I’ve had some thoughts rattling around in my head recently, thinking about how the cultural subtleties of Asia Pacific impact the ability for people to be successful in social media. It started when I asked some leading digital media folks who their favourite business bloggers were in AP, apart from me of course :). Surprisingly (or maybe unsurprisingly) the majority said they predominantly followed US bloggers… On the one hand, I understand it’s hard to get word out in Asia Pacific because it is a vast region and cannot be packaged up together, especially with so many languages in play; on the other hand, I think it has a lot to do with traditional culture.
I’ve had many conversations with people in this region about the way Americans do things. Oftentimes Asians find the US high-five-pat-yourself-on-the-back style very confronting – it’s just not the way things are done in these parts. However, when social media – specifically blogging – took off, I believe it was this very aspect of American society that turned bloggers into mega stars. As a general rule, Americans are terrifically supportive of folk – especially in business. When someone you know writes a blog, you tweet it, G+ it, Facebook it, etc… because that’s what it’s all about – supporting each other to be successful. I really enjoyed this aspect of American society when I lived in Boston and NYC about 12 years ago. It’s lovely because it feels like everyone has your back.
In Asia, it’s not like that. People are more understated and humble. Don’t get me wrong, Asians are certainly not quiet or conservative, they’re just not loud and in your face. It’s hard to explain, but it’s different here and when you bring social media into the mix, I think these cultural aspects are having a big impact on people succeeding (or not) in Asia. I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with people who said I started blogging, but couldn’t get any support so I gave up. I feel devastated when I hear this. It’s a HUGE effort to blog, not just making the time to write it, but putting yourself out there in the public domain, so the thought that people aren’t “making it” because they’re not getting support is tough to hear.
But it’s true. I started blogging in 2006 (a family type blog) and got very serious about it just over two years ago, with three very different blogs in the market today. To start with, I got a few friends saying they loved it, keep it up and that was it, but I kept going, linked one of my blogs into a global community, created two Facebook pages, and essentially just kept at it no matter what – because that’s what I want to do, write for a living, so I suppose I’m more motivated than most. Slowly, slowly people are sharing my blogs, digital publishers are picking them up and republishing them, and between all of my blogs, I’m close to 40,000 hits. That’s good for me. But it’s been a long, slow process and I certainly haven’t done everything I can to get greater exposure because I just don’t have the time. I’m also not the type of person who is going to ask people to promote me – it’s just not me and all along I’ve been hoping that people will do it because they like what I’m doing. In Asia, that’s not enough.
So a few ideas for everyone reading this, whether you blog or not – and if you blog, perhaps share this with everyone you know as a kick in the bum to get them sharing your work? I’d love to see Asia Pacific being more successful in this genre, but we’ll only get there if we support each other.
- If you read a blog and you like it – share it with your community – please don’t tell me you don’t have time, it’ll take you a minute and trust me, the blogger will be eternally grateful to you for taking the time to do this for them. Remember there are lots of platforms to share it on, so do the lot when you get a free moment. My sharing typically goes to:
- If you know you are going to launch a blog in the near future, start sharing other bloggers work now on your social networks – that way, when your time comes, they’ll support your blog – supporting gets supported
- Create a community of support around you with other bloggers like yourself trying to build a profile. Share each other’s work with your communities whenever you can and help each other out. I’ve got a great small community and we all share each other’s work, but someone has to start the sharing for others to follow. This is a really important tip for individual/SME bloggers. Feel free to Tweet your blog to @sajeideas and I’ll be sure to retweet it
- Bloggers in big companies definitely have an advantage over individuals and SME bloggers, but not always. My suggestion, find out who your company bloggers are and actively support them. The best way is to sign up for their blog and when it’s emailed to you, make sure you take a minute to send it out on your social networks – especially if you like it. Also support individual/SME bloggers, because it’s harder for them to do this and run a business. I suggest find out who’s writing on your industry and if you like them, actively support them
- Write comments on people’s blogs whenever you can take the time. If you like what they’ve blogged about, tell them. If you’re not so keen or don’t agree, that’s fine, but be respectful and offer an alternative point of view – comments are definitely appreciated because sometimes you feel like you’re sending your work out into the stratosphere and it’s just disappearing… But don’t be an arsehole – there really is no need for that at all. You don’t agree, fine, but be kind
- This is not just about blogging – there are plenty of other ways you can support the people you respect in a social world. For example like G+ and Facebook fan pages, put them in your Twitter lists, like LinkedIn company pages, etc… How many “Likes” a page has gives it credibility and it’s no skin off your nose to like a page. In the last few days, three friends have sent new Facebook pages to me to like. Even though I may never use their services, I like every request I get, because I know how it feels to get support – numbers matter!
- There’s another type of social person – those who share lots of awesome information but don’t create their own original content. I love these people because they give me great fodder to share. Certain people are consistent in sharing great stuff, so I always try to acknowledge them – even in small ways with a comment. Therefore I suggest why not say thanks, an awesome article BEFORE you share it? It’s a great way to make them feel that what they’re doing is worthwhile and they’re giving you great information too – to read or to share
- What have I missed?
But there is something in it for you too. One way to build your professional profile is to share the great information doing the rounds, because if you build a reputation for sharing great information, over time, people will read what you share because they value what you read. So AS IT IS GOOD for you TOO, how about making sure bloggers and content creators in Asia Pacific are part of your sharing agenda?
We all know we are living in a social world where people share information to their communities from very different mediums. I think this new social world is great for everyone, and it’s a way to give thought leaders in Asia Pacific a voice on the global stage. There’s AMAZING things going on in this region, how about we all work towards supporting the business story tellers?
Do you agree we need to do more to support our own? Well SHARE this! :)