Social media for marketing is a paradigm shift that continues to grow and change as additional regions adopt its practices. Given the ease of use for individuals of all education levels, the greatest barrier to growth is an area’s access to technological resources and internet services. Regardless, passionate marketers across the globe are recognizing the power of social media and are eager to adopt its practices in preparation for its spread to their areas.
Last week I had the honor of traveling to South Africa to speak to the Direct Marketing Association of South Africa (DMASA). Brian Mdludi, the CEO of DMASA, wanted to provide an opportunity for his members to learn more about how social media can be integrated with direct marketing strategy. I provided a two day master class seminar on the integration of social media.
I was impressed to meet with a group of individuals who, despite the very low internet penetration rate for South Africa (about 8%), were focused on developing their social media marketing skills to ensure they would be ready as internet penetration in their area grew.
The DMASA, which established itself as an independent body in November 2005, is focused on representing interactive and direct marketers, as well as consumers. “We aim to protect both the industry and consumers from unethical or ignorant practitioners,” explains Mdludi, “and lobby against adverse legislation from government and other regulatory bodies.”
By working together in a structured environment largely supported by real life case studies, attendees of the master class began to understand the power and potential of marketing through social media. The collaboration between attendees on group assignments was encouraging; during my short stay, I witnessed growth between and amongst marketers who were ready and eager to grow with this new shift.
“I had been a somewhat reluctant Facebook user and convinced myself that social media was way too ‘complex’ for someone of my age, so I ignored its potential,” Ray Johnson later shared with me via email. “Your master class has made me realise how short-sighted I was, and for this I am extremely grateful.” I am so pleased that my class allowed Ray the opportunity to connect with the value of social media and grateful for his kind words!
The DMASA offers various levels of membership and marketers can join as sponsors, corporate members, or on an individual basis. If you are a marketer in South Africa looking for a dedicated group to grow with in your career, visit http://www.dmasa.org for more information on how to join.
To all my new friends, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to speak and grow with you. I look forward to seeing you soon!