The Middle East has gone through a social media boom in recent years, with more and more users going online using their smart phones.
Saudi Arabia is no different, where smart phone penetration is at an all time high thanks in part to attractive packages from service providers in the country. A report by Google suggested that almost 50 per cent of people in Saudi Arabia are online in one form or another. This means that close to 13 million people are logging into the internet on daily basis.
This is an incredible number given the geographic location and recent past of the Kingdom, and goes to show its commitment to remain a global economic power.
Research conducted by Global Web Index suggested that 51 per cent of internet users in the Kingdom are active on Twitter, while Facebook revealed that around 42 per cent of the internet population are active on the social media giant.
Saudi Arabia internet users also contribute around 90 million YouTube views on daily basis, one of the highest rates from a single country in the world.
The numbers paint a very interesting picture. Almost 25 per cent of the population in Saudi Arabia is active on social media. This represents a golden opportunity for companies to tap into this goldmine of user information that could help set trends, provide market insight, and drive brand awareness which will in turn contribute in increasing presence, sales and potentially market share.
Many companies in Saudi Arabia have been quick to ride on the growth wave in social media, with companies like STC, Mobily and Pepsi Arabia amassing hundreds of thousands of fans from Saudi Arabia through creative tactics, bespoke digital communication strategies and digital grassroots initiatives.
Today, user generated content is driving the conversation online. Users now have the option to tune out brands and organisations they are not interested in. This is a reality companies need to accept and work with in order to succeed.
In today’s competitive economic climate, only a deep understanding of the demands of existing and potential customers will enable companies to improve their products and services. Although social media has forced businesses to shift towards a new communications paradigm with their audience, it has also provided them with this necessary understanding to maintain a competitive edge.
The practice of gathering customer comments for the purposes of product development and service improvement is not yet widely employed by business, but all the trends in the development of the market and of technology point to the inevitable shift towards it.
In order to maintain a company’s competitive edge, collecting and analysing feedback about the company online is imperative. Such monitoring cannot be a one-time investigation, it must be performed regularly or the whole point of the exercise will be lost. Social media monitoring is currently used to track trends such as monitoring customers’ perceptions of a company’s brand, advertising, and individual promotional activities; monitoring client feedback for the purposes of reputation management; and monitoring feedback, complaints and questions from customers with the aim of handling them directly through a support desk.
With this in mind, companies constantly find themselves in need of tools that allow them to not only monitor their own social media channels, but also provide them with insight and analysis into the greater social media conversations and user demographics. This is not only crucial for the growth of their own brands, but also to capture opportunities, mitigate any threats and, if needed, effectively manage any crisis situations.
Social media monitoring tools can be both cloud or infrastructure-based. They provide monitoring and analysis service, which they deliver through collecting and analysing text content published online which enables quantitative measurement of the audience, as well as evaluation of emotional attitude of online audience using linguistic analytics.
The right monitoring system is the key that unlocks the opportunities of social media. In order to obtain maximum value from potential opportunities, companies should use a specialised social media monitoring system.
The social media monitoring market is relatively young, but is already developing rapidly in the majority of countries across the world. The market offers a range of services to search and process data at varying levels in terms of comprehensiveness of data collection and depth of analysis.
The selection of a monitoring system which meets the current and future needs of a business can be a key factor which will either enable a company to open the door to the new opportunities of the social Internet, or leave it wandering aimlessly on the threshold. Social media can turn into a powerful trump card against competitors who have not yet succeeded in understanding the dynamics and role of the internet in modern marketing world.