Faaez Samadi
Apr 20, 2017

APAC CEOs need to step up social game: Hootsuite head

Ryan Holmes says despite huge social-media growth in the region, more CEOs and businesses need to get on board to survive.

Ryan Holmes
Ryan Holmes

More Asia-Pacific businesses need to build out their social-media infrastructure if they’re to remain relevant in the fastest-moving digital region in the world, said Ryan Holmes, founder and CEO of Hootsuite.

Having achieved 40 percent growth in APAC last year, Holmes told Campaign Asia-Pacific that there remains a wealth of opportunity to advise local brands that have not embraced social media enough, or at all.

“There’s a lot of adoption and innovation here [in APAC], particularly when you look at mobile growth and trends,” he said. “Business is evolving. If you do not go where your customers are, your competitors will and they’ll eat your lunch. I always like to talk about the opportunity and not the risk, but that is the risk for brands that don’t go to social, they’re going to become obsolete.”

He highlighted AirAsia, a Hootsuite client, and in particular CEO Tony Fernandes, for “epitomising what an engaged social-media leader is”, and said more in APAC need to follow suit.

“If you were in the late '90s, the equivalent question [for social-media usage] for CEOs would be ‘should I get on email?’ So we need to help these leaders with this transformation,” Holmes said.

“We know that people aren’t calling helplines anymore, they want commonality, they want real-time transparency, and social provides that. It’s brands that are going to have to step up.”

For Hootsuite, Holmes said the company has seen success in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia. The social-media-management platform is looking to develop its offerings in India and Thailand, and also make bigger inroads into Indonesia. 

He added that Hootsuite was “in a number of conversations at various stages” with different partners in APAC, with a view to getting greater access to consumers and businesses across the diverse region.

Several recent acquisitions have also helped grow Hootsuite’s offering: AdEspresso, one of the largest Facebook advertising platforms; LiftMetrix, a measurement and metrics company, and the Snapchat analytics technology created by Narativ.

“We now need to adjust and incorporate them, but I’m very optimistic about it,” Holmes said. 

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