Part 3 — Finding The One: Your Target Audience Online

In the previous two posts on this series, we looked at the presence of Malawians on social media and what it takes to target them through profiling .

In this article, we look at which platforms are ideal for what type of business. I will also share some ideas for content/considerations you ought to make. Though with some creativity, your business can have a presence on any social media platform, it is considered that some platforms are simply more suited for some types of businesses. It is just easier to pull off certain things more on some platforms than others.

Facebook

Facebook is a platform that the average person in Malawi is on (regardless of the age range, professional background, and gender). Additionally, maintaining a Facebook presence is relatively easy, in comparison with Twitter, for example.

Every business ought to have a company page on Facebook. Businesses with a social component can also build a community around their business. They can do this by setting up a Facebook group and connecting it to their Facebook company page.

Three of the best things about Facebook for Entrepreneurs are:

  1. The highest number of Malawian users regularly use it (720,000).
  2. Paid for advertisement on it is relatively cheap
  3. They have built-in analytics feature that allows you to know things like: — How your page is doing in comparison to other pages you choose to benchmark yours against. (This is a very very powerful resource) — You can also specify very acutely who should see your advertisement- through targeted ads. -It is now integrated with Instagram, so when you are setting up your ad on Facebook, with a click of a button, you can also let it run on Instagram too.

Twitter

The world’s most followed Twitter accounts is filled with musicians, politicians, and football players.

According to the “What Africa Tweets” report, Malawians and Africans in general tweet regularly and most about politics, other national issues and football. Hot issues include events, music releases, and national current affairs. Additionally, there is a general belief (whether true or not) that the average Twitter user is more discerning when it comes to content than the average Facebook user. I have no idea how true that is. Twitter itself states that it’s platform is skewed towards celebrities (hey, don’t shoot the messenger). However, often what becomes popular on Twitter is content users deem highly informative, funny, witty/sarcastic or invokes some emotional response (e.g. job seekers / talented visual artists).

Any business that can sustain wit, humour, sarcasm or highly informative content might do much better than others. However, keep in mind that Malawi does not have a huge presence on Twitter as of yet, again compared with Facebook.

Companies that do quite well on Twitter seem to be publishing companies, news or media companies, travel, tourism, events companies, music labels/companies, celebrities as a brand, tech companies, and science-based businesses.

Instagram(better suited for use via their mobile app)

One of the first things you may notice about Instagram is that it is a very visual platform. If you have attractive visual content then this is the platform for you. If you do not, you would need to invest resources in getting some: video and images.

Celebrities (as a business) do very well on this platform, especially in the international community. Additionally, These are often publishing companies, news or media companies, travel, tourism, events companies, music labels/companies, athletes, sports brands, restaurants/ food businesses, celebrities as a brand, tech companies, and science-based businesses.

Note, every post you make on Instagram must have an image or video, unlike Twitter or Facebook.

Linkedin

Linkedin is the most formal of all these networks combined. Linkedin is essentially for professional networking for individuals. People create their company pages like on Facebook (company page) also on Linkedin but I get the general sense that it has not yet caught on to the level of Facebook business pages, especially for Malawi.

In my opinion, any entrepreneur or business owner who is looking to network internationally must have an active Linkedin presence. In fact, even those people looking to network locally for professional reasons need to have to have a Linkedin account.

For professional purposes, LinkedIn really beats Facebook, hands down, regardless of the number of Malawians on the platform. I do not know what the actual figures are but I would not be surprised if this was on the shallow end.

Why do I think this is necessary? Two words: social proof . When someone does not even know who you are they need to verify/authenticate that you are real and legit. You need a reliable (somewhat verifiable) online presence to point them to where you are connected with other professional individuals. That’s where Linkedin works like a charm. It helps a lot if you are connected to a fair number of people and have a completely filled in profile. If not, it may cast doubt on you. I can not stress enough how important this is because if you are an entrepreneur like me, and looking for venture capital or business contacts etc, the power behind Linkedin is unparalleled. More than once, I have met people who looked up my Linkedin profile first just to make sure I am a real person and as I said I am.

So, in a nutshell, if you are the founder/ director/manager of your business or any business, you definitely need a Linkedin account. If you are looking to raise venture capital or find business partners, it would also be a great idea to create a business page on Linkedin for your business. Here’s a guide on how to do just that .

The final part of this series will look at the final social media platforms we should consider when we try to find our ideal online audience. These platforms are Youtube, PInterest and Whatsapp for Business.

Do you have any thoughts or comments you would like to share? Please do. Always eager to learn :) , please leave a comment below.

Want to discover more about Maclean Mbepula? Find her on Linkedin or here on Medium. She’s written 3 books (one in entrepreneurship from a grassroots perspective (“Challenge Accepted) and 2 poetry books which are available for purchase on Amazon or you can sign up and get the kindle versions 100% FREE.

Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.

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Author. Tech-Entrepreneur. Web Designer, Artist / Creative/ Poet. Stand-Up Comedian. Founder of Afrineur, Creative Africa Space & Shekinah Invest. ENFP. :)

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Maclean Tamanda Mbepula

Maclean Tamanda Mbepula

Author. Tech-Entrepreneur. Web Designer, Artist / Creative/ Poet. Stand-Up Comedian. Founder of Afrineur, Creative Africa Space & Shekinah Invest. ENFP. :)

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