Digital advocacy trends for Tanzania in 2020

14Jan 2020
Correspondent
The Guardian
Digital advocacy trends for Tanzania in 2020

WITH increased global connectivity, even the once called dark continent has caught on. According to GSMA’s The Mobile Economy 2019 report for Sub-Saharan Africa, the numbers of unique mobile subscribers in the region will reach 600 million representing around 50% of the population.

By Prudence Zoe Glorious

African governments and businesses operating on the continent now have a strategic opportunity to reach a wider online audience in order to drive change, enhance economic competitiveness and create digital impact.    Mobile technology has been at the center of Tanzania’s digital transformation with the number of  internet  users  reaching  23,142,960  of  which  96%  access  the  internet  on  their  mobile devices.

According to the latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Tanzania’s population stands at 55.8 million with the majority residing in rural areas. Mobile innovations are deployed to ensure the country's development goals are inclusive and sustainable. Efforts by  the  government  to  facilitate  access  to  communication  services  through  The  Universal Communications  Service  Access  Fund  (UCSAF)  have  resulted  in  an  increase  of  internet penetration to the current 43% as per official figures from 10% in 2009 as per World Bank public data.

As the fourth industrial revolution wages on, what does the growth of mobile technology and services in Tanzania mean for private and public sector players? Companies can leverage mobile communications technology to forge new routes to market, and engage and form new relationships  with  consumers  in  order  to  reach  their  strategic  objectives.

Through  digital innovation,  governments  have  the  opportunity  to  improve  service  delivery  efficiency  and catalyse local economic development through smart agriculture and financial inclusion.  In the year ahead we will experience; new formats, challenges, and ways of engagement. Here is our list of digital advocacy trends to help your company’s  communication efforts in 2020.

Conversation versus vanity metrics In 2020 your organisation will have to authentically engage with your online community and explore avenues for collaboration. In the current information economy, organizations need to dive into their online ecosystem and foster long-term relationships with customers by adopting new and engaging digital strategies.

In order to  gauge effectiveness, your most important metric will be around conversations before likes.  Influencing will move to credibility The decline of the influencer hype will see a rise of knowledge experts and micro-influencers that are perceived to be credible and authentic with  a more engaged following.  Companies can jump on this trend through the community engagement of a knowledge expert or micro-influencer for conversion to new markets.   Platform specific content and a mobile first approach         

According to GSMA’s Mobile Economy Report Series, there are 747 million SIM connections in sub-Saharan Africa.  More people are spending  time browsing the internet on their phones and have shorter attention spans. In 2020, companies will have to convey their messages in mobile friendly formats that are adapted for popular platforms through hashtags, stories format for social media and dark social messaging apps.

The right combination of content type and length will determine the success of online advocacy in the age of mobile devices.  Storytelling humans are social beings and in the digital world, visual storytelling will continue to rise in 2020.  More than ever, decision makers are less gullible and unresponsive to online ads and are looking to establish an authentic connection with ethical businesses.

Companies  have the opportunity to create a compelling narrative that shares their story in an emotive way to capture the hearts and attention of their audiences in order to build trust.   Humanised online content given the influx of information and content on the internet,. an organization's online story is fighting for the attention of a hyper plugged in and well networked customer with a lot of content options.  If you want to stand out in 2020, you will need to personalize your digital advocacy strategy and incorporate emotive storytelling.

Immersive media in an age where citizens prioritize experiences that provide them with a lasting impression

Immersive media has become a trend utilized by institutions to attract civic engagement.  A big advantage of immersive media as a communication tool is its ability of putting the audience at the center of the story making the experience highly relatable and engaging as the audience feels involved.  For example, through the use of 360 videos and virtual reality to your company can share  captivating stories on its sustainability outcomes.  In the year ahead we will see more institutions using immersive media to influence and win over new stakeholders.    

Customer evangelism will become mainstream.

Online users are becoming more socially conscious which means organisations should be more transparent on their positive and negative contribution to sustainability initiatives. People trust people therefore, customer  and employee advocacy of products and services are going to be strategic tools all institutions are going to want to adopt.  For heavily regulated sectors thought leadership programmes that feature stand out employees will be a go-to solution. 

Real time videos

Online video marketing has been the craze popularized by online video streaming channels.  The next phase points towards the growth of live stream and its potential to become the primary form of entertainment around the world. In 2020 we should expect live stream channels to broadcast everything you expect regular video to offer.

Digital diplomacy will now have to leverage on the use of real time content for transparency  in order to realize outcomes of  their advocacy, reforms and interventions.   Multi-media releases Uniformity on all owned media platforms will be key if an organisation wants to stand out to its stakeholders in 2020.

NB: Prudence Zoe Glorious is a strategic advisor and digital communications expert at Africa Practice Tanzania.

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