Facebook kicks off Social Media Week Hong Kong

During a rare visit to Asia, four vertical marketing experts from Facebook HQ in Palo Alto presented to a packed room in Hong Kong today. With specialists in automotive, retail and tech, the panel (hosted by Ogilvy & Mather Hong Kong) focused on helping brand managers and marketing executives understand how to leverage the platform beyond day to day page management.

Mike Fox, director of global vertical marketing at Facebook, kicked off the panel with some tips for how to move marketing and communications efforts toward the concept of Social by Design. According to Fox, all brands must build their presence from the ground up, keep it simple, put friends at the center of their messaging and scale, scale, scale.

He also mapped out four ‘dimensions’ for social marketing impact, namely connect, engage, influence and integrate.

The panelists downplayed the importance of apps, saying that most brands are lucky to get 2% of their fan bases engaging with apps. Of course, this doesn’t mean brands should shy away from developing applications for the platform, but rather, brands should focus on who they’re looking to engage and ensure they are engaging the right people.

Two other points that really resonated for me:
1. Brands must have an ‘always-on’ strategy as well as a campaign-based strategy. It’s not one of the other.

2. Planning a social media strategy in silos (consulting, creative, build) will inhibit brands from reaching the continuum of Social by Design.

Facebook panel at FCC

Packed house at the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Hong Kong

Of course, we wouldn’t be at a Facebook event in Asia if someone didn’t ask about China. According to the panelists, it’s a ‘non-goal’ for now, meaning it will be a while before Facebook can enter China in a meaningful way while still staying true to the platform.

And last, but not least, a preview for what’s to come on mobile! Well, not exactly, but a hint that the platform is reorienting itself around mobile with an experience that will begin to reward behaviors coming soon.

All in all, I wish we had more time. Just as the questions started going, our hour was up and it was off to the next event of Social Media Week. It’s always reassuring to hear ‘straight from the horse’s mouth,’ and I look forward to seeing more growth on Facebook here in Asia!