The Swiss Knife Social Media Convention was held on Tuesday, October 16 at Pearl Continental Hotel in Karachi. The event was organised by Navitus, a management consultant firm and it was only fitting that the day be dedicated to informing, improving and inspiring businesses and budding entrepreneurs.The day was kick-started by an admittedly awkward ice breaker where the audience were urged to mingle with strangers and design a tangible 3-D Facebook page for their respective groups. Now, socialising in real life is mankind’s greatest challenge since it’s not a real requirement anymore. This was evident in the audience grudgingly shuffling about trying to find familiar faces on other tables. However the urge for external approval took hold as one of the keys to winning was for your page to acquire as many likes as you could.
Masood Hashmi soon took the stage and spoke to the audience quite candidly about his own reliance on social media. Saying that if his phone didn’t beep regularly enough he’d look through old messages just to feel wanted again. He threw light on the fact that if Facebook was a country it would be the world’s third largest. His talk was directed mostly on the dependence of the world’s youth on social media and stressed upon established and old-school businesses needing to direct their products and services to the growing majority of potential consumers who are now plugged in for large parts of the day.
Adnan Ali and Yousuf Rasheed spoke of brand management and consumer feedback through social media. They urged for more pragmatic and democratic relations with their customers on social media as the people have learned that they do have a voice and that they are now utilising this and producers and service providers need to use this to their own advantage.
Imtiaz Noor, the speaker for Google Analytics, focused on monitoring exactly what piques the interest of potential and established consumer and what extinguishes it. He urged entrepreneurs and businesses to pay close attention to behavioural patterns displayed on their websites and to react accordingly.
The real life grassroots success story of Shayaan Tahir was especially inspiring as this 26-year-old set up what is now Pakistan’s largest online retailer. He spoke of how he had done no real campaigning or advertising and relied solely on word of mouth, social media and his own reputation as an honest tradesman.
The event was attended by established giants of the corporate scene like Philip Morris, Google and Engro Foods to budding NGO’s such as NOWPDP. The spectrum for improvement was obviously felt by all the participants and shows that the need to engage with their ever growing cyber consumer base is actively being addressed.