Social media is a powerful tool for brands if it is used effectively. As socialization becomes more digitized, consumers appeal to the idea of engaging with the product or service of a brand before purchasing it. It is a portal through which companies can engage with potential consumers swiftly and monitor customer feedback.
However, brands in Pakistan are not as powerfully integrated in social engagement.With internet penetration up to 12 percent since December 2011, Pakistan is still in its growing stages when it comes to using the social media for brand development. It is reported that there are over 8 million Facebook and Twitter users in Pakistan since April 2013.
There are three main social factors for effective use of social media by a local brand. These factors are:
1. Facebook and Twitter following
2. Brand response to consumer queries
3. Interactive promotional campaigns on social media
It has been noted that a handful of brands in Pakistan have managed to incorporate the above mentioned social factors to enhance their company. However, there are particular brands still in the process of understanding the influence of social media. Taking selected brands as examples of effective or non-effective use of social media, we shall deduct the influence of social media for a brand:
14th Street Pizza, launched in February, 2011
Advance Telecom, launched in 2001
Pizza Hut, launched in 1993
Ufone, launched in January, 2001
These companies have implemented Facebook marketing in their overall marketing strategy, which has led them to fruitful results. With the exception of Pizza Hut, the remaining 3 brands have also built a noticeable social presence on Twitter.
Facebook and Twitter following:
|Following||Talking About It||Following||Tweets|
|14th Street Pizza||1,004,113||45,744||797||2,191|
|Pizza Hut Pakistan||940,778||35,230||25||64|
Date: 28th June 2013
Brand response to consumer queries:
Quick response to consumer queries is essential for a brand. An immediate reply conveys a brand’s interest in each customer on a personal level. It maintains a social relationship and gains trust. In this aspect, the above mentioned brands do not respond on their social media pages as promptly as expected but they still answer queries within 12 hours.
However, there are some queries that go unnoticed which can break customer loyalty:
Interactive promotional campaigns on social media:
Promotional campaigns on social media platforms are most effective when they engage consumers into sharing the campaign with others. A digitized version of word of mouth marketing is achieved, which reaches even those individuals who have not tried the product. Social media posts and shares are the quickest ways for brands to gain exposure. Here are some promotional campaigns that have been designed to interact with followers:
Social media is a useful tool. Once a company is able to grasp its mechanics, it can use it to build an influential digital portal for its consumers. The question is, when will brands in Pakistan realize this?