It’s about people

Social media platforms were created for people to connect with one another and get social.

Of course, it’s not that businesses can’t jump in on the action; they just need to ‘humanise’ their communication. On Tumblr, for instance, you need to give people an animated GIF like a human being would give it to them, not a brand, basically. (If that makes any sense.)

In 2011, South African media entrepreneur, Sibusiso “Dj Sbu” Leope sold 20 000 copies of his album, Sound Revival Volume 1. A large chunk of those sales came through as a result of his spirited communication and deft marketing through Twitter. He went on to fill up the Sandton Convention Centre with 5000, thereabout, people for his Leadership 2020 seminar, and simultaneously earned a badge of best-selling author for his first book with the title echoing the seminar business. He did that by building marketing and building hype mainly through his social media channels.

But then, why can’t everybody else do those things as well?


They don’t take the time to add value to other people’s lives before asking for their business.

The same is true for social media.

It is easy to come at it from a business perspective and think: This is another opportunity for us market to our customers. And hey, it’s cheaper, too.

Instead of taking into account that these platforms are inherently created for people to connect with one another and this means for you to have impact, the notion of exclusively and continuously selling on those platforms should go out of the window.

My thinking is simple …

You’ve got to start thinking about creating content that provides even a shred of value in your customers’ lives and moves them forward somewhat. Even if it’s a light-hearted piece that makes them laugh — that comic relief goes a long way in a distressed person’s day.

Dj Sbu’s strong point, from mere observation, is that he understands people and makes an effort to connect with them. Knowing that it’s all about the people he is serving, the understanding that those people are ones who support his career, has put him in good stead.

The many things we do with our lives and the art we make involves people in more ways than one. More often than not, anyway.

Take a techie device, for instance.

It’s made tended for people to use. And so, instead of being occupied at the onset by how it should function (don’t get me wrong, function is important), the initial focus needs to be on how people will interact with it.

Merge the humanities, art and technology to create a phenomenal product. Well, something to that poetic effect.

Former Coca Cola chairman and CEO, Neville Isdell, captures this point eloquently:

“For any global company, there is no more important task than to fully understand the culture of the country where you are operating”.

Goes on and chew on another nugget found in the penultimate chapter of the book:

“Coke’s business could only succeed if the community where we sold our products also thrived”, Neville wrote in his memoir, Inside Coca Cola.


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