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Business Advice

Social media: S'pore firms missing out on sales action

Local companies need to pull up their Facebook socks and roll out their Twitter feeds.
The Business Times - November 20, 2012
By: Joyce Hooi
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Social media: S'pore firms missing out on sales action

LOCAL companies need to pull up their Facebook socks and roll out their Twitter feeds.

According to a report by social media firm RockPublicity.com, firms in Singapore missed out on $809 million worth of revenue through social media this year, even though they collectively earned more than $750 million in sales through the medium.

These sales figures were derived from average online sales value per industry provided by local firms, with social media monitoring software used to tabulate the number of missed revenue opportunities.

"We found the vast majority of companies in Singapore either have no idea how to build a brand via social media or use the medium to find sales opportunities. In most cases, they were just ignoring their communities altogether," said Leon Hill, Rock Publicity's CEO.

"Whether it's because of lack of knowledge, training or simply complacence, local companies are some of the worst not only in Asia, but the developed world."

The report ranks Singapore at the very bottom of the heap of nine countries in Asia, which means the island lags Malaysia, Hong Kong and the Philippines in the corporate social media savvy stakes.

Almost a quarter of the 217 local companies surveyed did not have any social media presence to speak of. Those that did resorted overwhelmingly to Facebook and Twitter.

"What's scary is that even for those businesses that did have a presence in social media, almost half were still posting less than once per day," Mr Hill said.

Companies that posted five or more times a day were in the minority, at 7 per cent, while 26 per cent of them were posting updates or new information 2-4 times a day.

Given how 24.3 per cent of online buyers did their shopping through social media sites this year - according to Rock Publicity's survey of more than 50,000 Singaporeans - firms here might be letting a fair bit of sales slip through their carts.

"Singaporeans are more than willing to buy products when referred directly from social media," Rock Publicity's report said. "However, compared with countries like Australia and the UK, this figure is quite low, simply because of poor promotional practices by the vast majority of Singaporean companies using social media."

Already, this has started costing some sectors dearly, the report claims.

"In the travel and leisure sector alone, we discovered more than 63,000 sales opportunities per month on social media in Singapore. All of these were cases where a company like a hotel chain, resort or attraction could have started a conversation and made a sale," Mr Hill said.

"In this sector alone, we estimate Singaporean companies are missing out on over $180 million per year."

Companies need to start with understanding what social media is worth, according to Mr Hill.

"It's a medium that allows you to find out every single conversation or comment someone is making on the Internet about your industry, the products you sell, your company and your competitors - all at the very moment they happen," he said.

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