Now is a good time to become a game changer. Social media has allowed the world to get a cultural peak into the diversity of African culture. From Azonto music to African films, many African media outlets are re-branding Africa’s image to the world.
Social media has given us the global platform to have unfiltered control over our own images (no pun intended) and build meaningful connections with those who are like-minded. Take advantage of the global opportunities that the internet has to offer.
Working within the field of marketing is based off of the relationships and connections that you build with others. When others see that you are of value to them in some capacity, they are more inclined to support you.
Content is king (or queen)!
Your content must reflect your values. If your mission statement says that you believe in high quality, but your social media images look like your little cousin Kofi took them, nobody believes you. High quality photos are non-negotiable.
The majority of your digital audience will most-likely have smartphones, if they can take semi-professional looking photos with them, at the very least, you can do the same. About 55% of online users leave a website within the first 15 seconds, this leaves little time to make a great first impression.
You should always “sweat the small stuff”. Have an eye for detail. Putting elements of your personality into your marketing strategy sets you apart from the rest. It shows a level of creativity that no one else can effectively duplicate because there is only on you.
Engage with your audience
You have to tap into your audience’s needs on an emotional level. You must engage with your audience so that they feel connected to your brand; this is how brand loyalty is developed. Take the time to define who your target audience is and create content that is relevant to them.
Be as personal as possible when addressing your audience, they need to know that they are valued. Implement nuances that remind them of their culture so that they feel a level of nostalgia and camaraderie in association with your brand. Allow your empathy to shine through. Show your core audience that you “get them.”
Please understand that social media for brands is really not about self-promotion but rather to engage with your audience and build trust. Brands should use their social media platform to learn about their customers needs and find solutions for them. When you are marketing, you are in the business of solving problems.
It is imperative that you take the time to know and grow with your audience. In knowing their values, you can develop marketing strategies catering to their interests. Majority of online activity for many is done on a mobile device (i.e. tablet or smartphone).
Your website must be mobile friendly, responsive web design needs be integrated into your website. Responsive web design is “a web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from mobile phones to desktop computer monitors).” If visitors have to struggle and constantly scroll across the screen just to read a sentence, they will easily become annoyed and less likely to visit again.
Your website should be easy to navigate. If you are selling a product or asking visitors for donations on your homepage, visitors should not have to maneuver through three different webpages before finding the right button to click. People in the digital age are less patient, you have to find ways to accommodate that. I beg, “African time” need not apply in the digital world.
Create customer profiles
When marketing to an African audience, create a customer profile. A customer profile is just a detailed description about who your target customer is. Many marketing teams do this in order to make customer centered decisions that appeal to their target customer. The customer profile could include the following:
- Where they live
- Favorite movies
- Goals and aspirations
In addition to the above, you can even google a picture of what your target customer would look like, be as visual and descriptive as possible. According to user experience researchers from Experience Solutions “most projects evolve from an idea, and grow through the opinions of influential members of the project team. The trouble is that these influential members of the project team are rarely the end user or customer.
This often results in a product or service that doesn’t quite meet customer expectations or needs…” Having a thorough customer profile serves as a reminder as to who your target audience is. You are more likely to accurately focus your branding strategies around their interests.
Make Google analytics your best friend
Make Google analytics your best friend. Google analytics is a free web service run by Google that tracks and reports your website traffic. You can use this tool to track the geographical location of your users, view which pages on your website they are visiting, the time of day that they visit the most, and a host of many other details.
In knowing how your audience moves, you can study trends and plan strategically. For example, if Google analytics shows that your blog has that highest amount of web traffic on Tuesday’s between 3-5pm, you may want to release new blog posts during that time. There are plenty of videos on YouTube that walk you through the process of using Google analytics.
Africa is not a country
Finally, marketing to an African audience requires significant research. Africa has over 50 countries, each of which has its own unique culture. A marketing strategy that works in Nigeria may not work in Kenya.
Collect data, analyze and respond accordingly. As long as you are working with a well-defined goal in mind, it is easier to establish your target audience and market to them effectively.
Have any other tips on marketing effectively to an African audience? Share them below.