I’m currently in Kuala Lumpar, the vibrant, sweltering, glitzy capital of Malaysia (that’s “the country below Thailand” or “where they hold the Grand Prix” – depending on your brand of ignorance 🙂 hosting my first Asian Social Media Masterclass.
Now I’d heard that, with the exception of Friendster (which became a gaming platform in 2011 but also, weirdly, provides free wi-fi in Starbucks here) south east Asia was yet to take to social networking with gusto – but my illusions have been royally shattered this week. 46% of the population of Malaysia are on Facebook (12 million people), making it 17th in the global list of countries using the social network. But it’s the business adoption of social media that’s impressed me.
Take these examples:
CIMB Bank has 500k Facebook Fans – Compare that to Lloyds in the UK with 60k fans, or HSBC with 23k, both of which are bigger banks with, presumably, more resources. But the point is, CIMB clearly gets social media. Go to their Page and you can genuinely engage with the bank by, for example, voting on the design of their latest credit card, or taking part in games to win prizes. Social media is evidently a key strand in their marketing and customer communication strategy. Having spoken with several banks during my visit, they have the same regulatory restrictions and concerns as Western banks – it’s just that they see social as an opportunity, rather than a risk. And it really shows.
Maxis Telecom attracted 200k new Facebook fans in 2 weeks. When they launched Hotlink, their latest pre-paid phone service, they worked with Yuna, one of Malaysia’s hottest up-and-coming music stars, to host a free concert, making 10,000 tickets available to their customers. They used their Facebook Page as the primary communication channel for updates about the gig, attracting 200k fans in 2 weeks and 320k in total.
On Maxis’ branded Facebook page, they have been equally innovative in using their cover photo to highlight key dates in their company timeline (above). They also create and share unique content for their users, regardless of how it relates to mobile telecoms – such as their current Fit for 2012 feature, which offers advice and resources for healthy living. While they are happy to engage with users in comments under their posts, they didn’t want their Wall being used for customer complaints (they have other channels for that), so they switched it off. Brave, but very sensible.
These are just the examples I’ve taken time to document. Other delegates in my class included a shopping mall that’s planning to use location marketing to engage with customers in-store and a Government department that’s scoping a blogger engagement programme. Does any UK Government department do blogger outreach? I sincerely doubt it.
The final analysis? Most of the attendees at my Kuala Lumpar class were 6-12 months ahead of the majority of UK brands in terms of their usage and understanding of social media marketing. If you’re looking for the next great case study, mark my words, it will come from the East.