Last Monday, the President of Social Media Club Kuwait and active member of the Socialobby community – Hind Al Nahedh – joined us at Sirdab Lab to give a two hour seminar and panel discussion introducing social media to our more technical folks, and discussing current market trends.


The Origins


Social media marketing in itself is a trend that emerged back in 2007, with the growth of platforms such as Facebook and WordPress blogs. The social media marketing phenomenon has been growing exponentially since, with the introduction of several online tools – such as social media advertising – to complement the trend. While it hasn’t exactly taken over traditional mass media yet, social media has definitely captured the attention of marketers as an avenue that must be tapped into and managed to successfully reach their audiences. These days you see everyone from the Fortune 500 to the youngest of startups taking advantage of this tool to engage in more personal interactions with their consumers. Startups have especially found this useful due to the little to no cost associated with social media management.


Kuwait, being the small and compact market that it is, has been a truly amazing success story in the way it has embraced the growing social media trend. With Instagram’s emerging popularity in 2010, Kuwaiti entrepreneurs took to this visual medium to create and brand a plethora of small, local businesses. But what’s truly remarkable is the way that some of these entrepreneurs have created personal brands for themselves, too. Love them or hate them, you gotta admire the way Kuwaiti bloggers and entrepreneurs have leveraged Instagram and its likes to send their messages to the masses across the Middle East and globally.


Tips on the Now


So how can you leverage the growth of social media to successfully brand and spread word of your startup? Well, you have to start by first figuring out exactly what image you want your brand to portray. You can use tools such as moodboards and explore brands that you love to come to that decision, and once that’s decided, you can start with content creation.


Below are some tips that Hind discussed to get you rolling on content creation:


#1 HASHTAGS: use them to expand your reach.

#2 ENGAGING IMAGES: the average human brain processes visual content 60,000 times faster than text.

#3 OPEN ENDED QUESTIONS: these are great to get some response and engagement from your consumer.

#4 TAG ANOTHER USER: another great way to expand your reach.

#5 CALL TO ACTION: what are you trying to get your user to do after seeing your post? State it!

#6 CONTESTS: contests leverage people’s competitive nature and give them something to talk about and look forward to!

#7 YOUR WEBSITE: always have a link to your website for people to learn more. You should always be making your customer’s information search as easy and effortless as possible.


The Future


Social media trends are constantly evolving, and we’ve seen that the average Kuwaiti consumer is an early adopter. The trend is that social media will continue to move away from text and focus more on visual content. We’ve seen how today’s popular social media platforms started with Facebook – a very much text focused medium -, and shifted into Twitter – still text focused, but pushing for the notion that less text is more. We then shifted onto Instagram, where visual content became very much the focus, and we now see the growing popularity of Snapchat where visual content is pretty much all you’ve got.


As Hind and many other social media experts mentioned, video is the future. While it is already a huge player (thanks to YouTube), the importance of video in social media marketing is increasing and will continue to increase over the next few years. So make sure you get a headstart with some video content now!