TechZim reached out to ZimConnect for an exclusive interview on their Snapchat sensation which has entertained Zimbabwean youth from all walks of life. ZimConnect provides a platform to showcase your life whilst sharing your opinions and touching on subjects affecting Zimbabwean youth all over the world. Each day on ZimConnect offers a whole new exciting experience, and that’s what keeps bringing viewers back.
The model is quite simple, ZimConnect has a Snapchat account and anyone interested in “hosting” for the day simply sends them a request via Direct Message. Once the request is approved the host is given a time slot where they effectively “take-over” the ZimConnect account for 24 hours and this is where all the magic happens.
Give a Zimbabwean youth the right platform and audience and watch them shine. So without getting into too much detail here is the full transcript of the interview:
TZ: What is the background to Zimconnect & when did it start?
ZC: Zimconnect is a Snapchat account that was created on the 20th of May in 2016 with the main aim being able to showcase the lives of different Zimbabweans all over the world every 24 hours.
TZ: How did it start?
ZC: The account was started by 3 ladies, Lisa Mehlo, Gamuchirai Makarudze and Rosabeth Matsikidze, who saw the impact Snapchat had on the current generation. Zimbabweans are quite active on social media and on twitter there are curate accounts where a person takes over the account for a week. Zimconnect was inspired by this and we figured a visual platform would be best as people would most likely express themselves better.
TZ: So how does it work?
ZC: The people interested in hosting send a request to our Twitter, Instagram (@263connect) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) account. We get quite a lot of DMs a day so we try to vary locations, age, and gender when sorting out the hosts for that week to ensure that every Zimbabwean is represented, whilst still working on a first come first serve basis. Special events are also slotted in accordingly.
TZ: How do you deal with different time zones?
ZC: We use Central African Time (CAT) because that is what works out for us with regards to handing over the account. Whoever will be hosting starts at whatever time they can but they will have the account from 11 am CAT. Sometimes we give the account to two people in different time zones in a space of 24 hours which works out fine because of the time difference.
TZ: How do you manage your social media?
ZC: In terms of social media engagement, we check our twitter mentions as well as the hashtags #zimconnect and #263connect every day to try and see what the viewers are saying. This also helps us answer certain questions they may have as well as create “hype” for that day.
Our twitter account currently has 4283 followers whilst Instagram has 4056. The Snapchat account views vary according to the host but it ranges between 7000-8000 views on a slowdown and 9000 -10 000 views on a great day.
TZ: What has been the social impact of ZimConnect?
ZC: When the account was created we didn’t expect it to blow up as much as it did. Most have called it “the ZTV that we wished we had”, which showed us how much people actually value and pay attention to it and this has become our “focus” moving forward.
The greatest impact has been in terms of networking, the account enables people to connect and work together in the future on various projects. It also serves as a digital marketing space and the engaging nature of Snapchat ensures that the audience is captivated.
TZ: What are ZimConnect’s plans for the future?
ZC: As the audience continues to grow, we plan on branching out onto the YouTube space soon as well as Facebook with various other plans. This will ensure that we reach out to everyone because we fully understand how Snapchat is not inclusive enough for the ordinary Zimbabwean. We plan on making full use of the internet to get certain conversations going on all platforms that everyone is able to gain access to.