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Social Media & SME’s – What is social media?

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According to Investopedia, Social media is a computer based technology that facilitates the sharing of ideas and information and the building of virtual networks and communities. By, design social media is internet based and offers users easy electronic communication of personal information, other content, such as video and photos. Users engage with social media via computer, tablet or smartphones via website or mobile application.
According to Web Africa, the top 10 social platforms to market a business includes: Facebook, Yelp, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, Quora and SnapChat.

Reach of Some Social Media Sites
The chart below provides up-to-date data some social media sites and their monthly active users

Social media platform Monthly active user
Facebook 2,230,000,000
Youtube 1,900,000,000
Instagram 1,000,000,000
twitter 336,000,000
Google+ 111,000,000

Internet Penetration in Ghana
The revolution of information technology in Ghana started with a few people using laptops and desktops to access the internet. Mostly people accessed the internet in internet cafes but with the introduction of smartphones a lot of Ghanaians are able to browse the internet just by using these phones. According to NCA mobile data figures as at June 2018 indicates the total subscription of mobile data by people in the country was twenty two million, forty four thousand, five hundred and ninety two (22, 044, 592) with a penetration rate of 75.54%.
How can SME’s Inculcate Social Media in their businesses?
All SMES need to do is to take their business digital by signing up their businesses on these platforms. For example the Hausa Koko seller, the mechanic or the carpenter can open a Facebook or Instagram account to advertise their business. They can leave their contact, digital address for easy access for both old and new clients. They can also display images or videos of their services and products on these platforms. It’s very easy to sign up on social media; all one needs to do is to search online for the sign up process using any of the search engines including Google or Bing and then go ahead to use these platforms. Owners of SME’s can also go to YouTube to get tutorial videos on how to sign up and use these platforms.

What are the benefits of using social media to SME’S?
Global reach: the world is now globalized due to the advent of all these platforms. Being on these platforms will allow other people see what the handicraft seller in a remote village in Ghana does; thus enabling him to get clients from Europe or any part of the world. People who can actually buy their products to help them expand the market reach of SME’s globally.
Value Addition – Social media platforms for example YouTube have so much video content about any subject. SME’s can learn new ways of adding value or managing their businesses. For example the hairdresser can learn new hair styles and hair techniques by the use of youtube. The small cleaning company can even get to know of new machines and tools available that can be used to provide better services to their clients.
Boost Sales – No matter what you sell, social media can help you sell it. As the use of social media is growing and social network is becoming increasingly important for product search and ecommerce. This is the right time to align your social marketing and social sales goals.
Increase brand awareness- according to hootsuite.com, with nearly a half of the world population using social media platforms, they are the places to reach new and highly targeted potential customers. 60% of instagram users say they discover new products on the platform. For example when Absolut Vodka ran an instagram campaign to promote its limited edition Spark bottle, the company achieved a five-point lift in brand awareness.
Cheap to use – Social media usage to promote your business is also less expensive to use. There is likelihood of getting your products or services going viral. For example a post I make on my page can be liked and shared by other followers thus more potential and new customers will see my post thereby allowing my brand to get a far reach.

Conclusion
In conclusion, with the high internet penetration in Ghana and almost half of the world population using social media platforms, the time is right for all SME’s and startups to inculcate the use of social medial platforms in their businesses.
I also suggest our educational curriculum should adopt some of these new technology inventions and introduce courses in those fields in our schools. Also government should make an effort to help provide subsidized or free internet access to all rural communities in Ghana.

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