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#Winning at Social Media

#Winning at Social Media

Natasha Smith

Natasha Smith

August 22, 2018

It’s not as tough as some advertisers might think.

"So the perception of social media as the be-all and end-all needs to be challenged."

Social marketing varies from region to region. Farah Johnson, Digital Director at Havas Riverorchid Myanmar, talks about impactful social strategy in Southeast Asia—and other principles for success in online marketing.

 

What are some of the recent challenges that brands and everyday users face with social media?

Myanmar is a unique market, and that includes its user behavior on social media. For example, many people here who use the internet, believe that Facebook is the internet. This makes it tough for brands to engage on other platforms. In a short span of time, Myanmar people have gone from having zero internet to enjoying fast data speeds and connectivity.

So we have a very dynamic audience whose behavior can’t always be predicted. Users are more active, sharing and liking things one to two times more than other, more mature markets. Add fake news, misinformation, and negative comments and sentiments—which are big here—and things can go the wrong way, fast. Brands need to be on constant watch to debunk anything that’s not true.

Facebook, however, isn’t the only platform that we can use to engage people. Even Facebook serves ads outside of its own platform. So the perception of social media as the be-all and end-all needs to be challenged.

How are brands working to overcome those challenges?

There’s a lot of cultural sensitivities that you need to be aware of as a brand. You need to really know the local culture before you promote campaigns. Smart brand managers know that the first thing they need to do before starting any campaign is to make sure that local insights are evaluated and understood.

For those brands that are on social media, there are safeguards that ensure negative comments or feedback are immediately addressed. By using global brand standards, they ensure that tone and imagery are maintained, even when localized. Many brands are also going beyond social—looking at alternative networks to Facebook, and getting on formats that also have high reach, such as online gaming.

"Tell the story of how you help the community at large and create real impact."

What’s the best way that a brand can go about identifying their target audiences on social media?

There’s one dominant social network: Facebook. That’s not to suggest that brands should put all their proverbial eggs in one social basket; Facebook should be part of a holistic social media plan. But Facebook continues to be an effective, precise medium to identify target audiences.

Can brands make genuine connections with consumers on social media?

If your brand needs to connect on a deeper level, you’ll need to respond to people the right way. Tell the story of how you help the community at large and create real impact. Many studies have found that Myanmar people are the most philanthropic people on earth, So brands here need to appeal to that value. In general, if your brand gives back to the community, let people know.

How important is it to tailor content to the specific social media platform?

This is the single most important thing for any platform. Your content needs to resonate with both the target audience and each platform’s unique culture. You need to boil down your creative and message to fit to four seconds, or less, for any platform. On Facebook, your content needs to be thumb-stopping, and on other platforms, the content needs to be equally as attention-grabbing.

How will social media continue to change, especially for brands, over the years?

More brand managers and marketers will realize that social is just another media channel. This means campaign-planning will be much more integrated with experiences that transcend the online and offline social media platforms. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more VR and AR campaigns as well, pushing the boundaries of social media as we know it.

"So the perception of social media as the be-all and end-all needs to be challenged."

Social marketing varies from region to region. Farah Johnson, Digital Director at Havas Riverorchid Myanmar, talks about impactful social strategy in Southeast Asia—and other principles for success in online marketing.

 

What are some of the recent challenges that brands and everyday users face with social media?

Myanmar is a unique market, and that includes its user behavior on social media. For example, many people here who use the internet, believe that Facebook is the internet. This makes it tough for brands to engage on other platforms. In a short span of time, Myanmar people have gone from having zero internet to enjoying fast data speeds and connectivity.

So we have a very dynamic audience whose behavior can’t always be predicted. Users are more active, sharing and liking things one to two times more than other, more mature markets. Add fake news, misinformation, and negative comments and sentiments—which are big here—and things can go the wrong way, fast. Brands need to be on constant watch to debunk anything that’s not true.

Facebook, however, isn’t the only platform that we can use to engage people. Even Facebook serves ads outside of its own platform. So the perception of social media as the be-all and end-all needs to be challenged.

How are brands working to overcome those challenges?

There’s a lot of cultural sensitivities that you need to be aware of as a brand. You need to really know the local culture before you promote campaigns. Smart brand managers know that the first thing they need to do before starting any campaign is to make sure that local insights are evaluated and understood.

For those brands that are on social media, there are safeguards that ensure negative comments or feedback are immediately addressed. By using global brand standards, they ensure that tone and imagery are maintained, even when localized. Many brands are also going beyond social—looking at alternative networks to Facebook, and getting on formats that also have high reach, such as online gaming.

"Tell the story of how you help the community at large and create real impact."

What’s the best way that a brand can go about identifying their target audiences on social media?

There’s one dominant social network: Facebook. That’s not to suggest that brands should put all their proverbial eggs in one social basket; Facebook should be part of a holistic social media plan. But Facebook continues to be an effective, precise medium to identify target audiences.

Can brands make genuine connections with consumers on social media?

If your brand needs to connect on a deeper level, you’ll need to respond to people the right way. Tell the story of how you help the community at large and create real impact. Many studies have found that Myanmar people are the most philanthropic people on earth, So brands here need to appeal to that value. In general, if your brand gives back to the community, let people know.

How important is it to tailor content to the specific social media platform?

This is the single most important thing for any platform. Your content needs to resonate with both the target audience and each platform’s unique culture. You need to boil down your creative and message to fit to four seconds, or less, for any platform. On Facebook, your content needs to be thumb-stopping, and on other platforms, the content needs to be equally as attention-grabbing.

How will social media continue to change, especially for brands, over the years?

More brand managers and marketers will realize that social is just another media channel. This means campaign-planning will be much more integrated with experiences that transcend the online and offline social media platforms. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more VR and AR campaigns as well, pushing the boundaries of social media as we know it.

Natasha Smith is the strategic communications manager for Havas Group. She happily represents 404 in the 212.

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