Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Public Relations tactics on Social Media in the Middle East
Dubai, July: I’ve always considered media in the Middle East as the medium to reach the authorities and not the people. Totally convinced, I said that to transfer that conviction to my clients to apply more active communication that can reach their consumers such as sponsorship and events. Until social media showed up, public relations have become possible. The only obstacle is the fact that most of the PR professionals in Arabia are writers, former journalists or people who got lucky with a contact or two with budgets and decisions to spend them.
In the past PR has used mainstream media as the only option and delivery channel to deliver a message. Why would they continue with that now? Anyhow, all research shows that print media readers are diminishing every minute, so the main question, how can PR continue in the new Middle East through social media?
There isn’t one answer for this question, yet there are experiences and trials that have not matured enough to create a module for others to follow. Below I’ll list a couple of examples of what I’ve been suggesting and executing for my clients in the region. Other methods are there but are still not applicable in the middle east.
1- Blogging: corner stone of your social media PR. We all know that the stakeholders of every company are not limited to media or press. Blogging gives companies and corporate to reach all their stakeholders efficiently. The PR agency/professional role would be to help with content and identify distribution channels to convey the message to the right online communities.
2- Ongoing social media campaigns: The facebook page is not another medium to advertise, it is there to interact with consumers. This is possible when companies activate their CSR platforms, create entertaining activities that are smart and rewarding….
3- Start corporate entertainment activities: Utilize linked in, join groups, create groups and interact. Every group is a community, why assume reach of this same community through print media and you can be 100% sure that if done through Linked In, it is done.
4- Social releases: I would like to change the name of press releases to social releases. Make sure that your social release is hyperlinked where needed, add images that are linked to websites, blogs, or mini sites, add videos and certain widgets that can be of use to the receiver. Remember, your social release is not directed at media, it will be captured by your own consumer/audience who will share it in no time. So, you should make sure it is rich and attractive to be worth the SHARE.
As I said, the social media PR is still in its infancy in the region and we will keep discovering new ways every day. So if you have any experiences you need to share, please do by leaving it as a comment to this post, or leave a link to your blog/website.