In the digital age, maximising the impact of your online marketing campaigns and having a strong, effective and sleek digital presence is paramount to the success of virtually any company.
While TV remains the Kingdom’s number one media outlet—reaching the largest number of people and also enjoying the highest credibility ratings—the internet’s penetration rate is growing at a remarkable rate, and social media and the internet have overtaken the radio to become Cambodia’s second most important media outlet.
The implications of this are enormous for any company operating in the Kingdom. A thought-out and balanced online presence is now essential to succeed. To help you make the most of the different internet-based tools at your disposal, the B2B team of writers seeks advice from media experts and social media savvy entrepreneurs operating in Phnom Penh.
All our contributors agree: creating an effective communications strategy begins with careful thought and planning. Before looking at the specifics of your strategy, you need to lay down your company’s objectives and allocate a budget to your communications plan.
Laurent Notin, Managing Director at Brains Communications, believes the importance of forethought cannot be overstated. “My first advice would be to do things in the right order. First, develop your objectives and communication strategy, set up a budget and then select the relevant media platforms to execute the strategy and achieve your goals,” he says.
Notin encourages companies to research and study the market before committing to one course of action. “Know your market: do some research to understand how your target audiences consume media,” he explains.
Before launching a website or social media page, Peang Mann, Managing Director for IMS Consulting Group, recommends companies “develop a comprehensive strategic plan, identifying your business objectives, target audiences and KPI (key performance indicators) to evaluate the results of your activities.”
Facebook page and company website: Hedge your bets
According to Brains Communications’ Notin, 99 percent of Cambodian internet users have a Facebook account, “so they actually connect to the internet via Facebook.” However, just relying on a Facebook page for your company’s communications plan may not be enough. “Facebook is one part of it, but to make yourself dependent on one platform will not work for all brands and might not be wise, either,” Notin points out.
Mann recommends companies to bolster their communications with a dual approach to their digital presence: “The optimum way of establishing an online presence in any market is to hedge your bets by developing both a website and social media page.”
Mary Lüthy-Hui, Managing Director for Web Essentials, also recommends the Facebook and website approach, recognising that a Facebook page and a company website have different roles and merits:
“A Facebook page is very limited when it comes to presenting information about the company or its products and services. Everything that is posted on Facebook is time-limited. A post from last week will slowly move down the company page’s timeline and will not be seen anymore. Therefore, Facebook is a great tool to advertise change, new products or services, discounts, happenings, current knowledge, and to engage a community. The website should be the place where company and product information is stored and shared with customers.”
Rely on professionals
“Contrary to popular belief, having a digital presence is not free,” says Notin. “In the digital sphere, just as in TV or print advertising, your brand, product or service needs to stand out and attract the viewer.”
To stand out in the midst of this increasingly fierce market, having an untrained staff member take care of your media postings as a side job may not be the best idea. IMS Consulting’s Mann believes that “it is counter-productive to invest so much time and energy in social media like this,” as pages created and managed by untrained staff may end up undermining the company’s reputation with low-quality content. Instead, Mann thinks it is advisable for certain companies to allocate a moderate budget to hire an advertising agency with significant digital experience.
Focus on good content
Whether you put your own staff to the task, or hire an outsider for the job, one thing is clear: content is king. “For a successful web presence, it is crucial that the business focuses on creating relevant and good content, which includes texts, images, campaigns, etc.,” explains Web Essentials’ Lüthy-Hui.
Experienced in social media after having worked for Hootsuite, Tisha Shelley uses it to advertise, educate clients, and cultivate a community for her business, a pet supplies store named Edgar Allan Paw. Her advice to managing your social media is bald and to the point: “stop thinking of it as a business page and start showing your customers what you’re about, who you are and give them value in liking your page.”