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Social Media, SEO and PR in Asia (China, Japan, South Korea) – How it’s combined.

Published on May 14, 2010 by in online marketing

Social Media Marketing has become an essential part of the online marketing mix. Especially in Asia, but increasingly in other parts of the world as well. Social media is a well-discussed term but it goes far beyond Facebook or blogs only, it is a term for the integration of different channels and user-generated content into a clear strategy. The goal is to cover available types of websites (blogs, forums, review sites, shopping portals, video sharing, social networks, social bookmarking, RSS) with content and and to leverage this content for good SEO results. Good results for SEO and visibility are based on a good strategy and a well-developed understanding of the different channels that pay into social media marketing.

This article includes the following topics and has a regional focus on China, South Korea, Japan and partly India:

  1. Demographics on social media use in Asia (China, South Korea, Japan, India)
  2. Developing a social media strategy that pays into SEO and includes PR activities
  3. Explanation of social media channels

1. Demographics on social media use in Asia (China, South Korea, Japan, India)

The following graphs and tables show information about the use and penetration of social media in China, Japan, South Korea and India.

Asia leads social media

» Click on picture to enlarge

Channel usage per country:

Country Upload Photos

Online

Upload Videos Online Social Network Own Blog Micro-Blogging
China 60.30% 117m 28.70% 55m 27.30% 53m 46% 89m 21.30% 41m
India 63.90% 22m 36.20% 12m 57.50% 20m 34% 11m 24% 8m
Japan 19.50% 12m 5.70% 3m 14.90% 9m 24.50% 15m 8% 5m
South Korea 53.10% 15m 19.50% 5m 15.60% 4m 39.90% 11m 14% 4m

Every market is different:

Still, different markets show different user behavior. A reason for this could be the maturity and the development of a country in general. In the following table the item “research / find products to buy” gives an indication: The more developed the country the higher this shopping and comparison related behavior is listed. That’s no proof of course, but an indicator.

China India Japan South Korea
1 Stay in touch with friends Research for work Research / find products to buy Stay up to date on news / events
2 Stay up to date on news / events Education Stay up to date on news / events Research / find products to buy
3 Research for work Stay in touch with friends Research how to do things Research how to do things
4 Entertainment Stay up to date on news / events Fill up spare time Networking for work
5 Research / find products to buy Research how to do things Research for work Research for work
6 Fill up spare time To get inspired / get ideas Entertainment Education
7 Find films / TV shows Research / find products to buy Stay in touch with friends Stay in touch with friends
8 Find music Networking for work To get inspired / get ideas To get inspired / get ideas
9 Research how to do things Keep my friends up to date with my life Networking for work Find films / TV shows
10 Education Entertainment Find films / TV shows Share content

Drivers for web use

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Social media is becoming mainstream

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SNS Blogs and Forums are already mainstream in Asia

» Click on picture to enlarge

2. Developing a social media strategy that pays into SEO and includes PR activities

You need to have a strategy to fully leverage the potential of social media for SEO. All activities should be coordinated by one person/department. It’s possible that different departments participate in the social media execution, e.g. PR, sales, customer support, but one coordinator needs to remain the helm.

Social Media Strategy

Steps of a social media strategy:

  1. Understand your target group. Listen and learn and collect consumer insights. Find out where your target group likes to stay online.
  2. Your target group consists of different kind of online contributors. Define the right channel for the respective user group.
  3. Execute the channels.
  4. Make sure that channel manager communicate with each other to leverage content and create links
  5. Track, collect more consumer insights, learn more and use this information to refine your approach.

3. Explanation of social media channels

SEO/search engine results:
All content created in the channels will finally be picked up by search engines and add to your visibility especially for brand and product related keywords. It’s important that good and high-quality content is available in the search engine result pages to create upmost influence. If you do a search for your product or brand you will notice that search engine results are consumer dictated.

Just test yourself for your brand name or product name. How many results do you find among the first 20 results that are user-generated content, i.e. blog posts, forum discussions, video uploads, product reviews, Q&A sites? And how many results are based on your own distributed content, i.e. own website, press releases,etc.?

Blogs:
The majority of blogs in the blogosphere are personal blogs and niche blogs which generally don’t have many views. But they are observed by peers and category specialists or found in the search engines. A good story from a small blog can create some good buzz. On the other hand, a negative product or brand comment/experience can spark the flame. The mega-blogs with million of readers certainly have a strong impact when you get some coverage there. Blog marketing is an essential part of your online marketing communication strategy and goes hand-in-hand with online PR.

Forums:
In China, traditional forums and BBS are still the leading channel of user-generated content. More users contribute to a
forum than to a social network or than write a blog. But also for other countries, forums are an equally important channel.  Forums are mostly expert communities that focus around a certain topic or category. There are always a couple of power contributors who are responsible for most of the content. But for the normal consumer, forums are a powerful and very influencing source of information. Moreover, forums have the characteristic that very few people participate, but many, may people read. Also, for marketers forums are a valuable source of consumer insights.

Reviews:
Reviews should be divided into editorial reviews and consumer reviews. Editorial reviews are often based on product samples that a marketer sends out to a blog or review site to write a profound but independent review. Oftentimes this is part of the PR strategy of a marketer. These editorial reviews oftentimes are also extremely detailed and critical. Reviewers have a high standard and lots of professional experience and see things and specs from a different point of view.

Consumer reviews on the other hand are not as detailed and deep. Often they consist just of a few sentences. But they are an extremely important influencing factor. Web pages of products listed on shopping portals or price-comparison sites which have no consumer reviews normally look very boring: Product image, specs, price. That’s it. Totally exchangable, nothing convincing. A web shop which has consumer reviews and star ratings for the products listed has a much higher conversion rates than shops that have only product data. Products with many reviews and ratings are considered popular and worth buying than products without any user experience comments.

Trust in Reviews

» Click to enlarge

Social networks:
Facebook and social networks are a big hype, but when it comes to your online marketing mix you should priorize what can have a big impact and what not. Social networks should certainly be part of your online activity but expectations should be realistc. Remember that only a low percentage of Facebook pages have more than a thousand fans. And to get in the area of 100,000 fans you already must have a strong brand awareness in public life. Before you engage in Facebook be sure where your fans are and what content you can provide to them. Be sure that you have the resources to communicate with them on a daily basis.

Source: The pictures are taken from a globalwebindex presentation and  you can find them on slideshare.

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8 Comments  comments 

8 Responses

  1. [...] topic.Powered by WP Greet Box WordPress PluginUpdate: Don’t forget to check this update about Social Media and SEO in Asia (China, Japan, South Korea) from May [...]

  2. Claire

    Thanks for this well researched article, it really gives a lot of detailed information which I haven’t come across so far. Keep up the the good work. Hope to read more about social media and also SEO in China soon.

  3. Pat Williams

    Social media marketing has become a huge way for an seo firm to boost their clients. SEO is so much more than just keywords and links anymore. Great use of charts, it’s interesting to see the different uses of search per country.

  4. Emerson

    I work with international student coming to study in America. I am looking for a company that could help us to promote our site in Asia. If you have any suggestion how to find a good company I would appreciate.

    Thanks

  5. Hi there,
    I know your website is important to you, and I was wondering if I could go over a few things. I work for a marketing company, and wanted to show some businesses, visually, how they compare to the websites on the first page — Truly understand why your competition outranks you on the Search Engines.

    We have been doing this for years and are great at what we do. We have an extremely knowledgeable staff that sincerely analyze your site; showing you exactly how to increase your rankings.

    I need the best way to reach you and any comments you want me to consider before

  6. Denisha

    Excellent write-up. I definitely appreciate this site. Keep writing!

  7. Excellent and well-developed post about social media, and SEO.

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