The recent blame placed on social media for the price hikes and the Forex problems only highlight how powerful social media is and how it can be an effective tool to send a message to the targeted audience of an organisation.
Given that there are close to a million Zimbabweans on social media, all potential clients, that makes social media important to a company’s marketing strategy as it provides a cheaper and easier way to market a company’s products. This week, Out and About spoke to Carlos Chikomba, founder of Carlo C Films, a start up that do video editing, social media video promotions, visual effects branding as well as corporate video profiles and company presentations, about the challenges start ups face in marketing their products and services online. Currently he is only using Facebook, YouTube and WhatsApp to market his services.
“Currently I’m using Facebook, YouTube and WhatsApp. I used to push my clients’ promotional content through their Facebook pages and my personal account. It’s only recent that I have created a page for Carlo C Films so I haven’t garnered many followers yet.” he said
Taking the lack of marketing expertise, particularly digital marketing aside, there are just a lot of problems that start ups face with regards to their marketing and getting their message across. The Zimbabwean environment doesn’t provide a conducive environment for start ups to thrives, with many of them not even getting simple recognition from media houses that have the power to publish stories that can generate publicity for start ups.
The Facebook page for Carlo. C Films reads that it is an exciting Facebook channel that seeks to inform and promote local brands through entertaining, cleverly crafted visual content, but there aren’t many visitors on the page, something he wants to change. Chikomba also noted the need to have people liking his page even for reasons that don’t have anything to do with the service he is providing, just to get the numbers.
“I also do a bit of spoken word and I feel that it’s not just about pushing promotional content through my social media accounts but I want to give people that feel good factor when they visit my Facebook page or YouTube channel.”
Another start up, Fara Food App founded by Karim Tapiwa Subeli paid people $5 for liking and sharing their Facebook page, a move that saw the Facebook page reach a thousand likes in a short period of time.
Now there is a lot of reviews on the page and a lot of engagement that shows the results of quite a successful social media marketing.
But not all start ups have that kind of money to either pay the audience directly to like their page or to pay social media for sponsored adverts that reach a much wider audience, leaving start ups with the task to generate organic growth on social media.
Some great start ups have come out of Zimbabwe producing some amazing products like the Ndeipi Messenger App, which, at the time of its introduction offered better functionality than WhatsApp. But it still failed to get the reception it so deserved despite gaining some publicity with a number of articles and favourable reviews written about it.
Now a lot of start ups don’t get their stories written in the paper, leaving social media as the only source for them to tell their stories and market their products.
But the need for publicity remains high, the lack of which, has drove some start ups into the ground. While we may lament on the lack of funds and a good support system for start ups, basic social media marketing skills are called for if a start up needs to generate publicity and make it in Zimbabwe.