Did you know that 75% of male internet users are on Facebook, 81% of millennials check Twitter once a day, 13% of Africa’s total population uses Facebook and most Instagram users are between 18-29 years old?
With the rapid advancement of digital technologies over the past 15 years and the surge of mobile devices, we find ourselves constantly connected, and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and You Tube are our main communication channels of choice.
Business owners and managers across Africa are rapidly realizing the necessity of social media to be integrated into their marketing mix for brand building and visibility, personalized customer service and conversion of leads into customers for their products and services.
Whether you are just starting with social media marketing for your business or company, or you’re a more seasoned social media marketer, these 3 basic principles will be a useful reference so you get most out of your efforts.

Which Social Media Platforms Should You Choose

Choosing which social channels to adopt should be a relatively easy exercise if you have an understanding who your audiences are (male, female, age group, employment status) as well as your competitors. It’s also important to take into account your target audience. In order to get more insights into the target audiences, have a look at this post from SproutSocial with an extensive overview of social media demographics for each of the main social channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+.
The SproutSocial post above provides the global trends so it is important to consider the demographics of your existing audience on each of the social media platforms. These insights are now available for almost all social media platforms.
Facebook has an Audience Insights tool providing you with valuable data about people that are connected to your Facebook business page indicating basic demographics such as gender, age, education level, location, to name a few.
 
Similarly, Twitter’s Audience Analytics will let you analyze your own followers or all Twitter users to find out more about their interests.
In order to finalize your social media platform selection and considered the basic demographic data already available, there are other important factors to consider such as staff resources and the industry within which you operate in.
Staff resources dedicated managing your social media platforms is a critical aspect and many businesses owners and managers underestimate the staff time needed to properly manage your company social media presence. The aptitude of the staff engaged to run company’s social media portfolio is also paramount as there is no point asking a current staff to manage your company social media presence when they themselves do not even have a Facebook personal profile!
The type of your company and the industry in which you’re involved are also factors that need to be considered. For example, if your business is running a construction company selling materials to builders, you may want to invest in a more B2B-specific platform such as LinkedIn. If you’re a fashion retailer who wants to showcase your diverse product range, visually-driven channels like Pinterest and Instagram may be more suitable.
The bottom line to choosing which social media platforms to use for your business is to start small – maximum two social channels initially, then follow the progress and performance using Insights and data available and then, if necessary, add more social media platforms where your business will be showcased. But remember, LESS IS MORE when done properly and consistently!

Content Calendar – a necessity not an exception

The content you post on your social channels can enhance engagement, acquire you new followers, and positively impact your brand’s reach and identity. But this content need to be pre-planned and created well in advance and not as you sit on Monday morning and think “What will we post today?”
Creation of a monthly, quarterly or even yearly content calendar is a fundamental aspect of any social media marketing strategy, and cannot be omitted if you are serious about your marketing in this digital day and age.
Create your content calendar using a simple spreadsheet format in Excel or Google Sheets and use the following headings:
  • Content title: Critical so make it catchy and to stand out
  • Content format: Is it a text, photo, photo album, video, infographic
  • Description: Define who is this targeted to / your audience
  • Keywords: List keywords or buzz words that resonate with your audiences
  • Call-To-Action: Tells your reader what to do – “Learn More”, “Buy Now”,etc
  • Channels: Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook
This format will allow you to plan for seasonal events, significant dates, launches, campaigns and any other important dates in your company’s calendar.
Once when you have this Excel sheet and it is approved by relevant managers, you should transfer the posts to the relevant social media platforms utilizing their specific tools such as scheduled posts, tweets or pins.
As much as you have created this documents in advance, it is important to remember that this is not a “cast in stone” document and that you can add or subtract content as needs, events and opportunities arise.

Data, Data, Data

The more data you can extract and more detailed are your insights of the data on the various social media platforms, the more business growth and success you will have!
The data insights will allow you to identify strengths and weaknesses of your approach, promote what works and quickly amend or even stop things that do not work allowing you to continually refine your approach.
To have a better understanding of your target audience relevant to your business and your competitors you can use several social listening tools now widely available so you can stay informed and enhance your business’ social media marketing.
Simplest way to monitor top trending content within your industry and even identify your competitors is to set up Google Alerts. You will set up to receive notifications on a daily or weekly basis and for a variety of keywords selected, not forgetting to put alerts of your competitors’ brands!
Another very useful tool to monitor specific social media accounts and even hashtags is Hootsuite which has a number of other features worth exploring such as which of your social media posts generate most engagement amongst audiences you are targeting allowing you to do more of ”What Works”!
Let us know your thoughts on what makes perfect best practice for social media marketing in the comments section below!