Building Blocks of a Successful Online Business- Your Social Persona
I just got notification that I can’t add any more friends on FB because I have reached the 5,000 limit. This got me thinking, do I even personally know all of my FB family? No way, I doubt if we ever get to connect with 1/3 of our social networks on such a social level as to warrant close proximity or near-reality relationships.
Africa is lauded for having one of the highest mobile penetration rates in the world. Every day, thousands of users access the internet via mobile phones. Over 70% of users go online to get social- perhaps upload a few photos of last weekend’s social escapades.
Over the last decade, the use of social media across the world has grown exponentially. And major marketing and branding companies now spend billions of dollars on well targeted social media adverts. Yes, many businesses have now gone online, and with the emergence of the internet of Things (IoT), it is anticipated that the potential of the internet will grow into trillions of dollars. Business Insider Intelligence- a business analysis powerhouse- predicts that the value of online sales will double over the next 5 years from $453 billion in 2017 to $1 trillion by 2023.
These figures seem staggering, and skeptics would easily argue that only big corporations will benefit. Nothing can be further from the truth: the online space presents numerous opportunities for both companies and individual entrepreneurs to grow their business online, enhance their brands and build virtual communities.
Don’t just Facebook, use Social to make Money
Can one make money out of social media? Of course, yes. It’s about time you got into social to get paid! How does one just get there?
It’s only logical that if you wish to tap into social media and connect with thousands of potential buyers, you must first invest in yourself as a brand. You must be able to stimulate a following with your target audience.
Build your social persona
Your first step is to get online in order to be found online! You do not want to use a fictitious name that will lead to credibility issues with your customers later on, so just be real. Upload a real photo of you or one that associates with your business for your avatar. Like any respectable brand, be respectable in all your postings. Avoid nudity,obscenity for example.
Given the diverse nature of online, be conscious about cultural diversity. Avoid taking controversial, sexist,or culturally-intolerant positions! Unless of course you are an a lobby or advocacy organization, then it would be okay. The Golden Rule is that the internet never forgets, don’t lose sight of that.
There a number of free social media platforms from which one can connect with thousands of audiences from across different geographical locations. Facebook is the most popular of these platforms. Instagram , a sister platform to Facebook can also be integrated into Facebook or used as a stand-alone platform. Others include Twitter (widely viewed as elitist), Snapchat, Google Business, Pinterest, Flickr, and many more.
Each of these has its own pros and cons, but I recommend Facebook for newbies, and gradually scale to other platforms as your social person grows and you have become apt at social media.
Can online business actually make sales like a real, physically located business? There is a growing body of evidence that online businesses can actually make huge sales.
One of China’s richest entrepreneurs, Jacky Ma was the founder of Alibaba, one of the world’s most popular online trading platforms. We have Ebay in the US. Closer to home, Jumia, Olx, Kilimall and many others have revolutionized consumer experiences. I personally know tens of local individuals who would rather not do anything else than sell online.
Taking your business online has a number of benefits that you should consider. It gives you access to thousands of potential buyers both within your locality and region. Besidies, social provides rich media formats that can be used to enhance user experiences.
by Robert Muendo, a member of the Board of Trustees, ISOC Kenya – firstname.lastname@example.org