Four Industries That Need To Up Their Social Media Game

The East African Business Community has really warmed up to the idea of social media as a key marketing tool over the past few years. The ones who are doing it right are achieving significant, measurable milestones in:
  • Customer service – timely response to customer queries, e.g. @Safaricom_Care, a Twitter account by Safaricom dedicated to responding to queries and inquiries
  • Obtaining first hand information – you can always know what’s happening around you for example by checking on Twitter trending topics
  • Strengthening customer loyalty
  • Increasing website traffic – a classic example being #JumiaBlackFriday when @JumiaKenya purchased a Trending Topic hashtag for one full day, and ended up with more orders on their website than they had forecast and prepared for.
With these few examples of how brands are using social media within the EA community, here are some industries that absolutely need to up their game when it comes to social media:
  1. Hospitality Industry – if your business is a B2C in the hospitality sector such as hotels, restaurants, spas, salons, barber shops, accommodation, cuisine, travel and tourism – you need to connect with your customers more on social media. Every other month (or more frequently), there is a new competitor setting up shop, and what’s to stop your customers from going to theirs for a taste? Social media as a customer-loyalty enhancing tool can make sure that your customers remain loyal, and though they go to the next shop, they’ll meet back at yours to discuss how the experience was. A simple example is connecting with them on twitter, sharing their instagram photos taken at your premises and many more.
  2. Financial Institutions – whether you are a bank, an insurance company, a SACCO or a building society, you stand a chance to lose big if your competitors are engaging more with your target audience on social media. They give their audience regular tips on saving, how to manage their spending, how to make 15% a year on their savings and are constantly rolling out a new feature on their mobile app platforms for their customers. Over time, that customer ends up being a free marketer for your competitor, telling their friends to open accounts with them because “They are so friendly and tech savvy,” okay, maybe that’s not what they say but you get the point.
  3. Retail Stores – IMHO (in my honest opinion), I believe retail stores need social media the most – especially retail stores at malls. We all know of a success story on Facebook of a girl who sells heels at Kshs 2,000-6,000, on demand, and is doing incredible sales every month. Or that woman who sells the best wedding gowns on her Facebook page. Such people are soon able to open shop in town, in the CBD, to better serve you – their Facebook fans who buy from them. While they grow their businesses faster than they could have imagined by simply harnessing the power of social media, traditional retail store owners who have been there for “many years” don’t see the need for this. However, this is not entirely the case as more retail store owners are warming up to the idea of using social media to advance their brands.
  4. Construction Industry – this may come as a surprise, especially because the common perception is that in the construction industry, business is mainly based on referrals and referrals are based on word of mouth. However, Kenya and the EA community has been experiencing an influx of investors pumping in big money in different sectors of the economy. When it comes to construction and related fields, they are setting up branches of bigger firms here, or starting new ones with a bucketload of financing and marketing money. They have seen how social media is used in their industry and they know that very soon, word of mouth will be based on social media in one way or another. And that word of mouth leads to referrals which leads to sales which leads to more business and so on and so forth. If you are in this industry, don’t cling on to old paradigms.
A common trend in all the industries named is that they are B2C businesses (Business to Consumer), dependent on many customers for a bigger bottom line and more profits. Therefore, B2C businesses need social media the most, because it can directly impact their bottom line positively if well executed.
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