A while back, I had an interesting discussion with a client with regards to the best way for her organization to have a an effective digital footprint. Our meeting went on well as we covered Internet strategy, website design and content, SEO and online advertising . But come social media and major doubts came into play. “I know its important but not at the moment. We need to focus on selling the product and reaching more clients.” was the response. As an online PR and marketer, I felt this was a challenge and decided to try and answer some of the main questions to help clear the the name of social media, of which business executives already consider a grey area.
So here goes:
Social Media is time consuming and labor intensive:
No one understands the company brand and products better than the company employees and if they can not talk about it, then there is a big possibility no one else will. We find many companies that ‘block’ their employees from accessing social sites so that they spend more time working but in essence we are just keeping most of the information and facts about your brand or product bundled up within the organization’s walls. I suppose thats not good for business right?
Well, with the correct strategy on time, content and target metrics, a company can be able to provide a good customer relation management through social media using minimal resources and time. Updates, responses and posts can be done in a scheduled and regular manner that even the clients can get accustomed to. The most important thing will be to ensure consistency so as to earn the trust of your audience and hence gain more followers who know what to expect and when. But most importantly, how to get in-touch with you.
Basic function of social media is to reflect what’s on my company website:
What ever is said on social media platforms can be said on the website using even more words and explanation with even better results; This is a lie. Yes, social media can not replace the use and effectiveness of a website in some areas but it presents the personal side of the company. Its pretty hard to reach the hearts of your clients when the communication is analogue.
With social media, its more of a digital dialogue that has the potential to be replicated and shared by other people. This is basically getting a thumbs up from your audience to others who will most likely be directed back where you want them; your website. An effective use of social media to increase traffic to your website and generate online conversations about your brand is dependent on the social media strategy execution plan put in place.
Measuring ROI and Impact of social media is complicated and is usually inconclusive:
Two ways, qualitative and quantitative measure of success and impact. Under the qualitative measure of social media and online PR, you need to determine the areas to be measured that is, corporate reputation, conversations or customer relationships, get benchmark questions on the current situation then come up with the questions to measure the success.
Quantitative measures of a successful social media campaign will include number of new followers/friends joining the company page/accounts, amount of mentions and links shared, retweets and level of increased traffic to the company website generated from the social sites.
The African online scene is still too young and immature:
I think the question should be “What does the future hold for social media in Africa so that I can invest my company resources in it?” The leading countries in terms of social media presence and use in Africa are South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt with each contributing in its own way via mobile, videos, blogs and popular micro-blog topics. The continent has created some impressive social media presence through user generated content that originate from social media platform such as Twitter, Facebook, Blogs and YouTube. Uganda produced its first viral video this year and Kenya has had more than three global Trending Topics under its belt but just to mention a few as there are many more examples we could list.
Its evident and quit understandable that many corporates in Africa still view social media as time consuming and an unnecessary undertaking. At the same time, many other organizations are setting up an online presence without fully understanding the benefits that can be achieved by the endless opportunities created by having a detailed and well structured strategy. At Pamoja Media, we offer a fully integrated social media and online PR expertise to unlock the endless opportunities that social media provides as an invaluable customer relations and management tool.