With January drawing to a close, we are shifting focus onto the rest of 2013 and are wondering what to expect from Zimbabwean businesses in social media. This really is the information age and with all there is to offer in the world of digital and content marketing, it can make for some challenging decisions. Do you build profiles and accounts on every single social media platform out there and make sure you have great presence, or do you carefully select the best platforms for your business and dominate those?
Social media trends:
In Zimbabwe the majority of social media users access these sites through their mobiles. Many don’t have fixed internet lines and internet cafes are scarce, compared to other capital cities, so mobile penetration is high. It therefore makes sense to take this into consideration when choosing your platforms. Sites like Facebook and Twitter will continue to dominate, mainly because everybody uses them on a personal level and are common apps. Developing your own apps on Facebook or making use of QR codes for shopping, for example should excite your audience so don’t be afraid of exploring these options. If you don’t run advertising campaigns on social media you should retain your fans and followers, so 2013 will mainly be about content marketing. Share valuable content that engages people and solves their problems and you have a winning formula.
Keep creating content
Visual content is also key and it doesn’t get better than Instagram if you want to keep creating and sharing attractive content. No longer are hashtags restricted to Twitter, this is a great way if keeping a collection of photos under all in one place and its common for users to spend a vast amount of time, choosing and applying 20+ hashtags to their photos. The most time spent on Instagram however is spent choosing a filter, to give your photo some kind of edgy, vintage or contemporary feel to name a few. Although the app is only available on i-phones, i-pads, etc, there is another fantastic photo-sharing social networking site that can easily rival Instagram. Flickr has been named “best mobile photo app” by Forbes so many would even say its better than Instagram. However Instagram has been around two or three years and has 100 million users and Flickr has been around since 2004 and has 75 million users.
Content generation continues to be the number one challenge so if you don’t fancy yourself as much of a photographer then start to implement other ways of generating content. Re-using content in a new context, so to speak can alleviate a little pressure in generating fresh, original content. If you have written a successful blog previously, use the information and feature it on a video tutorial or podcast. Share your amazing PowerPoint presentations.
Something old, something new
Blogging has been around for ages but is this an avenue you are fully taking advantage of? Blogging for your business can place as you as more of an expert in your field, you can show how and why you are a market leader. If you can solve typical problems faced by people and give them tips in your industry then you will definately gain recognition and reward.
SlideShare is a hot new topic right now and whether it takes off to the extent of some of these other sites, time will tell. It’s a new way of sharing content, that has been previously limited before, and even opening an account makes you want to create a news worthy, informative presentations. Find out what topics are trending on Twitter or Google and make up a presentation around that. Or you can just start off by presenting everything you think we need to know about your business.
Social media = sales eventually
So you are starting to enjoy having a bigger presence than you could have ever imagined. The feedback and engagement you are getting is more than you bargained for too. Your company suddenly has better credibility with your customers and more loyalty to your brand. But what about the sales? Now it’s time to take it to the next level and get your product sold through more social media channels. Although Facebook has a higher percentage of purchasers – 2.9% versus 0.9% on Pinterest, let me not underestimate the importance of sales through this site. Also bear in mind that Facebook has been in the game for seven years, Pinterest has only been around for two.
Pinterest virtally became an overnight sensation because of the inspirational boards you can create. In these boards, you ‘pin’, or essentially store amazing, beautiful, capitivating pictures of anything and everything from your dinner party menu to sports equipment and gadgets. People add home decor ideas, photography inspiration, fashion and motivational quotes, whatever you like. There were standing jokes of how addictive the site is, aren’t they all, and how women would spend their lives planning out their weddings on Pinterest, despite the fact they didn’t even have a boyfriend. How all this is relevant, I am not sure, but it worked because somehow this is becoming a hugely popular site to buy from. 1 in 5 people that have pinned something, have made a purchase and that is a conversion figure that no other social media site can boast.
So whether you want more brand awareness, more customer feedback or more sales, try out some of the new social media sites in 2013, share more visually attractive and valuable content and keep engaging with your audience so that you become a known industry player. If you have anything more to share on this, please feel free to do so because as always…knowledge is power!