There’s an app for everything nowadays.
Thankfully, as an African Professional (lawyer, doctor, engineer or finanial services provider), your trade is still one that has not been robotised.
Question is- for how long?
Digital is taking over the world faster than we can book and Uber to our client meeting, and Africa is riding the tech wave full on. We already see the Universities providing online learning through platforms such as GetSmarter which delivers registered courses for UCT, Wits University, University of Stellenbosch, GIBS Business School and the University of Cambridge. These courses aren’t entry level either and the range is quite broad: we’re talking about Tax Law, Businesses Systems Analysis, Interior Design or Web Development.
It is estimated that in 2020, 500 million Africans will have access to a smart phone. Not only are we becoming increasingly tech savvy, we are also sharing information at unprecedented levels. And the big companies know this. KPMG, Deloitte, Ernst and Young, PwC all have Facebook company pages. Not because they need new friends. Not because it’s hip and trendy and everyone’s doing it. But because even these professional service providers understand the need of having an online presence for their brand.
Facebook for business can be exceptionally useful for entrepreneurs and professionals alike. Your company page is a great platform as a customer service channel: studies show people are more likely to complain/compliment a brand on social media than they are to phone in to the customer line for the same reason. It also provides you for a means of testing or evaluating market response on current or new products.
Sourcing talent for your business or even a business partner can also be done online. A survey with detailed infographic below shows that Africa as a whole rates Digital HR as “very important” People are making business connections and deals from their online profiles. Recruiters are increasingly reporting that potential employees who do not have an online presence may be considered less likely than those with the professional profiles listed online.
The question is not so much – Do African Professionals need online marketing? It is more along the lines of: What are the risks for African Professionals by not being online?
The digital platform provides a means of disruption to industries – that is – doing one’s business in a way not traditionally done before. Think of Uber for disrupting the taxi industry and AirBnB for disrupting the hotel industry. Uber does not own one single taxi and it is the world’s most used taxi service. AirBnB does not own any real estate and it is the world’s most used hotel service.
“It’s not possible to disrupt the traditional practices of law, medicine and financial services” I hear you say? Incorrect. It is happening as we speak, and African professionals are on the foreground of this disruption
Ufulu Wanga (meaning My Freedom) uses a digital platform as a solution for the challenge of access to legal recourse, practitioners and information. The aim is to enable people to make more informed legal choices.
The project is a web to SMS interactive technology platform that allows a person to send an anonymous report on human rights violations such as domestic violence; queries on separation and divorce procedures and issues pertaining to child custody.
Ufulu Wanga is a startup founded out of mHub, Malawi’s first technology hub.
Co-founder Rachel Sibande on the social impact of mHub and Ufulu Wanga:” It’s a digital disruption, and I think just like how mobile had come to disrupt the way that we traditionally did things. As mHub we are a social entreprise, we develop technology solutions such as websites and mobile applications.
As a business, we plough back our profits for social good and use them to train young girls to develop technology applications, to maintain hardware but also on social entrepreneurship. This led to Ufulu Wanga, which uses these technologies to help the larger community find solutions for their various legal problems.”
If you need assistance on how to keep your brand professional when marketing online and detailed advice for using online marketing to grow your professional services, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We have workshops available live in Johannesburg or through one-on-one Skype sessions for Professionals based anywhere in Africa. Link below