How Multinational Companies Can Make Waves on Hong Kong Social Media

A survey conducted by market research firm TNS in 2014 found that 91% of Hong Kongers used Facebook as their main social network, claiming 4.4 million users – more than 50% of Hong Kong’s entire population, followed by WhatsApp, Yahoo, YouTube and WeChat. The TNS survey also highlighted the declining impact of traditional media, with respondents planning to spend 8% more time on Facebook, but 15 % less time reading newspapers and watching television, and 21% less time browsing magazines. Here are some tips from a local on how companies can best engage with Hong Kong netizens.

Mitigate the risks of Negative Comments

Our experience tells us that local marketing teams are concerned about the possibility of negative comments on social media platforms, which they believe might hinder their influence and marketing efforts. Using social media monitoring systems such as Hootsuite, Topsy or Tweetdeck can help to keep track of comments, sentiment and engagement.

Consumers can also treat a Facebook page or Twitter account just like a customer service platform to address any of all of such enquiries and complaints. Not only does it show publicly that you care about customers enough to respond, but the way in which you respond can also say a lot about your brand voice and identity.

Appeal to Local Tastes

Using the same tactics and platforms to attract users to engage with your brand in Mainland China or elsewhere in Asia will not work in Hong Kong. Use colloquial Cantonese to communicate with your social media followers and target audiences- don’t use formal Chinese or English if possible.

Be conversational, friendly and personal.  Hire local social media experts to create and edit this content and give your brand a distinct Hong Kong personality. Apart from language, leverage hot topics and trends such as a typhoon hitting the city, a giant rubber duck floating in the harbor or celebrity news.

Be Visual!

According to Go Globe’s “Social Media Usage in Hong Kong” report, the average internet user in Hong Kong watches more than 147 online videos per months, averaging out to 12 hours of online video every month. Facebook has also introduced native videos, Twitter has Vine and Hyperlapse on Instagram and Google+ has launched Hangouts on Air. Video is clearly becoming an imperative in social media but there is no need to create very high quality videos. Short, simple and funny videos are the way to go.

Be Authentic

Create content that communicates the heritage of your brand and the advantages associated with being from your country such as the perception of high quality, reliability, cultural richness and/or top-notch service. Tell your brand’s story. What are your origins? When did and why did you come to Hong Kong?  How does your product/service embody your heritage and different to those from other countries? Use photos, video, infographics and blog posts to show the people, places and traditions behind your brand.