Hey Middle East, Here's Your 2021 Social Media Prophecy!

According to Visa, Millennials in the Middle East are the highest spenders globally, and 63% of them click "buy" on their smartphones every year. Oh yes, online consumerism in this region has evolved to be pretty mature.

With the digital landscape expanding every millisecond, marketeers are the new one-stop expression for a brand. From customer service to product launches to increased brand loyalty & love to crisis management, etc., they are expected to be the gurus of all. This would require for them to crucially forecast, understand and implement social media strategies/trends much ahead of time. How do you do that, in the midst of a pandemic-ridden, attention-crunched, and most importantly, an extremely informed world?

Blink and miss, if you #dontrush

Content Marketing has proven to be hugely effective. 86% of B2C companies practise it, while 91% of B2B companies have made it a staple of their marketing strategies. 

That being said, creating excellent content and cross-posting alone won't cut it. The challenge lies within distribution and keeping up with the new features that the online platforms continue to roll out, enhancing the shape for the online consumer's experience. 

Should you shut down your office and operate from home via Instagram Shop, or should cut down on staff and hire a group of TikTok/Instagram influencers? Would TikTok be more effective than all of the other platforms you are currently on? Should you focus on your Pinterest feed at all? Is Facebook still relevant in the times of Instagram and TikTok? Are people using Twitter for my industry in the Middle East? Should I bother curating LinkedIn apt content if my brand is B2C? Which platform should I invest most budget, time and resources on? How can you find a social media specialist when the game (and algorithms) are continually changing?

Please don't fret, we've got your back, whether you are B2B or B2C.

For the B2(Social)B(ee)s & B2(Cool)C(at)s

The end game is to cement your brand to be more lovable and hence most preferred out of the ocean of options. The tactics, when creating content (and distributing) are some the following.

Snackable content

Invest in curating snackable content which would, in essence, inspire, educate or entertain your followers in 15 seconds, or less. Take advantage of the love and growth of TikTok and get your brand there. 

Looking specifically at the UAE TikTok consumption, the stats demonstrate a record number of 317,000 mentions of TikTok in one month. That's a 31% increase from March 2020 and a whopping 122% increase from the pre-lockdown days of Feb 2020. 

So, the numbers are compelling, the engagement levels are through the roof, with hundreds of Middle East influencers having joined the TikTok bandwagon. The whole world buzzing about it, it's a party, and everyone's invited. 

What are the pointers here? Short-form, attention-grabbing (and holding), lighting (yes, it matter, a lot), understanding TikTok hashtag strategy, and frequency of posting. 

Love it or hate it, TikTok is here to stay. These same bite-sized pieces can be shared on Instagram stories (to ensure you gain maximum visibility), along with the same going on Facebook stories too. What's more? They are versatile enough to convert into your very own snack-ads on YouTube.

youtube video blue beetle blog

2. Intensify their shopping experience and broaden their reach (and yours.) Fun fact, more than 800M users use Instagram every month, and brands around the world are using the platform to share their stories and products with users in a visually winning way. 

50% of Instagram accounts use the “Explore” feature per month, so be sure to activate 'explore' on your account, and get your brand visible there to new followers, and potential consumers.

Take advantage of Facebook & Instagram shop, and create posts that are shoppable. Click here for a few tips of the trade to get you started. Another platform for setting up your e-commerce exhibition would be to make use of the 'catalogue' option on Pinterest.

3. AR for the win. We all have experienced it but are terribly unsure of how technologically savvy we are to embed this as a social media strategy, that too, on official platforms of brands. 

To simplify, AR i.e. augmented reality uses technology to project computer-generated augmentations on to a real-world setting. 

Hmm...where have we seen this before? Yes, you're thinking right. The direly loved filters. A concept incepted by Snapchat, and later elevated by Facebook and Instagram. 

Instagram, ladies and gentlemen, allows everyone; be it brands, businesses and people to create their own filters, and have it used by anyone and everyone in the platform reach space. Have a cause, curate your filter. If it's topical you'd like to tap into, get creative. There's endless ways to get your branded filter to be used by end consumers. The perks? You are gaining access to an entire repository of user-generated content and a growing clientele. What are you waiting for? 

What else is there?

Did you know that one out of five videos on Facebook is a live stream? Oh yes, no joke. In fact, there's an average of one million live streams recorded daily on Instagram. Reason? We are talking to a well-aware audience. 

They know it all, and they want to be further educated/entertained. In an era of digital awareness, going live is the perfect way for a brand to breed more heartfelt and honest connections with their end-consumer purely because authenticity is always above fabrication. Head towards the route of interactive communications offered by Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube and go live!

Even better, localize your content. Speak the same language, or make it bilingual for dual reach.

Insider trend alert; invest in strategies to embed voice search for your brand. Let’s admit it, with Siri, Alexa and Google in the picture the number of people speaking to their devices has increased, massively. We recommend for you to already begin thinking about this now to get in front and top with rankings of how your brand communicates with the consumers that are speedily embracing this technological shift.  

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Cognizant, self-realization and those causes around content

Don't just be salesy, or eager to please. Let's admit it. How many times have we seen captions and visuals that are all about "we" are waiting for "you," and rolled our eyes at all that fromage? 

Catering to a smarter audience means arriving at an all-inclusive SMM strategy. Gone are the days where consumers only seek to be flattered and wooed. If there is a cause that you as a brand believe in or an opinion you have - voice it. We are catering to an audience that is socially responsible, and there’s no reason why your brand isn’t allowed to have its voice on matters of the time that are relevant, especially if it can cause an influencing effect.

Remember, we are speaking to a well-informed (and extremely brand-loyal audience.) Allow your consumers/followers to have an insight into your brand's culture and ethics. Wish them on the local holidays, celebrate the nation/regions wins, congratulate regional achievements, address issues and ensure there’s always an element of localization embedded too. Cause strategies have more gains than flaws. 

The best example of this by far has to be Nike's stand for Black Lives Matter. They were loud and clear to composing what Nike as a company stands for, and ended up reinstating the love of many old, and new consumers.

Moreover, as a brand let consumers know of your internal challenges, or hiccups faced. There's no shame in being transparent - you, in turn, are humanizing your brand and are building a stronger connection with your audience. People love honesty. If you have made a mistake, or if there is a crisis (social or in-person), own up to it. They will appreciate your candour as a brand. This strategy is the most recommended of the lot, especially in 2021 after the masses have personally and professionally felt the rollercoaster that 2020 has been.

Cross ambassadors for the masses, and the niches

While influencer marketing has been around for a while now, and influencers shelling out gorgeous customised pieces of content specifically curated for a brand, the focus should in essence be local and micro-influencers. How can this be done? Incorporate a mix. But, what's the mix? Well, it depends on your marketing budget, however, while it is fancy to have macro-influencers as a part of your influence ensemble, be sure to have a healthy balance of micro and local influencers. You'd be surprised at how these small scale influencers offer more long-term brand collaboration and partnership, which generate a more fruitful reach and impression. So whether it is on Instagram, Youtube or Tiktok, pick that influencer mix well.

In line with picking the mix, ensure you consolidate conversion optimization. What's this, you ask? Get those tools, measure the influencer collab insights to broaden your understanding into:

  1. Which influencer attracted visitors/leads/ to your website or Insta-shop? Best way to do this is linking a custom promo code with each influencer.
  2. What kind of content/post stops the scroll and converts into a purchase?
  3. Gaps and understanding of how you could put your messaging forward to convince the potentials.

The list could go on, but these are a few to get you started.

We've got to embrace the fact that digital advertising and social speak is here to stay, for many possible decades to come. Technology will advance to compose accelerated developments in the way that we function. The only way to stay ahead is to continuously develop, measure and keep the curiosity kindled.

Digital Marketing Options

At Blue Beetle, our expert team of marketers has over 16 years of experience designing personalised digital strategies for clients in a variety of industries. We are a collective of social enthusiasts that are constantly on the lookout for all things new on the ever-evolving digital space. Reach out to us, and we’d love come at your aid.