Belinda Carli, Director of Institute of Personal Care Science, Australia, highlighted that as “retail purchases themselves are growing significantly, [these are] very related to social media and online promotions”, indicating the influence social media has on online purchasing.
Exposure and engagement
In the beauty and personal care industries, Mintel reported that increasingly, consumers are seeking new ways to get online. In June 2015, 29% had used four or more methods to access the internet in the last three months, compared 21% at the start of 2013. This provides brands with further avenues to reach consumers.
Various promotions and campaigns appeal to different needs and corners of the market. While wearables and smart TVs are set to boost online time, product launches inspire new ideas, pop-up initiatives bring interaction IRL (‘in real life’) and freebies drive an older consumer, reported market research company Mintel.
Information and education are powerful ways that brands in APAC can increase their presence on social media. Sessions with trusted experts in the cosmetics and beauty industry are popular, for example, and consumers heavily demand make up tutorials that they can emulate.
Compared to consumers in western regions, Carli commented: “APAC customers are more likely to share reviews and content than some western cultures but as the popularity of social media campaigns continues to grow this gap will reduce.”
The opportunities are there for all regional markets, yet Carli emphasised that as the APAC market is more familiar with the potential, popularity and purpose of utilising social media, their campaign efforts may be more evolved and therefore successful at gaining appeal and achieving engagement through content creation.
The APAC region is unique as it is home to APAC-specific channels such as QQ, Baidu Tieba, QZone and Sina Weibo, which enjoy high prevalence and popularity in pockets throughout Asia.
Sprout Social, which provides social media management software, reported Facebook as the most popular social media channel in Asia, with 1.49 bn users, shortly followed by Asia messaging app favourite QQ (832 mn) and social network QZone (668 mn).
Twitter, Instagram and Google+ feature highly with Asian consumers too, with 316 mn, 300 mn and 300mn active users, respectively.
While, for example, “for the Chinese market, Weibo will be strong – and probably grow in its domain, realistically, the best social media choice for a company is whomever their target market uses – no matter where they are in the world,” emphasised Carli.
“There will always be differences, just like in the west [where] different ages and personalities, and therefore target markets, will use different social media platforms.”
Rather than creating a barrier for APAC brands to expand into global regions, Carli sees it as a way to “target the right audience... It’s not hard to set up a Weibo account and start using it if that is where you want to be – and the same things are successful in all social media – posts, often including imagery or videos, need to be visually appealing with a short, sharp and catchy message that works for the specific target market you are trying to attract”.
The key for brands looking to make an impact on social media then is to know their audience. Companies “should be, focusing on the social media platforms their target market users and, in turn, put their promotional efforts there”, Carli concluded.