Recently, we have spotted a new trend for big brands in the Arab region. They started rolling out Arabia pages, convinced that one page is enough to cover all the countries in the Arab world, and actually overlook the cultural and demographic not to mention the geographic differences between countries in “Arabia”.
BMW did it, McDonalds’ committed one, a big household name in Nestle like Nescafe is doing it, and the list is growing bigger.
Being on Facebook is all about engaging people by being LOCAL, talking to them and having a transparent conversation, tap into/act upon the country’s UNIQUE insights, Informing fans about the latest offers, big promotions that are usually related to one country (most of the times KSA or UAE if it’s in GCC!), driving fans to the actual store or to the place where they can get the product/service..etc, while Arabia page sounds good for a marketer from one-stop-shop point of view, it doesn’t help meet social objectives.
The right way for any brand who actually wants to engage the people to go LOCAL! The brand should dedicate a facebook page for each country in the Arab world ; each Arab country is different in many angles, from accent and culture to product promotions in that country.
You want to go social? Abide the social rules and be local!
i.e.: McDonalds UAE, BMW Saudi, Nescafe Jordan!!!
I believe that a “Brand Arabia” page is not any different from the “broadcasting” approach of traditional marketing; it’s like airing a commercial for a brand on MBC 1 channel to promote an offer for one country in the gulf! While the actual reach is for all the Arab countries; waste of money.
We all have the dream of having one Arabia united on the map, and eventually have one Facebook page for brands, but the case is different here. It’s marketing and brands trying to connect to people.
Have a quick look at how Starbucks, one of the best 5 brands on Facebook sets a great example for local facebook pages. They have separate pages for different cities in America itself!
I’ll mention a couple of reasons on why it’s a huge mistake for brands to go “Brand Arabia” in the Arab world:
- Engagement: according to Social Bakers, local pages have more engagement than global pages by THREE TIMES.
- The different time zones between countries will affect the exposure of the posts in the newsfeed, it extends some times to 3 hours difference.
- Arabia pages will eventually have to post generic news! And fans won’t be interested in as much as they would be in news that is related to their own country!
- The brand loses the personalization of some specific attributes for the brand in a country! Thus waste great opportunity for awesome content.
- The brand offers or contests eventually will have to be directed at a specific country, thus ignoring the rest of the countries.
- The brand lose many online to offline drivers (come to X in JBR and get your free cheese burger) as other fans in other countries will feel left out.
After Oreo posted this targeted post, many fans had commented on why is it not in their country or city, and the engegement on this exact post compared to other generic ones was really small.
So here we realize the importance role of local pages. Personalized interaction, local engagement and targeted reach.
Add the local awesomeness, have fun and engage your fans!
Would love to hear what you think.
Amer is the founder of Hashtag, a new social media agency that specializes in humanizing brands on the web in the Middle East.