Are You Selling Candles or Light? Insights from Social Media Week Nairobi

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Once upon a time, there was a town with two candle makers. One of the candle makers was called John and the other Mark. If you asked John what his business was, he’d say he makes the best candles in town. If you asked Mark what his business was, he’d promptly reply, “my business is about providing light.”

A few years later, the oil-lamp was invented.

Who do you think went out of business? Who do you think prospered from the new opportunity?

Always Focus on Your Core

Although the internet, in particular, social media, has had a great impact on the way we do business, the nature of business itself still remains the same. Customers must be satisfied, revenue must be made, calls must be answered.

However, since the advent of social media, most businesses seem to have shifted the responsibility of creating great customer experiences to social media. The thinking goes, “Facebook has billion of users and so does Twitter and Instagram. They have perfect websites that our audience prefer. And all our competitors are doing it. Why don’t we use social media to get more sales and reach for business?”

But anyone who attended the Social Media Week Nairobi will tell you that this approach is far from optimal.

“Customer experience in digital marketing is not about deleting negative reviews online, it’s about fixing the underlying issues and taking care of your customer needs.” –

Allen Kambuni, director at Bean Interactive talks about customer experience in digital marketing at the Social Media week Nairobi.

The Problem With Social Media

Did you know that your brand’s social media posts only reach 2% of your audience? For Legibra, that means that of our 11,000 Twitter followers, only 220 see our posts.

Additionally, Facebook is making an effort to promote organic and personal interactions on the platform, so you can rest assured that your brand messages are not reaching your audience and neither are they interacting with.

In fact, most brands are spending huge sums of money to get followers and engage with their audience. However, at the end of the quarter, they have little to show for it because they don’t get the sales they envisioned and they are not engaging with their audience as personally as they imagined.

Therefore, as brand reach and engagement plummets on social media,  it’s time we took a step back, stop focusing on the how we’ll get a million followers and increase sales by 100%, instead let’s start thinking about the what. What can we do to achieve success online? To improve customer experience, personalize products and cut costs.

Strategy is King in Online Business

The purpose of marketing for a business is simply to grow and sustain business by selling and promoting products and services.

More importantly, effective marketing will use various techniques to reach, engage, and convert the target audience. Therefore, you cannot afford to delegate your whole marketing tasks to social media. Simply put, social media should be used as a component of your digital marketing strategy and not your only digital marketing strategy.

Digital marketing mix

Once you start looking at marketing from this perspective, you start to realize that social media is a medium of communication just like your emails and websites. And if you leverage on the different strong points of these media you can achieve far more than relying on a single medium. Most importantly, you will realize the value of your website.

Your Website is Your Core

Just think about it the following points;

Your website gives you full control to publish anything you want.

Your website allows you to change design based on your audience preferences.

You own all the content you post on your website.

You have full control on when your website should be up or down.

A website allows you to own your audience, you don’t have to pay to reach them.

You can use your website traffic to build an email list.

With these points in mind, bringing your target audience home (website) where you can interact freely makes complete sense in a customer-centered strategy.

Don’t Sell Candles, Sell Light.

We are not advocating that you abandon social media marketing, we think Facebook and LinkedIn are great media for brand awareness especially when you run paid campaigns.

However, it is important to stay focused on what matters- your customers. Technologies will come and go but customers will always want the same things. Instead of jumping on the next pop technology because your competitors are doing the same, take some time to sit down with your team and come up with a strategy to show what you are going to do with the technology.

That said, congratulations to the Digital Media Awards 2018 winners, who sold light instead of candles 😉

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Mercy Rop
Mercy Rop is a digital marketer at Legibra– a Kenyan-based I.T company specializing in web design and domain hosting. Her professional aim is to helps businesses reach their goals using the web.
http://legibra.com/

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