By Isabel Ovalle
DOHA: An expert on digital communication has said that Qatar offers many opportunities for the expansion in the digital communication field.
Rishi Saha (pictured), David Cameron’s former Head of Digital Communications, encouraged local social media and communications professionals to put their companies “out there”, to widen their visibility and “hear what people are saying”. Saha took part in a workshop held yesterday in Doha, organised by the Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA).
The workshop addressed different areas, including building the internal business case and strategy for digital communications; creating social media experiences to engage citizens and residents; managing social media crises and reputational risks; setting up and managing a digital team; and measurement frameworks, analytics and setting realistic key progress indicators. The event was attended by communications and social media professionals from various sectors.
“Across most organisations, there is a tendency to focus on quick wins, such as broadcasting news, rapidly to new audiences, placing job ads, sharing photo galleries of events and conferences, and so on. All are valuable exercises, which can help build the business case for broader adoption. But I would call these activities secondary applications: fundamentally, to use social media to report or amplify,” said Saha.
He added that “the long term trend is, I believe, for social media to assume a more primary, strategic role in the delivery of government services themselves, rather than simply being a reporter of them.” Saha emphasised that digital communication allows the company or political party to “self broadcast”.
Saha recommended local public relations professionals to “start small” in the digital communication field to “get confidence”. To this end, he predicted that some conservative companies will need to be persuaded in order to take a chance in social media.