As we begin navigating 2019, I have been mulling over what exactly the ‘digital communications’ space in Uganda will evolve into.
For some of us, the January activities of planning and budgeting are out of the way. Some of you have already mapped out how to work smarter and make more money. However, the landscape is dotted with new obstacles like the social media tax, which many think of as a nuisance for consumers and marketers alike.
For any internet user in Uganda, it’s an added cost to pay daily, weekly, monthly or annually to be able to use their already subscribed data bundles. This means digital marketers have to think innovatively on how to grab and maintain a share of the audience attention online.
We still have service delivery brands online who feel digital and social media tools do not bring any value or return on investment to their business bottom-line. By showing little interest and investment to this format of customer care service, reputation management and thought leadership which both need a great amount of skill, monitoring tools and content development to build a tangible relationship with their customers, are all left lacking.
Then there is the quality of influencer content. While I appreciate the efforts our influencers have made, deliberately investing in their craft, we still have some major strides to achieve, to be considered bankable and value for money. For the most part, influencers are tied to achieving value for awareness, advocacy and educational campaign objectives.
Many have become too comfortable with the minimal requirements of their client’s brands– a tweet or hashtag going viral and heating up a conversation/. What is really needed more are Influencers who run a social campaign and drum up enough social currency to make significant changes to a company’s bottom-line in terms of increased sales. We need to justify why we would say, spend a budget of $2000 for influencer engagement and content so that the client will eventually see more customers convinced in purchasing a product.
Last year, we saw several mobile handsets launched and pushed hard by influencer’s who were often caught off- guard by their followers sharing feedback asking them why they are using a handset of a rival brand. That alone lowers trust and pushes away potential customers in another direction.
Online media outlets for much of 2018 copied and pasted content shared from press releases and published on their respective websites. Although this keeps the messaging in line with the brand communication strategy, it leaves little room for innovative ways to produce content that would add value to both parties that is, the brand and consumer.
In conclusion, as I mentioned earlier in my article, how do we work smarter as digital communication experts in this landscape, to stay relevant and contribute value when business decisions are being crafted and made?
The economic and social climate remains challenging, frequently littered with limitations. However, it is vital to continue to invest in content and online media advertising that reach and influence consumer decisions and perceptions.