Tapping social media in building brands

The emergence of communication and computing for mobile consumer devices is on the evolutionary course to bring interoperability and leverage the services and functions of every industry. 

With today’s ever-changing message consumption habits due to the explosive growth of the digital curve, brands have been forced to re-evaluate their communication strategies to their target audiences as new media enjoys flexibility never seen with the traditional media.

According to a recent report by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), Kenya is primed to produce over nine million new mobile subscribers in the next five years. This is expected to become a disruptor when it comes to brands communicating with their clients and internal teams effectively.

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Currently, Kenya has been considered as a leading country in terms of smartphone use and penetration. In this, Internet usage has surpassed 91 per cent of mobile subscriptions compared to Africa’s 80 per cent, with social media dominating with over 8.3 million Kenyans being active.  The most accessed platforms with WhatsApp having 74 per cent, Facebook 70 per cent and Twitter 50 per cent.

While certain industries seem to be ahead of the digital curve, social media and advanced mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are influencing how businesses connect with and market brands to their target audience.

What digital media has done is dramatically expand the platforms for creating, distributing and sharing branded content at any time something that was limited before. Every brand charged with moving a product or service will need to know how best to reach their consumers.

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For instance, with information consumption undergoing great changes due to the advancement of digitisation, brands need to ascertain the changes in readers' consumption habits measuring the scope, age and effects of digital convergence and the outlook for the future. Ultimately, they need creative content to influence purchase decisions and win when it comes to brand loyalty.  Which means they need to have the ability to measure, track and analyse interactions resulting from the published content. 

There is no question on the ability that technology has brought on the table for brands. The Connected Consumer Survey 2017 by Google on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries established that users think of the Internet as a fun destination as well as a daily-use digital tool and the first place to search for information.

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Putting this information on consideration, brands need to start creating entertaining and easily accessible materials sharable through the social media forgetting the use of posters and fliers that consume time and resources compared to the production of digital content.

According to the American Press Institute, 60 per cent of individuals who prefer digital content are youths at the age of 18 – 35. The report concluded that digital communication platforms pose unique business opportunities for brands since messages can be communicated to anyone, anywhere, and have higher margins unhindered by printing or delivery costs due to the rising numbers of individuals online.   

The emergence of these individuals who at times are known as ‘onliners’ described as people who use the internet more than four times a day to pursue digital activities like search, looking up directions or watching online videos, and catching up with the current trend of memes has created a demand for digital content. And because search, maps and video are mobile-centric platforms, onliners are very likely to access them via mobile phone rather than a computer or a paper.

To stay ahead, it’s now time for brands to explore how these new opportunities can support consumers and business goals alike. Most brands currently are still behind with the new trend thus not making the best outcome from there businesses.

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