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Ten tips for social media strategy in Zimbabwe and Africa

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advertising and social media

advertising and social mediaSocial media strategy is not a myth in brand building and the creation of an online presence, its a reality. While this hasn’t quite sunk in for everyone who needs to use social media, it’s always encouraging to come across entities that place a lot of value on it.

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Local advertising agency TBWA Zimbabwe is one such entity and has been a strong advocate for digital marketing and social media.

According to Sapi Bachi, the Managing Director of TBWA Zimbabwe,  the agency is currently engaged in a skills development process focused on social media and the digital space. The agency has clients across various fields which include financial services, social marketing,public health, retail and medical aid insurance.

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As part of an integration of their global network’s best practices for digital media it has carried out a training exercise for one of its Zimbabwean clients which is being led by a social media and digital industry veteran Eunene Sucevic.

Eunene is the managing director of Tequila Johannesburg a digital agency based in South
Africa which is an affiliate of the TBWA global network. In this role Eunene has been
responsible for growing the TBWA network in Africa.

This has exposed her to a lot of industry practices through extensive client work on the continent and through work with several of the TBWA network’s 19 African offices. This has involved increasing capabilities in digital marketing and social media.

We managed to catch up with her and got her take on social media and digital marketing in African markets.

According to Eunene, Africa is waking up to the opportunities of social media at a rapid pace with an awareness around the potential benefits of social media even though a lot of work still needs to be done around using it properly. She noted some great work being done in countries like Nigeria that at times exceeds the standards that are set by South African brands.

In the interview we managed to note ten important considerations for social media and digital branding that Eunene shared. Though not the end-all-be-all of social media these considerations offer an informed look on its specifics.

1. Social media is essentially a two way conversation with your clients. There will be feedback of every form and you need to be prepared to deal with it.

2. Do it properly – The half in half out approach does not benefit your brand. Invest in it  wholeheartedly and take it seriously

3. Social media IS NOT a channel for hard selling. Build relationships through it and cultivate them instead.

4. For small businesses and startups social media provides a huge opportunity to build a
common interest community around your product or service so it should be seized.
5. Have a very clear content strategy. Try to focus on relevant and engaging content in the process

6. Social media is not for relevant for every business. Where it is not relevant eg. B2B entities, there’s no need to have a social media strategy at all.
7. If you are trying to get the decision makers in your organisation to appreciate social media, try to understand the challenges faced by the organisation and identify how social media can help achieve those objectives
8. Social media does not exist in isolation. All components involved in brand building (PR, advertising Social Media)need to work together for it to be effective. It all comes down to integrated campaigns

9. If you are getting outside help for social media and digital strategy carefully consider who you partner with. You need to be riding with a partner that understands how to navigate this because it has a huge impact on your brand.

10. Be fully commited. Social media isn’t effective if its executed in half measures

5 thoughts on “Ten tips for social media strategy in Zimbabwe and Africa

  1. “Social media IS NOT a channel for hard selling. Build relationships through it and cultivate them instead.”

    I think Eunene would be appalled by emerging “digital marketers” in Zimbabwe using bulk email to spam private email addresses with adverts. Apparently some advertising agencies in Zimbabwe are using these digital marketers as part of the service they’re selling to clients.

    Imagine: a briefcase start up sucks up private email addresses and then bombards people with adverts. Grand Digital Theft. Some of them boast of mailing list of 65 000. These email addresses have basically been stolen.

    When I complained, here’s one of the responses that I got:

    I am sorry you have received this unsolicited email. I have paid an advertising company to advertise the xxx for me, so I have no idea how they may have come to email this to you.

    This is not smart on the part of ad agencies and its sheer stupidity on behalf of Zimbabweans trying to make a quick buck in a very unethical way.

    1. This is unfortunately not a unique situation nor limited to marketers and agencies in Zimbabwe! It happens globally. I do agree that this is unethical and probably the worst invasion of privacy. Spamming via Email is one side of the coin, spamming people via text messaging (bulk SMS) is the other. Permission-based marketing (with a legit database that have actually opted in to receive communication) is the way to go.

  2. Social Media is also effective in B2B Marketing.The premise is B2B brands are driven by humans who belong to online communities.Am doing a paper on this.

    1. I absolutely agree with you on your B2B comment and the fact that it certainly can be effective in this segment as well. The point I made was around the fact that one size does not fit all and that brands and organisations need to carefully consider whether they are committed + which platform and channel is best suited to their specific objectives and needs. I acknowledge that the point was not captured accordingly. I would love to read your paper when it is completed! Wishing you all the best with it.

  3. Currently we are selling advertising space to any interested parties who wish to have their product or service marketed to the mass through our cartoon series that we have developed that’s to be soon released on social media, check out our Facebook page, Neshpark2014

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