The Best of the 2012 Arabian Social Media Kuwait Conference

By: Abdulhadi Hafez

Yesterday we blogged about our 1st Day at the 2012 Arabian Social Media Kuwait Conference and today we had even more fun at the event. Yes, that’s me on the right (the short guy!) representing Raad Afyouni Advertising Agency.

And next to me is Mr. Mathew Batarse, the Director of the Social Media Club in Kuwait (a non-profit organization that facilitates social connections and collaborations), which he convinced us to become an official member of (and we’re happy to!)

During his presentation, Mr. Mathew kindly shared some really interesting facts and insights on social media and on how some of the best companies are utilizing it to reach and connect with their customers in an engaging, practical, but more importantly, non-salesy way.

For example, Gigaset’s neat little “Talk to the bird” Facebook campaign. What did Gigaset do to get people more engaged on Facebook? Well I can describe it to you, but I don’t want to bore you to death so I encourage you to watch the above video to get your daily creative inspiration intake.

You know what Gigaset did, was humanize their brand and with a non-salesy and storytelling way of delivering a marketing message, even though they used a Parrot to do so (I know, how ironic!) You know what? Two previous articles we wrote that relate to these topics come to mind, How the Heck do I Humanize my Social Media Brand?, and The Future of Advertising: Effective Storytelling (6 Tips), in case you’re interested in getting some further inspiration.

One other speaker we were inspired by was delivered by Mr. Khalid Al-Zanki, who has recently founded The Media Boss, whose mission is to educate, empower, entertain and inspire people by spreading knowledge of marketing and technology.

Khalid Al-Zanki was also responsible for bringing the best-selling author and world-famous social media commentator, Gary Vaynerchuk to speak at the Crush it Seminar in Kuwait, which received quite some publicity from the media, namely Al-Watan TV as you can see from the above YouTube video.

The biggest takeaway from Khalid’s presentations and from others as well, is to sit and plan your social media strategy before you launch. Of course content is king, but one key finding is that only 20% of your content should be promotional while 80% should be entertaining and/or educational. Here’s an example of the 80% type of content that not only educates and entertains (through comedy) but shows the importance of Digital Marketing Strategy as well.

1st Day at the 2012 Arabian Social Media Kuwait Conference

By: Abdulhadi Hafez

It’s fortunate enough that we were able to start the day off with a caffeine fix to help us last through the information overload that we received during the workshops. In case you missed it, we wrote an article on how Kuwait is to Host the 2012 Arabian Social Media Conference, and today was the first part of the 2-day conference.

The presentation that we enjoyed the most was one that was delivered by Mr. Patrick Attallah, Founder & CEO of Social4ce who enlightened us with a great presentation on how social businesses need to find and engage with communities online more effectively and utilize social graphs to better reach each target audience.

Another presentation we enjoyed was the one that was delivered by Mr. Ziad Rahal of none other than the famous Yahoo, which is making quite of an impact in the Middle East by focusing on Arabic content development by purchasing “Maktoob”, an Arabic Internet Service Company.

We look forward to the the 2nd day of the conference tomorrow and at the end of it we will make sure to write some blog posts providing lessons and takeaways drawn out of the event. Stay tuned!

Our Experience at the 2012 Kuwait Bloggers Gathering

By: Abdulhadi Hafez

Yeah I know, we wrote two blog posts on this event before, the first one plainly enough, was titled Kuwait Bloggers Gathering 2012, and the second one was called 2012 Arabian Social Media Conference, where we mentioned how popular blogging is becoming in Kuwait nowadays and last night’s event was another testimonial of this fact.

As shown in the above image, the first speaker, one of the most successful bloggers in Kuwait, Hamad AlAli of 7amad Qalam, has managed to pile up a quarter million page views just in the last quarter! The second speaker, Ayman AlRuwayeh of Tasweeq, delivered an enlightening presentation on the do’s and dont’s of e-marketing, going into e-commerce, social media marketing, and more. 

The above image is a screen shot of one of the slides in his presentation, and yes, it’s in Arabic! No worries though, the headline reads “What is E-Marketing?" and the bullets read as follows:

  • Website marketing
  • Text Messaging
  • Social Media Networking
  • Social Media Blogging
  • Email Marketing
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization
Here’s a video of the introduction to the seminar, and if you look closely enough at the presentation screen, you’ll notice written “Tweet Us @bloggersgather #bgseminar”, and this relates to one of the valuable takeaways from the seminar, this whole idea of trendsetting using Twitter hashtags, a favorite tool of conferences and event organizers.

As you probably already know, Twitter allows you to set trends by using hashtags along with keywords to help spread information easier and simultaneously boost visibility and credibility. But not every hashtag will become a trend, people need to tweet it quite often. One of the ways to find out what is trending is to utilize tools such as What the Trend, which details a real-time display of the top Twitter hashtags and why each one is trending.

Anyway, it’s good to see how important social media is becoming in the Kuwaiti business culture, and we’re looking forward for the 2012 Arabian Social Media Conference happening right here in Kuwait as well, on May 9th, 2012. And we’ve also got the Internet Show ME, the Middle East’s leading Internet business exhibition & conference taking place in Dubai, starting tomorrow (April 17th 2012). They’re inviting speakers from PayPal and ESPN, how exciting! Check out the image below:

Anyway, I will leave you with a little treat for reading up until this point, because I know that this blog post is a little longer than usual. I know the image will render useless, but at least it will be eye candy for you. I’m not doing it to torture you or to rub it in your face, but to give you a break from our topic on middle east social media seminars, exhibitions and conferences and get you to focus on other more important matters: Food, one of the most influential and widely used topics in the Kuwait blogging culture!

Kuwait to Host the 2012 Arabian Social Media Conference

By: Abdulhadi Hafez

We’re happy to see that the 2012 Arabian Social Media Conference & Exhibition will be held right here in Kuwait, but at the same time we ain’t surprised! Here’s why: According to the Dubai School of Government’s Arab Social Media Report, Kuwait has one of the highest penetration rates in Facebook, Twitter, and Blog usage.

Coincidentally, we’ve also got the Kuwait Bloggers Gathering 2012 happening here on April 15th, 2012. This is also another clear sign that social media is a big part of the Kuwaiti culture, and is picking up a lot of speed quite rapidly.

The Arabian Social Media Conference & Exhibition is an two-day event that will take place May 9-10, 2012 at the Raddison Blu Hotel in Kuwait. The price to attend is quite hefty, but they’re offering 50% discounts for people who register online.

Here is a description of the event in their own words: “Many government agencies and businesses are implementing Web 2.0 and Social Media strategies. However, simply having a Facebook page,Twitter account or YouTube channel is not enough; organizations need to be strategic in developing and integrating communications using social media.”

The event is said to have workshops and speaking engagement on key issues that revolve around the following topics:

  • Budgeting social media
  • Video marketing
  • Social media tools
  • Social media education & training
  • Social media problems/obstacles
  • How to communicate with social media
  • Social media on digital devices
  • Advertising
  • Geographical strategies
  • Success stories from social media
  • Case studies for successful social media commuting and presenting.
  • Social media analysis
  • Saleability of social media
  • How to measure and add value to social media
  • Security features and increasing user participation
  • Social media marketing strategies

As for who should attend, the following types of companies, organizations, and professionals were listed:

  • CEO’s & COO’s
  • Marketing Executives & Managers
  • Brand strategists
  • Business intelligence
  • Customer Service agents
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Social media managers
  • PR managers
  • Advertisement experts
  • Communication Executives
  • Bloggers
  • E-business managers
  • Digital marketing
  • Product specialists

They say the ROI of social media is that your business will exist in 5 years, and many thought that it’s still too early for businesses in Kuwait to see the benefits of social media. But if you look at the amount of blogs you’ve got in Kuwait nowadays and how they’re making a whole bunch of money from selling advertising space, you would think otherwise.

And if you consider that Kuwait has the 4th highest amount of active Twitter users in the Arab region, standing at 117,304 (Arab Social Media Report 2012; Dubai School of Government), then it makes it even more clear that you either get on the social media ship, or you’ll sink. But as the conference pointed out, social media is not just about creating a Facebook and Twitter page, but it’s about maintaining them to build relationships with key influencers, providing valuable (but branded) content and entertainment, and monitoring and measuring the results.