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Are Asian companies willing to use Facebook to interact with their external and internal stakeholders?

According to a report from Burson-Marsteller, many top Asian companies are still reluctant to engage stakeholders through Facebook, despite the biggest year-on-year increase in their official presence on the platform. I find it puzzling and bizarre. Which platform can boost a usage of 500 million active users? Not many can. So why procrastinate and give excuses?

The key finding of the Burson-Marsteller Global Social Media Check-Up 2011 which examined the Fortune Global 100’s use of popular social networking platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, corporate blogs, and local and language-specific social media, reveals this puzzling revelation.

A global increase of 18% in Facebook engagement was driven by a 25% increase in Asian companies on the list. However, Asian companies continue to miss opportunities for engagement with online stakeholders, the report found. Through my experiences of working with 100s of companies in South East Asia on their Social Media Marketing campaign, 1 of the key reason why they are reluctant is that they have a concern that they might not be able to handle the enquiries, questions, comments and be able to police it well. Companies, whether big Multi-National Corporation (MNCs) or Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are also reluctant to increase their payroll by employing a manager to manage this aspect of their business. However, whenever we do our pitching, the 1st question is: “Everyone is on Social Media. We want to be on it as well. Show us how you can do it with xxx budget”.

Many companies don’t realise that results will only come with commitment, effort, time and ultimately money.

On another note, while corporate Facebook pages saw a 406% increase in stakeholder “Likes” and 60% of Asian companies in the study allow fans to post, only 28% respond to fan posts regularly.

“While the increase in social media adoption in Asia is in part due to greater investment in this area for local marketing, much of the growth is driven by established Asian multinationals using social media to reach new audiences abroad,” Bob Pickard, president and CEO of Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific said.

He noted that as Asian companies become more comfortable with the interactive nature of social networks, they will take the opportunity to engage their stakeholders directly on the platforms.

On Facebook, 74% of companies now allow users who “like” their page to post on their “walls”, with 57% of companies responding to the posts and comments. US companies currently lead with 89% of companies allowing posts, and 72% of companies responding.

Regionally, 50% of Asian companies on the Fortune Global 100 list now have Facebook pages compared to 40% last year.

Have you had yours yet?

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