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Social Media Marketing in South Korea – Wherever you are in the world, social media is an extremely powerful force and one that has the power to drive huge amounts of traffic around the web. Not only that, but social media – when used correctly – has incredible power to influence, persuade, and galvanize. If you need evidence of this, just look at the social media tactics used in the US to influence presidential elections!
Of course, we’re not interested in anything so insidious. And for this post, we’re keeping our attention focused squarely on South Korea.
What we’re interested in then, is understanding how we can use these powerful tools in order to drive more customers to our site. Along with building more trust, and ultimately increases sales and profits.
In this post, we’ll be taking a look at the biggest social media sites in South Korea. And on how you can use them to capture the hearts and minds of your audience, form great relationships, and skyrocket your business!
An Introduction to the Scene of Social Media Marketing in South Korea
Let’s start by surveying the landscape: what are the biggest social media sites in the country, and who uses them? This is key to understand, as it shows us where we should be focusing our efforts.
Well, like much the rest of the world, Facebook and Instagram ride extremely high with a huge number of monthly users. That said, we also see some additional sites gaining a lot of traction and attention. Opensurvey found that the most used platforms (in order) were:
- Naver Blog
It’s worth noting that these metrics do not include KakaoTalk. KakaoTalk is, of course, a widely used instant messaging platform (like WhatsApp). This has social elements but is not social media in the conventional sense that it has public feeds and profiles.
However, Opensurvey included YouTube, which has the most monthly users of all.
Hootsuite meanwhile found that KakaoTalk was the most popular social platform, followed by YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Kakaostory, Twitter, and Twitch. These statistics focus on the amount of activity on a platform, rather than the number of monthly users.
We see the positions shift slightly again when looking at data from Google Play and WiseApp.
While all this may seem confusing, the thing to remember is that there are many different ways to rank a social network. And this can affect the outcomes.
The key takeaway to keep in mind is that the most popular sites are, time and time again, shown to be:
- Naver Blog
If we want to succeed when it comes to our social marketing, then we need to focus on these platforms. Let’s take a look at how to do that.
Social Media Marketing in South Korea – For those not familiar, Naver is a search engine like Google with a massive audience in its own right. Naver was once the largest search engine in South Korea but has since been overtaken by Google. While Naver is much smaller today, it still has over 28 million daily visitors. And over 25 million South Koreans use it as their home page!
So, Naver is still big business!
And this is where the interesting part comes in: because Naver is tied intricately to Naver Blog. If you want to succeed on Naver, you need to understand how to use and employ Naver Blog.
While there are some downsides to this – as it arguably makes Naver less of an open-market than Google – it also means you get a two-for-one benefit as a marketer. You can create a Naver Blog and that way succeed both in search AND in social. That’s twice the “bang for your buck” and that makes this a great place to focus your attention.
So how does all this work?
As the name suggests, Naver Blog (which launched in October 2003), is a blog platform. This allows anyone to publish their thoughts and ideas, and then to discuss those topics across the platform. This means that Naver Blog straddles the line between content management systems (CMS) and social networks.
However, the largest casual tone of Naver Blog posts and the many social features mean we can consider it to be a social network.
Here’s the important part: Naver Search will show a preference for content published on Naver Blog. All else being equal, if there are two blog posts that answer a search query, then Naver will show the one from its own platform.
Naver is also purely built around the South Korean language. Even though foreign users and businesses are free to sign up.
Naver also has a number of other products that can work together with Naver Blog. These include Naver Encyclopedia, Naver iN, and Naver Café. Naver Café is similar to Reddit and can also be considered a form of social media. Naver iN focuses on questions and answers and is in that way similar to Quora or Yahoo Answers.
One of the best things you can do in order to build your presence on Naver is to spend time being active on these platforms. When you do this, you will be signaling to Naver that your brand is important to the platform. Not only that, but you will be engaging with your audience in order to build a relationship with those users. And further, establish authority and community. This is one of the most important goals of any high-quality social media marketing strategy. And we will examine this more as we go through the different offerings.
Social Media Marketing in South Korea – Facebook is still perhaps the “Granddaddy” of social media platforms. This is one of the biggest sites in the entire world and provides users with access to an incredibly large audience: over 2.7 billion monthly users in 2020 according to Statista.com.
Facebook’s audience is these days skewing a little bit older, and the supreme dominance held by Facebook isn’t quite the same stranglehold in South Korea.
But with that said, the site is still immensely influential – and if you can thrive here, you will make a huge impact.
Facebook allows brands to create pages, which they can then use to grow an audience. The content that you post as a page will appear on the Facebook home feed, alongside posts from a person’s real social network. Because home feeds are crowded, there is a lot of competition for visibility here, so posting regularly is a great strategy.
It’s also important to ensure that posts grab attention and stand out.
The best way you do this is by sharing posts from a blog or a website, which of course could be a Naver Blog OR your official website if that is hosted elsewhere.
The aim here is to ensure that your content stands out as being unique, interesting, and sharable. This means writing great, eye-catching headlines that jump out at the user and using attractive images at the same time.
The Power of Facebook
The power of Facebook lies in the fact that it is built on real-world social networks. The idea is to add your friends, your colleagues, and your old classmates. In doing this, you communicate with an audience that stretches across the country and is built on real trust and real relationships.
This is powerful for businesses, as it gives their messages a chance to spread in an almost viral manner. If someone likes your page or your post, then this will get seen by other users that that person knows. Because these are real friends and colleagues, that “recommendation” will carry more clout. In turn, the people who see that action are more likely to click “like” as well. And so it spreads.
Understand what gets someone to share a post. The key is to remember that Facebook is a narcissistic platform that’s all about communication and presenting yourself in a certain way. Therefore, people will most often want to share things that: tell their connections something about them (a viewpoint for example), demonstrate their knowledge of another person, or stimulate a conversation.
Social Media Marketing in South Korea – Instagram is one of the most potent social media platforms for marketers all around the world for a number of reasons. One of the most simple and fundamental is this: Instagram focuses entirely on images.
As an image-centric platform, this makes it extremely quick and easy to upload new content to the site: an image can take minutes to take, rather than a post on Naver Blog or Facebook which can take hours!
The other big benefit about this is that images can communicate a lot of information and even emotion very quickly. This is extremely important, as it is what will allow you to really build influence.
The thing that many marketers miss when using Instagram in particular, is that it is all about selling a “dream” and having a powerful value proposition. Your aim is to share something with an audience that will communicate your brand message and create an emotional response that is a reaction to your brand message.
The best way to explain this is with an example. Imagine a health and fitness brand that is all about feeling great and spending time with family. You might post images to an account like this that communicate these values.
- Family laughing around a healthy meal
- Attractive people running on the beach smiling
- People walking in beautiful surrounds
- People doing yoga in front of the TV, with a cup of green tea waiting
The colors would be crisp and vibrant, and the tone would be happy and natural.
These types of images express what the brand wants to express and they attract the right type of audience to the account.
Conversely, a fitness brand that is focused on selling heavyweights and tools to hardcore powerlifters and bodybuilders would use an entirely different aesthetic and tone. Here, the images would use darker, grungier colors, and would show people snarling and growling in dark gyms.
Both are fitness brands, but the way they communicate is entirely different. THIS is how you engage your specific audience and get them invested in your brand.
Of course, there’s more to it than that: factors such as tags and descriptions can make a very big difference. But the key part of your strategy should be to communicate a message to your audience.
Social Media Marketing in South Korea – KakaoStory is another social media platform that is big in South Korea. KKS was launched in 2012 as a photo-sharing network similar to Instagram or Facebook. However, the feature set has grown over time to include a lot more features. Many of these are things you would find on other platforms – such as stories. Users can create a “Story Channel” that can be about anything – but which businesses use to market their brands. It’s then possible to search through older stories and to see what others have posted on a home feed.
This projects another important aspect of social media marketing: pulling back the curtain.
The key thing to understand here is that social media marketing should also help users to feel like they have some form of “privileged access” to the brands and influencers that they are interested in. This humanizes a company, and it can help to make your business seem that much more trustworthy and familiar. This strategy works especially well for solo influencers, as well as smaller family-run businesses.
Like Instagram, KakaoStory leans heavily on its app for interacting with its users.
Social Media Marketing in South Korea – While we might not consider YouTube to be a traditional platform of social media marketing in South Korea, we absolutely should consider it very interesting that it ranks above the likes of Facebook and Naver Blog in South Korea. This is a very powerful way to bring your brand together and reach a wide audience.
Creating a high-quality YouTube video takes a lot of time and effort, which can make it off-putting for smaller creators and brands. This in turn makes it less competitive and means that you can more quickly stand out. When you create a high-quality video for YouTube, you immediately demonstrate your professionalism and resources as you have been able to put together something that looks so impressive.
This builds trust and the assumption will be that if you’re capable of creating something with such high production values, that you’ll also be able to provide a great service or product.
And just like the Stories on KakaoStory, YouTube allows you to really get to know your audience and build that trust and rapport. At the same time, a video can convey a message and really sell an idea: combining emotionally charged images and video with great music, scripts, and editing to really get a point across.
In a nutshell
A fantastic video can quickly reach the top of YouTube’s search algorithms and then serve as an amazing showcase for your business, your message, your products, and what you’re all about. Then, using the right music cues and editing, you can drive people to your checkout and generate some serious cash.
So, just how do you go about creating high-quality videos? One option is to outsource this process. However, it’s also possible to build high-quality videos using relatively limited resources and experience.
For example, you can edit together stock video and combine this with great music. Or you can use a presentation put together as a slide show.
Alternatively, invest in a high-quality camera, some basic editing software, a good mic, and some lighting. You will find this pays for itself many times over!
Bringing it All Together
Social Media Marketing in South Korea – The best social media strategy in any part of the world is to bring all the different networks together and to come up with a comprehensive, synergistic plan. Each social media account should help to promote the other, and this can be a fantastic way to increase engagement and to extend your reach.
A strong brand is the first starting point then, which will make you instantly recognizable on every platform, and which will come to represent your business and your message.
The core tenants are the same across every single platform:
- Provide value
- Be consistent and post regularly
- Have a strong brand message – sell the dream
- Build trust and familiarity
- Create a community
Make sure to actually respond to comments, comment on other people’s posts, and generally ensure there is a feeling of community and discussion across your channels.
Social Media Marketing in South Korea – EndNote
In practice, what might this look like?
It means creating a Naver Blog that will bring direct visitors, boost your SEO, and help you to start demonstrating your knowledge and skills in a particular niche.
It then means sharing that content through channels such as Facebook, where you can bring more people to your content. With the right keywords and regular posting, this can grow over time to be highly effective.
Show behind-the-scenes content on KakaoStory, and share images that really reflect your brand across all social media: but especially on Instagram and on KakaoStory.
Engage in the discussion, answer questions, run events, and generally maintain two-way communication with your audience. Do all this, and your channels will grow in no time!