This Article First Appeared on Tinashe Nyaruwanga`s blog
By Tinashe Nyaruwanga
We have always had the affinity to interact, socialise and catch up on what our peers our doing. Do you remember the high school days where we would come up with ‘auto-books’, the counter books turned diaries where we would write our interests, hobbies and all that personal stuff and exchange with our friends, so that they got to know us a little better?
This affinity to share our life stories, experiences with our friends and other like-minded people can be likened to the social media craze we will now find ourselves in. Most of us can’t even imagine what our lives will be without social media; it’s now where we spend most of our waking hours.
This is a huge opportunity for enterprising people as all of a sudden you have this huge captive market of people willing to talk to you, socialise and lend you an ear.
The only problem is that marketers are unwilling to see Social Media as a viable marketing channel. Now let’s take a look at the reasons why Zim marketers are ignoring social media.
#1 Lack of expertise
Charles Darwin once said it is not the strongest, nor the fastest but the most responsive to change that will survive. That social media is not taught at school, most colleges or universities is an excuse and should be frowned upon with the contempt it deserves. A marketer should be consistently learning and developing.
#2 No Content Creation Skills
Flighting an advert is easy as your input is limited to coming up with a creative brief, contacting the agency to come up with a commercial and book it with a media house, this of course requires you to have bags of cash. Success on Social Media on the hand means creating ‘sticky content’ or liquid content that begs to be shared. This for a lot of people is hard and they would rather stick with the old way of doing things.
#3 Not enough Zimbabweans on Social Media
With over 5 million people with access to internet and over 22% of Zimbabweans being on Facebook, the audience is there. Furthermore, most of these are savvy and discerning people who can be nurtured to be long term customers.
#4 Lack of management support
A marketer should be an agent provocateur and be able to instigate change within the organisation. Whether an organisation adopts social media for their business depends on the persuasiveness of the marketer.
#5 Lack of Control
Zim marketers are used to control the message they send out to the public through traditional media. The marketing department with their public relations team will carefully craft a message and control how it’s sent out to the market. This gives marketers a false sense of control, however, once it’s in the domain of the public, the message will be decoded anyhow. On social media, instead of trying to control the message, it’s best to monitor the conversations around the message and respond appropriately.
#6 Petrified of Accountability
Related to the above point, social media allows customers to give feedback and express their opinions. It’s easy sometimes to just send an advert, forget about it and not worry about the reaction. Social media on the other hand does not give you that privilege, should you say something stupid, there will be uproar on the platforms.
A lot of the marketers with clout in most organisations in Zimbabwe are averse to technology and their tech skills are limited to PowerPoint. To ask such people to include social media as part of the business strategy might be a lot to ask.
#8 Fear of Change
Times are changing; the world as we used to know it no longer exists. Facsimiles (Fax machines) now belong to museums. Social Media is the in thing now, transforming how we create, consume and share information. For something that promises so much and allows marketers to achieve more, marketers should be embrace social media and internet marketing and just get on with it.
What About You?
What are your reservations to adopting social media for business? What’s been holding you back? Share with me and others in the comments section or any of the popular social networks.
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