Social Media Marketing Ideal for Uganda's Small Businesses – Mak Report –

Social Media Marketing Ideal for Uganda's Small Businesses – Mak Report –

Using social media as a marketing tool has the capacity of reducing the marketing expenses and promoting growth of small businesses, a study by Makerere University has revealed.
Titled “Social Media Technology: A Feasible Strategy in catalyzing Sustainable Growth of Small businesses in Uganda”, the study which was conducted in Mbale and Fort Portal revealed that social media can resurrect dying small businesses.
“They use the platforms in marketing their products and then another thing, they use these platforms to communicate with their customers. For example, if a customer orders for something online, these people can easily use social media to communicate with their customers,” reads part of the report.
99% of the responses in the study indicate that social media facilitates introduction of new products on the market, 94% said it increases customers well as 100% said that social media can potentially reduce marketing expenses.
The Study was released by the College of business and Management Science, Schools Business, under theme: strengthening Social Media Competences of business owners, managers for sustainable growth of Small Businesses in Uganda.
Speaking at the dissemination workshop held in Fort Portal, Dr. Kasim Sendawula, the Principal Investigator, said that they conducted a needs assessment before training a section of small business owners.
The assessment, he said, revealed that 195 (92%) of the business owner-managers in Fort Portal and Mbale had never obtained training on social media usage.
“As such, we engaged the project participants in a hands-on social media training. At the end of the training, participants appreciated how to effectively use their phones in business, opened up social media platforms that were suitable for their businesses and integrated social media platforms into the functionality of their businesses,” he said.
Prior to the training, 195 participants (92%) had never obtained training on social media usage, 180 (85%) demonstrated readiness to use social media in the operations of their business while 163 (77%) Business owner-managers had smartphones.
“Business owner-managers appreciated how to effectively use their phones to enhance sustainable growth of their businesses. They opened up social media platforms, channels, and pages that were suitable for their businesses,” he said.
He added that the participants also integrated social media platforms into the functionality of their businesses.
“They also took pictures, audios and videos for their businesses and shared with customers and the project team used the training materials to develop social media digital training modules that can be adopted by institutions of higher learning to equip nascent entrepreneurs with social media competencies relevant for sustainable business growth,” he said.
A section of participants, however, expressed concern that government can use social media to spy on their businesses while others do not trust conducting financial transactions on social media.
“The government of Uganda should amend the current social media guide by integrating issues concerning social media usage by the business community. This will guide business owner-managers on the requirements and guidelines for social media usage, potential risks, security, transparency and the legal considerations of using social media in business operations,” the report adds in part.
According to the study, this will make small businesses trust social media platforms and fully utilise them with a goal of fostering sustainable business growth in Uganda.
“The government should integrate social media technology training in the skilling Uganda programme. This will enable nascent entrepreneurs to acquire competencies needed to successfully integrate social media technology into the functionality of their startup for sustainable growth,” it adds.
The report recommended the Ministry of Education and Sports should encourage academic institutions to adopt the social media training modules developed from this project to equip learners with practical soft and technical social media skills.
“This will enable future entrepreneurs to acquire competencies relevant in launching social media platforms, selling and marketing online while protecting business transactions conducted online with a goal of fostering sustainable business growth,” the study reports said.


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