In short: Yes. Social does matter. According to the 2017 edition of the South African Social Media Landscape Report by World Wide Worx and Ornico, social media will become an indispensable tool for marketers, politicians, artists, activists, reporters and media personalities alike.
116 major South African brands took part in the survey, of this 91% are using Facebook and 88% Twitter, as marketing tools. We, as marketers, need to be available where our audiences dwell. Social media platforms can no longer be ignored:
- 14 million South Africans are active on Facebook,
- YouTube is firmly in second place with 8.74 million users,
- Twitter increased to 7.7 million,
- LinkedIn also increased to 5.5 million and
- Instagram grew at a fast pace to 3.5 million users.
We need to look beyond the stats though. Truth is that the way we communicate has changed – as instigated by social media. We moved away from one-directional communication where the audience was interrupted with our marketing efforts, to a conversation between supplier and user. We know it all too well: You are watching your favourite television series. At the critical point where the hero is trapped under gunfire an overly friendly lady jumps in with her shiny bag of washing powder. Irritated, you have to endure the removal of arbitrary stains while wondering if the hero is bleeding to death! Social media changed this game.
Now, you knock on somebody’s door and when they open up, you will either be invited in with the click of the follow button or given the cold shoulder. If you enticed your host, you will need to keep him or her satisfied and feed them on a regular basis with bits of information they find appealing and worth their time and effort to nibble on. Should your offering not delight: the unfollow button is quickly used, and you shoved out the door.
Staying on the warm side of the door takes effort. It also brings along rewards. Managed correctly, followers become clients and grow into advocacies for your brand. This, however, does not magically happen with the jiggle of a sparkling wand.
Herewith a few questions to consider before tackling this beast:
Do you have a plan?
Without a strategy, you will not know your current situation, your goals or how you are going to achieve these.
Think about your audience?
You need to understand who you are speaking to and what is important to them.
Have you decided which platforms to use?
All social media platforms are not equal. Apart from the number of users, they are also approached uniquely and different audiences targeted per platform. Pinterest is not the same as LinkedIn, and Facebook varies to Snapchat.
What message would you like to send?
Know what and how you will say it. This includes your tone of voice, language, keywords, media, etc.
What would you like to achieve?
Taken from your strategy you need to know your end goal.
How will you achieve your goals?
You know your destination. Now, determine the path you will take to get there.
How will you measure your success?
Decide how you will evaluate each goal. Will you only be satisfied if the target is reached or exceeded and what will your matrix be?