It’s no secret that small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are key to economic growth and job creation – a fact that rings true worldwide but especially so in developing markets. Ghana, for exam ple, boasts between one and two million SMEs which employ 80% of the workforce and account for around 70% of GDP.
By now many of these businesses understand the importance of social media, especially considering that high-speed Internet connectivity in Africa’s major markets is becoming increasingly affordable and ubiquitous. The benefits of social media are progressively hard to dispute, with its affordability and accessibility able to attract large numbers of new audiences while maintaining direct contact with an existing consumer base… thus boosting the brand experience and reputation on a daily basis.
However, simply being present on social media platforms versus getting the most out of social media are two different things. In order to achieve the latter, SMBs need to take advantage of social media analytics. In doing so, they are able to assure that the time and money spent is achieving optimum results and affords them the best possible chance of scaling-up.
Importance of understanding the data
Every major social media platform has some form of analytics, providing business account owners valuable insights into how their posts are performing. But some go even further, allowing account holders to measure how an extended campaign performs against their targets; and what returns they’ll get from paid advertising on the platform.
For smaller businesses, with limited amounts of capital to spend on marketing, this is particularly important. Every single cedi has to work as hard as possible to demonstrate its full value. It’s pointless, for instance, for an up-and-coming clothing brand to advertise to older audiences if its products are primarily aimed at the younger market. Utilising social analytics might not prevent this from happening, but it does mean that SMBs can correct their course easily if the situation arises.
Perhaps more importantly, however, once an SMB is reaching the right audiences it can use analytics to help tailor its messaging to achieve the best chance of success. A business could, for example, start A/B testing – evolving and adapting its messaging according to what works on specific social networks. These insights are what takes an SMB from simply understanding messaging to homing-in on growth and scaling up.
None of that, of course, is to say that SMBs should become experts in social media analytics in order to grow and succeed. But even a basic understanding can help ensure that they’re correctly positioned to scale.
Working with the right partners
That basic understanding can also help SMBs ensure they find the appropriate media-space buying partner. The ideal partner will ensure that they use the right formats on the right social media platforms, which the SMBs themselves might not even be aware of. They’ll also make an SMB client feel comfortable so that they can start advertising with little amounts, and help them keep costs within a predefined frame. Many partners additionally offer ‘trial’ budgets at a lower minimum cost that allows new advertisers to ‘give it a go’ and see if they gain value from it. Beyond that, a good media-space buying partner should be able to, for example, inform an SMB if it has the potential to make the most out of Yahoo’s programmatic, native and display advertising offerings.
More than that, they’ll help SMBs tailor their messaging to their target audience, and provide access to the maximum number of digitally-connected customers – not to mention that they’ll do so in a way that’s priced transparently, giving the platform access to a dedicated sales and customer success team.
Essentially, the right media-space buying partner understands the needs and requirements of the SMB in question and ensures they are met as fully as possible.
Gunning for growth
While the number of SMBs is important for economic growth and job creation, their effect can be supercharged if all those businesses are properly positioned to grow and scale. Similarly, while an understanding of social media analytics combined with the right media-space buying partner can’t guarantee growth, it can be key to unlocking it.
The writer is a Performance and Programmatic Partner Director, Ad Dynamo by Aleph