DUBAI: Growing numbers of brand owners are using social media to engage consumers in the Middle East, new figures show., the recruitment service, polled 15,758 executives in 12 markets, and found 51.1% of the firms represented used sites like Facebook and Twitter. Another 60.2% predicted this total would rise rapidly.

Facebook was the most widely-embraced property at present, employed by 65.5% of active enterprises, ahead of Google+ on 10.7%, LinkedIn with 9.7%, Twitter with 3.4% and YouTube on 2.8%.

A further 42.8% of contributors agreed corporate usage of these platforms was “common”, and 43.3% regarded their company's strategy as “excellent”. Some 46.8% of the panel, however, said brands are not effectively using social tools.

Despite this, 47.5% of interviewees reported that their social media output had driven significant levels of traffic to official websites, and 38.2% were successfully “converting fans into customers”.

Currently, 39.1% of advertisers handle social media duties in-house, while 35.6% outsource them to a third party, and 35.9% charge an individual with managing this field.

The qualities brand pages should encapsulate included being “fun and interesting”, on 17.8%, providing customer service and feedback options, on 14.9%, and quickly answering questions, on 13.2%.

“When asked what they consider to be most important in a successful social media page, more than a quarter of respondents said that they want content that is ‘informative and educational,” added Lama Ataya, CMO of

Upon identifying the challenges facing firms on these platforms, 81.6% of participants selected the fact they could potentially damage an organisation's reputation.

Elsewhere, 11.3% of the sample pointed to the issues of trying to monetise these activities, the same score as registered for finding the right tone for communications.

Keeping up with feedback logged 10.5% on this metric, with measuring return on investment and staying on top of technological change also widely mentioned.

A further 20.7% of executives chose all of these options, while 12% did not know which matters could pose a problem. Despite the difficulties, only 40.2% of firms had formal guidelines covering this area.

Data sourced from Web Pro News; additional content by Warc staff