Emily Tan
Mar 5, 2014

Q&A with Socialbakers CEO and founder Jan Rezab

HONG KONG - Following the launch of the social media analytics firm’s first Asian office in Singapore, the Socialbakers executive team has been on a roadshow in the region to introduce its services to marketers.

Jan Rezab
Jan Rezab

But the launch in Singapore earlier this week isn’t the firm’s first foray into the region. Around 600 of Socialbakers’ 2,000 clients are from Asia, said Rezab.

“This is our third largest region and definitely the fastest growing," he added during a presentation at a press event yesterday. "By 2017, Asia-Pacific will be home to the world’s largest social network population.” 

Here are excerpts from the Q&A session that followed:

What is the biggest mistake a brand can make on social media?

Rezab: That’s hard to say really, but I’d put not doing social customer service as a pretty big mistake. It certainly was for British Airways. They neglected to reply to a customer’s complaint on their Twitter account so he bought a promoted Tweet just to complain about them. One neglected complaint became global news and now ‘complainvertising’ is a thing. One of our metrics is around customer care on social media, because now people expect to be responded to.

When will there be performance data linking social media to business results?

Rezab: This is something that we haven’t’ been able to correlate in 2013, largely due to variables such as the great financial crisis. This year, 2014, will be the first comparable year…providing nothing bad happens. Touch wood.

What are some of your clients' top goals on social media, and what are the corresponding performance metrics?

Rezab: There are roughly three main goals for companies on social media: brand awareness, retail and customer service. Industries like FMCG tend to focus largely on brand awareness. Nestlé for example has managed to correlate that a dollar spent in social media corresponded to more than a dollar’s worth in brand awareness.

Then there are travel and e-commerce companies that are largely focused on turning social media responses into conversions. In that case they look for direct-response ROI metrics.

Finally there are firms that need a layer of service such as banks, airlines and telcos. Besides speed of response and overall customer satisfaction, it is now possible to link sales to customer service.

Simon Trilsbach, VP Asia-Pacific, Socialbakers: I’d like to add that it’s worthwhile for brands to invest in developing communities on social media. Where you have fans who are passionate enough they become power-users who even help handle customer-care questions, which not only helps your brand as other consumers tend to trust them more, but it saves you money.

Is there a need to adapt social media campaigns to Asia?

Rezab: Social media is about being local, about being relevant to the individual. So local adaptations are crucial.

Is it possible yet to benchmark social-media analytics against traditional media like TV?

Rezab: We’re nowhere near that. Nielsen and Twitter are trying with the Nielsen Twitter TV ratings, and digital GRPS are trying to find a unifying metric for online video and TV, but the truth is there’s still no accepted unifying metric.

Where are you on being able to analyse Chinese social-media platforms?

Rezab: The truth is we would love to add Sina Weibo, but they are less focused on working with us. We would require at least two people dedicated to working with us on their end, so we need them to want to work with us far more.

If social media is such a big deal in Asia, why is ad spend still trailing behind the West?

Rezab: Marketers in Asia are more cautious and hesitant. Also, many don’t have access to the kinds of budgets available to marketers in Europe and North America. The disparity of spending can also be attributed to market maturity and the mentality of marketers, particularly those in small industries. Don’t forget, Cheryl Sandberg says that 70 per cent of all advertising on Facebook is from small—not small-medium, but small—industries.  


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