Arab brands tuning into social media

We have a Facebook page, a twitter profile, a Youtube channel AND a LinkedIn business profile yet our fan base is still low. Why is that?

At some point in time, many a brand manager will find themselves in this position wondering the same thing. And it usually boils down to one of two things: ONE – The absence of a well thought out social media strategy at the onset or TWO –  The absence of a well thought out social media strategy at the onset. It’s really that simple.

While the uptake of digital marketing in the Middle East has been a bit slow, when we compare ourselves to Western markets, recent reports show that the integration of digital channels alongside traditional offline media channels is going from strength to strength. Read here and here. For the Arab brands that are embracing this trend – we applaud you. And so do your consumers too, it seems.

In the context of the 100 Authentic Arab Brands survey we’re running until June 9th (vote!)we’ve been analyzing responses to the survey in an effort to collate useful insight for the nominated brands. Today we’re looking at whether the ‘social media activeness’ of a brand translates to more votes and a higher ranking as an authentic Arab brand.

So far, we haven’t seen a direct correlation between the number of votes a brand has received for its authenticity and the number of fans it has on its official social media profiles. In fact, not all of the 100 nominated brands have a social media presence. Or some do but aren’t very active yet they are in the top 10. For example Nada Debs and Oasis Magazine have a moderately small fan base on Facebook and they’re currently in position 6 and 8, respectively, in the top 10; whereas Etisalat UAE has over 61,000 Facebook fans but is currently not even in the top 20. What does this tell us?

The very nature of social media demands that brands engage consumers in a two-way conversation that is both authentic and contextually relevant. So having a Facebook, Twitter profile or blog is good but the more fans/followers you have does not automatically translate to the most number of votes. It’s not just a numbers game.

For the brands that aren’t active on social media yet are getting massive voting support this is an opportunity and evidence that their fans are already engaged in conversation about them online and ready to engage with them in the virtual world. These brands are lucky in that they already have real world evangelists who are promoting their brand on their behalf. Creating a broad digital footprint by integrating with various touch-points and channels generates traction and allows brands to stand out among the clutter.

Highlights: here’s a look at some of the comments left by voters.