It’s fair to say that Africa’s Facebook kingdom, aka “The Stack”, has not been kind to marketers in the past. The social network has enjoyed phenomenal growth while seemingly bypassing most traditional marketing practices. Instagram, WhatsApp, and Skype emerged as the top three largest Facebook communities in Africa.
But things are changing.
In a matter of months, a community of mainly Nigerian and South African businesses have begun using a new strategy to stand out from the crowd.
They’re leveraging the power of online network marketing (ONM) to grow their businesses and gain credibility. With a bit of digital marketing nous, it’s not hard to see why.
Djibouti is one of the smallest countries in the world. Losing its economic independence to China in 2018, the country is seeking to rebuild its economy and position itself as a global player. As part of this initiative, the government has established an e-commerce agency, called “E-Dibbo”, to lead the charge.
The agency is tasked with driving economic growth in collaboration with local businesses. One of their primary objectives is to encourage retail purchases, especially online, as much as possible. In the face of this ambitious plan, Facebook has been a natural fit.
Djibouti’s e-commerce agency has adopted a Facebook-centric approach to marketing, including social media. With more than 2.47 million followers on the social media network, Tunde Adebowale, the chief digital officer of E-Dibbo, believes that Facebook provides the best possible reach to customers in Djibouti.
The agency has a dedicated account on the social media network, where they share content on a regular basis. This content is designed to promote both local and international online businesses, particularly those in the e-commerce space. Some of the online stores that E-Dibbo promotes through their Facebook content include MyBasket24, Bonjoro, and TastyTruck.
Boosting Online Sales
In keeping with their mission, E-Dibbo has designed a number of Facebook campaigns to increase online retail purchases in the country. These campaigns are focused on increasing customer engagement and fostering brand loyalty. One of the most successful of these initiatives is the monthly “Product of the Month” promotion. Every month, E-Dibbo choose a new product to promote, usually in collaboration with a local business. These product announcements feature an array of popular digital and online shops that the agency thinks the average Djiboutian consumer might not have tried. The initiative has a clear goal: to boost retail purchases in the country.
Boosting Product Awareness
One of the primary purposes of the Product of the Month promotion is to increase product awareness. In an era where customer awareness is at an all-time high, increasing a customer’s knowledge, even slightly, can make a difference. So, every month, E-Dibbo will publish a blog post highlighting the specific benefits and features of the product they’re promoting.
The blogs are published on the E-Dibbo website and on their Facebook page. The posts are typically accompanied by a product image and brief product description, as well as a QR code, a short URL, and other similar marketing materials. The goal is to encourage curious consumers to dive into more information about the product they’re promoting. Through this approach, E-Dibbo believes they can increase customer loyalty as well as boost retail sales in the country.
Measuring the Impact
In addition to boosting retail sales, the Product of the Month promotion has also helped to boost E-Dibbo’s online presence. The agency routinely logs transactions and engagement data from the platforms they promote on, to measure the success of these campaigns. One of their primary metrics for this initiative is “Likes”, with customer engagement measured in terms of “Likes” and “Shares” (i.e. “posts” that reference the product and are therefore shared by interested parties).
Since the Product of the Month promotion was implemented in mid-2019, E-Dibbo has seen a 30% year-over-year increase in online purchases, as well as a 500% increase in brand loyalty. This is largely thanks to the agency’s deliberate approach to marketing on networks like Facebook.
E-Dibbo’s strategy has benefited both themselves and their many collaborators. The agency has gained credibility and customers. While the local businesses that they work with have seen an increase in online sales as a result of the agency’s initiative.
This is a prime example of how effective a network-centric marketing approach can be. Facebook is arguably the most influential social media platform globally. It is owned by Facebook, Inc., the world’s largest social media company. With a reported average of 68 million monthly active users, it would be a missed opportunity for any marketer not to take note.