Zimbabwe-The social media revolution has produced arguably the most far reaching impact since the invention of the television as it has transformed human interactions in an unprecedented manner.
Actually, its pervasive influence has left its fingerprints on every area of human endeavour. Over a billion people use social media worldwide with Facebook membership alone being 80 times the population of Zimbabwe.
Big corporates like Dell sold over US$3 billion worth of merchandise via Twitter in just a few months of joining the micro blogging site. Likewise, President Barack Obama’s victories in the two elections are attributed to his effective use of social media channels. Tonnes more of other success stories exist that showcase the potency of social media as a business enabler.
It is an intriguing paradox then that social media has received a cold reception by Zimbabwean companies despite the irrefutable evidence of its efficacy in facilitating the achievement of set goals.
The answer to that aberration is exposed by the ubiquitous feedback I received when I was invited by the Marketers Association of Zimbabwe to speak at their fourth annual convention on social media and business. The marketers’ verdict was that the country is not yet ready for social media but I beg to differ. Zimbabwe has been ready for social media since time immemorial and here is the proof.
Social media is all about people having conversations and less about technology even though the latter is an important factor in the mix. People didn’t start to chat or share pictures because Facebook or Twitter came along. Communication is as old as humanity itself. Even word of mouth marketing, the cornerstone of social media marketing, has always been utilised long before Mark Zuckerberg dreamt of Facebook.
My point then is, if social media marketing involves leveraging these online conversations to create brand awareness, facilitate customer engagement and widen the market penetration of a product or service then Zimbabwe in more than ready. Statistics exonerates my assertion.