In a time when tourists and investors rely on a country’s image to make economic decisions, the “new” post apartheid South Africa is in the process of re-branding theirs.
For a company entering the South African market and looking to make a long lasting impression, it is a good idea to first identify and market to, through and with value-added influencers to leverage the full potential of social media marketing. Sure, mobile marketing platforms, such as MXit are huge in South Africa, but mobile marketing alone is not good enough when searching for a long-term solution. Only after you rally your troop of willing influencers (creating interest, buzz and conversation) is it wise to use mobile marketing and other social media tools for short-term campaigns and marketing.
How does influencers improve the marketing of your product or service in South Africa?
- Marketing to influencers increases awareness of the product or service within the influencer community.
- Marketing through influencers uses influencers to increase market awareness of the product or brand amongst target markets
- Marketing with influencers turns influencers into advocates of the product or firm.
South African winery Stormhoek sent a bottle of wine to South Africa’s top bloggers and held a Geek dinner party with Robert Scobel and Dave Winer, just one of the many events they hold for social media influencers. Stormhoek’s plunge into social media marketing has won it several awards and accolades for marketing innovation. Sure, they also take part in tactical gimmicks, such as Facebook giveaways and funny viral Youtube videos, but when the last prize was won and the last laugh silenced, they returned to the relationships they took time to build in the social media community that transformed that initial buzz about their brand into lasting conversations.
In one of its many efforts toward re-branding South Africa, The Brand South Africa International Marketing Council (IMC)
is bringing a group of top-notch US bloggers to South Africa (accompanied by top South African bloggers) in the first week of December and hosting them on an eight day tour that will showcase South Africa as an extraordinary nation of creative and innovative problem-solvers.
It’s Web site states:
South Africa is alive with possibility, but whose word are you going to take for it? Ours? We hope so, but let’s be candid. It really helps to hear first-hand from balanced and independent voices telling their own stories.
Explaining the thinking behind the tour, an IMC representative said:
“If you’re in the market for almost any product or service these days, and you have an Internet connection, the net is your buyer’s guide. You don’t need to listen to sales pitches or succumb to slick ads. You go online and get recommendations from people your trust, other consumers, your peers. That’s the new reality for everyone in the marketing business.”