New research quantifies the value of for African businesses.
In recent weeks Finweek has committed space to exploring the value of online social networking for business. It’s a field of activity that doesn’t always have a clear return on investment and can occupy a lot of time and energy – especially for small- to medium-sized companies with a lot on their plates. New research underscores the importance of effective social networking for business, however, and quantifies the benefits. The bottom line: you can’t afford not to have a plan for your business to engage online.
The Social Business Africa Report – a collaborative effort between communications firm Cerebra and research company Fuseware – comprehensively studied the social engagement of businesses in Africa and concluded that an effective social networking strategy correlates with a 53% bump in revenue. Companies on the continent dedicated to social networking earn 63% more revenue, on average, than “non-social” companies, according to the research.
The study also revealed numbers for associated industries. For example, smartphones are outselling computers by four to one across Africa. Internet speeds are also increasing, correlated with a 1.3% growth in economy for every 10% improvement.
Mike Stopforth, CEO of Cerebra, told Finweek that the research project was born from conversations that his firm had with its blue-chip clients on the continent.
“[It] quickly evolved into a mammoth project – one that we hope will change the way the business world sees Africa, and more specifically, how great African companies use social media and social business principles to better engage customers and employees,” he said.
The report overviews the top companies in Africa in this regard and outlines their activity on social networks, with an indepth study of what South African telecoms giant Vodacom has achieved in this depart- ment, for example.
It also reveals some interesting statistics – that Egypt leads the continent in terms of Facebook and YouTube users, for example. South Africa is second and third respectively. SA has more Twitter users than any other African country, followed by Kenya and then Nigeria. The top social brand in Africa is Egyptian mobile phone operator Mobinil, followed by Kenya’s Safaricom and then MTN Nigeria. The SABC is in fifth place, helped along by its subsidiary radio station 5FM with DJs that have substantial social followings.
Said Stopforth: “We have known for many years that the impact of social media on business is being felt at every level of the organisation and in every industry vertical, and now we have the data to back up our theories. The report is clear – companies that understand the social imperative behind the corporate firewall are succeeding as social brands.”
You might be pondering the value of social networking, but it’s now clear that your business can’t afford not to be addressing it consciously.