So someone asked me this question not too long ago, I have to be honest I was astonished that a business owner would ask such a question, I mean what’s a business without a plan and a marketing strategy?
Hey! But I also understand, because here in South Africa, we are still far behind in terms of digital marketing as a whole compared to the more developed countries. Although we have taken strides and the growth is there, the truth is that the digital space is growing at a pace a bit too difficult for many small business owners to keep up with. It’s the bigger brands that seem to have it all figured out.
Back to the question, do you need a social media marketing strategy?
A simple answer is yes, if it is marketing then it is doomed to fail without a strategy, another thing to note, no matter what word you put before marketing e.g. social media “marketing”, direct “marketing”, email “marketing,” the list is endless, it is at the end of the day ‘marketing,’ no back and forth with that point.
Maybe the confusion is to determine how developing a social media marketing strategy works. I am not sure but in this article, I will tell you a bit more on how to develop a social media marketing strategy and some of the trends to look in to for 2017. So why should you have a strategy for your social media marketing?
1. To have clearly defined goals: it’s not easy to achieve the best out of social media marketing if you have no clearly defined goals, otherwise you will just be on your Facebook page uploading endless promotional materials which defeat the purpose of ‘social’ media. With clearly defined goals, it must be backed up by research to understand your target audience, this will help with your campaigns, you will know what keeps the highest engagement possible on your social media platforms.
2. Build your brand: it takes many years to build a strong brand but fortunately with social media you can achieve that within 2 years or less. If you do what I did when I started out with social media, which is promote-promote-promote, you don’t build a good brand, in fact you become that one guy or brand to ignore because your social media pages are boring, annoying, irrelevant and without value, maybe even all the mentioned. I know a few, hey!
3. Lastly and I imagine the only one most people care about, is to effectively sell their products and services. I have seen great products sold ineffectively, I have myself had great services, affordable quality services that I was just not getting enough clients for. Why? Because I was too quick to rush into selling, before I did my full research, before I developed a strategy to use, before I built a solid brand and it did not work out in my favor now that I look back.
I got clients but it was not as much as I believed and, my services were just too cheap, yet my potential clients would go for the same quality of services from other people. Sometimes I would see that my work was better in value and quality but they still chose the more expensive guys, whom I now know worked very hard in building their brands and I now respect them for following a process I took for-granted and it came back to haunt me. I am going to ask you a question and you should take your time in answering it. Why do you need a marketing strategy? Don’t think social media, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay-per-Click (PPC) or any other form of marketing, just think market – why do you need a marketing strategy?
Now let’s speak trends, my dear friend reading this from outside of Africa in terms of digital marketing we are still trying to catch up, some businesses are still trying out which options are best for their brands. So these may not be for you but they also maybe if you are selling anything in this part of the world. So these are the trends to look out for in 2017:
1. Content writing
Content writing has proven to be one of the best way to drive people in to potential clients and this has worked for me. If you are a farmer for example and have a blog or website, even any other online platform such as one you’re reading from then you should take content writing seriously because the story you tell or information you share will create you more loyal customers than those you would get from just promotional written content, again I mention myself as an example. It also benefits your brand for search engine purposes, you create free SEO for your brand, you don’t believe me? Then google “Tshepo Mavimbela” and what you will see is only the beginning of my branding process which I gave myself 3 years to establish. So be patient with content writing if you are using it for the purpose of SEO more than anything.
2. Social Buying
As we move further into the digital space, people are beginning to understand online shopping and they are also trusting it, so adding a call-to-action button to content like “apply now” or “buy now” will have a significant growth over the next year. Why? I am not sure, but from personal experience it is so much more convenient to just click buy now from social media than to browse through an online store plus it’s time saving. Oh yeah! so that’s why, it is easy? Yes very easy but if you have too many products to sell then it’s best you add the ones you believe will sell in large numbers.
3. Video content
Have you noticed how you are more likely to read a post with an attention grabbing image? Well you’re not alone and many social media sites have taken this seriously with analytics algorithms more optimized for visual content, more and more people pay attention to video content so take advantage of YouTube, Google-owned product which is a search engine tool of its own. You are more likely to increase your digital presence and search ranks for FREE by using video content (making b=video may be a bit expensive, I won’t lie). You also have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the fast grower SnapChat to use video content on.
The chances of growing your brand have exponentially increased. Gone are the days where you depended only on TV, radio and print media but if you can afford these then by all means don’t rule them out just yet, there’re still people out there who actually pay attention to commercial advertising. Following these trends or not, the bottom line is social media marketing is real marketing, digital marketing as a whole is redefining marketing as we know it and to go at it without any strategic approach is simply injuring your brand. So again yes you do need a strategy for social media marketing and use it effectively then #GrowthIsInevitable
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Source Beauty is pushing the boundaries of Egyptian e-commerce
Egyptian e-commerce: the county’s digital drive has not yet gotten to the growth typically seen in European countries and North America. However, as businesses have started shifting online, customers are now following suit, resulting in the gradual development of the digital eco-system.
Innovation, such as digital marketing, is reinventing the consumers’ path to purchase. The Egyptian e-commerce market is expected to grow at a rate of 33% annually to approximately $3bn by 2022, according to Oxford Business Group.
Source Beauty and disruption
The increase in e-commerce comes from rising internet penetration rates, driven by connected and digitally savvy millennials. Several platforms, both locally and internationally, such as the direct-to-consumer beauty platform Source Beauty, have disrupted the beauty industry in the region to drive their growth by truly connecting with their customers.
By being aware of the changing consumer behaviour trends in the e-commerce landscape, service providers like Source Beauty are continually fostering customer engagement with a community they have created. The customer service team, along with the editorial and marketing teams, respond to each comment and direct message, making customers feel listened to.
Lydia Schoonderbeek, the founder and CEO of Source Beauty, said:
“Egypt has traditionally been a price-driven market. After devaluation and high inflation rates, people have become much more price sensitive. People are consuming less and are shifting away from imported products due to price, accessibility and inconsistency in supply. As a result, they’re looking for local alternatives.”
In line with its digital transformation and financial inclusion agenda, the Egyptian government has set in place directives to raise the limit for electronic payments for individuals via mobile phones to EGP30,000 (USD1,905) per day, and EGP100,000 (USD6,350) per month, since March 2020. Traditionally, 70% of online purchases were cash on delivery, which has proven to be a major challenge to e-commerce growth throughout the region. This preference has changed to credit card payments, increasing to 30% from 16% due to the spread of Covid-19, but it remains to be seen whether purchasing behaviors will be affected in the long term.
The CEO of Source Beauty further added that, the company had seen substantial growth thanks to the COVID-19 global pandemic, with existing and new customers wanting to limit in-person beauty services and adhering to social distancing and mask-wearing requirements. Beauty customers, she says were changing spending habits, moving towards products that allow them to recreate the salon experience in their homes and protect them from the potential impact of an increasingly digital lifestyle. Finally, she believes they have seen customers prioritising skincare and haircare purchases over makeup.
The question is, ‘Is anyone in Egypt going to buy beauty products online?’. Who thought people would buy books on the internet from a website called Amazon! Well, the answer seems to be YES. Consumer spending in Egypt on non-essential goods has reached EGP 3.90bn in 2020 and is set to reach 8.81bn in 2021, according to FitchSolution’s 2021 Report.
According to the Egyptian e-commerce beauty company, Source Beauty, it believes that the world is in an era where consumers are looking to associate with brands and not products, to make their beauty purchasing decisions and this is where homegrown brands like theirs will doubtlessly lead to economic growth in Egypt.
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