Find us on…Facebook
When I saw that familar Facebook logo on the menu of a corner-side fast food restaurant, I realized that SMEs are starting to understand the real potential of social media, which will lead the new industry to thrive in Pakistan - sooner or later. If a restaurateur can understand the potential of social media for his small business, why can't other businesses?
A few days ago some colleagues and I decided to have lunch together after Juma prayers. We stopped at a fast food restaurant in Karachi's Khadda Market. When I started looked through the menu that the waiter had brought me, I noticed a familiar logo on the back: "Find us on... (logo of)Facebook."
As an online marketeer, the menu got me thinking. In the west, social media marketing is the first choice for nearly every start-up business as it has the ability to reach the target audience at low costs. There are many companies who specialize in providing social media marketing services to businesses and earn huge revenues. It is a win-win situation. In Pakistan, the concept is still relatively new but potential is very high.
Facts show that 7 out of the top 20 visited websites in Pakistan are social media websites, of which YouTube is third, Facebook is fourth, Twitter is tenth and Linkedin is the sixteenth most visited social network. If we were to go further down the Top 100 we would find more social networks where niche communities could be found.
Big brands, political groups and media personalities are already leveraging social media to communicate directly to the public. However, most local small and medium size enterprises (SMEs), for which social media really holds the true advantage, are still largely unaware of the marketing these channels have.
Yet, when I saw that familar Facebook logo on the menu of a corner-side fast food restaurant, I realized that SMEs are starting to understand the real potential of social media, which will lead the new industry to thrive in Pakistan - sooner or later. If a restaurateur can understand the potential of social media for his small business, why can't other businesses? Book stores, real estate agencies, cell phone shops etc any one can use these channels to brand their businesses and generate sales leads. Of course, the cost is minimal compared to print and other offline advertisement channels.
Besides businesses, the online marketing industry also stands to benefit. Marketing through social media could also become a lucrative profession for those in the industry. Online marketeers will soon find drastic growth in their careers and that would make internet marketing a profession of choice for every second individual.
I am very positive about the future of internet marketing generally and social media marketing specifically in Pakistan. Business owners, marketeers and students should prepare for the greatest shift in the marketing and advertising industry in recent years.