Bangkok: a city with serious social media potential

Bangkok: a city with serious social media potential

Summary: The secret of social media growth in Asia was let out of the bag in a major way last year.The popularity of Twitter in Japan, Indonesia's growing Facebook membership and China's unique digital landscape are just three subjects that gained international recognition.

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The secret of social media growth in Asia was let out of the bag in a major way last year.

The popularity of Twitter in Japan, Indonesia's growing Facebook membership and China's unique digital landscape are just three subjects that gained international recognition. But, what about Thailand?

The country is typically overlooked by analyst firms and media alike, many of which looked to the "big four" in Southeast Asian--Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore--with even Vietnam attracting greater attention.

Language is one issue which dissuades many from looking at Thailand--not only are English fluency levels lows but, unlike its major Southeast Asian neighbors, even the Roman alphabet, used for English, is unfamiliar to many in Thailand.

Yet, despite this, statistics from Socialbakers, arguably the closest tracker of Facebook data, show that Bangkok has one the world's highest number of Facebook members.

Sitting 5th (just one place behind London) on the global Facebook city list with 7.4 million of Thailand's 8.4 million members, Bangkok is likely the city with the highest proportion of its national Facebook members anywhere in the world.

News for many, but not shocking to those of us in Thailand who have watched social media usage grow, and companies increasingly integrate Facebook and Twitter (sadly a less measureable service) into their overall marketing communications.

Adverts including Facebook groups detail, Twitter handles and even QR codes have fast become a common site across Bangkok.

Yet, despite this, there is still significant progress to be made. Much of the Facebook outreach is sporadic and without long-term tactics.

Few brands have used social media as true spring board with familiar brands finding the greatest success, such as Starbucks (with 110,000 fans) and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (150,000), when there is potential for any company with the right message to gain large support.

Despite the boom, there remains a shortage of credible social media marketing consultancies in Thailand, compared to other high-ranking Facebook cities. More than most, Thailand, with its own language, needs local specialists who can help its businesses tap into the potential of social.

To grab a share of even 0.1 percent of Bangkok's Facebook user base would represent a significant potential audience, while given the popularity of Facebook abroad, there is equally sizeable potential for the tourist industry.

Things are about to get all the more compelling for business and consumers alike in Thailand when Facebook launches Places (a location-based service) and Deals (its online commerce service) in the country.

All that is missing, you feel, is one major company to nail Facebook in Thailand before others follow suit across a number of social channels.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Asean, Malaysia

Dwight Turner

About Dwight Turner

Dwight Turner is an American social media addict living in Bangkok. He especially loves gadgets, photography, and examining the ways society interacts with emerging forms of technology.

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