A lot of Zimbabwean brands have taken to social media, especially Facebook, this if anything shows that a lot of them acknowledge that there is a huge audience that could be reached. When it comes to social media for businesses there are four groups.
1. The businesses who care, have well researched on Social Media & have a strategy in place and are effectively carrying it out. - Keep going, this is the future.
2. Those who ordinarily spend very little on advertising or marketing and feel this is a cheap advertising opportunity and with our without a clear strategy have also taken to social networks clogging our timelines with their products or services in every status update or post, done by personnel in their IT department. - Truth is though If your business is not prepared to spend on their social network strategy, they will not gain much mileage, it will take longer to build a reasonable following. This also depends on how big the brand is already offline.
3. Businesses that have seen other businesses doing it and so they do it. This is the type who put up a ‘LIKE us on Facebook’ on their vehicles/email signatures/stationery with a non existent link. Yes some people like me do check! They opened a page 6 months ago posted religiously for a week, frustrated by no response left, have since forgotten the login details. This group is in the same category with the man & woman who came to my office with $20 for a website, but yes thats a post for another day. – Research, plan then execute and if you cannot do something, get someone who can! Do not Copy & Paste.
4. Those that do not care about social networking and any online presence because ‘I make my money already without it’. These are the same guys who were reluctant to go on email until their client asked for a quote on email. – Simply put, its your loss!
Bottom line is, Facebook is for Marketing and Engagement. A lot have mastered the marketing, but very few care about the engagement. If my friend is ALWAYS selling bananas on Facebook, I am sooner or later going to block/unfriend him. But, how about if my friend, gives us interesting stories on how bananas are grown, the different types/shapes of bananas that are available, the different uses of bananas, shares interesting recipes for bananas and perhaps explains his obsession with bananas? Here and there he may give us a $1 for 10 banana promo ‘if you share & invite someone to like my bananas page’. I may give him a chance! The key is to have an effective engagement strategy.
Social Media presents you a chance to get feedback on the quality of your products or service. Because of the state of customer service in Zimbabwe generally, this is key. But this feedback doesn’t just come on its own (unless you are really that bad, like ZESA, Passport Office, Harare City Council bad) you have to ASK for it. When you request feedback, be prepared for both negative & positive responses. You should have strategies in place to deal with both especially the negative. There is nothing more frustrating than giving feedback & not getting feedback on your feedback!
Here’s some Zimbabwean brands on Facebook: