PwC report “Getting social: Social media in business” surveys Malaysian businesses

Companies are active on social media but with no clear understanding of impact

KUALA LUMPUR, 9 December 2013 – Malaysian companies are fairly active on social media but they don’t recognise how it impacts their business, according to PwC Malaysia’s inaugural report on social media. The survey, “Getting social: Social media in business” studies the use of social media among Malaysian organisations and the level of senior management involvement. It received a total of 101 responses from prominent organisations across Malaysia.

69% of companies say that they have at least agreed on goals for their social media activities but it appears that many don’t have a clear strategy or formal performance measurement initiatives in place to track the ROI of social media. More than half (57%) of companies don’t track the impact of their social media activity on their business, such as through sales, sales leads and email subscriptions.

The survey findings reveal that 70% agree or strongly agree that C-suite participation on social media helps their leadership respond better in times of crisis. In a separate online straw poll PwC conducted among social media users, 77% of the respondents feel that a CEO’s presence on social media directly impacts how they feel about the brand.

Even so, most of the C-suite (47%) use social media purely on a personal basis while only 29% use it to engage with external customers. This can be attributed to the fact that many at this level of seniority aren’t digital natives, hence they are not naturally inclined to explore social media for business purposes.

“Malaysians are one of the most connected social audiences. For Facebook alone, we have the fifth highest number of users in Asia. But what are Malaysian organisations doing to engage this captive audience? Many Malaysian organisations don’t have a robust strategy to guide their social media activities and quantify their benefits. This is a lost opportunity, considering the dynamic nature of social media which enables businesses to respond to what their consumers and employees are talking about as they unfold,” said Sundara Raj, leader of the Malaysian Consulting practice which is part of PwC’s South East Asian Consulting services.

“Leading businesses increasingly have their leaders on social media engaging with employees as well as their broader stakeholders. A digital reputation needs to be built to support your reputation and actions offline in the physical world. Both go hand in hand in today’s connected world,” he continued.

PwC recommends the 3As for the leader of the future i.e. being accessible, authentic and aware. These are qualities of the engaged CEO. No longer can the C-suite merely rely on their PR or marketing people to shape their reputation. They need to be personally engaged with people on the ground and be on top of the latest digital trends and the way their customers interact on social media. For example, customers may have very different expectations of their customer experience on social media versus a call centre.

Risk management efforts too are critical on platforms where a single tweet can sometimes lead to disastrous repercussions. Understanding the business risks of social media needs to be an integral part of the company’s risk management strategy with guidelines on how to use social media, and roles and responsibilities spelled out clearly. Less than half (46% of companies) have guidelines on using social media for their employees.

It is evident that companies need to reframe their views on social media. Companies that treat social media as a friend will be more inclined to nurture their relationships with their various stakeholders (e.g. customers, investors, employees, potential recruits) who reside on these platforms. On the flip side, if they treat social media as a foe, they are more likely to distrust it especially since they have little control over how the social media community interacts with their brand.

Other findings of the survey include:

  • 75% of social media users feel that Malaysian businesses are not doing enough to embrace social media as a business tool.
  • 7 out of 10 social media users refer to a brand’s social media presence before making a decision.
  • 84% of social media users agree that social media at the workplace drives innovation.
  • 30% have not identified or developed KPIs to measure the success of their social media activities.
  • 35% do not seek any feedback from their customers on how they expect to be engaged on social media.
  • 60% don’t have a budget for social media yet.
  • C-suite usage of social media in business looks more encouraging in companies with more Gen Y employees (50-75% of the workforce composition) compared with other age groups. In these organisations, 50% of C-suite respondents use social media for business purposes.





1. PwC Malaysia conducted an online survey among prominent organisations across various industries in Malaysia in June 2013. The survey explores how companies use social media especially in the area of customer engagement. It also gauges how active their senior management are on social media, and how they manage risks.

  • 64% of respondents were public relations/corporate communication practitioners (our primary target audience); 17% specialised in social media/digital marketing; 11% were C-suite/senior management.
  • Responding companies included Malaysian public listed companies (PLCs), multinational corporations, Malaysian government agencies/government owned units and private companies. Companies were spread across a range of industries including technology, entertainment and media, telecommunication; financial services; retail and consumer; education and healthcare.
  • Responding companies also comprised organisations of various sizes. The majority (38%) of companies had an annual revenue of more than RM1 billion.

2. To better understand the use of social media in business, we also conducted in-depth interviews with CEOs, key influencers on social media and young entrepreneurs. Our interviewees were:

  • Ahmad Izham Omar, CEO of Media Prima Television Networks and Primeworks Studios
  • Christopher Tock, social entrepreneur and co-founder of EYE Project
  • David Wong, Nuffnang Malaysia Country Manager
  • Joel Neoh, International Vice President and Head of Groupon Asia Pacific (APAC)
  • Dato’ Rohana Rozhan, CEO of Astro Malaysia Holdings

3. To find out what consumers and users of social media themselves feel, we also ran an online Straw Poll. 328 responses were collected between 15 July 2013 and 29 July 2013. Respondents were a mix of PwC employees and fans/followers of our social media platforms. The results from the Straw Poll are used throughout this report to supplement our main findings.

4. The full report and the interview videos can be accessed on our website at


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PwC’s South East Asian Consulting (SEAC) is a collaboration between the Consulting businesses of the SE Asia PwC member firms* and the Advisory businesses of our PwC member firms in Australia, New Zealand and the US.

*Territories involved are – Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

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PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity. Please see for further details.