How social media helps us find and support good ideas
Using social media as a force for good
By Kezia Anim- Addo, Communications Director, Sub- Saharan Africa, Meta
EVERY business, every purposeful action, and every catalyst for change starts with an idea. That idea might come to us when we’re sitting at a coffee shop, shopping, or having a conversation with a friend. Perhaps it’s something nobody has ever done before, or a new way to approach an old problem.
Or, it could be an idea we’ve had for a long time but didn’t know how or where to start working on it. Turning ideas into reality requires hard work and resilience, but that’s still only part of the journey. We also need to put our ideas out there for the world to see – because good ideas deserve to be found.
For me, that’s part of the beauty of social media. It gives us a space where we can share our ideas and support other ideas that are worth amplifying. For many businesses, this has proven to be a valuable lifeline during the pandemic. While there are signs of a global recovery, businesses are still dealing with the lasting impacts of COVID-19.
Meta surveyed hundreds of South African businesses in July and August of 2021, finding that 29% said they were closed and nearly two-thirds of those still operating reported lower sales than a year ago. Small businesses and purpose-driven businesses have had to overcome many existing challenges that the pandemic served to exacerbate, such as having a smaller customer base, less developed supply chains, shorter term cash flows, and limited access to finance. Fortunately, digital platforms have provided businesses and changemakers with an alternative way to operate and share their good ideas during this time. More people are migrating to digital channels, and businesses are meeting them there, which is why digital tools have become more important than ever.
Our 2021 Global State of Small Business Report highlighted that the use of digital tools has increased since the start of 2021, rising from 81% to 88% of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) since February 2021. Furthermore, approximately 69% of SMBs reported that using digital tools had at least one positive impact on their business operations, such as an increase in sales (34%) or an increase in customer or supplier base (31%).
For social entrepreneurs and small business owners, digital skills help them reach new audiences and spread their good ideas. Tools and best-practise guides that can help business owners succeed are critical to supporting people who are trying to make a difference in their communities and our economy. That is why it’s important for us to offer an extensive range of free resources, digital skills training, certifications, and networking opportunities to help businesses get the most out of today’s marketing platforms.
Another way we can support people trying to make a difference through businesses or community projects is by sharing their stories. Our Good Ideas Deserve To Be Found initiative celebrates people finding the businesses that they love on Facebook and Instagram. The initiative encourages businesses to share their unique ideas using the #DeserveToBeFound hashtag on Facebook and on Instagram. Thus far, this has given many entrepreneurs across Africa a voice and a way to reach local customers and bring awareness to their offerings. The initiative has shown just how many inspirational stories and ideas there are in our country.
Zezuru Coffee, for example, sources its coffee beans from small-scale female farmers. Their mission is to empower and support small-scale female coffee farmers in Zimbabwe, creating financial freedom and better opportunities for their families and the communities. By using Facebook as a platform for their business, they are able to connect with conscious customers across Southern Africa. Kisasa Brands is a modern African lifestyle business dedicated to uncovering, showcasing, and promoting homegrown African brands. The next step for this good idea is expanding into an online store, allowing more people to support innovative, born-in-Africa ideas.
Businesses and ideas like these deserve to be found – and there are many more out there waiting to be discovered. Social media platforms bring people and ideas together and allow us to share and discover new and exciting things. For businesses and social entrepreneurs, this means building more meaningful connections and finding people who are likely to love what they have to offer. This is crucial to their success because even the best ideas cannot succeed by themselves. They succeed when people believe in them.