In a 2016 Report on Social Media in the South African landscape, a research project surveying 116 of the major brands in South African discovered that social media has become an indispensable tool for South African brands in all forms – from marketers and politicians to artists, activists and reporters.
It was found that 91% of these brands were using Facebook, 88% were active on Twitter, 66% were on YouTube, and 63% used LinkedIn. Meanwhile, Instagram and YouTube are also on the rise with image and video becoming the most in-demand content for users. On a consumer level, engagement by social media users has never been more intensified with 73% of smartphone owners accessing social networks through apps at least once per day.
Any substantial campaign undertaken in recent years has had to have a social media component to it – the use of a hashtag has particularly become second nature in naming campaigns– from activism campaigns such as the #FeesMustFall student activist campaign, to promotional campaigns for musicians such as Cassper Nyovest’s #FillUpTheDome, the social media connection has been essential to the success of each campaign. Now, almost no campaign is embraced without a hashtag.
The success and growth of social media platforms should come as no surprise to you if you have been paying any attention at all to the tech landscape; the question you may be asking yourself is why this is relevant for you and your business. In short, any platform that is so widely popular and widely used offers your business the opportunity to take advantage of an advertising opportunity. If 14 million South Africans are currently using a platform, it is a guarantee that a significant number of them fall within your target market.
We go over the advantages of using social media for advertising your business.
In the digital age we currently live in, essentially everyone has a social media presence of some sort, in their personal capacity and now increasingly, on their business’s capacity. South Africa’s most popular social networking platform, Facebook, now has 14 million South African users and a recent survey done amongst South African brands showed that 91% of South Africa’s 116 major brands made use of an average of four social media platforms. Not only is social media pervasive as the latest trendy mode of communication for the average Joe (91% of online adults use social media regularly), it has also become prominent as a marketing tool for the country’s most major brands. Social Media has made communication exceptionally easy, not only for individuals but for brands and their clients and potential clients as well. It has never been easier for your brand to be seen and heard, providing an opportunity for increased awareness and recognition.
Speak directly to your target market
With so much time spent on social media daily; a like on your page or a follow on your profile means that you can now have direct access to your target market at any time. Social Media also provides your customers with any easy way to communicate with you – from recommendations and reviews to complaints and grievances – this allows you to make your customer service faster and more efficient, making your brand accessible. As easy as it is to grab your phone to chat to friends and family is how easy it is for you to communicate with your consumers and potential consumers.
Traditional methods of marketing- billboards, radio, tv ads – can be extremely costly. Social media provides an accessible solution to the need to advertise your business at any level. With social media advertising you get to decide how much you want to invest according to what your aims are. This gives businesses much more control over their brand than with any other mode of advertising.
Not only do you control how much money you spend on social media advertising, you also have immense control over all your campaigns in ways you never could with traditional marketing methods. You control who gets to see your ads through targeting for each of your posts, campaigns and promotions – social media specialists are particularly skilled in determining how to effectively target your target market. You also have all the control regarding making changes to any of your campaigns – with traditional advertising, you book your placement, make your payment and there is no going back after that, no matter how poorly or how well the ad may do. However with social media you have the ability to tweak and change whatever you feel is necessary or beneficial for your campaigns. You have the ability to check on the effectiveness of your campaigns and make tweaks accordingly on a daily basis. Of course this requires time and energy dedicated to figuring these things out every day.
Which brings us to the only real negative aspect of advertising social media – it requires time and effort. You need to be dedicated to monitoring your social media accounts constantly in order for any of these positive aspects to work for your business. You need to plan and schedule your content, make time for posting it and observing the results of each campaign in order to make changes if they are necessary. Not every business has the resources required to dedicate personnel, time and effort to this on a daily basis and this is why most sharp business outsource their social media management to marketing agencies such as ThinkTank who take on all the responsibilities that come with having social media accounts for your business.
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