Social media platform, Instagram, part of the Facebook company, will be the primary marketing channel for 73% of small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) within the next five years.
With Instagram’s community of over one billion people coming to the platform to connect around their interests, businesses of all sizes, and in all sectors, can find audiences who are in a unique mindset of discovery and open to learning about products or brands.
According to the new SMB research in the UAE, Egypt and KSA, by YouGov – commissioned by Instagram – 77% of SMBs use Instagram as an effective way to reach new and global audiences – making it the top reason they are on Instagram. Additionally, 96% say that Facebook is also an important marketing channel for their business with 59% saying it helps them to directly engage with customers.
“Small and medium size businesses are the backbone of the MENA economy and are often some of the most creative users of Instagram. Whether it’s telling their unique brand story, showcasing a product or driving direct sales, research shows that Instagram is a powerful marketing tool that drives real business value. Our priority is to help businesses of all sizes connect with new and existing customers to build deeper relationships online and offline,” said Priya Patel, product marketing lead at Facebook Middle East.
With more than 90% of people on Instagram following a brand, the YouGov research shows that entrepreneurs and SMBs are using the platform as a place to show how they are different from competitors (74%), generate new leads (76%) and drive sales (77%).
Instagram provides a range of free tools to support the growth of businesses around the world, including business profiles, which provide access to insights and the ability to promote. SMBs clearly believe in the long-term benefits of social media marketing with two in three (68%) expecting to increase marketing spend on Instagram over the next five years.
Instagram recently hosted the first-ever #ExpressYourself event in the MENA to celebrate small businesses and entrepreneurs building their business on Instagram. Attendees heard from a range of SMBs – including Karen Wazen Eyewear, Mama’s Box and Jamalon – that have used Instagram to successfully grow their business.
“The beauty of Instagram lies within its ability to simplify the entrepreneurial business process. People can easily start their own businesses without the need for an endless supply chain or a complicated payment method. In Jordan for example, most sellers collaborate with affordable courier services and then use cash on delivery to process payments – making it extremely convenient for both the seller and the buyer. Instagram is now granting people jobs they are passionate about – jobs that would have not come to light if the right tools were not offered by Instagram,” stated Ala Alsallal, founder & CEO of Jamalon
“Instagram helped Karen Wazen Eyewear move beyond mere visibility and reach,” shared Karen Wazen, founder of Karen Wazen Eyewear. “Instagram built a community that is invested in the brand and understands one another. It opened a platform where people feel free to express their opinions, styles and personal preferences. Nothing gets you attached to a brand like a community that stands by it!”
“Instagram allows you to add your personal touch to your business journey, distinguishing you from your competitors. I really recommend Instagram for anyone starting their own small business with a limited budget. You don’t need a middleman to help you grow your business on Instagram. Through Instagram and user engagement, you are capable of having a full understanding of what your customers want from you and cater accordingly,” added Chirin Khawatmi, founder, Mama’s Box.