During a roundtable discussion organised by the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa) at the 12th International Government Communication Forum (IGCF), an experienced panel of Emirati business leaders highlighted the myriad of opportunities awaiting aspiring entrepreneurs through the utilisation of digital marketing on social media platforms.
The session, titled “Sheraa Community Talks: Creative Marketing Challenges Facing Entrepreneurs,” featured notable speakers, including Maryam Al Mulla, Co-founder of 71 Steak & Grill restaurant in Sharjah; Amir Al Zarouni, co-founder of storage keys, a leading company in the field of smart self-storage; Alia Al Shamsi, founder of Concept well fitness studio; and Sultan Al Midfa, the founder of Drowsy specialty coffee, float, and AHQ consultancy company. The session was moderated by Jessy Almurr, the founder of Motahith|a and an international journalist.
The featured guests shared their successful journeys in founding businesses and devising innovative marketing strategies to engage their clients effectively. They also delved into the obstacles posed by technological and cultural shifts, underlining the opportunities available for entrepreneurs to enhance their marketing prowess and forge deeper connections with their audiences.
Condense Content: A challenge to overcome
Restaurant co-founder, Maryam Al Mulla stated, “As entrepreneurs, the challenges in creative marketing revolve around capturing the attention of new online followers as well as retaining the interest of existing customers, especially as social media is such a saturated landscape and has such fierce competition. In the past, digital marketing supported physical events, but now the roles have reversed. These days, in-person events enhance online marketing by creating a strong connection between the product and the audience, increasing brand credibility. Social media can often blur the line between fact and fiction, therefore demonstrating our project’s authenticity and value is of utmost importance.”
Adaptable customer reach
Amer Al Zarouni of ‘co-founder of storage keys.’ commented on their position in the market saying, “We are fortunate these days to have flexible mechanisms for growth and customer outreach through digital platforms, which can often determine the success of our ventures. Now that content creation is more applicable across multiple sectors, it plays an even bigger role at being an effective and direct connection to your target audience.”
Expanding on his advice, he added, “It is crucial to move beyond merely creating social media accounts, and focus on the real value they can bring to marketing and promoting a product. These accounts can also provide detailed market and customer analytics while providing benchmarks for financial viability. That said, the ultimate challenge lies in converting mere followers into customers and sustaining their engagement in the long-term.”
Message clarity matters
Alia Al Shamsi, founder of Concept well fitness studio, emphasised the unmatched ability of product creators to effectively market their own creations, owing to their deep understanding of the product’s value and potential. Her advice to entrepreneurs centred on harnessing the power of social media platforms to convey concise and captivating messages tailored to the consumer’s mood. Al Shamsi underscored the importance of forging emotional connections with consumers and crafting original and engaging content.
“Our mission is to deliver clear and precise messages to our social media followers without causing confusion or overwhelming them. We meticulously select platforms and niches that align with our audience and our objectives, ensuring that our project carries a message and value that deeply resonates with recipients, enhancing the effectiveness of our marketing efforts,” she explained.
Sultan Al Midfa highlighted that entrepreneurs operate in a data-driven field. He emphasised the need to generate vibrant and imaginative content capable of convincing the intended audience about the advantages of a particular product or service. Al Midfa also underscored the significance of social media in fostering creative marketing and building connections with the public.
He further stressed the importance of selecting the appropriate platforms and strategies for marketing the product or service, as well as comprehending the audience and market trends. Al Midfa explained that sharing success stories that capture the media’s attention is a means of showcasing entrepreneurial ventures.