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Continental drift in modern PR? – Insight United Arab Emirates

Today our series is featuring Mohammed El Batta of Fekra Communications, GlobalCom PR Network’s partner agency in the United Arab Emirates provided us with some insights regarding their local PR practices and regional trends.*

1. What status do social and digital media have in your daily PR work?

Social and digital media are playing an increasing role in our daily PR work. It is a crucial tool and a strong communications channel that directly reaches to the target audience and has proven to be very effective in achieving the objectives of our clients. With a high internet penetration in the UAE and given the number of people who spend their time on the internet and particularly on the social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter and YouTube, we see a strong shift in many companies’ strategies to focus on speaking with their audience on these platforms and reaching out them. Today the public has become more aware of their consumer rights and are not shy of sharing their experiences online with their friends and networks which in turn would pose as either a threat or an opportunity for organizations, depending on their performance and meeting client expectations. In that sense, we are witnessing an increasing demand in social media interaction in our daily PR work for our clients who are constantly trying to interact in a positive and proactive manner with their customers online.

2. Do you use social networking in your PR and communications work?

Yes we certainly use it for almost all our clients and also for our agency PR and marketing. We are constantly monitoring the social media platforms to identity the new trends and blogs that are appearing and that could be of appeal and interest to clients. We ensure reaching out to these new bloggers and to create relationships that would be of use to us and clients together. Our team is always interacting proactively on the different social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and seeing the growing importance of being up to date and updating our audience, we ensured embedding the social media platforms into our everyday lives, through our smartphones and websites.

We have witnessed that interactive and proactive social media has also played a role in the expansion of our agency’s business where we see an increase in client calls and interest in our services after reading our posts and seeing our profiles online.

3. What would you see as most recent innovation in the field of PR?

It is quite interesting to see how people are shifting from using the traditional sources to get their information to focusing their attention more to the online world. With the introduction of smartphones and mobile internet, we see people now reading their news online and getting updated on recent events and business from online sources and even from directly interacting with their network on social websites. With technology advancing even more, we believe that PR will have a major shift in focus from traditional to online reputation management. No more will we have the luxury of time to respond to issues or crises, but now we will have to do PR all the time and anytime thanks to our smartphones and mobile internet.

*The series is based on phone or face-to-face interviews and written input, therefore please excuse language mistakes which might reflect foreign language influences.

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