The Social world had the pleasure of celebrating Social Media thanks to the Mashable Social Media day yesterday. A new trend that is taking the personal and business internet world by storm, and with millions of potential customers just hanging around Social Networks, Social Media is now a force to reckon with.

An effective way to get the numbers

One of the key elements of Social Networks, which gives them a power like no other, is their unique ability to spread the word, a phenomenon called going Viral. Start a hot topic and see how fast it spreads across the world like bush fire, with little effort from the originator sometimes.

This core element makes Social Networks such as Facebook and Twitter the fastest, though not necessarily easiest way to get the numbers your business or product needs for exposure.

But is it just a question of numbers? My answer is Yes and No. Here’s why.


Companies, especially within the SME realm, crave for that huge mailing list that you can easily send out e-shots to by the click of a button. Working for a marketing agency, I get this question quite a lot whenever the question of publicity comes into play. While marketers appreciate the power of traditional media such as Radio and TV, they are still faced with the inevitable fact that these avenues are quite similar to shooting darts in a dark room and hoping to hit the target. The more direct and targeted marketing offered by electronic means such as emails gives you a power like no other.

Well, Social Networks enable you to collect a virtual mailing list, and wait for it, from willing recipients. Filtering through the masses, touching that one potential customer who is interested in your brand, and by becoming a fan on Facebook or following you on Twitter, you have a client telling you ‘Hey, if you ever have something to sell, you can find me at this address’. The more of this kind of customer you have, the more effective your next advertising campaign will be. In this case, Yes, the numbers on Social Networks matter.


Let’s face it, if you sell executive office furniture, and three quarters of your Facebook fans are teenagers from your daughter’s school who joined after your daughter sent page suggestions to her 800 Facebook friends, the numbers almost lose their meaning.

Social Networks, like most social groups offer you 4 types of users:

  1. Readers: These are the curious minds who will like anything interesting they find on Facebook or wherever else just because it looks interesting. You don’t want too many of these.
  2. Participators: They like to belong, and crave to be members of communities. They respond very well to tag lines such as ‘Are you being left behind?’ and ‘Don’t be left out’. Again, you don’t want these.
  3. Influencers: They don’t just like anything they find on the street, and quite often, they will belong to the group you really want to become Fans of your Facebook page. To appeal to these guys, you need quality and a very lucid value addition to their lives for them to join your Social Network. They don’t impress easily, but they should form the greater mass of your network.
  4. Evangelists: Ever found a client who says ‘I would die without you!’. No, not because they are on life support and your company is the only one manufacturing Life support equipment. They simply Love you that much. They are very very few, and quite often, might be on your payroll. Treasure them, but keep them on a tight leash lest they destroy your brand irreversibly.

In my opinion, any business serious about competitiveness should have Social Media as part of their strategy. Lucky for you, very few companies in Kenya have taken this step decisively so there is still room. I am yet to find a Kenyan company that has 50,000 fans on their Facebook page from the 1 million or so active Facebook users (don’t listen to synovate), so there is still room for you.

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