Social media reigning supreme in 2023

Social media and “influencers” are not only dominating the digital scene in the country but generating millions of rupees worth of revenue for companies and organizations, which are using their appeal and influence to sell their products and connect with the everyday consumer. 
This dominance has overtaken traditional advertising methods such as TV, print media, and despite all the suspicion around social media, it holds a lot of value for generation Z and younger millennials which make up the largest segment of the country’s population today. For businesses to credibly attract customers, having a social media page has become a must and as the future buying power is heldby young people, for businesses to stay relevant and connect with them joining Instagram,Facebook or TikTok will only add value to their business. 
According to a recent data-driven report published by Walee, an influencer and digital management platform, even social media influencers with less than 5,000 followers, or nano-influencers, generate great value- they bring a high audience/consumer engagement rate and credibility with them, while influencers with larger number of followers such as 100,000 plus can bring greater reach and branding value. 
Walee’s research and data collected from 2021-2022of more than 1,000 marketing campaignson Instagram of influencers with a cumulative influence reach of 500 million plus shows that social media is having a powerful impact on Pakistani consumers and what they are buying and who they are listening toand this is likely to continuein 2023. Moreover, ‘influencing’ in Pakistan is being led by more women in Pakistan compared to men, as female social media influencers bring more money and customers for brands especially those that sell products and services related to fashion, lifestyle, and health, while male influencers bring some value for brands in the tech and sports field. 
Pakistani social media stars have an edge over their counterparts internationally, not only are they multi-lingual, diverse looks and able to communicate inthe global language of English, which immediate competitors especially in the neighbouring Middle East region do not possess and if they gain the right support on a national level, Pakistan can use its social media influencers the way India has used Bollywood stars to bring international consumers and gain soft power. 
Since social media is literally in our pockets because of smart phones, for the first time in history we have direct access to each other, simultaneously internet penetration and affordability of smart phones is increasing in the country, accelerated due to the pandemic, and seems has changed the country’s economic and technological landscape for the future.
Business owners and brands need to use social media influencers and social media platforms strategically while looking at the data available and collected for the market if they do not want to lose out on the financial gain and publicity that social media brings. Associating your brand or product with the wrong “influencer”, simply based on follower count or heresy can prove ineffective and at the worst create brand/business damage. 

— The writer is a global communication expert & founder of Womensouthasia.

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