Social media in South Korea and its marketing power
Social media is well integrated in the Korean culture. That explains why it is the essential piece of marketing strategy for almost every Korean business. By using social media the companies raise consumer awareness about their products and services, boosts their sales, while at the same time connecting to their customers and allowing them to be a part of their community. The Agriculture office at the embassy of the Netherlands in Korea experienced the power of social platforms first hand during the Hope Flower Campaign, which was designed to increase flower appreciation and to stimulate the flower market in South Korea.
Social media environment
In South-Korea social media is widely used as one of the most important communication tools for awareness campaigns. Instagram and Facebook in Korea are, as opposed to many other countries, regarded as creative appreciation and recognition tools not only for businesses but also for official purposes, and are used to influence consumer’s decision-making. The social media environment is very easy to apply and to reach the customer.
Social media activities
With this environment, an event was conducted on social media channels of the embassy as a part of the Hope Flower Campaign carried out in Seoul, to reach as many consumers as possible. The main purpose of the event was to give as many Korean consumers as possible the chance to experience the joy of giving and receiving flowers in order to help stimulate the (local) flower market in Korea. Based on the market study carried out by the Agriculture office, the consumption of flowers per capita in Korea has decreased over the last years. Therefore making a flower appreciation campaign was one of the priorities at this office to promote the flower consumption and support the flowers farmers. During the social media event, the public was requested to indicate why they would want to thank someone with a bouquet of flowers and give them the joy of receiving flowers. Mina Sohn, former TV/radio presenterand powerful influencer on social media lead the event and the outcome was a collection of heartfelt stories and moments. Through the postings of participants on their own social media channels, showing each giving and receiving flowers, the joyous experience was again widely spread and shared. According to related market studies, the recommendations of celebrities and influencers can make consumer’s attitude towards a certain product, in this case flowers, more positive. Also the high good responses on the SNS postings have a similar effect.
As another example is the recently founded local peony association in Gangjin, South Jeolla Province. To overcome the sudden negative effects of COVID-19, they are selling their cut flowers directly to consumers. This area produces 80% peony flowers of the nationwide and they grow peony bulbs imported from the Netherlands. The association used social media for this unusual and unique distribution and sales, and it became a great success in Korea.
Social media activities
Social media marketing
Social platforms are very suitable tools not only for consumer awareness and marketing but also for their quest to accommodate the needs of the consumers. As a result, they have successfully broken down barriers between companies and their customers. In the past, consumers were required to call a customer service for their inquiries. Today many companies invite their consumers to use Facebook or Twitter to solve problems or find information. In Korea, most services and top brands have seen this pattern and are focusing on SNS marketing. Hopefully the Hope Flower Campaign will have a similar effect for the flower industry. It is advisable that other agriculture and food related companies that are active in Korea to invest in their social media activities when focusing on the Korean market and consumer.