Tuesday, August 9, 2011

please don't use facebook to tell me about the 'new collection'

It’s been a while since I last wrote about Social Media in the Middle East mainly due to the lack of resources (information and research from the region and not international)and the continuous hesitation amongst those who are supposed to be really concerned i.e: marketers. Most of what needs to be said about who, why and when… of social media has been mentioned on this blog and I don’t want to repeat myself not to bore you and not to present shallow content. Below are my comments on what I’ve witnessed since my last posting last month as I was monitoring the SM scene closely in an attempt to learn some insights about SM in the Middle East. I ended up frustrated but more willing to continue the effort to help SM grow and flourish.
Many FMCG, beauty and lifestyle brands are on social media and mainly facebook. This comes as an attempt to utilize this ‘NEW’ hot thing that makes you ‘liked’ and popular… I chose to comment on that as a communication professional and I do hope that marketers out there commissioning the SM jobs actually read this and consider it before going any further towards ‘Nowhere’.
1-      Social Media is not media: simply, social media is what experts in this field name ‘naked conversations’. It is not a billboard online or an expansive digital banner. It is a platform that invites people to share opinions and thoughts and most importantly, get entertained and educated. Till this moment, I don’t see how announcing your ‘sale, new collection..’ on facebook can educate or entertain or help people share ideas and thoughts. For god’s sake, stop doing that. So What should you post instead?
2-      Well I talked about this extensively, do the ‘listening’ first, learn about your audience and competitors and then decide on what you need to post. Most importantly, always remember that social media requires a specially customized content. The content that is good enough to make me wonna share it. This content needs to consider many elements such as effects, size, cultural sensitivities, and quality, cast… Social Media is really global and hence, you need to really think of that before posting your content.
3-      Keep your family out of it, seriously, when you open a facebook page to promote your product/company, better you ask your family/tribe members to stay out of it. Once, a client of mine wanted to brag about their facebook achievements and how their brand has ‘made it’ on social media, as I went online to check it, I felt like I am entering a village habituated by the same family, anyone else outside the family looks like a stranger who’s only visiting. Please guys, stop asking your friends and family members to habituate your facebook page, its clear that they’re there to satisfy you and not learn/interact with the brand.
4-      The elephant is all over the room. If you’re a marketer, communication ‘consultant’, PR or advertising professional in the Middle East, or anywhere else, it is about time you start learning what social media is about. A CEO in a small AD agency in Dubai still thinks that comments readers post below an article are ‘blogs’. The same CEO wants to become a leading agency in the market and his team are working on it, yet, none from his 30+ profs have a clue on how to create a blog or tweet. For this CEO, I say, all the best going down, the elephant is growing by the day and will wipe out anything in the room that is not made to last this enlargement.
I apologize if my blog’s content about social media in the Middle East is still primitive but so is the whole industry and I do hope that this will change soon.

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