“Thailand is a country with a vibrant, creative community and the people are entrepreneurial and highly connected – Thailand is one of the most engaged nations on Facebook across the world.”
Asia-Pacific VP for Facebook, Dan Neary…written on his Facebook page.
Thailand’s 34 million Facebook users create the largest hub for the social networking giant in Southeast Asia. It comes as no big surprise then that 2015 saw the launch of the country’s first Facebook office in Bangkok; a positive sign of even greater connectivity between brand and potential consumers to come to Thailand in the future.
Facebook is a business no-brainer
A global phenomenon of social connectivity, Facebook’s billion plus users are a rich pool of potential consumers, targeted by brands across the world. With over 90% of internet users in Thailand signed up, equal to over 40% of the population, the opportunities for businesses to create a Facebook presence and increase their reach is both wide and deep. Not only that, but Thai Facebook fans are not just signed up but interactive, posting three times more than the global average. It is not just friends and family Thai users are connecting to either, according to Facebook’s Dan Neary.
“People in Thailand have been sharing their life moments and discovering brands on Facebook. 70% of Thai Facebook users are connected to an SMB Page, where they’re keen to learn more about products and communicate directly with sellers. Today businesses small and large are already connected with their audience on Facebook, including Thai telco DTAC 4G, Citibank Thailand, seafood delivery business JQ seafood and many more.”
Indeed, in Thailand, 2015’s most popular Facebook Page was Siam Paragon shopping mall. Globally, there are around 50 million Facebook Pages for businesses, attracting close to 2.5 billion comments per month.
Facebook features corporate tools
With a standalone Facebook video portal set to launch this year, the focus is on short-form films, adding another strand to companies’ marketing bow. Recently added features include live streaming of brand’s pages with metrics, which is available for iOS only at this time. Another tool, being trialed on desktops, is ‘click-for-more’, aimed at encouraging greater video views. Meanwhile, carousel ads allow for greater attention-grabbing with a showcase of products and services in a user’s Newsfeed.
Interacting means responding and Facebook is also creating stronger admin powers to monitor comments and manage responses. A new ‘away’ status gives users a clearer idea about whether businesses are currently available to respond or not. Businesses can also let users know when to expect a response too, with an indication on their Page of whether replies will be within minutes to within a day.
Businesses are able to attract greater local interest as well, demonstrating how social media is not just about global reach but also about localized targeting too. A desktop feature called Professional Services connects with those companies that rate well in the vicinity of the user.
With the ability to only target certain followers, businesses can utilize Facebook for more targeted, niche campaigns, or to test new marketing strategies on a few users. Meanwhile, users who do not interact but simply visit can still be tracked via the Customer Audience Pixel. This intrinsically follows users so that they can be wooed again through other marketing avenues. Meanwhile, Dynamic Product Ads link to an inventory, automatically creating ads from a template in response to available stock.
Supporting Thai businesses
In 2015, Facebook announced the rolling out of Instagram advertising in Thailand, allowing for greater market targeting. This is all part of Facebook’s strategy aimed at allowing businesses to utilize the platform for marketing purposes, as Dan Neary explains.
“Our team has been working closely with businesses to support their growth on Facebook and Instagram and we’re committed to investing more resources in Thailand in order to empower businesses to be successful. I’m excited about existing and new partnerships and the opportunity to grow together with Thai businesses.”
Alongside this, last year saw the beta-launch of Instant Articles for quicker access to news via mobiles. This is part of a general move towards greater Content Discovery, offering businesses greater access to local and international news outlets. Features include zooming in, tilting phones to take a better look at photos, as well as auto-play videos. Viewers can also press ‘like’ and comment on specific parts of the article, creating a more in-depth interactive experience.
Facebook has been crowned the winner of The Top Ten Most Influential Brands in Thailand and some 94% of users in the country access the social media site through their mobiles. With deep mobile penetration and a blossoming e-commerce, connecting with businesses through Facebook is part of Thailand’s online culture; one that is waiting to be discovered and explored by local brands and global companies alike.