Last week Zimbabwe Online, one of Zimbabwe’s largest internet providers, launched ZOLife an Internet and paper magazine offering information and tips about the Internet. Stuff like how to choose a good internet package, some 101 basics on fibre connectivity, VSAT and so forth. Zimbas need stuff like this and like we said last week, this is a much welcome development.
But ZOL didn’t end there. ZOL’s going all out to interact and be where their customers spend 90 percent of their time online; the social networks. Starting last week (along with the first issue of the magazine) ZOL created two Twitter accounts, @ZOLifestyle (the magazine tweets) and @ZOLstatus, an account to tweet issues affecting customers using ZOL services.
On Facebook ZOL also created two pages, one for the magazine called ZOLife, and another general page called ZOLconnect. We hear ‘ZOlConnect’ is also the name of a new product to be launched in a month or so. Maybe another mobile broadband service. Your guess here is as good as ours.
ZOL is not the first ISP to try out Facebook. We wrote about Ecoweb’s dabbling with the same social network during the world cup, back in June. The big difference of course is that ZOL is actually updating their wall. Ecoweb on the other hand just created a page and left it blank…to this day.
ZOL is first on Twitter. It’ll be nice to see if other service providers follow suit.
We had a chat with ZOL CEO, David Behr, and here’s how he explains the new social initiative:
As an ISP there is so little we can actually do… we can’t really improve speed or quality or uptime – we are not allowed to do our own links! Everyone shouts at us – but we can’t actually fix it! [It’s] very frustrating so we are now focusing on what we can fix… that is support, customer interaction etc.
We were spending lots of [dollars] on magazine advertising – in all these new crop of magazines – when we realized its actually cheaper just to do our own! and get more exposure – and of course fills a niche
We put the whole magazine together – from initial concept to sending to printers in about 7 days – that includes getting all the advertisers – who took quite a leap of faith with us – but who seem happy
The feedback so far is very positive… people love the content