Lebanon’s area is ranked 170th on the planet (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 centre 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 seaside location on the Eastern Mediterranean coastline, Lebanon is considered as the central ‘window’ of the Middle East to European countries, North Africa, and the rest of the globe. Because of this, its economy has gone by means of some very prosperous times and was even once called the ‘Paris’ from the Middle East before the nation’s fifteen 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 also Lebanon’s political system is based on sectarian power sharing.
However , this diversity had played a pivotal part in the nation’s problems. This variety was a necessary condition of the state’s sectarian civil war and currently plays an important role in its politics paralysis, although other factors (mainly foreign) are to blame as well. There is currently no acting President and the nation’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 a foreign policy/proxy battleground for international nations, each using Lebanon for its own selfish ends.
The depressing political realities of the country have got 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 function 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 Take a trip & Tourism Council estimated that this travel & tourism sector within Lebanon contributed over $4 billion dollars in 2013 (World Journey & Tourism Council, 2014).
The travel & tourism sector made up about 10% of the economy this year but that share dropped 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 lowering from 2011 to 2013.
Because the tourism industry has been somewhat floundering in the past few years, the room for error becomes very small for businesses with 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 on with increasing losses (or decreasing profits) and with fewer resources. There is no informing when the political & economic situation in Lebanon will improve especially since the municipal war in neighboring Syria displays no signs of abating.
There are many methods Lebanese TR businesses can adjust during these times such as implementing downsizing policies and cutting back on marketing & advertising budgets. When economic recessions and tough times affect businesses, the very first things to get eliminated are usually marketing budgets. But especially since TR businesses need to do more marketing to generate up for lost businesses, this may not be advisable.
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 economy in Lebanon. Social media marketing allows TR businesses to overcome obstacles of limited budgets and decreased company.
During the past few years, the positive effect of social media on business continues to be 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 all don’t need to make sure of social media’s impact on business through research studies. With regard to social media users, which include over 30% of the world, this fact is recognized. More and more businesses are inserting Social Media marketing tools into their marketing strategies and, in some instances, have even become an integral part of their particular overall business strategy.
Naturally, one would expect that Lebanese businesses might quickly adopt Social Media Marketing as a crucial role in their overall marketing strategies but this is not the case. When it comes to the Middle East and especially Lebanon, the region will be far behind the West in social media usage. Not only that, when it comes to businesses involved in the tourism industry, there is a lot room for growth. Little purchase in technology is keeping visitor businesses away from maximizing marketing possibilities 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 assets 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 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 wide-spread social media marketing adoption.
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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 follow social media marketing tools.
Additionally , even though there have been numerous studies in the West about efficiently 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 people factors related to effectively implementing social media marketing among Lebanese TR businesses.
By the end, there is no doubt that social media marketing plays an extremely important role in the marketing promotions and even in the overall success of tourism-related businesses.
Lebanese Tourist-Related (TR) businesses fall far behind the created world investing and using SMM. Since there are many benefits of SMM, exactly why is this so? Also, to cope 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 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 twofold. This study aims to find out precisely what those factors are that are avoiding the widespread adoption of social internet marketing tools among Lebanese TR businesses. 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 additional five didn’t. So , the participants’ answers provided very useful information and solutions for the research problem.
The results found that among the most related factors of little SMM investment & use by Lebanese TR businesses are that many don’t see advantages to using SMM and so no longer 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. Furthermore, problems with implementing SMM include damaging customer feedback and inter-departmental power struggles.