By Carl Maswoswa
When a plethora of marketers thought they had it all figured out, the labour pains of a pandemic called Covid-19 were slowly edging in. Like a new baby born into a family, this baby was special it brought changes that felt surreal seemingly it looked as if it was the only way we knew how to live. A set of measures had to be enforced to contain the virus; this baby – was meant to throw the social life out of the scene for many of us. Thus members of the society had to turn to screen life. Social media is where people turned to connect with each other and ward off isolation.
According to the website Socxo, ‘good morning appeared in 123 million posts on Instagram – which tells you a bit about what people are doing first thing in the morning’ This brought about cataclysms and dilemmas to businesses and customers alike. Organizations had to change how they do business from a traditional standpoint where everything had to be done in person (physical meetings) to going virtual; an engaging and interactive strategy.
As much as technology can help us reach a wider audience, businesses still need to look at the shortcomings technology offers. In an incident that occurred on the 4th of October 2021 where Metaverse popularly known as Facebook had its servers going offline. The world went into a fit of social frenzy, which goes on to reflect how much social media controls our lives. It is a thought that still lingers in our minds, have we killed more than we can eat. Can one really live without checking his or her Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook feed just for a few hours?
Since physical meetings were restricted to a limited number, something had to be done to reunite what seemed like a lonely place to be to one united virtual working space where you could interact, leave your views and learn at the same time. The big social media tech companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter, and LinkedIn had to come up with something so unique and interactive that would bring everyone into the loop of what was happening. At long last virtual spaces were created which meant everyone could converge on a singular platform to interact and share ideas. Who knew physical classes would be hosted online? A revolutionized way to work, study, catch up with family, or even get medication or see the doctor for treatment.
Instagram is fast becoming a marketplace where people go to discover new brands and products. Instagram’s new feature – Reels fills the gap of high-quality content that is informal yet has a longer shelf life than 24 hours. Given the shorter video content and the ability to go viral, the Instagram reel can be a great way to reach many users in a relatively shorter period. Users can make use of Instagram lives to have a wider reach which makes the brand and student engagement alike more interactive and exciting.
While Twitter’s ability to collect tweets on a topic and let followers converse is a feature assisting brands to stand out on specific related topics. I remember attending Twitter spaces about Men’s Mental Health with Uncle Gudo, Bloomberg –Why Meta? Inside Zuckerberg’s quest to rebrand Facebook, Writing & Getting Published with Audrey Chirenje & The Girls Table just to mention a few. These spaces help you to enrich your knowledge on any topic of choice whilst not being there physically. What is there not to like if you are a person who loves to multitask and wants to save a few coins by attending every event physically?
LinkedIn Virtual Space
LinkedIn is growing as a location for publishing and finding articles. Though its primary purpose is still professional networking, more professionals are blogging on the platform. LinkedIn has the ability to host virtual events, with the current pandemic where social distancing norms have limited in-person events. Virtual events are at a budget close to nothing compared to in-person events, what’s there not to like.
Facebook Storefront and Lives
Facebook on the other hand has simplified the process of building an e-commerce outlet. The new feature of listing your products gives businesses the opportunity to quickly build their own digital storefront and connect with buyers in-stream. Driving this concept home, churches, influencers, and businesses have taken advantage of the leverage these social sites have to offer. Transformational Talks with Neddy Tanga, Catch Up With Fadzy, Consolata Kapuya, Eight2Five, Namandla Mpunganyi, Maud Chifamba, NASH TV, ZimCelebs amongst others have put engaging content online to keep us busy. Some say there is posting more content online as an outlet for pent-up creativity and an anodyne to the lethargy, loneliness, and boredom of isolation.
In the context of Zimbabwe, we are yet to catch up to the new trends social media has to offer as data is expensive. Not everyone has access to the internet, thus it makes it difficult for schools, and organizations to fully engage with students and customers. Still, a portion believes life will be better in a ‘tell-everything’ world where workplaces, health care, and social activity improve. Social media if used thoughtfully can provide opportunities for professional growth, enhanced home-school communication, and conversations that allow learning to continue.
Experts say the ‘new normal in 2025 will be far more tech-driven, presenting big challenges.
Written by Carl Maswoswa