Social Media Marketing

Kwabena Okyire

blog, social media

What Is Social Media Marketing?

When the National Science Foundation launched the first social media platform called NSFNET, maybe they knew of its power, maybe they didn’t. Decades later, social media has become a force to reckon with.

Marketers as entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck has said always find a way to turn every new platform into a marketing platform. Quickly after marketers saw the potential of new social media platforms like Facebook, there was no saying the limits.

Today, in Ghana, Africa, and worldwide, social media is enabling many organizations such as businesses, non-governmental organizations, celebrities, and upcoming personalities. When we look at social media, there is something to like about it no matter who you are which is what makes it catch on.

Today, marketing is a huge part of social media.

How are Ghanaians and businesses Ghana using social media? What are the benefits of getting on social media and how can organizations capitalize on social media to grow? If these questions make your skin tighter with goosebumps, then this article is for you as we explore social media marketing in Ghana from the basics.


What Is Social Media?

One of the things over eight (8) million Ghanaians cant go a day without is social media. But what does it mean when a platform is called social media? In most cases, it’s better to show than to tell. We would do both here. At its core, social media is a communication technology built on the rise of the internet in the late 1990s.


Social media is a digital platform that allows interactive use of content such as text, images, videos, and now audio to share ideas, knowledge and have some fun. The medium is entirely virtual which means you can only access it when you’re connected to the internet. But the internet is not the only requirement, social media platforms would often limit the level of access to the platforms to people who are not registered on the platform.

This means to fully enjoy the social media experience, you would have to register to the platform with your name, email, and sometimes a phone number. Early commercial social media platforms served only as a way for individuals to connect and share moments with friends and family. However, that has changed as brands and businesses have realized the massive potential for growth on the various platforms that cropped up.


The first closest technology to the present-day social media we have was a program created by the National Science Foundation (NSF) from 1985 to 1995 called The National Science Foundation Network (NSFNET) which was a system meant to facilitate and promote networking among educational institutions in the United States.


Features of Social Media

Social media platforms have become so many that sometimes you might wonder which ones qualify or have the features of a social media platform? The notion of social media has changed since the first one came up. But over the years, certain core features have been associated with every social media platform. We cover a few of them here.


1. Instant Messaging

Instant messaging and interaction are some of the features that make social media what it is. Take this feature alone out of any platform and the interactivity is lost. Social media users can message each other both privately or by sharing content on their profiles.

This encourages the sharing of information and ideas in the form of images (Instagram), videos (YouTube), voice (Clubhouse), and more. The format of content a user can share varies from one platform to another. Clubhouse for instance limits it to audio while platforms like Facebook allow various media formats like text, images, and videos.


2. User-Friendly Interface (Apps and Websites/Web Apps)

Social media are some of the most intentionally designed platforms you can find in the world. Years of learning and redesigning take place on most social media platforms to determine the best buttons, colors, and other layouts of the structure of apps and websites that encourage the tenets of the platform.


3. Profiles

The feature that allows users to create profiles adds individuality and personality to the various platforms. You can easily identify with your friend whom you’ve lost contact with for years on social media and reconnect because of their name or the profile image they use. It allows for a community to build up which can be called “social”.


4. Algorithmic News Feed

The news feed, a concept perhaps taken from the good \’ol newspaper has become ubiquitous. Look at someone\’s smartphone screen for a minute and they would manage to swipe through one social media newsfeed or two.

We as humans love to be in the know. we want to know what is happening with our friends, family, colleagues, celebrities, what’s going on in the country and much more. Social media was the first to democratize the sharing of information on such a mass scale with most people now getting their news from platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

But behind the social media feed is a massive collection of code that tries to figure what news item or update you would love to view next. Based on your profile history, social media algorithms can make us very happy that we even get addicted to them from an overdose of dopamine and associated happiness hormones.


5. Media Support

Social media churn tons of terabytes of data from various media files uploaded by users. The content created by users has to be stored somewhere and it is the job of the social media company to provide that so other users can easily access what content their friends post while they were in class, at work, or simply resting.


6. Push Notifications

Social media platforms want to keep you updated with all the fun, news, and stories trending. The notification is one of the greatest inventions in getting trending news and recent updates to users.

By enabling the notifications feature on your app for your profile, you can get instant notifications when someone performs activity like posting an image of their trip, how their day is going, or when they share a link of breaking news. Some of such features allow stories to start trending with fake news becoming one of the biggest threats on social media platforms.


7. Content Creation Tools

To make content creation easier, every social media platform now has content creation tools to help users create content easily. Tools like image editors, montage creators, video editors have been integrated into most platforms allowing users to instantly move from idea to content then publishing.

The rise of image and video filters from Snapchat to Facebook and TikTok have ubiquitous. Collaboration tools are the new trend with platforms like TikTok allowing creators to work no content which some Ghanaian creators are taking advantage of to co-create content which their audience would love to see.


What Is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is one of the best marketing tactics in recent times. Creating a social media presence is also one of the first things to get done as a new business. From small businesses to multinational corporations, social media can be relevant in your growth if executed with a strategic plan. But what is social media marketing anyway?

Sometimes abbreviated as SMM, Social Media Marketing refers to the use of the various social media platforms available on the internet to promote a brand, its products, and services. What makes social media marketing powerful is its mass adoption giving you instant access to billions of people from across the world.

Its instant nature allows you to get real-time results, data, and insights to adjust strategies and move on. It’s indeed a good time to be alive. Marketers 50 years ago dreamed of such technology and yet it was only in the late 1990s that the internet made it possible. Today,



Social Media in Ghana

The recent #Fixthecountry and #OurDay trends among others are some of the best uses of social media in the country in terms of trends, solidarity, and social justice. Ghanaians know the use of social media and this isn\’t only in terms of trends.

The Fan Ice $ShineYourHustle campaign was one of the most recent marketing campaigns that show the potential for Ghanaian businesses on social media. The campaign was mainly an organic campaign involving a series of short ads spread on social media. Though the videos were ads, they quickly became viral content trending on Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, and WhatsApp. Enough illustration and \”show\”. Let’s look at the numbers.

Social Media Statistics

  • 78 billion social media users worldwide in 2021 (Statista, 2020)
  • Facebook Has 68% of the US Adult Market
  • 9% of Ghanaians on the Internet Use WhatsApp
  • 8% of Ghanaians on the Internet use Facebook
  • 6 Million Ghanaians are on Social Media
  • Spending up to Thirty-eight percent (30%) of Ghanaians spent more than 8 hours (Mainly youth and students)
  • 16 Million Ghanaians are on the Internet

Major Social Media Platforms In Ghana (By Ratio of users on the internet)

  1. WhatsApp (83.9%)
  2. Facebook (70.8%)
  3. YouTube (69.7%)
  4. Instagram (56.3%)
  5. FB Messenger (47.6%)
  6. Twitter (36.2%)
  7. Tiktok (34%)


Others Include

Pinterest, Google Hangouts, Skype, Reddit, Kik messenger, and Badoo.


If this many Ghanaians are on social media, spending up to eight (8) hours a day scrolling up and occasionally up social media platforms, the natural question would be, what are these 8 million Ghanaians doing there?


What Is Social Media Used For? How  Businesses Can Capitalize On Social Media.


1. Stay Updated on News, Trending Stories

News is one of the major reasons why Ghanaians go to social media. The various news media have identified social media as a key distribution platform for news with Facebook, and Twitter serving as rhe major platforms for sharing articles and opinions while most TVs do live streams on YouTube. Facebook is also a major platform for live streaming among Ghanaian media houses.

These news media have amassed thousands and some millions of followers and likes and remain some of the dominant pages on these platforms. On a typical day, the media post content around the clock generating comments and reactions from users. Twitter is particularly popular among Ghanaian for news with the trending tab always keeping everyone informed of the latest news in the country.


2. Follow Celebrities

Entertainment is huge in Ghana and a source of attention in the social media scene in Ghana. And celebrities are often the source of trends, \”beefs\”, and news. Ghanaian have made it a culture to follow these popular celebrities and personalities to follow their daily lives and to learn from them. The celebrity culture was popularized about a decade ago with one of the major drivers even in present-day Ghana social media being Ameyaw Debrah who started a personal blog documenting the lives of celebrities and writing about related news.


3. Share Personal Updates

Social media was created for people otherwise users to create profiles and share their daily lives and updates about their lives. You may not have contact with all the hundreds of people you know but platforms like Facebook allow you to connect with 4000 people and unlimited pages whom you can get updates from on your feed anytime they choose to publish something. This has created a culture of people sharing their daily lives like what they eat, where they are, their relationship status, what they are currently doing, and opinions about issues.


4. Grow Businesses and Brands

Ghanaian businesses are continually relying on social media. This is a result of the realization of the potential of the platforms. However, it cannot be said that the majority of businesses use social media to its fullest and taking advantage of all the potential growth they can access with platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and others.

On a more positive note, it is a process and businesses are adopting social media as a part of their marketing efforts. Creating trends, content, influencing the masses through influencer marketing, using paid advertising are some of the tactics Ghanaian businesses have been capitalizing on to grow. The future for social media in Ghana is exciting as brands learn of the exponential growth social media can give.


5. Follow Their Favorite Brands

Another trend among Ghanaian social media users is following their favorite brands. To invite users and customers to follow them, the brands give coupons, free deliveries, discounts, and giveaways to grow their brands. This way, users get rewarded for following them.


Step By Step: How To Get Started With Social Media


1. Create Your Goals

Getting ahead on social media as a personal brand or a business unit is going to be a huge task that can become much simpler if you simply sit back to determine your goals. It’s so much easier to get ahead when you have that level of clarity to say my main goal on social media is to create brand awareness, generate sales or build relationships with customers, clients, and potential customers.


Some common goals for being on social media include

  1. Brand awareness creation
  2. Sales generation
  3. Building Brand Loyalty
  4. Gain Customer Feedback and Insights
  5. Provide Customer service


These are basic goals to start with. To make actual progress that you can measure, you will have to go a little deeper into the goal-setting process. The Specific, Measurable,  Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound  (SMART) framework is one of the simplest and easiest you can use. It gets means once you settle on the above goals, you would have to go deeper to use the framework to make your goals actionable. You can easily set goals, track your progress, be accountable and determine how successful you have been with your social media efforts.


The biggest mistake with Ghanaian businesses on social media is they try to simply grow their numbers without sitting back to determine their objectives and goals and may end up spending money and wasting time doing all the wrong things. Clarity is power on social media for businesses and personal brands.


2. Start with Your Audience

Working based on a model of who your audience consists of is one of the basic marketing concepts and it applies to social media. Creating your customer avatar or customer persona further narrows down your goal to a specific demographic among the over 30 million people in the country and 8 million on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.


Once you have been able to pinpoint the kind of people you want to build your social media pages for, it makes it easier to run your campaigns and attract only the people who matter to your business and brand.


3. Choose Your Platforms

The first thing you may be tempted as a  Ghanaian business ready to take on social media may be to think your audience is everywhere. Considering that social media platforms are a little specialized and have different numbers of Ghanaian users, the best is to work based on your identified objectives, goals, and ideal audience.

This is particularly important when you have limited resources and cannot create content for a lot of platforms. You may believe it’s all about creating one piece of content and posting it everywhere but that strategy may not work as much as creating native content for each platform. It might be easier to execute but it’s not the best and you may be stifling your growth.


4. Strategize

Building a content strategy is one of the most important parts of this social media endeavor that you are about to take. Without a strategy, all you may be able to do is copy what others are doing. In some or even most cases, you may lose interest because you seem to be putting in the effort but you are not getting the right results.

You need a strategy. If your goal is to create brand awareness because you are a new brand, how will you go about doing that? Is it creating memes that seek to educate your audience? Or you would create videos that explain your brand, tell your story and create a deep connection with your audience without being too salesy?

There are different ways to achieve your goals. But it would take sitting back to analyze lots of content ideas, and formats, against the interests of your audience, while seeking to achieve your number one goal.


5. Create a Content Calendar

So, you have your objectives, goals, carefully selected audience, strategy, what’s next? You create content. Most businesses jump to this stage first after creating their pages and hardly ever see the results. It’s simply because they jumped the gun then the gun fired at them, sending their social media presence into a slow painful death.

But on the brighter side, it doesn\’t have to be so. the best way to stay consistent is to create social media. The average Ghanaian is busier than the President of the country so it helps to come up with ideas that can take you a month. While you are publishing the 30 ideas, you can have a notebook where you put on new ideas so your content can be created in periods and not necessarily every day.

But if you have a dedicated team, there may be times when you need to create urgent content, a team would be much useful in such situations.


6. Ready? Post

Once you have your content calendar, the next thing is to start publishing them. You have done all the high-level strategy work which allows you to have a conscious idea about what you are posting. You can relax and let your idea work. Did I say relax? Not yet…


7. Wait, Analyse, and Automate

Social media is a long-term strategy. You may be able to get as many likes as your budget can get you but you are not guaranteed by real engagement, business benefits, or return on your investment. You cannot simply publish your posts and sit back. You will have to react to comments and monitor the feedback that is coming in.

Use the data and analytics tools to benchmark your progress or otherwise fail. With the real-time or instant features of social media platforms, you can quickly calibrate your strategy and improve your content on the go. It’s a learning curve every business and brand will have to go through.

It might as well be an endless learning curve as consumers are constantly changing. But once you have a perfect grasp of your audience, their tastes, and preferences, it becomes much easier to give them exactly that and learn any new interests they develop much faster. Social media automation is important as you grow.

You may not be able to see all the comments and you may not be able to post all the 100 posts you send out every month in real-time. So what do you do? You automate what can. You may have to respond to comments but tools can help you aggregate all your social media comments so you can respond to them from one dashboard.

You can further use content creation tools like canva to ease up your content creation. Scheduling is perhaps the biggest when it comes to automation. Some automation tools which are yet to catch up in the Ghanaian space include chatbots for customer service.


8. Now, Grow!

Phew! That was long but worthwhile. What you have just gone through is a solid system on which you can build your social media and automate tasks that are demanding but require less human effort. Work with data t achieve true growth as you \”hack the algorithms\” for your benefit.




Advantages Of Social Media For Businesses


1. Potential Reach is Like Never Before

There are over eight (8) million Ghanaian on social media and billions in the world. Through social media and th internet, national borders are no longer a limitation. You could be Ghanaian-based yet have a customer base from a different country and you can reach all of them on social media.

The sheer numbers on social media alone have allowed individuals to build multi million-dollar single-man businesses using only social media. The marketing ground is limited, at least in terms of access to social media.

No matter whether you are a budding business or a multinational corporation in over a hundred (100) countries,   the competition ground is the same Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and others. The stakes are no longer who has the largest budget but rather creativity and appeal to the audience.


2. Access to Real-Time Feedback or Data

Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn have analytics that you can review in real-time to gauge the performance of your posts and campaigns. More complex brand listening tools can allow you to determine brand sentiments and react in real-time to potentially catastrophic trending stories involving your brand.


3. Direct Connection with Friends, Family, and Customers

Social media is one of the less expensive ways we can communicate with people who matter to us whether we are individuals or businesses. We can get updates about friends, family, and customers using social media through the ever-updating feeds that social media platforms come with. And the algorithms know just what we want so they provide the most relevant updates we need saving us time scrolling and searching to find what is important.


4. Build Trust, Generate Social Proof and Build Yoru Audience

Due to the social nature of social media platforms, they are very powerful for brands and businesses to blend into the social fabric f society, build connections with customers and create trust.


5. It’s Free

Social media platforms have been free for a long time and most of them will continue to be free or with basic free access to the platform. YouTube premium provides an ad-free YouTube but if you do not think it is a bother to be shown adverts from brands, then you might not be encouraged to pay for the service. The majority of social media networks like Facebook and Twitter are complete and users can even make money through commerce and being creators on the platforms.


6. Generate Sales

Social media is one fo the best sales generation tools that largely remains untapped in Ghana. There is a lot of potentials and with the right strategy, any business can begin to create a healthy return on their investment to justify their presence on social media.



Disadvantages Of Social Media For Ghanaian Business


1. Negative, Fake News, and Feedback

Social media has become a breeding ground for fake news, negative brand feedback, and other potentially catastrophic opinions. But what is worse is not being on the platform to identify such posts to react to before it gets out of hand.


2. Takes Resources to Gain Traction

Social media platforms may allow access for free once you sign up but gaining traction and relevance doesn\’t come cheap. You may need to incur time, financial and other costs to grow your pages and brand.


3. Long Term for Lasting Results

The possibility to grow on a massive scale using paid ads sounds enticing but simply doing so without a good business objective or goals can be one of the best ways to waste money and resources. For truly lasting results, it takes consistency and a combination of organic and sponsored efforts.


4. Public Ridicule and Embarrassment at Scale

If you remember, \”trending content\” and notifications are some of the worst things if you happen to be on the other side of negative public outcry. Mistakes happen. Say you mistake tweet something you shouldn’t have. Before you get to delete it, thousands of people may have spotted it and maybe even \”screenshots\” begin to pop up over the internet on a viral scale. It may be too late, even after only a few seconds.




How To Make Money On Social Media In Ghana

Social media is one of the best and easiest places to make money in Ghana. The space is not as saturated as other countries making it less competitive when it comes to certain tactics for making money. Here are a few of them.


1. Monetize Your Audience

Having an audience is one of the assets that sell best. Whether you want to do brand deals, sell a product, create products, design your course or membership program, you need an engaged audience to sell to. Without an audience, you may struggle to make money especially if you are limited by budget to run paid ads.


2. Sell Something

Many products sell fast on social media in Ghana. From clothes, beauty products, electronics, food, and more. You can sell lots of things. And it all depends on the audience you have built. If you sell watches, is your audience watch enthusiasts?


3. Develop a Membership Program

To develop a program, you should be a thought leader, popular personality, or have a solid brand with high engagement rates. You must also be knowledgeable and skilled in an area in which your audience is highly interested. Your program could provide various benefits from access to you, have access to your formula, your resources, and more. Whatever you choose, it must be valuable to your audience.



4. Sell A Course

Selling courses has become a thing as we enter into the knowledge economy in a fast-paced economic world which requires people to have lots of skills and understand various things in their field.


5. Build Your Business

Social media is a great place to build a brand and grow your business. Lots of businesses have been built with only Facebook and yours could be part of them.


6. Grow Your Freelancing Gigs

Freelancing is one of the best ways to make a good income, even much more than most corporate jobs could compensate the average graduate. It comes at a cost, you need to have skills and knowledge which you can sell. Fiverr academy is the only learning platform for budding freelancers in Ghana and Africa producing courses, free resources, and coaching for the individuals ready to make a difference in their lives working from home and making a good income.


7. Become a Social Media Influencer

The influencer culture is becoming a very compelling one in Ghana and some social media personalities are already making full-time incomes from their social media audience working with brands and more. Whoopro is one of the platforms spearheading the influencer culture in Ghana. Just register and you can get started working with big brands in Ghana and beyond.


8. Leverage Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is one of the ways brands can provide value to their most loyal brand ambassadors by sharing profits with them. Imagine you got a percentage of the profit when you referred your friend to Jumia? It’s not far-fetched as Jumia has an affiliate program which you can sign up right now, refer your friends to buy from Jumia, and get paid. It’s simple and you can keep helping your friends find quality products.



Social Media Tips For Beginners


1. Build an Audience

You may have realized that your audience is the most important asset you have on any social media platform. It could be your Twitter followers, your Instagram followers, your Facebook likes, your LinkedIn followers, and your YouTube subscribers. They are your number asset you must work with them or fail because, in the world of the internet, they can always find someone or a better company. How do you treat your valued friends and family? Attach the same attitude to your social media audience. Post daily so they see you, connect and reply to their comments, listen to them and care for them.


2. Provide Free Quality Content (Value)

Creating and distributing free quality content is one of the best ways to create a brand that becomes loved by the masses. At its core, social media is a place people come to relax, reconnect with friends, and have fun. You do not want to be too salesy all the time. Maintaining a healthy balance of trying to get something from your audience and giving them free value is important for your growth if you want to make a good income for the long term from social media.


3. Dont Sacrifice Your Audience for Money

In line with the above point, do not sacrifice your audience for brand deals, money or whatever may come your way. You do not sacrifice the golden goose and expect some golden eggs after that, right? It’s the same for social media. You may not be able to stage a comeback if you engage in shady deals to make a living on social media.


4. Be Patient and Consistent While at it

Social media is a test of patience and consistency. One can only establish a brand worthy of a consistent income from social media after years of consistency.


5. Optimize Your Profiles (Basics)

Most people forget they have a \”Bio\” after they sign up for social media and never update it for relevance. Considering that your bio, profile image, and latest content are the first things people see about you, you should keep them very relevant.


6. Take a Look at the Analytics…It Speaks Volumes

Your social media analytics is gold. As you study the data and insights, you can begin to form patterns and trends which can help you grow exponentially. If you have to guess, then you aren’t paying attention to your analytics and data dashboard.


7. Show Your Personality: Personal Brand Or Business.

Social media is a place that is inherently supposed to be social. That said, you have to show that part of your brand whether you are an individual or personal brand, or a business. There are great ways to do this while staying within your brand guide, style, and culture.



Final Words On Using Social Media To Grow Your Business In Ghana

Throughout the world, businesses of different niches providing various products and services have seen growth and success with social media. It should be said there is great potential in the Ghanaian social media world whether you are a one-man consultant or coach, a large organization, a non-governmental organization, etc. With the right strategy and systems in place, a lot of growth can be achieved no matter your budget and resources.







About the author

Kwabena Okyire

After 13 years in digital marketing, I left my job in 2019 to work online full-time. Today I run my own agency, help local companies with digital marketing, freelance on sites like Upwork and Fiverr, and share proven marketing and personal branding strategies from my entrepreneurship journey through this blog.