One thing I’ve continually questioned is why social media is blooming slowly but not blossoming rapidly in Singapore. I’ve noted that we don’t have problems other countries do, but yet social media is still a very, very small slice of the pie.
Discussions with Michael Netzley, John Bell and Ridz have all resurfaced the same theme: We’re too small. ie the benefits of social media don’t translate as much when you can sms a friend and meet him/her in person in 20 minutes, compared to someone living on the opposite coast in America.
Social media events in North America bring together people who see each other a few times a year. We can see the same people twice in a week at events here!
When we all read the same papers, watch the same news and television and generally consume the same media, does new media still bring additional benefits to the table?
Tracking social media events over the last few months, it does indeed seem like the same people are going for the same events. It’s not a bad thing in itself, but it also means that options to companies are limited. Kami Hyuse’s case study on SeaWorld is an amazing one with great ROI. Attracting 22 roller coaster enthusiasts? That would be hard to replicate here. Obviously I don’t mean for roller coasters (because we have none), but for almost anything in general. It would be easier and simpler (maybe even more cost effective) to put out a print ad than to do a blogger outreach programme, just by impressions alone.
HP did a great blogger outreach programme, but does that value dilute if another company tries something similar and the same bloggers turn up?
I’ve anecdotally heard that 20 million is the magic number for social media to take off. Not in the sense that it’s an automatic qualifier (Indonesia has 25 million but that’s a fraction of it’s population), but it’s an indicator. Given that we’re at something like 4 million total population, does it mean that we’ll never get there?
That said, there is obviously a huge social media interaction on platforms like hardware zone, to some extent Facebook and others, suggesting to me that there is an audience, but we haven’t found a way to properly leverage it yet.
There are a lot of instances when I wish companies would engage the social media participants. But let’s think about it, if 5,000 people talk about your brand in a year (and I’m already stretching it), would you hire a person to monitor that and engage? Or is it easier to close an eye to that miniscule number, and focus on other things? Let’s face it, most companies aren’t Dell with hundreds of thousands of customers complaining. It’s a real question where companies only have a limited amount of resources, and have to prioritise.
Do you think our size is the biggest limiting factor? Do you have other thoughts on why social media’s influence is still limited in Singapore? Most importantly, do you see it changing? In how many years? Or will this being small turn on its head and be a strength? I want to hear from you.