There is so much to say here, but I will leave you with one of my most important observations. Social Media is the platform that companies can use to engage their mobile audience!
ALL social media websites are mobile ready and they present a product to our consumers that is so integral to their daily lives. A communication vehicle. Especially Facebook and MXIT who offer that communication with more people than any other network in South Africa.
Couple this thought with Authur Goldstucks research:
“The findings suggest, on the surface, that more than half of urban cellular users – 8.5-million – are capable of accessing e-mail on their phones, and as many as 60% – 9.5-million – are able to browse on their phones. The implications of these numbers are significant: in one fell swoop, they would turn the SA Internet user base from the 5.3-million reported by World Wide Worx at the end of 2009 to 9.6-million. Add Instant Messaging to the mix, and the total becomes 10.56-million – exactly double that of the Internet user base at the end of last year.”
Goldstuck also says ““The truth is, many people with these applications on their phones do no use them and do not even know how to use them,” says Goldstuck. “It is clear that the cellphone has the potential to take South Africans across the digital divide, but the phones themselves need to become more user-friendly, and a vast amount of consumer education is needed.”
With national mobile penetration well over 90% and the product offering (benefit) of social media, I believe that South African business will be able to speak to a larger audience in South Africa through social networks. Mobile websites seem like the obvious answer, but there is very little reason for a mobile user to visit your new mobi site. However, there is plenty of reason for them to join Facebook, or twitter or any other social network. We will then be able to engage this market through the social media platforms and “invite” them to our website.
Another interesting development is 0.facebook.com (http://blog.facebook.com/blog.php?post=391295167130) which offer free Facebook access to people over a mobile phone. This is not available in South Africa yet but should this technology be released in SA through a participating mobile carrier it has the potential to become the most used communication vehicle in South Africa.
Once again, in my personal experience, I have developed campaigns for brands that have been able to connect with young people who do not have computer access to Facebook. They are on pay-as-you-go cell-phone contracts and therefore prefer to communicate via Facebook. One particular campaign generated R 250 000, 00 worth of business after only six weeks of starting their Facebook Page. The business was closed directly over Facebook with very little traffic being driven to the website.