5 ways to improve your social media strategy

social media company in dubai

Social media is an essential tool for all businesses, particularly in the UAE where social media users spend up to 3 hours per day scrolling on social feeds. It provides unlimited opportunity for brand awareness, social commerce, lead generation and direct customer relationship building. How can organisations ensure they’re using social media effectively to achieve their goals? Here are 5 simple things to consider when developing a social media strategy.

  1. THINK LIKE A CUSTOMER

Who is your customer? Develop a series of customer personas in order to deep dive into the way they think, behave, their preferences and the way they consume content. This will prove really valuable when it comes to planning content and making strategic decisions.

  1. CONTENT DIVERSITY

It’s easy to fall into the trap of sharing the same format and type of content week after week – if it’s not broken, why fix it? Well, data shows us that in 2021 social media users value diversity. Stale content results in engagement decline and harms your position in social platform algorithms. Keep your audience engaged by trying a variety of content formats such as video, images, carousels and play around with platform features such as stories, Instagram reels and guides.

  1. CONSISTENCY IS KEY

While your content should be diverse, it’s vital that your posting frequency is consistent. Through platform insights, figure out how much time your audience spends on a given platform. From here, decide how often you think you should post and stick to it. If you start to notice a dip in engagement, it’s a good idea to analyse the volume of content you’re posting. Remember, quality over quantity!

  1. PAID, PAID, PAID

Paid social media advertising is the strongest tool in your arsenal. If utilised effectively, it provides an enormous return on investment and helps you to achieve specific business goals such as website traffic, lead generation or app downloads. Organic content is great for reaching those who are already followers, but paid content is the only way to reach potential new customers efficiently.

  1. PLAN AHEAD

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Developing your social media strategy and planning content in advance helps you to prepare more effectively and take into account key dates, consumer behaviour at certain times and upcoming business objectives. This ensures you never miss an opportunity to deliver a key message at the right time.

 

The Rise of Social Commerce

Social Commerce

The phrase ‘new normal’ has been overused and thrown around this year like never before, but let’s face it, this year was a turning point for several industries and will likely change how business is done for years to come. As weaknesses were exposed in business models due to the pandemic, it became clear that the investment in digitization was necessary and could help save businesses in the long run.

While the global economy took a hit during the pandemic, one industry that continued to flourish was eCommerce, as online shopping is one of the most popular online activities worldwide. In fact, in 2020, retail eCommerce sales worldwide amounted to about 4 trillion USD, a number projected to exceed $6.54 trillion by 2023.

In the case of eCommerce, it seemed as if the COVID-19 crisis accelerated the growth of the already expanding sector as new firms, customers, and types of products hit the market. With more people at home, another form of eCommerce was on the rise, social commerce, the use of social media to drive eCommerce transactions.

In the past social commerce meant paid, owned, and earned media on social platforms to build visibility and drive traffic to an eCommerce store. However, in recent years social media platforms have added extensions that allow users to buy directly from the app.

Instagram and its parent company Facebook are leaders in the social commerce landscape, honing in on shopping extensions recognizing eCommerce as a pivotal part of each platform’s overarching growth strategy.

This year, as a part of the updated app features, the companies released shopping extensions that allow users to have a tailored and intuitive buying experience. This move resulted in a whopping 81% of consumers searching for products they need to buy on Instagram and Facebook, making the two channels a massive reference hub and marketplace for goods of all kinds.

As consumers spent more time indoors, shopping trends leaned towards online platforms, especially via mobile devices. This prompted brands to invest in social channels with convenient eCommerce offerings to target their consumers along their buying journey.

The power of social commerce lies in its ability to showcase highly visual and aspirational ad content, that stimulates the passive desires of users before their functional needs arise. For example, if I am looking for a new watch, the platform will utilize my browsing data and other data points to identify my wants, and then it will funnel inspiring ads to me that may satisfy my needs. But what does this mean for traditional eCommerce platforms?

Traditional eCommerce platforms such as Google Shopping and Amazon are not as intuitive as Instagram and Facebook, as they cater to solving immediate problems and not presumptive desires. For example, if I search for a new watch, it will show me several watches; however, unless I am specific with my product or brand name, I am likely to be presented with generic ads that are less aspirational and tailored.

While it is too soon to say that the buyers will forgo traditional eCommerce platforms altogether, we can see that there is real value for the businesses to utilize social eCommerce to attract and build loyalty amongst a target audience.

Social commerce will close gaps in the online shopping experience and provide the customers with a smooth end-to-end buying experience. With new buying habits and preference onset by the pandemic, we foresee that social commerce will remain a large part of the eCommerce industry worldwide.

Social commerce will also attract micro-businesses and craft shops, as the simplicity of the social commerce setup will likely persuade small business owners to skip more complex standalone e-commerce storefronts models. While this may mean more competition among brands and platforms, it also means competitive prices and more consumer choice, which is sure to enhance the buying experience for online shoppers.

 

Through the eye of the storm

Seven Media - Through the eye of the storm

To say that 2020 has been a year of uncertainties would be an extreme understatement. Plans were trashed, budgets were slashed, and strategies were modified over the course of this mind-boggling year. Companies across all industries improvised their game to fight for survival and ride the “pandemic” and the varied implications it brought with it. Consumer behaviours shifted, and the brands that observed, plunged in to rake the benefits while the others folded in confused dismay. From our vantage point, we watched the changing attitudes and careful projections from our clients with respect to where they should pay attention on, and what to apply the big bucks on. And with conviction, we can confirm that social media has consistently been on the top of everyone’s game plan.

Why? Because the foot falls and eyeballs never ceased in the social sphere. During lockdown, people embraced social media like never before. TikTok downloads more than doubled, while online shopping reached massive peaks. Coupled by social media platform’s e-commerce features (Instagram Shop, for instance), small to medium businesses found strong foothold to reach and sell to their audience without physical investments. With ordering-in being the only source of culinary enjoyment, casual as well as fine-dining restaurants improvised to reach customers at their home applying Chat Food and other social features to make direct ordering easy. Just like that, social media and online channels became the only plausible means to reach the customer and the icing on the cake – the customers were listening like never before.

Here at Seven Media, we kept tracking the pixels to analyse consumer behavior on our clients’ websites – what they spent their time on and what they put their money on. We used this information to serve them carefully customised ads and content. We created engagement campaigns that was laced with compassion to support our community during these challenging times. We conducted social scans and market researches to capture the hidden conversation and nudge our clients in the right direction. We stepped out of and away from comfort zones as we transitioned across specialisations to support each other learn, apply and thrive. And now, as the year is gradually coming to a close, we are equipped with a team that has driven through the eye of the storm with strong experience and remarkable insights in their pockets.

So yes, 2020 has been a year of uncertainty. But here at Seven, we have a knack in dealing uncertainties, turning it into our favour and making the most out of it. And we are already thrilled about 2021. Hop on the ride!

 

 

 

A campaign of national pride

Seven Media - UAE National Day 2020

UAE National Day is a major event for the whole country – and this year Seven is very proud to have been tasked with being at the centre of a unique PR and social media campaign.

In previous years the countdown to national day focussed on the official event which would be attended by thousands of people of all nationalities from across the emirates.

But on December 2 the event is going virtual – with a live being shown on everything from local TV to social media and digital platforms.

So how do you get everyone excited and engaged about a celebration which has for the previous 48 editions had people coming together as a key call to action?

On PR the challenge has been to use as many communication channels as possible to execute simple but exciting content that hypes the event, but doesn’t give everything away.

We have teased elements of the show in the lead-up and also promised surprises on the night – meaning that there will still be a sense of anticipation come UAE National Day.

Video has also played a major role across PR and social media with the use of archive footage and new interviews forming the backbone of a campaign that has been truly innovative.

And as Khalfan Al Mazrouei, a member of the organising committee of the Official 49th UAE National Day Celebration, recognised, the global pandemic had to be addressed clearly.

He said: “The COVID-19 pandemic required us to approach the official 49th UAE National Day celebrations in a new and ambitious way – one that uses digital visual technology to inspire an audience watching from home.
“The overarching theme of the live show is one of hope and optimism. Embracing the country’s rich legacy and traditions, it looks ahead to a vivid future in which we remain true to our values.

“The narrative of the show artistically revolves around the growth and transformation of a seed into a shoot and then finally into full bloom, mirroring the journey the UAE has taken in the last 49 years.

 

 

Future trends in digital and social communication

Seven Media - Future trends in digital and social communication

The pace of change in the digital media industry over the past 10 years has been staggering. As we enter the next decade, what trends will shape a sector constantly evolving?

TikTok is already a global phenomenon with about 500 million active users worldwide. This year, the company opened its first Middle East-based office in Dubai and it’s only a matter of time before it takes off regionally.

Its main attraction is that you can easily produce content on your mobile phone that has the potential to reach millions of people through organic reach, as opposed to paid promotions and boosted posts. 

There is a massive opportunity in the region for brands to engage with a youthful audience on a fresh and exciting platform using content that is easily consumed and shared.

With yet another new face on the digital scene, it is important to consider the potentially negative impact of social media. The harmful psychological effects of social platforms have come under the spotlight recently and the industry is facing pressure to demonstrate they can protect users’ well-being.

In 2020, we expect to see social channels making mental health a key strategy. Simply removing the Likes function isn’t enough. It is essential to invest in promoting support groups, removing malicious content, and stamping out online bullying.

The power of the digital influencer to promote brands and carry messages via social media has been one of the most remarkable trends in media marketing over the past few years. But times are changing.

Earlier last year, a survey conducted by YouGov in the UAE and KSA revealed that 79 per cent of those questioned have unfollowed a social media influencer for drowning their timeline in promotional content. Research by HypeAuditor found that 31 per cent of UAE social media influencers purchase followers, while 20 per cent use tricks to artificially boost their online profile.

Brands will continue to invest billions of dollars on influencer marketing, but will increasingly target legitimate storytellers who share authentic content with a specific audience. Those perceived as mere extensions of the corporate machine will fall by the wayside. 

In recent years, we have seen the use of algorithms influencing the content we see. In the PR industry specifically, there has been a push for ‘content calendars’ of pre-written, pre-approved, posts scheduled for release on specific dates. But as an audience, we increasingly expect a personalised two-way conversation.

I expect a big move back towards creative storytelling over the next decade, with video at its heart. Video already has 12 times more shares on social media than text and images combined. This year, we expect 82 per cent of internet traffic to be video-based. 

Platforms and tools exist to make sharing video content easier than ever. But too often content is published for content’s sake. Only videos that tell an engaging, relevant story has the power to be truly memorable and create a lasting impression among its audience. 

As one of the best social media agencies in Dubai, we’re here to support you with your digital communications strategy and implementation.

Seven Media wins big at inaugural PRCA Digital Awards with an impressive double

Seven Media wins big at inaugural PRCA digital awards

Leading independent, full-service agency wins ‘Best Digital Team’ and ‘Best Use of Video in a Campaign’ awards at the inaugural event in Dubai’s D3

Seven Media continued its award-winning ways at the PRCA’s first ever digital awards yesterday evening and scooped the two most prestigious accolades in a double-whammy.

Following on from Seven’s two consecutive PRCA ‘Large Consultancy of the Year’ title wins in 2017 and 2018, the event saw Seven walk off the stage with the two coveted ‘Best Digital Team’ and ‘Best Use of Video in a Campaign’ awards, proving once again that Seven Media’s creativity and dynamism are proving winning formulas in a challenging Middle East communications landscape.

A key factor behind this success is the recent formation of Seven Studios, the video production team and creative force behind the video content created. Seven Studio’s work on the award-winning campaign for Manchester City Centurions Trophy Tour Fan Surprise, using unique story telling methods and hidden camera work that went viral across the world, ensured the UAE-based agency clinched the top prize.

Gregg Fray, Director and Co-Founder of Seven Media, said: “Digital is rapidly becoming the most important element to clients and we as a company are constantly evolving, as proven with the addition of Seven Studios, to ensure we remain ahead of the game. This award, as voted for by our peers, is a testament to our forward-thinking nature and excellent results we have secured throughout the year. 

“To be recognised as Digital Team of the Year, strongly underscores Seven Media’s deserved reputation as the top social media agency in Dubai with its track record of prestigious digital and social media activities for our clients. Our growth, client and staff satisfaction and retention speaks for itself and with the glowing endorsement from our incredible clients the judges deemed Seven Media victorious.”

TikTok for social media marketing: yay or nay?

Tok Tok for social media marketing - yay or nay?

With over 500 million monthly active users globally, TikTok has witnessed a rapid growth over the past two years, resultantly stirring up a storm in the digital world.

For starters, let us give you a brief about the renowned app, *drumroll* TikTok.

TikTok is a short-form video-sharing app used extensively by teenagers and young adults for the sole purpose of entertainment. It has been labelled as the “next big thing” and don’t be surprised, because it just might be as it is the third most downloaded app in the world.

So, what makes TikTok so distinct and popular?

It is more than just lip-syncing to cliché songs or pre-recorded videos, TikTok is an outlet allowing users to unleash their creativity, use the numerous AR lenses and express themselves by means of short, catchy videos.

However, the question arises; can brands incorporate TikTok in their social media marketing strategy?

The answer is, why not? TikTok can be a potential new platform for brands to explore and open up to various opportunities and connect with new audiences. Thus, increasing brand awareness amongst an untapped segment particularly for brands that are interested to cater to a youthful target. TikTok also runs its very own TikTok ads platform which allows advertising to only a limited target based on simple factors such as age, gender and state level geolocation. Nevertheless, by the end of 2019 TikTok promises to narrow down their demographics and emerge with an improved ads platform.

To achieve the desired outcomes on TikTok, brands would need to get their creative juices flowing and pouring! A full-fledged brainstorming session, a solid ‘think out of the box’ idea and the will to delve into new possibilities; these will help kickstart your brand’s journey on the app. TikTok gives your brand the opportunity to effectively promote your products or services, a jingle or slogan or any element of your brand as innovatively as possible.

Global fashion chain Guess was the first ever fashion brand to take on TikTok with the #InMyDenim challenge. Users were encouraged to create a mini music video while wearing their Guess denim piece from the newly launched denim line and post on TikTok with the hashtag. The challenge was a tremendous success with over 38.6 million views and tons of entries. What Guess also extracted from this challenge was a mammoth amount of user generated content; an essential for every brand.

Another brand using TikTok to their optimum is Red Bull. Short videos boasting the adventure and thrill in skydiving, skateboarding, mountain bike riding and more by involving followers are featured on Red Bull’s TikTok feed as it translates to the brand’s persona. With the rapid rise of TikTok came along the influencers on the platform, and we kid you not, these TikTok influencers are fast-growing with an unbelievable number of views. The large following of these influencers can be targeted by brands in order to boost their products or services. Similar to collaborating with Instagram bloggers, brands can tie-up with TikTok influencers with a large following for campaigns to reach out to a wider audience. Howbeit, with this social platform running primarily on the youth having fun, brands will also have to do the same rather than perceiving it as no more than just an advertising opportunity. We wouldn’t recommend brands to simply create a profile on TikTok and share their own videos. Instead, here’s what we suggest; if your brand possesses the right resources and an exceptional idea, capture the interest of the users by developing a campaign.

If you’re overlooking these advantages for your brand, know that you will be missing out on a great deal because TikTok is here to stay. But if this piques your curiosity, head over to the best social media agency in Dubai – Seven Media to step into the new age marketing medium.

Closed Groups – The Future of Social

The Facebook Group is nothing new. Spaces for like-minded people to come together and discuss specific topics have been around since social media’s earliest days. These groups have seen particular growth over the past year, however, becoming a vital part of social media users’ daily lives.

Snapchat was the first platform to capitalise entirely on closed-group sharing. Their goal was to be the space where people shared private messages, images and videos with close friends. The result? Massive success. The increasing publicity of an individual’s online presence revealed the need for such sharing.

Remember the early days of Facebook when the platform represented somewhat of a safe space – most interactions were with real people, many of them friends and family. It was a place to showcase yourself, your preferences, your personality. This sort of intimacy on social networks has been undone by their own success. Newsfeeds are overflowing with clickbait, fake news and advertising galore. Cue closed-group sharing popularity growth.

Since this shift, Facebook has become the space for sharing your public persona – a less authentic, more curated persona. Meanwhile, Snapchat became the space for the ‘real’ persona, where individuals feel more comfortable sharing intimate details about their daily lives because they are sharing with people they know and trust.

Closed-group social platforms enable a new behavior of sharing. By reducing the cognitive overhead of publicly posting, these companies are betting on users sharing more often. In other words – with less mental math deducting who will see your post, story, photo – the more (and more often) users will share.

Recent reports have indicated that Instagram is hopping on this closed-group social train by developing an app called Threads.

Threads is designed as a sister app to Instagram, and invites users to automatically share their location, speed and battery life, along with more typical text, photo and video messages with friends. (Does sharing your location or battery sound strange to you? Don’t forget, Snapchat introduced these features years ago).

The ultimate goal of Threads? Promote constant, automatic sharing between users and the people on their ‘close friends’ list on Instagram. Reportedly, you will even be able to opt into automatic sharing, and Threads will regularly update your status without you having to type or click anything at all.

So, for companies and brands who rely on social networks to reach customers, whether through advertising or organic, personalised interactions, closed-group sharing has been an important player in the massive decline of organic engagement and reach.

Does closed-group sharing point toward the future of social media in general? A means to recover and authenticity the trust that Facebook began with? And if so, what does this mean for branded pages striving to reach the vast online audience?

That’s where Seven Media, one of the top social media agencies in Dubai comes in, addressing challenges is our specialty. Get in touch, we’d love to hear your thoughts!

Mental health in the media

In 2019, it is not unusual to see the words ‘mental health’, ‘sustainability’ and, ‘well-being’ featured frequently across media and social channels, as the topics become a much more fluid conversation for everyone.

The world of PR must adapt to this and move with the motion it heads in, veganism is on the rise, people care more about their health than ever before, and brands must recognise and deliver for these growing factors. From hotels in the Middle East such as JA Resorts and Hotels becoming the most sustainable resort in Dubai, to vegan/gluten-free restaurants and cafés such as Bounty Beets.

But what about mental health? Does the media have a responsibility to promote healthy practices and feature brands that are bringing mental health to the forefront? Mental health satisfaction is one of the key performance indicators of the pillar of world-class healthcare of the UAE National Agenda. The UAE Government is regularly undertaking new measures to address mental health issues and reduce the stigma associated with it.

“Informed journalists can have a significant impact on public understanding of mental health issues as they shape debate and trends with the words and pictures they convey.”

Rosalynn Carter, Former First Lady of the United States

Celebrities and public figures such as actors Dwayne Johnson and Gina Rodriguez, and singers such as Ariana Grande and Jesy Nelson have also broken their silence and used their social media platforms to share their own stories about their mental health. This has even led to documentaries that are being urged to be shown in schools and colleges around the world to encourage others to take accountability for their words and actions.

An increasing number of brands are bringing out products/services to raise awareness around mental health too, or raising money for organisations that specialise in treating mental illness. For example, a theatre company in London invited influencers to promote a show about mental health called “Brainfood”.

At the same time, an influx of wellness brands are launching everything from functional fragrances to nutritional supplements in the name of stress reduction. Huge global brands are also choosing to highlight such topics, such as Burger King. With their anti-Happy meals, Burger King partnered with the non-profit Mental Health America to launch the Real Meal campaign to create the message ‘no-one is happy all the time’. This was a clever dig at their main competitor, McDonald’s, but powerful nonetheless.

As we learn to adapt in an age where social media is part of our lives, choosing to carry on the conversations of mental health and providing strategies and solutions going forward remains very high on the agenda and a topical subject in the media landscape.

The importance of the Arabic language in social media

The importance of the Arabic language in social media

The continued growth of social media in the MEA region has had a large number of positive impacts for both individuals and businesses, however we have witnessed by and large most brands investing in creating English-first content.

A recent report compiled by Crowd Analyzer, Hootsuite and APCO has shed light on the state of social media in the MEA region, focusing on its biggest players – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. Seemingly the most comprehensive report on social media in the Middle East, it demonstrates that while English and Arabic are the two most used languages in the region, going more in-depth with market-specific statistics, Arabic is the primary language used to communicate across all sectors.

Below we have compiled a few of the key takeaways from the report regarding the use of Arabic on social media:

–    The most commonly used languages on social media in the Middle East are English (48%) and Arabic (45%)

–    30% of all social media users in the region are between the ages of 15 and 29

–    Arabic is the fastest-growing language on Twitter, among 25 other languages used on the platform

–    The majority of social media users in Saudi Arabia use Arabic to communicate. In 2018, the number of Arabic-language users grew by almost 35%, going from 7.6M at the end of 2017 to 10M at the end of 2018. Meanwhile, English-language users grew by only 3% in the same timeframe.

From these points, we can understand how important it is to include the Arabic language when creating content. Producing Arabic language content will show your audience that your brand cares about their preferences and is willing to tackle all customer queries, concerns and feedback, regardless of whether they are submitted in English or Arabic.

Lastly, including Arabic language content will differentiate your brand from other brands in the region, many of which do not produce Arabic content.

Seven are all-round communicators, equally strong in Arabic and English, and as one of the leading digital agencies in Dubai, we truly know how to connect with an audience – from the emerging generation of influencers to big business decision makers – and everyone in between.