At Social Media Konnect, we get a lot of feedback from business owners and marketing departments regarding use of social media in the local context. We have also conducted some market research on how business in Zimbabwe feel social media impacts their sales and helps businesses attain their goals.
Unfortunately, it is apparent that most business in Zimbabwe are not utilizing social media platforms correctly or to their full potential. The primary cause for this is the lack-of-knowledge on how their presence on these platforms should be managed. In a personal statement, I must say that learning about all-things Social Media and Online Marketing has taken me years (on-and-off), and it is a never-ending process, simply because each platform evolves, and every other season, there is a new platform or tool to master.
Put quite simply, (in most cases) your business is NOT social media management, so why would you invest time and resources learning on how to do it. At best, a small business may appoint a team member or their marketing department to handle their social media. Not to sound like a broken record, one thing to keep in mind is that social media management is more than just publishing posts and images. It is, in fact, both a science and an art. Universities are now starting to offer social media management and online marketing courses as part of their curriculum. If you are an accounting firm, how would you feel if someone who has never studied Accounting asked to join your team and handle your client’s accounts?
It’s exactly the same.
Just because I may handle my family’s books using excel with a downloaded family budget template, does not mean that I can handle my own company’s accounting, or your clients’ for that matter.
It would seem however, because people use social media every single day in a personal capacity, businesses feel that social media management can be handled by inexperienced personnel who have 5,000 friends on their personal Facebook profile.
In this article, we are going to take you through some of the mistakes Zimbabwean businesses are making. These mistakes occur every day and when a business makes them, they dispel social media as a helpful and successful marketing tool.
Social media does not work for my industry
The truth of the matter is that businesses who say social media is not for them, do not know how to utilize it properly. If you feel social media will not for your business or industry, try searching international companies in your line of work, and take a look at their online presence. With the exception of covert missions, government embargoed industries, chemical/biological projects and secret societies – your industry and business can thrive on social media.
Social media is just for personal use
Does it mean that the hundreds-of-thousands of businesses using social media around the world are wrong? If you personally feel that social media is a fad, and not ‘businessy’ enough, don’t make the fatal mistake of passing your reservations over onto to your business. It is vital that you are able to separate your personal views and that of your business, and realize that social media is the new business card, the new commercial, the new newspaper, the new office front. Either you learn to swim, or drown.
Unless of course you have a huge budget to use conventional methods of advertising and marketing.
Social media works better in first-world countries
To put it quite bluntly, no. Indeed, years ago when not everyone from all walks of life were online, and data tariffs were still high, most African countries couldn’t count on social media engagement on a large scale. However, nowadays, nearly everyone has got a smartphone, and local telecom companies have social network bundles for very low prices. The outcome? More people online now than ever before, and that is especially true of social media via their mobile phones.
The key to success when it comes to social media in the local context, and that would go for most Sub-Saharan countries and not just Zimbabwe, is to have a Social Media & Online Marketing strategy as well as a budget to support it for each quarter. Just as you would have a conventional marketing budget.
Simply posting random posts and images is not conducive: you need a lot more. People are being bombarded by a lot of content on social media. The sheer number of social networks and subsequent businesses and other content generators within them is staggering. There has been a visible shift within the user psyche to have some order in the online clutter. This is why people now subscribe to YouTube channels that deliver content they want, and that is what shows up first on their feed. As a business, you need to have a structure to the content you deliver to your target market and public as a whole. Think of social media as TV, Radio and Newspaper of the yesteryear, and sit down map out a schedule across all three platforms of what your public want to see and engage with.
Never Boost Your Page/Post/Event:
That $35 Facebook per month boost is the worst thing you can take up. Who are you boosting to? Facebook, like all other businesses are in it to make money, so they offer you something that seemingly seems heaven-sent, but is just a tip of the iceberg. You may be boosting your page, and getting 20 likes a day, but are unaware that if you executed carefully planned advertising campaigns on the same platform – you would be getting 50 likes a day.
Content is King:
If you are just posting images with your products and prices, you are going to have a tough 2018, because your competitors are gearing up on content that educates, informs and entertains your target market. You need a solid content and video marketing plan that will keep you at the forefront of your industry or niche.
Overall, social media is here to stay for as long as TV, radio and newspapers have. You cannot deny, hide from or ignore it hoping that it goes away.
You need to think like an international company operating locally. This should be your approach in order to develop solid strategies for your social media and online marketing campaigns and dominating your industry.
Social Media Konnect is a social media management and online marketing agency based in Harare, Zimbabwe.
We offer tailored online services to individuals, SME's, non-profits, institutions and corporates that wish to establish a better online presence and reach their target audiences. Through carefully planned and executed campaigns, we give our clients leverage to connect with customers, build brand loyalty, increase engagement, increase sales, and in-turn - grow their business.
© 2019 Social Media Konnect, All Rights Reserved. Social Media Konnect is a trading name for NODAYSOFF PBC registered in Harare, Zimbabwe.