OUR TAKE ON THINGS
Social Media Marketing - January 12th, 2012
In the light of the recent Arab revolution, Social Media Marketing in the Middle East has seen huge growth. Though the region lags behind other countries in Social Media usage, the number of people using Facebook has almost doubled during the last year. This is a promising trend as far as Social Media Marketing is concerned.
Following are some reasons why Social Media's marketing potential in the Middle East should not be under estimated:
1. Arab Spring
The phenomenon has introduced a large number of people to social media. It helped spread the revolution - people played the role of citizen journalists, there were blogs, facebook communities and messages, pro-revolution tweets on twitter and so on. The way these platforms were leveraged to rally support opened a new world to people who were unaware of its existence. Even traditional media journalists are now using Social Media to cater to their audiences in a new way. 'Amateur' videos on Youtube are creating waves and people want to stay connected, be a part of the revolution- which means marketers have an audience. The time is ripe; the territory is virgin, marketers just need to sharpen the tools to engage their prospects.
2. Women Shoppers
Women in the Middle East may not be as active on the social media front as their counterparts in the rest of the world. However, there exists in Middle East, a female populace with high spending capacity. There is a general misconception that in these countries it is men and not women who make purchase decisions. It may hold true for gadgets and gizmos. But when it comes to household needs, apparels, jewellery, cosmetics and the likes, women have control over their money, even if they are not employed. The spendthrift ways, love for luxury and premium brands among both men and women make it a market with great potential. Women have access to social networks and marketers can engage both working and sit-at-home moms with exciting applications. Facebook with its growing popularity can be used for hosting interesting Facebook applications. Give-aways in the form of sweepstakes, discount coupons etc on brand's facebook fanpages have had success in the Middle East.
3. Expat Population
One could call the Middle East a melting pot of races- Europeans, Americans, Asians, Australians, Africans- people from every corner of the globe reside in this part of the world. It is a perfect ground for businesses to reach out to a global audience. By earning the patronage of a diverse audience businesses have the opportunity of reaching consumers who reside outside the region too. Expatriates take goodies and gifts for their loved ones back at home, on annual visits, thus introducing them to these brands. At one time in India, Lux, Yardley, Nivea and Vaseline were 'foreign' products you could get only from a relative in the 'Gulf' or 'Persia'. See how things have changed now! More importantly, a large portion of this audience is educated, has good spending capacity and actively uses the internet. Engaging marketing techniques such as facebook applications, active brand pages on social networking sites, social media activities integrated with on-ground activities can be effective.
Have no doubts. This is a market with great potential. The time is right and we have the tools. It is just a question of who does it right.