KakaoTalk: how to leverage it for marketing in Korea

KakaoTalk is used by about 91.2% of the Korean population: it is extremely important to know and leverage this platform in your Digital Marketing strategy. Since it was designed specifically for the Korean market, it is the perfect place to promote your brand.

The SNS landscape in Korea is different from that in the West. Somewhat like with search engines, the most popular social media is a Korean-born platform, KakaoTalk. It started as an instant messaging app, but over time it has evolved and now provides users with many other services, including games, mobile payment, cab booking, email, and more.

Just as in our country, social networks in Korea are perfect for a direct contact between brands and users. Moreover, Koreans love to spend their time on these platforms, which are used by 91.2% of the population, for an average of about an hour and a quarter per day. Among the main reasons behind using social media platforms, we have searching for products to buy (13.7%), searching for brand content (13.5%), and searching for things to do or buy (13%). Many say they follow the profiles of the brands they search for or buy from.

For these reasons, knowing the most popular app among Koreans is vital to plan a successful digital marketing strategy in Korea.


How to use KakaoTalk to promote your brand

KakaoTalk can indeed help companies reach a wide range of users, increasing brand awareness and sales volume.

Brands can take advantage of specific features to bring their business to this platform: the Channels. In particular, there are two types of channels that companies can implement: KakaoTalk Channel and Business KakaoTalk Channel.

The first type, KakaoTalk Channel, is the basic version of the service, and it is more suitable for small businesses or those who have just taken their first steps in this platform. Despite being the basic version, it still provides access to many features, such as 1:1 chats, feed creation, performance analysis, and more.


KakaoTalk channel of Gucci
Screen from the official Gucci Channel – Image created by East Media


At any time you can upgrade your channel to a Business KakaoTalk Channel: to access this service you need to submit a series of documents, including your business registration number. This type of channel, in addition to the features of the basic one, allows you to have a “certified” badge, a priority in branded searches, appearance as recommended, and Biz Messages (push notifications). For this reason, it is recommended to large companies and those who already have many contacts on the app.


KakaoTalk for Business

Once a Channel has been created, businesses can begin to take advantage of all the services offered to reach users, engage them in their world and support them when needed. In fact, the Channel can be used to keep users updated, inform them about promotions, send coupons and keep in touch with them. It is therefore the perfect tool for direct marketing and customer care.

In particular, here are the main activities you can do with a KakaoTalk Channel to increase your visibility:
Improve Brand Identity with the Home and Feed: the brand can focus on content marketing, sharing photos, videos and relevant information in its Feed and interacting with users in the comments. In the Home, thanks to the integrated chat button, users can directly communicate with the company and find the information they need.

Advertising: by subscribing to Kakao Moments it is possible to create Adv within the app, either as banners or in-app ads, to reach even more users. Of course, one can target Adv according to various parameters, in order to reach only interested users.

Chat 1:1: you can communicate directly with users via chat, either by responding manually or through the use of response templates (FAQ-style). This free feature allows you to provide assistance and information to users.

Broadcast Messages: it is also possible to send messages to multiple users at the same time, in the form of promotional Adv. These messages arrive in the normal chat with the user but have a cost, which varies depending on the type and targeting chosen. They are great to reach an even larger audience.

Chatbot: KakaoTalk has included the possibility of leveraging a chatbot to programmatically respond to user messages containing specific keywords or phrases. This can automate the customer care function, making conversations even smarter.


Other interesting features for businesses

In addition, there are also other features and services offered by KakaoTalk that can be leveraged by brands to make themselves known to users and promote their products.


KakaoTalk Channel of Denps
Screen from the official Denps Channel – Image created by East Media


For example, brands can list their products on Kakao Shopping, which allows users to buy what they want directly from the app. It is a great tool to introduce their items to a large market.

Or, companies can take advantage of KakaoGift, a sort of e-commerce that allows users to send a gift directly to their contacts.

There is also KakaoStory, a social media platform launched by Kakao that is very similar to Instagram and Facebook. Here users can post photos, videos, and stories. Brands can leverage this platform to get even closer to possible customers, making the brand even more familiar and trustworthy through ad hoc content.

Also newly acquired (2021) there is Kakao Zigzag, an e-commerce platform specializing in women’s fashion. Users can browse through many different brands’ products and receive style recommendations based on their tastes. With about 30 million registered users, this brand new platform can be a great runway for Made in Italy fashion brands.


Social Media Marketing on KakaoTalk

Just like with any social media, there are general rules related to Social Media Marketing strategies for KakaoTalk.

The first and most important is definitely to generate value for users, with content and activities that stimulate them to find out more about the brand. Creating a community and a sense of familiarity and trust are two other key aspects for a successful social strategy. Last but not least, consistently and clearly communicating the Brand Identity is essential to gain users’ attention and be chosen by them.