We have consistently hammered on the importance of the internet in doing business in this part of the world, post Covid ’19. Indeed, the pandemic itself demonstrated how our networks and the services they deliver have become a critical part of our lives and our economy. Something as critical as that is too important not to have a public interest obligation. At the same time, such public interest must operate in a manner that reflects the realities of the information era of which we have become an integral part.
The Covid-19 pandemic literarily forced almost all businesses to change their priorities and working practices, with more than 75% of businesses in the developed democracies increasing their dependence on the internet for information on demand and supply. But our case in this part of the world appears to be slightly different. Not so many of our business men and women have come to realize the indispensability of the internet in modern business approach.
The reason is perhaps partly because over the years, government created a situation that became favourable breeding grounds for rogue governments and rogue businessmen. They deliberately failed to pay public servants as at and when due. As a result, Nigerians generally cultivated a culture of going for the money and not the job because they would be owed several months’ areas of salary at the end of the day. In most cases, public workers had to depend on bribery for their daily needs.
The government woefully failed to support working class families and thereby encouraged child labour which is child abuse. They failed to equip the country’s hospitals even with the most critical drugs so that the medications prescribed by doctors were so exorbitant that citizens had to find indecent ways of raising money to pay for them. The list could go on and on.
The result was that to do business online became a big gamble in Nigeria because of the massive distrust that exists. A typical example was the case of Hushpuppi who made millions of dollars defrauding people and companies on the internet until the law caught up with him. And to think that despite the fact that everyone knew he had no visible source of income, he dined and wined with the most prominent men in the society and they never raised a voice, never raised a finger to point at him or his nefarious activities.
Be that as it may, there has been a recent global study to understand the ongoing impact of Internet of Things (IoT) as it is adopted and deployed by businesses of all sizes worldwide. The study also investigates the relationship between IoT, business strategy, resiliency and business success. It featured responses from 1,639 businesses globally, exploring how they are using IoT and how it is helping them prepare for the future.
The 13 markets covered included the US, Brazil, the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, South Africa, China, Ireland, India, Japan, Singapore and South Korea.
Fundamentally, business people who adopted the concept believed IoT was vital to keep their businesses going. 84% indicated that the technology was key to maintaining business continuity after the pandemic. As a result, they viewed the integration of IoT devices in their demand and supply strategies as a higher priority while 73% agreed that the pandemic actually accelerated their adoption plans.
In addition, IoT continued generating value and return on investment (ROI) for adopters and 87% agreed their core business strategies had changed for the better as a result of adopting IoT. Almost all (95%) said that they have achieved ROI, and 55% of adopters have had operating costs decrease by an average of 21%.
Today, more than any other time in recent history, social media platforms have become the main source of information surpassing print and other digital media platforms. More and more people are relying on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date.
As businesses world over grapple with dropping profits, marketing via social media has definitely become the in-thing, the new key for a successful business operation. Why? Because with social distancing and restricted movement during the pandemic period, more consumers began shopping online and the trend caught up because it saved time and stress and the hazard of commuting on our very bad roads.
To survive the crisis, businesses needed to maintain their customer base. Having an engaging presence on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or other social media platforms helped business people connect with their customers and build relationships
Today, the social media has become an indispensable component of our daily lives. The businesses that will survive these uncertain times and continue to thrive afterward are those that remain internet agile. As such, our businesses will need to respond expeditiously and effectively to the unique challenges modern demand and supply present.
This period proffers a rare and unique opportunity to use social media marketing at its best to connect and bond with customers in meaningful ways. Customers are looking to engage with brands that do more than just sell. In this regard, community support is crucial.
Undeniably, social media marketing also provides platforms to brand, sell, and market products and services. But, this should not be the be-all-and-end-all for social media. More than ever before, business owners need to craft communication strategies that help them connect with their customers. And that is exactly what we are doing for them at Imo State Business Link Magazine through providing helpful information, advice, featuring relevant business, educational and health news items among other benefits network members derive.
The increasing use of the social media in modern business transactions is bound to continue long after lockdown restrictions are lifted. It will remain the key factor in determining how businesses engage with their customers going forward. And you must not be left behind.