Businesses urged to embrace use of social media

July 14, 2013
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Social media expert encourages businesses to embrace use of the new media in engaging their target market. AFP.
Social media expert encourages businesses to embrace use of the new media in engaging their target market. AFP.

, NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 12 – With millions of Kenyans on social media, the challenge for most businesses is how to leverage on this new platform for opportunities.

Businesses need to create strategies that will tap into the social media market and grow their enterprises, according to social media analysts.

Social Media Analyst and founder of Kenya tweets, Antony Mugendi says that the growing social media scene has given small business owners yet another way to promote their businesses.

“Those in business do not seem to take advantage of this opportunity because they don’t get into social media with a strategy,” he said.

He said that businesses need to understand why they are getting on social media, what they want to achieve and how they can translate corporate strategy into social media strategy.

“The business of business is doing business and at the end of the day, anything that you do should have a return on investment to the business,” he explained.

Mugendi said that Social media must compliment a company’s strategy, in all ways pointing out that some companies don’t need to use it.

Although social media has become an integral part of business, the majority of small businesses feel like it’s a waste of time; according to a recent survey by Manta—a US based social media company.

Sixty-one percent of small businesses are not seeing a return on their social media activities, according to the report.

“What companies don’t understand is that social media has little return on investment in relation to direct sales. Statistics have shown that only four percent of followers can be converted into direct clients,” Mugendi stated.

Mugendi said that businesses on social media are able to offer customer support by giving them an opportunity to respond directly, personally and give real time feedback.

“It gives immediacy to response which is important for client maintenance, there are people who will love your brand just because of good customer service on social media,” he explained.

Social media also provides enterprises with the opportunity for niche marketing by allowing them to reach a particular niche, have strategy that target the needs of the niche without really wasting resources.

“This is helpful especially for brands that are looking to launch new products, they don’t have to use a lot of resources on research, they can use social media,” he said

Mugendi observes that companies on social media are also able to spy on their competitors.

“You will also find your competitors and their followers that could help you identify loopholes in them that you could take advantage of and use these insights to improve your product,” he explained.

He however, warned that a large following on social media does not relate to business or brand loyalty and if wrongly used could hurt your business.

“If you cannot build your following to a community, social media will not work for you, relevant content on your social sites is key, content is useless unless it is relevant to your followers and what relates to your business – make sure your company goals and values are clear on your social sites so as to get likes based on your brand,” he advised.

Mugendi advises companies to hire social media professionals who are able to translate corporate strategy into social media strategy.

According to a study by Deloite on social media in Africa, the real value derived from social business is where organizations have mapped social media strategies to business strategies.

“This is where the real value lies and the trend that we at Deloitte are observing is the emergence of Social Business: the creation of tangible business results as a result of engagement with your community,” the study states.

The report shows that in 2012, 26 percent of users reported typically finding websites through corporate and branded emails, an 11 point increase from the previous year.

Last year, half of all internet users aged 18 to 23, and 43 percent of users aged 24 to 32 used social media networks as their go-to internet-discovery resource, according to a new report from Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research.

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