A customer posted a self-made music video on You Tube complaining about how United Airlines mishandled his guitar. There are over 5 million views of this video on You Tube! A single bad experience magnified over social media can prove devastating. An international research reveals that 15 per cent of people share bad experiences that they had with organisations, via social media. Social media exponentially increases the reach of someone’s bad experience. Just imagine, the average Facebook user has 130 friends. Moreover, about 75 per cent of people across UK and US who heard about bad experience via social media stopped doing business with or avoided doing business with the offending company.
Social media is significantly influencing online users’ business behavior. This is another platform which, if managed well, can play a critical role in enhancing your organisation’s image which can translate into an increase in revenues. The time is not far when we will witness social media modeling buying patterns and business decisions of Pakistani consumers.
There were only 133,900 internet users in Pakistan back in 2000 which were 0.1 per cent of total population. Over the last decade the number has phenomenally grown to 18.5 million which is now 10.4 per cent of the current population. After the privatisation of PTCL the number of internet users grew quickly. Government and PTCL are planning to spread broadband networks in all corners of the country and even to the distant villages and towns. With such a rate of growth it is anticipated that the number of internet users in Pakistan are going to increase substantially in the next five years.
With the incremental and steady growth of internet users, more people are inclined towards social networking, especially the young population of Pakistan. Facebook is no stranger to the People of Pakistan. Currently there are 5.8 million facebook users in Pakistan which makes it 26th in the ranking of all facebook users by Country.
Two million users from Pakistan joined Facebook in just the last 8 months which took the overall number to 5 million. Facebook has seen positive growth in Pakistan over last three years. Twitter is said to have around 2 million users from Pakistan, while Google plus still being in beta, is nearing 10,000 users from Pakistan.
All these facts and numbers tell us that Social Media Management must be an integral part of corporate strategies of organisations in Pakistan. Social Media Management goes beyond having just a fan page of your organisation in a social media site. Communicating with your fans regularly, keeping them engaged and focusing on growing the number of fans is all the more important now than ever before. Someone somewhere in the organisational hierarchy must be concerned about what people are saying in online communities about the organisation, its products, offerings, quality of service, pricing etc. This is like online impression management of your organisation.
If your target consumer base is the young population of Pakistan then it is imperative for your organisation to have an effective social media management strategy in place because 51 per cent of 5 million Facebook users from Pakistan belong to 18-24 years of age group.
So, how should organisations manage social media?: First step is social communities and blogs monitoring. Listening to your customers by tracking the online communities pages of your organisation or products etc., on a daily basis and study important trends. Keeping a close eye on online growth of competitors and leading brands in different social communities is the next step. These powerful competitive insights will help you refine your social media strategy and keep you active in online communities. Then you should identify the key influencers- your top fans! What excites them about your product or your organisation? What they like most about your page? Interacting closely with your fans will help you secure a huge success and popularity in social media.
There are many types of softwares available in the market that can help you analyze and compare your social media activities and activities of your competitors.
Active social media monitoring and continuous strive to keep growing your online fans is ultimately going to benefit you and your business.
Naqash Butt is Senior Manager Operations, Outsourcing Service line at AbacusConsulting