There are two golden rules that we always mention in every conversation on social media because we believe that all mistakes that are made on social media are the result of ignoring or forgetting these two rules:
- Social media networks are not the websites; they are the people.
- Social media networks are not Facebook and Twitter; they are the engagement.
These two simple phrases are the key to this dynamic and ever-changing world.
Working with volunteer institutions gives a fair amount of freedom in innovation, which is the case when Alamah supported Al Batinah Farmers Association. The association is a volunteer association that aims at providing support to farmers in North Al Batinah by introducing new techniques in agriculture. But the association has exceeded this task and got involved in bigger projects, including the exportation of Omani vegetables to global markets such as Japan and Germany. Even though exporting agricultural products to these countries is subject to strict requirements, Omani vegetables and Omani farmers have been able to meet them.
Al-Batinah Farmers Association wanted to send several messages to the Omani public; one of which is that the Omani land is rich if we use the right agricultural techniques and administrative organization that ensure the efficiency of the agricultural sector. The agricultural sector is able to attract investments and create job opportunities for Omanis if we develop its marketing plans.
Alamah volunteered to support the Association by delivering its message on social media. Alamah has met with a number of specialists in the agricultural sector and social media influencers and has formulated key themes and an action plan for its initiative to support the Association.
The idea of Alamah was to organize a trip to standard Omani farms managed by the Association. The trip invitation card said “Have you ever tried to fish from a farm, and harvest vegetables that are exported to Japan?” which reflects the first rule; “Social media networks are not Facebook and Twitter, they are the people”. Writing a group of tweets and sending them to tweeps to publish on their accounts will not serve any purpose because these people have never lived the experience they are trying to market.
Therefore, the idea was to organise a “trip”, not a visit, lecture nor a conference; a trip to Omani farms, during which Tweeps will live the whole experience of visiting these farms.
Sending invitations to most followed tweeps is the worst practice on social media. You should choose tweeps who are really interested in your cause. So, we have classified active tweeps, selected those who are interested in nature, environment, agriculture and volunteer work and invited them on this trip.
The Second Rule, social media networks are not Facebook and Twitter; they are the engagement! What content tweeps will actually find tempting to write about or take pictures of, so that their followers will retweet? Fishing a Tilapia fish may be a fun shot to share. Harvesting peppers of different colours that you would not believe grew in Omani farms or full fields of lettuce planted as if they were fields of flowers is amazing content that will actually make tweeps share this story and make it go viral on social media in the Sultanate. Now imagine if this initiative was entitled “Prospects of the agricultural sector” and held in a closed auditorium!
Selecting a hashtag is very important in such an initiative. Limiting the tag to a specific organisation will limit its spread and. Therefore, we selected the hashtag #Khairat _Oman, a hashtag that will spread and reach a great number of people and encourage those interested to tweet about it, even if they did not attend the event.
Tweeps were really excited about this initiative because they believed in its idea, and especially because they are always looking for an exceptional experience that they could live and share with their followers. Also, the initiative touched almost all citizens and residents, which explains why it went viral on social media and became the top hashtag in the Sultanate on that day.
Two weeks after the initiative, His Excellency, the Minister of Social Development, issued a decision to change the name of Al Batinah Farmers Association to Omani Agricultural Association.