Despite the growing popularity of social media, and our dependency on sites like Facebook and Twitter for information, some businesses have still been hesitant to jump aboard. There’s skepticism around its effectiveness for local small businesses. We see huge brands like Coca-Cola, KCB and Safaricom using social media with great success, but what about the average mtumba shop around the corner or a non-celebrity farmer? Can they use social media to grow their businesses?
Majority of the big companies, the likes of Safaricom, use social media majorly for customer care. They have agents working day and night to ensure that every customer is responded to.
Social media allows smaller sized companies to compete against some of the larger companies and reach more customers.Small businesses can use social media as a way to connect with clients, scout out potential customers,and inexpensively market goods and services. Facebook, Twitter,and LinkedIn all serve different purposes and attract a distinct user.
Kenya is an entrepreneurial country and we believe SMEs will be the engine of growth of Kenya in the next few decades. However, the biggest problem facing SMEs is scaling up and reaching a wider market. Mainstream advertising is expensive and ranking on google search requires hiring a search engine marketing expert, which is beyond the reach of most SMEs.
The uptake of advertising on Twitter in Kenya has been far reaching. On average globally, Twitter’s engagement rates on Promoted Tweets fall between 1-3%. Africa is beating this average across all markets and the uptake of Twitter Ads is highest in South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya.
Moreover, social media has changed the fundamentals of doing business in Kenya. Not only has it connected business owners directly to consumers, but it has democratized information and news as well as personalized messaging. Consumers are now looking for direct engagement with brands and instant gratification.
A good example of a brand that has achieved great success both in Kenya and Africa is Airtel. Their tactic of using localized content and providing regular product updates has allowed them to penetrate a variety of other African countries. Engagement with followers is also integral in Kenya. Aromat Kenya effectively engages with followers in a visual and participative manner.
Success in the use of social media in Kenya is evident in the way African businesses are using Retweets and hashtags. There is however still huge potential for African brands to invest in original content and develop a unique identity.
The traditional carrot and stick approach no longer works and direct engagement with humanized content is the key in reaching today’s social savvy audiences.