#SocBizAfrica: My favourite insights

Social Media is blooming in South Africa and doing even better in Africa. I am so incredibly excited about this industry and how well it is doing here. There are so many rad agencies, freelancers and campaigns – I really think we are doing a great job – we have some of the best right here under our roof and we really are growing from strength to strength as an industry.

The Social Business Africa conference took place at The Campus on Wednesday, with many of the industry in attendance. Mike Stopforth, Dion Hinchcliffe, Mark Kaigwa and Mike Wronski were some of the speakers. Although I could not attend the actual conference, I did watch the #SocBizAfrica conversation/hashtag on Twitter.

Here are some of my favourite insights pulled from twitter via #SocBizAfrica:

Dion Hinchecliffe – Chief Strategy Officer at Dachis Group (International Keynote Speaker) on global position of Social Business:

– The goal of social is to create better and more meaningful connections with each other. Right now, you are connected to everyone on the planet: what are you going to do with that?

– Business models are changing from transactions to engagement. Many businesses cannot keep up with the rapid rate of change in technology, and therefore fail because they are not sure what to do with these new communication channels.

Engage @ Scale

– The engagement progression: awareness, passion, mindshare, advocacy.

– Great customer care is the best marketing.

– You have 5 – 10 minutes online to turn a conversation into a business opportunity.

– Business has to become social. Start with your employees – each of them can be a social media representative.

– Empower your workforce, partners and brand advocates to engage with your market. Traditional sources of marketing are declining while brand advocates are on the increase.

– Social engagement is part of a single continuum, one unified ecosystem. Internal and external social efforts need to be unified to get the best results. 

– The overall lesson: fortune favours the bold.

Fuseware CEO, Mike Wronski was next to share insights and statistics from the 2013 Social Business Africa report. (The Social Business Africa 2013 report looked at top 200 African firms by revenue and analysed social media output)

– 4 of the 5 top brands in Africa on social media are in the telecoms industry – they (telecom brands) lead the way in Africa in terms of social business.  The four top social brands in Africa aren’t South African. South Africans live in a bubble – we have no idea what’s happening in the rest of Africa.

– Egypt leads Africa in Facebook fan traction, followed by South Africa and Nigeria. South Africa leads the way with the most Twitter users. Three of the biggest 5 African Twitter brands are South African: Vodacom, Woolworths and SABC.

– 100% of the top 25 Facebook posts were shared images with text conveying emotions not directly related to the brand – images with text create the most engagement. 

– 20% of companies block LinkedIn, 26% block Facebook, 26% block Twitter and 34% block YouTube.

– More than 200 companies analysed have an internal social media usage policy and companies with at least one social profile correlate with 63.38% more revenue than those with none.

– Kenya is the hub of social media influence in Africa: over 80% of the top African social media influencers are male and from Kenya. (MOST INTERESTING INSIGHT FOR THE DAY FOR ME)

Content that is emotive, nostalgic, empathetic or personal drives very high engagement because people need an emotional connection. The top Youtube videos that connect with hearts and minds of viewers creates more traction. Ads and corporate virals don’t work. Some of the top performing content originates in Egypt, Nigeria and Kenya.

– Top performing content almost always includes a call to action.

Mark Kaigwa gave us a non South African view on social business in Kenya, the hub of social in Africa:

– Mobile connectivity has allowed Kenya to take its place as a social media leader in Africa. There are 50 386 760 African Facebook users. Egypt, Nigeria & Kenya make the top 5.

– MPESA drove the tipping point of social in Kenya. 90 million Kenyans use this channel for salaries, loans, ticketing, electricity, etc. 25% of the Kenyan economy is transacted using peer-to-peer mobile money platforms. SIM cards become ATM cards.

– 99% of all Internet connections in Kenya happen on a mobile phone. Dominance of mobile means business has to change in Kenya – it inspires a generation of entrepreneurs. It is a hot-bed for new ideas and trends because people (customers and businesses) know that traditional ways have failed. Time in traffic in Nairobi means clever innovation and free wifi in taxis. Vuma Online provides consumers/travelers with free wifi in taxis. 

It’s not about mobile first, Africa is mobile only. a Kenyan chief uses Twitter to report crime and to spread community news – Twitter is the Call Centre of 2013. Even illiterate Kenyans subscribe to notification services and get others to translate it for them.

– GTBank in Nigeria has enables people to open bank accounts through Facebook.

Mobile = social + business + Africa. 

The panel was up next, discussing whether social business success is led by strategy, technology or culture. The discussion panel is Dion Hinchecliffe, Mark Kaigwa, Craig Smee, Lucy Phillips, Gys Kappers and Mike Stopforth. 

‘Is social business success led by strategy, technology or culture?

– Executives need to buy into social business before it can be adopted as a strategy. It takes an entire company to move onto a social business. Organisations are trying to figure out where social business lies – marketing, IT, etc? Accountability and endorsement of social business needs to sit with the executives and be passed down. Every tier of management must understand the company social media strategy.

The only way to strategize social media is to operationalise – you learn as you go.

– You choose how to engage with customers on social media. Whether you do or don’t, your customers will still talk.

Mike Stopforth poses this Question to the panel: Ogilvy have appointed a Chief Data Officer. Are new jobs opening up because of social?

– It is a big risk for companies not to let employees get social media experience – they may need it in a crisis. Social should be a shared responsibility.

Forget trying to get the viral hits, get the basics right in terms of talking to people. Responds quickly and don’t sound like a robot. You respond to your customers on social media as you would if you were standing around a braai. It’s social, keep it that way. 

– This is about mindset and addressing misconceptions, culture should drive tech. Companies should breed a culture of people who understand the value of your brand. Social media policies are drafted but not understood by employees could impact brand damage.  Train your employees to use social media responsibly. short, fun videos works better than a lengthy, typed agreement or tutorial. Policies that are more loosely worded and talks to the organisation’s culture are more successful to sustain that culture.

– Build a team that can naturally speak to people without having to sell hard.

Talk as a brand and people will respond to you as a brand. Talk as a person and they will engage accordingly. 

– There are no quick wins. It is long term engagement & creation of value. Focus on people, not numbers. As a business, you have to learn to self-moderate. Keep your topics relevant to your community. Pick your platform and pick your conversations. Social media is not about the size of your organization, it is about using your reach and targeting the right people, not all the people.

Go to Social Business Africa for more and to purchase the report.

I hope there will be more of these conferences in the future as I will certainly be attending.