4 QUESTIONS EVERY AFRICAN BUSINESS OWNER SHOULD ASK BEFORE INVESTING IN SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
A lot of African businesses still underestimate the power of social media in today’s world. However, Facebook currently has over 2. 3 billion monthly active users globally and over 2 million active users in Africa. Instagram records over 2 million active users daily globally and 900,000 active users in Africa, so I guess it’s safe to say social media is pretty important when targeting African consumers.
The time to tap into the power of social media is now!
Before you begin putting together a plan for managing your social media properly, you need to consider which social media platform works best for your business.
Here’s a brief overview of the different platforms and what benefits they can provide to your business:
Facebook has nearly 2 million monthly active users across Africa with diverse backgrounds and a good balance of gender and age groups. This makes it a great social platform for businesses that are trying to reach a wider audience. It is also great for reaching people in less urban areas as Facebook’s mobile app algorithm uses very little data, thus it loads even in places where data isn’t great.
Instagram is a great social media channel for brands that create a lot of visual content. This can be a great platform for businesses selling products or offer services related to fashion, lifestyle or art.
Twitter has 328 million active users worldwide and tends to be where users go for news and trends. This platform is ideal for brands that want to join a conversation about trending topics in their industry. It’s also a great place to share content with influencers and other individuals who might be interested in your brand.
LinkedIn is the social media platform for B2B brands that are targeting businesses in different industries. With LinkedIn, you can find, interact and share content with people based on the company type, industry, or job title.
YouTube has become the second largest search engine in the world, second only to Google. You can upload your video content to this channel to help engage and connect with your audience. With unlimited video hosting, your business can post as many videos as you want and share them on other channels.
Pinterest is another great channel for sharing image-focused content. This has become a must for consumers who are interested in DIY, crafts, home improvement, nutrition, fitness, fashion, weddings and more. If your brand sells a product or service that lends well to imagery, then Pinterest may be worthwhile.
So now that you hopefully know which platform your brand should be leveraging, let’s talk about a few other things you need to do to be successful on social media.
Social Media Marketing goes beyond just posting updates. It includes engaging your audience and looking for new ways to increase your reach and brand visibility. The big question is HOW to achieve this.
To help guide you here are four questions every African business owner needs to answer before diving right in:
1. WHAT ARE MY MARKETING GOALS?
It’s important to determine what your marketing goals are; would you like to increase sales, or generate leads or newsletter signups or simply use social media as a tool to increase top of the mind awareness and brand visibility.
Defining your goals helps narrow down the best platform(s) for your business be it Facebook, Twiter, Instagram or YouTube.
2. WHO IS MY TARGET AUDIENCE
Understanding your target audience is important in understanding what they may find appealing about your product, your messaging and how you engage them.
It’s important to factor in the following:
Cost: How much does your product or service cost and how much disposable income do people need in order to patronize you?
Age: What’s the age range of your target customer?
Platform: What social media platforms do your target customers use?
Location: Where is your target audience located?
Interest: What are your target customers interested in?
Aesthetics: Are your products/services visually appealing to the audience you are targeting?
3. WHAT VISUALS & MESSAGING WILL WORK?
Content is king as they say, when investing in Social Media Marketing, you need to pay close attention to the kind of content you put out.
Visual content has proven to convert higher than text-only content. Here are some pointers to selecting your preferred content type.
Image content- People are more inclined to finish reading what you’ve written when you’ve included high quality and relevant images. It’s preferable to use original images or ones taken by you, as this adds a much-desired personal touch to your content.
Videos- Videos are incredibly useful for presenting common problems and then showing the solutions that your product can offer. There are numerous types of videos that can enhance your social media pages like how-to videos, animated explainer videos, demonstrations or customer testimonials. Whatever your choice, it’s important that the videos express your brand’s story.
Infographics- Infographics are an excellent tool for drawing upon all of your complex data and statistics and collating them into a compelling, easily intelligible visual display.
Meme- Creating your own memes is a great way to evoke positive emotions and set yourself apart from your competitors. Firstly, you must determine if memes are appropriate for your niche and whether or not they will gain actual engagement with your audience.
4. HOW MUCH SHOULD I SPEND?
Your marketing budget is a mix of what you can afford and what will be effective. My advice is to set aside a test budget that tests your assumptions and then review the results, tweak and then decide on a budget that works.
In conclusion, there are endless possibilities to how your business can benefit from Social Media Marketing. As other marketing processes, social media is about trial and error, try until you find a process that best works to deliver your message to your potential customers.
For B2B brands, highly technical brands or premium and luxury brands, it must be noted that social media may bring you brand visibility, but most probably won’t lead to sales because users need more information to make a decision. Social media can be used to drive traffic to the company website where the actual conversion can then happen.
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