast, social networks are regarded principally as consumer vehicles. The most startling change has been in Southeast Asia notably amongst Malay, Thai, Philippino and Indonesian firms – most of which were barely using social media at all twelve months ago. What’s behind this shift? Their fast expanding local online Internet populations and improved telecom infrastructures are one reason. Playing catch up with peers and competitors in the region has also doubtless spurred action. The relative volatility of their online cultures may also have played a part. All these markets have witnessed the emergence of a more vocal, and politicized, citizenry, who are more willing to express their views on their political systems,

corporate behaviour and quality of products and customer service. Leading companies in these countries realise they must at least have a presence in these conversations.

Push and pull communications Questions that corporate communications professionals (rightfully) ask before participating in social media include: What are we going to speak about? What’s going to resonate with users? Do they really want to hear about our company news and point of view? How often do we have to post? Who should answer feedback, and how often? As we saw in last year’s study, Asian companies are – and remain - much more focused on pushing news and information at users rather than responding to comments or actively engaging them in conversations. This reluctance to get into online discussions has many explanations, not least the lack of dedicated resources with the necessary skills and remit to reach out across the organisation for a response, express it in an appropriate manner and be able to manage the necessary follow-ups. It is also likely that many corporate communicators do not fully appreciate the interests, requirements and behaviours of their audiences (other than some key journalists). What about product marketing? Few invest in qualitative or quantitative research that can yield invaluable insights into stakeholders’ interests and content preferences. At another level, the reluctance to get into conversations is also evident in firms’ preference to use their branded social media channels primarily to relay corporate news direct to opinion-formers (Figure 5) in the hope that they will report it and share it with their own online networks.

Figure 5: Focus of corporate social media activity

Percentage of corporate marketing or communications posts to company social media channels across Asia-Pacific

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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is another area where companies feel relatively comfortable when using social media. Examples of local community programmes or business commitments to reduce electricity use or to recycle water are naturally ‘Like’-friendly and can work well as short videos. Even better if people can be persuaded to contribute their own suggestions or ideas, as Pepsi has done with its Refresh Project9.

complaints and other issues to escalate overnight into fullscale problems. Some Asian firms are monitoring and responding to negative posts, albeit on a largely ad hoc basis. But the majority feel they are unprepared to handle online crises11.

While CSR can help paint a softer picture of the entity, companies need to also be aware of the risks of being seen to over-claim or misrepresent the facts. As market research agency Nielsen has shown10, the Internet is fertile ground for activists and others looking to pick apart corporate claims, especially concerning ‘green-washing’ and the environment.

Similar to last year, this study reveals high levels of inactive branded social media accounts (Figure 6) that were either not updated during the research period or that had been registered but not used.

Another notable area of corporate social media activity is crisis and issues communications. While crises are rare, issues of different types need to be handled regularly, a tricky proposition when it is taking place in the full glare of your Facebook page. With the corporate rumour mill now real-time and global, companies are profoundly aware of the potential for customer

Long-term commitment and short-term campaigns

Clearly, many firms continue to struggle to identify the content and topics of conversation that will help sustain interest over the long-term – indeed, developing a regular stream of engaging, relevant content (especially video) and dialogue is challenging for many organisations. There is also another explanation for the high levels of inactive accounts: the large numbers of social media profiles that were set up to support product marketing campaigns and were abandoned once the campaigns had run their course.

Figure 6: Levels of activity on social media channels n Active Accounts

n Inactive Accounts

77% 62% 47%

54%

53% 46%

38% 23%

Micro-blogs

Social Networks

Corporate Blogs

Video Sharing

Percentage of companies with active (at least one post during the period July 01-15, 2011) or inactive (with no company posts or activity during the period July 01-15, 2011) social media channels used solely or in part for corporate marketing or communications purposes

9

http://www.refresheverything.com/

10 Greenwashing: Who’s Winning and Losing the Green Race Online? – Nielsen, April 2008 11 Reputation In The Cloud Era: Digital Crisis Communications Study – Burson-Marsteller, June 2011

CORPORATE SOCIAL MEDIA REPORT 2011 | 11


The management of official social media profiles takes considerable time and effort, and demands organisations think carefully about their marketing and communications objectives, marketing mix and channel strategies. Despite this, the high percentage of inactive accounts indicates that many Asian organisations are yet to develop a sustainable social media strategy that places social media in the context of the broader marketing mix, including ‘traditional’ PR, internal communications, knowledge sharing, marketing, customer service and sales. In the meantime, a high proportion of top Asian companies continue to treat their corporate social media as pilot projects, keeping them deliberately separate from the company website (Figure 7). While firms may remain wary of the capacity for users to say what they want, keeping their social channels at arm’s length also makes it more difficult for users to find them and reduces their effectiveness.

Figure 7: Integration of social media channels with corporate website n Homepage Integration

n Social Sharing Tools

70% 60%

60% 50%

50%

50% 40% 40%

40%

30% 20%

20%

30% 20%

20% 20%

20%

20% 20%

20% 20%

10% 0% Australia

China

Hong Kong

India

Indonesia

Japan

S. Korea

0% Malaysia Philippines Singapore

Percentage of companies promoting their branded social media channels via their homepage or using page sharing tools

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Taiwan

Thailand


A CASE FOR OPEN DIGITAL LEADERSHIP

F

or communicators, few opportunities today are as exciting as studying the corporate use of relatively new digital channels across Asia’s many emerging markets. I welcome the opportunity to contribute to this report not only because we have so few useful studies of corporate social media in Asian markets, but also because of the study’s design. In this age of fast data and quick white papers, I Michael Netzley believe in some ways we could be making it more difficult for marketers and communicators to craft wise strategies when faced with so much fragmentary evidence. This report is different. Replicating the 2010 study, BursonMarsteller offers us a year-on-year look at corporate uses of digital channels. For me, several findings stand out. • The top activities for companies in Asia, by percentage of posts, are: media and influencer relations, thought leadership and CSR. These are all meaningful uses of digital channels which can help shape a company’s operating landscape. • The data also reveals how many more companies have created multiple social media channels and appear to be increasing their online presence. Creating the channels is an important first step, but perhaps the easiest. The findings also reveal opportunities for companies to use these channels more fully. • Channels which allow companies to develop a rich narrative (e.g., video sharing and blogs) appear to be used less frequently than do short-form communication channels such as micro-blogs. • Additionally, sustained use of the digital challenges appears to be an on-going challenge. While more companies have a presence over many channels, the levels of inactivity are surprisingly high.

So what does all this say about a path forward? First, I think it’s very likely that companies in Asia who want to get serious about their online presence might first re-examine their preferred metrics in order to encourage the right tactics and management approaches. If we want a sustained presence and meaningful engagement, then we must begin with metrics which can reveal any improvements along these lines. Perhaps most importantly, a revised dashboard must also be well aligned with the corporate strategy. We can especially see in the year-on-year comparison that some companies are putting digital channels to good use. I am encouraged to see significant growth in activities such as media and influencer relations and thought leadership. These can be great investments of time and resources trusting that the messaging strategy is aimed at something more than simple push, one-way announcements. In other words, having enough content for sustained corporate engagement with stakeholders means that we must all start operating like we are a media company. We need quality narrative content that evokes a response. Delivering sustained narrative content over blogs or video channels, however, is not easy. The growth of media channels revealed by this study also suggests that we need talented staff who can deliver such content. My sense is that such people can be in short supply in Asia’s many emerging markets. So in addition to revising our measurement dashboard, the increased adoption of more digital channels along with the high levels of inactivity lead me to ask about our talent schemes. Are we attracting, developing, and retaining enough skilled storytellers to maintain an ongoing dialogue with stakeholders? Perhaps not. Until that happens, the partnership between organisations and agencies will be critical to any successful online presence. And while I am encouraged to see more companies dipping their toe in the digital media pool, I believe the opportunity for a company to firmly establish itself as a leader in this

CORPORATE SOCIAL MEDIA REPORT 2011 | 13


space remains ripe. The findings of this study appear highly consistent with my university research—few companies have really established themselves as genuine leaders in the digital sphere. The early mover advantage still appears to be available in many markets and industries, but the increased adoption of digital channels indicates the clock is ticking. I have little doubt that in the coming years digital channels will reshape more than just marketing and public relations. These channels are set to impact all aspects of business. Today we can see increased use of digital channels for customer service and employee engagement as two obvious examples. But companies are also increasingly adopting enterprise communications to increase speed and efficiency of operations. Social networks are being leveraged to make companies innovate and shorten the time it takes to bring a new product or service to market. And university researchers are busy discovering how we can mine big data for better insights. Digital communications are making businesses more social. Companies are immersed in a web of stakeholders who are all aware of each other and talk about organisations. This study delivers one of the few comparative year-on-year snapshots of how Asian companies are coming to terms with this changed environment. Much work remains. Those who exhibit leadership, learn the quickest and become the first to capture the benefits of digital communications will, no doubt, gain a significant advantage.

Michael Netzley, PhD Assistant Professor of Corporate Communication (Education) 2010-11 Research Fellow, Society for New Communication Research Singapore Management University michael@smu.edu.sg @communicateasia

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USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA BY MARKET

CORPORATE SOCIAL MEDIA REPORT 2011 | 15


AUSTRALIA

T

his year’s findings show that Australian companies are taking an ever more integrated a p p ro a c h t o s o c i a l m e d i a . Having initially dipped their toes in the water and set up sole-purpose social media accounts, focusing on brand marketing or customer service, companies are now taking a more sophisticated approach. Major Australian companies such as Westpac and Qantas have increased the number of branded channels they offer, while using these channels to support a mix of brand, corporate content and customer service functions. The study also finds that corporate content tends to resonate strongly with Australian audiences, with users largely disinterested in or reluctant to comment on or share corporate content with their own networks. Why? For one, levels of online dialogue amongst Australians are lower than the global average12. Another reason could be that Australians are by nature fairly cynical about marketing.

Carly Yanco Head of Digital

carly.yanco@bm.com @carlyyanco

Corporate (and marketing) content itself must also be interesting and relevant. It is very simple for users to share content with their friends and colleagues (the desired ‘network effect’), but the reality is that much content fails truly to engage the user. However, the jury is out as to whether it is the nature of Australian audiences that is driving the reluctance to ‘engage’ with corporate content online, or whether it is based on the nature of corporate content itself. Australian companies that are weaving corporate messaging into their brand marketing and/or customer service efforts appear to be most successful, suggesting that an integrated approach increases engagement levels.

on Facebook, and dedicated resources to maintain and facilitate the accounts, Qantas Airways manages to keep c u s t o m e r s u p d a t e d , re s p o n d t o queries, communicate latest offers and promotions and suggest travel and holiday destinations. Accordingly, Qantas’ audiences are more engaged and responsive to intermittent corporate messages. As Australian consumers continue to move online thanks to improved broadband infrastructure and rising smartphone penetration, it is only to be expected that more businesses will take advantage of social media as a means to communicate with their audiences, at a lower relative cost. We also expect to see more Australian companies taking an integrated approach to social media, with accounts evolving true online representations of the company, giving audiences a more authentic and holistic brand experience.

For example, with close to 35,000 followers on Twitter and over 85,000

Westpac – Thought Leadership Corporate Use of Social Media Channels n Active Accounts

67%

n Inactive Accounts

60%

60%

12%

Source: www.youtube.com/westpacbanking

Westpac uses its YouTube channel to support its thought leadership communications, posting weekly economic news updates and business information and insights. The channel is also used to showcase the firm’s Corporate Social Responsibility efforts. The channel averages approximately 300 views per video and supports the bank’s broader stakeholder communications.

12 Digital Life, TNS, October 2010

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40%

40%

33%

0% Micro-blogs

Social Corporate Networks Blogs

Video Sharing


CHINA

C

h i n a ’s I n t e r n e t i s g ro w i n g explosively, with 485+ million Internet users of which some 235 million are social media users, with a year-on-year growth rate of 33.7%13. So it is little surprise that more and more companies in China – both local and international – are jumping on the social bandwagon. This year’s study shows that all the companies surveyed are now using at least one corporate social media channel, most often a corporate blog, sometimes a social network profile and, increasingly, a weibo (micro-blog profile).

Leon Zhang Digital Strategy & Insights Lead

leon.zhang@bm.com http://weibo.com/leonzhangliang @digimarketing

proving popular for marketing and communications purposes. China Merchants Bank, for instance, now counts well over 300,000 followers of its Weibo account. Yet while the weibos are in vogue for both consumer and corporate marketing and communication, and some firms can boast high numbers of followers, actual dialogue with users remains very thin, certainly on corporate marketing and communications topics.

Micro-blogs, in particular, have been the talk of the town over the past twelve months, with huge numbers of users (Sina and Tencent both now state they have over 200m users for their respective weibos), and playing an active, and highly visible role, in the Zhejiang high-speed train crash and a series of protests, scandals and natural disasters.

The relative lack of dialogue is precisely why many firms feel comfortable using weibos in the communications mix – they are primarily used to disseminate information as far and as wide as possible, rather than truly ‘engage’ users.

The weibos – especially Sina, which is seen to have a more educated and influential user base – are

This may seem to contradict companies’ (ongoing) use of corporate blogs, with half of the companies

Alibaba Group – Corporate Social Responsibility

surveyed having one or more of these channels. Yet only 20% of these blogs were active during the research period, pointing to a larger issue – the paucity of skills to man these channels and feed them compelling content on an ongoing basis, and a general lack of commitment to fill this need. The fact that social media channels in mainland China are rarely promoted, let alone integrated, with the corporate website also indicates that companies remain cautious in this area. In China, there are good reasons for caution, not least due to the uncertainty surrounding the weibos – will they be regulated? Or has the government let the social cat out of the digital bag? Meantime, Chinese companies would do well to clarify who they are aiming at and why they are using social media. A common mistake is simply to focus on the quantity of fans/followers, ignoring their quality and influence. This may be a reason why “zombie followers” (inactive or fake followers manipulated by some companies / individuals for business purposes) have become prevalent in China recently.

Corporate Use of Social Media Channels n Active Accounts

67%

60%

n Inactive Accounts

60%

100%

12%

Source: http://csrblog.alibaba.com/

In addition to a dedicated website, Alibaba Group has an official blog specifically to highlight its Corporate Social Responsibility activities, providing a stream of CSR-related news, updates and reports on volunteering, disaster relief and environmental protection programmes.

20% 8% Micro-blogs

10% Social Corporate Networks Blogs

Video Sharing

13 28th China Internet Development Report – CNNIC, July 2011

CORPORATE SOCIAL MEDIA REPORT 2011 | 17


HONG KONG

H

ong Kong’s love affair with social media is a little more muted than in some other markets, perhaps because it is a small place and people meet in person frequently.

Nonetheless, companies are increasingly keen to use social media, especially for consumer marketing campaigns. And the Hong Kong gover nment is also placing much greater emphasis on Facebook and other channels for its own public communications, perhaps spurred by a well publicised campaign against a proposed high-speed railway. While consumer brands are actively using social media, Hong Kongbased companies are lagging in their use of social media for corporate communications and marketing, with few exceptions, notably Cathay Pacific Airways, which uses a variety of social platforms to communicate with a broad spectrum of stakeholders. Facebook is much the most popular s o c i a l c h a n n e l , re a c h i n g a ro u n d 77% of the population 14, and is used

Terence Yam Digital Strategist

terence.yam@bm.com @terenceyam

principally for short-term product and brand marketing campaigns, with some companies also using it for general stakeholder communications and to highlight their Corporate Social Responsibility programmes. However, active and sustained use of Facebook and other social media for corporate purposes remains thin on the ground. Why this conservatism? It is partly due to a lack of skilled resources, partly due to the perceived loss of control that social media represents. There is also the added difficulty of needing to manage social channels using traditional Chinese as well as English and perhaps also simplified Chinese. Equally, while Sina Weibo has gotten some real traction in Hong Kong over the past few months thanks to its userfriendly interface and abundance of

Hong Kong & China Gas – Corporate Social Responsibility

fun and engaging content, the ‘weibo fever’ that has been sweeping mainland China does not apply to the same extent in Hong Kong. This is perhaps surprising, as Hong Kong-ers prefer content that is short and contains a lot of graphics (in contrast to the reading habits of mainland Chinese). They are also used to a style of media reportage that favours fewer words and more pictures. In addition to a general conservatism, this relative lack of substantive media output and online content might also explain why so few firms are using dialogue – either on Facebook, microblogs or on dedicated corporate-blogs to communicate with stakeholders. All of which points to video as perhaps the best opportunity for companies looking to bring alive their corporate marketing messages. YouTube is highly popular in Hong Kong, as are some of the Chinese online video channels such as Youku and Ku6, and the mainstream media are busy launching video news channels. Yet companies seldom use video to promote their brands – a big missed opportunity.

Corporate Use of Social Media Channels n Active Accounts

73%

Source: http://www.facebook.com/lowcarbonaction

Hong Kong & China Gas uses a variety of social media tools to raise awareness and encourage its customers of its ‘Towngas Low Carbon Action!’ campaign to save energy and adopt a generally more environmentallyfriendly lifestyle.

14 Asia-Pacific Social Media Infographics – Burson-Marsteller, August 2011

18 | BURSON-MARSTELLER ASIA-PACIFIC

n Inactive Accounts

43%

100%

57%

12%

100%

27%

Micro-blogs

Social Corporate Networks Blogs

Video Sharing


INDIA

S

ocial media is the new buzzword in India amongst consumers, citizens and companies. India now counts over 32 million registered Facebook users, nearly 52% of the local online population. Twitter and LinkedIn now have around 10 million users respectively15. In the past twelve months, more and more Indian companies have started using social networks and other media. But corporate use remains at an early stage, with the focus largely on product marketing and customer service.

Salil Jayakar Digital Strategist

salil.jayakar@bm.com @salilicious

especially true of social media. Some of India’s largest companies remain family-owned, for which traditional marketing formats such as TV ad spots and posters have worked well.

Indian companies’ preferred channel is social networks, with almost 60% of companies using Facebook, as well as Google’s Orkut, as opposed to some 30% using Twitter. Only 10% of companies surveyed are using online video in any way for corporate marketing or communications.

Moreover, decision-making is often controlled by a single individual (more often than not) who has little time to study a new medium that appears to have little immediate impact on the bottom line, and the top management / policy makers in these companies te nd to be senior members who have little exposure to social media tools. For them, evaluation of social media presents a learning curve and a risk-investment-gain analysis to be conducted.

There can be said to be something of a herd mentality generally that applies to marketing in India, and this appears

In addition, many firms are worried about the risks of overly exposing themselves in these public domains.

Wipro – Thought Leadership

2011 saw India suffer its fair share of social media crises and there is no reason to believe that 2012 will be any different. The challenge many companies face is how to deal with such an open and volatile environment. Few firms in India have much idea how to respond during a public onslaught on the Internet, and in our experience few have prepared for this eventuality. T h a t ’s n o t t o s a y t h e r e a r e n ’ t companies prepared to take a risk. In particular, India’s leading technology firms (for instance, see Wipro below) are actively using corporate blogs and other social media for thought leadership companies, and to help drive awareness and credibility in foreign markets, especially English-language ones. For those Indian companies yet to make the social media jump, the waiting time has been getting shorter. And, there’s an elephant in the room, and one they cannot choose to ignore.

Corporate Use of Social Media Channels n Active Accounts

57%

29%

n Inactive Accounts

50%

75%

71% 12% 50% 43% 25%

Source: http://www.wipro.com/blog/default.aspx?category=Sustainability

IT company Wipro’s official ‘Applying Thought’ blog features regular posts from India and foreign-based senior executives, experts and guest bloggers. The blog aims to positions the company as an expert on a range of topics, from business strategy and organisational design to sustainability.

Micro-blogs

Social Corporate Networks Blogs

Video Sharing

15 Various sources – Bloomberg, LinkedIn, WATBlog.com, September 2011

CORPORATE SOCIAL MEDIA REPORT 2011 | 19


INDONESIA

D

u b b e d t h e m o s t Tw i t t e raddicted nation in the world, Indonesia’s prolific use of social media and its general influence on society continues to garner considerable attention globally.

L a s t y e a r, a t t e n t i o n f o c u s e d o n the ‘ A C o i n f o r P r i t a ’ m o v e m e n t waged against a hospital in Jakarta; this year was the turn of enraged Harry Potter fans casting spells on Twitter after the announcement that the film would not be screened i n I n d o n e s i a . M e a n w h i l e a c t re s s Emma Watson tweeted in support of the #IndonesiawantsHarryPotter movement. Despite the fact that Indonesia has one of the highest levels of Twitter penetration in the world 16 and the largest number of Facebook users in Asia (over 40 million 17), data from this study indicates that companies in Indonesia continue to use social media sparingly for corporate activities. In line with last year’s results18, popular social media channels are principally being used by top Indonesian companies for consumer marketing

Natashia Jaya Digital Associate

natashia.jaya@bm.com @natsii

purposes only rather than stakeholder communications. One of the reasons behind the general reluctance to use social media for corporate purposes is that most companies still prefer traditional media channels, notably print, broadcast and, increasingly, online media to build emerging domestic markets and market share. There is also a distinct lack of qualified local personnel to devise and manage social media programmes. The growing concer n that social media will result in a loss of control of messaging and content has also h i n d e re d c o m p a n i e s f ro m u s i n g their social media channels for corporate purposes. Companies are uncomfortable their corporate information the public where it might generate uncontrolled conversations or questions that may undo their reputations.

Garuda Indonesia – Recruitment Marketing

Additionally, there is still a big question mark amongst companies on how to measure ROI for corporate use of social media. Ye t w h i l e I n d o n e s i a n c o m p a n i e s continue to shy away from detailing their corporate activities on the Internet a n d t h ro u g h s o c i a l m e d i a , m o s t established companies are well aware that they are increasingly expected to be in this space whether they like it or not. Hence, the majority of Indonesian companies surveyed have either a Twitter or Facebook account, or both, though rarely for corporate marketing alone – product campaigns dominate social media thinking and doing here. With a population of over 240 million, Internet penetration at 16% 19 and massive enthusiasm for all things social, there is untapped potential that companies in Indonesia can address. As consumer access to broadband becomes more pervasive and mobile broadband services reduce, companies are going to find it harder to say no in the future.

Corporate Use of Social Media Channels n Active Accounts

100%

100%

n Inactive Accounts

100%

100%

12%

Source: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Garuda-Indonesia/

Garuda Indonesia, the national airline for Indonesia, uses its Facebook account mainly for recruitment marketing. In addition to posting information about new openings, the company also directs its followers to the Garuda Indonesia’s career website where prospective employees can apply online.

16 17 18 19

Twitter Growth Worldwide - Comscore Media Metrix, August 2010 Checkfacebook.com - September 2011 Asia-Pacific Corporate Social Media Study 2010 - Burson-Marsteller, August 2010 http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats3.htm#asia

20 | BURSON-MARSTELLER ASIA-PACIFIC

Micro-blogs

Social Corporate Networks Blogs

Video Sharing


JAPAN

C

ontrary to some commentators’ opinions, Japanese firms of all shapes and sizes are actively using social media to market their brands and products. But it remains true that Japanese firms remain slow in using social media for corporate communications. There are three main reasons: First, Japanese companies continue to think that social media is only about consumer marketing. Second, local firms of all sizes remain worried about the possible loss of control that social media entails. Third, they lack the requisite resources and skills, especially in the corporate communication arena, despite the international footprint of many of the companies surveyed.

Nonetheless, there’s no question that Japanese companies have started to consider corporate use of social media more seriously having seen the role that social media played in the Great East Japan earthquake, as well as by a spate of digitally-driven issues and crises driven by a more vocal

Kyoko Toyoda Strategist

kyoko.toyoda@bm.com

set of audiences both in Japan and elsewhere. For the moment, the focus is on setting up the core social infrastructure and looking for opportunities to engage with online media and bloggers. Actual engagement with stakeholders on the Internet remains thin. Corporate dialogue can also suffer from being inappropriate. There is much talk now of so-called ‘soft-touch (or casual social media) accounts’. Commonly found on micro-blogs and social networks, these corporate accounts do little more than engage in what can appear to be fairly pointless chatter with fans/followers, as if to fill space in a conversation that seems to be going nowhere. While this approach has been popular since the first wave of company social media accounts in 2009, it has only recently started to be questioned

Softbank – Leadership Communications

by target audiences and companies alike. Of the options available, micro-blogs - especially Twitter – are the channels of choice, chiefly as they are so easy to use and require little effort to maintain and promote. It is also worth remembering that it is possible to express much more in Japanese than many other languages within the 140 character limit. There is also a widespread belief that news and information added to Twitter will somehow miraculously spread out across the Internet like fairy dust. Yet many corporate Twitter accounts struggle to attract large followings. Overall, Japan’s use of social media will follow the contours of its path as a culture and as country: the more open we become, the more likely we are to express ourselves openly. This applies to ourselves as people, and as businesses. This may take time. But with Facebook increasingly popular, and Japanese firms look outward for growth, the future is promising.

Corporate Use of Social Media Channels n Active Accounts

14%

n Inactive Accounts

50%

57%

86%

12% 50% 43%

Source: http://twitter.com/#!/masason

Masayoshi Son, CEO of telecoms company Softbank, uses Twitter to talk about company news and activities, and to gather feedback on its services. He also sheds light on his private life and his thoughts on politics, business and the environment to his 1.3 million followers.

0% Micro-blogs

Social Corporate Networks Blogs

Video Sharing

CORPORATE SOCIAL MEDIA REPORT 2011 | 21


MALAYSIA

M

alaysians’ growing acceptance and enthusiasm for social media has created persistent challenges for companies looking to engage a community long accustomed to basic value hunting and the pursuit of personal and social causes. As excitement over the promise of social media engagements begins to abate, consumers and corporations alike are faced with increasing exposure fatigue and a general lack of strategic sophistication. In turn, corporations have adapted to the predominantly incentive-driven local culture by running campaigns focused on simple metrics. By contrast, long-term relationship building is often pioneered by the consumer product or services sectors, where fresh content and engagement tactics can be routinely deployed sustain activity levels. This often leads to brands under-valuing their corporate assets and messaging. This is by no means a reflection of lack of will, but rather, adjustment in lieu of Malaysian netizen behaviour and

Kelvin Lim Digital Strategist

kelvin.lim@bm.com @kelameity

expectations. Rising living costs and recurring political turmoil has coloured consumer sentiment, and brands are now faced with larger pockets of highly opinionated consumers that are more unforgiving of corporate mishaps than ever before. I n a d d i t i o n , a g e n e r a l l y re a c t i v e approach to online issues management together with a lack of understanding of digital crisis management has caught many Malaysian companies unaware, leading to consumer flare-ups on Facebook and Twitter.

As brands continue to extend their online presence into the social space, channels such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs will increasingly serve as key communications hubs, where corporate messaging is sprinkled amongst promotional consumer content. Meantime, other corporate channels, including corporate blogs and video and image hosting sites, often remain dormant. This is attributed mainly to low traffic and engagement levels, leading to difficulty in justifying return on investment.

It comes as no surprise that service industries such as airlines and telecommunication providers are among the most active participants in social media, while banking institutions shy away from online engagement, mostly opting to limit their activities to corporate social responsibility efforts on their corporate websites.

AirAsia – Media & Influencer Outreach

Corporate Use of Social Media Channels n Active Accounts

92%

80%

n Inactive Accounts

50%

100%

12% 50%

Source: http://www.youtube.com/user/airasia

AirAsia uses a mix of social media channels, including a company blog, to provide insight into its staff and working culture, as well as to announce product news and promotions. AirAsia also encourages its customers to share their experiences through the blog using videos and photos.

22 | BURSON-MARSTELLER ASIA-PACIFIC

20% 8% Micro-blogs

Social Corporate Networks Blogs

Video Sharing


PHILIPPINES

S

ocial media is an increasingly major part of Filipino consumers’ lives, and yet few local companies are using social channels in any strategic manner. The results of this year’s study indicate that use of social media for corporate marketing and communications remains low, and that companies are using social media mainly to push content rather than conversing with their fans or followers. Furthermore, integration of branded social channels with company websites is very limited, and many social accounts in the Philippines are inactive. And while use of social networks has increased, it remains p r i m a r i l y re s t r i c t e d t o s a l e s a n d marketing activities. The big story is the growth in microblogging, which many Filipino corporations have taken to with gusto. As Filipinos continue to upgrade to smartphones, we expect companies to place greater emphasis on microblogging going forward.

Jinny Jacaria Account Director, Strategic Edge

jjacaria@seinc.com.ph

Social networks will also become a greater focus on corporate activity. Filipinos have been generally accepting of corporate entities on Facebook and other social media channels, and react positively to well-crafted marketing and customer service efforts, particularly contests and promotions. Firms responding openly and constructively to customer queries and complaints are seen as responsive and engaged.

to be communicating with their fans and followers in a personalised manner, preferring to push corporate news and information at them rather than proactively encouraging discussion and feedback. As social media becomes more and more central to Filipinos’ daily lives and to their experience of and contact with organisations, they will expect much greater levels of interaction. This will require dedicated resources and increased budgets but perhaps most importantly the adoption of a new mindset that puts a premium on listening and responding.

Yet, while Filipinos may be inclined to ‘like’ or ‘fan’ a company on Facebook or Twitter, the great majority are little more than ‘lurkers’ passively consuming content but less than likely to share links let alone interact, comment or contribute to a company profile. Meanwhile, meaningful dialogue remains limited, especially on corporate topics. Few Filipino companies appear

Philippines Airlines – Stakeholder Communications

Corporate Use of Social Media Channels n Active Accounts

29%

n Inactive Accounts

40%

100%

60%

12%

100%

71%

Source: http://www.facebook.com/flyPAL?sk=app_57675755167

Philippine Airlines uses Facebook and Twitter primarily for customer service purposes, but also to highlight the company’s 70th anniversary, its repatriation of Filipinos from Libya and to communicate its position on an employee strike. Overall, the impression is of a company that listens.

Micro-blogs

Social Corporate Networks Blogs

Video Sharing

CORPORATE SOCIAL MEDIA REPORT 2011 | 23


SINGAPORE

S

ocial media played an important role in the Singaporean General Election in 2011, opening up the debate to an unprecedented degree and significantly affecting voter support for the ruling party. This has galvanized government and business to take a closer look at the possibilities and applications of social media as well as the potential risks of engaging in this space. The results remain inconclusive. This year’s study shows that more top Singaporean companies have created social media channels, compared to the 2010 study. However, given the quality of the local telecoms infrastructure and the connectedness of its population, Singapore still lags most other markets in the region in terms of corporate adoption of social media. One trend that continues from last year is the high proportion of inactive pages. While companies use social media fairly assertively in the marketing of products, their corporate presence remains sporadic and under-utilised. Every video channel reviewed in the study was inactive, for example, despite the

Steve Bowen Managing Director

steve.bowen@bm.com @steve_bowen

fact that video remains one of the most downloaded types of online content. Online dialogue is also scarce. The Singapore social media model, at least for corporate use, continues to be focused on broadcasting messages rather than opening dialogues. Corporate websites continue to shy away from the comparatively straightforward task of incorporating social media sharing functionality into their content and few of the companies reviewed provide links to their social media channels from their homepages. In other words, whilst we have noted an increase in the number of companies opening channels, we are not seeing a concomitant increase in the level of engagement or the frequency of interaction, especially on corporate issues. In one notable example, SingTel posted an apology to its Facebook page for a temporary drop

OCBC Bank – Recruitment Marketing

in service quality but did not respond to any of the 300 comments that were solicited as a result of the post. By contrast, the page is significantly more responsive when users comment on sales promotions. T h a t s a i d , s o m e c o m p a n i e s a re beginning to show a more structured and strategic approach to social media, even if outreach remains limited to relatively ‘safe’ topics. In other areas of the mix engagement remains minimal. None of the companies in our study had a particularly active Twitter presence. The DBS Twitter feed that was highlighted as part of last year’s study is today used largely to respond to customer service enquiries. Other companies have established their own channels on Twitter but have yet to post. In short, top Singaporean companies re m a i n h e s i t a n t a b o u t e n g a g i n g in the social media space beyond consumer marketing outreach. We have yet to see a major Singaporean company fully embrace the possibilities of these channels for corporate communications.

Corporate Use of Social Media Channels n Active Accounts

100%

n Inactive Accounts

33%

60%

67% 12%

40% Source: http://www.facebook.com/OCBCCareers?sk=app_10442206389

OCBC’s Facebook page helps people explore career opportunities with the bank and in financial services in general. Its effectiveness is diminished by the fact that it is linked not to the company’s website homepage but to a single page deep in the site architecture.

24 | BURSON-MARSTELLER ASIA-PACIFIC

0% Micro-blogs

Social Corporate Networks Blogs

Video Sharing


SOUTH KOREA

A

s we noted last year, South Korean companies have been highly active in social media as a platform to communicate with customers and other stakeholders, both at home and abroad. Based on this year’s research together with our own experience working with a range of Korean companies, it is clear that Korean companies continue to invest significantly. For K ore a ns , s oc i al m ed ia a re a staple of daily life. While local social network CyWorld has lost some of its luster, top online portals (comprising a host of blog, micro-blog and online community platforms) Naver and Daum reach 84% and 68% of the population respectively20. Over 7m South Koreans u s e m e 2 d a y, a l o c a l m i c ro - b l o g competitor to Twitter owned by Naver. Smartphones are now in the hands of one in five locals21. Most top Korean companies especially technology, telecoms and financial services players - have now established their basic social media infrastructure and put in place their measurement systems. For corporate purposes, micro-blogs and corporate blogs are the weapons of choice, the former to distribute news and information, the latter often as online

DaeChul Shin Digital Associate

daechul.shin@bm.com @andyshin

‘hubs’ for campaigns. Social networks and video sharing channels are used primarily for consumer marketing. Having built some initial momentum, Korean firms are now focused on making them work harder and resourcing these channels properly, often setting up specialist social media teams that support product, brand and corporate marketing. They are also busy figuring out how best to target and engage their audiences. Marketing campaigns that do not include social media are increasingly rare and while use of social media for corporate marketing remains behind its consumer cousin, companies are experimenting with a range of options, including hosting special events that can be broadcast across multiple online channels. Despite this, the appetite amongst Korean companies for substantive dialogue on both corporate and consumer topics remains low. Most discussions on branded social media

SK Telecom – Corporate Social Responsibility

channels are limited to basic customer service support; there is very little chatter on topics such as CSR or thought leadership, even if companies are banging the CSR drum more loudly. This dearth of discussion may be down to Koreans’ tendency to react adversely to ‘corporate speak’. Equally likely is that many companies are shy about engaging users on corporate topics, which necessarily involve deeper discussions on sometimes awkward issues. They may also be wary of local and international moves to improve disclosure with bloggers. Many South Korean companies have been actively courting, seeding and sponsoring power bloggers, especially so-called ‘wife-loggers’ – housewives actively sharing their thoughts and experiences on food, education and clothing. After it became clear that one such blogger had reputedly earned over USD 300,000 when advocating an ozone sterilizer product without revealing her relationship with the company, a number of firms pared back their blogger outreach programmes. Others, such as Samsung, have started to disclose their relationships through ‘Clean Online PR’ policies.

Corporate Use of Social Media Channels n Active Accounts

11%

29%

n Inactive Accounts

30%

17%

89% 83% 71%

70% 12%

Source: http://sktstory.com/library-happyapp/

SK Telecom uses a mix of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and SKT Story, its corporate blog, to talk about its community and environmental activities, including smartphone applications for the visually impaired and a Twitter campaign to support children suffering from myopathy.

Micro-blogs

Social Corporate Networks Blogs

Video Sharing

20 Asia-Pacific Social Media Infographics – Burson-Marsteller, August 2011 21 Google Study Finds Smartphone Usage Up in South Korea - Wall Street Journal Digits blog, April 2011

CORPORATE SOCIAL MEDIA REPORT 2011 | 25


TAIWAN

S

ocial media has been highly popular in Taiwan in recent years, with locals flocking to Wretch, YouTube, Pixnet and other social communities to document and share their thoughts and experiences. Facebook now boasts 76% reach in Taiwan, and Wretch some 9 million users22. Social platforms are also playing an increasingly central role when buying product s. Acco rd ing to a recent study by local market researchers InsightXplorer 23 , 50% of Taiwanese Internet users use social networks to conduct product research and ask for advice. However, it is clear from this year’s research data that top Taiwanese companies are lagging their peers and competitors across Asia. Social media still constitute a new communications tool for most Taiwanese companies, which lack the resources and support necessary to make these channels a success. Indeed, Taiwanese companies tend

messages. Luna Chiang Senior Account Director, Compass PR

luna.chiang@compasspr.com.tw

t o h a v e re l a t i v e l y l i m i t e d p u b l i c relations competencies and have not traditionally put much store in ‘listening’ to stakeholders. Social media simply implies further loss of control of their messaging and content, not least in an environment that demands instant re s p o n se and action. Hence the (continued) focus on using ‘owned’ channels such as websites to deliver corporate messages. It is also clear that the top Taiwanese firms covered by this research continue to approach social media largely as a product marketing tool for consumer technology and goods companies such as mobile manufacturer HTC and convenience retailer 7-11.

This is not to say that some Taiwanese companies are not experimenting with social media for corporate marketing and communications. Firms such as HTC, ASUS and bicycle manufacturer Giant are leading the way, mostly by mixing corporate messages in with product marketing, which both helps reduce the emphasis on promotions and sales while softening the image of the brand. As Taiwanese firms continue their international expansion, a greater focus on social media for both product and corporate purposes can be expected. But to catch their competitors and peers, they will need to put greater emphasis not just on the channels but in corporate programmes as a whole.

Motivated principally by product features and value, local consumers are more likely to react to and discuss product marketing than corporate

BenQ – Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Use of Social Media Channels n Active Accounts

50%

n Inactive Accounts

37.5%

62.5%

67%

12%

50% 33%

http://www.benqfoundation.org/earth14.php

Taiwanese consumer technology player BenQ uses social media to communicate its CSR activities, including actions to reduce carbon emissions and measures to protect the environment, such as encouraging employees’ families to assist in the planting of 40,000 trees close to its Taichung manufacturing plant. 22 Asia-Pacific Social Media Infographics - Burson-Marsteller, August 2011 23 Research on Virtual Communities in Taiwan - InsightXplorer, May 2011

26 | BURSON-MARSTELLER ASIA-PACIFIC

0% Micro-blogs

Social Corporate Networks Blogs

Video Sharing


THAILAND

M

ajor Thai corporations have made some progress in their use of social media o v e r t h e l a s t y e a r, b u t remain very tentative in their willingness to actively engage with stakeholders, preferring to push news and information to stakeholders, much like they have always done with more ‘traditional’ communications vehicles. There are a number of possible reasons for their apparent reticence to engage openly in online conversations, notably corporate cultural norms, a shortage of individuals with the necessary skills and an unwillingness to commit the resources needed to actively engage stakeholders in ‘social media time’. Social networks, especially Facebook, continue to be the most popular social media platform for corporations in Thailand. But, even here, both corporations and the public have not shown significant interest in engaging in meaningful dialogue. Facebook in Thailand is generally considered to be a fun diversion for urban youth and young adults, rather than a serious

Jeremy Plotnick Knowledge Director, Aziam BursonMarsteller

jeremy.plotnick@abm.co.th

communications channel. And while many companies in Thailand have established a presence on Facebook, most have opted to focus on marketing communications, CSR updates or informal/fun communications. Unsurprisingly, the firms most active on social networks are those with significant consumer exposure: telecoms operators and banks. Twitter has also been gaining traction in Thailand but again it has not been widely adopted by local corporate communications practitioners. While some local media are active on Twitter, most usage comprises of simple news updates and personal communications. That said, Twitter’s profile was raised significantly during the April and May 2010 demonstrations in Bangkok when it became a major source of real-time

CP ALL – Corporate Social Responsibility

information for local and international media as well as the general public. A significant potential barrier to a rapid expansion in the use of social media for corporate communications relates a lack of clarity in Thailand’s strict legal code regarding online incidents of libel, defamation and/or lese majeste. The primary area of concern is the fact that with social media tools any party can post comments on the corporate platform, which are then visible to the general population. If an individual posts libelous or defamatory comments on a corporation’s social media channel and the company does not remove the comments fast enough, there is a risk that the corporation will be criminally liable. Further, there is also the possibility that the company will be exposed to civil law suits by the person(s) defamed in comments on a corporate social media channel. For risk-averse organisations this may be enough to take a wait-andsee attitude toward using social media for corporate communications.

Corporate Use of Social Media Channels n Active Accounts

43%

33%

n Inactive Accounts

100%

100%

67% 57%

12%

Source: http://www.facebook.com/cpall7?sk=app_106878476015645

CP ALL’s flagship CSR programme involves promoting the study of the classic Japanese board game Go among Thai youth to foster strategic thinking. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are used alongside its corporate website to raise awareness and increase participation in the programme.

Micro-blogs

Social Corporate Networks Blogs

Video Sharing

CORPORATE SOCIAL MEDIA REPORT 2011 | 27


28 | BURSON-MARSTELLER ASIA-PACIFIC


APPROACH TO CORPORATE SOCIAL MEDIA & NEXT STEPS

CORPORATE SOCIAL MEDIA REPORT 2011 | 29


AN APPROACH TO CORPORATE SOCIAL MEDIA Companies considering developing and implementing a corporate social media strategy might usefully consider the following: • Monitor Continuously Discussions online don’t conveniently take place during work hours – they can happen anytime, on any channel and any topic. Make sure you are tracking top influencers, forums and other online channels in order to identify potential issues early and proactively enter into relevant conversations.

• Clarify Objectives Many organisations stray into social media without a clear idea of what they are looking to achieve, and using rudimentary metrics and tools to evaluate their performance. Having a clear set of objectives will make the programme more effective, easier to sell and simpler to evaluate.

• Get Management Buy-In Encourage senior management to be aware of – and, optimally, participate in social media – in order to foster appropriate participation by employees on behalf of the company. Setting a positive example is the best method of digital leadership.

• Align Messages Until recently, different stakeholders could be treated separately using different sets of messages and materials; the Internet now gives all audiences access to much the same information. The need for more consistent messaging to all audiences and across all channels is becoming increasingly important.

• Connect the Dots Your stakeholders may have a different view of your company than you do, and can voice these opinions whenever they want. When considering your corporate social media strategy, look laterally across your organisation to identify potential weaknesses or contradictions and plan your communications accordingly.

• Contribute to the Community Make sure that your participation in social media is relevant and genuinely helps and adds value to your audiences, as opposed to always providing content that is marketing or promotional in nature. As with human relationships, people respond to companies that listen and are responsive.

• Participate in Good Times and Bad There will always be situations in which it is best to avoid participating in online conversations but, generally speaking, negative content provides an opportunity for an organisation to share its point of view or set the record straight. Avoiding negative issues can also make you appear uncaring and perhaps with something to hide.

30 | BURSON-MARSTELLER ASIA-PACIFIC


• Be Prepared to Respond in Real-Time Social media conversations take place in real-time and can spread like wildfire, so it is often necessary to respond immediately to ensure that you are seen to care about your customers. Equally, a quick response can stave off reputational damage that may take months to repair.

• Be Flexible Whilst it is preferable that your message and content are as clear and consistent as possible in today’s faster, flatter communications environment, the dynamics of online conversations can turn on a dime. Try to retain some flexibility both in your messaging and in its delivery.

• Speak as a Person People expect to be talked to as people, not as constituents of a demographic or members of a database. When interacting with customers and other stakeholders on the internet, it is essential that your voice and tone are both personal and true to your organisation’s values.

• Don’t be Heavy-Handed Be careful about getting into fights with people on the Internet – large organisations rarely win spats in the broad court of public opinion. Furthermore, the use of legal actions or threats often only makes matters worse, alienating your audiences and helping spread the fire.

• Optimise Continuously It is increasingly easy to track online conversations relevant to your organisation, as well as monitor use of your branded social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc. Such data can be enormously helpful in ensuring that your approach is appropriate. It can also help fine-tune your messages.

CORPORATE SOCIAL MEDIA REPORT 2011 | 31


NEXT STEPS Below are some initial actions for organisations considering planning and implementing corporate social media programmes. 1. Understand Audiences Few organisations get a grip on what their audiences think about them, beyond those they already know well. It is also important to appreciate their behaviours, in terms of preferred sources of information, approaches to research, relative spheres of influence etc – both online and offline. What people say and do online does not necessarily reflect their offline lives.

2. Assess Communications Capabilities Understand how well equipped your internal teams and supplier are to plan, implement and assess social media programmes, build relationships in the online environment (including leveraging existing ‘offline’ relationships), and track, analyse, escalate and manage online discussions. Beware: self-anointed social media ‘gurus’ abound.

3. Identify & Strengthen Gaps Identify the gaps between your overall communications objectives and plan, and your current social media knowledge, skills, systems, processes & tools. Look to strengthen weaknesses through training, recruitment or by improving internal decision-making processes and procedures.

4. Re-design Policies, Procedures & Toolkits Make sure your current communications infrastructure is up to date and sufficiently flexible to meet today’s reality. This may include the introduction of a corporate social media policy, the development of social media playbooks and other resources and updating your crisis communications protocols.

5. Communicate Employee Roles & Responsibilities It is very easy, and tempting, for employees to share their own views and experiences on company-related issues on the Internet. It is vital that your people are aware of the evolving legal framework (in some countries) governing disclosure to bloggers, their professional and personal responsibilities and the broad principles of communicating online.

6. Cascade Learnings While often the best way to develop capabilities in any area is through the actual implementation of communications programmes, also consider how best you can develop a system for sharing social media knowledge and learnings within and across your communications teams, and ensuring these stay top of mind.

32 | BURSON-MARSTELLER ASIA-PACIFIC


COMPANY-MARKET INDEX The companies surveyed in this study comprise the top 10 companies per market as ranked in the Wall Street Journal Asia 200 Index for 2010. The Index can be viewed at: http://asia.wsj.com/public/page/asia200.html Australia

Indonesia

The Philippines

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group BHP Billiton Coca-Cola Amatil Commonwealth Bank of Australia National Australia Bank Qantas Airways Rio Tinto Westfield Group Westpac Banking Corporation Woolworths

Bank Central Asia Bank Mandiri (Persero) Bank Rakyat Indonesia Hanjaya Mandala Sampoerna Holcim Indonesia Indofood Sukses Makmur Indonesian Satellite (Indosat) PT Astra International Telekomunikasi Indonesia Unilever Indonesia

China (mainland)

Japan

Ayala Corporation Ayala Land, Inc. Banco de Oro Unibank Inc. Bank of the Philippine Islands Globe Telecom, Inc. Jollibee Foods Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company San Miguel Corporation SM Development Corporation

Alibaba.com Baidu, Inc. BYD Co. China Merchants Bank Co. China Vanke Co. Ctrip.com International Lenovo Group Li Ning Co. Tencent Holdings Tsingtao Brewery Co.

Canon Inc. Fast Retailing Inc. Honda Motor Co. Nintendo Co. Panasonic Corporation Seven and i Holdings Co. Softbank Corporation Sony Corporation Toshiba Corporation Toyota Motor Corporation

Hong Kong

South Korea

Cathay Pacific Airways China Light & Power Holdings Hang Seng Bank Hong Kong & China Gas Co. Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group MTR Corporation Swire Pacific Sun Hung Kai Properties Shangri-La Asia

Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Hyundai Motor Company Kia Motors Corporation LG Corporation LG Display Co. LG Electronics Inc. POSCO Samsung Electronics Co. Shinsegae Co. SK Telecom Co.

India

Malaysia

Bharti Airtel Hindustan Unilever Housing Development Finance Corporation Infosys Technologies Larsen & Toubro Maruti Suzuki India Tata Consultancy Services Tata Motors Tata Steel Wipro

Astro All Aisa Networks plc CIMB Group Holdings DiGi.com Genting Malayan Banking Malaysia Airlines System Maxis Nestle (Malaysia) Petronas Gas Public Bank

Singapore CapitaLand DBS Group Holdings Overseas-Chinese Banking Corporation Singapore Airlines Singapore Airport Terminal Services Singapore Exchange Singapore Press Holdings Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) StarHub United Overseas Bank

Taiwan Acer Inc. Asustek Computer Inc. Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corporation Formosa Petrochemical Corporation HTC Corporation Hon Hai Precision Industry MediaTek Inc. Uni-President Enterprises Corporation Quanta Computer Inc. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company

Thailand Advanced Info Service Charoen Pokphand Foods CP All Kasikornbank Land & Houses PTT Exploration and Production PTT Siam Cement Siam Commercial Bank Total Access Communication

CORPORATE SOCIAL MEDIA REPORT 2011 | 33


FURTHER READING Burson-Marsteller regularly publishes analysis and points of view on topical communications issues. Recent examples relevant to readers of this report include the publications below, which can be found at: http://slideshare.net/bmasia • Managing Corporate Reputation In The Digital Age October 2011

• Reputation In The Cloud Era: Digital Crisis Communications Study August 2011

• Asia Online? How Asian Companies Are Missing The Online Train March 2011

• Asia-Pacific Corporate Social Media Study 2010 October 2010

34 | BURSON-MARSTELLER ASIA-PACIFIC


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS & CONTACTS Acknowledgements The following employees at Burson-Marsteller and its affiliates across Asia-Pacific contributed to this study: Ana Gonzalez, Carly Yanco, DaeChul Shin, Gosuke Kumamura, Harold Li, Haruehun Airry Noppawan, Jeremy Plotnick, Jinny Jacaria, Kelvin Lim, Leon Zhang, Luna Chiang, Natashia Jaya, Maggie Hicks, Niki Kao, Palin Ningthoujam, Rachel Yeung, Rhoda Wong, Salil Jayakar, Steve Bowen, Terence Yam, Tomokazu Ishida, Vivien Law.

Further Information To speak to one of the authors of this study, or for further information, please contact: Charlie Pownall Lead Digital Strategist (Asia-Pacific) charles.pownall@bm.com @cpownall

Zaheer Nooruddin Lead Digital Strategist (China) zaheer.nooruddin@bm.com @zooruddin

Albert Pereira President, Digital (India) albert.pereira@bm.com @albertvpereira

Craig Adams Director, Marketing craig.adams@bm.com @chadams623

CORPORATE SOCIAL MEDIA REPORT 2011 | 35


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Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific Corporate Social Media Study 2011  

More than 80 percent of companies listed on The Wall Street Journal’s Asia 200 Index have a corporate social media presence, up from 40 perc...

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