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!

Social Influence Marketing is the New Global Advertising

By: Abdulhadi Hafez

We’re not sure who came up with the term, Social Influence Marketing (SIM) but it has been shown in reports and presentations conducted by Razorfish, the advertising agency that has taken on the difficult social engagement task for the giant brand, Nike.

Social influence marketing, in a nutshell, is to influence the attitudes and actions of your target customers through their social spheres of friends and family. In other words, it is to create customers who create customers!

I know this is like our twentieth time mentioning the above Nielsen study (Global Advertising: Consumers Trust Real Friends and Virtual Strangers the Most), but it shows a very important insight pertinent to SIM, and that is the claim that 70% of people trust the opinions of consumers online. These are not friends, but rather complete strangers! Because if you look right above it, 90% of people trust recommendations from people known.

And that is why Jim Lecinski, Google’s Managing Director of US Sales & Service wrote a book on the subject called “Winning the Zero Moment of Truth" (ZMOT) in which ZMOT is described as the moment when online purchasers go online to read the reviews and recommendations from their friends and virtual strangers. One shocking stat from the book is how 83% of Moms Do Online Research After Seeing a TV commercial.

So what does this mean? It means that recommendations from personal acquaintances or opinions posted by consumers online are the most trusted forms of advertising. So it is vital for brands to monitor review and opinion sites such as Yelp and Amplicate to see what their consumers are saying about them. 

And don’t you dare forget about the micro-blogging phenomenon, Twitter, where 340 million tweets per day are conducted, many of which may be about your brand. 

Last but not least, here in Kuwait blogging is a very big part of the culture where many of them make it their full-time job to try out different restaurants and cafes and then blog about it, and that’s why we’re starting to see a lot of restaurants proactively inviting these bloggers to come and try out their food for free and then have them write unbiased reviews about them. Such brands have the realized the power of SIM and have already taken steps to adapt to the new global way of advertising.

Kuwait Bloggers Gathering 2012

We were honored to have been invited to the Bloggers Gathering Seminar which is set to take place on April 15, 2012 (5-8pm), at the Gulf Unviersity of Science and Technology (in Hall W6-200) in Kuwait. The seminar is said to cover topics such as legal issues in social media, e-businesses experience, and of course, blogging.

Surprisingly, Kuwait is ahead of all other countries in the GCC region when it comes to blogging, seeing that UAE has the highest Internet penetration rate in the Arab region. Kuwait is also ahead of UAE when it comes to the number of active Twitter users. (Arab Social Media Report 2012)

We’re proud to see that Kuwait is one of the most active countries in the GCC when it comes to social media usage.

The active blogs in Kuwait are many, and for this reason bloggers such as Danderma releases a list of the 100 Best Kuwaiti Blogs every month or so. These blogs are selling ad space like crazy and are making quite a killing due to the high monthly traffic they receive. For example, Q8 Ping (i.e. Kuwait Ping) is positioned as the best blog in Kuwait with an estimated monthly traffic of 36,000 visitors!

We’ll be sure to go to network and quite admittedly, to create mutually-beneficial relationships with other bloggers (there we said it!) Anyway, if you’re interested in also attending, registration is open for everyone and for more details on the gathering, please feel free to visit Bloggers Gathering’s Website. Hope to see you there!