I heard Michael Joseph dissing the other players in the industry after their record breaking KES 20.9 profits pushed them to command 84% of the market share. He even came off as arrogant and he stopped himself after his cheeky “I don’t know what it is they do” remark. Following this, I don’t think the people at Safaricom will fault me for calling them out on their embarrassingly pedestrian approach to social media. “I don’t know what it is they do!” 😉 .
I have blogged about Safaricom’s Social Media presence before and back then, I took issue with their utter absence in social media. There was a Facebook Fanpage and a Facebook group both of which I doubted were a creation of Safaricom. I also took issue with the numbers because being a brand enjoying over 12 million Subscribers; their Fanbase was a measly 75 people, fewer than their employees. However, I have to give props to Safaricom for trying because after that post, I have witnessed Safaricom make inroads in social media. Nevertheless, on the social media front, they are faltering like Zain (in Mobile Telephony) but still I give them props for at least getting in the game. It was long overdue.
Now let’s get the ball rolling…
The problem back then was that Safaricom was nowhere on social media but now the problem is that it’s scattered all over and in such a messy way.
It is confusing for genuine Safaricom fans to decide where on Facebook to become a Fan because so far, there are two Safaricom Facebook Fanpages and two Facebook Groups. As I mentioned on the previous post on Safaricom, I doubted that this Safaricom Fanpage that existed back then was created by Safaricom itself. Turns out it was a Fan because the Official Safaricom Fanpage – which now boasts 1320 Fans came up later on. And here is the thing, according to the Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, section 12 which deals with Special Provisions applicable to Pages, the second rules expressly states that:
“You may only administer a Facebook Page if you are an authorized representative of the subject of the Page.”
Safaricom should therefore contact the person behind this alternate page and request them to kindly remove the page or contact Facebook and have it removed. The “law” is on their side on this and it is imperative as it abolishes ambiguity.
The next problem is that there are two Safaricom Groups out there; this one which now has 282 members and this official Safaricom one which boasts over 17,000 members courtesy of the Safaricom Live Campaign. The problem with this is that though obvious which is more likely the Safaricom group, it does not eliminate ambiguity. There are no special terms and conditions with regard to groups so Safaricom cannot force the closure of this group.
There are now four ways that Safaricom Fans are being split on Facebook alone. This aside, the biggest mistake that Safaricom has made is to confuse which social media tools serve them best.
The activities of Safaricom on Facebook best illustrate the Classic Facebook Fanpage vs. Group Debate. The Social Media person at Safaricom probably does not understand that Facebook Fanpages were created with Brands in mind. That is the reason they have 17,000 members on their group and a mere 1000 on their Fanpage. All that Safaricom was doing via their Safaricom Live campaign should have been done through their Fanpage and not their group. In fact, the group should even be there because all it does is divide up its fans between the page and group and the latter does very little for brand development. This is the biggest rookie mistake that will require them to look for a way to migrate all these members on the group to the Fanpage where meaningful brand development can occur long after the Safaricom Live campaign is over.
As I mentioned in the previous post, there are many advantages that the Facebook Fanpage has over the Fanpage Group. According to an article on Mashable, the new pages present opportunities for businesses such as Safaricom and these are quoted below. Let’s hope that the people at Safaricom read this and direct people in the right direction the next time round. The Fanpage as opposed to the Group allows for:
1. Stronger Interaction with Fans
Because the Wall tab will become the focus, Pages will feel much more active and dynamic than ever before. This will encourage more participation and interaction between brands and their Fans.
2. Increased Virality
Content posted on the new Wall will also show up in Fans’ News Feeds more often. This means that posting updates to your Page is much more viral and has the potential to drive significant traffic to your Page.
3. More Ways to Communicate
The Status Update will provide a powerful way for Pages to share short interesting blurbs with Fans in a way that is less obtrusive than an Update delivered to their inboxes. Brands that use Twitter can sync their accounts so that selected Tweets will automatically post to Facebook as Status Updates.
4. Specific Landing Page for Non-Fans
The Wall tab will be the point of entry for all Fans when they visit a Page (with the idea that they’ll first be exposed to the newest content). When it comes to non-fans, Page admins will be able to choose which tab they’d like to use as the landing page. This means that if a Page has a new application or custom content that they’d like to promote, they can set this as the point of entry for all new visitors to the Page.
I have also seen Safaricom on Twitter – @SafaricomLtd. This is cool because they are using it for customer care in a pretty descent way. Only problem is, like Facebook, they still have a lot to learn. Like always responding with “Dear Customer” in their tweets; you only have 140 characters and you waste them on “Dear Customer” – such an official language that has no place in social media especially tweets. It is like conversing with automated tweets.
But it is a learning curve and hopefully they will get there. They will get there faster if they hire me 🙂 to consult on their social media initiatives. Just saying 😉 .
What say you?