An independent study aimed at exploring the impact of the digital economy on small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) was conducted in eight African countries – Kenya, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, DR Congo, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana and Mauritius and the report shows that surveyed SMBs that use the Facebook apps have younger employees with an average share of 45 percent of employees under 30. Additionally, SMBs using Facebook apps reported a higher frequency of being owned by women, while SMBs in the manufacturing sector ranked the ability to access new foreign markets as the most beneficial advantage of the apps.The survey finds that social media platforms are powerful catalysts in the formation and growth of new SMBs. Some 73 percent of surveyed SMBs report using social media. Of the surveyed SMBs that use the Facebook apps, 84 percent report that the apps have been important in the growth of the business, 77 percent say the business is stronger today because of the apps, and 55 percent believe that the apps helped them to start the business. Surveyed SMBs report that the apps are most useful in lowering barriers to entry, accessing markets, raising brand awareness, connecting with customers, increasing revenues and reducing costs.
In this series we are looking at how to become a successful social media entrepreneur. We talked extensively in the first part on some of the things you want to take notice of in becoming successful in the social media space. Social media is here to stay, and for a lot of entrepreneurs especially young entrepreneurs who are trying to build wealth, with no capital because they are young, social media has been the go to community to establish themselves and build long lasting brands. So in this sequel, we continue to look at some of the tips that could help people like you seeking to establish a brand via social media.
1. Pay attention to trends
We’re not saying you should leap on every meme that goes viral. (Please don’t leap on every meme that goes viral.) But it is a good idea to pay attention to trends in social media, so you understand what people are looking for when they sign into their social channels. This helps you create appropriate content that resonates over time. Those in the fashion space can benefit a lot from this topic because day in and day out, fashion trends pop up and go viral with the times so when you are able to hop unto them, you are able to provide the products and services people will be demanding for in those times. Understanding social media trends is basically trying to understand the reasons people use social media. And below we have these points from hootsuite that identifies the reasons why people use social media.
- To stay up-to-date with news and current events
- To find funny or entertaining content
- To fill up spare time
- To stay in touch with friends
- To share photos or videos with others
Souce: Digital 2021
These reasons help you to pay attention and anticipate trends that pop up to address the reasons stated above. Always keep your audience’s current needs in mind. What worked last year might not work today. Social listening is a highly valuable information gathering tool, helping you understand what your audience (and potential audience) might want to hear from your brand.
2. Sell your stuff with social commerce
Social media marketing has evolved in recent years to include social commerce: the ability to sell your products directly from social channels. And business is booming, with a global market value of $89.4 billion in 2020.
Social commerce appeals to entrepreneurs because one doesn’t have to be very tech-savvy to use the apps, compared to business software and other tools that call for more sophisticated digital expertise. With a great online store, you are able to host the link on your facebook or instagram profile and post your product pictures on your accounts so customers who are interested can click on your website, to find the product and purchase from your online store directly from your social media account. You can also share your online store links to customers directly or display on your wall or status to be made accessible to clients to click to access your products. It’s a great way to drive traffic to you, and a great opportunity for customers to shop on your platform. Sumundi Keepsales allows you to create your online store for free in very simple and easy and generate website links that easily allows you to share and post on your social media platforms.
3. Mix up your formats
Make sure to switch up your social post formats from time to time. If you usually post GIFs, try a JPG. If you normally post still images, try a video. And take advantage of all the formats within each social network, like Stories, or Reels, or Live video.
This helps you learn which formats work best for different types of content and for different social networks. For example, the conventional wisdom is that posts with images always fare better. But Hootsuite recently ran an experiment in which plain text tweets outperformed those with an image or GIF. This was not true a couple of years ago, and Hootsuite would never have made this discovery if every tweet contained an image.
The Facebook algorithm uses “content type diversity” to ensure a person’s newsfeed has a good mix of content types. Switching up your formats may boost your content’s reach. When you do want to use images and don’t have a great photo library of your own, stock photo sites are a great source of free, high-quality photos to use in your social posts. Don’t use random images you find online. That is definitely not okay and can get you in some serious trouble. Finally, be sure all your posts, regardless of the format, are inclusive and accessible. For a start: Add alt text (alternative texts) to images and make sure videos have captions. And make sure your audience is fully represented in the images you share.
4. Focus on quality over quantity
There are so many social media marketing options now that they might simply be overwhelming and not budget friendly for a lot of businesses. The good news is, you don’t really need to market on all of these social media channels. It’s more important to create quality content on a couple of key channels than it is to have a presence on every single network.
Above all, be sure that your social posts offer value. If all you do is pitch and sell, there’s very little motivation for people to follow you. Remember, social marketing is about building relationships. Be human, be honest and post great content. This is important, and you can’t fake it.
Reach out to your audience in the places where they’re already spending time online. Focus on using one or two social channels really well, at least to start. Once you’ve got those mastered, you can build from what you’ve learned and expand your efforts.
5. Use the right tools
Taking advantage of the right social media tools that automate and simplifies much of your work is the secret to using social media effectively. There are loads of tools to help boost your productivity. That means you can start using social media for business without having a full-scale social media team.
Here are some tips to help you gain the right perspective on social media and their tool usage.
A. Engagement management
Social media is not a broadcasting system—it’s a way to engage with customers and fans. So finding tools that will help you centralize your mentions and messages directed at your company can be helpful. Take advantage of mentions and messages directed at your company to engage in conversations.
Getting all of your analytics data in one place can help you get a better picture of your social efforts overall. The social media platforms offer analytics as well so you may want to pay attention to the statistics they offer you.
If you’re having trouble creating eye-catching images for your posts, turn to tools that will help get the job done.
You can find more photo-editing tools in our post on how to edit Instagram photos.
D. Content curation
It can be quite difficult to come up with new content to share every day. Content curation can help. It is the art of sharing quality posts from others (with credit, of course).
It can be a great way to provide value for your followers and keep them engaged.
6. Schedule and automate your content
In our previous episode we looked at creating a social content calendar. Once that calendar has been set up, you can create your social posts in advance and use scheduling tools like Hootsuite or any other tool, to post them automatically at the right time. This allows you to dedicate one block of time per day or even per week to creating your social content. It’s much more effective than letting social posting take you away from other tasks throughout the day. Automation tools like chatbots can also help you cut down on the number of hours you spend working on social media marketing.
7. Review your performances
You should always review your social strategies and keep track of what has been working for you and what hasn’t. Then you are able to improve your efforts and achieve some great results. Analytics as mentioned earlier is one way to track your progress over time. You focus on the metrics provided and use them to refine your strategies. If you are able to identify the ideas that are working after the review, then you begin to build on them and improve them.
The analytics tools mentioned above give you a great picture of your social efforts and can help track whichever metrics matter most to you.
Social media entrepreneurship is a great initiative for anyone interested in still being able to start their own business with the most minimal of capital and social tools can help you better connect with your audience, reach new potential customers, and increase awareness of your brand. If the possibilities seem overwhelming, just start small. As you find what works, expand your efforts and your audience. One of the great advantages of social media for small businesses is you can use the tools in whatever way makes the most sense for your business and your budget at any given time.
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