Platform Evangelists / by Deen Schroeder

Lead, don't follow. 

Lead, don't follow. 

We live in a world driven by digital and powered by the audiences we try so desperately to keep engaged. 10 years ago social media in South Africa was reserved for the super early adopters and seemed repulsive to traditional marketers and brands. Now we live in a world where marketer are clambering over each other to bid for the best SEO terms, creating social media campaigns that shout their latest deals with sponsored posts on Facebook, and all the while trying to justify the value of digital spend compared that on traditional media. The world has changed, dramatically and if marketers do not stay ahead of trends they will find themselves left in the dust within the next fiscal.

The most important question that I am to address in the article is remaining relevant in a world where there is increased competition for the attention of younger more savvy audiences on the right platforms.

It is time that we start embracing the true digital natives and lean on them and their expertise rather than resting on the laurels of years of experience. I am not saying that we should hand over the keys of the kingdom over to a kid that has ten thousand followers because experience is invaluable and does offer incredible insights into the broader marketing world. But the times they are a changing as Bob Dyllon so famously said.

In South Africa, the two “new” social media platforms that are emerging as extremely important for engaging with a younger audience – Instagram and Snapchat. The Instagram user base in South Africa has grown by 65% in the past year and Snapchat has reported incredible stats regarding number of videos watched and photos sent. But how many brands in South Africa are honestly pushing the boundaries of these platforms?

Marketers need to rethink the approach to adopting new and existing social media platforms and to identify the platform evangelists within your business and engage with them for valuable insights around content creation, consumption, behaviour and trends. The platform evangelist is the person that simply loves the platform whether that be SnapChat, Instagram Twitter or YouTube – they’re the people that love creating great content, engaging with their communities, pushing their own creativity and growing their social media presence.