How local SMMEs can harness social media for sustainable growth

By Tashline Jooste, Chief Executive Officer of the Innovator Trust on 09 Oct 18

How local SMMEs can harness social media for sustainable growth

Social media has become the final frontier for entrepreneurs and Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs) looking to make a difference. Constant technological innovation has meant that more people own mobile devices and stay connected more than ever before.

In South Africa alone, it is estimated that there are over 20 million smartphone users. According to World Wide Worx, there are over 16 million Facebook user, 8 million Twitter users, 6.1 million LinkedIn users and over 6 million Instagram users in the country.

Tashline Jooste, Chief Executive Officer of the Innovator Trust, believes that a marketplace as large and diverse as South Africa’s social media users, it is the ideal platform for young motivated entrepreneurs and SMMEs in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry to showcase their businesses.

“Social media platforms allow individuals to be noticed by influential individuals as well as a valuable tool to help you gauge your main competitors, understand your target audience and help you identify strategies to promote your products or services. Furthermore, social media is a way to obtain instant feedback on your products and services,” she says.

Furthermore, she explains that because it is so easy to find information online these days, potential clients and business partners will search social media platforms to gauge whether or not your business is what they are looking for or not.

“Chances are, if you do not have a small social media presence, you probably might not get the business. Therefore, it has become an integral part of any modern entrepreneur or SMME to not only have a social media presence but to actually engage with others on social media platforms,” she explains.

However, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. The Innovator Trust highlights the below best practice tips to help entrepreneurs and SMMEs grow their businesses and attract customers on social media:

•               Tip 1: Have clear objectives

Research your potential customers’ habits and investigate how you can use social media to achieve your business and professional goals. 

•               Tip 2: Leverage social platforms that can establish you as a thought-leader

LinkedIn is a vital platform for any individual and especially an SMME / entrepreneur. The platform allows you to connect and engage with like-minded individuals in your industry. 

•           Tip 3: Engage audiences through visual content

Use photos and videos on your platforms to catch your audience’s attention

•           Tip 4: Rely on experts

Many SMMEs and entrepreneurs do not have the time to focus on day to day social media management and research. Use your team to assist you with your platforms.

By following these easy tips, Jooste insists that entrepreneurs will not only enhance their chances of attracting new business and customers, but also amend their products or services thanks to the feedback from their customers on social media.