The use of Social Media has grown exponentially in Africa. The number of African Facebook users has exceeded 17 million. The latest statistics from Opera State of the Mobile Web in 2011 highlights the percentage of Facebook users – South Africa (59%); Nigeria (68%) and Kenya (69%) exceed the United Kingdom (51%) and United States (53%).
This is the main reason why as an African business owner, you must understand that Social Media is the best way to build relationships and interact with your existing and potential clients. Large corporations such as Standard Bank are using Social Media to grow and engage with their customers.
Discover the 4 steps on how Social Media Marketing can help you:
· Improve your brand awareness
· Attract more clients
· Improve your ROI
· Enhance your current marketing strategies
Step # 1: Improve Your Brand Awareness
Even though African brands such as Standard Chartered Bank, Kenyan Airways and so on have huge advertising budgets they are still taking advantage of these free Social Media platforms to engage with their existing and potential customers.
Step # 2: Attract More Clients With Social Media
Social Media is mainly used for relationship building. People want to buy from those they Know, Like and Trust.
Before the formation of Facebook when someone wanted to open a bank account with Standard Chartered bank in Africa they would probably incur transportation costs as the bank might not be where they live.
Now with the help of these Social Networks, someone can be a fan or a follower of the bank without having to travel a long distance.
The customer gets to know more information about the company. The information is not just limited to financial information which is normally reported on the news channels but they get to know the social side which is the human side of the company. The customer is now in a position where they begin to feel that they know the company, they like the company and they can trust the company. Standard Chartered Bank on the other hand can now have easy access to their customers. Their customers are liking and commenting on their Social Media posts.
This is great relationship building. Relationship building is also about sharing valuable information about your products and services before attracting the customer. The company can easily win this customer as the customer would feel that the company is part of them. Even if a competitor is offering a cheaper service the customer would still prefer to stay with the one that offered the best service.
Facebook is a great platform to conduct market research as the information gathered are very current and not out-dated.
Kenya Airways asked their fans on their Facebook fan page in January 2012:
“What is an Online Check In?”
They offered a solution and had 29 likes and 9 comments.
You see how effective this marketing campaign can help your business.
You can see from the above example that Social Networking can be used in many ways to get to know your customer. It also will help you in the creation of your products and services. You get to know what they want before you start producing and in this way it saves you time and money and makes you more money.
Do you see how powerful Social Media can be? When you introduce these same strategies in your business you are definitely going to get more business.
Step # 3: Improve Your ROI
The above companies are doing very well online and have taken advantage of these free platform tools. For your Social Media activity to be successful you have to put some things in place. Or else it becomes a complete waste of time, energy and resources and not bearing any results.
To have maximum Return on Investment in your online activities you must have some strategies in place.
Know why you want to be on social media:
· Is it to improve your brand? or
· sell your products?
Draft a plan and work on its execution.
Develop a system where you are able to measure performance and metrics.
Find out what your competitors are doing online.
The above strategies must be placed under different projects to be effective.
Step # 4: Enhance Your Current Marketing Strategies
Incorporating Social Media into your current marketing activities can be challenging in the beginning. Not all your work force will be in support of this Social Media integration and understand its power and the positive impact that it can have in your business. You must be ready for such oppositions but it is useful, as it gives you the opportunity to educate your team about this. It is your job to find out how many people in your team are using some form of Social Media, how many hours they spend a day and who does not use it at all.
If in doubt you can always hire an Online Marketing Consultant.
You are now aware about the impact of Social Media Marketing and how powerful it is in helping brands in Africa. With over 17m African users on Facebook and still growing, use the above strategies and begin your Social Media Marketing campaign to grow your business and enhance your ROI today.