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Simon Beardow - Deputy Director, British Council, Vietnam

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Influencing South East Asian Consumers and Small Business Survival

According to a recent Nielsen report, South East Asian's respond well to advertising delivered on social media and mobile phones.

73% of these South East Asian consumers said they were “highly” or “somewhat” influenced by web site advertisements on social media.  This is 13% higher than  the global average (60%).

They also respond well to advertisements that acknowledge their previous purchase habits or third party site visits.  Living as they do, a full and active digital life, means that they think such personalised advertising techniques makes their lives easier.  74% found this to be so with the global average of similar sentiment being 58%.

Vietnam consumers were by far the most receptive to such personalised inducements.

Nearly 70% of SE Asian consumers have “liked” or followed a brand or company on social media which proves how vital it is for companies to develop a robust social media presence if they hope to succeed in this part of the world.

Consumer comment and sentiment posted online proved to be one of the most trusted forms of engagement and communication amongst those surveyed by Nielsen. 54% of respondents claim to completely or somewhat trust consumer opinions posted online.

All of which goes to prove that if you don't build your own online reputation others will do it for you.  The need to monitor the 'Buzz' and respond to it is vital for any business and this in turn requires understanding from management and resourcing to manage the process. This includes having the right person in charge of social media strategy and development.

And it is not just large scale enterprises that waking up to this realisation. Small Businesses are also growing through the use of social media although a significant percentage still do not see it as important, with just 12% of US respondents in a July survey seeing it as 'a must'.

It also need to be said that in the same eMarketer report, 50% of small business respondents saw word of mouth as essential to business. Either they have not realised that 'word of mouth' in the 21st century is largely a social media exercise or they do not have the time and resources to use social media to its fullest extent.

Patrick J. Chambers, organizer of the Small Business Survival Summit however sees social media as critical to business survival.

"For most small businesses, word of mouth is the predominant way of getting leads and finding new business.Social media is an extension of the word of mouth platform. Social media education with practical application is the missing piece today - small businesses need to be comfortable with social media in the same way that they may have evolved from being a wallflower at a Chamber event to someone who is actively seeking to introduce themselves and engage with prospects."
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