BIKO: Social media, The Holy Grail of business and government in 2014 [Nation (Kenya)]
(Nation (Kenya) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Steuart Henderson Britt once said that doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does.
For the longest time, both the business world and governments have always tried to communicate better to the recipients of their services and/ or products.
Due to cost, reaching potential customers in Kenya through advertising has been a major challenge, and the advent of social media has been hailed as a Holy Grail moment.
Social media has become a modern 'word of mouth' kind of marketing. Tweets have replaced conversation. A Facebook update has become a sale point on a service.
One word reaches millions who are plugged into the platforms for whatever reason.
Hash tags have become a highly effective means to advertise any product in the Kenyan market.
Digital has seen the convergence of advertisement platforms. From the billionaire to the boda boda rider, one has access to the latest trends on any issue in the market.
Social media is the Holy Grail for SMES as it enables them to launch the marketing of their services and products at the most affordable rate in the business.
It's made SMEs more competitive against listed and multinational companies in reaching out to potential customers.
Through hash tags like #twitterbigstick #twitterthumbsup among others, we have seen Kenyans get better service from brands and for the first time, brands have been forced to listen, apologize and given services and or products that are worth the pennies that they are paid.
The rise of the web 2.0 has seen better government service to the people of Kenya.
@ChiefKariuki has turned social media into a tool that has improved security in the area he oversees.
Through this, the people of his area have subscribed to his tweets, and issues are solved faster. He is the perfect example of how a government official should serve Kenyans.
The second example is that of the immigration department under the management of Ms Jane Waikenda who has changed the aspect of service from a government department to the people of Kenya.
Through social media, @immigrationdept and @janewaikenda have transformed the once feared department that was dubbed the most corrupt to one that is transparent, ready to listen and serve within the law.
These two examples show case the aspect of what social media will be for Kenyans. Social media platforms are no longer luxury platforms but they are part and parcel of our lives. They have become the holy grail of our communication in ways we are yet to fathom.
A comprehensive social media strategy enables customers, as well as employees and citizens to interact with each other using Web 2.0 tools, integrated with internal and external portals.
With the introduction of advanced smartphones that are very affordable, e-readers and tablets, it's hardly surprising that consumption of online content has grown exponentially.
Come 2014, over 85% of the entire middle class and upper class will be online, making it the best place to place ads and drive conversations.
Through SMS platforms, over 70% of the working class will be reached and 14% reached through social media.
As a citizen who pays taxes and under the yoke of poverty as the taxes are many, I vehemently demand that government fully maximize digital platforms to reduce the costs of advertisements where the saved money can be channelled to the right developmental agenda.
For successful engagement with the audience, it is imperative that different components of business applications are integrated across media channels to have a complete convergence experience.
Social media will be at its peak in 2014.
Any business or government department that will not leverage it will be staring at failure.
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