Thu | Dec 12, 2019

The Exchange | Local companies tapping into social media

Published:Friday | November 29, 2019 | 12:17 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
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A boom in social-media marketing globally has forced many local businesses to shift gear towards coupling traditionally forms of advertising with Internet-based platforms with hope of boosting profits.

Social media has changed global interaction and doing business. Jamaicans account for more than 700,000 Facebook profiles, placing it high on the ranking of countries in the region for the most usage.

It is estimated that 40 per cent of the world population, around three billion people, actively use social media. Of that number, 74 per cent are believed to be influenced by social media when making purchasing decisions. Therefore, businesses became compelled to add social-media analytics to their marketing and communications strategies to effectively measure consumer perception of brands.

Big companies go as far as using social media influencers and it is estimated that every dollar spent on influencer marketing, around US$6.50 is earned.

On the November 20 episode of The Exchange, a business forum by The Gleaner and the Jamaica News Network, regional product manager for Yello Media Group, Carou Ralph, told host Neville Graham that the company was rebranded to keep with the times.

Formerly the Yellow Pages, Yello serves its customers with physical copies of directories to complement its online services.

“Social media is where conversation is happening and the conversation is influencing people’s behaviour. If you can’t, things could lead to customer churn, because conversations can become negative. It is just an evolution and not about doing one thing over the other, but identifying the audience and the right message to put in front of the audience,” Ralph explained.

Another guest, Kemal Brown, chairman of Global Digital Marketing, described social media marketing as a problem-solver that has “helped businesses to scale and have global awareness”.

He said: “The narrative has to be widened. When you look at social media and digital marketing on a wide spectrum, you are talking about attention and influence. The business community is trying to inorganically and organically increase the attention that respective businesses are getting. Attention means brand awareness to a respective problem that someone is having and when you provide a solution to that problem, which is what an ad allows.”

Of that number, some 74 per cent are said to be influenced by social media when making purchases. This means businesses had to incorporate social-media analytics as part of their marketing and communication strategies to effectively measure consumer perception of their brands.

Facebook

King of these networks is Facebook. It is estimated that monthly, some two billion persons use the platform. Locally, more than 700,000 Jamaicans use Facebook, ranking Jamaica third in the region for the number of users. However, it is found that, globally, more people interacted with brands on Instagram. But this interaction isn’t always organic.

This means that these networks which were created for social interaction has become crucial tools for brand marketing and positioning.

Carou Ralph: Many businesses have used social media to drive sales and build consumer base, but local businesses have managed to tap into earning possibilities through social media.

Conrad Mathison: There are so many channels. The biggest challenge companies are having now is that they need to go through digital transformation. Most companies are quarrelling about which channel to use, whether it is Twitter or Instagram.

Kemal Brown: The narrative has to be widened. When you look at social media and digital marketing on a wide spectrum, you are talking about two things, which are attention and influence.

The business community is trying to inorganically and organically increase the attention that respective businesses are getting. Attention means brand awareness to a respective problem that someone is having and when you provide a solution to that problem, which is what that ad allows; billions are able to access content. This has helped business to scale and have global awareness.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com