“Airtel Malawi I sent you a message kale kale. Muli serious koma? Do you even open your inbox?”
“Whoever manages FDH Bank Facebook page knows exactly what they’re doing. They’re doing the bank a great service.”
“Continue the competitions, Timeline Electronics, because some people don’t know that you’re here to make yourselves very well known and very famous. We are following you”
The above (paraphrased) statements are comments copied from Airtel Malawi, FDH Bank and Timeline Electronics Facebook (FB) pages. It’s clear who’s doing a good job and who’s not as far as social media management is concerned.
This is the difference between a competent and an incompetent social media manager. Go to the respective pages, you’ll get exactly what I mean.
Social media marketing is perhaps the most powerful brand-building tool of all – but only if it is managed correctly. Social media is no longer a reactive project that you pursue in free time on the weekends.
It is now and will continue to be an important part of any holistic business strategy and one that provides many opportunities for businesses to connect with their consumers within a variety of contexts. Managing social media can be a full-time job.
Why is professional social media management important?
Firstly, the person managing your social media accounts is effectively the ‘voice’ of your business. If you wouldn’t put that person in front of 3000 people to promote your business on your behalf, you shouldn’t put them in charge of your social media voice – which potentially reaches a far greater audience on a daily basis.
Secondly, strategy, quality, consistency, engagement and innovation are the keys to social media success. Without these key points, your social media efforts will be in vain.
By outsourcing the ongoing management of your social media channels to a dedicated strategist, you can ensure your business is not only utilising social media in a strategic manner designed to produce real results for your brand, but they’re producing high quality content and distributing it a consistent, targeted manner, aimed at increasing engagement and reach for your business. (Or in other words, getting you ‘seen and heard’ online!)
Some of the reasons why businesses need a Professional Social Media Manager include to develop a social media strategy, to create amazing content, to boost search engine optimisation (SEO), to communicate in a unified voice, to manage the online community by listening to your customers on social media and responding in a timely manner, to track campaigns and to stay abreast of trends and technology.
People who know the basics of social media may not be as informed as a person who works in social media marketing day in and day out.
Just because you post on Instagram daily and your FB status gets 379 likes doesn’t necessarily mean you will be able to strategically manage a business online profiles.
A professional social media manager doesn’t necessarily have to be outsourced; you can equally hire someone to do it in-house.
But given a choice, I’d say go with the outsourcing option especially because there’s a shortage of such skills in Malawi. I mean, if you can afford it why not get the best? Some might be thinking: “We’d be paying an agency too much for social media each month.”
It is important to think about “the agency” in terms of the absolute value that they are offering your business. When you hire an outside agency, you are hiring a full team of people with varying levels of experience, backgrounds and strengths.
You certainly could employ a fresh college graduate to work on social media in-house.
However, strong social media talent comes with experience and know-how to adapt to a field with constantly changing trends.
Besides, it will probably be no time at all before someone in the office starts handing this individual other completely unrelated tasks to complete. Also keep in mind the implied costs of training, researching, and time lost while learning how to fix issues or become familiar with a new platform.
More than just numbers?
Social media is about engagement. You want to build relationships with your viewers and earn their trust and loyalty.
There are countless articles written that cover this, and I want to only touch on the fact that in most cases, active and organic social media engagement will lead to more fans and followers on its own.
While numbers are important, it is also how you achieve those numbers that is equally important. You have to decide if you have the time and capacity to create new content, respond to inquiries promptly, take advantage of interactions as they happen, and stay up to date on trends as they change daily.
FDH Bank does this beautifully through their Facebook and WhatsApp accounts.
Let me take this opportunity to mention that there are services available where you can pay to amass thousands of free followers. If all you are looking for are the numbers (followers, likes, etc) you are doing your business a disservice. Please do not take this approach.
The companies that provide this service are typically located overseas, in regions such as the Middle-East and South Asia, far away from where most Malawian companies may do business.
You will get the follows/likes you paid for, but they will be from fake accounts or from people that do not truly exist or like your product/ service.
To add insult to injury, any future paid promotions or posts you create may be promoted to these accounts (your fake followers!).
What a waste to pay to expose your post to 100 people and all of the ones that receive your paid promotion are fake accounts located overseas that you already paid to like your page. See where this is going?
This is difficult to undo, by the way, and we see it happening all of the time. Most amateur in-house social media reps are not aware of these scenarios and many businesses have fallen victim to their own ignorance. And, under no circumstances, should you pay opinion leaders to post favourable comments on social media about your brand.
This is going to backfire sooner or later. I came across a document leaked by one of the managers of a telecommunications company which had detailed plans of paying people to write positives reviews about their brand on Facebook – shameful.
Despite its increasing popularity, social media marketing is a channel that many businesses have yet to adopt and the ones that have generally take the “anyone can do it” approach.
By hiring a professional social media manager, you can gain that all-important competitive edge, establishing yourself as the number one brand in your niche and begin capitalising on an audience that competitors have yet to discover.
Moreover, Google now recognises social media ranking factors, which means that a popular and well-exposed brand on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites may boost your search ranking, giving you a further advantage over the competition.
Lastly, let me make it clear that it is a million times waaaaay better to not have a social media presence than having a Facebook/ Instagram/ Twitter page and not be updating it or ignore your customers.
Ukaziputa limba! National Bank of Malawi has a WhatsApp customer care number but the last several times I messaged them I got no response – days on end. I mean, the last time there was activity on their FB page was in May 2017.
What message are they trying to send to their customers? Tamachangamukani pa town!
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