Lebanon’s area ranks 170th in social media marketing (CIA, 2021), which is smaller than Connecticut, one of the smallest states in America. Moreover, Lebanon is one of the few democratic countries in the Middle East. As for Lebanon’s economy, it is a free market economy and has a long tradition of illogical economics. In addition to its location on the eastern Mediterranean coast, Lebanon is considered a central “window” from the Middle East to Europe, North Africa and other parts of the world. It was once called the “Paris” of the Middle East, before the bloody 15-year civil war that ended in 1990.
Although Lebanon is small, it is also one of the most diverse countries in the world. Christians, Muslims, Druze, and other sectarian minorities are scattered throughout the small country, and even Lebanon’s political system is based on sectarianism.
However, this diversity plays an important role in the country’s problems. This diversity was a necessary condition for the country’s civil war and plays a key role in political paralysis today, although other (mostly foreign) factors are responsible. Currently, there is no sitting president and rival political parties in the country are fighting and defending each other rather than promoting the country’s development.
In addition, Lebanon’s proximity to Israel makes it a foreign policy / proxy battleground for foreigners, with each country using Lebanon for its own selfish purposes.
The country’s sad political reality has a profound impact on its economy. Moreover, since Lebanon is a service economy, this sector is the most affected.
Tourism plays an important role in the economy of the social media marketing country. According to the Lebanese Ministry of Economy and Trade (MOET), “Tourism is one of the most important economic sectors in Lebanon” (Economic Research Unit, 2010).
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In addition, the World Travel & Tourism Council estimates that Lebanon’s travel and tourism industry generated more than $4 billion in revenue in 2013 (World Travel & Tourism Council, 2014).
The travel and tourism sector accounted for about 10% of the economy in 2012, but this share dropped to 9% in 2013 due to the domestic political situation and other factors (page 14). From 2011 to 2013, the decline continued in the country.
Since the travel industry has been in trouble in recent years, the margin for error for companies in this industry is minimal. The political and economic situation is forcing the tourism (TR) companies in Lebanon, which means that they are forced to do more to compensate for the growing losses. (Or lower profits) and with fewer resources. There has been no word on when the political and economic situation in Lebanon will improve, especially since the neighboring Syrian civil war shows no signs of easing.
There are a number of ways that the Lebanese TR industry could adapt during this time, such as implementing a downsizing policy and cutting marketing and advertising budgets. When an economic downturn and troubled times hit companies, the first thing to be cut is often the marketing budget. But just because TR companies need more marketing to make up for the loss of business, this may not be a good idea.
One solution to this problem is to use a social media marketing strategy because it uses little or no resources, making it ideal for the current economic situation in Lebanon. Social media marketing helps TR companies overcome the barriers of tight budgets and shrunken businesses.
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In recent years, the positive impact of social media on businesses has been very high (Kaplan et al., 2010; Stelzner, 2010; Treem & Leonardi, 2012, p. 143; Baker & Green, 2014).
In addition, Facebook and Twitter fans of a particular brand are more likely to recommend and purchase those brands than non-fans (Cruz & Mendelsohn, 2011). More and more companies are adding social media marketing tools to their marketing strategies and in some cases even becoming an integral part of their overall business strategy.
Normally, we would expect Lebanese companies to quickly adopt social media marketing as an important part of their overall marketing strategy. But that’s not the case. When it comes to the Middle East, and Lebanon in particular, the region is following the West in the use of social media. Not only that, but when it comes to companies in the travel industry, there is still plenty of room for growth. Low investment in technology is preventing travel companies from taking advantage of social media marketing opportunities.
The Lebanese tourism industry is not benefiting from a social media marketing strategy, although it certainly has its advantages. This is a major problem, especially since the economy is in a difficult situation.
In addition, Lebanese TR companies and Lebanese companies in general are not using social media tools as they should. This represents a major problem in terms of wasted resources and significant missed opportunities, as a large audience can be reached through social media and companies that use social media marketing tools have the opportunity to do so: More success and wealth
Objectives of the study
The fruits and benefits of social media marketing tools can be significant in Lebanon if we are not aware of the factors that lead to the widespread protection of social media marketing adoption.
Until there are studies on the effective use of social media marketing campaigns in the Lebanese context, many TR companies may lose even if they decide to use a social media marketing tool.
Moreover, there are many studies in the West about the effective use of social media marketing campaigns. But these results may or may not apply to the Lebanese context. Therefore, the objective of this study was to find out the factors involved in the effective use of social media marketing in TR activities in Lebanon.
Ultimately, there is no doubt that social media marketing plays a very important role in marketing campaigns and even in the overall success of travel-related business.
Tourism related business (TR) in Lebanon follows the developed world of SMM investment and adoption. Why is this so, because of the many benefits of SMM? Moreover, what is the most efficient marketing way for Lebanese TR businesses to use SMM campaigns to follow a global social media marketing tracking?
The purpose of this study is twofold. This study aims to find out what exactly are the factors that prevent the widespread adoption of social media marketing tools among Lebanese TR companies. The philosophy used is interpretivism, for an inductive approach to move from specific to general research, the strategy is ethnographic and the methodology is qualitative. Five companies had high social media ‘visibility’ and the other five did not. Thus, the participants’ responses provided very useful information and solutions to the research problem.
The results showed that among the most relevant factors of low SMM investment and use by Lebanese TR companies is that many do not see benefits in using SMM and therefore do not support it therefore do not support it.
The results also provided useful information on factors for effective implementation of SMM by Lebanese TR companies, including the acceptance of SMM by owners/decision makers and the importance of these individuals seeing the benefits of SMM. Problems in implementing SMM also include negative customer feedback and power struggles between departments.