Prof Michael Netzley from SMU did a research on why we go online in Singapore.
The results clearly show that from the people surveyed, the #1 reason people go online nowadays in Singapore is for social interactions. Coming in Second, is News.
On 16 June 2010, "Orchard Road" became a trending topic on Twitter, and it was due to an unexpected flood that happened that flooded the tourist shopping district. This high volume of tweets coming from a small country like Singapore actually made it to the trending topic because there are actually about 930,000 Twitter users in Singapore, and since Twitter is growing fast in Singapore and people in Singapore like to interact socially and share news, it is no wonder, a surprising news and photos on the flood was well received and well shared.
In 2010, Twitter has emerged as a force inside Singapore. This finding would be consistent with Edelman's Digital Brand Index.
There is still a very low activity on online sales however, but with a population of 4.6 million, and the increasing investments of companies to go online, I believe this figure would slowly change and increase.
The thing is, Singapore's market is not that fast to embrace technology, and is a few years behind the US. A recent US report showed that there is still a growth in E-Commerce in the US.
Leading metrics firm, comScore, released its Q1 U.S E-Commerce Spending Report recently, finding that online retail spending approached $34 billion in Q1 2010, which represents a 10 percent boost compared to last year. The surge symbolizes the first time that growth rates hit double-digits since the second quarter of 2008.
Deals and promotions on Twitter is still well received.
There is also a growing trend on spending on Facebook.
Overall, there are also a lot of money spent on other services online:
An observation made by Brian Solis on his blog "Facebook and Twitter users spend 1.5x more online than the average Internet user" also shows that members of social networking sites spend 1.5x more online than the average Internet user.
Though you may think that online sales are not directly though Facebook and Twitter, these results show that engagement really does drive sales and increase revenue.
In the world of social media, where people are constantly engaging with one another, sharing news and information, having your presence felt, and engaging with the public is increasingly becoming important.
Learning to harness the power of social media to spread word of mouth is key, and failing to engage on social media may in time prove to be a very big mistake many companies cannot afford to pay.
-- Robin Low