The buzzword ‘Social Media’ is back but with a bang. Why? Because now this form of online media is utilized for conducting businesses and achieving many goals on which your business is dependent upon.
The old perception of social media as a casual past time has now shifted to social media as a sales generator. Facebook. Twitter, Linkedin, WhatsApp, Youtube and other similar channels have now become a business seeking medium for both traditional and digital marketplace.
According to Hootsuite, there are over three billion internet users – and out of which two billion have an active social media presence online. Because, these mentioned above marketing giants have now become a source of business, providing valuable data about customer’s behaviour.
Social Media for business
Small and Medium Enterprises popularly known as SME’s in the Middle East has now become a backbone and are also considered as an anchor of UAE economy. These are primarily responsible for job creation, innovation, exports and new business models.
According to sme.ae, SME’s account 95% of the Dubai enterprise population, 43% of workforce and 40% of the total value added in the emirate. In Saudi Arabia, the sector contributes around 33% to GDP and comprises nearly 25% of the total labor force. However, the SME sector in Bahrain is more vibrant, accounting for 99% of the total registered companies in the country and employing over 421,000 people, of which over 52,000 are Bahrainis.
SME’s are also known to be the primary source of innovation and entrepreneurial talent in the Middle East.
Social Media as business tool
To gain numerous opportunities exhibited by such development, many business organizations especially SME’s are transitioning their strategic methods for the alignment with the digital world in their efforts to cost-efficiency and reach out to their proposed market.
Middle East’s public relations, marketing and communication consultant Orient Planet Research recently published a report entitled Social Media as a Business Tool for SMEs in the Arab World’.
This report highlights the increasing use of the Internet in the Arab World who have access to major social media channels for connection, communication and information sharing between friends and family.
The number of Arab internet users is expected to rise 226 million by 2018, according to 2015-16 Arab Knowledge Economy Report.
SME social habits
Not long ago, professional networking website Linkedin recently conducted an SME social media habits survey in the GCC. This study showed that out of 260 respondents, 92% were active on social media. Out of 92%, 5% are now building a brand for themselves as for them social media represents excellent efficiency, broad engagement and so on.
This report further reveals that well-liked channels such Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin are mostly used for business purposes by various enterprises for increasing their presence, gaining new customers and effectively communicating with their existing ones. Thus, helping them in creating more brand visibility and uniqueness.
Orient Planet Group’s MD, Nidal Abou Zaki, notes that Social media presents itself as an invaluable tool for SMEs due to a wide range of benefits that it has to offer and at a reasonable cost.
According to her, these online social channels provide increased transparency and connectivity for SMEs to gain a substantial competitive advantage. They are very crucial given that many SMEs do not have the same level of resources as larger corporations, and are not able to compete regarding financial or human capital resources.
Moreover, recent studies indicate that small businesses have more chance of succeeding through social channels compared to their larger counterparts.
Global management consultancy A.T. Kearney, recently conducted a study, indicating that SME’s that are successful create jobs, drive revenues and gross domestic product (GDP) four times faster and six times faster than big firms. This same report predicts that the sector in the GCC will contribute an additional $100 billion to GDP and up to 2 million jobs during the upcoming years.
Popular SME social media channels
The ‘Social Media as a Business Tool for SMEs in the Arab World’ report was conducted to examine popular social media channels that are commonly used by SMEs operating in the Arab World for brand building and cost effectiveness.
It also highlights the region’s digital economic future and how SME businesses can benefit from subsequent substantial opportunities.
Moreover, the scope of this report includes countries in the GCC, Levant and North Africa regions and Egypt.
If you are an SME seeking to maximize your key presence on social media and wants to boost your business using its tools in the highly diverse Arab market. You will surely benefit from this report.
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