‘The Social Media Revolution’ a phrase that has become ubiquitous over the past few years, is being used by people all over the globe. The fast-paced life we lead has created demand for easier and simpler communications. Consumers are no longer passive, but rather active producers of content. There is no doubt that the Internet is a wondrous creation, but what has generated an unexpected leap in web activity and really taken it to the next level can all be summed up in two words ‘Social Media.’
Social Media has quickly become the most influential factor in grass roots sociopolitical organizations. People have united on different social media platforms for various reasons, one of which is to object. Objection within the Egyptian society was long banned and social media seems to be the window where Egyptians feel free to express themselves. A window that resulted in an event the whole world witnessed, ‘The Egyptian Revolution’. During the uprisings, social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter were used with an aim to increase the transparency and unite like-minded individuals toward the common goal of freedom.
Since the start of the January 25th revolution, Facebook users in Egypt increased from 3.4M to 7.9M in just 5 months. Twitter subscriptions were scoring upwards with 2-3 new additions every second and number of daily tweets increasing from 122,319 to 1,317,233 in just 2 weeks. Not only were social media subscribers in the Arab world not anticipated, but also no one predicted the impact that social media would have as a catalyst for the uprisings in several other countries.
The increased convergence to social media has driven many institutes and companies to shift their communication strategies from ‘campaigns’ to ‘conversations’. Conversations can be accomplished through various channels but the most influential in changing perceptions is online and social media. Research of the increased social media activity has driven almost 83% of companies to become present on Facebook.
Post-revolution, many Egyptians were feeling the need to give back and support their country. Recognizing this need — all of the previous reasons were the drivers for Memac Ogilvy’s social media CSR activity in support of Egypt. The Memac Ogilvy team came up with, “I Love You My Country” social campaign on Facebook. The campaign was aimed at encouraging tourism in Egypt and showcasing the beauty of Egypt through the eyes of Egyptians. A photography competition was launched onto the page where Egyptians were encouraged to take a photograph of Egypt and invite their friends to vote for them. The campaign lasted for 6 weeks and wrapped up with a celebration showcasing the top 15 voted for photographs that were later sent as photo releases to all Memac Ogilvy offices for publishing across the globe.
Almost 27,500 subscribed to the “I Love You My Country” Facebookpage with almost 2,000 pictures of Egypt uploaded. The campaign proved the real potential of social media as a driver and influencer of people, not only to share thoughts, ideas and activities, but also to contribute with something as simple as a photograph, all for a good cause. Social media spread like a wildfire in Egypt during the uprising and is continuing to possess the power to influence most of the Egyptian generations.
Social media is a highly influential method of communication and changing perception with the capability to produce tremendous results. Once organizations start reverting to social media for their communication strategies, they will immediately leverage the data user experience making it more direct and unique. Today, social media should be a core part of a company’s strategy in order to keep up with the evolving corporate social needs.
David Carlson: Social Media and Traditional PR