There are many misconceptions about social media usage in Zimbabwe. For instance, you see many people concluding that the sentiments of people on social media are representative and reflective of the whole country. Is that the case? You can also see someone arguing that it is better to do business marketing on Twitter than on Facebook. Is that evidence-based, or is it just some assumption? These are some of the many important questions we need to explore critically. That is why today, we are critically looking at social media usage in Zimbabwe.

NB: Most of the statistics I am using are based on a report compiled by Data Reportal. It is not particularly easy to find comprehensive and real-time data on Zimbabwe. Even the results of Zimbabwean surveys often have substantial margins for error. However, the figures’ impression or picture tells the true story as it should.

How Many Zimbabweans Use Social Media?

Beginning of 2022, there number of social media users in Zimbabwe was less than 1.6 million. From 2021 to 2022, the number of social media users went up by 250 000 people. If we are to be generous and project to now, we can say about 10 percent of Zimbabweans use social media.

Facebook Usage

As of the beginning of 2022, there were 1.3 million Zimbabweans using Facebook. This was according to data published by Meta. That translated to about 9 percent of Zimbabweans; after factoring in certain dynamics and variables. By implication, roughly 80 percent of social media users in Zimbabwe use Facebook. Interestingly, the ad audience is more male than female. , 56 percent were males whilst 44 percent were females. As for Facebook Messenger, ads reached 289 000 Zimbabwean users.

LinkedIn Usage

The stats for LinkedIn are somewhat different. This is because LinkedIn looks at mere ownership of an account rather than monthly active users. At the beginning of 2022, 680 000 people in Zimbabwe were on or using LinkedIn. That comes to around 5 percent of the Zimbabwean population. Ad audience comprised 60 percent males and 40 percent females.

Instagram Usage

Beginning of 2022, the total number of Instagram users in Zimbabwe was 408 000 people. That comes to around 3 percent of the Zimbabwean population. Again ad audience was predominantly male. Sixty percent were male, whereas 40 percent were female. This is an interesting dynamic because the general assumption of many is females use Instagram more.

Twitter Usage

There are less than 250 000 Zimbabweans actively using Twitter. That figure can even be lower when you factor in certain variables. For instance, there are users with multiple accounts and ghost accounts (something that can apply to most, if not all, social media platforms). Zimbabwean population is about 15.2 million people, according to the recent census. That is just 1.6 percent of Zimbabweans who use or are on Twitter. Even if we factor in age eligibility dynamics, the percentage will still be less than 3 percent.

Do Not Take WhatsApp Lightly

WhatsApp is mainly an instant messaging platform. However, it is like a social media platform in many ways. As far back as 2017, there were already 5.2 million people in Zimbabwe using WhatsApp. At the time, that was roughly 37 percent of the population. Today almost 50 percent of internet traffic in Zimbabwe is from WhatsApp.

Top 5 Most Used Social Media Platforms In Zimbabwe

The ranking of social media platform usage in Zimbabwe from top to bottom is as follows:

  1. WhatsApp
  2. Facebook
  3. LinkedIn
  4. Instagram
  5. Twitter

Noteworthy Insights To Consider

Best Place To Do Paid Ads In Zimbabwe

Regarding social media in Zimbabwe, your paid ads efforts are better off on Facebook. Based on the number of eyeballs, at least. You can try on other platforms, but the results may be little to none. It is also important to note that you must explore ways to major in organic growth. That way, you will surely attract your desired niche(s). Even on Facebook, do not overly use paid ads; use them sparingly and strategically.

High Time You Maximize On WhatsApp

A considerable number of people are yet to appreciate the strategic importance of WhatsApp in Zimbabwe. It is high time to do. Your efforts on other social media platforms should redirect people to your WhatsApp. Conversely, you can and must also redirect people captured on WhatsApp to your other platforms. Take advantage of WhatsApp Business, a great business tool for digital marketing. Check out how to use WhatsApp Business Catalogue Feature. Meta is doing a lot of work integrating WhatsApp with Facebook and Instagram so look out for those features.

Traditional Media Still Reigns In Zimbabwe

What I mean by this is that traditional marketing is still a big deal in Zimbabwe. I have seen that many businesses are neglecting traditional media. These are things like radio, banners, posters, billboards, etc. You are bound to reach and even convert more people via such in Zimbabwe. According to MISA Zimbabwe, in 2019 about 2.34 million homes in Zimbabwe had radios. From that figure, 71 percent of urban homes had radios and 58 percent of rural homes had radios. Consider that, in most cases, there are several people per household. You do the math. One thing is abundantly clear; radio is a big deal in Zimbabwe. I have, at times, advised people to tap into community radios. We now have several of those in Zimbabwe. Imagine the prospects of tapping into localized target markets. Surely the revenue potential is substantial.

The bottom line is that you must be strategically using social media, especially for business. Do not trivialize WhatsApp or ignore traditional media, e.g. radio. You need to strike healthy, evidence-based approaches. You can even conduct surveys to understand your customers or target markets better. Check out Understanding the 60-40 marketing budget split approach.