No matter the cause, product, country, or culture, social media has helped businesses and organizations to accomplish their goals both nationally and internationally. US Companies use social media as a way to engage and influence consumers. A few weeks ago, I explored how Norwegians are using and view social media. Some Norwegian businesses aren’t too confident in the effects of social media and then there are others (including the government) who are using it to help influence and revolutionize the country.
While Norway is just one country that has embraced social media, there is one country in particular that is using social media as a way to not only grow business or to engage consumers but, Chileans have found a way to help boost the economy through the use of social media.
Today, social media is considered a major business tool for Chilean businesses. Not only is social media allowing people to share unusual or baffling experiences; it’s also helping two very unique entities; the Chilean government and Chilean businesses. Social media is being used in Chile as a platform for growing and conducting private and government business and this success is helping the Chilean economy.
According to a recent survey conducted by Regus, (multinational survey consultants), almost half of Chilean businesses are using social media as a way to obtain new business and as a way to stay connected to current clients as well as their employees. More than 17,000 managers and businesses from over 80 different countries took part in this survey. Using tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Wiebo, the use of social media for Chilean business has increased by 49% over the last year. The same survey also found that 54% of businesses in Chile also use social media as a way to share information with current clients. This is 2% higher than most businesses worldwide. Chilean companies have come to be so dependent upon social media (to help them achieve success) that over a quarter of the surveyed companies say that they allocate up to 20 percent of their budget so that they can promote their products in the digital space. So what does the increase in business equate to? An increase in the resources needed to help sustain these businesses; these businesses are hiring. In an uneasy economy as a result of the recent earthquakes, businesses utilizing social media as way to grow business in Chile have a huge opportunity that includes to not only help aid people out of work, but to also secure future work.
The Chilean Government
One example of how the Chilean government has demonstrated their “belief” in the effectiveness of social media can be seen with the 2010 launch of a pilot program called Start-Up Chile. At a high level, Start Up Chile is a program that was developed by the Ministry of Economy. The overall goal is to attract foreign, high-potential entrepreneurs to come to Chile to launch their business but with the end goal of helping to convert Chile into the innovation and entrepreneurial hub of Latin America. Participants receive a $40,000 subsidy, and 1 year temporary visa, and access to the “most potent social and capital” networks in chile. The website is insightful and innovative and all of the major social networking outlets (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter) are included. There is even a blog that is kept up to date, and includes compelling content. All things needed to promote this new program. My point is that the Chilean government is utilizing social media to promote their own program and they are doing it correctly and effectively. Here are some interesting social media activity stats that are in support of the program:
- Over 100 Blogpost
- 3,800+ Twitter Followers (with current tweets)
- 1,474 likes on Facebook with active conversation about the program
- 105 Subscribers, 5,600+ views on YouTube
There are currently 23 teams who are active participants in the program. The Chilean government is doing a pretty good job at staying innovative all while meeting their goal of helping to not only bring innovation to Chile, but to help the economy by supporting local businesses.
For brands interested in breaking into the Chilean market here is what you should consider.
1. Use social media because more often than not, your target market is using it. A facebook targeting tool estimates that there are over 5.4 million Chileans on facebook, 60,000 Chilean twitter users, and 196,000 profiles associated to various social networking outlets. Social media is how Chileans stay connected, learn and talk about new products. This is where companies must go in order to generate buzz about a product or service. We all know that when your product is in high demand so is the need for more resources (employees). Also, as noted above, companies feel that social marketing is essential to the overall marketing strategy and are putting up big bucks (up to 20% of their total budget) to support these efforts.
2. Make sure that the brand’s strategy is comprehensive and that it includes social media and more traditional communication and marketing tactics. Statistics show that a large population of Chileans is using social media which means that there is still a market who prefers the more traditional methods. Do your research on the market and demographic and be sure to develop a plan that is designed to accommodate the market. You may even need to develop a digital plan that can be applied to each of the varying demographics.
3. Consider a partnership or sponsorship with the government. With programs like Start-Up Chile, it’s clear that the government is open and willing to help global and local companies thrive. Again, keeping in mind that the economy is not so stable, the government is open to creative ideas and products so long as you are committed to providing jobs and resources to the people of Chile.
Social media is here to stay and is being used for a variety of purposes. Nationally and internationally, social media has become more than just a “social network” but has even been used to lay the foundation for economic and business success. Chile is just one of many countries who demonstrate this and would make a great place to start a business be it for profit or not for profit. If you’re a brand looking to be successful in the land of “Chile” remember social media is a necessity and can aid tremendously in the success of your business. And a successful business in Chile not only helps the business, but its also a way to give back to the people of Chile.