Recent news, relating to Dr. Dao and the unfortunate experience he had with United Airlines, shows the power of social network in influencing business changes. The uproar from the voluminous posts to the two leading social networks helps to drive United’s actions and led to the conclusion acceptable by both parties. This is one case for the usefulness of social networks. However, the use of social network in an environment where it is one of the key providers of “info-tainment” can be a powerful and positive impact to a business’ bottom line, especially online retailer in Viet Nam.
In Viet Nam, this key environment exists. Much of the population of Viet Nam is under the age of 30; thus with most of the available hours dedicated to work or study, the need for a home entertainment does not exist for those under 30. Hence, social network becomes the major medium to get news and entertainment, mostly through mobile handsets. It is vital for online retailers in Viet Nam to get the most return from their marketing budget by using this avenue for marketing and advertisement. Through social network, an online shop can market its brand, advertise its products/services, and use the platform as CRM-light to interact with its customers. Moreover, the leading social network in the country, with a 40% penetration of the population (37 million users out of a total population of 92 million Vietnamese), provides targeted advertisement functionality, in which a retailer can hit a sweet spot of targeted ads, for example showing ads to women under the age of 30 for a lady line of shoes.
The use of social network to market and advertise works greatly in Viet Nam! I have a few friends there who own and operate online retail shops and beauty services. I was in a position where I can initiate the marketing and advertisement campaigns for my friends on this largest social network, in part because of the English language barrier and the lack of credit cards for online payment by Vietnamese; for most cash is still the only way of payment. Speaking recently with one of my friends, she mentioned her sales ballooned by 1600% in just over a few days, after I launched her advertisement campaigns for her lady fashion lines. Her shop is now so busy with orders that she has to hire additional staffs. Another friend, who owns a makeup and beauty service, has requested that I stopped advertising altogether. She now has more than enough repeat businesses and that she cannot handle more; that is a great problem to have, I told her. The other two friends also have incredible growth with their shops. They have now taken over the marketing campaigns following my instructions and training. One friend mentioned that he is taking his web site down because he gets more business from social network. I wonder if this may be a new trend. No doubt, marketing on social network in Viet Nam works, for it has started a new service industry where one advertises for others on social network.
• ĐẠI NGUYỄN