Alexander Adu-Lartey, CEO of Wetwater Consultancy Limited talks to us about social media marketing, and how Ghanaian social media platforms can stay relevant.

Among other things, he also talked about the Social Media Marketing Course taking place on Saturday March 15.

Read full interview below.

Social Media in Ghana; are we getting it?

Social Media has picked up and people are interacting a lot through Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram and the rest; It will interest you to know a lot of the interaction happen in the chat, direct messaging and inbox session because many people will not like people know their stand on certain issues but will send their opinions to the person who made the update in a private conversation.

When Whatsapp went down the other day, the addiction to social media manifested heavily because almost everyone jumped on another social media platform Facebook to voice their frustration.

Bank managers, doctors, artisans and professionals in various fields have groups on Whatsapp where they share ideas and updates and that should tell you social media as a solution is solving real life problems of having to travel to meetings and conferences.

Because of the literacy level the penetration is gradual; people are shy to express themselves on social media for fear of bad grammar. People don’t want others to know their opinions and positions on certain issues and so even the majority that are signed up, only a few utilize the platforms fully, the majority are just lurking and spying. They never like, retweet or comment on your updates but will meet you in town and want to talk about it or ask a question.

People are still very traditional about certain things and would stick to their old ways of doing things. Even using card to pay for goods is still too hard, people want to roam town with hard cash and pay for things. On a scale of 1 – 10, Ghana is at 5. Almost everyone who is buying a phone now wants to know if there is Whatsapp on the phone.

Every platform has its purpose, are there still new avenues for creators to explore?

Instagram has solidified its brand as the go to brand for picture sharing. And it’s always about who gets the crowd’s attention first, people don’t like to move a lot, everyone wants to be where majority of their friends or the people they are interested in are. Unless the people have a difficulty with the solution they already have or the new solution coming is giving a better offer than they are already getting, then they wouldn’t even budge.

Social media revolves around your network, wherever you and your friends feel comfortable is where you are going to be. No one will like to move to a new platform where it’s just them only; they will never enjoy the platform until their friends start signing up.

Take Google Plus for instance, they were looking at migrating almost everyone from Facebook to their platform but you realize not too many people are on it, the little on it are people who want to show solutions they have found to certain things. It’s for announcement of events, while LinkedIn has working professionals talking about what they and their companies are solving and their jobs, Facebook is for trivial stuff, when you talk too much about your work people get bored or think you are blowing your own horn, but LinkedIn allows you to do that and it’s cool. Instagram is for photo sharing and people like to see pictures mostly these days than to read.

Ghana has Saya and many other solutions; can they ever achieve the same level of popularity as Facebook’s?

Like I mentioned earlier everyone wants to be where everybody is. It will have to start from the influencers and celebrities to get a Ghanaian brand like Saya Chat to be popular. Before I will move to Saya for instance, I will have to be sure almost all the people in my network are on it.

Twitter had Ashton Kutcher as an investor and he used the platform to update people on his endeavors and since the fans wanted to know more, they signed up, more celebrities were convinced to sign up and their fans followed and here they are now worldwide.

Ghanaian platform makers have to find a way of making sure most of the known people we want to talk to are on the platform or else you can sign up and since none of your contacts is there to chat with, it will be like you have been confined to an island.SM

Every Social media platform should have celebrities and public figures using and talking about it and humans as we are, with inquisitiveness will sign up just to know what those people are up.

Ghanaian social media platforms are not catching on, the solution for the makers is to get the celebrities to use and give them mentions whenever it is possible.

Does one’s profession determine what platform they should sign onto?

You have to consider what you do before you go for a solution; many people are wasting time and effort in solutions that are not benefiting their brands that much. A little of that effort and time invested in the right platform can do wonders for the brand or service provider.

If you are into construction, movie making, restaurants and fashion, Instagram is best for you; you can snap your finished works and upload it for people to see and possibly buy or hire you. When you are into anything that people can see and touch, you are better off on Instagram or Facebook. Movies for instance are pictorial and people don’t want to read about them, they want to see images.

Law firms, education services and audit firms don’t have business on Instagram; they are supposed to be on LinkedIn and Facebook giving professional opinions. You are into academics and written stuff and have to be on platforms that projects writing.

Twitter, Instagram Facebook are working for the celebrities, there are many of them who are not doing it. When your face is out there you join Facebook or Instagram but if you are a decision maker in the background Twitter is suitable.

Social Media; is there a bad side?

We are in the information age and nations as part of gathering intelligence use these social media platforms to get that information. That’s why the west won’t jump onto an African social media even if it was popular like Facebook or Twitter. It’s for the same reason China has Weibo, South America has Orkut. All these countries build their own platforms because of National Security issues. There are other social media platforms that are very popular but the world as we see it through the American eye makes it looks like Facebook and Twitter always rule.

When America built windows as an operating system and was pushing it around the world, Germany built Linux for the Germans just to prevent mass siphoning of information from German folks.

Which is more expensive; social media or traditional media?

Social media doesn’t cost a thing, all you need is time and effort and the creativity to churn out good messaging for your brand. Traditional media is expensive and you need so much time to finish the whole work before presenting it.

Social Media marketing is the same as traditional marketing and principles electronically. It’s the laws of marketing being applied electronically. It’s time, consistency and content, not just any content but relevant content.

Why the Social Media Marketing Course?

After my web development course which just ended, the integration of the websites into social media was the next step and I realized I needed to show people the Social Media Marketing aspect to help them market their websites and businesses well.

So we will go through all the social media platforms, its pros and cons and how it’s used to solve problems and its evolution. The traffic levels of each and what times are best and based on that you develop a social media plan and how to deploy it and the materials you will need for each to help your brand and business.

The course will be about guiding people depending on what they do, on the platforms that will benefit them. How brands misused it and it backfired and hurt their brands. Participant will work on a strategy document and it will become a cooperate Bible that will not fail in projecting whatever brand they are working on. The event is going to be once every month.  It’s on Saturday at Bsystems Institute in Asylum Down from 8am to 5pm. Registration fee is GHC150. More info at www.adu-lartey.com/smmcghana  or Call 020 8404000

Interview Conducted by: Abdullai Isshak/enewsgh.com

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