- Mobile service providers
Airtel has 198,000+ fans, MTN 147,000+, Zamtel 59,000+. These use their facebook pages to communicate various things like promotions and events to their customers. They also use it to interact with customers. I personally find that I get better and faster customer care response through their facebook pages than dialing 111 where I have to wait forever.
- News providers
Starting from, Mwebantu New Media, Zambia Reports, the Post Newspaper, Muvi tv, ZNBC and the controversial Zambian Watchdog. These have facebook fan bases ranging from 52,000+ for Daily Mail Zambia, right up to 3000,000+ fans for others. You will normally see a news item on one of these almost immediately it happens.
- Online shops
There are various businesses that sale through facebook. Among some local examples are Olivia’s mom, it’s based in Lusaka with over 20,000 fans, Mwanawanga based on the Copperbelt with over 29,000 fans.
- Online communities.
These are groups were people ask one another questions about a particular topic. I must say these are very helpful. Some of these include ‘Farming as a business’. For farmers in Zambia this is hands down the most useful facebook group. If you are a small scale farmer and you use facebook please find this group. Other groups/pages like Mwanawanga, Yummy mummies talk about parenting. Some talk about sexual relationships and marriage, some talk about having and looking after natural hair and beauty, some are all about cooking. Kupikilila recipe exchange being one of the most popular.
- Free advertising groups and pages
There are several groups where one can advertise their products and services or free. Some of these include “Let’s talk ama sampo”. It’s a group with over 63,000 members mostly used to advertise electronic gadgets by individuals and small businesses. It has some subgroups for the copperbelt etc. The owners may or may not be the same. There are groups like Zed car samples where individuals and small business buy and sell cars. Some like UK Zed cars are for importing cars from U.K
- Real estate groups
Buying and renting, whether you are offering or looking, one of the biggest facebook places for this is called Zambia Property Network with over 29,000 members and Copperbelt Property Connections with over 4,000 fans.
- Jobs and Opportunities
There is a group called Job Market and Opportunities in Zambia with over 39,000 member used by job seekers and employers alike. There is also my Zambia jobs page.
Political parties, political figures, political interest groups all have some participation on facebook. For example, Edith Nawakwi has 13,000 plus fans. GBM has 53,000+. This list alone can cover half this article, let’s end here.
- Organizations and embassies
Local embassies including Swedish embassy and American embassy use facebook.
The Bank of Zambia, Barclays, FNB to name but a few are on facebook.
This is by no means a comprehensive list. We can cover 10pages just talking about this.
So is facebook relevant to your business? Well you tell me. Are your potential customers interested in the activities discussed above? Thousands of Zambians use it every minute from political figures to young people to businesses of all sorts. Service providers have made it free; mobile phones are now being sold pre-installed with facebook. Oh did I mention the Zambian President was using it? In future articles, I will look at how you can use this tool for your business both using free tools and paid tools. I will also mention types of business that may not find it very useful and what alternatives are available.