During Ramadan, many of us will receive iftar and suhour invitations, many of which will provide good opportunities for networking.
Ramadan is also a unique time for social media in the Arab world, with high levels of internet activity being recorded during this period.
But while the door may be open to business, it’s important to balance the advantages you may receive with suitable behaviour.
Although the end of June will see business activities slowing down and people rushing to their homes immediately after work, it is wrong to assume that social life is entirely hindered during Ramadan.
On the contrary, businessmen will wait for sunset to negotiate their prices and close their deals, job hunters might get new career opportunities, and others will use the social side of Ramadan to proactively connect with industry professionals.
There are two mealtimes every day during Ramadan, and both are treated as networking opportunities in the region. Iftar refers to the evening meal when Muslims break their fast, while suhour is the morning meal consumed before fasting begins again.
In order to respect the nature of the holiest month of the year, both professionally and in terms of cultural and traditional considerations, make sure to:
• Ask for advice about local customs and traditions associated with Ramadan, if you are not familiar with Islam and the culture
• Show great respect for those who are fasting. If you need to have meetings during the day, schedule them mid-morning if possible, and avoid having them from 3pm onwards
• Use this time to strengthen your working relationship with your existing clients with patience and respect, and also to focus on your internal business activities
• Participate in charitable and community activities since Ramadan is a time to give back to the community
• Confirm your attendance and arrive on time, if you are invited to an iftar or suhour and decide to go. Apply the same etiquette as in a usual business lunch or dinner
According to last year’s report by The Online Project (TOP), a regional social media agency, social media consumption and user habits change significantly during Ramadan.
Here are their tips on when are the best times to post and engage with their audiences on social media platforms during this period.
The level of activity on Facebook is 30 percent higher when compared to average engagement rates for regional brands during other times of the year.
The best time for brands to engage with audiences during Ramadan are:
Oman: 12 midnight
The number of tweets and retweets generated in the region during Ramadan increases by 33 percent compared to the same time interval outside Ramadan.
When determining the best time to engage on Twitter by tracking the number of tweets and retweets generated in the region during Ramadan 2012 and 2013, their conclusions again differ from country to country:
Source: Arabian Gulf