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UAE firms not making good use of social media

DLA Piper study shows companies not using social media, not regulating usage

Companies in the UAE are not making use of social networking.
Companies in the UAE are not making use of social networking.

Companies in the UAE are failing to make proper use of social media, and are not properly regulating their use of social media, according to law firm DLA Piper,

The company conducted research in the UAE and the UK in September, which shows a wide disparity in the uptake of social media. Only 41% of businesses surveyed in the UAE have a social media presence, compared to 76% in the UK.

Of the UAE companies that do have a social media presence, 26% do not have a social media policy outlining what is and is not allowed by employees, compared to 17% of companies in the UK, putting the company and employees at risk.

"Social media is a medium that is unarguably here to stay, however companies in the UAE are not placing enough focus on ensuring employees know what they can and can't do within a professional environment," commented Neil Crossley, Head of Employment, Pensions and Benefits Middle East at DLA Piper. "With a large percentage of the population classified as 'Generation Y', and therefore highly skilled when it come to the internet and social media sources, more focus has to be placed on utilising that skill base and properly engaging with them to drive innovation and motivation in the work place.

"There is also a widespread recognition that social media is not just a tool for marketing, but something that needs to be considered by all aspects of a business; from HR, to risk, to the upper echelons of corporate management and the legal implications of social media breaches and how to prevent them must be taken into consideration," he added.

Social media policies, where they exist, are mainly communicated to employees via intranet (40%) and staff handbook (36%), compared to the UK, where policies are communicated by staff handbook, (52%) or cascaded down by management, (43%).

Social media is being used by companies in the Middle East predominantly for brand awareness and marketing, and to advertise corporate events, although there is less use of social media platforms to communicate with employees, with only 16% of companies saying they used social media for this purpose, and only 12% saying they used it for employee engagement.

Bachir Abouchakra, Senior Legal Consultant at DLA Piper commented: "Businesses must implement good brand management policies if they want to maximise the return on their brand-related investments. Given the rise of social media, it is increasingly important for businesses to consider the impact of social media on these policies."