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Social media an important platform for brand-building

A growing number of people are getting news via social media feeds, and advertisers have been keen to tap the social media space to grow their brand awareness and promote their products.

SINGAPORE: A growing number of people are getting news via social media feeds, and advertisers have been keen to tap the social media space to grow their brand awareness and promote their products.

But how successful have they been?

The memorable TV jingle or attractive print ad in a magazine -- that is how brand recall was established in the past and how brands connected with both viewers.

But with greater mobile connectivity, the real conversation is now moving to the social media space and that makes social media an important platform for brand-building.

Ken Mandel, HootSuite’s managing director of Asia Pacific, said: "Social is many things now. It is social business, social customer care, social media and marketing and it is also social selling -- using social to turn a cold lead into a warm lead. So it really has embraced all these different aspects of business to actually be very important. And we actually see companies who use social, drive 20 per cent more revenue on average, 1.6 times more profit, so social is going to the bottomline as well."

And it becomes imperative in a market like Singapore, which has a voracious appetite for social media and an 88 per cent smartphone take-up.

Dave Goldberg, SurveyMonkey’s global chief executive director, said: "Singapore stuck out because people were really interested in sharing something about a cause... They wanted to convince people about something in a way that we didn't see in any other market. I think 46 per cent of the people said the primary thing that got them to share was a cause."

As the conversation continues, the challenge for businesses is still in trying to reach out to the right demographics and create a 'sound' from all the 'noise'.

But that in itself can be a big task.

Thomas Crampton, Social@Ogilvy’s global managing director, said: "People say ‘I hate social media marketing!’ No, you don't hate social media marketing, you hate bad social media marketing.

"Good social media marketing is something where you get content that is interesting, entertaining, newsworthy and useful that you want to share. It is something that is valuable and when it is badly done, it is terrible. So what brands need to do is find things that distinguish them and make them unique, speaking on the basis of the brand."

One company in Asia that has been successful is smartphone manufacturer Samsung.

Mr Goldberg said: "So one of the things we asked people to tell us was which companies they thought did the best job of creating content in social media. And it was very different by markets and in Singapore it was much more of multi-national brands that came through, but in a bunch of other markets it was much more local brands. Interestingly, the one that came through in all the markets was Samsung. So Samsung seems to be doing a great job in figuring out how to connect locally with people in social around content."

Industry observers said other than looking at the bottomlines, one key way to judge the success of a brand is to tune into the conversation. 

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