Deep down, every business owner and manager responsible for any part of promoting the company image knows one truth – that Social Media is one of those inevitable tools that will have to be incorporated into the marketing mix sooner or later.

So the question is not ‘if’ you will be participating in the social revolution – rather it’s a case of ‘when’ and ‘how well’!

Why all the hype in the first place?

South Africa has admittedly been a little slow on the uptake when it comes to Social Media marketing. For this reason, businesses have mostly elected to leave Social Media marketing on the backburner – until it becomes more of a necessity, or a question of competitive advantage.

Because of the substantial growth in Social Media Marketing in recent years, incorporating Social Media as part of your marketing strategy – no matter how big or small your company – is now a necessity.

With more users than ever before at an estimated 5.33 million South Africans using Facebook and 2.43 million using Twitter – here is a growing audience that spans the full ambit of age and race and which wants to engage.

According to the ‘South African Social Media Landscape 2012’ study recently released by World Wide Worx and Fuseware, Facebook and Twitter alone are attracting on average 100 000 new users per month in South Africa. Read more about the report HERE

Do it well – start with a strategy

All too often companies rush headlong into their Social Media activities, only to have the initial impetus fizzle out over a very short time.

A good strategy that will build your brand, while being realistic in terms of the resources you are able to lend to this activity, will go a long way in ensuring success in the long term.

Whether you have your Social Media accounts such as Facebook, twitter, YouTube etc. set-up or not, you need to first ask yourself the all important question – ‘what do I want to achieve by engaging in Social Media?’. Is it brand awareness, customer acquisition or customer retention you are wanting to accomplish? When you have the goal in mind – you need to place the stepping stones that will help you achieve your goal.

Find out more about why a Social Media Strategy is essential.

Here are some areas you would need to consider when developing your Social Media marketing strategy:

Who is your target audience? Who are you speaking to? what information would be valuable to them? What is their ‘pain’ and how can you remedy that?

Where do you want to be seen?  You could have a presence on all the leading Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pintrest etc. – but where do your customers specifically engage?

Can you capitalise on sharing information? Have you considered cross referencing info from your website or blog? creating this all important online marketing ‘web’ boosts SEO significantly.

Who will manage your Social Media marketing? Do you have sufficient resources in place to manage regular posts and customer queries or do you need to appoint a company to run this for you?

How will you measure success? This will be based on what you want your Social Media marketing to achieve. If it is increased website traffic – then you would be checking your website stats for hits, bounce rates and time spent on various pages; if it is direct interest in products – then you would be checking sales derived from your Social Media advertising.

According to Jay Baer, founder of, only after you know why you’re active in social at all, and how you’ll measure Social Media strategy success, should you turn your attention to the ‘how’ of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and the rest. Read more about his viewpoint 

For a pittance compared to what you would spend on traditional print media and advertising, Social Media marketing can offer you great returns on your time and resource investment. With a good strategy and consistent effort, your business will reap the rewards not only right now – but in the long term.

Social Media is here to stay – so embrace the revolution!

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