In more ways than one, 2016 has been a year of looking back and teaching. It’s been quite a whirlwind. From telling the backstory on Circumspecte during our 9th anniversary celebration to discussing the not-so-glamorous details about being a solopreneur. And then there are the blogging, social media and digital skills trainings – six and counting.
A fortnight ago, Circumspecte teamed up with One Baobab to train women entrepreneurs on using e-commerce and social media to enhance their business. It was facilitated by satirical blogger and poet Efo Dela and led by One Baobab’s Naa Oyoo Quartey and myself. We were all very excited to share our insights and tips with women entrepreneurs and professionals. Why? Women are 50% less likely to use the internet than men. When they do, they are less likely to use it for personal development. That and the fact that we’ve all gained so much value from using social media and digital tools.
The DGBizWomen Training on Digital Skills, E-Commerce & Social Media
An estimated, 386 million Africans own a mobile device. As internet access in Africa improves and the world becomes increasingly digital, many opportunities will move online. It’s a no brainer. That includes business and career opportunities. I started my “Social media for amplifying one’s business and brand” session with a frank discussion about “the Whys”. Why do you – do what you do, want to use social media, opt for this platform or the other? These are all questions to consider before opening social media accounts, but many seldom do. They all lead to one important question: What is your narrative or story?
After our soul-searching, we moved on to three of the biggest social media platforms in Africa: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I did demonstrations on each, pointing out powerful business and branding tools along the way. Thereafter, we looked at examples of how food, event planning, beauty and fashion businesses in Ghana and elsewhere use social media and digital skills. Many of the ladies were very surprised at the options available and eager to try things out during the practical session.
During Naa Oyoo’s morning session, she mentioned that there are are growing number of e-commerce platforms in Ghana like Jumia, Storefoundry and Tonaton. For many customers, security and responsiveness are important elements of online shopping. Having a customized storefront and efficient delivery options are also important for businesses. The women entrepreneurs got their hands busy with setting up e-commerce stores on Storefoundry; a local e-commerce platform which has amazing features. Worth checking out.Women are 50% less likely to use the internet than men. When they do, they are less likely to use it for personal development. - @jabdulai Click To Tweet
Social Media – A Plus or A Minus?
Without fail, there is always one person in my trainings who has zero social media presence (nope, not even Facebook). There are even more who think social media is just gossip central. Of course, for some people that’s all it is, but there’s so much more! The DGBizWomen training was no exception. It also strikes me how the debate around social media swirls – as a ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘useful’ or ‘useless’, ‘time-water’ or ‘time-saver’. It’s often in absolutes, but the reality is that social media is not inherently bad or good. Like the internet and digital applications, it’s a tool so you determine what it leads to. Social media is essentially what YOU make it.
The good thing is there are social media platforms and digital tools for you, whoever you are. By the end of the day, the ladies were gushing about all the tools for storytelling, branding, networking and business. It never gets old, and to be honest it’s probably one of the most fulfilling things for me when it comes to these training: seeing the light bulbs go off.
True, a lot of information is churned out daily and it can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be a nerve-wrecking experience figuring out what works best for you. That’s what Circumspecte is here for. Keep an eye out for our next training (yes, it will be open to guys) – better still, send us a training request and let’s get you thriving with digital. We look forward to having you soon.
Jemila Abdulai is the creative director, editor and founder of the award-winning website Circumspecte.com. A media and international development professional and economist by training, she combines her business, communications and project management expertise with her strong passion for Africa. Besides writing and reading, she enjoys travel, global cuisine, movies, and good design.