Ignore social media at your own peril, organisations told

Companies and public institutions in Africa cannot afford to run away from social media integration, says Sunny Bindra, a Kenya-based social media analyst and enthusiast.

“Technology drives everything now. It has brought about profound changes in business, government and society,” he told HumanIPO. “Social is in fact the future of both corporations and governments. Organizations will either be ‘social’ or they will be nothing.”

Many organizations have opted to open a Facebook page and a Twitter account to interact with their clients. Even with this development, many of them are grappling with ways on how to make the interactions more meaningful to them and their customers.

Currently, customers can complain or petition a company through Twitter and Facebook. Gartner, a research firm, reckons that by end of this year, there will be 1 billion people on social media. It also predicts that 80 percent of companies worldwide will be using social media for customer care service by end of this year.

According to another research, it was found that 71 percent of the top 50 brands in the world did not respond to customer complaints on their Twitter accounts. This means more companies are struggling to implement social media solutions in their customer care divisions.

“By ‘social’ I don’t mean just ‘media’ like Facebook or Twitter – I mean the realization that affordable and handy technology is about to connect everyone on the planet, 24/7. The world will truly become a village again. If any organization is not part of this sea change, it will suffer,” Bindra warned.

He further told HumanIPO that social media cannot be used as a company brochure or be used to push products and services; it is a 2-way medium that encompasses conversations.

He cited Safaricom as one of the companies that is taking social media seriously within its ranks. “It has been bold in taking risks, and has set a standard for others. Its service quality still has some way to go, of course, but at least the intent is right,” he said.

Bindra also noted that some other brands are learning to use social media tools the hard way, especially those who ignore criticism. More companies should take social media seriously. He concluded that, “The world will truly become a village again. If any organization is not part of this sea change, it will suffer.”

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