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Why is Social Media a Powerful tool today?

If you are an ambient social media strategist, manager or even blogger, I must say you are so convenient with KOT. (Kenyans On Twitter).  Technically speaking, Kenyans are special, as they are members of an exclusive and enviable club. The country is among the top four users of the web in all of Africa, behind only Egypt, Morocco, and Nigeria. What’s more impressive is the connection speed at which they surf. The Kenyan government recently installed broadband infrastructure, which behind Ghana, is the second fastest on the continent.

Kenya online usage has grown exponentially. Back in the year 2000, only 200,000 were logged onto the web, at the end of 2011, that number was around 10.5 million. No one knows how many internet users – or #KOTs for that matter – there will be in 2021 but one thing is for sure; there will be many and they will be helping Kenya stand out proudly in an increasingly crowded online universe. This is what the power of social media generally has incriminated and continues to execute justice and provide oversight to many corrupt and ill deals some people do in the society today. We could say they #KOT is the #GreenArrow of the 21st century in #Kenya.

In only a few short years, social media marketing has completely disrupted the marketing industry. Everything has changed about the way we market – from how we address customers to how we view our competitors. I’ll confess: when a co-worker insisted I join Twitter in 2008, I thought it was a useless waste of time. How could anyone share meaningful communication in 140 (now 280 for some) characters? That reluctance didn’t last long at all. If you’ve been reading the news headlines about social media for the last few years, you may be tempted to think:

  • Merely opening a Twitter account will triple your revenue this year
  • You’re only one blog post away from a guest spot on Oprah
  • If you build it (a Facebook/LinkedIn/Tumblr page), they will come (in hordes)

Then you look around at the real world and realize that, sadly, none of this is true. The truth is, social media — when used strategically over time — is the most powerful form of marketing and market research the world has ever seen. But it’s not a magic bean that grows overnight into business success. It’s a platform for real work. The art is knowing the best places to put that work so you get results and not just a lot of annoying people who think they’re your friends.

Social media makes it easy to discover your customers’ needs and interests. The communication is direct and helps foster relationship building. You can ask your customers anything, and they will respond. Customer engagement is the key to marketing success — social media makes it a whole lot easier! As you gain contacts, you also gain their audiences. Social media is a great way to get your name out there, along with the tacit approval of your fans. If they are friendly with you, their friends will assume trust. It is all about fostering and expanding your brand recognition and loyalty.

Excellent customer service is the most important factor impacting trust in a vendor and that people are quick to share customer service experiences – both good and bad. Social media has made it easy for consumers to share their experience. If you can engage and provide a positive customer service experience with a quick turn around time, your clients will be happy and have a new level of appreciation for you. A 53% of Kenyans who responded to a Convince and Convert study said they are more loyal to brands they follow on social media. Why? Well, it’s easy. The more you allow your customers to engage with you on a day to day basis, the more connected they feel to your brand.

While syndicating your content may be out of your price range, getting your followers to help spread the word will cost you only a thank you and perhaps the occasional reward for loyal brand advocates. Social media has made it easy to engage with customers and also share content with them so they can amplify it further. With every post or tweet, you invite people to follow your links and like your website, page, or profile. Hopefully, you’re not linking to your landing pages and asking for a conversion with every tweet, but even posting something unrelated and exciting makes strangers curious about you, your brand, your business.

While tweeting and posting may or may not directly impact your rankings, the result of social sharing jury is still out on whether Google and the other major search engines include social activity in their search ranking algorithms, but many marketing/SEO professionals consider social media an important SEO factor. You can’t be everywhere at once and trying to would raise your marketing costs – definitely not the goal of social media. The trick is to narrow down your social media efforts to the channels where your target audience is most likely to spend time and share content. Competitive intelligence can help with that. Scope out your competitors to find out where their audience is and what kind of content elicits a response from them.

Social media is powerful because it has the ability to reach a huge number of people in many parts of the globe. Not only that, this serves as the influence these people. Take the events of the Arab Spring as an example. A country like Egypt was able to organize and oust their leader in only a matter of days and all that is because of social media. These events did not stop there but have influenced other to stand against their leaders, and people from all over the world took notice. Take a case of people of #Uganda asking for the release of #Bobiwine from the arms hand of Museveni among other activities across the globe addressing the vices in the society. The same can be said in the current women’s march. Using social media, people are able to organize themselves and held these protests in different parts of the world. For instance the #metoyoumovemnt.

Social media is such a powerful tool when used in the right hands because like many things, it can be good and bad not just for yourself but for society as well.

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