Welcome to in Nigeria Day 8.

As we continue discussing the strategies for winning the Cola War, we must understand that the practice of these strategies or the neglect of same will determine the winner of the fight. The new entrants are gaining market share rapidly.

One other important strategy is social media engagement. The new medium of reaching a lot of consumers in this age of technology is the new media. A lot of engagement is going on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. You can’t afford to ignore these platforms.

Social media is the new platform for bonding with your consumers. The number of smartphone users in Nigeria is a roughly 40m majority of whom are youths and these are the ones in the segment to be targeted by the Cola brands. This shows the significance of social media.

No serious organization can afford to ignore digital marketing in this age and time. The youths spend more time on their phones much more than any other gadget and that is where brands are expected to meet their target audience. Your brand must be active online.

Facebook has 22 million active Nigerians. Twitter has 6m active Nigerians. Instagram has 5.7m active Nigerians while YouTube has over 7m active Nigerians. Why will any company not leverage on these numbers to gain acceptance and become top of the mind? Wide opportunity!

Social media is for engagement. It is a platform to interact with your consumers. It is a platform to increase your brand awareness. When you maximize the opportunities on social media, it results in higher conversion rates for your products and that means more sales.

The use of social media helps to satisfy your customers and resolve their complaints before it gets out of hand. Consumers feel a sense of belonging when a brand communicates with them. Customers appreciate when they get a response for any comment they make on social media.

There is not so much of social media engagement by any of the Cola brands today but any of the brands that jump at the opportunity in good time is bound to make a lot of conversions from it and will, without doubt, increase the affinity of consumers for such brands.

Brand managers need to use social media much more than ever. Brands need to have someone managing their social media account. One of the gaffes of Bigi Cola will be discussed in later days and it was on how it managed a social media attack to one of its flavours.

Most attacks on companies today start on social media and if it is not doused immediately, it may snowball into what will be beyond redemption. That is why your being on social media is both for the offensive and defensive. You must launch content to gain consumers you must also launch content to defend your brand. Both approaches are important in your battle to gain market share and also to avoid losing market share.

Use social media to defend your position in the market.

Tomorrow, we will look at what Coca-cola has done to react to the penetration strategy being used by the new entrants and how it is yielding results for them. Can the new entrants react?

Watch out for the next series.

Written by: 

Oluwole Dada, (Regional Sales Manager at Nestle Nig. Plc; Member, Chartered Institute of Marketing (UK))

For more insightful conversations, follow Oluwole Dada on Twitter  @oluwole_dada