Naqash Butt

LAHORE – 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% of people share bad experiences that they had with organizations, 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% 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 organization’s image which can translate into 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% of total population. Over the last decade the number has phenomenally grown to 18.5 million which is now 10.4% of current population.  After the privatization of PTCL the number of internet users grew quickly. Government and PTCL are planning to spread the broadband network in all corners of the country and even to the distant villages and towns. With such rate of growth it is anticipated that the number of internet users in Pakistan are going to increase substantially in 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 Country in the ranking of all Facebook statistics by Country.

Total Facebook Users (Pak)    5,88,7400   

Position in the list    26   

Penetration of Population    3.32%   

Penetration of online Population    31.82%   

Top 5 Brands in Pakistan       

Brands    Facebook Users   

Ufone    391,477   

Djuice Pakistan    221,346   

Zong    201,281   

Samsung Pakistan    182,208   

Dell Pakistan    160,800   

2 million users from Pakistan joined Facebook in just 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 organizations in Pakistan. Social Media Management goes beyond having just a fan page of your organization in a social media site. Communicating with your fans regularly, keeping them engaged and focus on growing the number of fans is all more important now than ever before. Someone somewhere in the organizational hierarchy must be concerned about what people are saying in online communities about the organization, its products, offerings, quality of service, pricing etc., This is like online impression management of your organization.

If your target consumer base is the young population of Pakistan then it is imperative for your organization to have an effective social media management strategy in place because 51% of 5 million Facebook users from Pakistan belong to 18-24 years of age group.

User  age distribution of Facebook in Pakistan

So, how should organizations manage the social media?

First step is the social communities and blogs monitoring. Listening to your customers by tracking the online communities pages of your organization or products etc., on 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 organization? 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 software available in 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.       

The writer is  Senior Manager Operations, Outsourcing Service line at AbacusConsulting.