Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Are Companies in GCC ready for Social Media?

Thanks for checking my post, if you don't prefer reading, check the prezi

Dubai, June 2011:NO! They’re definitely not. Not because they don’t want to engage in social media, the simple fact is they’re not aware of what social media is, and that will never get them ready.
Debating the matter with the client, I thought I need to blog this as it’s not something that is limited to a small bunch of people (marketers) as it turn out it is the norm. To many, taking a company to social media is a simple exercise that begins with signing up to facebook and starting a twitter account.  More than 90% of the marketers I spoke to who work for companies in the UAE, have no clue on why THEY selected facebook for their companies and what messages or content they will feed it with.

A list of questions came to my mind as I was debating with the client who sees social media as a ‘time bomb in the shape of candy’ and I found myself sharing these questions with him and turning the meeting into a workshop.
 Q:How long does it take you to build and launch a website?”
A:4-8 weeks depending on the content and functionality.

 Q:How much time you need to generate, finalize and approve this content?
A:More than 80% of the period needed to do the website.

Reaching that point in the debate, he realized what I was trying to say.
If content for a static website requires 6 weeks, then going on social media that requires fresh content on hourly basis will surely require much more quality time to prepare and dispatch. I’ve always seen websites as corporate exclusive clubs, while social media is a majlis.
In other words, social media for companies has always been a virtual version of what arabs call the Majlis and westerners call “a cocktail reception”. In both functions, you have to prepare yourself before you reach the venue by wearing the suitable attire depending on the occasion and who’s there, be ready with a subject or two, a joke or two, a story to tell, basically anything that will fill the air waves. This readiness requires 1) fact finding: you learn about the location so you’re not late, it needs 2) intelligence: so you know who’s there and 3) smart content: what might be interesting to talk about (edutaining small talk) requires and finally 4) talent when deciding what to wear and how to get there. In general, it requires TIME.  So as soon as I get to the reception, I am ready to face its challenges and enjoy its joys. Therefore, if someone asks my opinion about what’s been said, I am expected to respond instantly, otherwise, I will stand out of the group and later from the whole cocktail party.
So, using the majlis comparison, I shook hands with the client and we both decided to meet again soon, to start the ‘getting ready’ exercise, then he called his son who studies at the American University in Dubai and asked him not to create the facebook page for his company.
In short, companies going on social media should always remember that it’s not an individual approach, but a corporate one that takes lots of preparation, proper mindset and clear objectives.

1 comment:

  1. something worth mentioning, is adding engagement to maintain the audience that you attract. engagement can go further to identify insights... it is a difficult communication and has to be dealt as if you are talking to people face to face...

    great blog bro...