Social Media is Critical to the Growth of African Businesses
Social media networks have become some of the most valuable tools we have in today’s world. These digital tools have the ability to connect people from different parts of the world, and they are a vital part of how we communicate with each other. For many startups, social media platforms present a direct line of communication to their potential customers. Harnessing the power of social media can help any business reach its goals.
By Kudzai Joshua Zawe
Social media in the context of Africa
The number one function of any social media app is to connect people. The scale at which a particular app does this may differ, but it remains the primary function of social media. Apps such as Facebook and WhatsApp are the most used in Africa, with Facebook holding about 82% of the African market share. It is important to note that in Northern Africa, the region with the highest social media penetration on the continent, only 45% of the population is on social media. Central Africa has the lowest penetration rate, with 8% of the population present on social media.
The low uptake of social media on the continent is due to a variety of factors. These include the absence of supporting infrastructure in most areas, the high cost of data, and a lack of content in local languages that directly appeal to the market. With that being said, social media is still an effective tool on the continent, and it continues to play a crucial role in the dissemination of information. There are startups on the continent that are building social media apps to address the needs of the market and others that are using social media as a tool to help businesses grow.
Celebrity culture has taken a shift due to social media, with fans having greater access to the lives of their favorite celebrities. Minly is a social media platform that is designed for this very purpose. The app connects users directly to their favorite celebrities. The app offers its users exclusive access to online concerts and other content that is created by celebrities. Through Minly, one can also receive personalized content from the celebrities such as a short video saying happy birthday.
Businesses can also make use of the app as a digital marketing tool for their products. Celebrity presence can be used to engage with potential clients, drive sales, and draw attention to any corporate events that the business will be involved in. Minly is a social media app that has the potential to transform African entertainment and the way African brands approach digital marketing.
Influencer marketing is one of the most prominent methods used on social media. There are millions of influencers around the globe that are hired by businesses to advertise products to the requisite target markets. Brands face a challenge when they need to hire influencers for their products as picking the right influencer(s) is key when using this form of marketing. Wowzi, a Kenyan startup, has created a platform through which businesses can have access to the influencers they need for their marketing campaigns. Wowzi’s platform is self-serve which means that a business can engage and manage a group of influencers on their own.
The service that has been developed by Wowzi allows influencers and content creators to monetize their trade, while businesses get value for their money by employing creators that are fully aligned to their brand. Providing influencer services on a single platform where a business can register and customize their own campaign allows them to directly target the exact markets they want to serve. The influencers are vetted and verified beforehand, and a business can be certain that the influencers working on their campaigns are likely to deliver the results that are needed.
Social media has a central role to play in the digital world, and as the world becomes ever more digitized, those platforms become more important for all businesses. There is a need to develop more apps such as Minly that directly target the African market and deliver the right message to the African populace. Businesses also need to harness the power of social media to grow their brands. Using apps like Wowzi to gain access to the right influencers for a particular product can help businesses grow.
AfriBlocks will be hosting its annual Freelancers’ Summit between the 6th and 7th of May. For more information about the summit, visit https://freelancerssummit.org/.