FILIPINOS who love social media
now turn to messaging apps for more privacy.

Like many Filipinos, I use social
media to connect with family and friends. Almost everyone I know is just a
click away on Facebook and Instagram.

But much as we love scrolling
through our feeds and sharing our lives online, we turn to messaging apps, such
as Viber, Messenger, and What’sApp for group chats or for more intimate
one-on-one’s.

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I myself have over 20 Viber
groups that keep me posted on just about everything relevant to my work and
personal life. I can easily send to, and receive vital news updates from, my
colleagues and clients, as well as receive messages and photos from friends and
family members who may be in different parts of the globe.

Indeed, the amount of time Pinoys
spend on messaging apps has increased by 69 percent year-over year, while
monthly active users of these apps have surpassed social media by 20 percent.
As of now, a whopping 95.3 percent of Filipinos use messaging apps—but for what
reason? How different are these apps from your regular social-media chat?

One word: privacy. In this
digital age when everyone could know whom you met for lunch or just went for a
quick trip to Batanes, privacy has become an increasingly precious commodity.

For me, the best of these apps is
Viber, which is free, convenient, and most important, private. Privacy is
important and our data must be kept secure. This means that the info you share
through chat is shielded from the prying eyes of third parties.

We’ve all heard the news.
Powerful corporations pay megabucks to gain access to our personal data, using
the information to conduct a number of targeted projects—from marketing
products to winning elections. This makes us feel violated. After all, who
wants their private information used for someone else’s ulterior motives?

More and more Pinoys are catching
on to this realization, demanding that their data be kept secure. Eighty-five
percent of Filipinos agree that their data rights should be respected, while 94
percent want to know how apps use their personal information.

Luckily, Viber uses end-to-end
encryption, which means that your messages only get to be seen by you and the
person you’re chatting with. No one else. Not even the folks who work at Viber
can see your chat. Even if they wanted to, it’s virtually impossible—the app is
so secure that everything is restricted to just you and your chat mates.

So, what else can a good
messaging app give you? According to Lana Macapagal, marketing manager of Viber
Philippines, the ideal app should be fast, multifunctional, localized and safe.

FAST

We don’t need the aggravation of
a stalled message on a stressful workday, do we? With its simple layout and
speed, Viber gets your messages across instantly.

MULTIFUNCTIONAL

During her talk at a recent
social-media week, Macapagal spoke about all the exciting things Viber has in
store for its users. “Soon, we’ll all be able to order food straight from the
app,” she said. “Brands will be able to partner with Viber to get more people interested
in their products.” Since this will all be done through chat, it will be more
engaging for consumers, who can explore new brands right from their phones.

LOCALIZED

Did you know that Viber started
the sticker craze now prevalent in messaging apps? Stickers make every
conversation more colorful. There’s one for every occasion, from Mother’s Day
to Marvel’s Avengers—and if you’re a sports fan, there are stickers for PRO
Football celebration, FC Barcelona 2019, and Golden State Warriors.

“Corporations also benefit from
this fun feature because it humanizes their brand for their customers, making
them seem more approachable and pleasant,” Macapagal pointed out. “All you need
is an attractive sticker pack to get more engagement from customers.”

Viber is actually an ideal
platform for direct-to-consumer brand communication. Huge chat groups created
by brands on the app make life a lot easier for us, providing instant and
direct customer service. If you have a query about a product or the latest
promo announcements, all you need to do is search for the brand on Viber!

SAFE

Because Viber puts a premium on
privacy, you’ll soon be able to do bank transactions through the app. How will
this be done, you may ask. Through the use of chatbots, of course! This makes
customer service much more efficient, not to mention convenient. Imagine
sending a simple inquiry about your account balance. What a luxury!

So, privacy, convenience and
speed are what make Viber perfect for modern Pinoys. And with the messaging
app’s upcoming new features, you can’t get on Viber soon enough!

PR Matters is a roundtable
column by members of the local chapter of the United Kingdom-based
International Public Relations Association (Ipra), the world’s premier
association for senior communications professionals around the world. Joy
Lumawig-Buensalido is the president and CEO of Buensalido and Associates Public
Relations.

PR Matters is devoting a
special column each month to answer our readers’ questions about public
relations. Please send your questions or comments to
[email protected]



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