For a few years now, we have been getting used to social media platforms. The most common ones are Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. The standout platform for Mauritius remains Facebook. While the under 35 generation are perfectly acquainted to the tool – yes, Facebook is a tool – the rest of the age groups have been catching up fast. Generally speaking, we are all on Facebook for a main reason – to set up a private profile, connect with friends and families, and share moments of our lives. In Mauritius, this remains the standard. Of course, we have the usual exceptions where some are in a race to get the maximum Facebook friends, whether they are completely strangers or mere acquaintances doesn’t matter.
Social media platforms are now interconnected, which means more peek into someone else’s business and more exposure for oneself, provided we feed interesting photos or information.
What we post on Instagram or Twitter can easily be fed to Facebook and so on. Marketing professionals are the first ones to have seen the opportunity to connect with more people. While in developed countries, all major companies now have a dedicated community manager, in Mauritius this job title is yet to be a standard. Of course, companies have set up their social media page, but for the moment it is mostly aimed to give more visibility to their business without really developing a real bond or a customer service for the matter.
The ones that have the most success in our island nation are pages of companies promoting events, from fashion to must-be-seen soirées. A sleek way to lure young people and working class adults! The companies are complete winners; business is going to be better and minimal expense on promoting events via the social media. The targeted public gets what he is looking for; easy information on events, a sense of being privileged to attend to some and access to some of the island’s most trendy places. Win-win situation.
What has been left completely uncared of is the high visibility (you can also read: promotion) of products such as cigarettes, alcohol and sometimes more addictive substances. Much has been made to upgrade regulation on those products in recent years. The very young ones are not being exposed to those products in real life, but what happens online is another matter. Of course, the idea is not to impose bans etc. After all, if someone wants to have a drink or a smoke, he will go ahead regardless of what he has been told. But at least it should be standard to add a prevention sentence on each and every picture or events where smoking and alcohol is going to be consumed freely. It might save a life, just one. And that would be worth it!
This is why dedicated community managers must be a standard. Social media platforms are not just electronic billboards! Their lure is so strong that many are being sucked out of real life obligations. We need humans to act as shock absorbers.