Businesses in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, UAE and the Middle East at large are realising the power of social media. Social media is an entrepreneur’s best friend, when used wisely, strategically and in tune with brand values. That was the theme of my talk at a seminar in Abu Dhabi recently.
Don’t we already have an abundance of social media speakers? Yes!
There is no shortage of people speaking about social media in the UAE. Practitioners. Enthusiasts. Even researchers and academicians. So although I work on social media for brands all through my waking hours, I usually prefer staying on the audience side.
I attend many of these social media talks, sessions, workshops. The presenters are usually from companies that offer social media and internet services. They share their experiences and social media case studies. We have Akanksha Goel of Socialize, Alexander McNabb of SpotOn Public Relations, Steve Vaile of H2O, Danish Farhan of Xische, and my all time favourite who looks like Peter Andre – Yousef Tuqan Tuqan of Flip Media. All great people to know and listen to.
Also, brand owners share case studies of their usage of social media – brands which are doing cool stuff in social media. Like du, GoNabit, Wild Peeta.
Mostly, the case studies are useful – and being a digital consultant guiding clients to use social media with a strategic framework that fits their brand – I try and attend the events when I can. It’s great catching up with the industry peers.
Sometimes I learn new stuff at these events. Sometimes, it’s about things I know and have implemented already. Sometimes, I really wish people would share practical things businesses can do to take their social media to the next level, here, in the UAE.
Tamakkan – encouraging entrepreneurs and innovators
When Sana Bagersh, the founder of Tamakkan – an organisation established to support entrepreneurship and innovation – invited me to speak to entrepreneurs in Abu Dhabi at a seminar entitled “Harness the Power of Social Media for Your Business,” I took it as an opportunity to reach out and help entrepreneurs do cool stuff, with immediate effect.
Social media tips – from an entrepreneur, for entrepreneurs
Being an entrepreneur myself who gets 90% of his new business using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, business blogging, LinkedIn, etc. I was happy to give a practical, no-nonsense talk jammed with tools, tips and free services entrepreneurs can use. I told Sana that in the 15 minutes that I get to speak, I will try and squeeze in as many ready-to-implement tips I can to benefit the audience. No theory. No shameless plugs. Real stuff that brands and people can use to get more out of social media without paying through their nose.
What’s your elevator speech?
The seminar was held on 26 October at Al Mamoura Auditorium in Abu Dhabi. To warm up the audience and break the Abu Dhabi ice (people who have tried networking in the Capital know what I’m talking about) started off with Grant Regan challenging members of the audience to the 30-second elevator speech challenge. It’s a useful exercise that teaches you to introduce yourself as if you were meeting someone in an elevator and had only a few minutes to make an impression.
Soon, the hall was packed to capacity. We had people coming in from other Emirates as well. A bus full of students from Institute of Management Technology arrived from Dubai, led by Dr Mohan Lal Agrawal, Professor of Marketing. Dr Mohan introduced the speakers and the panel.
Tamakkan Entrepreneur of the Month – Sheikha Manar of luckynooni.com
This month’s entrepreneur was Omani fashion designer Sheikha Manar Mohammed Talib Al Hinai, who sells Gulf inspired fashion merchandise online on www.luckynooni.com.
What I found really interesting was how Manar’s influencer outreach led to Arab bloggers opening up countries for her in a big way. Lovely to see young entrepreneurs using the level playing field the internet has created.
Manar was interviewed by Dr. Alma Kadragic, from the University of Wollongong, Dubai, and a former broadcast journalist.
Social Media figures from around the world, and the UAE
Jim Buckingham, Senior Education Technology Specialist and Mathematical Modelling (Statistics) Instructor, at Zayed University, shared the latest figures on social media usage – and case studies of brands using social media intelligently. Of Facebook users in the UAE crossing the 1 million mark.
The perfect groundwork for my presentation. Then it was my turn to speak.
Let the social media action begin!
I dived in straightaway into tips, tools and services you can use for your business – with Google as an added bonus. Moved from YouTube to Twitter to Facebook. Also shared tips on managing and monitoring social media effectively. I tried to match some advanced stuff with some commonly known stuff to try and benefit everyone.
The audience was amazing. Engaged. Receptive. Great!
Yes, I exceeded my time limit but people were happy that I did. It was valuable (and free) information they could use immediately.
After my presentation, I requested a few seconds to pay my tribute to all entrepreneurs in the hall with one of my all time favourite ads by TBWA for Apple:
The amazing people I met at Tamakkan
It was great to meet the attendees after the talks and the panel discussion – Sarah Craft, Gautam Rishi, Samir Al Sayed Al Hashemi, Raglan Sanders, Sanaa Marhaben, Sachin Nambiar, Shadaab Ahmed, Alicia Suwaina, Tejas Ashwin Shah and Subhag Jain – and many many more.
Using Social Media For Business – want access to my presentation?
I have refined the presentation and uploaded it online. If you’d like to have access to it, please use the form below to submit your details and give me permission to send you more information.
Were you at Tamakkan? How did you find my presentation?
If you were an attendee at the Tamakkan seminar – it would be really great to have your feedback. Did you find my presentation useful? Did you try the tips I shared? Would you like to have more of such hands-on talks and perhaps even a workshop in the future.
Your comments are invited below…