By Munyaradzi Zindi Chikomba
INTERNET and social media is the new world and business can’t afford to miss out on this empowering tool and strengthen their influence on markets because they can reach a wide spectrum of people with limited costs.
Understanding social media platforms
4.5 billion people use the Internet worldwide. Currently the world has a population of 7.9 billion people soon to be 8 billion which means almost 60% of the world’s population use the Internet. 3.9 billion people are constantly using social media which constitutes 50% of the global population. With the emergence of Internet and social media everyone has become his or her own brand manager without the involvement of mainstream media.
By using social media everyone has the power to create their audience and promote businesses and brands. What matters is whether you using the platforms effectively? Some people have built companies and big institutions using the Internet and social media. For one to effectively use the Internet and social media one has to fully understand and appreciate how can it be to their advantage.
Each platform represents a certain purpose hence it can be effective for a specified thing. Other platforms can serve different purposes as developers try to diversify their options but there is something that the platform can’t perform well. The best way is to be on the major social media platforms because each platform serves a certain purpose. There are platforms that serves your interests more, those are the ones you should concentrate on and build a viewership because they work for you best.
As a business owner, you should understand your market base demographics because it also makes you appreciate the appropriate social media platform. For example, social media networks influence the young generations more because they are more technical and efficient in navigating them. If your customer base is more of the older generations, the emailing system is the best option as that age group prefer email than social media. As a business person you can’t continue trying what is not working but sometimes it takes understanding for it to work.
A Website in its simplest explanation can be said to be an online office. It is an online page visible to everyone and also explains the functions of the institution. For your business to grow and gain traffic, a website is a must have and it should be professional and brief. When someone visits your website, they should understand what you do, where you are located and how best can they get your services. Globally there are approximately 2 billion websites of which around 15% of them are active websites
Facebook has over 2.8 billion accounts which are active, Twitter has over 600 million users of which almost 400 million users are active, Instagram has over 1.3 billion active users of which the 90% are younger than 35 years. LinkedIn has over 600 million accounts with an active base of 100 million on a monthly basis which is more of a professional platform for professionals. We also have emailing system which is one of the most used business interaction platform in the world with approximately 6 billion email users globally and about 300 billion emails were send and received every day in 2020.
Google search engines are ever growing and many people use Google search engines to find about your business and company with an estimated 100 billion searches every month. WhatsApp which is a messaging or direct chat social platform which has more than 2 billion active users. Zoom and telegram have grown significantly during the past few months because of Covid 19. There are other platforms like Tiktok and Snapchat which are more for leisure and they attract the younger generations mainly people under 30 hence it can be difficult for you to use them for professional services.
Facebook is the market leader when it comes to social media with over 500,000 new users everyday this is your to go app. If you are looking for more engagement and audience for your business Facebook is your best option and it’s has the largest usage globally with more than 2.8 billion active users. Twitter spreads news and promotes micro blogging more than any other platform because it’s meant to spread news faster and easier hence the retweet option which can make your post viral. If your company is more into information and technology twitter is your best option.
WhatsApp is meant for direct messaging hence if you want to be in constant contact with your audience WhatsApp is the best option because it is meant for direct messaging and it has so many options to explore. Instagram is meant for sharing pictures and promoting brands using images hence if you are doing things related to images Instagram is the most effective.
LinkedIn presents the best way to link employers and employees and that’s where the best employable people are located. If you are looking for professional connections and employees LinkedIn is the best option for you because it’s meant for that. For visuals and motion pictographs YouTube is your best option with 2.3 billion regular users hence the views option and subscribers. If you want to host meetings with real time face to face interaction through visuals Zoom, Google meetings and Skype can be your best options.
As a young entrepreneur you should you be on all platforms because it may not serve your interest now but as you grow and diversify you will understand that you may need to start joining these platforms. It wouldn’t ’be nice to join a platform after being asked why you are not on LinkedIn or Facebook. When you open an account even if it’s not your best platform try as much to visit it here and there because your audience, customers and networks check your handles regularly for updates.
It won’t be nice to see your account dormant for months, it may mislead your clients. Just enter and post something meaningful to keep your brand alive. One thing that is very important is separation of business accounts and personal accounts because when you start using your business account to post your personal private information, it tarnishes your brand and it makes you look unprofessional. Separate your accounts and use for business related issues only.
You also need to understand and appreciate the environment effect what works for you and what works in the environment you are operating in. Some of your customers are not interested in social media in any way hence as a business you need to reach them as well by other means. In some countries some platforms are not popular but they may be the most effective so you have to compromise with what works effectively in the environment you are operating in.
Some platforms need more data than others hence their reach may be limited to a certain affluent community whilst some platforms are too crowded for example Facebook and WhatsApp which may turn down your audience to follow up regularly. You should also appreciate the fact that creating an audience is a process and you should be using it effectively. There are manuals, videos and information that is provided for you to understand how to navigate your way up the Social Media spaces.
Creativeness and consistency bring results. You can’t expect to post once a month and expect new followers. Quality is also fundamental because people buy what they see, the pictures or videos should be of high quality and attractive as well. Follow and like-minded individuals and others who are also in line with the area you are operating in because they are more likely to engage because you share the same interests. Learn how to tell your story to entice the audience and ride along with trends. Sometimes you have to utilize the story of the day making headlines however, brand management is critical because some trends are harmful to your reputation as a brand.
Social media is a great tool and you will determine how you will use the tool. The same knife can be used to either kill a human being or cut food so that the same human being can eat. So how you use it determines whether you benefit or not as a business from social media.