There is no doubt that social media has truly changed the way in which people communicate in their everyday lives all over the world. For example, through a medium like this blog, I'm able to communicate my thoughts on diverse issues to people wherever they may be. A more general example is the tremendous rise in the number of Facebook users in Ghana over the past few years.
It is little wonder that leading social media blog, Mashable decided to take the initiative to spark global conversations around effective social media usage, leading to the celebration of social media days in various countries. Ghana was not left out as a social media day celebration meetup was held at smoothies bar in Osu, Accra, last Thursday 30th June, 2010. The meet up was put together by TEDxYouthInspire speaker Yawa-Hansen Quao and Daisy Baffoe of ghtech. Also present were Nii Ayeterh Aryeh, Seyram Ahiabor and a few other social media enthusiasts. During the meeting we shared our experiences of social media and reflected on ways through which we think these media can be more effectively utilised. Here are some highlights of our interaction.
Social media helps to expand your network and get your message across
I shared how Keta-based Sandlanders FC is effectively using platforms like blogs, facebook and twitter to attract international interest in the club, in a way that more established football clubs in Ghana are not doing. Yawa also shared how her activity on twitter got her into contact with organisations that are interested in collaborating with Leading Ladies Network. The discussion got so interesting when many people recounted how they first interacted with some close associates through facebook or twitter before meeting in real life. Seyram had this great tip on delivering relevant information through social media: "to benefit from social media, focus on others. Get them talking, or rally for a cause."
Collaboration helps to make social media usage more effective
Collaboration is an integral theme of the web and social media. Consequently we agreed that it is important that we coordinate some of our activities in order to gain more visibility internationally. Collaboration will allow us to tap into each others networks, allowing us to get our messages across more effectively, The idea for a social media award for Ghana was mooted and identified as a project that we can work on in the near future. Personally, I think such an award would be great as it will identify and reward people and groups who are making positive impacts through social media.
How to get Ghanaian businesses take social media seriously
We observed that majority of corporate Ghana is missing on the social media landscape and identified this gap as a tremendous opportunity for the growing number of local web marketers and social media strategists. With the growing number of Ghanaian Internet users, it is instructive that companies, especially those who target people in the 18-34 age bracket, deploy social media as part of their communication strategy. Some people present also spoke about blogging for busy CEOs or small companies that cannot afford in-house social media strategists. When properly done local companies can indeed benefit from social media. We also identified great examples of social media usage from companies like Zain and MTN.
To conclude, social media is not only a great way of reaching out to our family and friends but also to potential business associates. Let us take full advantage of this tool that the web has bestowed us with. If you have any thoughts to how social media can be used more effectively in Ghana, or any project you have in mind, don't hesitate to share. Also feel free to ask any questions on any point that you don't understand. Cheers.