Why social media may be your most valuable marketing tool

People's perceptions of your business will change depending on the position from which they view the company. A person engaged solely through email marketing will have a certain idea about your company, while an individual targeted through a range of media will think something entirely different.

When marketing your company, you need to think about which platforms are shouting the loudest. Are newspapers having the biggest impact, or is radio advertising the right path?

A great marketing campaign will incorporate as many relevant channels as possible - without stretching the marketer too thin, of course. However, if you are only able to engage with one medium, here is why social networking should be your primary concern.

Engaging with a massive audience

Of the more than 1.2 billion internet users in the Asia-Pacific region, close to 970 million are active on social media. This accounts for a 25 per cent social network penetration within the 3.8 billion-strong population, according to Wearesocial.org.

In some areas, however, other media like radio and television are the only platforms through which businesses can engage with customers. This could soon change, though, as governments in many up-and-coming countries look to improve their internet infrastructure.

A recent report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute found that cyber maturity increased across most markets in Asia Pacific in the 2013-14 financial year. In particular, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand have vastly improved connectivity due to the adoption of social media and mobile devices by the 'young digital native' population.

Above average penetration is reported in countries like Taiwan (64 per cent), Brunei (63 per cent), Hong Kong (61 per cent) and Singapore (59 per cent).

Making an impact

Social media monitoring is an important consideration for businesses, as the conversations being held about your brand and products can influence the purchasing decisions of customers, according to social software firm Lithium.

An infographic from the company revealed that 81 per cent of consumers agree their friends' social media posts influence their purchasing decisions. This is incredibly important for brands across the globe as the same number (81 per cent) research online before making any significant buys, according to GE Capital Retail Bank's second annual Major Purchase Shopper Study.

Another study, by Dimensional Research, found that an incredible 90 per cent of respondents would be influenced by a positive review online, while 86 per cent said the same for negative postings.

This is why social media monitoring is vital, to ensure all discussions about your brand remain positive and fairly represent your company. Fortunately, 66 per cent of brand mentions on the social media are positive, according to Lithium.

Start the conversation

Social networking sites give your company the ability to engage directly with customers - not just marketing at them, but talking with them about your brand and product.

Having online conversations can prove to be extremely beneficial, particularly as Lithium forecasts just 1,000 customers can generate 500,000 conversations about a brand.

Social media is the most efficient platform through which to spark these discussions, so now is the time to get your company involved in the various sites available.

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