WHY BUSINESS CAN’T DO WITHOUT SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media seems to have firmly cemented its position in modern society… If you are not already using LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or perhaps one of the other social networks out there I bet you can name at least three people who are! Social Media has been the buzz word globally for the last couple of years, but unfortunately it looks like African businesses have had a very slow uptake to some of the technological advancements. The conservatives from the old school era view it with great scepticism, some have even written it off as a waste of time but the young tech-savvy have embraced it so as to remain á la mode with the rest of the world. It is time that businesses in Africa realises the potential and the inert power of Social Media in particular LinkedIn.
Picture the Social Networking platforms as cocktail parties and you and your brand are the invited guests. You are not the VIPs, that would be you customers and clients. The process of mingling and communication is exactly the same way social media platforms work. Social Media platforms have lifted the iron veil which existed between yourself, your brand and your prospects and customers. Now that we have clarified the Social Networking theory and we are on the same plate, now let us look at some statistics to understand why all this noise is being made about the importance of social media.
The above info-graphics show the statistics for South Africa, Africa’s largest and most stable economy. So stable and balanced is the South African Economy it has even added a new season to the annual business calendar, “strike season,” and yet it doesn’t affect the economy. With such impressive figures, in terms of the number of users on Social Media Networks, it is surprising to notice that most South African companies still don’t have a Social Media presence let alone a strategy to compliment their marketing strategies.
Below are 5 reasons why your business should embrace social media:
It’s available to everyone.
Most Social Media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter allow you to create a profile for free. Admittedly you need to pay for your broadband connection but if you look at the amount you will spend versus the coverage you will be getting you will be smiling. For example a company page on LinkedIn will put you in the presence of the close to 3 million members in South Africa. It also takes time to engage in and this is where many businesses falter… Social Media marketing is a medium to long-term strategy on the whole and you need to be committed to it. Your clients and potentials need to be constantly engaged by uploading content daily. Your content will help create a buzz and once people start sharing your updates, your brand’s visibility is increasing. Twitter for instance is possibly the fastest way to build a list of prospects, so why not link your LinkedIn account with your Twitter. But it does not stop there – you need to keep them entertained and informed and that takes valuable time. The platforms are ready to use, what are you waiting for.
It’s the go to place.
Social Media sites especially LinkedIn are the “new hangout joints” for businesses. There are over 3 million company pages on the entire LinkedIn platform. Just like deals were sealed on the golf course back in the days, so many deals await to be done on Social Media Platforms. Whether it’s aligning your brand with another, a JV or perhaps even finding someone to bounce an idea off – social media lends itself perfectly to connecting you with other people just as passionate about a particular industry. It is also the best place to source for talent especially on LinkedIn. LinkedIn allows you to employer brand and position your brand as employer of choice.
It’s the best way to get publicity.
By constantly interacting with your audience; uploading relevant content which is fun to read and appealing, you are creating publicity for your products, services and ultimately your brand. Include some visual links to either a YouTube link or to Pinterest or to Instagram and you will have increased your engagement probability. Technology companies have turned to Social Media Platforms to engage their publics before a product launch. By creating interactive sites where the audience can give you feedback, most businesses would save themselves hundreds of thousands of rands in ad campaigns only to find that the market doesn’t need the product. Social Networks become your sounding boards.
It impacts your bottom line.
The entire goal of being in business is to make money. Companies are interested on ROI and this is most evident when you use social media channels. There is an array of tools such as hootsuite, hubspot and many others which you can use to monitor your social media presence and the ROI. It follows that if your content is captivating and relevant, there is an increase in traffic which generates leads which you will be able to convert into sales.
It’s the future.
No business wants to get left behind right? The more your competition promotes across social media and you don’t, the greater the success and market share that your competition will have. This wave of social media marketing is here to stay and if you don’t jump on board NOW you are severely hampering your chances of longevity online – which is where more business is going.
Plan your attack!!!
You can waste hours on social media marketing to no positive effect, therefore allocate some financial resources for it and get some assistance if you are not 100% sure of how to approach the medium. Approach experts who are going to help you formulate a sound and implementable Social Media strategy.