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Rules of User Engagement


You have a holistic approach to your digital strategy. A user-friendly responsive website, an intuitive mobile app, and a presence across all the relevant social media platforms. However, something is amiss. There’s a lack of relevant traffic. User engagement has always been the forerunner of all business challenges. In this post, we will revisit the rules of engagement strictly from the African perspective.

Humanize #H2H

Smart concepts are possible without a smartphone. Entrepreneurs should not be myopic about this. As per a report by GSMA intelligence, smartphone adoption is expected to reach 720 million users in Africa. Although this is an optimistic trend, it means there is still a large segment of the population using feature phones.

Moreover, the consumers easily get confused. For this reason, rather than making them adopt multiple channels to reach the business, the business should come to them. In the words of marketing guru, Bryan Kramer:-

“Businesses do not have emotion. People do. People want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. They want to feel something. They want to be included. People want to understand.”

How to tap the feature phone/low-bandwidth consumers?


  1. Use optimized web pages compatible with low bandwidth browsers like Opera Mini.
  2. In absence of data coverage, businesses may use missed call marketing. (Saving consumers’ airtime)
  3. Commerce organizations can use printed catalogs and manuals
  4. Consumers may then order & pay via SMS &USSD

Despite the availability of mobile devices, air time and data costs are high. Therefore, even the smartphone users prefer efficient ways of reaching the business with a human touch.

The Marketing Automation Buzz + Personalisation

The extent of marketing automation depends on the nature of the business model. In fact, Automation is good for recurring tasks such as newsletters, e-mail marketing, social media publishing etc. However, one must not go overboard. In any case, try to keep the personalisation intact.

Always remember, the purpose of automation is to eliminate unproductive tasks. It enables marketers to focus more on content & strategy. Therefore, focus on building the standard of following content marketing aspects:-

  1. Product/Service Information
  2. Frequently Asked Questions
  3. How to use the product/service
  4. Customer ratings and reviews

Organic Influence Marketing

You don’t need a celebrity or a major leader to promote your business. Use your existing customers (with a significant social media reach) as brand advocates. Realize the power of word of mouth. In fact, a satisfied consumer can generate a more authentic following than a brand ambassador/influencer. For example, here’s a client testimonial published by SnapScan, SA on its website.


Likewise, entrepreneurs can:

  1. Publish client testimonials on the business website
  2. Highlight positive reviews from review aggregators like Yelp
  3. Acknowledge users who advocate your brand on online media (Feedback, Social Media Pages, Forums etc)
  4. Ask for opinions from clients/users with a high social reach

Use Messaging Apps and Chat Bots for Consumer Service

We have reiterated this countless times. Messaging apps connect with the consumer at a personal level. Furthermore, no waiting time and long queues. Unlike e-mails, there are no unwanted subscriptions and spam content. In fact, consumer chat history is also readily available. In addition, they are not as expensive as bulk SMS/MMS packs.


[Source: Messaging Apps–A New Shift in Consumer Service]

The Inference

There’s no one set formula for user engagement. In fact, each market is different and requires a deep understanding of consumer behavior patterns. Use online listening tools such as Google Trends, Tweet Deck, Google News, BuzzSumo etc. to understand the users’ preference of the target market.


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