The Middle East has the highest Internet and smartphone penetration with figures ranging between 70 and 90 per cent. Due to this, the Middle East sees some of the highest social media usage with 97 per cent and 89 per cent of UAE residents using WhatsApp and Facebook, and 73 per cent using YouTube, according to a survey by the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority.
If consumers are spending a majority of their time on social media, it only makes sense for businesses to do the same.
Here are 7 tips to keep in mind when adopting a social media strategy:
1-Don’t think of social media as a lone soldier
Social media works best when integrated with other platforms – be it digital media, traditional advertising, or even the in-store experience.
2-Localize and tailor your strategy
What works in one market may not work in the other. All too often, brands are quick to adapt a pan-Arab strategy. But, each country has a different culture and nuances that are reflective in their social media usage. For instance, Snapchat grew from 24 to 74 per cent in Saudi Arabia between 2014 and 2016. But in the UAE, it grew from 15 to 53 per cent in the same period.
3-Listen before you speak
While social media is a great place to shout out, it’s even more important to listen and glean insight into what your fans and followers want. This will help form a two-way communication that ensures your audience is engaged.
4-Make use of analytics for efficient targeting
Everything from the time of day your fans are most active to their likes, interests, and passions is now available through analytics. Make use of it to target according to your objective. For example, if your objective is to increase e-commerce traffic, make sure you’re targeting people with an ‘interest’ in your products, as well as those that live in the same city or country. If your objective is awareness, then focus on content that speaks to their ‘passions’.
Although this could apply to anything in life, it’s especially true for social media. Don’t just be active when you want to. Make sure you’re consistently present to maintain top-of-mind awareness and recall within your target audience.
6-Be quick and agile
A careful plan and strategy will go a long way in boosting your social media presence. But, it’s important to have a team in place that can react to important events in real-time. Oreo is a great example of real-time marketing. When there is a trending topic, see how your brand can get involved. Do bear in mind that this could backfire if the topic is sensitive.
7-Don’t be afraid of engaging with other brands
Social media channels provide information, fun and entertainment. And it’s always fun to watch brands engage with each other. Not only are you expanding your target audience, but you might also be able to convert other brand loyalists. Globally, Burger King has done a great job at engaging with McDonald’s. Closer to home, Careem challenged Uber to a dance-off resulting in massive social media buzz and a few converts.