South Africa Will NOT Be Left Behind!

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Social Media branding efforts has yet to be proven to be a complete waste of time in any part of the world and South Africa is not an exception!

One of the most insightful points I found in the reading was posted by Mario Olckers who stated that Social media scene in South Africa is too frail and disproportionate for companies to reasonably invest their time in.

Olckers reasoning for this theory is largely based on his assessment that due to the struggling economy, the average African is more concerned with obtaining and maintaining basic commodities like food, clothing and shelter NOT access to computers and internet. He further states that the mass majority of social media influencers in South Africa are comprised of “a small minority of predominantly white geeks and geekettes with an odd sprinkling of Coloured, Black and Indians…”—making social media strategy almost a pointless effort for companies to pursue.

While I do not disagree with the fact that there currently exists a small list of prominent bloggers in the South African Blogosphere, I do see the potential on the horizon and it is ignorant to underestimate the impact social media will have as South Africa moves into the future of bridging their digital divide—especially with the internet population in Africa expected to double from to over 9 million within the next five years.

I believe Social media can and will win BIG in South Africa and it is a shame that some people are too pessimistic about the current state of the country to believe it.   I believe AND the projected data reflects that it would be a mistake  to underestimate where the entire country of Africa is heading digitally.  Many critics falsely believed Apartheid would never in South Africa… until 1994 when it indeed ENDED!

Companies looking to reach South Africans through Social Media marketing strategies would be wise to invest on the forefront of the digital movement because as it arrives THEIRS will be the products and brands most valued and interesting to the people of the country. Companies can start by investing in emergence of the “digital villages” as a branding strategy for their products.

By helping the citizens of South Africa obtain computer usage and internet access,  companies can show good corporate/ social responsibility AS WELL as brand their products. Creating a Win-Win for all.

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4 Responses to South Africa Will NOT Be Left Behind!

  1. Heather Lovett says:

    I completely agree. I think social media could be a huge success in South Africa. Although the apartheid ended years ago I think there are still people who are recovering and adapting to the change. Social media could be an excellent platform for people from different groups to connect.

  2. I liked your willingness to take on the naysayers this week in your post and your enthusiasm for the potential of South Africa. Your point about the rising Internet use in South Africa and increase in the utility of the web in the future were spot on. What was missing was a separate between Internet adoption and usage and the potential for social media as part of that. In your post the two were combined a little too closely, seeming to make the point that you believed as usage of the web rose in South Africa, usage of social media would as well. This may be true, but we need to hear more of your reasoning on why you feel this would be the case. Do others agree with you? Who might disagree and how might you counter their points? There was a missing nuance in your post this week that kept it from sharing your point as strongly as you intended. (2)

  3. Alex Greenbaum says:

    I agree with your argument that Olckers is off base here. I hope that South Africa proves its critics wrong and becomes the social media powerhouse that we all know it has the potential to be.

  4. kstel2 says:

    Interesting post. I completely agree with you that social media can have a serious impact on South Africans. If given the platform to interact on a consistent digital scale, I believe that South Africa could quickly move ahead in the terms of content and communication on social media networks.

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