Twitter is for expats says Sony GM

It's crucial to understand the regional differences of social media platforms before jumping in, says Sony Computer Entertainment general manager James. He tells Marketing reporter Jennifer Chan why Facebook and YouTube will continue to dominate in Hong Kong over the likes of Twitter - a platform he says is largely for expats.

Why do you focus so much on Facebook?

Hong Kong people rely heavily on Facebook to connect, to reach out and to stay informed. The reliance on Facebook in Hong Kong was the heaviest among other Asia countries.

We set up a dedicated social media team to monitor discussions, interact with customers and post regular announcements to engage fans and potential customers, focusing on the two most popular social platforms in Hong Kong - Facebook and YouTube.

Why do these two networking platforms stand out in particular?

The reason is simple. Alternative leading social platform such as Twitter is mostly occupied by foreigners whose tweets are written mainly in English, a language that a considerable amount of Hong Kong people wish to remain a respectful distance.

How do you market in China where your most popular platforms are banned?

In China, social media plays an even more prominent role as a bridge to connect mainland customers and the company. WeChat, I believe, will most likely override Weibo in the future, and it will be our next big focus.

Since both Facebook and our digital products are banned in China, it leaves us no choice but to join the marketing battle on WeChat, the instant messaging platform that secured a huge user base of 236 million. It is a comprehensive social network platform that is so hard to resist.

Getting the most from social media, we encourage greater engagement in social media for its staffs to build up relationship with consumers on the social platform, and the effectiveness is higher than any other conduits.

Any tips for marketers when jumping into social media marketing?

One thing to bear in mind - social media overdose could be deadly. Customers may end up "disliking" the page under an excess of advertising. I don't believe hard-selling works. To avoid being a nuisance, we generate only one to two posts a day to leave some space for conversations, a very important point in this customer-driven age.