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How Kenyan e-commerce sites can successfully tie business and social media

Category: Digital,Information and Communications Technology,internet marketing

Date: November 30, 2011

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image: www.africaknows.com

It’s now become a badge of cool for Kenyan companies to include their social media contacts in their publicity materials, never mind the fact that some of them rarely update their content! Anyway, a social media presence is an acknowledgement of the importance of these spaces for long-term brand awareness, building and customer engagement.

Unfortunately, for most businesses establishing social media sites to complement their ecommerce websites, it’s been hard for them to shed the notion that the former are NOT marketing communication servants’ quarters adjacent to the latter. Two recent articles in the Business Daily and in http://www.sunwords.com/2011/11/27/organizations-be-very-afraid-of-social-media/highlighted the dangers of this approach.

Karibu mapambo.com

However, there are some Kenyan Internet-based businesses that have successfully tied together their ecommerce and social media laces. One example is http://www.mapambo.com/, a site that sells hand-made jewellery, handbags, accessories, etc.  The homepage makes you feel at ease thanks to its welcome messages in both English and Swahili languages. The sections are well marked and easy to navigate through. On the right hand size of the page are invitations to join the brand on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Kachumbari

And these sections are where Kenyan companies on social media should observe and take notes.  Mapambo’s Facebook page is not all about the brand. Look at this welcome note: “Call …. to order…or just to say hi.” There is a ‘kachumbari’ of content that includes a video on what is still good about Kenya and a photo of a jogoo with its head held high imploring fans to keep going despite the difficulties they are experiencing.  Fans interact with the brand by posting their comments, and the brand responds quickly to people’s queries.

Hi tweeps

Mapambo’s Twitter page is no different. Among its tweets are links to the world’s ‘funniest’ joke and a greeting to its ‘tweeps’ asking them how their weekend was.  Just like Facebook, fans tweet and post links to other content.

Big numbers

If Mapambo’s current 30,847 Facebook fans and 929 Twitter followers are any indicator, the business has already acquired a black belt in e-commerce and social media integration.

However, the business should sort out a few irritants on its website for example: there are no watches despite them being listed on the catalogue. Second, there is no image of a table lamp, yet it’s on sale.

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