Social media is online communication that allows you to interact with your customers and share information in real-time. -business.gov.au
According to Investopedia, There are more than 3.8 billion social media users around the world. There were 3.40 million social media users in Uganda in January 2021. The number of social media users in Uganda increased by 900 thousand (+36%) between 2020 and 2021. (Datareportal. Link: https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2021-uganda) This increase alone begs one to wonder whether businesses in Uganda are making use of this information and whether all businesses have a social media presence.
Social media includes platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, WhatsApp, TikTok, etc. Social media is vital to the growth of business and here are the benefits;
Attract customers and build brand loyalty: When a business shares information about its products /services, they attract customers who come in with a desire to know about the business and what it offers. These clients, in turn, stay and become brand loyalists. Brand loyalists are people who have used a business product so much that they identify with the brand and become unpaid brand ambassadors.
Develop your brand: Social media allows businesses to grow their brand on social media platforms giving their customers an opportunity to recognize them. The clients will notice the brand and associate it with what the business is giving them. Brand development and awareness are made possible through social media. It is imperative that businesses tell their brand`s story. The WHY of the business in creative ways that their audience can relate with. This brand development and awareness are made possible through social media.
Social media humanizes a brand. Through the art of storytelling, businesses create brands that customers relate to. For example, when companies reveal who the people behind the scenes are, customers are able to know they are human. They know that they are interacting with real people and not robots. For example, Frank Walusimbi, news anchor at NTV Uganda, announced to his audience that he was leaving and moving elsewhere. People were happy for him. They connected with him and felt like they knew him all because NTV had done the right thing by humanizing their brand.
Connect to customers: Businesses can easily connect to customers on social media when they collect feedback-positive or negative. This connection to customers enables businesses to create products tailored to the needs of their customers and also improve the customer experience. For example in Uganda businesses like UMEME, and National Water Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) have a presence on social media platforms like WhatsApp-they have WhatsApp numbers which customers can contact; Twitter accounts where customers send feedback to their DM (Direct Message or inbox) or directly to their timelines.
Sell and promote products and services. Through social media, businesses have an opportunity to sell and promote their products and services. Once social media channels have been identified, then they can be shared in an aesthetic manner across all platforms. A strategy has to be created to help in the promotion of the products. Selling products online has a global reach for many businesses. For example, our alumna Deborah of D-molds a company that makes knitted products like sweaters, ponchos, scarves, babywear, and so much more is on Instagram and Facebook selling and promoting her products. There is more reach as opposed to just a few people in her locality knowing about her business. Prossy Lule, another alumna also sells and promotes her cake products on Facebook. She is the founder of Cake Vine, a company that deals in making cakes for birthdays, baby and bridal showers, weddings and any special occasion that requires cake. Through social media, she is also able to reach more people and gain more customers.
There are many benefits to using social media in your business and we have mentioned just a few. Social media is here to stay and therefore ought to be explored by businesses to market to their customers in innovative ways.