An interesting study by NM Incite, a joint venture combining the analytical insight of Nielsen with the Strategic capacity of McKinsey, took an in-depth look into social media usage throughout Asia. From this inaugural survey came results that are striking at both the macro and micro levels.
On a macro level, cross-pollination is rampant between global users, across countries in Asia and throughout the rest of the world. This means that users are communicating not only with family, friends and neighbors nearby, but with consumers across the globe. In many cases, this is due to existing relationships that really span these geographies. In most cases, however, there is just a natural tendency for humans in one designated marketing area (for instance, Japan) to refer to users in any other country for information.
Another macro trend found in Asia is that most consumer access comes from mobile devices. This is an important consideration for brands and small businesses alike.
Within Asia, social media usage varies widely from one country to the next. In Korea, for instance, users are most inclined to share positive experiences. On the other hand, users in China are most likely to share negative experiences with a product or brand. Other discrepancies include where social media is accessed: Vietnam had the highest percentage of internet users accessing social media at work, while Japan had the lowest.
Notably in China, the largest source of social media content was seen in blogs and bulletin board systems. The two largest social networking sites, RenRen and Kaixin001, are still in the maturing stages of improving user experience and user base. Moreover, “grassroots” celebrities were more popular online than were national celebrities, such as Yao Ming. With information stemming from so many unique sources, coupled with the finding that users rely primarily on user reviews and feedback for purchasing decisions, companies must find ways to listen and apply new understandings of online sentiment.
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