Facebook Viral Marketing: In Light of the Egyptian Revolution

If you have been following the news lately you’d be aware of the changes taking place in the Middle East, especially in Egypt and Tunisia, and currently in Libya and Yemen. The preparing for the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions was so powerful that it resulted in their dictators to be toppled in the matter of days, and obviously the Libyans are on the road to follow.

The interesting thing is that the preparation of these revolutions took place on the biggest, most visited website on the Internet today; Facebook. This example of viral marketing is one of the most successful ones to be studied and lectured about in the field of marketing as well as in the politics avenues.

The Egyptians started a similar attempt of revolution a couple of years ago called “the movement of April 6th.” and was aiming at general strike allover the country. The strike took place partially and the attempt failed to make any change. Later after the Tunisians tried their own version and it worked, the Egyptian found a successful example in front of their eyes to follow, and they did successfully this time.

The lessons that we as marketers should learn from the Egyptian revolution example are huge and might take quite some time and a set of websites devoted just to cover this subject, but for the purpose of this article I’ll only focus on 3 major lessons to come out with and apply in our marketing efforts.

1. Create a Front:

The Egyptians had this clearly manifested in the form of the people against the corrupt system. It’s “us” and “them” kind of segregation. This front creating made the supporters of the cause belong to the front and do anything at their disposal to defeat the “others”. That included spreading the word to their friends and relatives; commenting, liking and sharing of the stuff they wanted to go viral; reported the “others” comments as spam and got their competitors blocked from using facebook; collected related material and shared on the fan page of the front; and shared their support and, eventually, their celebration of success.

If you can follow this example in your campaign you’ve got a winner. Find a segregation, if there is not any make one and be patient. It might take a while, but after it takes off you can not stop it.

2. Social Proof:

Social proof is one of the psychological triggers used to convince people to follow your cause. The “movement of April 6th.” didn’t make it because it lacked the proof that this could work, especially that the Egyptian people were afraid of the brutality of their corrupt system in dealing with the opposition.

After the Tunisian example the atmosphere was different. They had the example to follow and the proof it could work because the Tunisian dictator was analogous to their own. “If the Tunisians could do it, so we can” the thought. That spirit was manifested during the clashes with the police and their tools. I remember one of the leaders, her name is Nawwara, was on the TV with Al-Jazeera telling the audience live on TV that “it’s only you who are worried because you are not in the middle of the battle, we have a high spirit here and are confident of our victory” more or less as some meanings might get lost in the translation.

Where was this spirit two years earlier when they used the same medium (Facebook)? The answer is that this time they had the example to follow.

So if you have real success stories, or if you thing your own story could be as inspiring as the Tunisian example, then share it with your fans on your fan page.

3. Persistence:

This one is obvious, but it’s worth to be stressed at. The Egyptians and before them the Tunisians faced threats of death and injury. In fact, hundreds were killed and thousands were injured in both countries, but the revolutions kept going until the survivors collected the freedom fruit.

And here I’d like to stop and ask you this question: are you here for fun or for a cause? If that’s a hobby that you want to make a few bucks on the Internet here and there then this model is not for you. It only works if this is the cause of your life. You gotta be cornered, like I was recently, in order to push yourself to the absolute limit and start racking thousands of dollars in revenue that could change your and your family’s life and future.

So, what are you waiting for? You’ve got a fan page to build and a cause to work for. Get going.