Regarding social network strategy, South Africa, for example, has approximately 3.38 million Facebook users, or 64 percent of its online population. This translates into a much higher number of people with an Internet connection using Facebook, than countries such as Germany, where only 23.07 percent have a profile on Facebook. So while many strategists are integrating communities in Europe into their strategy mix, they may be overlooking emerging markets such as South Africa.
(3.38 million total Facebook users in South Africa (source: checkfacebook.com)
Around the world, including countries with a variety of different economic conditions, people using the Internet are increasingly logging on to social networks, and younger users are leading this trend.
Earlier this year, Pew Research concluded that, “while involvement in social networking is relatively low in many less economically developed nations, this is largely due to the fact that many people in those countries do not go online at all, rather than having a disinterest in social networking in particular.”
As Internet and mobile availability increases over the next five years, countries such as South Africa, India, and China will embrace social networking and mobile technologies for personal and quality of life improvements rather than recreational use; the influence this audience will have in driving brand strategy will be powerful.
Source: Pew Internet
Source: Pew Internet Report
According to a recent poll, approximately 53 percent of Americans say they do not believe that the spread of affordable broadband should be a major government priority. Would this percentage change if this poll were taken in India, with its population of approximately 1.15 billion, and where 80% of its population is living on less than $2 a day? I think it would.
With the potential for huge financial gains by the private technology sector, and political pressure placed on government officials by voters, changes in government-supported and privately funded Internet access will happen. Increased access to online social communities will also translate into consumers having even more control and influence over brands.