The growing importance of social networking websites particularly Facebook and their penetration in the country cannot be ignored by corporate managers who for the most part don’t yet have a dedicated social media team. A host of local as well as multinational companies operating in Pakistan now see social media as an important marketing tool to promote their brands.
In Pakistan, Facebook is the second most visited website after Google, said Aaiz Haider Khan, Marketing Specialist Dell Pakistan – one of the top five brands on Facebook in Pakistan, according to socialbakers.
“Our presence on Facebook gives us the ability to reach and inform users about our products, generate leads and provides quick support,” Khan said – Dell Pakistan has about 200,000 facebook fans, according to socialbakers that compiles and updates social media statistics.
Talking about their presence on social media, Khan said, visiting social networks is becoming more popular than e-mail website and search engines. “People trust recommendations more than advertisement,” he said. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are where people love to ‘like’ and ‘recommend’, he added. “Reach, relevance and effectiveness of the medium are other reasons for our presence on FB,” he added.
According to socialbakers, the number of Facebook users in Pakistan has crossed six million. The website says 51% of total users are from the 18 to 24 age bracket – one of the main reasons for telecom companies’ strong presence on Facebook for they target the youth.
Telecom firms Ufone, Telenor’s Djuice and Zong, according to statistics, are the top three brands on Facebook in Pakistan with 405,928, 233,640 and 221,199 fans, respectively.
“Social media is fast changing the landscape and dynamics of media in Pakistan by providing interactive, two-way experience and that too at a fraction of the cost of traditional media,” said Telenor Pakistan Director Marketing Usman Javaid.
“Social media is a very interactive platform where feedback is immediate,” Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA) President for IT and ITES Jehan Ara said. It provides businesses the kind of engagement with customers not provided by television or print media, she added.
Social media is particularly popular in youth, which is why all the telecom companies – whose main customer base is youth – have their presence on it, president P@SHA said. However, they have to maintain their Facebook presence several times a day with new ideas and updates, she said, they also find out immediately what customers like and what they don’t thus gauge customers taste.
While the top five brands Facebook brands in the country represent technology companies, host of other small- and medium-sized businesses as well as individuals have a significant representation on Facebook to promote their brands.
‘Conversation’ is the one word to summarise why social media is so important,” said Asim Qureshi, CEO of Brand TV and Brand Cinema – exclusive marketer of Atrium cinemas Karachi.
Social media is kind of a technical revolution in the marketing world, Qureshi said, it has removed the third-party barrier between a brand and the consumer. “Unlike traditional media, it establishes direct relation with the end-user allowing a direct feedback to consumers,” he said.
Qureshi said Atrium cinemas’ fan page receives a lot of queries and fans often express their reactions and emotions about a movie. “Our dedicated social media team addresses these queries directly and that too in real time,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 14th, 2012.