Firms need to up social network strategies
Fin24 - Nov 11th 2011, 08:18
Johannesburg - Business is wasting time and money by trying to reach people on social networks sites without a targeted strategy, a global research survey has found.
"Three out of five South African internet users don’t want to be bothered by brands on social networks," TNS said in a statement on Thursday.
"Winning and keeping customers is harder than ever," said Matthew Froggatt, chief development officer.
He said the online world undoubtedly presents massive opportunities for brands.
However, choosing the wrong channel or adding to the "cacophony" of online noise risks alienating potential customers.
The Digital Life study surveyed online consumer behaviour in 60 countries.
It found that 57% of people in sub-Saharan Africa did not want to engage with brands via social media. This rose to 60% in South Africa.
Across the survey, 47% of people wanted to engage with companies on their Facebook accounts or blogs.
"This is in contrast to only 7% of those online in South Africa, one of the lowest incidences in the world, and South Africans are clearly less interested in commenting on brands in the social media space," the study showed.
The study showed big geographic contrasts.
This highlighted the risks of brands that employed a "catch-all approach" that did not take into account the needs of different consumers.
"Digital waste is the accumulation of thousands of brands rushing online without thinking who they want to talk to and why," said Froggatt.
"Many brands have recognised the vast potential... on social networks; however, they are failing to understand that these spaces belong to the consumer and their presence needs to be proportionate and justified."
The study found that infrastructure and the cost of accessing the internet in some countries were other hurdles to reaching consumers.
"Forty-eight percent of people in fast growth markets would use the internet more if it was less expensive - rising sharply in Africa, to 81% of people in Ghana, 71% in Nigeria, 68% in Kenya and 51% in South Africa."
Only a quarter of people in developed markets saw social networks as forum to buy products.
This rose to 48% across fast growth markets, 64% in sub-Saharan Africa and 40% in South Africa.
The study further looked into the practice of online shopping via a cellphone.
"When it comes to online shopping habits, Asian consumers are leading the adoption of group buying and purchase via mobile."
This was very low in sub-Saharan Africa and South Africa.
Compared to China and South Korea’s percentage of 34%, only 5% of South Africans shop on their phones.
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