Social media a mega boost to many start ups and entrepreneurs
We are in a generation where a lot of men and women alike choose entrepreneurship life. Traditionally many were okay with spending the rest of their lives pursuing different career paths. The transition from career orientation to entrepreneurship is not an easy road due to lack of adequate support, knowledge base and financing. The advent of the internet and social media has however given start-ups and entrepreneurs alike a good push to successfully launch their business with lesser hustles.
The usage of the internet in Zimbabwe has been increasing in the recent years, with more people from all walks of life joining the internet for one reason or the other. Here is an article highlighting some of the interesting uses of the internet and the web in 2018 alone. Long back to meet people for social, business and other reasons one had to go in assembly points or physical places; this could be in the streets, ranks, growth points and parks. But the trend has since changed!
People are not in the streets anymore
Yes now people are not at growth points or in the streets and parks anymore, but the majority of people are now online. At any given time hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans are online that is on social media, blogs, news websites or on classified websites. People now play online, rest online, work online, shop online, look for jobs online and relate online. Consequently, this has also changed the way individuals and organizations do their business. They say "Business is people". This is very true, to do business you need people, no people no business! Having realized this, many business have dropped the "in the street" approach of doing business, to follow the masses online and this is giving a mega boost to both established and start-up businesses alike.
Here is how social media is giving a boost to Zimbabwean start-ups and businesses
By social media, I am referring to social sites like Facebook, twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube and many other social websites that people flock in millions and billions every day. While there are also a dark side of using social media as a business, I can say the positives of using social media for business surely out-weigh the negatives. Here is how Zimbabwean businesses are being boosted by social media.
Low Marketing Costs
Marketing is one of the major challenges faced by businesses in Zimbabwe especially start-ups. The costs required to market a new service or product are alarming and that is why it would take ages for a new service to be a adopted before the advent of the internet and social media. Social media comes with so low costs on marketing and this has enabled small businesses to successfully launch without being crippled by marketing costs. We may all agree that the Billboard system was expensive and those that are still using that system can testify to this. If you are there and you are afraid to launch your business or product for fear of marketing costs, proceed to launch and social media will save you lots.
Measurable Marketing Effort
I really feel that this is not debatable; social media allows you as a start-up owner or business entity to measure your efforts. You can surely measure the return for every dollar you spend on marketing and this is in contradiction to the billboard or road-show approach. If you put a banner on a billboard in Harare and pay $300 per month, will you be able to tell the number of people who would have given enough attention to the banner? The answer is definitely no. But with social media, you can get almost all important statics. These statics are very important to small business and start-ups and if you are a start-up owner you definitely agree with me. When I started this blog a year ago, I wanted to know the number of people who would have visited per day; I wanted to know what they think about the content on the blog (We still do). I think this is the part that makes social media cost effective, you can easily drop methods/efforts that may not be effective.
Social media allows businesses and start-ups to reach people globally. Many start-ups in Zimbabwe, especial those that are online based, are run by people in the USA and serving audience/customers in and beyond Africa. Social media is allowing business beyond the borders. On this website, we have connected and shared business with people in Dubai, in Nigeria, Kenya and the list can be endless. What gave us this mileage at such a tender age was our Facebook page. So this has been the testimony of many start-ups in Zimbabwe in this digital age. Social media is giving business mileage in that it allows individuals and corporates to do business beyond location, gender or age.
More Engagement Public
Sometimes I see the billboard system to work better for already established brands. People rarely take time to read what the billboard advertisement is all about, people rarely take time to listen and follow through what the road-show is all about. This is because in this age when people are in the streets or in town they are usually looking for something specific; they know where they are going. Have you ever seen how people walk in the streets of Harare? To me they always seem to be in a hurry for something, they do not have time to talk to anyone, lest to read a banner. Hence offline methods have very low engagement. On the contrary people usually go on social media on their own spare time, to refresh, sometimes for the news and usually from the comfort of their home while taking a cup of coffee. You see! They will be relaxed, free, refreshed. As a result they have time to read what’s posted on social media walls, hence more engagement. One thing that you may have noticed is that social media is usually built on relationships whether in softcopy or hardcopy, as a result there is more attention to details.
So because of the relationships I just mentioned there is better communication on social media. Again, this is the very way in which social media is boosting business in Zimbabwe. Nothing beats communication in business. Social media does this very well by providing a two way relationship. Businesses value feedback a lot.
Let me have this as my last point. Social media is boosting businesses in that it is very convenient. I may have mentioned it earlier that people are usually on social media from the comfort of their homes. That means you can sell almost everything while taking a cup of coffee and playing with your daughter at the same time. Isn't this the meaning of convenience? You can do business on social media any time.
There are many ways in which businesses are boosted by social media and the web in general, I cannot exhaust it all in this article.
Wait, why is Madam Boss in the leading image for this article?
I almost forgot, trust me, I got carried away. I decided to pick at least an individual who have mastered the power of social media, taking advantage every advantage that social media has to launch an online start-up or business, so I picked Madam Boss. Madam boss (In the top image), is now an entrepreneur but she started a mere comedian, seemingly doing it for fun. She is not the only one, there are many in this category that are getting a mega boosting through social media.
Now madam boss according to a post published on her Facebook page is launching several beauty products, but what gave her the mileage: It is social media. I therefore age all potential entrepreneurs and start-ups alike to embrace social media as they launch their businesses.