Why aren’t more companies using social media in the MENA region?

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With the new year here and with new marketing budgets and strategies being placed for 2011, we hope to see more integrated marketing campaigns with the “social” element. However I’m not very optimistic, I think we might see more Facebook pages popping up and some more tweets tweeted in cyber space, it’s a good start, but I don’t necessarily think that is entirely social.

The problem in the region is that there is a high percentage of marketeers that still don’t understand the fundamentals of social media. Now don’t get me wrong I don’t think anybody has cracked it and came up with a winning formula for social media, how could they its a relatively new medium and anybody that claims to be an expert is probably not, especially in this region. But not understanding the core fundamentals of social media is inexcusable, I hear a lot of discussions and questions about the topic and quite honestly I’m shocked (at least once a day) at the things I hear.

So i decided to write an article about what I think marketers should consider when they are planning to dive in social media:

Not a stand alone media.

Social Media is not a stand alone media, it still requires the aid of your traditional marketing and advertising techniques.

Get Resources!

Social media requires a lot of work, you cannot set it and forget it. You need people to review, approve, respond and engage with the users online. Before you go in you need to set a strategy on how many resources you may require, or how fast you can add more according to the need.

Its not Free

Its a lot of work, and if you want the job done right it will cost you a good dime, that being said it’s still relatively cheaper and could have a greater ROI than your conventional advertising.

Don’t be afraid to experiment

Keep trying new methods and keep collecting and analyzing data. Keep in mind that there are no set formula for success, you have to be willing to try new and different methods and don’t forget that socially people behave differently from region to region, so a campaign that works in Europe might not necessary work in this region.

Finally I’d like to leave you with this thought, the word “viral” topped the annual list of words to be banished, put out by Lake Superior State University, the school has been publishing the list since 1976.

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Having worked with top digital agencies in the MENA region for the past several of years I'm now looking now to venture on my own with small side projects in online, social and mobile. Things I like include: gaming, sports, technology, social media, start ups, funny things and reading about new bright ideas.