Social Media Marketing

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Lebanese President Facebook Ads

What do you expect to see when you click this? And it lands on the Lebanese President's Facebook Page

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At first I thought it may just be Zaatar w Zeit rebranding themselves,then I saw this video and the acting and the background music just stand out together with a youtube account that was just born yesterday.

 

 

Missingz

 

And then just a few minutes back I got this letter delivered to my office.

Zaatar w zeit viral campaign kidnappers letter

Would’ve been more fun if ZwZ was panicking online and threatening to sue the mischievous, but i guess all of this is part of tehir online initiation campaign.

 

It’s fun let’s keep watching.

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You all remember Samer Karam’s brainchild @cooki3man, which was the first twitter based business model. Through @cookieman you could order cookies baked according to Samer’s secret recipe via DM ( and later on via email). And whilst the business was quite successful and many were jumping to place orders and batches were running out fast, legend has it Samer’s oven broke down and he moved back to more serious and less sugar rush inducing endeavors.

 

But it seems there is another business that is willing to explore the power of twitter’s word of mouth business growth.

 

Having been punked by the Brand Protection Group Campaign recently, having @taxilb adding near April 1st, did not speak in their favor, as I am as cautious as ever.  But indeed I am curious and have been watching them interact online stirring quite a commotion amongst the twittershphere with their value proposition.

 

Taxi Lb order a taxi via twitter

 

 

 

And some of their posts are plain hilarious:

Taxi Lb order a taxi via twitter

 

It does not seem that any one has tried them out yet, but their rates sound very reasonable and their online persona is very bubbly.

Quite interestingly, the business started with an twitter account before even launching the website.

Taxi Lb order a taxi via twitter

 

Well that is all I know for now, but of course  I am full of questions wanting to know who is behind this service and how the business is going so far and if anybody has used it.

 

Lets keep looking, maybe next time I have to take my car for maintenance I will try them out!

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The below is a campaign that was launched by AM Financials last summer (Summer 2010) and still running on their site and corporate materials. At the time it seemed to me too brilliant to be original, I raked my memory and did my research.

Am Financials Ad Campaign

You could fin the full overview of the original Yahoo Campaign launched in September 2009 here.  I do not believe it was a coincidence, do you?

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Rak Bank Social Media Twitter Campaign for Insurance

There is nothing out of the usual in this campaign and yet This campaign provides a good quality step up from the regular wishy-washy stale sweepstakes.

What is good about this campaign:

- It puts Rak Bank’s new product at the center of the promotion, by giving people a packaged message  to tweet. The message is short and concise.

- Does not force you to follow or like anyone.

- Message provided is impartial and hence does not in any way affect credibility of the tweeter.

- It is extremely simple for users to execute and only involves one step.

- It provides transparency by showing all the rules, number of prizes, campaign duration, method of selecting winners…

- It costs Rak Bank close to nothing and would be extremely easy to monitor.

- It is less of a bribery model (cheap sweepstakes) and more of a reward for promotion model.


Keep following @rakbanklive  on twitter to see their other ways of interacting with the audience.

P.S. I am lately resorting to short posts, as opposed to not writing at all.

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This post is inspired by the lawsuit filed by Benihana Kuwait against the author of one of the most popular Kuwaiti blogs for an objective review they did not appreciate.

In my previous  job, working in the International Sales Department, our main objective was to get new agents across the world to represent our brand and supporting them through thick and thin with Marketing Materials ranging from catalogs, brochures, photos, samples, emailer templates, templates, microsites…  And that was not an easy job. Many a time clients would come to us directly from countries where we already had agents because they felt that we could service them better, more efficiently, that we had more know how, or simply because the agent was rude, unprofessional, unethical… And I can imagine how much more pressures you have for controlling standards and ensuring brand integrity in the B2C world, from making sure your outlets correspond to certain standards of look, feel, smell & sound, to a unified experience and service levels… especially if you have franchised your brand and no longer hold the remote control, only having access and being able to voice concerns on matters that are distinctly outlined in that one franchising agreement. Whilst on the other hand the franchisee, has the golden key and has the ability to drive your name into a wall at any time.


Benihana Kuwait, who did you sue last night?

via BlogBaladi.com

Well guess what, with the world wide web, your reputation is not only threatened in that one location, worse come to worse, one slip up can cause a global ripple effect damaging all of your brand’s properties.

So today brands playing internationally also have to develop clear branding and marketing strategies for managing their digital identity and reciprocate those experiences into clear guidelines and strict policies with lots of case studies and canned responses for their partners to follow worldwide, otherwise, you’ll have another Benihana Kuwait nightmare on your hands. And well of course, have a clear cut crisis management plan.


I feel so sorry for Benihana New York  and can imagine the nightmare they are going through at the moment unable to control anything and trying to explain to their partners how much damage they have done and convince them to change course of action. For all of you other brands out there, this is not an excuse for you to get scared of the online world and run away, it is just one more proof that you should be online, listen, monitor and engage in a structured way respecting the community that constitutes a large portion of your target audience and learn from cases such as these.


Make sure to check Mark’s roundup on all the amazing posts the community has written to support him and appeal to Benihana Head offices Japan through this easy was provided by @Alexandermcnabb.

For more marketing perspective also check @youmny’s post at Marketing in Lebanon blog – Benihana Kuwait, the art of creating a PR crisis. You can also check what Lebanese bloggers had to say on this.

Disclaimer: 24am is a blog that I have personally been following for a long while and  recommend for all of you to follow due to the amazing quality of content it has and the objectivity of its authors.

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As this post is published I am giving a guest class in Leila Khauli’s #MKTG225 class in AUB, just thought I would share with you the slides so you can see what is happening you can also follow the tweets with #mktg225 hashtag.

Normally I do not include a lot of text in my visual materials, but this time you can see a lot since I intended it to be a cross bread between a power-point and a notes guidelines for the class.

This is exciting, more details later! Let me know what you think

Online Marketing - Guide For Control Freaks

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Tonight I am heading out to Amman for the 1st Arab Social Media Forum, a full day event wholly dedicated to Social Media throughout its aspects.

But the more exciting thing is that following my An Event for the Netizens post the event organizers asked me to be the moderator for all he twitter questions coming from the global audience(1). So all that you need to do tomorrow is follow the #ASMF2010 hashtag and tweet your questions to the speakers and the most interesting ones will be answered.

Looking forward to it!

________

1- Perhaps it is also an attempt to curb my natural tweet cynicism ;)

Lately I am going to so many events , most are tech or social media related, but … well… a lot of the time… the digital me feels at unease and disappointed, unable to share the event with the world or growing a grudge against the organizers, so I decided to write this simple guide declaring openly to all event organizers that anything less would be a disappointment, and ,well if they do the things I mentioned, they will make the online community more involved in their events and expand their reach and visibility. Don’t they all want that?

Ah well, as my main objective is self centered I mainly focused in things that need to be going during and after the event. (Plus most of them score well on before event stuff after I corner them with my questions in emails) .

1. # – Have a HASHTAG!

This is an out most basic, but then again most event organizers forget to make it short enough, announce it publicly more than once and most importantly forget to register it at a hashtag repository like twubs or  wthashtag,  so most of the time I am livetweeting from an event my followers start asking me “what is this and that #xyz … any links…  ?”

2. Official LiveTweeting

That brings us naturally to livetweeting. I have already talked about the importance of livetweeting here but i just wanted to emphasize that event organizers need to keep on livetweeting from the official event account to update people at the event on what is happening, remind who the speakers are and what their handles are, tell them where the live feeds are (doesn’t hurt to do all that in parallel on linked in and facebook as well) … AND if you are an event sponsor, especially at an event centered around social media, especially if your produce is focused around social media, big thumbs down to you if you are not tweeting about the event and not quoting your guest speaker. Yes @zawya I am talking about you and your zero tweets at MediaMeForum and your replying only two days later to my tweets. Which brings me to my next point.

3. Answer & Engage Tweets

For starters, there is no fun for a hashtag without a livescreen. At MediaMEForm the guys did a great job of livetweeting what was happening, BUT [yes it is a big but] they completely dismissed the twitter community. The twitter Screen was live only during the panels and it was put in a place where no speaker can see what we were talking about, and even the moderator did not address any questions from the tweets, nor did their official twitter channel. Unlike ArabNET, where there were ginormous screens dedicated to tweets and speakers paying full attention to what was happening with one speaker undressing to get a wave of tweets. Still , I think the impact will be even more augmented if you have a dedicated moderator to pick at least two questions from the twittersphere for each panel/speaker and ask them at the event. Honestly speaking, the questions are more pungent, very well formulated and more daring and provoking more mindful discussions, isn’t that what you want? Aren’t your events targeted at identifying the trends of the future?

4. Live Ustream

I was on the peak of bliss drinking my Pepsi, eating popcorn in my PJs watching the pitches at Yallastartup weekend day 1 and working on the other laptop in parallel… but then, lo and behold once the pitches ended and we started getting some cool behind the curtains views of the audience, their feedback and interactions, seeing familiar faces….. THEN the stream turned off and a vigilant message told me that the stream will only resume after one day to show the final pitches and that all in between will not be documented… I felt that that was plain mean… YallaStartup weekend is a sort of non-commercial example.

So all of you event organizers will be saying :”why should we put the stuff live for free, when people pay to attend?”

And I’ll tell you. one has nothing to do with the other.

Most of us attend the events for the networking and has nothing to do with the panels and the speakers, who by the way we realize travel from one event to the other with similar presentations, who most of the time blog a lot and more in depth about the subject, or write whole books on the matter… So you putting up a live stream doesn not diminish your financial gain, which BTW you have reaped in full from teh event sponsors and paying attendees. So you may as well give the sponsor’s their money’s worth and help promote their brands and spread their messages and you event’s messages (while your at it) to even more people. People, who by the way are highly targeted individuals, who simply could not catch a flight, or whose bosses came to the event but left them at the office, or teh bosses who sent employees there and want to make sure that they sent them to an interesting event… People who would love to come to the event next year. People who would tweet about the event and talk and talk about it…

It was so amazing to watch the few panels I have missed (due to my weird trip schedule) at Media ME Forum on their UStream account and the quality of the videos/voice/ the nice music they put when nothing was happening – really professional! And ArabNet, they really understood that if they just empower the social media addicts, their event will be promoted across the roof and that’s what happened.

4.PHOTOS

We live in the now and like to see photos now, and share them and comment on them – ALL NOW! So do not make us wait two days for your flickr or facebook gallery upload. You can set up something extremely simple on site, like that photo booth Arabnet had (could not find link), that immediately sent all photos to their flickr account. Also make sure if you have something like that up & running, promote it well before and during the event.

You have a lot of room to be creative here and there are more wonderful ideas out there to engage people in crowdsourced photography at your event.

5. Icing on the Cake – Netvibes

So you do all of the stuff I mentioned above and integrate all of them into one awesome netvibes page that people courting your event could easily follow.  This is one of the more magical tools out there and one I really, really adore to look at when it comes to events I am not at and ones I am at (if they have one that is). For instance check the cool netvibes page SpotOnPR does annually for Gitex and while you are at it, check Spot On PR’s Netvibe’s page. Don’t you see how that will help your event to become more sharable and viral?

6. Social booklets

You lovely event organizers always give us those nice and creative booklets with all the info about the speakers, but why oh why don’t you mention the speakers’/moderators’ twitter handles, websites, blogs next to their names, so we can connect to them, address our questions to them, or just plain stalk them? and while you’re at it, dedicate a page at the beginning providing us with the event hashtag, livestream, netvibes page… et all

7. PLUGSSSSS

I always email event organizers about plugs, they always feel so happy when i tell them i am planning to bring my laptop to livetweet and welcome the thought and assure me WIFI and electricity plugs are available, but up till now, none of them have delivered on that. Do you expect our battery lives to be infinite? Do you expect us to have spare batteries for our iPhones? We want to enjoy the event all of its durations while checking on work email and tweeting or life-blogging YOUR event. Plain and simple, there should be a dedicated plug at least for every four attendees… Not that I mind making eyes to the camera guy to co-share his plug and carrying around at all times a multi-plug adapter, or stealing power for my mobile from a fellow attendees dying laptop…

8. GOOD WIFI

This probably should’ve been at the top of the list, but I consider it a basic and only as I reread the whole thing I decided to highlight it, just in case….

9.Screen & Screen Brightness

Also a little after thought: try to have several screens at the event and make sure that their brightness is optimal, so we are able to take good cellphone pics no matter how far from the stage we are without stealing your speaker’s valuable “top secrets”.

After Event Tips

  • Encourage us to send feedback
  • Send us all the lovely links for the photos, social pages, videos, slides … post event stats, news clippings about the event
  • It is also lovely to receive some post event answers to questions that were asked during teh forum but did not have enough time to be answered properly or the material/numbers was not at hand.
  • Send us an industry newsletter (yeah i do not mind up being automatically signed up for that)
  • Ask us what do we want to see at your next event
  • Continue Tweeting, Updating the Facebook/linked in page of the event and engaging all who were at the event

Next month, I am planning on attending the 1st Arab Social Media Forum, which the organizers are promising to be a wholesomely dedicated event to all social media aspects… so…. Guys, I am really hoping on seeing all that stuff there [wink, wink]!

Have I left anything out? What is it that you found missing at the last event you have attended?

*Update 1: Forgot to tell you how at Microsoft Open Door Event this year there were special giveaways prepared for tweeters. Small giveaway, but nonetheless, it was pretty sweet.

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Creative Commons License

Women in Technology (Lebanon) have invited me to speak at their Networking and Sustainability Conference  about Social Media/Marketing & Networking in October. The objective was to show the organization members simple and accessible ways to use social media to raise awareness about their NGOs or small businesses without going into complexities. The approach I used was to show these women that are mostly from an older generation that the new technology follows the same rules as the normal socializing that women are so well equipped to do. At the end I listed a few campaigns that relied on social change for fund raising or awareness raising. I had to present in Arabic, so the slides do not say much, except carrying you around a retro, black and white movie theme that was supposed to calm down those ladies, and show them that social media is nothing new and it just simplifies communication. To get the ladies relaxed and less averse to technology I started by telling them that men, who are typically perceived as tech savvy also had their fears, like washing machines, irons, vacuum cleaners… as well as focusing on the strengths women have that make them social drivers. Seconds later they were chuckling and demanding SMEX Beirut for more social media training.

It was an honor to present along with SMEX Beirut , The Amazing Maya Zankoul, The Ostensibly talented Tony Yammine, and the Charismatic Ayman Itani.
It was also extremely touching when after a presentation a girl from the audience gave me a phone accessory which she made herself. She said that she is currently working on her blog, well you can check some of the stuff she is into here .
You can check photos from the panel here.
About WIT Lebanon Networking and Sustainability Conference (NSC).

The NSC in Lebanon brought together over 130 people including representatives from WIT sponsors MEPI and Microsoft, WIT staff, local dignitaries, in-country stakeholders, WIT participants, Professional Development Leaders, and representatives from WIT Partner Organizations. The event was hosted under the patronage of Minister of the Interior Ziad Baroud.
The primary objectives of the Networking and Sustainability Conferences were to create a more cohesive network of local Partners Organizations and in-country teams and strengthen WIT’s Professional Development Networks.

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