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DOING BUSINESS IN AFRICA: LEVERAGING ON SOCIAL MEDIA – Nana Akua Frimpomaa Amofa (Author & Blogger)

In Africa, entrepreneurship will become a major contributor to some of the continent’s pertinent issues through sustainable development. From entrepreneurs making change in creative arts, business, technology among others, it is that ‘gold’ within which we are eventually identifying. It is that diamond acre we have been sitting on for so long as individuals. It is that pawn in the game of chess we have decided to overlook which can eventually become the queen. Gradually it is reducing unemployment margins evident on our continent. It is empowering us with skills and experiences.

In a few years to come, it will be a major contribution to the growing economic rate across the continent. In this age of cryptocurrencies and digital revolutions, there’s more to be expected. According to the World Bank, sub- Saharan Africa is set to improve drastically per the global average in doing business.

Over the past two years, Forbes Africa features young game changers and entrepreneurs under the age of 30 dubbed Forbes Africa 30Under 30 who are transforming the world through their exploits. They are selected from the creative, business, technology and sports industry.

According to CNBC Africa’s report Doing Business 2018: Reforming to Create Jobs, it revealed that in Africa, Nigeria, Malawi and Zambia were among last year’s top 10 improvers, based on reforms undertaken. It further went to provide these statistics. It ranked Mauritius as 25th in the world and the 1st in Africa with Ghana in the 120th position in doing business in Sub – Saharan Africa.  Other economies in the region that perform well on the ease of doing business rankings are Rwanda (at 41), Kenya (80), Botswana (81), South Africa (82) and with neighbouring Nigeria (145).

With the increasing rise of technology, as well as the need to bridge the unemployment gap, there has been an increasing number of business opportunities, funding and accelerator programs from the likes of Aliko Dangote and Tony Elemelu two of Africa’s great business magnates. Having set sights on Africa, foreign investors have made various investments   across various sectors in countries such as mining, construction, engineering, infrastructure, agriculture, food processing among others, thus seeing a significant increase in economic growth.

Evidently, there is a steady rise of start-ups and businesses in various industries such as tech and literary space, events coordination, hair and beauty, culinary, design and style, décor etc. Some identify a need, solution or service gap in their society while others leverage on their skills. Like several others across the continent who are involved in such enterprises, they are contributing their quota to economic stability as well as creating employment opportunities and skills for themselves as well as others.

One of the most important keys to a sustainable business is to utilize social media. Social media is a computer-based technology that facilitates the sharing of ideas and information and the building of virtual networks and communities.

The effective use of social media has propelled many businesses to gain more publicity and drive sales.

It is necessary to conduct the adequate research to determine which social media tool will be most suitable for your business as various social media platforms have its pros and cons.  With just a phone or laptop with internet access, several business ideas have been launched without any office yet it has been able to thrive on the wings of digital media. It has been a game changer from the transition of how employment opportunities were created as well as scouting for opportunities a decade ago. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn among others have become more than just platforms for sharing pictures or connecting with family and old friends but much more. It has evolved into a community for networking, promoting businesses, securing partnerships, gaining employment opportunities and inspiring others. Various campaigns and movements have set the tone for long awaited discourses among others.

Prince Owusu, owner of Trap Kitchen in south London started out his food business through Instagram. With no job to do, he began to try out recipes at home and posted it just for likes. He had never taught of it as a business until one of his followers enquired for one of the foods he posted. Since then it has grown tremendously amassing 99.3k followers. Once the menu goes up online, people order and come from different places for their orders. As at 2017, he was making over 200 meals and making around £10,000 a week. Due to the need for expansion, he has accepted some partnership offers to provide excellent service to customers.

A Ghanaian business owner who was featured in the Forbes Under 30 Business Category in 2018 is Fred Apaloo owner of Villa Grace. Having relocated to Ghana from the U.S., he tried out different meals. According to Forbes, he says the motive behind this was to send photos to his friends and reaffirm to his position that Ghana wasn’t what they thought it was. When his photos began to gain traction and interest, he started brunch sessions for his friends and family. Eventually, these sessions evolved into a boutique dining and catering company offering one of Accra’s unique dining experiences.

Caritas Aryee, brain behind Tatas & Friends, a social enterprise which provides various amenities for less privileged communities was started by reaching out to social media users for supoport. Six years later, it hosts one of the biggest annual fund-raising events Kenkey for The Needy in the country.

Kwame Osei- Asante, a humanitarian and child advocate from Ghana has been spreading love and kindness by sharing his favourite ice cream Funky Banana with children in various schools, orphanages, NGOs, hospitals across different regions since March. So far through the benevolence of social media users, he’s been able to share 2,050 ice creams in four regions.

 

Aso Ebi Bella founded by Ink Eze, is an online community connecting businesses in fashion, beauty and wedding industry to consumers across the continent with emerging opportunities throughout Africa. Its follower base has grown extensively over the past few years, building partnerships with several brands for various projects.

 

Like these examples, there are lot of people who have launched projects and initiatives through social media. There are several other businesses which have garnered so much publicity and success through the influence of social media and there are several businesses that have sprung up as a result of it. From content creators, PR specialists, bloggers, influencers, digital marketers among others, the list is endless. Owing to this phenomenon, there are several benefits the invent of social media has provided.

 

  1. Ease and Convenience: There are relatively no barriers in the use of social media. All you need is internet access, create the relevant account for the business and focus on relevant content. It helps both business owners and consumers transact business with ease.
  2. Increased Brand Recognition: Visibility is of essence to every company, with the growing pace of competition, it is ideal to position your business properly to be ahead of the game or stay in the game. Increased visibility means increased traffic as well and boosting follower base.  The use of social media will help in this regard as it is an innovative way of marketing your products and services and also to be able to connect with your customers.
  3. Improved brand loyalty: With consistency in utilizing social media comes brand loyalty. Aside gaining traction, revenue generation becomes high. There will be return clients which will gradually create a value chain of referrals.
  4. More opportunities: There will also be the opportunity to collaborate with several brands as well as other vendors within your industry as well as other industries. It also helps you to grow your business more effectively.
  5. Keep up with global trends: Digital media and the internet helps business owners to get up to date emerging trends. In this digital era, it is important to be informed on innovations and developments. An idea might be launched in Dubai which will be beneficial to you. You can travel there through the internet. The knowledge you have is not enough; it keeps changing by the minute and you need to be up to date with it.
  6. Diversity and understanding customer needs: Understanding the dynamics and diversity of each consumer or potential customers will help you make tailor made suited to each client. To some extent, it helps in that regard through online interaction.

Though the use of social media has its adverse effects, the positive effect of using social media to drive businesses cannot be overlooked. To a large extent, social media is replacing traditional and print media of building brands and promoting businesses. There are several avenues to explore. All you need to do is to identify the relevant social media platforms which will tell your stories as it is and contribute to the growth of your business. The future is Africa and social media is at the core of it all!

References

www.cnbcafrica.com

www.forbes.com

www.investopedia.com

Check out missamofa.com for more stories and articles.

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