Bevisat Social Media Marketing Tips Som Fr Resultat

Introduction

Lebanon’s area is ranked 170th in the world (CIA, 2014). It is smaller than the size of Connecticut, one of the smallest states in in America. Moreover, Lebanon is one of the few democratic countries in the Middle East region. Regarding its economy, Lebanon is a free market economy and has a very long tradition of laissez-faire economics. In addition to its coastal location on the Eastern Mediterranean coast, Lebanon is considered as the central ‘window’ of the Middle East to Europe, North Africa, and the rest of the world. Because of this, its economy has gone through some very prosperous times and was even once called the ‘Paris’ of the Middle East before the nation’s 15 year-long bloody civil war which ended in 1990.

Also, although Lebanon is tiny, it is also one of the most diverse nations in the world. Christians, Muslims, Druze, and other minority sects are spread all over the small nation and even Lebanon’s political system is based on sectarian power sharing.

However, this diversity had played a pivotal role in the nation’s problems. This diversity was a necessary condition of the country’s sectarian civil war and currently plays an important role in its political paralysis, although other factors (mainly foreign) are to blame as well. There is currently no acting President and the country’s rival political parties keep bickering and preventing rather than facilitating the country’s development.

Furthermore, Lebanon’s proximity to Israel has made it a foreign policy/proxy battleground for foreign nations, each using Lebanon for its own selfish ends.

The sad political realities of the country have significantly hurt the country’s economy. Also, since Lebanon is a service-based economy, this particular sector has taken the largest hit.

Tourism plays a significant role in the nation’s economy. According to the Lebanese Ministry of Economy & Trade (MOET), “Tourism has long been one of Lebanon’s leading economic sectors” (Economic Research Unit, 2010).

Furthermore, The World Travel & Tourism Council estimated that the travel & tourism sector in Lebanon contributed over $4 billion dollars in 2013 (World Travel & Tourism Council, 2014).

The travel & tourism sector made up about 10% of the economy in 2012 but that share dropped to 9% in 2013 (ibid, p. 14). This is due to the political situation in the country as well as some other factors. Moreover, the number of tourist arrivals in the country kept decreasing from 2011 to 2013.

Since the tourism industry has been somewhat floundering in the past few years, the room for error becomes very small for businesses in this industry. The political & economic situations are squeezing tourist-related (TR) businesses in Lebanon. This means that these businesses are forced to do more to make up for increasing losses (or decreasing profits) and with fewer resources. There is no telling when the political & economic situation in Lebanon will improve especially since the civil war in neighboring Syria shows no signs of abating.

There are many ways that Lebanese TR businesses can adapt during these times such as implementing downsizing policies and cutting back on marketing & advertising budgets. When economic recessions and tough times affect businesses, the first things to get eliminated are usually marketing budgets. But especially since TR businesses need to do more marketing to make up for lost businesses, this may not be a good idea.

One solution to this problem is to take advantage of Social Media Marketing strategies since they cost little to no resources, perfect for the current economic situation in Lebanon. Social media marketing allows TR businesses to overcome obstacles of limited budgets and decreased business.

Problem Statement

During the past few years, the positive effect of social media on business has been extremely high (Kaplan et al., 2010; Stelzner, 2010; Treem & Leonardi, 2012, p. 143; Baker & Green, 2014).

Moreover, Facebook and Twitter fans of a specific brand are much more likely to recommend and buy from these brands than non-fans (Cruz & Mendelsohn, 2011). But, we don’t need to make sure of social media’s impact on business through research studies. For social media users, which include over 30% of the world, this fact is known. More and more businesses are inserting Social Media marketing tools into their marketing strategies and, in some cases, have even become an integral part of their overall business strategy.

Naturally, one would expect that Lebanese businesses would quickly adopt Social Media Marketing as a key role in their overall marketing strategies but this is not the case. When it comes to the Middle East and especially Lebanon, the region is far behind the West in social media usage. Not only that, when it comes to businesses involved in the tourism industry, there is much room for growth. Little investment in technology is keeping tourist businesses away from maximizing marketing opportunities given by social media.

The Lebanese tourism industry is not taking advantage of social media marketing tactics even though the advantages of doing so are apparent. This presents a great problem especially since the economy is going through a very rough time.

Moreover, Lebanese TR businesses and businesses in Lebanon in general are not adopting social media tools as they should. This presents a huge problem in the waste of resources as well as significant missed opportunities as a larger target audience can be reached via social media enabling businesses that adopt social media marketing tools gain a better chance of success and prosperity.

Purpose of the study

The fruits and advantages of social media marketing tools may take significant time to come about in Lebanon if we are ignorant of the factors that have led to the prevention of widespread social media marketing adoption.

Also, as long as no study goes into the issue of effectively implementing a social media marketing campaign in the Lebanese context, many TR businesses may be lost even if they decide to adopt social media marketing tools.

Additionally, even though there have been numerous studies in the West about effectively implementing social media marketing campaigns, the results of these studies may or may not apply to the Lebanese context. Therefore, it is also the purpose of this study to find out those factors related to effectively implementing social media marketing among Lebanese TR businesses.

At the end, there is no doubt that social media marketing plays an extremely important role in the marketing campaigns and even in the overall success of tourism-related businesses.

Lebanese Tourist-Related (TR) businesses fall far behind the developed world in investing and using SMM. Since there are many benefits of SMM, why is this so? Also, to catch up to the rest of the world, what is the most effective way for Lebanese TR businesses to deploy an SMM campaign? So, it was the study’s purpose to find reasons linked to such low investment & use of SMM by Lebanese TR businesses and to help guide these businesses in effectively using SMM.

Methodology

The purpose of this study is twofold. This study aims to find out exactly what those factors are that are preventing the widespread adoption of social media marketing tools among Lebanese TR businesses. The philosophy used is interpretivism, for an inductive approach to go from specific to general research, the strategy is ethnographic, and the methodology is qualitative. In-depth interviews are used with ten participants from ten different companies. Five companies had high social media ‘visibility’ and the other five didn’t. So, the participants’ answers provided very useful information and solutions for the research problem.

Findings

The results found that among the most relevant factors of little SMM investment & use by Lebanese TR businesses are that many don’t see benefits to using SMM and so don’t support it.

The results also provided useful information on factors for effectively implementing SMM by Lebanese TR businesses including the acceptance of SMM by ownership/decision-makers and the importance of these people in seeing the benefits of SMM. Also, problems with implementing SMM include negative customer feedback and inter-departmental power struggles.

Recommendations include communicating the benefits of SMM to Lebanese TR businesses which is of such high importance to get them to use SMM. There should also be an SMM plan with a consistent schedule outlining the days to add content to social media sites as well as comprehensive monitoring of SM user comments about the business.

At the end, it is the researcher’s hope that the study helped shed light on important aspects of SMM and its relation to Lebanese TR businesses. It is also hoped that the recommendations be taken into consideration by Lebanese TR businesses.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

10 Checklist Points Before Engaging In Social Media Marketing

Where to start?

Social media marketing has a phony reputation. For many an executive from the commercial department, this exercise sums up to a string of signups over several social networks randomly and from time to time, multimedia, article postings and advertising over Facebook and Twitter. This is definitely not the right shot!

SMM is more than just being present in the Social Media Sphere. It is a sharp commercial engagement that may just turn into total havoc if not handled properly. The goal of Social Marketing in cyberspace is the same as the real-world thing. It’s about delivering Unique Selling Points that will end up into concrete and sustained sales. It is about converting an anon into a brand advocate at best. Achieving this objective follows basically almost the same rules except for the fact that Social Media allows a closer, more personal and customizable, so to say Social approach of the targets. Same rules apply but with more or less variations. Assessing the prerogatives, context, environment and toolsets is the essential starting point of any Social Media Marketing campaign. It implies thorough setup and clinical precision in the way messages and attitudes are to be delivered through dedicated channels. Within such campaigns, posting on Facebook, on a fan page, group page or personal page is never the same process.

Here are 10 checklist points before engaging into Social Media Marketing:

Define your base strategy. Setup a budgeted roadmap with intermediate white stones that will help at fine tuning the campaign all along the way.The roadmap should stay in tune with what is being done or what has been done in the real-world. Social Media Marketing is never an innocent act. It is time-consuming and will incur expenses. Being precise about the campaign will definitely decrease the burden. As said earlier assess the main objective and methodology. For example, you may need to totally revamp your actual website so as to allow SM integration and SMO. Make your campaign stay SMARRT – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Relevant and Time-bound. Either go for Awareness or Sales or Loyalty. One at a time! Don’t try to aim for all objectives in one go. Remember! Stick to your company’s marketing and communication policy.

Assess and understand your campaign’s environment. RESEARCH and don’t stop til’ you get enough! One surely doesn’t want to jump into dark waters without basic precautions and headlamps. So do you with your Social Media Marketing Campaign. Diving recklessly into Social Media can spell TOTAL MESS especially when dealing with building awareness and product reputation. Building an effective Online Social Strategy implies thorough knowledge of the competitors’ doing’s on common platforms (of course)… but above all, take an humble preview of how others from different sectors have done or are doing. Get into both successful and failed case studies. Learn more about technical potentials of each and every Social Network and platform.

Identify these platforms and toolsets that are relevant and positively responsive for your roadmap. Social Media Marketing is about delivering the same consistent message through the whole spectrum of interwoven Social Networks. The intertwined winning triumvirate is made of the Blog, Facebook and Twitter, to which you would add a YouTube account if you would have video clips uploaded on a regular basis. Choose strategically. For example, you might feel the need of Slideshare and LinkedIn accounts instead of a Foursquare one, if your product or service is more into pitch-intensive B2B. Your toolset should also be made up of listening and monitoring wares.

Realistically budget and size your Online Advertising. Use the full potential of Google AdSense and Facebook’s advertising platforms, but make sure to target wisely. Goal-tied Marketing Campaigns mean nothing without proper advertising. Intuitive Online advertising is now accessible through a few clicks and will definitely unleash its power to communicate about your brand on a global basis. They can also enhance diffusion to limited zones. Think about identifying and assessing your targets on geographical grounds. This will help at optimizing your online advertisement budget. Choosing PPC or CPC is up to you accordingly to your basic roadmap requirements.

Setup a Social Media taskforce from within your staff and look for an outsider to operate as a Community Manager. The web never sleeps. Social Media Marketing is a 24/7 perpetual roll-on. As such it is time and resource-consuming. One should never expect to be capable of handling a Social Media Marketing campaign alone, especially if other primary company duties are at stake. Instead, invite some of your staff to engage into social networking on your business’s behalf. Be choosy though! Those indulged in such a sensitive and interactive task must write well, be tactful, creative and loyal. Outsider Community Managers are seldom biased and are limited to the sole responsibility of consolidating your taskforce’s activities over relevant Social Networks. In any case you should build a team whose main goals and capabilities are to listen, learn and reply in tactful manner.

Prefer influential relationships. Get your team to identify major Bloggers and mainstream Social Media activists who fringe with your zones of interest and industry. This task is one of the hinges of success for your campaign. Getting to talk to Social Media heavyweights is like hiring evangelists when relationships get entrusted. Getting Lady Gaga to like your pair of boots is like tapping straight into a sea of opportunities as wide as 9 million individuals who would just follow Gaga’s recommendations. Getting her to buy one would mean immediate success. CAREFUL however! The adverse effect is also proportionally as big as your contact’s notoriety. Be sure of what you sell to him or her. A successful Social Media Marketing campaign starts here.

Identify relevant measuring and benchmarking tools. They are proof of your campaign’s success or need for fine tuning. For example, the increase in the number of likes on Facebook or followers on Twitter is an indicator of your campaign’s health. Getting to know how many times your brand is mentioned across the web and rating these comments help at fine tuning the campaign. You should also be able to keep track of your on-growing relationships and traffic that comes from Social Platforms. Identifying prospects for future opportunities helps at developing better strategies. Beware! At the actual state of affairs, Social Media Metrics can be tricky! In fact you will need a very wide array of results coupled to trending reports to be able to depict the exact snapshot of your on-going campaign.

Identify offline components that will be needed to complement your Online Social Marketing. Offline events are powerful conversion tools when geared the proper and relevant way. Offline components may also mean socializing with people off the web, in the real world, offering real-world prizes and gifts, organizing rallies, bar camps, conferences and seminars… etc Determine how these components can enhance your target’s brand experience and how they will relevantly fit into your Online Marketing Scheme.

Urge for quality relevant content when posting articles, multimedia and comments. Praising your 270hp 1974 red Corvette when you advocate for ecological products on your blog isn’t the best of strategies. Be sure to lay editorial rules that will define consistent cross-platform content production both in terms of easy-reading literature and technical specifics. Should an uploaded video be in HD both on YouTube and on Facebook? How long should be an article? Should an article contain a generic common byline for multiple authors or should it bear the actual author’s name and on what grounds? One should always define these lines accordingly to the targeted audience.

Urge to stay HUMAN at every stage! Putting up a Social Media Marketing strategy is about building your brand’s Social Media presence where your quality accessible content will be delivering values of your organization. Social Media is about… Socializing first! People are touchy when it comes to attitudes and postures. They don’t like to bullied or taken as immature consumers. Being too techy, too commercial, demotes the social experience. Simple language and “real-worldlike” politeness are the bases for the best of approaches. It is sometimes more fruitful to start a discussion that may seem miles away from your product and its campaign objectives. With the will to listen and the power to communicate clearly, high conversion rates are never far ahead.

Conclusion

Whoever engages into Social Media Marketing is bound to find himself pulling on very many strings at the same time. Assessing, understanding the campaign’s environment through research and pre-dive learning is a must. Although the marketing process might seem similar to the real-world thing, the Online Social Experience entails mastering every stage with even more precision, because you can never see or analyze real-time behaviors, except for what the prospect writes from behind his monitor, should it be true or false. A Social Media Marketing Strategy is simply the result of the conjunction of human competences and webtools that allow social interaction, interchange and sharing to the profit of a brand. It is a two-way traffic by which the seller has an on-spot obligation of being a psychologist, sociologist or an ethnologist. Be reassured you do not need to be these actually because you’re a human being who is supposedly used to human social codes in general.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Smart Method to Keep the Business’ Secret

Stay lean! Stay profitable with Value Creation Automation! Your business doesn’t stand a chance of succeeding in today’s tough corporate world if you neglect process improvement tools. Many focus on the big picture and forget about the minute changes that can invariably improve productivity. So begin with a more focused approach and work outwards. Technology such as Value Creation Automation can enable your business to operate efficiently and give you the required edge to keep afloat.

The first step to improve overall workflow efficiency is embracing business automation technology. If you take a look around, you’ll see plenty of off-the-shelf solutions which promise to automate and improve. But do they integrate? Do they give you complete control? The answer is no. Value Creation Automation gives you unimaginable control and aims to facilitate every functional aspect of any running organization. Why spend a fortune on multiple solutions and still feel the need for manual control when you can have an all-in-one technological solution?

Business Automation functions simply and effectively. To make it easy for anyone to understand, take a look at how VCA can boost business profitability:

1. Stop wasting money on unnecessary manual tasks

Human intellect is incomparable, but also very expensive, and we shouldn’t forget the probability of error which comes along with it. To run a business successfully, you need to think smart and act smart. Start by automating rote tasks with business automation. With Value Creation Automation, all rote tasks are automated and controlled by the system. This means you can save up on labor costs and additional expenses that come with a high manual-dependent workflow. When you are saving costs, you are adding to your profit margin.

2. Take control of resource being wasted

In any business, resource and material wastage is a common occurrence. You may not be able to exactly identify when, how and what resource went as waste. It is difficult putting a cost tag on delays, bottlenecks, idle workers etc. But what if Value Creation Automation gives you the power to see and control all resource wastage? VCA implements continuous checks on all task activity to identify waste in real-time. This means you can exercise more control and narrow down on resource wasting activities that are taking a toll on business profitability.

3. Delayed information? Not with VCA!

Information and data are the secret keys to business success. As a business that aims to succeed, it must stay updated with all information coming in. Data collection may not seem too tough, but analyzing and extracting useful information from tons of data is the real deal. Multiple organizations have hired data experts to manage large volumes of incoming and outgoing data. Whether you need information regarding consumer changes or you want to find out more about employee productivity, having information available at your fingertips is a must-have. Value Creation Automation analyzes company data in real-time, giving you updated figures every second of the day. With VCA, you don’t have to worry about sending in requests for reports or statement.

4. Your customers want quality, give it!

Maintaining consistent product or service quality levels is a tough challenge. You can’t measure every unit’s quality level or standard manually. Even with so many quality measurement tools out there, the probability of defects remains. On the other hand, Business Automation diminishes your need for externally implemented quality measurement methods. The system is designed to consistently measure every output at task level against defined standards. This means you can detect low quality output before it reaches the delivery stage.

5. Innovate, evolve, innovate, evolve!

You can’t beat competition if you aren’t innovating. The market is changing rapidly which means you need to keep up with the required changes, or you’ll be left behind. It’s always the innovators who set the trend for improvement and success. As a business, you need to flexible and adaptive. Value Creation Automation can be your key to faster innovation and implementation. Most automation solutions prove inflexible and require massive investments when it comes to upgrading. Value Creation Automation can automatically detect variations in processes and alert managers of needed changes. Whether its excessive productive or changed quality demands, VCA gives you the power to reinvent and implement ideas in real-time.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Social Media: Marketing Considerations for Small Business

Social media marketing, will it deliver results for my business?

It’s clear that social media has grown dramatically over the last few years and that with more than 800 million active users, the number of Facebook users is easily more than twice the size of the entire population of the United States!

Its growth has been astronomical and today, millions of people are posting more personal and business information online than ever before. It’s happening at lightning speed with thousands of posts, tweets and uploads occurring every hour.

Recent research conducted by the Australian Interactive Media Industry Association (AIMIA) commissioned by Sensis Pty Ltd (May 2011, p. 10) indicates, that “62% of Australian Internet users use a variety of social media sites, with many visiting every day and most at least a few times a week.” It’s no surprise that with the millions of prospective customers from all over the world using these sites, every day, that so many businesses have decided to include social media marketing into their marketing mix. However it also important to get an understanding of how these sites are being used and what’s involved in maintaining or resourcing your business presence on these sites. Your online footprint can stick around for a long time so don’t underestimate how this can affect the perception of your brand in the market place. Spend some time upfront thinking about whether social media is right for your business.

1. Seek first to understand – It is very important that you understand the fundamentals of how is social media actually works and how it’s being used. What are people and businesses doing with social media? What gets them results? Some of you may be thinking, how do I do this? Perhaps you could consider trying it out for yourself by setting up a personal account, then testing some of the features, or get a trusted friend to show you their account and guide you through. Alternatively there are so many resources and ‘how to’ items online about social media, that you could run a search on Google or on YouTube on a particular topic of interest and watch the video tutorials to get informed.

2. Understand your purpose – What is your purpose is for using social media? What do you hope to achieve for your business by using it? It’s really important that you identify your purpose for getting involved in social media (or any other marketing activity for that matter). You need to work out why you are taking part. What do you expect to achieve? Do you simply want to build brand awareness, engage with your customers or identify new sales opportunities? Remember to be realistic about what you believe you will be able to achieve.

3. If you decide to engage in social media, which sites are best for you? – With the plethora of social media sites available, which ones are best for your business? Think about where your target audience would socialize online, and think about the amount of time and resources you would realistically be able to commit to maintaining and administering your site presence. Which ones are right for you? You might find that some are a better fit than others.

4. Quality Content – If you decide that social media is right for your business, carefully consider the amount and quality of information you want to share in the online sphere. Remember it will probably stay there for a long time, so you need to make sure it accurate and reliable information that is valuable to your target audience. It has to be relevant, otherwise people will not read it.

There are a host of reasons for engaging in the social media community including:

It’s cost-effective. Many accounts on various social media sites are free to set up.
Huge global audience.
Enables you to receive feedback in real-time and communicate with customers in real-time.
Provides your business with an additional marketing channel, to increase the awareness of your product, brand or organisation.

However social media does present some obstacles for businesses that need to be measured up:

Time and Resources – you must be willing to devote the time needed to come up with fresh new content. So it is important to consider whether you have the time and the resources to effectively manage your social media presence.

Handing over brand control – You hand over some of the control of your marketing efforts and effectively your brand to your target audience. They will have the ability to comment on posts or other content and you need to be prepared for both positive and negative comments. However even if you are not administering a company Facebook page, it’s important to keep in mind that there is nothing to stop customers from posting comments on their own blogs or other public forums about your products and services.

Measuring ROI – The introduction of web tracking and analytics tools also brought with it the ability to more easily measure the success of certain online marketing and advertising campaigns. However the nature of social media means that you might not always be able to see the results of your campaign right away. Your social media efforts might allow your consumers to ask more questions or further engage with your brand or product, but like most other relationship building activities, it takes time to build brand loyalty and repeat sales, it is likely that your social media activities will not have an immediate impact on sales that can be easily measured, there may be a lag.

Social media, how is it being used?

When it comes to consumer adoption, the growth of social networking sites has been exponential, however as more research is being done regarding site usage and consumer behaviour, we begin to gain greater insights into the types of tasks and transactions people engage in when visiting social media sites. Interestingly, the top three reasons identified in the Sensis Social Media Report, for using a social networking site were:

1. To catch up with friends and family.

2. To share photographs and videos.

3. To co-ordinate parties and other shared activities.

The results of the Sensis Social Media report, Sensis Pty Ltd (May 2011, p. 18) were based on the responses of 490 telephone respondents located in Australia who identified themselves as using social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. As we can see from these survey results, people are still predominately using many of these sites for the fundamental reason that they were created. I.e. To “socially” interact with their network of family, friends, or peer group. I am not suggesting that we ignore the fact that 15% of the respondents did indicate that they use social networking sites to find out about particular brands or businesses, or that there are some excellent case studies where successful social media campaigns have been launched using Facebook or Twitter, however I think it is important for us to keep things in perspective and understand that just like traditional types of marketing and advertising, social media marketing needs include the fundamental elements of any good campaign for it to be successful. We need to remember that many of the same rules apply online as they do offline.

Further research findings seem to suggest that it is still more typical for a consumer to look to a company website when making a purchasing decision, than on ‘fan pages’ and that a company website provides a more influential source of information. “It seems that only about a third of respondents admit that they are influenced in their purchasing decision by fan pages while almost half say they look to company websites instead.”

It seems social media is here to stay, and that the Web 2.0 revolution and the Internet will continue to evolve, shaping the way we communicate and do business. There are clear indicators that consumers are now much more empowered to use the online sphere to voice their concerns, preferences and needs. This makes it increasingly important for businesses to figure out ways to respond to these evolving customer relationships in order to capture these markets and opportunities.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off