Went off on twitter to try find out how many Mauritian companies and individuals use the instant status updater service. Well, for a country whose major executives are always with their Blackberries, Iphones or other Smartphones, the Tweeting level is rather poor, as if the intelligent hub in the Indian Ocean, didn’t know how to or simply didn’t want to make use of social media to its full extent. Why is that? Do we have that kind of apprehension enough to keep us prisoners of limited resources? Some kind of dwarf complex?
- Orange, (yes Orange! You know the telephone, ISP thing) last twitted on May 14th
- Le Defi Media (yes Defi! Radioplus and the newspaper group) = 1 year ago
- Some local SEO company (yes SEO! You know the ones who talk about Site Optimization and site traffic development) = February last
- Enterprise Mauritius (yes EM! You know the investment facilitators) = March last
Ok! I might seem to be hitting hard, by not understanding that for some local corporate entities, Twitter is only used as an announcing medium and basta! But on the other side, I find it all unnecessary, so wasteful and all but efficient to launch twits like drops in the ocean and expect some kind of ROI. In fact this echoes for a deep problem underlying web usage by companies in Mauritius. How many times have I surfed local corporate sites to find out that the last updates were one year stale? I just couldn’t count. Mauritian corporates do not care about quality content, they just think of their website like a shop window that needs to be dusted and reshuffled once every budget day. This isn’t normal in 2010! It’s not normal to view investment into cyber presence as the last quarter of the dime. Today, more than ever, web presence is essential and needs to be handled with proper strategic planning by professionals, should they be in-house or outsourced.
Obviously it’s all about costs and budget, but the right strategy yields high ROI on the long term. In fact it’s all about branding, and making the brand breath everyday, about bringing the brand closer to the people each day, enlarging the bullseye for a better target acquisition. Orange, more than anyone, knows that there are more than 200 000 Facebookers in Mauritius, that by the end of 2010, one Mauritian out of two will be connected to Broadband, that in Mauritius we have more Mobile phones than inhabitants (1.5/inh) and that the online penetration is at the 53% level. And yet their Twitter account only contains 354 followers including me. This is abnormal, it makes no sense for a company with such important imported knowledge of branding. Sorry to fall on you guys but that was the major example that stroke my eyes.
To be fair to ORANGE, I’ll say that it’s closest competitor is not there either.
- EMTEL is nowhere to be found on Twitter and has even an «uncorporate» account. Even tried EMTELNET – no success.
- The MBC, yes The Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation doesn’t socialize even though they get into people rooms everyday.
- I have seen all the world’s RADIO ONE but not the Mauritian one.
- No sign of RADIO PLUS either and the list goes on and on and on.
- As for local newspapers, they never heard about Social Media I guess.
I talk and exchange everyday with dozens of DJ’s, journalists, editors, publishers, actors, Japanese singers from all over the place and can’t understand the Mauritian vacuum. As opposed to that, L’EXPRESS from France tweets every hour, One BBC Channel almost every 15 minutes, France 2 TV almost every 2 hrs, O2, the Uk mobile Operator, tweets to announce that there are no new announcements and offers tech support via twits. WOW! That’s another world really!
Don’t get me wrong! This is not about doing things at the same scale but doing things in the proper way, with planning and efficiency and not because it’s trendy to tweet or socialize.
All this has got to do with the name, the product, the brand and in this century, Social Media and Networking are hard parts of any Branding strategy. It can yield so much ROI, credibility and relevance if properly managed and geared. It’s time and resource consuming but highly rewarding, beyond profits.
Branding revolves around people. They are at the centre of the universe and need to be comforted in their beliefs. They are the ones who decide of a brand’s popularity, of when to end a line of product and start another one. They are the makers of a brand’s relevancy. Talking to them, informing them, entertaining them, socializing with them on a systematic basis is nothing but helping your brand to grow stronger and more popular everyday, at each ADD. The best example to date is the Domenech’s French Soccer Team that had not been communicating for more than 2 years. The «Les Bleus» powerful brand just imploded within 24 hours and along with it dipped the merchandising sales… down to -50% in some franchised shops and we still haven’t talked about it’s actual e-reputation level.
With the new web and social model, it’s the people making the product, it’s the product coming to them, it’s information falling in their pockets at any time of the day. They are the decision makers. Believe me Social Networks are the key to success if managed the proper way, any loose end work around, however, might well spell disaster.
Social Media… To handle with care!