Companies use networking to their advantage

09:28, May 14, 2010      

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David Kenny, managing partner of Vivaki, said digital marketing of the auto, fashion and medical sectors on SNS is growing very fast. [ZHANG WEI/CHINA DAILY]

Emma Tang spent five hours of her work time on Monday surfing, a popular social networking site (SNS) in China. Her actions would normally be considered quite bold since most employees are officially forbidden from browsing social networking sites during work.

Fortunately for Tang, she gets paid to browse social networking sites as part of her job at Vivaki, the digital arm of Publicis Groupe, the world's fourth-largest media agency.

"We are trying to ensure our staff are involved as much as possible with social media each day to see what happens there," David Kenny, managing partner of Vivaki, told China Daily while in Beijing for Vivaki's global board meeting this month.

For Vivaki, monitoring social networking sites for one simple reason: to make money. According to Grace Zhou, managing director of the Vivaki Nerve Center in China, revenues generated from establishing Internet word of mouth (IWOM) for advertisers on social media sites enjoyed an over 100 percent increase year on year in the first five months of this year.

Shanghai-based CIC Data, an Internet research and consulting firm focused on the online opinions of consumers as it relates to companies, products or services shared by netizens.

IWOM marketing, which involves analyzing customers' feedback and generating positive "buzz" around a product or a brand on social media sites, has become the fastest-growing business for Vivaki in the Chinese market for the first half of this year.

"Digital marketing of automobiles, fashion and medical industries on SNS grow very fast," said Kenny of Vivaki.

Most Digital marketing staff in Vivaki, Tang usually spend several hours collecting consumer comments about their clients' products on social media sites like,, blogs and bulletin board services (BBS), where people meet their friends, share experiences and express their thoughts.

Social networking sites are becoming more and more appealing to Chinese youngsters because of their openness and anonymity.

Surfing social networking sites has become a primary leisure activity, according to a report by CIC. Over 80 percent of BBS or blog users in China search IWOM before making a purchase.

"It's hard to change ideas of people who are active in discussing their likes and dislikes online, but we're trying to capture consumer interest by observing their feelings online," said Vivaki's Zhou.

Source: China Daily


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