The business community across the world is constantly experiencing unprecedented changes, and marketing is one of the sectors that have witnessed massive transformation (Jenaibi 3). Modern technologies that support interactive social segments, through social networking platforms have demonstrated great significance in the modern marketing realm. Politically motivated since the uprisings, the Arab world has witnessed substantial changes in communication and freedom of expression, which seem to influence marketing in an imperative manner (Ghannam 6).
There has been great improvement in the consumption of modern communication technologies with considerable research reporting an augmenting number of internet and social network clients in the Arab world. Despite the rising demand to enhance marketing through social networks, little remains known about its marketing influence in Arabic nations (Jenaibi 3). In light of the above, this essay therefore seeks to answer the question: “To what extent do social media play an effective role in marketing in the Arab World?”
Social Media in companies and marketing intermediaries
Since the events that marked the Arab springs, many Arabic nations have awakened to the realization of the potential benefits of modern social network platforms in boosting businesses (Salem and Mourtada 1). The pace of adoption and consumption of social networking sites within Arabic countries is arguably remarkable following latest improvements within matters regarding to public association and freedom of expression. Following a late 2009 survey, Ghannam (6), noticed that, “between 40 and 45 million internet users were found in 16 Arab countries.”
With this amount, that keeps increasing each successive year, firm marketers, managers of companies and marketing intermediaries as well as consumers have demonstrated considerable interest in communicating via social networks. Both public and private business organizations have begun considering social networks as important and effective marketing communication tools (Ghannam 12). Slowly, public social networks in the Arab nations have penetrated into the business world and organization management seems to demonstrate certain interest.
Apart from being public leisure tools of social interaction, Facebook, Twitter, Google and YouTube have currently proven to be the most effective advertising and promotional tools that spur online marketing (Firstbrook and Wollan 2). Using focus group research on users of common social networks, respondents from a study conducted by Jenaibi (19) claimed that social sites are useful for “contacting others, discussions, searching for information, selling products, and logos, making announcements, and distributing surveys.”
However, the question of this argument hinges upon the extent to which social media influences marketing, but very little evidence exists in the degree of consumption of social networks in the Arab corporate sector due to limited research in the Asian world. According to Mir (268), modernized Arabic companies using social networks post advertisements, announce their promotional campaigns, and allow consumers to air their views and opinions on certain firm products or services.
Market research enables firms to get public perceptions over their products or services, which contribute to decision making in company’s marketing strategies. Firstbrook and Wollan (3) argue that social networks enable firms to conduct market research in a more convenient and economical manner. Examining one of the United Arab Emirate’s market research firms, Jenaibi (4) noticed that approximately 72% Facebook users and 27% Twitter users obtained information about their favourite corporate brands from these platforms.
Arabic businesspersons have recognized the impact of social networks since the uprisings as its revolutionary influence has pushed marketing communication. In one of the Egyptian studies that involved about 3348 participants, Ghannam (12) noticed that the number of newspaper readers engaged in online reading was at 50 percent compared to 34 percent that of offline readers. In United Arab Emirates (UAE) Opinions.com is one of the famous online sites that allow consumers to share opinions, information, and perceptions regarding certain firm products or services offered.
Factors contributing to utilization of social media
The freedom of expression and association that intensified during the Arab uprising seems to enhance development and independence of social media within the Arabic nations (Salem and Mourtada 8). Over 40-45 million internet users active in blogs and famous social network platforms come from the 16 Arab nations, a populace quite influential in boosting marketing strategies. Coupled with steady citizen engagement, extensive autonomy in social media, the vibrant Arabic users of social media have impelled marketers to use famous social networks to intensify their marketing efforts (Firstbrook and Wollan 6).
Supported by most anticipated technological devices including smart technology tools, sophisticated computers and the tablets, which are increasing becoming famous, companies deem social networks as the most affordable and convenient marketing tools (Firstbrook and Wollan 9). Most companies are targeting the young generation, which is the group mostly influenced by modern communication technologies. Consumers’ belief that social media advertising is informative as it provides them with the best product information that helps them make informed purchase decisions.
The advent of Arab uprisings subsequently motivated rapid growth in the consumption of social media, which has successively influenced numerous business engagements. Several Arabic companies and marketing intermediaries have resorted to marketing of their products and services through social networks. With millions of users of famous social networks coming from the Arab world, organizations in these nations have discovered unique potential of social media in advertising. From its revolutionary marketing impact, social media communication has managed to attract consumers into engaging in commercial activities that include sharing product information. Informative and entertainment abilities of social media have enhanced consumers’ perceptions of the products or services offered by companies.
Firstbrook, Caroline and Robert Wollan. “Harnessing the power of social media.” The journal of high-performance business 1.1(2011): 1-9. Print.
Ghannam, Jeffrey. Social Media in the Arab World: Leading up to the Uprisings of 2011. 2011. Web.
Jenaibi, Badreya. “Use of Social Media in the United Arab Emirates: An Initial Study.” Global Media Journal 1.2 (2011): 3-27. Print.
Mir, Imran. “Consumer Attitudinal Insights about Social Media Advertising: A South Asian Perspective.” The Romanian Economic Journal 15.45 (2012): 265-288. Print.
Salem, Fadi and Racha Mourtada. “Social Media in the Arab World: Influencing Societal and Cultural Change?” Arab Social Media Report 2.1 (2012): 1-28. Print.