Just recently, Group M and Facebook collaborated to conduct a survey on smartphone use in the Vietnam countryside. The results were “full of interesting insights”, said Vietcetera COO and Vietnam Innovators host Ruby Nguyen.
As the most used social networking platform in Vietnam, Facebook serves as an important bridge in understanding consumer behavior in the rural areas, especially during the pandemic when business models and strategies were forced to change and adapt to the challenges. More than a social media platform that connects people, Facebook’s mission is also to help businesses in Vietnam’s countryside to recover from the effects of COVID-19.
Our guest for Episode 5 of Vietnam Innovators - Vietnamese is Mr. Khoi Le, Head of Business and Solutions at Facebook, Vietnam market.
The survey, which analyzed the behavior of 5000 people in 30 rural provinces in Vietnam, was able to negate some of the most common presumptions on how consumers from the countryside use Facebook both as a social networking app and as an e-commerce platform, explained Khoi Le.
- Contrary to the assumption that people in the countryside watch TV more than browsing the Internet, 91% of respondents said that they prefer browsing the Internet for a longer time (2.5 hours / day) than watching TV (1.5 hours / day).
- People in the countryside take advantage of the functions of digital platforms. Not only joining social networks, they also watch product reviews and livestream. In the countryside, Facebook Watch is the runner-up video sharing platform.
- Contrary to the perception that rural people do not buy online, the countryside market has many potentials for the development of e-commerce. All e-commerce platforms have been putting efforts into penetrating rural and suburban markets in recent years.
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Facebook: Bridging businesses and rural markets
Khoi Le shared, “97% of social media users in the countryside choose Facebook (including Messenger and Instagram). Moreover, social media takes up most of their time spent on the Internet. Facebook is the perfect tool to bring brand visibility to the countryside. During Nestle's Maggi branding campaign in 2020, Facebook accounts for 32% of the brand identity.
In addition, the Facebook ecosystem (Messenger and Instagram) increases the interactivity between businesses and customers. The collaboration between Facebook and e-commerce platforms is the solution to customers’ shopping journey. They can get access to the products, pay and receive goods more quickly and conveniently than ever.
Furthermore, businesses can select specific areas to run multiple marketing campaigns at the same time, without the logistical problems that impaled old-school marketing and advertising.
How to acquire a rural market
To capture the attention of rural markets, businesses must have different strategies from those they’ve implemented for city consumers. Khoi Le shared three guidelines that businesses can apply to their strategies in the countryside, using the Facebook platform:
- Choose a critical “battlefield”: Instead of applying a nationwide marketing strategy, companies need to define their market. From there, businesses will need to have their story told in a way that resonates directly to the chosen market.
- Take advantage of new tools: People in rural areas believe "real people do real things". Therefore, the livestream and demo sharing features on Facebook help brands deliver more realistic and relatable messages. On the other hand, Messenger also makes 1 on 1 discussions and consultations with buyers easier to manage.
- Be open to collaborations: Companies need to collaborate with e-commerce platforms to solve the logistical setbacks of distributing goods to rural areas. As a social network, Facebook has created a trilateral collaboration to promote the brand, direct to the purchase page. Procurement process, therefore, has become more convenient for customers, making their online shopping experience stress-free.