Saturday, April 9, 2011

Boss we need to Socialize

The below article was published in Qatar Today's April 2011 issue. Click on the below pics to read.

Text Version
*****Boss - We need to Socialize…*****

The last conversation with your boss on adoption of Social Media may have left you stranded and you may be wondering how to convince him/her. You may conclude that the person is rigid not open to new ideas. A close minded person is difficult to convince and it requires strong will to change ones thought process. According to marketing guru Seth Godin, “a closed-minded worldview doesn't mean you're stupid, it means that you are selling yourself and your colleagues and your community short”.

Your boss is not stupid, probably ignorant. One of the best way to change perceptions and open a close mind is to present data in an appealing manner.

The adoption of Social Media in the Middle East for commercial purpose has been encouraging however it still needs to reach an advanced level. Senior management is still puzzled by the question – “Why the company should explore the Social Media route to reach their customers?”

Here are some tips that could help you to sell Social Media to your senior management:-

Show Them Facts and Figures

A survey conducted on Media consumption & habits of MENA Internet users in 2010 by Spot On PR firm based in Dubai showed that

- Social Networking is the second most popular activity carried out by Internet users after email.

- 32% of all Middle East & North Africa Internet users surveyed, bought products or services online

Spot On PR has reported that the Mena Population on Facebook has reached 17.3 million as of August 2010.

According to, a leading source of news and analysis on Facebook, informed that Arabic language version of Facebook was the fastest growing language as of August 2010.

Blogs: Over 5 million blogs are tracked by Technorati, the “Bible” of Blogs with 600,000 being corporate blogs (Technorati)

Keeping up with the Competition

The hype of Social media would have caught your boss’s attention and there is a possibility that he/she may have seen some social media work at other corporations.

This means your boss is likely in a position to have a conversation on commercial aspects of social media. You just need to develop an online strategy that fits the organization’s business objectives. Your boss might just be looking for someone to take the lead. A survey conducted by IQPC in 2010 showed that 80% of corporate executives consider Social Media as an important aspect of the online communication strategies.

Customer Feedback Online

Every year companies spend millions on customer service surveys. This helps the executives to get an insight on what is their customer thinking.

When you go online try searching “your company name + bad experience”, you would be surprised at the results. Unfortunately, this freely available data online is overlooked by companies. ICICI bank is known to monitor 3-5k tweets per day via its Twitter handler @icici_care. The bank also monitors online conversations on Facebook, Blogs and other social mediums, to help stop rumors.

Listening to your customers creates strong relationships and helps you develop the right products. This would eventually lead to monetization.

Instant Response

Social Media not only gives you customer feedback online, but gives you the opportunity to respond back to your customer online. Many companies in Qatar like Qtel, Virgin Mobile give instant response to customer queries on a social network like Twitter. Customers are keen to interact with their brands online. A study conducted on MENA Twitter habits by Spot-On PR in Feb 2010 gave the following results: -

- 50% of the surveyed had purchased a product or service as a result of Twitter

- 88% of Twitter users recommend products / services

- 65% of respondents were interested in receiving special offers & coupons from brands on Twitter

Here is an opportunity for many for you to sell these stats to your boss which would help you build a case to monetize the investment in online media.

One step at a time

If your boss is partially convinced and asks you to give him a lead, start with maintaining an online blog. It is not that difficult to move some corporate offline content online. Recommend a person who has the passion for writing and can update the blog on a regular basis.

A few more reasons: -

Using SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and Social Media - Get your website among the top 10 searched items on Google, which leads to more traffic and visibility of your brand.

Reputation Management – Customers are discussing about your brand online, whether you like to listen or not.

Customer Service – Twitter, Facebook and various other social networks are becoming prime source of direct interaction with customers.

According to the the Middle East has 63 million Internet users. So, if just 50% of those are affected by brand recommendations online, that’s 32 .5 million people are reachable through online mode of communication. Internet is here to stay and grow big; however, it’s your choice to ride the wave or stay onshore to make a difference.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Doha Twitter Story

The below article was published in Gulf Times on 09 June 2010, my initial interaction days with the people in Doha to speak about twitter. Click on the below image to read the article.


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