I remember the time when graphic design was a skill that anyone who knew what could claim to know how. Harare was plastered all over with posters from graphic designers advertising their skill. The majority of these guys knew how to use, say Corel Draw, but were not “skilled” in it. Knowing how was enough to close a sale. Soon design had hundreds of pros, delivering poor stuff at low cost which almost destroyed the field.
In recent years, the same trend seems to be plaguing new media locally. Realising the opportunity of the web, Zimbabwe is not short of Web designers, Digital marketing consultants and Social Media consultants.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for having these professions locally but it has to be filled with legit people capable of delivering not pretenders. It’s now a big challenge now to sieve out the pretenders from the large pool of new media companies.
William Chui of SocialMe, a social media agency that manages some of Zimbabwe’s biggest brands says people claim to be pros in new fields “Because they know a little bit more than their client. Just like a lot of guys say I know web development but the guy knows WordPress. A lot of people come and say I can do graphic design but what they only know is how to use Corel Draw but they don’t know graphic design as an area of specialty”.
The drive behind the #GetSocial 2014 is to raise an awareness on the power of social media, how it is meant to be used effectively and what to expect from any player who claims to have the expertise.
Anybody keen on using social media should at least know how to pick out true professionals from the pretenders.
Most local brands fail to fully harness the strength of social media largely because of a lack of appreciation of its capabilities and the impact it can have in promoting the brand. This is despite the fact that social media carries a string of advantages such as expanded reach, feedback from from the market and a dynamic approach to message delivery. Understanding how all this benefits the brand together with the right approach will have huge benefits.
Inspite of the benefits, this is all something most local companies have failed to grasp and embody into their overall business strategy. Some know that they need a social media strategy, but the how part is the challenge.
The easy way out is to hire a social media guy or agency but without the prerequisite knowledge, most firms are short changed and become skeptical of the potential of social media as a whole.
The less costly route is putting together an in-house social media team to keep the social media presence going. William Chui, says whilst this approach is beneficial in the long term, there is always a risk of making early mistakes that will ruin a brand’s social media presence permanently. He says, “It’s important not to invest in people who will be fumbling in the dark and using a trial and error approach to promoting your brand”.
There is no doubt that most Zimbabweans are taking baby steps in social media. As early adopters are coming on board, there much confusion on what works and what doesn’t. Unwarranted fear, skepticism and ignorance has prevented some from making the move and some simply don’t know who to trust.
The #GetSocial 2014 forum will look at all these challenges companies face as the try to migrate along this crowded minefield.
Do you have any social media challenges that your company is facing? Share below