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Companies in the Middle East are not using social media effectively, according to Bayt.com survey majority

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May 29, 2012

On the other hand, 43% feel that their company’s social media strategy is ‘excellent’

According to Bayt.com’s latest poll, “Corporate Usage of Social Media in the Middle East”, the majority of respondents (46.8%) believe that social media is not being used effectively by the region’s companies. Eight out of every ten respondents (81.6%) claim that the potential for social media to damage a company’s reputation is one of the biggest challenges to overcome, suggesting that proper education in the medium is essential for success.

Aside from the risk of reputation damage, the top three perceived challenges to social media are difficulty in monetizing online presence (11.3%), getting the tone of message correct (11.3%), and keeping up with feedback (10.5%). Other challenges that were cited were the complexity of measuring return on investment and problems with keeping up-to-date with the ever-changing tools and technologies. In fact, a majority (20.7%) stated that they believe all of these factors are challenging.

However, it is worth noting that 12% of respondents do not know what may present a challenge for corporate social media involvement. It is also noteworthy that despite reservations, social media usage is considered to be ‘common’ in the region, by four out of ten (42.8%) poll takers, and half (51.1%) say that their company uses the medium.

“When asked what they consider to be most important in a successful corporate social media page, more than a quarter of respondents said that they want content that is ‘informative and educational’. Companies looking to implement a successful social media strategy should bear this in mind when launching a new page,” said Lama Ataya, CMO, Bayt.com. “Social media is a dynamic force that is being manifested today in both the personal and professional realms. Bayt.com provides essential statistics and tools to assist employers and job seekers in building the most successful online profile in order to boost their recruitment and personal or corporate brand potential.”

Other highly-desired features are that a social media page should be ‘fun and interesting’ (17.8%); provide customer service and feedback (14.9%); promptly answer all comments and queries (13.2%) and that it should be updated frequently (11.7%). In terms of the latter, almost a third (29.3%) of respondents state that their company updates their social media pages once a day.

Social media is viewed as a means of boosting brand exposure, communicating and interacting with customers, promoting new initiatives, recruiting staff and maintaining an online presence. According to 47.5% of the Bayt.com poll takers, social media activity has been largely successful in driving traffic to their company’s website, with a further 38.2% claiming that they have been successful in converting fans into customers.

Along those lines, four out of ten (43.3%) respondents believe that their company’s social media strategy is ‘excellent’, and half say that their company sounds ‘friendly’ in its online interactions.

More companies handle their social media internally than those who outsource (39.1% versus 35.6%), with most (35.9%) assigning the job to a single individual. A third (31.6%) of those who responded to the poll did not know who was responsible for their company’s social media accounts.

Companies with social media presence predominantly appear to involve all of their employees to some degree in their online applications: a collective 62.3% state that their colleagues are either ‘moderately’ or ‘extremely involved’. Roughly nine out of ten (86.1%) would participate in their company’s social media activities, if given the chance.

Almost half of the respondents (47.6%) currently follow a Middle East corporate social media presence, and six out of ten (60.2%) believe that there will be a dramatic increase in the corporate usage of social media within a year.

Despite the high interest employees have in social media, guidelines for its usage are only provided by 40.2% of companies, as opposed to the 45.1% that do not issue any.

Thought aligns with fact in terms of the most popular social networks for companies to use: 72.1% believe that Facebook is the most commonly used, while a majority of 65.5% confirms that it is the network of choice of their company. In terms of popularity, other sites used are Google+ (10.7%), LinkedIn (9.7%), Twitter (3.4%) and YouTube (2.8%). MySpace and Tumblr are used by 0.3% each. A combination of the aforementioned networks is used by 4.2%, while 3.1% claim to use other sites.

Bayt.com, the Middle East's #1 jobsite, currently has a Facebook fanpage with an excess of 72,000 fans. It also enables its community of approximately 8 million active and passive jobseekers to identify which of their Facebook friends work for companies they are targeting and to thereby benefit from tapping into their Facebook friends’ employer networks via references, referrals and information gathering. Bayt.com's newly revamped platform also allows jobseekers to import CVs from LinkedIn to ease the whole job search process and unify it in all its dimensions for the jobseeker on Bayt.com. Members are also able to track job search progress using state-of-the-art CV tracking and other measurement and analysis and comparison tools.

Data for the Bayt.com Corporate Usage of Social Media in the Middle East poll was collected online from February 27 – May 13 2012, with 15,758 respondents covering more than 12 countries in the MENA region.

This article and all other intellectual property on Bayt.com is the property of Bayt.com. Reproduction of this article in any form is only permissible with written permission from Bayt.com.

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