Hallyu goes viral through social media

October 4, 2013
SM Entertainment, the nation’s entertainment giant, runs the official YouTube page and Twitter page “SMTOWN GLOBAL” to promote their stars globally. / Courtesy of SM Entertainment

SM Entertainment, the nation’s entertainment giant, runs the official YouTube page and Twitter page “SMTOWN GLOBAL” to promote their stars globally. / Courtesy of SM Entertainment

By Chung Hyun-chae

Every single happening in stars’ social media on Twitter, Facebook, Weibo or YouTube is the talk of the town for their ardent fans. Social media is becoming an effective tool for promoting themselves through word of mouth and communicating with their fans around the globe instantly.

Psy’s “Gangnam Style” went viral through YouTube last year, creating countless parodies around the world. It was also cited by world-famous celebrities including Tom Cruise, Britney Spears, and Anne Hathaway on their SNS, which fueled the worldwide sensation as well.

Major entertainment agencies here are making great use of digital media such as mircoblogs or YouTube as a marketing strategy.

SM Entertainment, the nation’s entertainment giant, opened its official YouTube page in 2009 to provide various music and visual content created by its stars to their overseas fans. As of this September, nearly 3.6 million people have subscribed to the page, the largest number among YouTube channels operated by Korean companies. Its official Twitter page “SMTOWN GLOBAL” has more than 1 million followers.

The second biggest agency, YG Entertainment, has also jumped on the “digital” bandwagon. “We especially encourage our stars to use their own SNS,” a YG spokesperson said.

Iconic K-pop star G-dragon recently opened an account on Weibo, a Chinese version of Twitter, with his followers already exceeding 600,000.
He was recently named as the most influential K-pop star, according to Treum, an online research company that analyzed SNS accounts of major Korean stars between April 25 and May 28. G-Dragon’s Twitter messages were reproduced more than 267,000 times by his followers during that period.

Super Junior’s Ryeo Wook was named the second most influential, followed by 2PM’s Nichkhun, and Super Junior’s Dong-hae, Choi Si-won and Eun-hyuk, and 2NE1’s vocalist Sandara Park.

Lee Min-ho, who rocketed to stardom after performing in “Boys over Flowers,” a Japanese manga-based television drama series in 2009, is also a socialite in the SNS world. He is known as an SNS-savvy actor as he uses various accounts tailored for his international fans ― online messenger “Me2day” for Koreans, “Line” for Japanese fans and “Weibo” for Chinese fans.

Actor/singer Jang Keun-suk is an ardent user of SNS who has a wide fan base in various countries. Particularly, he boasts of the second largest number of followers after Psy for his Weibo account, which is regarded as a barometer of popularity in Chinese-speaking countries. He offers various stories and daily events for his international fans through diverse SNS channels.

“I feel much closer to him communicating via twitter and Facebook,” said Nirva Jang, living in Buenos Aires, a big fan of the actor. “Geographical distance becomes nothing. Jang as an artist shares a lot (with me) through SNS, and it makes us feel being part of his life.”

She found herself mesmerized by Korea while exploring Jang’s fan page.
“I’d love to learn more about his beautiful country and traditions seeing his postings,” she said.

Patty Ab is another fan of the musician living in El Salvador. “Jang’s frequent activities on SNS show that he opens his mind to his fans. I also love that Jang calls foreign fans like me ‘eels’ since it sounds familiar,” she said.

Not always good

However, the social media doesn’t always have a positive impact. Actress and model Clara Lee was recently accused of posting a lame excuse on her Facebook page after telling lies on TV shows. Popular singer Lee Seung-chul also went through a tough time after leaving online comments which glamorized trouble-making high school students who appeared on SBS TV’s trilogy program “Song For You.”

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