Globally, there are over 2.4 billion Facebook users, 1.5 billion active users on WhatsApp, 1 billion on Instagram, 250 million monthly active users on LinkedIn and a little over 320 million on Twitter.
18 million Ugandans have access to the internet; with 60 per cent being able to access Facebook daily while 12 per cent, 3 per cent and 1 per cent access Twitter, YouTube and Instagram with the same regularity. Based on these statistics, Uganda provides immense opportunities for Small and Medium Businesses.
All these people are using social to engage with people and brands. According to a study, 60 per cent of Instagram users say they discover new products on the platform. But despite this, there are still SMEs who are unaware of the power that Social Media holds.
Social Media has been pivotal in the success of various SMEs, enabling them to interact with customers and giving them an opportunity to reach a wider market.
You can use social media to accomplish several goals for your business – build awareness, increase sales, humanise your brand, stay top of mind and establish your brand as a thought leader.
Social media can also be employed in brand reputation management - in times of organisational crises, these platforms can be a powerful tool to provide proactive, fast and detailed communication to your stakeholders and audiences.
One of the greater advantages of social media is the ability it gives brands to offer real time customer support. In an increasingly competitive business landscape, timely and helpful customer service plays an integral role to the success of your organisation.
Additionally, social media is a great advertising tool. With a Smartphone and an account for your business, you can regularly update existing and potential customers on your products, services, sales and promotions.
Should you choose to use the advertising features of these platforms, you can target an audience that wants your products, using attributes such as age, geographical location and interests, among others.
This level of detail ensures that you do not spend money on reaching people who have no interest in what your business offers, giving you a greater return on investment and valuable insights which you might not be able to get with other formats of advertising.
If the possibilities seem overwhelming, start small. Take a focused approach – start with one or two key platforms and build your social media marketing efforts over time.
The writer is the digital and social media specialist at dfcu bank.