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Are Sri Lankan Exporters Taking Advantage of the Social Networking Sites?

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Large global brands such as Coco cola, Oreo, and Versace have used the advent of social media to create opportunities to engage, listen and support their customers. Multi – national organizations are leveraging the social media platform to create excitement and social equity around their brands and organizations. In Sri Lanka, we have for centuries, traditionally done business over a social contact or handshake. Even our HR policies have centred on personal recommendations. This is the very reason why social media is having and will have a profound impact on the way that we conduct our day – to-day businesses. Sri Lankans now have the opportunity to basically continue to extend our way

Large global brands such as Coco cola, Oreo, and Versace have used the advent of social media to create opportunities to engage, listen and support their customers. Multi – national organizations are leveraging the social media platform to create excitement and social equity around their brands and organizations.

In Sri Lanka, we have for centuries, traditionally done business over a social contact or handshake. Even our HR policies have centred on personal recommendations. This is the very reason why social media is having and will have a profound impact on the way that we conduct our day – to-day businesses. Sri Lankans now have the opportunity to basically continue to extend our way of business digitally and generate leads and return on investment (ROI).

With IT being the 5th largest exporter in the country, the IT sector has a chance to become a billion dollar industry within the next five years, if we can exploit  social media channels such as Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr, Foursquare and other social book marking tools, to viral market videos, share and boost our numbers globally.

According to a recently concluded White Horse survey report, 86% of business-to-business (b2b) companies are using social networks and the annual online spending rate is set to reach 14% by 2012 in the USA.  B2B marketers have also gone on to say, that the highest ROI generation is from advertisers’ own websites, direct mail, keywords, and email marketing/newsletters. With top uses of social media platforms being – thought leadership, lead generation, customer feedback and advertising on sites.

These are but some of the staggering statistics about social media. It is no longer a FAD; if the Sri Lankan IT Industry is to succeed in the era of social media then we need to embrace this online communication and information platform.

According to SLASSCOM, the Sri Lankan IT/BPO industry was estimated at USD 390 million at the end of year 2010, with a recorded growth of 25% from the same time in 2009. Sri Lankan industry experts predict a 26% growth at the end of 2011. The exponential growth of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr and YouTube are excellent opportunities that can help position Sri Lanka as a niche player in the global IT services space.

If you take a closer look at the popular social media channels, Twitter was started in 2006, and is a micro blogging and communication platform.  It can be used as a headline style marketing tool or to provide customer care service and is the best way to drive traffic and create leads through your website.  Since its inception, Twitter has taken the world by storm, and there are over 1 billion tweets sent every week! Twitter is so popular that it now also doubles as a search engine and traditional search engines have included Tweets as part of the real-time search results.

Top Ten Countries that Tweet – based on percent of site traffic, complied by website-monitoring.com, http://www.digitalbuzzblog.com/infographic-twitter-statistics-facts-figures/

Facebook originated as a college social networking platform back in 2004, Facebook has now growth to a 700 million strong user base smaller than only China and India in terms of sheer numbers. Over the past seven years, Facebook has become a phenomenon that has captured the globe and made our social lives ‘public’.  Initially popular among the Gen X, Facebook also caught the attention of companies and advertisers.  The world’s most popular social network single handedly has revolutionized the advertising industry and how we do business.  The concept of social equity and social customer although not new, only took off after the advent of Facebook. Just like wearing designer labels was a social status so too became having a Facebook fan page for companies, not having a fan page or an account was considered committing social suicide.  More than 50% of Facebook’s users login on a daily basis, from all parts of the world belonging to different demographics. This is the perfect networking and lead generation opportunity for any business – be it a cottage industry or a multinational corporation, Facebook has leveled the playing field for businesses regardless of size. Facebook is a perfect business-to-consumer communication tool that can play a huge role in popularizing the hospitality and tourism trade in Sri Lanka.

LinkedIn on the other hand is considered by marketers as the perfect business-to-business (b2b) communication and social networking medium. It is perfect for the exporters to form new connections, get business references, obtain supplier details, and even to head hunt for human resources.  LinkedIn is a professional networking site that helps professionals network manage their careers and businesses.  It can also be used to run focused marketing campaigns and promotions. LinkedIn is the perfect accessory for the social Sri Lankan entrepreneurs.

Other social media platforms such as Flickr – image sharing and YouTube – for videos are perfect visual business tools to market your business and your brand to drive traffic to your website and referral market your products and services.

Using the entire gamut of social media services and tools strategically, can help position the Sri Lankan on the map and help us achieve the dream of becoming a billion dollar industry by 2015.

Is your business capitalizing on social media? If Not, Learn more about social media for business, attend Logan Nathan’s upcoming workshop in August.

About Logan Nathan

Social Media Business Consultant | Internet (Web) Marketing Strategist Speaker | Trainer

Based in Sydney, Australia, Logan has been an avid & passionate social media user since the advent of Facebook. Logan runs his own workshops on the social media secrets in Australia. He has also written a number of eBooks on the same subjects (Social Media Secrets for your Business, Twitter Secrets for Your Business and Social Media Startup Guide for Business), all of which are now published and available online. Logan is also a passionate speaker on the subject of using ‘Internet and Social Media for Business’ and spoken at number of Business conferences in Australia and overseas. Logan was in Sri Lanka twice this year and conducted various executive briefing sessions and one- day workshops for business professionals.  Refer http://www.socialmediaforbusiness.com.au for more details on upcoming training programs in August 2011. Logan will be also a key note speaker at the upcoming 29th National Information Technology Conference (NITC) in Colombo.


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