Social media marketing is changing the landscape of how businesses do business in the country
Rome was not built in a day and neither are successful enterprises. The reality is that no matter how strong an organisation’s network is, product, patience and diligent planning is required to drive the brand forward. Organisations have to reach out and communicate their products at the right place, at the right time and to the right people in the most efficient way possible.
The consumers of modern Bangladesh are bombarded with information across all mediums, from gigantic billboards to television advertisements. The modern lifestyle has resulted in an information overload and penetrating such an environment can prove to be difficult. One product that has gained prominence and popularity in Bangladesh is Facebook, pointing to the next frontier of advertising for enterprises – social media.
At Webable, a Dhaka-based start-up specialising in digital marketing and brand creation on the digital platform, the employees work with the modes of mass-communication over social media. Around 3 million Bangladeshis are using Facebook today and this number is increasing rapidly on a daily basis. FMCGs, NGOs, financial services firms, consultancies, etc recognise this surge of people spending their time on social media and are looking to align their marketing strategies accordingly in search of a competitive advantage.
According to Shadab Mahbub, cofounder and chief innovation officer at Webable: “The social media marketing industry is growing at an exponential rate. In the two months since we began operations, we have already worked with more than 20 companies.”
The speed at which Bangladeshi companies have taken on this new strategy has been a pleasant surprise for Webable. “With a small team of 13 people, our business is not just growing – it is booming as more and more companies recognise the need to have their brand marketed on the digital platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.”
What makes this industry so dynamic is that it is driven by young and energetic entrepreneurs with growing ambitions in a country where manufacturing businesses are increasingly being dominated by a few large conglomerates.
Unlike many aspects of the corporate and political sphere which are directed by a few, social media has an unwritten script outside this framework. Shadab, for instance, is only a sophomore at the University of Dhaka and majoring in finance while another cofounder and CEO, Ovick Alam, is a marketing graduate from the same university.
The role of these digital marketers is to utilise the identity of the organisation and create a brand image on the social media platforms. They meet with the brand manager to brainstorm and formulate the optimal strategies to expose the product and the company to the mass audience.
This job entails various moving parts such as identifying the target consumers, devising the format and forms of the output and packaging it in an efficient and deliverable manner. This may include the creation of graphics content, websites and articles to promote the brand in the market.
According to Shadab, “Once the preliminary stages are done, we move on to assess how to make the most of the publicity we are generating for the brand. We optimise the articles for search engine visibility and adjust the advertisement budgets to ensure that maximum return on investment is achieved. Webable also specialises in designing funnels to leverage the online traction and generate qualified leads for businesses.”
Of course, an enterprise in this medium requires an understanding of the processes in order to maximise its value. Social media is also the age of data creation.
Checking in at restaurants, posting photos and campaigns all over the social media are now established norms; this means that any news, be it good or bad, spreads like wildfire on the digital platforms.
Companies are starting to take notice of this and reformat it into data. For example, a major retailer can track Instagram photos of a consumer who posts a picture of a purchased product. This enables them to build a profile of their lifestyle, expenditure and other products which they may be likely to consume.
As the manufacturing industry becomes more difficult to fund and more competitive, today’s entrepreneurs increasingly are pivoting themselves towards the service based industries. They are choosing innovative fields such as the social media to build their ideas and quench their entrepreneurial thirst.
As Bangladesh evolves into a modern economy gearing itself as a hub for technology-based start-up companies, these entrepreneurs will play a pivotal role in how all businesses interact with their consumers and in doing so spawn a whole new industry.