WASHINGTON DC —
Some companies use social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and several others to market new products and sell various goods and services.
This has become a worldwide trend in conducting business though traditional marketing systems are still in place.
Some international firms such as chicken restaurant, Nando’s, have more than 2.4 million followers on Facebook and Twitter and millions of fans on YouTube.
Like other companies, it uses these social media platforms for selling various products and reaching new markets worldwide.
A few international and local firms in Zimbabwe appear to be using this type of media to sell their brands and market various commodities.
Thedias Kasaira, a stockbroker based in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, believes that this kind of marketing is also being used by the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) in disseminating important stock market information.
“The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange recently launched a website and we have seen some tangible benefits as we are able to get some of the information we need for conducting our business,” he says.
Mr. Kasaira says shareholders can now obtain and monitor such information online though the ZSE is not fully utilizing social media like Twitter and Facebook to highlight its activities.
Many Zimbabwean companies are failing to fully utilise social media to market their commodities
Albert Mandizvidza, chief executive officer of Peekford Management (Pvt) Limited – a regional management firm based in Southern Africa – says in some cases this online marketing does not work.
He says there are many online challenges in countries like Zimbabwe.
“There are some companies that still use traditional media due to the fact that there is a low uptake of these social media and generally it is difficult to access the internet in Zimbabwe.”
But the banking sector is believed to be effectively using social media to market online banking which has become part of life among the rich and some sections of the middle class.
“Even people without bank accounts can now send and receive money online due to these social media,” he says.
Mr. Wade, however, believes that Zimbabwe’s central bank needs to utilize the social media sphere in order to monitor the activities of the banking sector.
And for Zimfone director, Gerry Dube, Facebook, Twitter and other social media have become the backbone of his business.
Mr. Dube uses these media to sell phone cards, mobile phone units and other products.
He says the majority of people are using many forms of communication to find new products, purchase goods and sell items of their choice.
For him, the only challenge is inaccessibility to mobile data for implementing some critical components of his business.
Apart from companies, non-governmental organizations are reaching millions of people through the use of various social media platforms.
Liberty Bhebhe, director of the National Youth Development Trust, a non-governmental organization based in Zimbabwe’s second largest city, says they have thousands of followers on Facebook who access information on voter registration, youth programmes and community issues.
Indications are that there are still few companies in Zimbabwe compared to countries like South Africa who use social media to develop their brands and market various commodities.