Lebanon’s area is ranked 170th in the world (CIA, 2014). It is smaller compared to size of Connecticut, one of the littlest states in America. Moreover, Lebanon is one of the few democratic countries in the Middle East region. Regarding its economy, Lebanon is a free market economic climate 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 European countries, North Africa, and the rest of the world. Because of this, its economy has gone by means of some very prosperous times and was even once called the ‘Paris’ of the Middle East before the nation’s fifteen year-long bloody civil war which usually 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 state’s sectarian civil war and presently 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 particular country’s development.
Furthermore, Lebanon’s closeness to Israel has made it the foreign policy/proxy battleground for foreign nations, each using Lebanon for its own selfish ends.
The unfortunate political realities of the country possess significantly hurt the country’s economy. Also, since Lebanon is a service-based economy, this particular sector has taken the biggest hit.
Tourism plays a significant part in the nation’s economy. According to the Lebanese Ministry of Economy & Business (MOET), “Tourism has long been one of Lebanon’s leading economic sectors” (Economic Study Unit, 2010).
Furthermore, The World Traveling & Tourism Council estimated how the travel & tourism sector in Lebanon contributed over $4 billion dollars 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 in order to 9% in 2013 (ibid, g. 14). This is due to the political situation in the land as well as some other factors. Moreover, the number of tourist arrivals in the country kept decreasing from 2011 to 2013.
Because the tourism industry has been somewhat floundering in the past few years, the room for mistake becomes very small for businesses within this industry. The political & financial situations are squeezing tourist-related (TR) businesses in Lebanon. This means that these firms are forced to do more to make on with increasing losses (or decreasing profits) and with fewer resources. There is no informing when the political & economic situation within Lebanon will improve especially since the civil war in neighboring Syria displays no signs of abating.
There are many ways that Lebanese TR businesses can adjust during these times such as implementing downsizing policies and cutting back on marketing and advertising budgets. When economic recessions and tough times affect businesses, the very first things to get eliminated are usually marketing and advertising budgets. But especially since TR businesses need to do more marketing to make up for lost businesses, this may not be a good option.
One solution to this problem is to take advantage of Social internet marketing strategies since they cost little in order 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.
During the past few years, the positive effect of social media on business continues to be extremely high (Kaplan et ing., 2010; Stelzner, 2010; Treem and Leonardi, 2012, p. 143; Baker & Green, 2014).
Moreover, Facebook and Twitter fans of a particular 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. Regarding social media users, which include over 30% of the world, this fact is identified. 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 might quickly adopt Social Media Marketing as an essential 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 usually far behind the West within social media usage. Not only that, when it comes to businesses involved in the tourism industry, there is much room for growth. Little investment decision in technology is keeping visitor 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 specifically 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 an enormous problem in the waste of assets as well as significant missed opportunities being a larger target audience can be reached through social media enabling businesses that embrace social media marketing tools gain a better possibility of success and prosperity.
Purpose of the research
The fruits and advantages of social media marketing equipment may take significant time to come about within Lebanon if we are ignorant from the factors that have led to the prevention of popular 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 embrace social media marketing tools.
Additionally , even though there has been numerous studies in the West about efficiently implementing social media marketing campaigns, the results of the studies may or may not affect the Lebanese context. Therefore , additionally it is the purpose of this study to find out individuals 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 advertisments and even in the overall success of tourism-related businesses.
Lebanese Tourist-Related (TR) companies fall far behind the developed world 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 best approach for Lebanese TR businesses in order to deploy an SMM campaign? So , it was the study’s purpose to get reasons linked to such low purchase & use of SMM by Lebanese TR businesses and to help guide these businesses in effectively using SMM.
The purpose of this study is two fold.
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This study aims to find out exactly what those factors are that are avoiding the widespread adoption of social internet marketing tools among Lebanese TR companies. The philosophy used is interpretivism, for an inductive approach to go from specific to general research, the particular strategy is ethnographic, and the strategy is qualitative. In-depth interviews are used with ten participants from ten different companies. Five companies acquired high social media ‘visibility’ and the other five didn’t. So , the participants’ answers provided very useful information and solutions for the research problem.
The results found that among the most relevant factors of little SMM expense & use by Lebanese TR businesses are that many don’t see benefits to using SMM and so avoid support it.
The results also offered useful information on factors for successfully implementing SMM by Lebanese TR businesses including the acceptance of SMM by ownership/decision-makers and the importance of these individuals in seeing the benefits of SMM. Also, problems with implementing SMM include negative customer feedback and inter-departmental power struggles.