Zafer Younis, co-founder of Modern Media Ltd. talks to mediaME about The Online Project, a social networking utilization company that provides solutions for brands. Zafer talks about levels of awareness when it comes to social marketing, the benefits of social networking and more.
Q. What is The Online Project?
The Online Project is a social networking utilization company with its operational offices in Amman and Business Development offices in Dubai. Basically, what we do is we figure out the most strategic use of social networking tools for our clients and apply it to their businesses.
Q. Can you elaborate on what that means exactly?
What it means varies from client to client depending on their needs. We’ve worked with a regional telecom company to integrate social networking concepts into their customer service support so that they could identify problems and fix them instantly. We’ve done promotions for media companies to create viral hype about giveaways and events. And we’ve integrated social-work with social-media.
So what we do is figure out how social networking tools can be utilized to support your company and your brand from a 360-degree perspective.
Q. Your background in the radio and events business provided your company with insights to the media market. How has that experience benefited The Online Project, and would you say that digital clients are similar to traditional media clients?
Our work in the radio and events business has given us plenty of experience in finding creative communications and marketing solutions. In radio, we kept our marketing costs to the minimum and focused spending on where it’s needed only, so we naturally started experimenting with social media marketing for our radio and events. There’s a science to doing it right though, and as we started to study that science, we wanted to be able to put that knowledge to use by offering that service to brands we work with. It’s just a natural extension of the communication solution.
Q. In your opinion, what’s the level of awareness in the region regarding social marketing? Are clients setting aside budgets for it or does it suffer from the lack of digital budgets in general?
There’s so much interest in activating social networking utilization right now because of how cost effective it is. But just because something is cost effective doesn’t mean it’s cheap. Companies should definitely set aside budgets for this and work with providers that have experience in the field. We’ve seen some genuine interest in experimenting with social media from leading companies and once they set the standard for how to integrate social media into their business plans and communication plans, I think other companies will follow and dedicate serious budgets and resources to this as well.
Q. Would you describe your company as a digital agency or a specialized service provider? What is the position of The Online Project within the digital value chain (are you competing with agencies or providing services to agency and their clients?)
The Online Project is specialized in providing social networking solutions for brands. We work both directly with brands and through agencies to support their work with various clients.
Q. Tell us about certain campaigns or projects you have executed successfully.
In just over one year, we’ve done work for some of the region’s most recognized brands. The one I’m most proud of is a strategy we’re currently putting in place for UNICEF MENA. UNICEF is such an amazing international organization, whose work we really believe in and through utilizing social media, this will impact more change and drive more participation in their work.
Q. Tell us about The Online Project’s involvement with its clients in the long term. Do you also provide training or continued support for clients upon launching a social marketing project?
Most of the companies we work with don’t yet have the internal structures for this type of work, and it’s important for us and for them to develop it, so as part of our offer we build that capacity. We train the different teams to be able to execute correctly so that when our contracts end, or evolve, the company is confident that they can continue implementing the strategic work we’ve designed together.