December also saw the release of Econsultancy’s new Facebook for Businesses in the Middle East and North Africa best practice guide which will be previewed in this week’s webinar by the report’s author, marketing consultant Husam Jandal.

The webinar will address some of the key challenges and opportunities for companies using Facebook in the region.

The network’s stellar growth highlights the need for best practice methods in the use of Facebook for businesses located in the Middle East and North Africa to be established.

Although it has long been estimated that there are more people consuming Facebook content than those reading newspapers in the region, Husam Jandal suggests that a lack of knowledge in how to use the platform for marketers has caused brands to shy away in the past, and many of those that are using it have poor content and low engagement.

This is supported by the research from Socialbakers, which shows that more than half of the industries on Facebook had relatively low response rates to questions posed on their walls, and would not qualify for the ‘Social Devoted’ status applied by the social media insight company. The research stated;

“Based on the very low number of questions that brands received from users during the last 20 days, we could assume that social managers have either closed their Facebook walls, updated the walls infrequently or posted content that didn’t stimulate the conversation.”

This seems counter-intuitive, given the increase in the number of users in the region, and the fact that, according to a recent poll, 9 in 10 respondents said that if given the chance, they would participate in brands’ social media activities.

Some brands are, however, making the most of the opportunities presented by Facebook as a marketing platform. The media industry has the best following on Facebook, followed by the ecommerce industry which also has a high response rate, indicating high engagement with its fans. According to Husam Jandal, achieving this level of engagement with users relies upon a strong understanding of the local dynamics in each country. He expanded:

“Your Facebook strategy should be created in consideration of the culture, languages, behaviour, and demographics of the region’s users.”

Marketers are clearly becoming more aware of the role that Facebook can play in growing a business, but key cultural differences between the Western world and the MENA region lead to a growing need for region-specific best practices to be cemented.

Econsultancy will be hosting a webinar with author of the Facebook for Businesses in the Middle East and North Africa best practice guide on Wednesday, January 9th 2013, to share insights from the guide, together with tips and advice to help digital marketers to improve or embark upon their Facebook marketing strategy in the Middle East and North Africa.  Find out more and reserve your seat here!