During my regional roadshow tour to Lebanon, I was very excited about hearing and experiencing the budding social media scene in Beirut. Like many countries in the Middle East, I found that the use of social media in Lebanon has become a hot bed of creativity and bravery as both brands and companies are starting to experiment with social as a real driver of business.
Over the past decade Internet usage has doubled in the country, creating a large network of people who use social on a daily basis. In actual fact almost half the country is actively engaging on social every day! That’s amazing for a country that just 14 years ago had a tiny connected population of just 5.8% on the internet and now there is 52% of the population connected and communicating.
Lebanon is one of the top 5 leading countries on social media in the Middle East. Interestingly, what Lebanese people like to download first and foremost is music. It really might help lift your content be relevant and interesting for your target market.
Facebook and Twitter are still very powerful platforms in this country.
- Facebook users is 1.7 million (Facebook 2014)
- Twitter accounts for approximately 251,000 active users (Twitter 2014)
One of the most interesting brands I came across using social media to drive real business value in Lebanon is Sayfco holding.
The real-estate giant from Lebanon has 3.2 million fans worldwide on Facebook and invests heavily in its Facebook community spending up to $3m a year on Facebook advertising. Why? Because they increased the sales of their units from 4 to 200 every month! If you are not convinced about the efficacy of social to sell just talk to Sayfco!
CAMPAIGNING VIA SOCIAL MEDIA: A HUGE TREND
You only need to take a look at the recent “Strip for Jackie” campaign in Beirut which became a huge social trend after people took to social media to display their outrage at how a national sportswoman was being treated. The I am not naked Facebook page shows how several key influencers and bloggers expressed their solidarity with Jackie Chamoun and started campaigning on Facebook, as well as Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #iamnotnakedleb.
Amongst the conversations driven around hashtags and semi-nude photos, various commercial brands have gone topless in a show of solidarity for the Lebanese skier. Almaza, Exotica, Absolut Vodka and even VolksWagen stripped for Jackie.
It seems that many Lebanese brands have a good understanding of real time marketing as last week they made a comeback supporting #Kafa #NoLawNoVote and its race to pass a bill that protects women from domestic violence.
The Lebanese are apparently romantic bunch with this year’s Valentines being a truly social occasion with many a potential suitor or hopeful sweetheart taking to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to share their true love with the world. I think this sums up the great passion the Lebanese people have and its infectious ability to create real social moments and movements.
During my time conducting the regional roadshow I met many passionate people who completely understand the value of social media and how it can drive real business outcomes. I am excited about the possibilities that we have in this market, the social media scene here has a vast potential and it has already started making use of it. I am looking forward to seeing some truly great social experiences and award winning work coming out of this highly creative and exciting market.